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About Us


At Breaking Ground Dance Center we believe that every child possesses a gift that is ready to be opened.
Our staff looks forward to helping our students open and develop their own unique gifts at their own pace.
With our focus on personal growth and self-esteem, there is no limit to what a child can achieve!

"We don't just teach kids to make great dancers.  We teach dance to make great kids!"


Meet Our Dream Team!


MARISSA GIACOBBE- OWNER & DIRECTOR

Ms. Marissa has served thousands of families in Westchester County for 19 years.  She attended Manhattanville College where she received a performing arts scholarship and earned a degree in Psychology and Dance.  After graduating college, Marissa taught for over 30 dance schools in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York before opening her own at the young age of 23. Her choreography has earned her prestigious awards from NRG Dance Project, American Dance Awards, Revolution Talent Competition, and Nexstar Dance Competition. Her students at BGDC have gone on to dance in college programs and professionally across the country.  Marissa’s leadership and savvy business mindset have led BGDC to win the Best of Westchester: Best Dance Studio, Best Party Place, and Best Business 
Person awards.  BGDC was most recently awarded Best Dance Studio in 2023.

LAUREL HIGA- OPERATIONS MANAGER

Miss Laurel has been with BGDC for 10 years and is our Operations Manager.  She is a jack of all trades & is your go-to person for most things!  She is also an instructor for our Early childhood program, Core Program, and Intensive Program.  Laurel was born and raised in Oahu, Hawai’i.  She graduated from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Dance & Theater with a concentration in Dance Therapy & Minor in Psychology.  After college, Laurel remained in Westchester and danced professionally for local choreographers Peter Pucci, Marta Renzi, Robert Villanueva, Arthur Aviles, and Bryan Strimpel.  She has performed at renowned venues such as the New York City Center, Jacobs Pillow: Inside Out Stage, & The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theatre.  While dancing professionally, Laurel taught for various children's dance programs and also Group Fitness to adults.  Eventually, Laurel set roots down at BGDC full-time and pursued a Master's degree from Baruch College in Arts Administration to guide her in her role as O.M.

STEPHANIE DEERE- STAFF MANAGER

Miss Stephanie has been with BGDC for 10 years and is our Staff Manager.  As Staff Manager, she takes part in the hiring process and leads our staff in curriculum training.  She is also an instructor for our Early childhood programs, Core Program, and Intensive Program.  Stephanie grew up dancing in Los Angeles, California.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor's degree in Dance and a minor in Business Management.  Stephanie moved to NYC in 2012.  In 2013, she founded her own contemporary dance company, MachineHDance.  Under her direction, the company has performed at various festivals in the tri-state area, including Dance Astoria and Take Root.  She now holds a Master's degree in Early Childhood Development which is helping her further her teaching and curriculum development abilities.

BAILEY SICURANZO- INTENSIVE PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Miss Bailey has been with BGDC for 7 years and is our Intensive Program Director.  She also teaches the Beautiful Beginnings and Core Programs.  She is originally from Buffalo, NY, and grew up dancing at Time To Dance (her mom’s dance studio) and Greater Niagara Ballet.  She was a competitive dancer and won many scholarships to dance conventions like NUVO, NYCDA, and Jump. In addition to dance, she did gymnastics and was part of the USA Gymnastics Club. Bailey was one of the top 5 gymnasts in New York State during her time there. Bailey moved to NYC in 2013 and studied at Peridance Capezio Center and Steps on Broadway.  Bailey taught for various dance studios and children's dance programs in the tri-state area before setting roots down at BGDC.  Bailey is a mom to a toddler starting her dance journey at BG & just welcomed her 2nd child this summer! 

CHRISTINA PERLMAN- MERCH & SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

Miss Christina has been with BGDC for 7 years and is our Merchandise & Social Media Manager.  You will see her around the studio taking videos or steaming recital costumes.  She's a busy bee!  Christina is also an instructor for our Spin & Sparkle, Early Childhood, Core, & Intensive Programs.  Christina is a native New Yorker and started dancing at the age of 3.  She graduated from Manhattanville College with a Bachelor's degree in Dance and Theatre with a concentration in Dance Therapy, and a minor in Psychology.  After college, Christina danced professionally with the Gotham City Cheerleaders, the professional dance team in support of the New York Football Giants.  She was also the Head Coach of the Pace University Dance Team in Pleasantville.  In her free time, you may see her next door at Club Infinity working during Bar & Bat Mitzvahs.

SOFIA HENRICH HERRERA- Member Rel. Manager

Miss Sofia is our Member Relations Manager and this is her 3rd season at BGDC.  Sofia is from Westchester, NY, where she has been dancing since the age of 3.  Sofia is an alumna of BGDC.  During her time at BGDC, she was on the Senior Dance Team.  She recently graduated from Sacred Heart University where she studied advertising and PR.  We are so happy to have her on board full-time now.

LUIZA KARNAS- ENROLLMENT COORDINATOR

Miss Luiza is a veteran instructor & will be a new addition to the BGDC leadership team!  Luiza is also an instructor for our Early Childhood and Core Programs.  She has an M.F.A in Performance and Choreography from SUNY The College at Brockport, NY, and graduated from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS (Brazil) with a degree in Dance Education. She is also part of kamrDANCE company. She is thrilled to be back and is ready to share her passion for dance with all of you!

Andrew Burleson- Asst. Intensive Director

Mr. Andrew is a veteran instructor of our Intensive Program and now we are happy to have him on board helping Miss Bailey as Assistant Intensive Director.  Andrew Burleson, a North Carolina native, is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, with a BFA in dance, a concentration in choreography, and a minor in Business Administration.  He has been dancing since the age of 3, training in various forms including ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, tap, modern, and dance composition. Andrew has toured nationally with a dance convention, NRG Dance Project, where he was given the opportunity to assist top choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew, Disney’s Shake It Up, Step Up 2, and Britney Spears. Andrew works as a guest teacher and choreographer for over twenty dance studios across the United States, has taught master classes for college dance programs, and has worked for several dance competitions both as a judge and regional director.

Lexie Sahagian- Instructor

Miss Lexie is a veteran instructor at BGDC! She is a Hip Hop instructor for our Core & Intensive Programs.  Alexa "Lexie" Sahagian is originally from Long Island, NY, where she grew up training in various styles of dance. After competing for many years, Lexie moved on to teaching. She has taught at multiple studios as well as coached many high school and college dance teams. After graduating, she was accepted onto AbstraKT Beings: The Company directed by Theresa Stone (who has also been a guest choreographer at BGDC for many years). She completed the Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center, where she worked with and assisted many well known choreographers.  Lexie has credits working with America's Got Talent, Good Morning America, & to name a few.

RACHELE PERLA- INSTRUCTOR

Miss Rachele is a veteran instructor at BGDC! She is a Core & Intensive Program instructor.  Rachele received her foundational training at Boston Ballet School. She graduated Cum Laude from Fordham University with a BFA in Dance from The Ailey School and is working to complete her Master of Education in Childhood/Special Education Degree at Fordham University. She is currently a dancer with New Chamber Ballet. Rachele has trained internationally in ballet, contemporary ballet, modern, and improvisation techniques and currently teaches dance at multiple studios throughout NYC.

MARISSA RUSSO- INSTRUCTOR

This is Miss Marissa's 2nd year at BGDC! She will be teaching for our Spin & Sparkle, Early Childhood, and Core Programs.  Marissa grew up in Westchester, NY where she started dancing at the age of 5. She found her love for Hip-Hop and Jazz when she attended New Rochelle High School as part of the PAVE program. She was also the captain of the school’s dance team. Marissa graduated from The University of Albany in 2017 with a Masters in Education. Since then, she has taught dance to children ages 4-14 in the Westchester area, as well as in middle school and high school settings.

SARAH NATHAN- INSTRUCTOR

This is Miss Sarah's 2nd year at BGDC! She will be teaching for our Spin & Sparkle and Early Childhood Program.  Sarah is proudly from Westchester! She holds a BFA in Musical Theater & a minor in Dance from Pace University. She has performed throughout the country, on the high seas, and across the world in numerous touring and regional productions. Some of her favorite professional credits include Bring It On: The Musical, Legally Blonde, Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me Kate, and Company. In addition to performing, Sarah has expanded her role as a choreographer, stager, and educator. She is very excited to be back with her BG Fam after welcoming her first child in February 2023!

CALLI CHAFIN- INSTRUCTOR

This is Miss Calli's 2nd year at BGDC! She is an Intensive Program instructor. Calli's love for dance started at the age of three and has only grown since! Her training began in the Chicagoland area of Illinois and continued all over the country, which led her to New York City! Calli uses her experience as a professional dancer to create a motivating and cutting-edge class. She hopes to instill confidence in her dancers and nurture their love for dance, as many teachers have done for her! 

Nicole McGuigan- Instructor

This is Miss Nicole's second year with BGDC!  She will be teaching our Early Childhood, Core, and Intensive Programs.  Nicole grew up in Minnesota where she studied dance at a local performing arts program and competed nationally for 15 years. After high school, she went on to complete her Bachelors in dance with honors. Nicole has been teaching for almost a decade, working with recreational and competitive dance students. She has choreographed professionally for the American College Dance Association, Minnesota Ballet Dancers, Midwest & East Coast Fringe Festivals, and with local New York City Companies. Nicole also works with the Joffrey Ballet School in addition to judging dance competitions around the United States.

Angie Santamorena- Instructor

This is Miss Angie's first year with BGDC! She will be teaching our Intensive Program.  Angie Santamorena trained at Seven Star School of Performing Arts in Brewster for 15 years and has competed at the regional, national, and international levels. Although she has trained in all styles of dance, she has always had a special love for tap. She has won several regional titles throughout her competitive career. She is currently a member of the USA Tap Team and has represented the USA, winning gold and bronze medals in 2017 and 2019, and looks forward to competing again this Fall. She teaches at several studios throughout the tri-state area and enjoys encouraging her students to push themselves. When not teaching, Angie is pursuing a degree at Western Connecticut State University. She looks forward to sharing her love of tap with others!

Vanya Spirova- Instructor

This is Miss Vanya's second year with BGDC!  She is a professional gymnast and dancer. Vanya received her early professional training in Bulgaria, where she was part of the acrobatic gymnastics national team. She graduated from National Sports Academy “Vasil Levski.” In her youth, Vanya won the title of National and World Champion of Acrobatic Gymnastics.  After this, she was a professional dance performer. Vanya participated in live performances and concerts, television productions, music videos, and toured with visiting and local bands. Vanya is a certified USA Gymnastics coach. She has more than 15 years of experience as a professional coach and mentor. Vanya has developed her own program and methodology for working with dancers and athletes.

Alex Mitchell- Instructor

This is Miss Alex's second year with BGDC! Alex Mitchell is a colorful creative based in New York City. Alex knew early on that she had a passion for movement, performing, and connecting with others through dance. After receiving her BFA in Dance Studies from Long Island University, she went on to complete Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester program. There she concentrated in Contemporary/Jazz and Street Styles and trained with NYC’s top choreographers. Alex has worked with Cosmopolitan Magazine, Macy’s, MTV, and is a company member of SHINSA The Collective directed by Bo Park and Theresa Stone’s AbstraKT Beings. She is also on faculty at Broadway Dance Center.

Jamie Kleinschnitz- Instructor

This is Miss Jamie's second year at BGDC! She will be working with our Core & Intensive Programs.  Jamie is a freelance artist, performer, choreographer, and dance instructor based in NYC. Originally from Long Island, NY, Jamie received her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Adelphi University with a major in Dance and minor in Psychology, and studied abroad at the London Contemporary Dance School in the UK. She has set works at Adelphi University, for music videos, and on various dance studios.  She is still actively performing & enjoys working with other creatives.

Ryan Skrocki- Instructor

This is Mr. Ryan's second year at BGDC! He will be teaching our Intensive Program. Ryan resides in New York City and has been active in the dance industry for 15 years. His talent has taken him around the world performing with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and in Orlando theme parks including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando. His musical theatre background has allowed him to travel throughout the U.S. to perform in productions such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Beauty and the Beast, and On the Town to name a few.  Ryan continues his training in NYC and is an active member of the Actors Equity Association.

Skylar Reinert- Instructor

This is Miss Skylar's second year with BGDC! She will be teaching our Intensive Program. Skylar Rienert began her dance education at the New Hampshire School of Ballet. She pursued her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance for 2 years at SUNY Purchase and finished her degree at Montclair State University. Miss Rienert has been teaching dance for 7 years. She has choreographed numerous pieces for NH, MA, and NY studios, as well as Montclair State University. She is co-owner of Inception Dance Intensive. Skylar has won several choreography and performance awards, and continues to work as an artist throughout New England, New Jersey, and New York.

KELSEY KEMPNER- INSTRUCTOR

This is Miss Kelsey's second year at BGDC!  Kelsey is a dancer, teacher, and researcher based in NYC. She began training as a competitive dancer in a wide variety of dance styles at Heather Wayne’s Performing Arts in Georgia. Kelsey graduated summa cum laude with her BFA in dance and her BS in neuroscience from Ohio State University. She also completed her masters in motor learning and control at Columbia University. Kelsey continues to perform professionally in contemporary dance companies, music videos, television, and opera. She also specializes in teaching dance to students with developmental disabilities and recently had a research paper on the topic accepted for publication!

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