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MEET OUR STAFF

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LIZ FANNING, DIRECTOR

Liz Fanning launched Great South Bay Dance in 2009, initiating an after-school dance instruction program at St. Martin of Tours School and a summer dance program at Amityville Village Beach. She initiated additional dance programs subsequently at the Town of Babylon’s Tanner Park in Copiague and at public libraries across Long Island. She is certified by Dance Educators of America.

Her various programs grew and proved popular with dancers and their parents alike, prompting numerous requests for additional classes in a studio. In response, Ms. Fanning opened the Great South Bay Dance studio in Amityville in 2012.

She and the studio staff have since developed an extensive curriculum focusing on rigorous, disciplined dance technique; and the personal growth, achievement, and joy of each dancer.

In 2014, at the request of a dance parent, Ms. Fanning also developed a class she has since conducted and choreographed for young dancers in wheelchairs who are nevertheless able and exhilarated to participate with other dancers in a dance class and dance performance.

Since late 2015, she has served as president of the Amityville Chamber of Commerce. In spring 2017, she was appointed to the Suffolk County Citizens Advisory Board for the Arts, which recommends arts grants awarded by the Suffolk County Legislature.

Ms. Fanning was raised in Amityville, New York, where she attended St. Martin of Tours School. During her high school and college years, she worked summers at Amityville Village Beach as an instructor and then as supervisor of the sailing program.

Long after starting her dance lessons at age 4, Ms. Fanning discovered the joy of dance and her calling as a dance instructor while attending Boston University, where she majored in anthropology and minored in business.

Ms. Fanning performed with a Boston dance company and began teaching dance in Boston during her final years at BU. After graduating and returning home, she secured positions with numerous dance schools across Long Island, teaching ballet, hip hop, jazz, and tap. At Long Island Academy of Dance, Ms. Fanning choreographed numerous hip hop competition dances that won overall high scores. From 2005 to 2009, she studied carefully the distinctive dynamics and strengths of each school at which she taught, in preparation for the dance programs and dance studio she anticipated establishing.

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DOROTA SZTABINSKI, OFFICE MANAGER

Dorota Sztabinski has been a Great South Bay Dance mom since 2010, when both of her daughters started dancing at the St. Martin of Tours after-school dance program and then at the studio.

Mrs. Dee has served as dance studio receptionist since August 2016. Her patience and caring nature have proved invaluable for the demanding work. Her attention to detail and excellent communication skills are instrumental when attending to needs of dance students and their parents. Mrs. Dee has an associate degree in nursing (ADN).

Mrs. Dee’s favorite dance quote, from Martha Graham, is “Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.”

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AMANDA BAYNE, INSTRUCTOR

Amanda Bayne has always been passionate about the performing arts. Amanda has received training from numerous dance studios throughout Long Island. Whether it was summer intensives, master classes, competition teams, or performances, Amanda has always loved learning new choreography and styles of dance from various instructors. These instructors included former Broadway performers, acting and singing coaches, and professional dancers. Amanda has been trained in the dance genres of classical ballet, American ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, break dance, and musical theater.

 

Amanda has experience as a dance teacher at multiple studios on Long Island. Additionally, she spent three years in the Lindenhurst Dance Ensemble where she performed with a diverse group of dancers and choreographed routines for her peers. After high school, Amanda continued to pursue her passion for dance by taking dance classes at Nassau Community College, and sharing her technique and choreography with her dance students on Long Island.

 

Amanda has been teaching at Great South Bay Dance since 2018. Outside of the dance studio, Amanda is the mother of three little girls and works as an ENL teacher in the Amityville School District.

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SARAH BUSCAINO, INSTRUCTOR

Sarah was born and raised on Long Island and found herself following the life of a performer from a young age after being completely and totally entranced by The New York City Ballet Nutcracker.

After training at the American Theater Dance Workshop directed by Jerome and Michelle Vivona, Sarah went on to graduate magna cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College with a BFA in Dance. Sarah then danced professionally with the New York City Opera, Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, Dance Iquail, and The Peggy Spina Tap Company.

Sarah then transitioned to Musical Theatre and has been seen performing across the country in On Your Feet! (Paper Mill Playhouse)  Saturday Night Fever (Walnut Street Theatre), Memphis (Riversides Theatre), and Chicago (Riverside Theatre). She has been titled Associate Choreographer, Dance Captain, Ensemble, and Swing.

When Sarah isn’t performing you will find her teaching dancers all over the country. She absolutely loves sharing her passion with the next generation.

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MICHELLE CAVANAUGH, INSTRUCTOR

Michelle Cavanaugh began her dance journey at a young age, studying various styles such as ballet, pointe, jazz, tap and precision line. Each year, her love and passion for dance grew which led her to pursue a career in the field. She went on to teaching while still auditioning and performing herself. 

 

Throughout her career, Michelle has had the opportunity to perform and be a Lead Dancer with various professional companies around the country. 

Michelle had the privilege to perform at Lincoln Center with the Long Island Ballet Theater as well as The St. James Cathedral. She has performed in Disney World with the JCLynn dancers as well as annually for the Town Of Oyster Bay Holiday Show with the JCLynn precision kick line. 

 

Michelle is a firm believer in the power of dance to connect people and express emotions. As the famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." 

Michelle encourages her students to embrace their unique style and let their inner music guide their movements.

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JENNIFER DRAGO, INSTRUCTOR/OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Jennifer has been a member of the Great South Bay Dance Staff since 2018, but a dance mom of the studio for much longer. 


Jennifer started on the stage at the age of 8 and never looked back. She attended the Long Island Performing Arts Center for nine years and went on to become an instructor of Musical Theater there as well. Along with those productions, she was also heavily involved in local community theaters. 
 

For the last eight years she has enjoyed watching all four of her children discover a love of the arts and performing. Getting a front row seat to watch them blossom into confident individuals has been incredible. Working at the studio has afforded her the opportunity to really get to know the students and develop deeper relationships with all of the dance families. Playing even the smallest part in their journey to appreciating the arts, in all their forms, is something she will always been thankful for.

ALANNA GORHAM, INSTRUCTOR

In the words of Martha Graham, “The body says what words cannot”. Dance is more than Alanna’s hobby it's a lifestyle and it’s her passion. Alanna has danced since she was seven years old training in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop. In High School she attended Long Island High School for the Arts where she expanded her training  learning new styles such as modern, contemporary, ballroom and musical theatre, taking master classes with professionals in the arts. In college Alanna was a member of the LIU Brooklyn dance team.

 

Over the years Alanna has continued to keep dance in her life taking classes and being a leader of a dance liturgical group teaching children and adults. Alanna has choreographed for sweet sixteens, showcases, plays and more! In the beginning of 2022 Alanna started Move With Lanna, where she hosts pop-up dance classes for all levels teaching hip hop, heels classes and more! Alanna’s skill and passion for dancing affords her the opportunity to not only share her passion for dance, but also be an advocate of the many benefits that come along with dance. Overall Alanna loves being of service and is people oriented. It is a pleasure and an honor for her to serve people and her community through the art of dance.

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DAWN HILLEN, INSTRUCTOR

A master ballet teacher, Dawn has extensive experience with adult beginners and her classes are fun and informative. She has a unique approach to teaching adults.

 

As Dawn says, "My mother and I became ballet dancers together! I was 9 years old, she was 31 and we went to classes together! The school we attended had a professional company- we trained hard and eventually we toured with that company throughout the Pacific Northwest performing The Nutcracker. I know firsthand what it is for an adult to realize the dream of becoming a ballet dancer. This gives me a different perspective than most dance teachers- I believe adults can do it well because I have seen it done!"

 

Dawn has been instrumental in training adult beginners who are new to every aspect of ballet, including pointe. Under her guidance, students achieve technical proficiency and clarity, as well as an ease and fluidity in their dancing.

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REBECCA KENDER, INSTRUCTOR

Rebecca Kender has been Irish dancing since 2005. She started as a competitive dancer and now tours with a professional company. Ms. Kender is currently the Lead Dancer for Rhythm in the Night: The Irish Dance Spectacular, and the company’s Christmas show, Carol of the King. She joined the company in 2017 and has performed in venues across the US, including a week-long residency at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Fla. 

Ms. Kender has competed in prestigious Irish dance events in Ireland, England, and across the US, such as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Oireachtas and the North American Irish Dance Nationals in solo and Ceili competitions.

Ms. Kender was ranked third in the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Region competition and qualified to represent the US in the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 World Championships. She has competed in the All-Ireland Championships, the Great Britain Championships, and the Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne (World Championships) in Boston, Montreal, London, and Scotland. 

Ms. Kender loves sharing her passion and knowledge of Irish Dance with all of her students. 

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REGINA MIRANDA, INSTRUCTOR

Regina Miranda developed her love for dance four decades ago with a music box that played the "Love Story" theme with a clown and a ballerina atop. She would put on shows for her family and friends in their sunken living room atop the two step as her stage. She grew up in Flushing and took two city buses to get to the studio three times per a week after school to study and perform ballet, jazz, tap, acrobatics and pointe for ten years. She attended St. Francis Preparatory HS where she was a cheerleader for three years, a member of both the dance club and the drama society, performed in the school plays. and voted the girl with the most school spirit.

She studied ballet and theatre at Queens College and when she decided to make the change to Forensic Psychology at John Jay College, she moved her dance training to Manhattan schools including Broadway Dance, Steps, Dance Sport, Dance Manhattan, Chelsea Piers. She had the pleasure of adding partner dancing like Salsa,  and Swing, Hip Hop, contemporary to her current dance skills, choreography and performing. Regina toured with an entertainment company for three years in  summer to camps throughout the northeast to teach dance to campers ages six through fifteen, choreographed performances for sporting events, Quincinerias and  weddings. She taught Ballet, Tap, Acro, Hip Hop, music video classes in Queens studios, taught in the Long Island public schools for their arts in school programs and guided yoga, strength training and aerobic classes at Golds & Lucille Roberts.

 

A pivotal point came in her life when she chose a career path with the NYPD in July 2002. She continued to dance, choreograph such performances like a swing group Guys and a Doll productions that put on performances in the Catskills, in Manhattan clubs and several other locations to raise money for families that suffered from the 911 disaster including donating their time to perform at nursery homes.  She danced, performed and taught with entertainment companies for 15 years until she began her family in 2008 and began balancing being a mom of two children and a police officer for NYPD. Regina always knew the moment she retired her combat boots in 2022 she would have her dance shoes back on and in the studio shortly after.

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ASHLEY PICO, INSTRUCTOR

Ms. Ashley started at Great South Bay Dance as a student teacher and has filled many roles since then. You can find her in the studio assisting with classes, taking classes or lending a hand at the front desk or behind the scenes. She is a recent LIU  C.W. Post graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in Health, Science and Sports Management. She is continuing her education this year at NYU where she plans to receive her Globalization in Sports Management Certificate. Beginning in May 2024 she will be going to the University of Kentucky for her Masters in Athletic Training.

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SARAH POWELL, INSTRUCTOR

Sarah’s debut in dance was crying through her first recital at the age of four. She grew out of the crying and discovered a love for performing; having performed in twelve recitals and countless competitions for a local dance studio. She also participated in several performances done by her college dance team, where she also choreographed. She has also appeared as a “featured dancer” in school productions of Pippin and Aida. Ms. Sarah is also a certified Secondary Education Teacher with a concentration in English.

Over the years, she has kept her love for dance alive by taking classes and teaching. She teaches musical theatre at Great South Bay dance. After an amazing first show at GSB, she is so excited to continue sharing her passion and knowledge with her students.

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VITA SNIPP, YOGA INSTRUCTOR

It wasn’t until Vita's first prenatal yoga class that she fell in love with yoga beyond the physical aspects, and she has been practicing yoga ever since.  She signed up in hopes to simply bond with her baby and prepare for childbirth. Although nothing can truly prepare one for the impact of parenthood, that prenatal yoga class gave Vita more than she ever could have imagined. The experience changed her life and prompted her to pursue a career in yoga.

 

As her children grew from inside her body to the outside world, her yoga journey has evolved from prenatal and post natal to Baby-and-Me & Kids Yoga. She completed Breathe N Flow's RYS 200-hour yoga teacher training as well as their 85-hour prenatal yoga teacher training. Additionally, she went on to obtain a 95-hour kids yoga certification with Kidding Around Yoga.

 

In Vita's classes, you can expect her to assist you in deepening your practice, whether you're looking to build physical strength, increase flexibility, or foster a sense of inner calm and peace. Through simple movements, positive intentions, and a little fun, Vita is honored to share her love of yoga and all of its benefits with you. 

 

Vita believes that yoga is for everyone. Her practice inspires and reminds her to be fully present in each moment, on or off the mat. She is truly grateful for the wisdom she has gained from her teachers. Vita considers herself a forever student of the practice, believing we never stop evolving and growing.

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ARLINE GARBARINI, RECEPTIONIST

Arline Garbarini has staffed the desk since the studio’s opening in 2012. “Mrs. G,” a retired English professor, was an active arts patron and she served as minister of cultural arts for her young granddaughters, including Liz Fanning, director of Great South Bay Dance.

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