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Faculty

HELENA SULLIVAN
owner - artistic director

Helena is a native of Stockholm, Sweden, where she began her early and extensive ballet training with Statens Balettskola, and Balettakakademien of Stockholm. Ms. Sullivan was awarded scholarships to and attended several summer intensive programs. She earned prestigious stipends to further her education and study abroad. Helena trained with renowned teachers and schools such as Birger Bartholin of Copenhagen, Denmark, Rosella Hightower of Cannes, France, David Howard of New York City and the Finnish National Ballet in Helsinki, Finland. She studied at the Irene Fokine School of Ballet and performed with Ms. Fokine’s Company. 

Helena continued her training in New York City, with a full-time scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School, where she spent two years. Helena toured throughout Scandinavia with Cramerbaletten and Riksteatern. She joined Malmo Stadsteater where she performed classical works, such as Sleeping Beauty, Napoli and other contemporary works. a

Ms. Sullivan started teaching over 30 years ago and has produced many nationally recognized dancers. Many of her students have been accepted into and attended excellent summer intensive programs, including Alvin Ailey School of Dance, American Ballet Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, Joffrey Ballet School, and the Rock School for Dance Education. Helena's students have also attended highly regarded year round programs, including Alabama School of Performing Arts, Canada's National Ballet School, JKO School at American Ballet Theatre and the Rock School. Several of Helena’s students have continued to study dance in college and currently have careers in dance, performing arts and on Broadway. 

TRIP Dance Company, a non-profit youth dance company, was founded by Ms. Sullivan in 2000. TRIP provides additional dance opportunities to many children and teens. 


In addition to running her school, Helena is on the Ballet Rehearsal Mistress for The Albany Berkshire Ballet's production of the Nutcracker in Burlington, Vermont. Helena was one of the founding members of Vermont Dance Collective. She started Stowe Dance Academy 30 years ago and is happy to continue providing excellent training to hundreds of students.

helena@stowedance.com

MARIA SULLIVAN

assistant director - creative dance - ballet - contemporary - jazz - tap 

Maria trained at Stowe Dance Academy for sixteen years and has been a faculty member for many years. She expanded her training by joining SDA’s TRIP Dance Company as a young teen, attending Broadway Dance Center intensives in NYC, and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, in California. She attended the Ballet Academy of Stockholm, Sweden, training intensively in the Graham modern technique, ballet and jazz. She later expanded her learning by attending the “Rhee Gold Dance Life Teacher Convention,” focusing on business and technical aspects of teaching dance.

As Helena’s daughter, Maria learned the ins and outs of the studio and teaching worlds. In May 2012, Maria earned a double major in Early Childhood Education through Dance & Marketing Communications, with a focus in Public Relations from Columbia College for the Arts, in Chicago, Illinois. As a Dance Teaching major, she concentrated on ballet, modern, contemporary ballet, anatomy, dance history and creative movement.
 
Maria relocated to Vermont in 2012 and has been teaching since returning. In 2015, she joined SDA full-time and is very happy to be teaching the upcoming generation of young dancers.

Maria@stowedance.com

KAARIN SHIPITKO

ballet

Kaarin received her early training at the School of the Richmond Ballet. In 2008, she moved to New York to attend New York University and continue training at Steps on Broadway and Peridance Capezio Center. While in New York she began freelancing with a variety of companies and projects. In 2012 she moved to Florida to dance with Florida Dance Theatre, where she enjoyed performing principal roles in new contemporary ballet productions. Her career then took her to Russia to join The Omsk State Musical Theatre Ballet Company. There she had the opportunity to dance in many Russian classics including Swan Lake, Bakhchisarai Fountain, and Ruslan and Ludmilla and to perform divertissements in operas and theater productions. In 2015 she was excited to return to New York to resume freelancing work with ballet companies and finish her degree at New York University. Kaarin has a B.A. from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in Ballet as a Reflection of Culture and the State.

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CARISSA BELLANDO
jazz - tap

Carissa Bellando is originally from New York and holds a MFA in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University and a BA in Theatre and Speech with a concentration in Musical Theatre and a minor in Dance from Wagner College. She is also a Registered Vinyasa and Prenatal Yoga Teacher.

 

Carissa performed professionally for thirteen years in Concert Dance and Musical Theatre throughout the US, Taiwan, and at sea with Norwegian Cruise Line and Aida Cruises before moving into teaching and choreographing full-time. Some of her favorite performance roles include Tumblebrutus in Cats, the Carpet in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Die Hexe in Es War Einmal (Once Upon a Time).  

 

Carissa has taught and choreographed in the US and Germany for colleges, conservatories, theaters, dance companies, and numerous studios. Before moving to Vermont, she was an Adjunct Professor at her alma mater, Wagner College, for four and a half years. There Carissa choreographed five original full-length dance concerts and multiple musicals while teaching multiple levels of Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, Pointe, Tumbling, and Choreography/Composition.

 

Carissa’s passion for dance and love of sharing her knowledge through teaching can be seen in each of her classes. She believes that a true technical basis, in any genre of dance, is the key to learning and executing advanced movement. It is her goal to help her students hone their skills and progress in a way that best suits them, at any age or level, for each student is unique and every body beautiful.

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CAROLINE MALLON
jazz - contemporary

Caroline, originally from Stowe, VT, began her dance journey at the tender age of two. She was an integral part of the Stowe Dance Academy’s competition team, TRIP, from ages 7 to 14, training in lyrical, jazz, ballet, contemporary, and hip hop. During her high school years in Houston, Texas, Caroline excelled on both the dance team and the elite competition team, holding leadership and choreography positions. Her team focused on jazz, lyrical, pom, and kick, consistently placing in the top 10 at NDA Nationals in Florida.

 

At Providence College, Caroline was an active member of the Dance Company, where she not only choreographed multiple pieces for their bi-annual showcases but also held leadership roles, including vice president of the company. She attended the annual American College Dance Association conference yearly, where she performed and took classes from renowned choreographers. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in management, a minor in finance, and a concentration in dance.

 

Caroline continues to pursue her passion for dance by participating in Slow Shapes Dance Company, a professional company specializing in contemporary dance. Alongside her full-time career in human resources, she is thrilled to be returning for her third-year teaching at Stowe Dance Academy and her second year with TRIP.

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ROSE BEDARD
hip hop

Rose Bedard is a dynamic figure in the dance community, embodying roles as a freelance artist, choreographer, and educator through her LLC, "2INSPIRE Dance." Her passion for dance is evident in her boundless energy and dedication, which she channels into teaching and choreography. She has established strong community connections wherever she goes, fostering lasting relationships with her students and collaborators.

Rose's teaching reaches beyond traditional dance studios; she imparts her knowledge at the Flynn Theater, public and private schools, and universities both within and outside Vermont. Her commitment to education is indicated by her recent month-long school residency, where she engaged with students and from preK to 5th grade.

In addition to teaching, Rose continues her own artistic growth through training in cities like Montreal, NYC, and Boston. She serves as the artistic director of "SynRgy," her own dance company, and contributes to the Slow Shapes Dance Company.

Her impact extends to coaching the Mt. Mansfield Union dance team for 18 years, guiding them to numerous championships in jazz and hip hop within the Vermont Northern Athletic Conference and the Vermont State level. Her teams consistently place in the top ranks at the New England level, a testament to her coaching prowess and the dedication of her students.

Beyond teaching and coaching, Rose shares her expertise as a dance judge for Elite Dance Challenge, evaluating competitions across New England. Her philosophy centers on continuous growth and making a difference in people's lives, echoing sentiments encapsulated in quotes she resonates with, such as those by Joe DiMaggio.

“There is always somebody who may be seeing me for the first or the last time, I owe them my best."

Rose Bedard's journey exemplifies a lifelong commitment to dance and education, driven by a deep-seated passion for both artistry and community enrichment.

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SAM PARKER

hip hop

Sam Parker has been dancing since the age seven. He started his dance journey in Waterbury, Vermont dancing at his local studio then moved up to Urban Dance Complex (UDC) to further his training. Throughout High school he continued training at UDC as well as training trips to NYC, LA, and with the Pulse on Tour where he was part of the Pulse Protege program run by Brian Friedman and the other Faculty Members (Gil Duldulao, Laurieann Gibson, Cris Judd, Tyce Diorio, Dave Scott, Ian Eastwood, Tessandra Chavez, Brooke Lipton). After High school Sam continued his training by moving to NYC where he was Scouted and signed by MSA Talent Agency. After an amazing year of living in NYC Sam made the big decision to make the move to The city of Angels and start his dance career. After Two years of living in LA Sam has danced for artists such as Y2, Wale, Phyno, and Janet Jackson.

Guest Faculty

KRISTA HOGGE
guest faculty - jazz - musical theatre - hip hop

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RICK KINSMAN

guest faculty - hip hop

Rick is a native of Connecticut and started dancing at the age of six. Throughout his high school career Rick studied jazz, tap, modern and hip hop. Rick graduated from Lyndon State College with a degree in Recreation: Ski Resort Management. Rick was given a chance to teach hip hop at the Urban Dance Complex and that began his ten-year career of teaching dance throughout northern Vermont in Williston, Stowe, Milton, and Waitsfield. He has trained with industry professionals through Urban Reach Conventions. Rick is an active member of Swayz, an adult dance company at the Up North Dance Studio. Rick performed in the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired's fundraiser Dancing with the Stars of Burlington at the Flynn Theater. His high energy style welcomes dancers of all ability to feel comfortable to fall in love with dance!

MADELAINE MITCHELL-WARD
guest faculty - jazz - tap - modern - contemporary

Madelaine originally hails from Traverse City, Michigan, where she received her dance training at Dance Arts Academy, and was a member of Company Dance Traverse, performing throughout the midwest, NYC, LA and Europe. She continued her dance training on scholarship at the University of Michigan dance department, where she graduated with a degree in Kinesiology. While doing her undergraduate work, Madelaine choreographed and performed with a student dance company, as well as taught in the Ann Arbor and Toledo area. 

Following graduation, Madelaine was a full time dance instructor and choreographer before moving to Vermont, where she is now pursuing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at UVM.  She is so excited to be a new member of Stowe Dance Academy and to choreograph for TRIP Dance Company!

VLAD ROJE

guest faculty - ballet

Vladimir Roje received his BS and MS from the State Academy of Music and Art in Sofia, Bulgaria. He has been a principal dancer at National companies in Bulgaria, Germany, and Austria, and with the Carolina Ballet of North Carolina as well as the New Jersey Ballet. Currently Mr. Roje is a guest principal dancer with the Westchester Ballet and guest principal dancer and teacher with the Albany Berkshire Ballet.

Mr. Roje is a decorated medalist of International Ballet competitions all over Europe. He is a teacher and choreographer at the Varna School of Ballet, the New Jersey Ballet School and of course, Stowe Dance Academy. 

His repertoire includes the leading parts in most classical ballet, such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Cinderella, Coppélia, The Nutcracker, Esmeralda, and many more. 

During his career he has been coached and worked with world class ballet experts ,such as Yuri Grigorovich of the Bolshoi Ballet,Irina Kolpakova of Marinsky and ABT, Alexander Grant of the Royal Ballet, Eva Evdokimova of the International, and Dina Biorn of the Royal Danish Ballet. 

Vlad has been teaching and choreographing with SDA for quite some time now. We are happy to have him as a guest teacher.

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ISADORA SNAPP
guest faculy - modern

Isadora grew up in Vermont, studying studying ballet, modern and jazz with Lorraine Neal and Holly Yacawych at CD&FS. Following her high school graduation, she spent a year in New York city training at Dance New Amersterdam Studios and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Since then, she has moved back to Vermont to pursue her interest in teaching and her own work. She has had the opportunity and pleasure to work with many local and national artists, including the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Ron K. Brown, David Dorfman, Larry Keigwan, Yo-El Cassel and Christopher Anderson. am a native Vermonter who is passionate about all aspects of dance. I currently teach classes at Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio in Montpelier - ballet, contemporary ballet, and modern. In addition to teaching, I am always developing my own choreography.a in Granada, Spain.

ANGELA WHITHILL
guest faculty - ballet

Angela Whitehill, Founding Artistic Director of Burklyn Ballet Theatre was trained by the National Ballet of Canada and at the Arts Educational Schools in London.


She danced professionally with the Ballet Paris, Jack Emile Litler and Jack Hylton Productions in England and Europe. Ms. Whitehill was the founder and director of London School of Ballet U.S.V.I., New Jersey’s Shore Ballet Company, Vermont Ballet Theatre and Burklyn Youth Ballet and has worked as artist-in-residence at Ocean County, Castleton State and Colby-Sawyer Colleges. In 2005, she produced a Nutcracker Key West, while acting as Artistic Director for Paradise Ballet Theatre. In 2006/07, served as Artistic Director of the Huntington Ballet Theatre, Long Island, New York, where she produced Nutcracker and a full length Sleeping Beauty.


She has also served as a costume designer to the Atlanta Ballet Co., Scottish American Ballet, International Ballet Competition, New Jersey Ballet, Huntington Ballet Theatre, Berks Ballet and Burklyn Ballet Designs.
In 2008, she proudly served as the adjudicator for the South West section of Regional Dance America.
She is the recipient of eight Vermont Council of the Arts grants, NJ Francis Hopkins Memorial Award, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Authors Award, Vermont Woman of Achievement Award and is listed in Who’s Who, Who’s Who Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who Women of the World. She is the co-author of The Parents Book of Ballet (Meriwether 1988, second edition- Princeton Book Co., 2003), The Young Professional’s Book of Ballet, (Princeton Book Co., 1990), The Dancer’s Book of Ballet (iUniverse.com 2000), Ballet Magic – The Burklyn Story (QCP 2002) and Nutcracker Backstage (Princeton Book Co., 2004).

 

Since retiring as Artistic Director of Umbrella,  she has become the founder and Artistic Director of Ballet Umbrella, an advice and counseling service for parents, young dancers and companies and Burklyn Designs, a costume design and seminar program.

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