Executive DIRECTOR

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PAGE O'CONNOR

For over ten years, Page has been helping young people grow into artists by providing a nurturing environment in which to train, develop and be heard. As the parent of a performer herself, Page originally became involved in the arts to help create a positive place for her own child to study. But quickly, her dedication and business savvy became apparent, and she was asked to become a co-owner, business director, and company manager of her daughter's studio-a position she held for six years before founding CAPAS. Page is mentor and den mother to all her students, believing very strongly that every child has something special to offer. Her greatest joy is advising students and helping them succeed in all aspects of their lives. Page is regularly called on for help with everything from audition preparation, to fashion help. And, having supported her own daughter through the many joys and challenges of growing up in the arts, she is well positioned to mentor young people through everything from social conflicts to college auditions. It can be very difficult to navigate the world of performing arts training. Page created CAPAS to provide a safe, challenging and professional space for students to explore their creativity, take risks, and excel. If you put the positivity and heart back into the process, the results will speak for themselves. 

 

DIRECTORS

NICOLE SARRO - Director of Operations

A native of Los Angeles, Nicole began her professional career in real estate working first as a marketing assistant for a land development corporation and then transitioning to the commercial field as a project coordinator for a team of the South Bay's top brokers.  Following an "aha" moment, she went back to school to complete her BFA in Musical Theatre and transitioned into an acting career.  She toured with In The Heights and some of her favorite regional credits include: Gypsy (Mama Rose), Les Miserables (Madame Thenardier), Xanadu (Melpomene) and Legally Blonde (Paulette).  Proud member of Actors Equity & SAG-AFTRA. Nicole now plays the role of a lifetime: Mommy to her 2 year old daughter, Paloma.

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CALEN KURKA - Dance Company Director
Lyrical, Jumps/Turns

Originally from Canada, Calen is thrilled to be a part of the CAPAS faculty. Also on faculty at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, Calen has taught across Canada, the U.S., Japan, and Ireland. Calen serves as a judge and master class instructor for Open Call, and is the founder and Artistic Director of Pushing Progress Dance Company. Calen's performing credits include being an original member of the first national tour of Jeff Amsden's acclaimed, A Few Good Men Dancin', and performing with recording artist, Carmella. His favorite stage credits include: Tokyo Disney, The Sound of Music (Capt. Von Trapp), Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour). In addition he can be seen in the “Live! at Broadway Dance Center" video series "Turns and Turn Combos,” dancing with choreographer Danny Herman, and heading his own instructional video "Floor Work with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale.”

 

JOHN WAGNER - Musical Theatre Company Director
Musical Theatre, Tap

John recently graduated from New York University with a Master’s Degree in Performing Arts Administration and also holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah University. John is the Artistic Director for Summer at the State, a summer theatre in connection with the State Theatre Center for the Arts in Southwestern, PA. He is also the co-founder of Larger Than Life Shows, a NYC based production and entertainment company. His directing and choreography credits include: Gypsy, Mary Poppins, Hairspray, The Producers, 42nd Street, The Nutcracker, Cats, Sweet Charity, Beauty and the Beast, and Legally Blonde. He is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association and his performing credits include: Spamalot, La Cage Aux Folles, Gypsy, All Shook Up, A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, Chicago, 42nd Street, and Footloose.

 

FACULTY

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JOE BYRNE
Operations Associate

 

 

 

KERRI FORD
HipKidz, Dance Combo

Kerri is co-founder and managing director of Dance.Laugh.Learn. a music, movement and drama program for kids, and she is a performer who specializes in theatre for young audiences (TYA). She is an alumna of the educational theatre program at NYU where she graduated with a BS, along with a certification to teach theatre in the state of NY. She has performed with a long roster of theatre companies who make it their mission to provide educational shows and assemblies to both children and adult audiences including: Winceyco, ArtsPower National Touring Theatre, Arithmitickles, and Periwinkle Theatre for Youth. 

HEATHER GILLES - Company Team
Dance Combo, Kids on Broadway, Tap

Heather Gilles is proud to be part of the CAPAS family and looking forward to another successful year. Based in New York City, Heather is a performer, director, choreographer and teacher.  She trained at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in LA and New York and went on to earn her BFA in Musical Theater from The New School University.  For several years, Heather served as the Director/Choreographer for The Shining Star and Rising Star Programs in New York City.  Her favorite credits include: Willy Wonka, Crazy for You and Seussical.  As a performer, Heather starred as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray and toured Nationally as Ethel Toffelmier in The Music Man. Other favorite roles include; Guys and Dolls (Adelaide), Carousel (Carrie Piperridge), Oklahoma (Ado Annie), and Bye Bye Birdie (Gloria Rasputin). A proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Heather recently took on the role of Liv in the Random Poet Productions web series, “How to Make It Big.”

JESSICA GIANNONE - Company Team
Kids on Broadway, Production

Jessica is beyond excited to be a part of CAPAS. She is an actress, singer, dancer, teaching artist, and NY Times recommended baker (Pie Birds), who skipped around the southeast United States before settling into her comfy home in Brooklyn. 

Jessica completed her MA in Acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in England and performed at venues such as The Bristol Old Vic while working with the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. Along the way, she was chosen "Expert's Choice" by THE STAGE and "Stand Out Performer" by SPOTLIGHT. She received her BFA in Performing Arts and Vocal Performance with a minor in Art History from The Savannah College of Art and Design, where she was awarded for Outstanding Artistic Achievement. Jessica is also a graduate of the Improv and Musical Improv programs at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Back in the States, she played Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, where she was nominated for a best supporting performance Falstaff Award alongside Judi Dench. Jessica has also performed and workshopped at The Williamstown Theatre Festival and was in the 1st NYC Revival of Michael John LaChiusa's musical, Marie Christine.  Since moving to NYC, Jessica has been making films and creating musicals with Kindergarteners to 8th Graders in renowned after-school and Summer programs as well as teaching acting to university students and at Joffrey Ballet School’s Musical Theatre Intensive.    

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LYNNE GROSSMAN
Ballet

Lynne Grossman has decades of performing and teaching experience, and currently serves as the Dance Auditions Coordinator for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University. She has also taught at New Jersey Ballet, Front-n-Center for Performing Arts, Sharron Miller’s Academy for Performing Arts, and The Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. While on faculty at The University of Texas at Austin, she received the College of Fine Arts Teaching Excellence Award.  

Lynne’s early dance training began with Fred Danieli at the Garden State Ballet. She was then fortunate to meet and study extensively with renowned master teacher and choreographer, Gabriela Darvash, performing ballets such as Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Walpurgis Night.  Her professional career continued with the Israel Ballet, Austin Ballet Theatre, Sharir Modern Dance Company and the Texas National Dance Theatre as co-founder and Director of the Academy. Lynne danced roles in classics such as, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Sleeping Beauty. She was honored to perform George Balanchine works including, Serenade, Symphony in C, Concerto Borocco, and Valse Fantasie.  And also performed works by Doug Verone, David Parsons and many original pieces by contemporary artists. At Radio City Music Hall, Lynne performed in over 300 shows as both a ballet and jazz dancer. 

CHRIS HALE
Ballet

Chris Hale is Associate Director, and Director of Education at Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance, which launched in the fall of 2009 and whose mission is to revolutionize the way we train in dance. Chris has served on faculty at Broadway Dance Center, Steps and Dance New Amsterdam. As a renowned master teacher, Chris travels around the U.S. and Canada, and was recently on faculty at the ABT New York Summer Intensive. Professional credits include “KTU's Miracle on 34th Street” where he performed with recording artists: Mary J. Blige, Deborah Cox, Tamia, Gloria Gaynor, and Michael Jackson. In 2002 he had the pleasure of performing with international singing sensation, Anastasia at the FIFA World Cup Final Draw in Korea. Chris also appeared on "Sex and the City" playing opposite Kim Catrall.

His years of experience with the GYROTONIC® methodology has hugely influenced his teaching and brought a heightened awareness to his own dancing. Chris is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

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SHARON HOCKSTEIN
Ballet

Sharon Hockstein received her Ballet training at the School of American Ballet, and studied on scholarship at the Joffery Ballet School and with Robert Denvers. She danced many leading roles in the School of American Ballet Workshop performances, such as George Balanchine's Serenade and Concerto Barroco. Sharon danced professionally with The New York City Ballet performing at Lincoln Center, touring the West Coast, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and Jacob's Pillow. She was also a Guest Artist with other choreographers and Ballet companies, performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. Sharon currently teaches ballet on the adjunct faculty at Montclair State University.

She has choreographed the Musical Theater productions at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts; her work there includes Seussical, On The Town, Kiss Me Kate, Les Mis, Urinetown, Nine, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Sharon truly enjoys passing on her knowledge and love of Ballet to future generations of dancers. She has been teaching for over 15 years and is thrilled to be a part of the CAPAS family.

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COURTNEY JORDAN
Ballet, Jazz, Modern

New York native Courtney Jordan, earned a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College, under the direction of Katie Langan.  She has performed works by Christopher D'Amboise, Murray Louis, Anthony Ferro, and Maurice Brandon Curry.  Ms. Jordan was company manager for Matthew Neff, and continues to work with him on his many projects.  She has been an instructor at Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, Pulse PAC, Broadway Dance Center, and David Sanders Dance Dynamics.

 

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ALEXANDER KARIOTIS
Private Voice

Alexander Kariotis has a BM from Mannes Conservatory in NYC, and an M.M. from Northwestern. Alex studied voice with Luciano Pavarotti's teacher, Arrigo Pola, in Modena, Italy, and with Gianni Raimondi in Bologna, Italy.  He is an acclaimed actor, singer and songwriter, who has had his one man show Off Broadway at the Laurie Beechman and  Zipper Theaters.  Alex toured with Master Class's (Anthony Candolino) with Elizabeth Ashley, directed by Leonard Foglia.  In Opera, he has performed at the Berlin Philharmonic, Avery Fisher Hall, and opera houses across the United States.  His debut album, “Alexander Kariotis and the Rock Opera Orchestra” was recently released on Sony/Red. In addition to owning his own recording studio, Alex also teaches voice at the Paper Mill Playhouse and Summer Conservatory.

LISA KASSAY BOAG - Company Team
Dance Combo, Kids on Broadway, Jazz

Originally from Lewiston, NY, Lisa is now proud to call Maplewood, NJ home. Lisa received her BFA in drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the arts.

As a performer, Lisa is a proud member of AEA, & has appeared in the Broadway national touring companies of Mary Poppins and Hairspray, serving as a Dance Captain for both. Other national tours include, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, Cats, and Show Boat. Regional productions include, Grease, All Shook Up, High School Musical, 42nd Street, and Anything Goes. Currently, she is a member of Midtown Direct Rep- a company of Broadway performers, who live in the SOMA area.

As a choreographer, Lisa assisted in staging the regional premiere of Hairspray at North Shore Music Theatre in MA. She has served as assistant choreographer on the national tour of Miss Saigon, and choreographed productions at Pittsburgh CLO, the Mac Haydn Theatre, and industrials for Mercedes-Benz China.

Lisa has taught master classes all over the country through Broadway Dance Connection. Most recently, Lisa has served as the studio manager, and lead instructor at Dance with Miss Rachel in NYC’s TriBeCa neighborhood, specializing in song and dance for children 18 months through eight years old. At the university level, Lisa taught a semester at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in China.

Lisa’s most recent accomplishments have been earning a Master’s degree in public relations and corporate communication from NYU, and becoming a mom to baby Jasper!

ANISE MOLINA
Operations Associate

Anise, a former student of Page's originally hails from Summit, NJ but now resides in South Orange and most recently graduated with a BA in English and Theatre from Harvard University, where he performed in countless theatrical and dance productions not limited to Legally Blonde, Next to Normal, Company, Spring Awakening, and Twelfth Night. Additionally, he was awarded best soloist at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella in 2014. He has worked in the entertainment industry for the last two years as a manager and junior talent agent. Anise is enormously excited to be working alongside such brilliantly talented performers and teachers.

KAELA O'CONNOR - Company Team
Musical Theatre, Tap, Education & Development Assistant

Kaela O’Connor is very excited to join the CAPAS team! A recent graduate with a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), she is now living the dream in Washington Heights, NYC!  While attending CCM, she was frequently called upon to teach all levels of Tap and Jazz within the Musical Theatre and Dance departments.  Kaela was also credited as choreographer for Freshman and Senior Showcase, the latter of which was presented for industry professionals in NYC.  She has had the opportunity to perform with companies such as: The St. Louis MUNY, Broadway Cares, The Fort Wayne Philharmonic, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Cedar Fair Entertainment.  She can also be seen in a Pepsi/NFL commercial featuring Bengals Quarterback, Andy Dalton.  Kaela is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association and is also a proud big sister to Roxie and Finnigan, the dogs. 

JP SARRO
Acting and Acting for the Camera

JP is thrilled to join the CAPAS acting faculty. JP has appeared in commercials, film and television (most recently, “Orange is the New Black”) as well as stages across the US. Favorite theatre credits include: Hairspray, The Full Monty, Les Miserables and The Odd Couple. JP is a graduate of Emerson College and co-founder of Sweet Sarro Productions. He has taught his moviemaking workshops to kids across the nation; most recently at CAPAS. A proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA, JP is the happy husband to Nicole Sarro and proud dad to future CAPAS student, 2 year old Paloma!

JOEL SPARKS - Company Team
Group Voice, Private Voice/Piano, Musical Theatre

Joel Sparks is honored to join the CAPAS team! Joel graduated from the University of Michigan where he earned a BFA in Musical Theatre. He is now a New York musical theatre performer, voice teacher, music director, and vocal coach. While he was in undergrad, Joel was also directing/music directing at the local high school for three years. He has a passion for making music with students, and believes laughter is the most important daily activity. Joel loves music of all kinds from appearing on Grammy award winning children's albums, to being an All Eastern Tuba player.  Joel is also a proud member of Actors Equity.  His favorite role to date, however, is playing Younger Brother to fellow teacher, Kendal Sparks.

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KENDAL SPARKS - Company Team
Private Voice/Piano, Music The

Kendal Sparks is thrilled to be a part of the CAPAS family! A Musical Theatre performer and teacher based in New York City, Kendal has taught young people of all ages in New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Ecuador and Nicaragua. He is a vocal coach, voice and piano teacher, and has music directed several shows for young artists. As a performer, Kendal has been featured as a guest artist on multiple albums of children's music with Grammy-winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. He has been a featured soloist at the Kennedy Center, the St. Louis MUNY, and various venues in New York. Kendal is a proud member of Actors Equity Association, and a graduate of the University of Michigan's Musical Theatre BFA program.

ELISABETTA SPURIA
Jazz

Elisabetta Spuria is originally from Italy, where she grew up and started her professional career as a dancer/choreographer. 

Since moving to New York City, she has been working with such artists as Mariah Carey (“Charmbracelet World Tour”) and Michael Bolton (“Only A Woman Like You Tour”) as both associate choreographer and assistant director. 

She has been an assistant choreographer, dance captain and performer in numerous theater productions including; Footloose, Nights on Broadway III, and the operas Carmen, Candide and Aida. Elisabetta has worked and collaborated with directors and choreographers like, Josh Bergasse, AC Ciulla, Andy Sandberg, Andrew Goldberg, and Michele Assaf. Elisabetta was the choreographer of the regional premiere of Spring Awakening (ReVision Theatre/TheatreC), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (LIVE Asbury Park), Hair directed by Andrew Goldberg, Chicago at the Michael D. Palm Theatre in CO, The Who’s Tommy directed by Carlos Armesto, Tess A New Rock Opera (NYMF), disOriented, a play by Kyoung H. Park (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre), the Off Broadway play Zelda at the Oasis, Standby (NYMF), Madame Infamy (NYMF), Billy Lewis Jr.’s Jealousy (music video).

Elisabetta was associate choreographer for the PBS children show, “The Electric Company” and for ABC’s 2010 “One Life To Live” musical episodes. In addition, Elisabetta travels extensively to teach master classes and workshops throughout North America and across the globe; she has also been a guest teacher at Broadway Dance Center and at Steps on Broadway in NYC.

KRISTEN "KT" TUNNEY
Production Manager

Kristen Tunney originally hails from Pennsylvania, but is presently delighted to be a transplanted resident of New Jersey.  She is in her second year of a Master’s in Performing Arts Administration at New York University and has her fingers crossed for graduation in May of 2017.  Before joining the CAPAS family, KT’s employment history included such positions as theatre manager, company manager, stage manager and production manager.  She likes to manage things. While attending grad school full-time and working at CAPAS, Kristen is also proud to be a founding member of the production team that manages annual summer productions at the State Theatre in Southwestern, PA.

JITKA VESELA
Jazz, Hip Hop

Jitka is a dancer, model, teacher and choreographer specializing in lyrical, hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary dance.  She is a member of the Elements Community Dance Group and graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague with a major in choreography and trained further at Steps on Broadway in New York.

As a performer, Jitka has appeared in music videos with Victoria Jones, Jaclyn Rose, and Harley; in commercials for Subway, Hanes, American Apparel, T-Mobile, Heineken, and Bud Light; and on film in “Frances Ha,” 2011.

Since 2009, Jitka has been a judge in Prague’s biggest annually-televised dance contest, “Dance Group of the Year.”

Jitka has choreographed for festivals, television, fashion shows, dance groups and theater and served as a judge for dance competitions.

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AIMEE WILLIS
Private Voice

Aimee Willis holds a BA from UCLA and a MM from Northwestern. Her operatic career started at the young age of 22 when, directly out of college, she became a leading soprano at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in Germany. She has performed with famous conductors all over the world, including Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jiri Kout, Richard Buckley, Carlo Rizzi, Christopher Keene, and Fred Scott. In her concert work, she was fortunate to be included in Guiseppe Sinopoli’s first Carmen with Agnes Baltsa, accompanied by The Danish Radio Orchestra and broadcast in Copenhagen, which she then reprised in Berlin with Baltsa, Neil Shicoff and Denyce Graves. Also under the baton of Sinopoli at the Santa Cecilia in Rome, Aimee performed Parsifal with Waltraut Meier and Rene Kollo.  At the Interlaken Festival in Switzerland, Ms. Willis sang selections from Porgy and Bess with one of the great portrayers of Porgy, Simon Estes.  

In addition, Aimee sang numerous performances at the Berlin Philharmonic, including Bach’s B Minor Mass and St. Matthews’ Passion. Since returning to America, Aimee is creating a buzz with her critically acclaimed portrayals of the title roles in Salome (Atlanta Opera) and Tosca (Opera Fort Worth). Other acclaimed roles include, Fidelio (Leonore) at Atlanta Opera, Eugene Onegin (Tatiana) in Russian with the Hawaii Opera and Atlanta Opera, The Marriage Of Figaro (The Countess) at Hawaii Opera, Un Ballo in Maschera (Amelia), and Don Carlo (Elisabetta) both at Arizona Opera.