Faculty

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Sandy Morgan

Sandra Morgan(Artistic Director) has studied dance since the age of seven with such instructors as Frank Hatchett (at the Broadway Dance Center in NY), Joe Tremaine, Michael Newton and Jill Duncan. She has more than 20 years experience teaching and choreographing for children and adults. She attends continuing education classes and workshops across the country.

Sandy is Artistic Director and President of Dimensions Dance Center and founded Dimensions Dance Company for advanced level dancers in 1990, and later Dimensions’ Center Dance Ensemble. She has choreographed for the Jazz Dance World Congress, St. Louis University, Barbara Harbach’s opera “O Pioneers”, local musicals, Dimensions’ dance companies and other local dance organizations. Dimensions Dance Company began presenting an annual production of the Nutcracker to great acclaim in 2002.

Sandy graduated Magna Cum Laude from Webster University with honors degrees in Computer Science and Business Management. Sandy is especially proud to be mom to daughters, Annie and Hayley, and son Jake.

Jennifer Cudnik

Jennifer Cudnik is a native of St. Louis and studied with teachers Berkeley Evans, Nathalie LeVine, and Alexandra Zaharias. At age 15, she moved to New York City to study on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet’s year-round program. There she studied under renowned teachers Stanley Williams, Kay Mazzo, Suki Schorer, Susie Pilarre, Antonina Tumkovsky, Elise Reiman, Helene Dudin, Richard Rapp, Olga Kostritsky, Andre Kramrevsky, Peter Martins, Violette Verdy, Jock Soto, Adam Luders, and Darci Kistler.

She performed in ballets by George Balanchine, August Bournonville, and originated roles in ballets by Christopher Wheeldon and Damien Woetzel. Jennifer also trained under David Howard, Willy Burmann, and Nancy Bielski while in NYC.  She spent summers training on full scholarship with the School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the State Ballet of Missouri (now Kansas City Ballet).  Upon graduation from SAB, Jennifer joined the Pennsylvania Ballet, under the direction of Roy Kaiser. She performed in numerous classical and neo-classical ballets while in the company including Swan Lake, Coppelia, the Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, as well as Balanchine’s the Four Temperaments, Serenade, and Who Cares?

Jennifer returned home to St. Louis in 2003 and was invited to join the Saint Louis Ballet. As a principal dancer with SLB, Jennifer’s roles included Waltz Girl and Russian in Balanchine’s SERENADE, the principal in ALLEGRO BRILLANTE, principal in VALSE FANTAISIE, and principal in DIVERTIMENTO NO. 15, principal roles in Dennis Nahat’s BRAHMS QUINTET, Francis Patrelle’s SWAN LAKE and RHAPSODY IN BLUE. She was featured as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop Fairy, lead Marzipan and Spanish lead in THE NUTCRACKER, the title role in GISELLE, and as Aurora in the SLEEPING BEAUTY.

Jennifer believes in preserving the etiquette and tradition of the art form of ballet and enjoys passing along the teachings of her influences and mentors. She is committed to her hometown of Saint Louis and wants to share her passion for dance throughout the community in order to help sustain the love of the art form for generations to come.

Contact Jennifer Cudnik at Ballet INITIATIVE

Mariko Kumanomido

Mariko Kumanomido’s training began at  Washiington University St.Louis (Dance Major), and continued at the University of Missouri (BFA in Dance), The Alvin Ailey School (Fellowship Award, Full scholarship student), and the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance (Teacher Training Program). She has preformed with the Martha Graham Ensemble, C.Eule Dance Company, Buglisi Dance Theater and Jessica Danser/Dansfolk – all in New York City. Mariko’s teaching experience includes The Ailey School, The Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, The Perry School of Dance and the School of Ballet Hispanico in New York.

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Laura Maier

Laura Maier began her dance training at the age of 3 studying ballet, tap, and jazz. She began teaching and choreographing Becky Kern’s Dance studio and has taught students ages 2 up to 50. Laura was a member/choreographer of the Belleville East High School Drill Team and Choreographer for the Belleville East Swing Choir. She performed “Anything Goes” with the University of Illinois and danced with the University of Illinois Dance Department. Laura has a BS in psychology (emphasis on child psychology) from the University of Illinois and earned her elementary education teaching certificate with the University of Laverne in California.

Laura worked as a mental health case manager and a 2nd grade teacher for several years, until she stopped working to raise her two children. Laura continued her dance career in Bakersfield, California with Civic Dance Center as a tap, ballet, creative movement, and jazz instructor/ choreographer. Laura then went on to study a new and inventive form of tap dance with Rosie Radiator and became a member of the dance troupe Rosie Radiator and the San Francisco Rad Tap dance team. She performed throughout the streets of San Francisco during the annual “Tour De Tap for Clean Air” as well as many performances in the Royce Gallery.

Debi Porfidio

Debi Porfidio began her dance training at Simms Academy in St. Louis at the age of seven. She graduated from Stephens College with a BFA in dance and a BA in child development/psychology. She has choreographed for and danced in numerous St. Louis productions as well as in Chicago where she studied with Hubbard Street Dance Company. Debi was a dancer in Las Vegas at the “ Folies Bergere” at the Tropicana for seven years. Debi has taught dance for 15 years at various St. Louis studios. She also teaches in the Ladue School District teaching movement to pre-school age children and serves as a Parent Educator in the Parents As Teachers program. She is a dance coach for Team Central and an acrobatics teacher for Charmette Academy of Dance.

Michelle Seymour

Michelle Seymour began her training at the St. Louis Ballet School in 1990. She attended the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive before returning to St. Louis to join the St. Louis Ballet Company. Michelle performed a wide array of roles with the company including Coulante Fleur de Farine Fairy, Little Red Riding Hood in Sleeping Beauty, Four Little Swans in Swan Lake, roles in George Balancine’s Allegro Brilliante and Serenade and Christopher d’Amboise’s Tribute. Michelle has extensive teaching experience with students ages 5 to 18 in ballet and pointe. As a professional dancer, Michelle brings a knowledge of both performance and education to her classes.

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Reggie VanDerson

Reggie VanDerson is best known for his creative and energetic style. His dance background includes hip hop, jazz, street, modern, and ballet.

Reggie danced with Atrek Contemporary Dance Co. for seven years and Dimensions Dance Co. for two years, and frequently performs throughout Saint Louis at special events. He has taught hip hop/jazz dance for many years and is the former dance director for Saint Louis Extreme, a competitive dance and cheer organization.

Reggie has appeared on “Fear Factor” and was the Missouri winner for the national “Nabisco Open up a Box and Make up a Snack” contest. He has also choreographed for several Trendmasters Children’s toy commercials, and choreographed many music videos.

Reggie is also owner/artistic director/producer of Pure Entertainment Company, an interactive dance/DJ/video entertainment company.

Alison Zagarri

Alison Zagarri is a graduate of Lindenwood University with degrees in dance and physical education (2004) and a masters of business administration (2006).

She is a native of St. Louis and began dancing at the age of 5 studying ballet, tap, and jazz, and in college focused on ballet and modern.

Alison’s teaching experience includes ballet and jazz classes for ages 3 to 8 at the YMCA , adult beginning jazz through Lindenwood University, and teaches movement and gymnastics for children ages 10 months through 12 years at the Little Gym where she is also the Assistant Program Director. Alison has also developed choreography for local dance teams and youth groups and has contributed several pieces to the Lindenwood University dance concerts.

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Michael Newton

Michael Newton (Associate Artistic Director and Ballet Master) founded the Newton School of Ballet in St. Louis in 1978. He has trained with such masters as Michael Simms, David Howard, Luigi, Brian McDonald, Fernand Nault, Merce Cunningham, Anna Sokolov, and Ben Harkarvy.

Michael performed with Les Grandes Ballets Canadiens and American Ballet Theatre II. He was a Principal dancer with the Alberta Ballet Company and a guest artist with the New York City Opera Ballet and Ballet Master for St. Louis Ballet. His students have gone on to dance on Broadway and with many professional jazz and ballet companies. Michael has been Ballet Master at Dimensions since 1994.