FACULTY 2016-2017

The heart and soul of AFDS

Abigail Fine, Owner, Director

Miss Abigail Fine, Director/Owner

Miss Abigail Fine, certified dance educator and Director Of The Year, is “Raising The Barre” at her state-of-the-art studio located in Needham, MA. Miss Abigail and A Fine Dance Studio's mission is to bridge the gap between art and athletics. AFDS has been voted and named "Best Of The Best", "Readers Choice" & "Hometown Best" 6 years running. She is honored and humbled by the love and support surrounding her studio and philosophy of living a healthy, well rounded and full passionate life.

She is dedicated to offering each style of dancer a well-rounded education and lives to inspire dancers to have confidence in who they are. She encourages them to reach for the stars and always raise their own personal barre. Abigail has been studying dance since the age of three. Her classical and contemporary education is in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Acrobatics, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Modern, Latin Ballroom, Baton Twirling and Musical Theater. As a young dancer she loved performing. Abigail received numerous awards for her achievements in performance, including scholarships at conventions and high school and college. Growing up as a well rounded dancer, singer and actress Abigail quickly learned the importance of the fundamentals and keeping an open mind. As a teacher she sets out each day to inspire dancers and her teachers to open their minds to new concepts and movement sequences forcing them to improve on a daily basis. As Abigail entered her teenage years, her dance teacher who later became one of her best friends and her mentor for life, began the apprentice program and soon was invited to begin a teaching certification program through Dance Teachers Club of Boston and Dance Masters Of America. Once she completed the years of classes and passed the written and demonstration exams she received her teaching certification in Dance Instruction & Music Theory. In the summer of 2000, Abigail was selected as part of the first staff for the Britney Spears Camp For The Performing Arts and worked along side celebrity and famous choreographers teaching and inspiring hundreds of inner-city youths from all over the country.

Abigail has studied with top master instructors and choreographers from all over the world. To name a few; Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Wade Robson, Debbie Dee, Chris Judd, Greg Russel, Dave Scott, Bob Rizzo, Laurie-Ann Gibson, Shane Sparks, Tyce Dioriio and many more.

It is Abigail's belief that dancers and athletes must understand their bodies and how to take care of them properly. In college Abigail received her Bachelors degree in Exercise Physiology with a double major Nutrition and Health, and her minor in Dance and Somatic Movement Therapy. It is Abigail’s fundamental belief that the fitness and dance world must be brought together to help dancers respect their minds and bodies.

Abigail strives to give each dancer the attention they deserve and understands that each dancer is an individual and learns at a different pace. Abigail’s reputation precedes her and her students have been known to fall in love with her infectious laugh and loving demeanor and warmth. Abigail has vowed to herself and her dancers to impart her love for dance, movement and self expression on them every day. In return she asks each of her dancers to try their very best, working each day at achieving more confidence, body control, strength, flexibility and understanding of choreography.

It is her lifelong dream and mission to inspire all of you!

Robin Fine, Office Manager

Robin Fine, Office Manager & Studio “Mom”

Miss Robin, our studio mom. The "stamp lady" to the little ones, brings organization and 30 years of professional experience to maintaining and improving the efficiency of the front desk process and procedures. She strives to have all the answers to your questions, and if she doesn't, she gets back to you in a timely manner. Miss Robin is the point of contact when joining our dance family. Her patience and warm smile will make you and your family feel welcomed immediately.

Cailin Caskey

Miss Cailin M. Caskey, Choreographer & Teacher

Miss Cailin graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelors Degree in Performing Arts, where she was a part of the American Spirit Dance Company for four years under the direction of Jo Rowan. After graduation, Cailin moved to New York City where she worked professionally and continued her training with well-known choreographers. From there she was offered a contract as a Chorus Dancer with the Jubilee Show in Las Vegas, NV. Cailin was a part of the Jubilee cast during their 25th year anniversary and was one of the few chosen to promote this long-running Las Vegas show on both TV and in magazines such as Caesar’s and Las Vegas Magazine. During her contract in Las Vegas, Cailin also expanded her modeling resume by appearing in numerous runway shows. After moving back to the Boston area, Cailin was a part of the ensemble in shows such as 42nd Street and The Producers. She is loving living back in the Boston area with her husband and two kids and is enjoying teaching and judging on a competitive level throughout the East Coast with Turn It Up Dance Challenge National Dance Competition.

This is Cailin's 6th year at AFDS and loves the talent and amazing students she continues to work with! She is always eager to continue learning and expanding her knowledge in the dance and fitness world and has also become a Certified Barre Instructor.

Kristin Hersey

Kristin Hersey, Choreographer & Teacher

Miss Kristin began flipping and dancing when she could walk. Her mother and father quickly noticed how strong she was and enrolled her in dance and gymnastics. With a well rounded dance education, having danced in every genre imaginable, Kristin quickly realized dance was her thing. She loved attending dance conventions and competitions every year and noticing over time how much better she was getting. Patience, persistence and growth are, and always will be, extremely important to her. Not only studying under some amazingly talented instructors and choreographers, but also beginning to apprentice at her studio early on, lead her toward her true passion; teaching. During her high school years Kristin apprenticed under Broadway dancer and famous Master Teacher, Lillian Carter, who taught her not only how to move but how to connect. Miss Kristin's favorite performance experience was when she was hand selected out of thousands of dancers to be a back up dancer at Monster Jam in 2004. She loved being on stage and the experience of learning new things just thrilled her. No matter what experiences Miss Kristin had she always poured her heart and soul into her dancing. It is important to her to inspire our dancers to do their best, no matter who is in the room or the outcome. She learns everyday from her fellow dance educators and of course from her students. They love her infectious smile and laugh and come out of class feeling successful and challenged. She is proud to be part of AFDS and looks forward to watching your children grow and become the most confident they can be, in and out of the studio.

Mr. David Sun

David Sun, Teacher

Mr. Sun has been a teacher of ballet for over 23 years in some of the best ballet and competition studios throughout Massachusettes. He received his early training at the New York School of Ballet and went on to a professional career, performing as a dancer with the Houston Grand Opera. He has also danced with many regional dance troupes in New England and New York. Mr. Sun is also an accomplished photographer of dance and has published numerous works in nationally recognized dance journals. Mr. Sun is known to his students for his quirky sense of humor and instilling a strict work ethic in the dance room.

Brittany Safran

Brittany Safran, Choreographer & Teacher

Miss Brittany brings to AFDS over 18 years of performance and competitive dance experience. She began training at the Dance Arts Centre in Fitchburg, MA under the direction of Jim Cassie and Melissa Luoma. As a member of the dance team Brittany performed throughout the United States and abroad. Deciding on dance as her calling, Brittany received a BA in Dance from Dean College where she studied choreography, pedagogy and was a member of the Dean College Dance Company. While attending Dean College she also had the opportunity to study modern dance with artists from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. After graduation, she began teaching and became a member of the Boston Dance Alliance and Perceptions Contemporary Dance Company performing through-out New England and NYC. Brittany currently dances with the Boston Tap Company where she has performed at Fenway Park, the Bean Town Tap Festival, the Wang Theatre and at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival on the inside/out stage. Brittany is looking forward to bringing her extensive, well-rounded experience and her passion for dance to AFDS students.

Sarah Massey

Sarah Massey, Choreographer & Teacher

Sarah Massey has been dancing for 20 years and began her training at one of Massachusetts top ranking studios. She was a part of the regional and national winning dance company and trained in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, and hip hop. She recently received her bachelors in business management and also studied dance throughout her four years at her university. Sarah was also president of the the Kinetic Edge Hip Hop Team throughout college and brought her team to 1st place at the New England Cheer and Dance Competition with her original award winning choreography. She now is the coach for this hip hop team and is training them for the NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida. The past four years she has instructed and choreographed for students of all ages both recreationally and competitively at a few studios across New England, achieving multiple overalls and high recognition. The past three years Sarah has been a part of the Boston-based company, Project Nailz and has had the opportunity to compete at World of Dance New Jersey, taking home second place with her company. She is looking forward to spreading her passion for dance with the students of A Fine Dance Studio!

In addition to her love of performing, Miss Emily excels at working with and motivating young performers. For the past two years, Emily has been on the staff of Weston Drama Workshop, assistant directing and stage managing middle-school aged children in fully staged musicals. She has also worked with children at Newton Youth Theatre, Turtle Lane Theatre Camp, Creative Arts at Park, and at AFDS.

Miss Emily is completely her undergraduate at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA, where she majors in Performance Studies & Judaic Studies. She is president of Girls Next Door (a cappella), director of SongSycle (contemporary musical theatre cabaret), and performer in Damsels In Excess (improv / sketch comedy). She looks forward to being back in the Boston area full time and passing on her love of the art of musical theatre to the AFDS community! Making each dancer feel confident on stage and in life. Miss Emily will be the Director of AFDS' new performing arts program, A Fine Triple Threat. Look for details about our spectacular summer and fall programs in early 2016.

Laura Barajas

Laura “Lo” Barajas, Choreographer & Teacher

Miss Laura “Lo” Barajas began dancing at the age of 3. At age 9 she began dancing competitively at Commonwealth Dance Academy in Walpole. During her time at Commonwealth Dance Academy, she attended several conventions with master choreographers and received two scholarships to attend National workshops with the Dance Educators of America organization. In 2010, after 3 years of training, Miss Lo received her teaching certificate through the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston.

Outside of the dance studio, Miss Lo is also a barre fitness instructor at Modern Barre Fitness Studio in Chestnut Hill, and a full time student finishing up a degree studying sculpture, furniture making, and 3D design at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Prior to studying at MassArt, Miss Lo received two Silver Medals from National Scholastic Art Awards for her work in Sculpture and began her studies in Fashion Design and Sculpture at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Miss Lo is extremely committed and passionate about what she does. She believes in building strong bodies and minds in a fun, constructive environment and strives to ensure her students receive a quality education; encouraging them to be creative, work hard, and achieve their full potential both inside and outside of the studio!

Lauren Schneider

Lauren Schneider

Lauren has been high-kicking and shimmying her way through life since a young age when she trained in Ballet, Tap, Modern, and Jazz at the Academy of Movement dance studio in Nashua, NH. She realized her true passion for the culture, art, and technique of dance when she studied at various summer programs in high school: ProDanza Italia in Tuscany, Italy, University of the Arts Summer World of Dance in Philadelphia, PA, and the Bates Summer Dance Festival in Lewiston, ME. During her four years at Boston University where she earned a BS in Education (and loved it so much she went back to earn her EdM in 2010!), Lauren performed with the BU Dance Team at school sporting event, serving as Co-Captain her junior year, and with Vibes, an innovative all-female Hip Hop crew. Lauren’s post-college dance experience includes: three seasons with the Boston Cannons and one with the Boston Blazers professional lacrosse dance teams, training in Jazz and Hip Hop at Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, and five seasons (and counting!) with DanceWorks Boston. Recently Lauren was selected out of thousands of dancers, two years in a row, as a New England Patriots Cheerleader. When not dancing, Lauren can be found teaching Physical Education for Wellesley Public Schools, enjoying nights out in Boston with friends, and spending time with her daughter, Cora.

Laura Pettis

Laura Driscoll Pettis

Miss Laura was classically trained in all genres of dance and danced competitively for fifteen years. She has won titles such as Miss Senior Dance Xplosion, Miss Senior Gotta Dance and Miss Junior Star Systems. Laura has won numerous scholarships to dance in New York City and in Florida and has also performed in the World Gymnastata in Berlin, Germany where her team represented the United States and she was the youngest member of the team USA as she was six years old.

Laura continues to study dance at classes and conventions keeping up with the lastest styles in many genres. She has studied at many master classes with top industry professionals. To name a few: Omar Merced, Sheila Barker, Cat Cogliandro, Dan Karaty, Mia Michaels, Casey Noblett, and many more.

As a professional, Laura has won numerous choreography awards and her students have obtained many top high point awards and scholarships.She has a passion for dance and choreography, and thoroughly enjoys teaching her students as well as watching them grow into amazing performers as they develop their passion for dance.

Hilary MacDonald

Hilary MacDonald

Miss Hilary eagerly joins the AFDS faculty bringing with her joy of movement and infectious laughter. She’s and dancing her whole life and was surrounded by friends who loved it as much as she did. She feels inspired by everyday situations and dancers of all levels and interests. During the days she spends her time at assisted living and nursing homes bringing dance/movement classes and performance to the elders of our community. She is a constant ball of energy and reminds everyone that dance is for everybody and every body. She attended UMass Amherst and uses her dance, music and movement education she received to inspire her dancers through all different genres of dance; including contemporary, jazz, ballet, hip-hop and more. She is most inspired by contemporary and pop/hip hop movements styles but is well rounded and loves learning. She teaches her students that diversity and exposure to all forms of dance is critical and helps to shape you into a great performer.

Karie Lanza

Karie Lanza

Miss Karie rejoins the AFDS faculty after moving away in 2011 to pursue a career in early childhood education. Working as a preschool teacher and receiving her degree were just a few of the things she was doing while also teaching Zumba and dance to children and adults of all ages. We are so excited to have her back at AFDS. She began dancing in the Worcester County area at the age of three and trained through high school in all genres of dance. Karie won multiple titles at regional and national dance competitions, as well as scholarships to travel around the country studying with big name Master teachers. At the age of 15, Karie was invited to perform at Disney World. Karie attended conventions outside of her studio and in danced in college at both Roger Williams University and Bridgewater State University. It was always clear that Karie belonged in the dance world. Beyond performing and learning Miss Karie enjoys passing on her passion to all of her students and wants nothing more than for each student to learn, grow and have fun. She is committed to her students and it shows in her classes. She is looking forward to working with each student at AFDS and giving them the gifts that dance has given her.

Donna Greymont

Donna Greymont

Donna Greymont was born and raised in Needham, MA and has been teaching locally for over 20 years. She is currently the Assistant Coach of the Needham High School varsity dance team, and has most recently taught classes in ballet, tap and jazz technique at Paulette’s Ballet Studio in both Newton and Medfield, MA. Donna has a strong passion for teaching pre-school aged dancers and, throughout her career, has developed a successful curriculum for pre-ballet and “mom+me” classes. She has also taught in outreach settings at schools throughout the greater Boston area, offering movement classes designed for special needs students at the Manville School at Judge Bakers Children’s Center, as well as pre-ballet classes at the Saltbox School in Needham. Donna is thrilled to continue inspiring young dancers as they begin their dance experience at A Fine Dance Studio!

Avery Ambrefe

Junior Faculty - Avery Ambrefe

Avery has been dancing her way through life and loving every second of it since she was two years old! In all her years of training, she has attended many conventions, master classes and exclusive intensives that have helped to shape her as a dancer and fine tune her skills. Some of her favorite experiences include 3 years of attending the Rockettes Summer Intensive in New York City as well as working as a Dance Olympus VIP on their summer convention tour which traveled to 7 cities across the nation. She began apprenticing at age 11 and has always loved working with children of all ages. Students in Avery's classes have noted her enthusiasm as well as her ability to make a comfortable and fun classroom environment for all students. As our very first Dancer of the Month, she is an excellent role model for the younger dancers and loves passing on the virtues of respect and kindness in the dance world. She is so excited to be teaching this year and can't wait to share her love for dance with her students!