Academy students have the unique opportunity to study with professional artists from national and international companies and institutions in all classes and levels. All instructors have a comprehensive knowledge of traditional techniques as well as a shared understanding of the latest, most effective methods of training. As accomplished, experienced artists themselves, they bring a caring and and up-to-date perspective to the classroom experience.
LISA BIBEAU – Artistic Director
Ms. Bibeau is a native of Westport, MA and is a graduate of the Hartford Ballet’s Teacher Training Program, one of the most highly respected programs in the United States to train and certify teachers. At Hartford Ballet, Ms. Bibeau studied Vaganova technique, pedagogical study and modern training in Graham, Cunningham and Limon techniques. Ms. Bibeau has also studied classical ballet with Mikhail Korogodsky from the Riga Ballet Academy in Russia, David Howard of the Royal Ballet in London, and Margilyn Caselli of the New York City Ballet. In addition to her ballet training, she has studied with respected jazz artists Frank Hatchett, Gus Giodano and Luigi.
Ms. Bibeau has performed with Hyannis Ballet, Island Moving Company, and Cape Ballet. She has performed a wide variety of roles from classical to contemporary. Principle roles include the title role in Cinderella and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. As a choreographer she has received critical acclaim for her original short and full length works. These include A Meadow Fantasy, an original full length ballet based on the children’s book of tales, Mother West Wind written by Thornton Burgess, Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Princess and the Pea. In addition she has restaged several classic ballets including Coppelia, Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. In the fall of 1987 she established The Dance Academy. The schools philosophy is to provide the highest quality of professional instruction in conjunction with creating a nurturing and positive atmosphere that will teach students how to simply enjoy dance and understand movement. Our goal is to not only create beautiful, skilled dancers, but for all our students to grow into adults with a strong sense of responsibility, independence and success in every aspect of life. The Academy has firmly established it’s reputation for excellence in dance training and offers a completely graded syllabus for ages 2.5 years through adult. In 1995 Ms. Bibeau became the founder and Artistic Director of Spindle City Ballet, the South Coasts only non-profit professional ballet company. Ms. Bibeau is a well known master teacher, working with students as well as professionals. She is well known for her holistic approach and broad knowledge of technique, theory and history of ballet. In addition to teaching she is also a popular coach, working with dancers of all levels participating in ballet competitions not only here in the United States but abroad as well.
KARYL BENOT – YOGA – believes the healing power of the mind/body can be experienced through movement, breath and meditation. Karyl is a certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor and a certified Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Adaptive Physical Education from Bridgewater State College. As a fitness, health and wellness educator for 30 years, she has a passion for working with people of all ages, sharing in their experiences, discoveries and joy of movement. As a Kripalu Yoga Instructor, Karyl creates a safe, welcoming environment that encourages each person to move in a way that safely honors their body. Through breath awareness and mindful movement, a deeper connection with the wisdom of the body often blooms. Karyl invites all participants to “dive inside” and explore their personal yoga practice. In addition to spending a lot of time on her yoga mat, Karyl loves good music, reading, gardening and DIY projects! She is excited to offering her passion of yoga at the Academy.
KAITLIN BOUDREAU – FIRST STEPS, CRYSTAL TAP, CRYSTAL JAZZ & ACRO – began her studies at The Dance Workshop in Easton, Massachusetts and Embrace the Arts School of Music and Dance in Bridgewater MA studying ballet, tap, jazz, and modern. She also has was part of competitive cheerleading team in high school. Kaitlin was a faculty member at Embrace the Arts School and Dance instructing tap, creative movement and acro. She has also coached Pop Warner Competitive Cheerleading teams. Along with a passion for dance and for teaching Kaitlin also has a passion for photography which she studied in high school and throughout college. Her photos have been featured in Dance Studio Life Magazine. Kaitlin has her Associate’s degree in General Studies from Bristol Community College and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Social Welfare from Bridgewater State University. Kaitlin is excited to share her passion of dance with the Academy students.
CHELSEA COUSINEAU – ENSEMBLE COACH/CHOREOGRAPHER – spent her early dance and performance training in various towns and cities in Southern, Massachusetts. She studied at Rhode Island Ballet Arts Academy under Nancy McAuliffe for classical ballet and pointe as well as character and mime. In her teenage years she studied at Miss Janice’s Dance Studio under Janice MacDonald and expanded her dance education to include styles such as jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop and musical theatre. She continued this training while joining several performance groups in high school including show choir and dance squad, which she was captain of for three years and with this group danced at Walt Disney World twice. Chelsea attended Bridgewater State University for Dance Education where she had the opportunity to work with the Anna Sokolow Dance Company and study Bharata Natyam under Kausalya Srinivasan. She also served both as Public Relations and as President for the BSU Dance Company, as well as performing and choreographing for the Company. After University she worked with both adult and children’s theaters and competitive show choirs as an instructor and choreographer and at local studios in the area in various styles. In 2015 Chelsea had the opportunity to be the guest teacher for the Emerson College Dance Company and work as the Dance Counselor at a camp for international students from Thailand, China and Australia. Chelsea currently dances and choreographs with Kinetic Synergy Dance Company out of Boston and is a dance instructor at the Renaissance Charter School in Boston. She is excited to bring her knowledge and passion to her Dance Academy Students.
HEATHER KIRBY – ENSEMBLE COACH/CHOREOGRAPHER – is a native of RI who has a bachelors of fine arts degree in Dance Education from Bridgewater State University, where she also served as the president and treasurer of the dance company. While at Bridgewater State University she had the opportunity to study Bharata Natyum under Kausalya Strinavasin and traveled to India for three weeks to perform in multiple venues. She has been dancing since the age of 5 and teaching since 2006. Along with working in various studios in RI and Massachusetts, she has also been the choreographer for East Providence High School in RI since 2006 beginning in her senior year choreographing Beauty and the Beast. Other musicals she has choreographed at East Providence High School are Grease, West Side Story, Hairspray, My Fair Lady, Young Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid and the Wiz. Heather is also a regional and national competitive judge. Heather has established and directed a competitive dance company. She also had the amazing opportunity to travel the east coast as a backup dancer. She is thrilled to be working with the students of the Academy.
LIBBY STACKHOUSE – BALLET & ELEMENTS 1 – began her ballet training with Ballet New England of Cape Cod, MA. She continued her studies at Boston Ballet, Louisville Ballet, and earned a B.F.A in Dance from The Boston Conservatory. Libby has danced with City Ballet of San Diego, The San Diego Zoo, Spindle City Ballet, Providence Ballet Theater, Dance Italia, and with many choreographers and companies throughout New England,California, and NYC. She is certified in Pilates, personal training, CPR, and is an Associate Member of the School of Natural Health and Sciences, she also competes in Ballroom and Latin dance. She was the dance teacher at The Prout School in Wakefield, RI for eight years. She also teaches at The Island Moving Company in Newport, RI as well as RISE Vineyard Performing Arts on Martha’s Vineyard. Libby is excited to rejoin the teaching faculty at The Dance Academy.
MICHELLE SHEEHAN – JAZZ, TAP, CONTEMPORARY & TRICKS AND TURNS – is originally from Plymouth, MA and has received her BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory of Music, Dance and Theatre. She has studied many types of dance such as Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Flamenco, Hip-Hop, Lyrical and Musical Theatre. Michelle has studied with some of the “greats” in the dance world such as; Edward DeSoto, Jennifer Scanlon (Jose Limon Dance Company), Sam Kurjian, Tony Williams, Clyde Nantais, James Reardon (Boston Ballet) and Clara Ramona. Over the past 25 years Michelle has been a professional dancer, successful studio owner, guest teacher for dance conventions and award winning choreographer. She continues to pursue professional development and inspiration through continued study of dance. She passes on her knowledge, love and passion for dance to the students of The Dance Academy.
STEPHANIE STANFORD SHAW – BALLET, MODERN & CONTEMPORARY – has been teaching throughout New England for more than 20 years. She joined Fusionworks Dance Company, a modern dance repertory company, in 1992 and served as assistant to the director for the company until September 2016. Stephanie is currently the director and primary choreographer for the pre-professional junior company, Fusionworks II and is a senior member of the Fusionworks Educational Team. Stephanie retired from her professional performing career in 2013 to concentrate on her teaching and currently teaches at Fusionworks Dance Academy (Lincoln, RI), The Dance Academy (Fall River, MA), Just Dance! (Warren, RI), Dancin’ Spirit Performing Arts (Pawtucket, RI), Dancing Arts Center (Holliston, MA) as well as conducting curriculum-based dance programs in public and private schools throughout the area. She is a member of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Artist in Residence Educational Roster. Her work, “All You Need to Know”, was chosen to represent the Rhode Island dance scene as part of the 2002 National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) conference and in 2012 her dance “Turf Wars?” was performed at “Day of Dance” presented by Dance Alliance of Rhode Island and the Massachusetts Dance Education Organization. Her formal study began with prima ballerina, Anamarie Sarazin at the Sarazin School of Dance, she then went on to perform as a principal dancer with Cumberland Company and received her BFA in dance from the Boston Conservatory. She looks forward to working with the students of The Dance Academy, passing on her knowledge, love and passion for dance to her students.
TAYLOR VOLTAS – EVENTS DIRECTOR, ENSEMBLE COACH/CHOREOGRAPHER – is a Fall River native and attended Diman R.V.T.H.S graduating from the office technology program. She began dancing when she was 4 years old at Steppin’ Out Dance Studio in Portsmouth, RI under Lisa Mailloux studying Ballet, Tap, Jazz & Hip-Hop. Taylor started off as a student moved onto an apprentice, assistant teacher and then became a teacher which was her ultimate goal. In her years with Steppin’ Out she helped choreograph a student routine for the Celtics, traveled around to nursing homes & veterans homes during holidays, received a “Love For Dance” scholarship, joined their competition team & made memories to last a lifetime. In 2013 Taylor came to The Dance Academy as the new front desk administrative assistant. With her dance background she also crossed over to subbing for classes, rehearsing children for Spindle City Ballet’s Nutcracker, and became the event and party Director for the Academy. Taylor is most excited about working with the Academy students and knows that with dedication and hard work (also with lots of fun) you can achieve anything you want!