Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio
Tradition...with an EDGE
Studios in Warwick, Cranston, Smithfield, RI
Winner PROJO Best RI Dance School 2022,2020,2019,2018,2017
Staff Bios
CDDS Staff are CERTIFIED and proud to be members of these amazing organizations:
Sari Thaler has been involved with gymnastics and dance for over 15 years.  She recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ball State University with a B.S. in Applied Behavioral Analysis.  At Ball State she was also part of the Division 1 gymnastics program.  During her dance career Sari won numerous national and regional overall championships and titles.  Some of these include National Miss Dance America, National Elite Miss Dance, National Teen Miss Dance and National Teen Elite Dance.  Her Acro solos have also received Highest Scoring Solo, Duo or Trio at two national championships.  Sari is excited to bring her passion for education and dance to Carolyn Dutra Dance Studios.
Miss Sari teaches Acro 1 and 2!

Ashley Andreis
Ashley began dancing at the age of 5 and received her early ballet training at Eastern Connecticut Ballet. She attended several summer programs including Boston Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, as well a performing in the Youth America Grand Prix for 2 years.

Ashley completed her last three years of schooling with Festival Ballet in Providence, and soon after joined the company at age 17. She has performed in numerous productions, such as Balanchine’s Rubies and Donazetti Variations, Antony Tudors Leaving are Fading, danced the lead in Romeo and Juliet, and various soloist roles in Nutcracker, including the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Other various works have included pieces by Viktor Plotnikov, Avichai Scher, and Mihailo Djuric.  She also has danced as a guest artist for many schools and companies throughout the New England.

Ashley’s passion for the art of ballet has not only allowed her to perform, but has also lead her to quite the career as an instructor.  She shares her art as a faculty member at several studios in and around Massachusetts, Rhode Island and in San Diego.  She is always excited to train and influence her students in the wonderful world of ballet!
Miss Ashley teaches Company Ballet!

Blair-Victoria Dutra is the Studio & Accounts Manager and Company Liaison for the three Carolyn Dutra Dance Studios and Co-Director of Dance For Art, Inc.  She has been with the Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio from the very beginning, and is a former CDDS Company member, dance captain, and Southern RI Youth Ballet Company Member.  She performed in Europe, competitions, with the Moscow Ballet, at Carnegie Hall and more during her 16 years dancing with CDDS, and as a backup dancer for Weird Al Yancovic at PPAC, RI! She is a current member of the National Dance Education Organization and Dance Alliance. Blair-Victoria pursued her educational career receiving a Masters of Social Work from Boston University and a B.A. in Psychology from Roger Williams University. She served a year with AmeriCorps and then worked at Westbay Community Action in Warwick, RI. Her graduate school internship was at My Life My Choice, a survivor-led non-profit organization fighting to end commercial sexual exploitation of children. She later worked as a project manager at American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. Blair completed a 200hr yoga teacher training through Providence Power Yoga and is certified to teach children's yoga through Karma Kids Yoga. She is also a certified POUND Pro instructor. Blair is the proud daughter of Miss Carolyn and mother of Carolina!
Miss Blair teaches kids, dancers, and adult Yoga and Pound fitness, and is the Company Liason!

Juliette de Roxas is the Studio & Production Manager for the three Carolyn Dutra Dance Studios and has been teaching dance for 20 years.  Juliette is a Certified Instructor with Rhythm Works Integrative Dance. RWID provides inclusive dance classes created specifically for kids and adults with individual learning differences and other special needs. She is a former Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio Company Member and Southern RI Youth Ballet Company Soloist.  Juliette is a Certified Coach and Evaluator for Dance Proficiency Requirements for RI High Schools, Graduate of Providence College & Former Captain of the Providence College Dance Team.  Juliette is a member of, and certified to teach by, the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston, has attended the Dance Teacher Conference in NYC and the DanceLife Retreat Center Conferences in Massachusetts. Recently, Miss Juliette was awarded by the Ronald McDonald House of Providence Women’s Leadership Awards for being an influential women in the community who make a positive impact and demonstrate exceptional leadership.  Juliette was the President and Director of the non-profit Will Speck Memorial and Race for 15 Years in Cranston and was on the board for the Ronald McDonald House Galas.  Her passion is kindness through giving back to others through many forms of philanthropy.
Miss Juliette teaches Toddler and Me, Preschool, Primary, Acro, Level 1, 2, Hip Hop and Company!

Diana Doorley is a former CDDS Company Member and Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet Member.  She is a graduate of the Dance Teachers Club of Boston, Dance Education Training Course and a graduate of Providence College with her Bachelor's in History and Secondary Education.  Diana was also a member of the Providence College Dance Company. Diana is currently a teacher at St. Raphael's Academy.
Miss Diana teaches Preschool, Primary, Acro and more!

Shane Farrell is a choreographer, dancer, and educator from Providence, Rhode Island. In 2009, Shane joined the Island Moving Company (IMC), a classically trained contemporary ballet company in Newport, RI. During his ten years at IMC, he performed in several national tours and two international tours to Kazakhstan. Shane danced in many amazing venues with IMC’s site specific repertoire: Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff Mansion, Dracula at Belcourt Castle, and Second Star To The Right: A Tale of Hook and Pan aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry tall ship. He has also performed in collaboration with Pasadena Dance Theatre (CA), Missouri Contemporary Ballet (MO), Owen/Cox Dance (MO), Surfscape Contemporary Dance Theatre (FL), Staycee Pearl Dance Project (PA), Houston MET (TX), and Samruk Dance (Almaty, Kazakhstan), and danced as a guest artist with companies throughout the northeast. Outside of the concert dance world, Shane has appeared on MTV’s Made, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, and the 2010 film Hachi starring Richard Gere.
As a choreographer, Shane’s work has been presented nationally and internationally, most notably at the Abay Opera House in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He has choreographed six world premieres for Island Moving Company (RI) and three original works for their 2018, 2019, and 2021 Newport Dance Festival summer intensive program to critical review. Writing for Motif Magazine, Mark Morin described Luminous (2013) as “raw…and passionately graceful…The suggestiveness and the musicality of Farrell’s choreography...make this piece a guilty sensual delight.” He has additionally choreographed original works commissioned by Wheaton College (MA), Salve Regina University (RI), Sacred Heart University (CT), and is currently adjunct ballet faculty at Dean College (MA).
Please visit for additional information and up-to-date news on Shane Farrell.
Mr. Shane teaches Company Level and Adult Ballet!

Rachel Ferrara is a member and scholarship recipient of National Dance Education Association (NDEO) and Rhode Island Dance Alliance.  Rachel is a graduate of the Dance Teachers Club of Boston, Dance Education Training Course, received an award for the Greatest Aptitude for teaching dance, and the Caitlin Ledwell award as Faculty Choice.  She is a former CDDS Company Member and Southern RI Youth Ballet Member.  Rachel performed on cruises, in Disney, competition and more with CDDS, and as a backup dancer for Weird Al Yancovic at PPAC, RI! She is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a degree in Youth Development. Rachel was the recipient of the Paulette Harwood Ballet Scholarship at the 2015 DETC, the highest written and performance scores in Ballet.  Most recently, Miss Rachel received her Acrobatic Arts Certification Primary-Level 6.  She received a perfect score on her written exam.
Miss Rachel is now a certified POUND Pro Instructor, licensed Zumba Instructor and a member of the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston!
Miss Rachel teaches Toddler and Me, Preschool, Primary, Level 1, 2, 3, 4, Hip Hop, Acro, Pound and Company

Kaitlyn Hutchins studied at the Diane Kelley Dance Studio in Massachusetts where she was an award winning dancer. She went on to become an award winning Choreographer for studios all over New England.  We are so fortunate to have had Miss Kaitlyn on our staff for the past 10 years as an advanced Company Instructor with her focus on Contemporary.  Her choreography has won many awards for our dancers, but most importantly it encourages the dancers to move and express themselves in new ways.  And usually leave the audiences with a tear in their eyes.  When not creating for CDDS, Miss Kaitlyn is a Health and fitness coach and a clinical specialist for a medical device company.
Miss Kaitlyn teaches Company Contemporary

Heather Howard is a former CDDS Company Member as well as a former member of the Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet. She is a graduate of UMASS Amherst where she received her Bachelor's degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and competed and performed as a member of the UMASS Dance Team. She also danced with the WBNA Solar Power Dance Team. Heather has returned to Rhode Island after 7 years abroad in the United Arab Emirates where she held various customer service management positions, most recently in the studio manager role at a boutique yoga, Pilates and dance studio in Abu Dhabi. She is thrilled to be back to share her love of dance as a part of the CDDS team!
Heather teaches all levels of dance!

Chryssa Mitchell  is a Certified Instructor with Rhythm Works Integrative Dance. RWID provides inclusive dance classes created specifically for kids and adults with individual learning differences and other special needs. She is an instructor at the Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio, a former Carolyn Dutra Company Member, former member and soloist with the Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet Company, and was accepted into the prestigious Pennsylvania Ballet School Summer Program. She has successfully completed the Dance Teachers Club of Boston’s certified dance instructor program and received the award for highest Ballet scores, written and performance, in her graduating class. She is an Early Childhood Educator with a bachelors degree from Wheelock College, Boston, MA and has completed coursework in the Special Education Masters program at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. In continuing her dance education, Chryssa has also attended the “8 and under curriculum” and “ballet intensive” workshops at the DanceLife Retreat Center, Norton, MA.  Miss Chryssa is the coordinator for CDDS National Honor Society for Dance Arts - junior and secondary chapters.  She LOVES to continue learning.  Currently, she is taking classes through the NDEO Online Professional Development Institute and attending  the national conference in October!
Miss Chryssa teaches Toddler and Me, Preschool, Primary, Level 1, 2, Company and Adult Classes!

Jenna Mixner is a Dean College alumni and is very excited to continue her journey as a staff member at Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio. Jenna started dancing at the age of 3 under the direction of former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, Carolyn Dutra in Warwick, Rhode Island. After high school she decided to pursue a career in the dance field and continued her education at Dean College where she earned her Bachelor’s in Dance Performance and Choreography. With the help of Miss Carolyn, she was awarded the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston Dean College scholarship worth $70,000. During her time at Dean, Jenna choreographed more than 10 of her own pieces to be shown on the stage, as well as assisted in producing a show her senior year. She has also performed in original works by Bill Evans, Kristina Berger, Jeremy Howes, Todd Shanks, and more in Dean College’s Dance Company.

More recently, Jenna’s choreography has been displayed at the Savannah Theatre, New England Cheer & Dance Competition, Dunkin Donuts Center, as well as various dance competitions at the regional and national level. She is elated to continue her journey at CDDS and share her passion of dance for years to come.
Miss Jenna teaches Preschool, Primary, Level 1, 2, HIp Hop and Company!

Kayleah Pensalfini has a background in dance having studied at studios in RI.  She is a graduate of Rhode Island College with her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Dance Performance.

Christie Staudt has been with the Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio for over 20 years!  A teacher for the past 15 years, she is a former CDDS Company Member and Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet Soloist.  Miss Christie also studied with the Dance Teachers Club of Boston.  She is a former Member of the WNBA Solar Power Dance Team, performed on stage for Rascal Flatts and is Graduate of CCRI.  Christie is a versatile teacher, instructing all levels from Preschool to adult!
Miss Christie teaches Preschool, Level 1, 2, 3, 4 , Preparatory and Pee Wee Company!

Guest Teachers

Jacqueline Baligian
Jacqueline Briar Baligian is a dance educator/choreographer/producer with over 25 years of experience. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Jacqueline moved to L.A after graduating high school, to attend California State University majoring in Theatre Arts & Dance. From there she was on to NYC where she became a scholarship student at the Broadway Dance Center. While studying at BDC Jacqueline was hired to co-direct the children's dance program. Since then, Jacqueline has taught around the world including England, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Her students have appeared in commercials, at Disney World , on Broadway, numerous television shows , and as Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.Also a performer, Jacqueline has danced in live industrials for Suave shampoo with the star of Modern Family, Sofia Vergara and . Jacqueline also recently performed on the Rachael Ray Halloween Special with Rachael Ray, Pee Wee Herman, and magicians Penn & Teller and on the Regis and Kelly Show with Kelly Ripa and Nick Lachey.  
Currently Jacqueline travels all across the country as a master class teacher, choreographer, and competition judge. Her choreography has won numerous awards and cash prizes. Jacqueline assisted teacher/choreographer, Sheila Barker on a show starring tap legend Savion Glover, entitled “Invitations to a Dancer”. She recently choreographed the opening number, starring Jerry O’Connell for the Rachael Ray show’s first episode  of the 6th season and was thrilled to be asked back to choreograph Rachael Ray’s 1,000th episode with Regis Philbin and Rosie O’Donnell. As a producer, Jacqueline has assisted on dance segments for Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Food Network, and many more.
Jacqueline was voted one of the most popular judges/instructors by “Dance Spirit Magazine”. One accomplishment that Jacqueline is especially proud of is the creation of "Dance Dice", a unique game/teaching tool for teachers to use in class with their students. In 2011, Jacqueline made her debut as a Broadway Producer, being one of the producers of Broadway revival of “Godspell.”
Tiffany Billings
Tiffany Billings is a Radio City Rockette who has been a member of the iconic precision dance company since 2011. She most recently worked as the assistant dance captain for The Rockettes during the 2019-2020 Christmas Spectacular season. Tiffany has appeared on the Tony Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Today Show, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, The Chew, The Wendy Williams Show and she has also been featured in Vogue Magazine. Tiffany has extensive ballet, jazz, and precision dance training, and she truly loves to teach and share her passion of dance with her students.
Catherine Nicholson
Catherine Nicholson began dancing at the age of three and immediately fell in love. She was trained at Diane Kelley Dance Studio in West Boylston, MA and was selected to dance on the DKDS Competition team at the age of eight. Catherine performed and competed in all genres dance. She was Dance Master’s of America’s Petite Miss Dance of America 2004 and has received accolades in multiple styles of dance at both regional and national levels. After graduating high school Catherine received a Bachelor's degree in Communications from  the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she was a member and captain of the University's Dance Team.  During her junior and senior year she was both captain and coach of the student run organization and led the team to national rankings both years. Her extensive dance team experience led her to become a National Dance Alliance instructor which gave her the opportunity to travel the country and coach high school and college level dance teams.   After graduating college Catherine decided to pursue her passion for teaching dance and began teaching full-time across New England.  When she is not teaching dance, Catherine can be found instructing Lagree fitness classes on Newbury St in Boston at Strengthen Lengthen Tone (SLT).