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Instructor Bios

Director

Jill Hancock (Owner/Creative Director) began her career over 20 years ago teaching for Ona-May School of Dance.  Ms. Hancock holds a certificate from New Visions Dance Project, a program set up by Alvin Ailey for people with disabilities.  She has performed professionally with Maloney Productions and had her New York debut with New Dance Collective, a modern jazz company that she worked with for four years.  Her choreography has been seen throughout the tri-state area and in performances for Gallaudet University and Muscle Mania World Competitions. 

 

                         

 

We are always looking to share new classes and offerings to the community.  We are also currently looking to add more music classes to the studio!

Is there a class we don't offer that You'd like to teach?

Are You interested in learning more about employment opportunities with A Common Ground?

Are You or someone You know interested in teaching a class at A Common Ground?

If you've answered YES to any of these, Please contact Jill!

 


Instructors

Jay Bardalai is an avid Salsa dancer and has a passion for teaching dance. He has been teaching beginner and intermediate Salsa classes at A Common Ground studio since 2006. His teaching philosophy includes giving his students enough material and practice to be able to quickly dance Salsa by the time the 6 week beginner class is over, at the same time ensure that his students understand the fundamentals of dancing, music and rhythm, which are important if one wants to take it further and take dancing to the next level. Jay teaches “Salsa on One”, which is the style danced world wide which he experienced in his travels to Buenos Aires, London, Paris, and Singapore. Jay also teaches Salsa classes at the Naugatuck Valley Community College.

Another of Jay’s passions is Argentine Tango and he has a deep appreciation for Tango music and dance. It’s not that he loves Salsa any less but perhaps loves Tango more!! He has been studying Argentine Tango over the past several years and will be offering a basic Argentine Tango course starting fall 2009.

 

 

 

 


 

Veronica "Ronnie" Erdmann began training in various schools of movement, dance and music in her youth and continues learning various dance and movement to this day.  In 1995 Ronnie began her participation in Sacred Circle Dance in Fairfield, Connecticut and soon learned to become a facilitator of this community dance style. Between 2000 and 2008 Ronnie led New Haven Community Sacred Circle Dance and since 2008 has been leading the seasonal Candlewood Sacred Circle Dance at A Common Ground. 


For more information contact Ronnie by Email, FACEBOOK

 

 


 

 

Alessandra Greco has dance in her blood - literally. Daughter of the world-famous Spanish dancers José Greco and Nila Amparo, she began life following her parents as they danced their way across Europe. As of August 2009, Ms. Greco will be expanding her teaching activities to include a new dance class format "Latin Moves Plus" Class. Influenced by Zumba ® (of which she is a certified teacher) and LatinCardio™, this new class will emphasize the Total Workout, getting the heart rate up and shedding pounds. Latin Moves Plus fuses Latin Dance, Middle Eastern and Flamenco and will also focus on the upper body and hips, essential to the student’s sense of self-awareness and self-confidence. Put all these elements together with the irresistible rhythms of the music and Ms. Greco’s outgoing and nurturing personality, and come experience the heat of her own dynamic style and sizzle. The basis of her other class is Flamenco, the most popular form of Spanish dance. After students learn to master some of the basic movements and steps, they experience the movements as evolving from a need to express an inner emotion. Dancing becomes an organic and holistic experience that is exhilarating. This enhances the students' awareness of their own physicality and aids in the total health of the entire body.

 



 

 

Sandra Hernandez Egea was born in Girona (Spain) and raised between the Pirines and Granada (Andalucia), where Flamenco was found; at the age of 9, Sandra started her Flamenco studies and performances under the tutelage of “La Chabela” at the private “Centro Cultural Andaluz” in Girona. She has performed at the Flamenco Festivals in Barcelona (Barbara del Valles) for many years and other cultural events in Girona as well.

Twenty two years later, Sandra resides in Connecticut and is a dancer for the Val Ramos’ Flamenco Assembly. She has performed for the Mayor of Hartford and the US Air Force, as well as for schools and fundraising events.

Today she continues to teach and perform the Art of Flamenco in Connecticut and New York.

 

 


 

Ase-AmenRa Karamu teacher of Afrikan Drum

And

Althea Kariamu teacher of Afrikan Dance. 

Ase-AmenRa Kariamu of Kariamu Drum and Dance, began his drumming with master drummer, Brother Keindre O’Uhuru, director of the El Shabazz Orchestra in Harlem, NY. For the last ten years he has been teaching in the Juvenile Detention Center for CT Ballet in their “Out Reach” Program. Mr. Kariamu was “Mouse King” in several DMC Nutcrackers and has been a flutist for over 22 years. His instructors include Yamoussa Camara, master dancer/drummer of Guinea, West Afrika; and KoKayi, an Afrikan Dance Troupe of Mt. Vernon. Mr. Kariamu hosts West Afrikan Drum workshops throughout Connecticut, teaches at “A Common Ground,” and has been director of the Afrikan Drumming Program since 2003.

For more information contact Althea by EMAIL  or  FACEBOOK

 

 

 


 

 

Lauren Brown received a B.S. in Music Education at Western Connecticut State University, her concentration in classical voice. Lauren is a performer, a musician, and an educator. She participates in Community Theater productions at the Brookfield Theater for The Arts, has been heavily involved in community service with the Danbury Music Center, as well as Western Connecticut State University, and is thrilled to begin a new chapter in her life as an educator.

For more information contact Lauren by EMAIL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  
Brian Ashbrook - "Professor Toureiro" has been studying capoeira since 1990, starting in New York City. As a member of the Ginga Associação de Capoeira(Grupo Ginga), under the direction of its co-founder, Mestre Itapoan, Professor Toureiro has been guided by Mestre Kiki da Bahia since 2001, and is an active member of the Associação Brasileira dos Professores de Capoeira(ABPC). He has been teaching in the Greater Danbury area since October 28, 2003.

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art with its origin occurring during the 1500's in Bahia, Brazil, during the slave trade. Over the years it evolved into a formidable fighting form that eventually was used to help to end slavery in Brazil (c. 1888). From 1889-1933, capoeira was outlawed in Brazil until Manoel dos Reis Machado, the famed Mestre Bimba, created Capoeira Regional and formed the first capoeira academy in Salvador, Bahia.

Our practice continues the traditions passed on by Mestre Bimba. Capoeira is movement, balance, and discipline combined with traditional music and song.

Class is currently open to anyone fifteen years old and up. Classes for children from 6 to 14 are planned to start in early 2013.  Students of all levels (beginner - advanced) are welcome.
"Professor Toureiro"
Professor Toureiro has been studying capoeira since 1990, starting in New York City. As a member of the Ginga Associação de Capoeira(Grupo Ginga), under the direction of its co-founder, Mestre Itapoan, Professor Toureiro has been guided by Mestre Kiki da Bahia since 2001, and is an active member of the Associação Brasileira dos Professores de Capoeira(ABPC). He has been teaching in the Greater Danbury area since October 28, 2003.
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art with its origin occurring during the 1500's in Bahia, Brazil, during the slave trade. Over the years it evolved into a formidable fighting form that eventually was used to help to end slavery in Brazil (c. 1888). From 1889-1933, capoeira was outlawed in Brazil until Manoel dos Reis Machado, the famed Mestre Bimba, created Capoeira Regional and formed the first capoeira academy in Salvador, Bahia.
Our practice continues the traditions passed on by Mestre Bimba. Capoeira is movement, balance, and discipline combined with traditional music and song.

Class is currently open to anyone fifteen years old and up. Classes for childrenfrom6to14areplannedtostartinearly2013. Studentsofall levels(beginner - advanced) are welcome.

 

 
For more information contact Brian by EMAIL ,  More info available on grupoginga.com       
 
 

 

 Chona Imma Trinidad is the founder and dance instructor of the CT Tiare Polynesian Dance Troupe. She started learning the Polynesian dances when she was in high school. Little did young Imma know that she will discover her passion when her mother sent her to Veda's Dance Studio in Manila, Philippines.
With her parents' loving support, Imma continued dancing and performing with her cousins for cultural shows in schools, churches, military camps and restaurants, which enhanced her performing skills.In 1995, she finally started teaching hula and Tahitian dance at the Danbury Hilton & Towers, where they held their first staged dance show performance "The Polynesian of South Pacific". Imma brings her talent to A Common Ground teaching Hula to the community

Contact Imma by EMAILFACEBOOK, or call 203 731‐9239 in the evenings.

 

 

 Richard Trinidad aka Rocky was born in the Philippines, An island that is centralized in the Asian continent.  His passion for Martial Arts started when he watched Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Steven Segal movies as a child. He then joined a Judo Academy at his hometown in the Philippines. At age 11 he came to America and decided to continue his passion to study martial arts. He then began his life long study of martial arts, he was first enrolled in Karate then decided to keep learning more arts such as Tae Kwon Do, Asian Weaponry, Kickboxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This life long study did not stop here he also started to teach martial arts to kids and adults. Richard has 20+ years of training, competing and teaching under all his martial art belts. He has chosen the best parts of each art he studied; he then mixed it into one called Rocks Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed Martial Arts or MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world today. It is everywhere; it’s very hard to miss especially when it’s on the internet and all over the television. It’s considered one of the most challenging, affective and rewarding exercises today. MMA combines all of the traditions from Asian martial arts and the sports science training of an athlete. Mixed Martial Art is a complete workout for your mind and your body.  For more information contact Rocky by FACEBOOK

 


 

 

Julia Silvestri is an ASL Slam poet and teacher of the deaf- certified in Deaf education, English and Theatre.  She attended Northeastern University in Boston, MA and earned a B.A. with a major in English and a minor in Theatre. After graduating, she worked at The Learning Center for Deaf Children (TLC), in the Walden School.  While at Northeastern, she took Deaf studies courses through the ASL program and became interested in the field of Deaf education.  She has over ten years of experience teaching deaf and hearing children and adults in a variety of settings and currently works as a public school teacher, while pursuing her PhD in Deaf Education- focusing on anthropology, disability rights and transformative movements. 

She is appreciative of her experience and supportive of linguistic diversity in education.  Julia hopes to continue work that promotes Deaf awareness and empowerment.

For more information contact Rocky by FACEBOOK

 


 

 
Sherrie Rushmeyer - CD(DONA) Pre and Postnatal Pilates Instructor - Sherrie has been a dancer for 35 years, certified through AFPA, as a Prenatal & Postnatal health and fitness instructor, and a DONA certified birth doula since 1999. 
 
For more information contact Sherrie by EMAIL, or call 203-733-4167

 

 

 

 


 

 
Sara Helene - Irish Dance Teacher
 
For more information contact Sara by EMAIL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

 
Martha Sutton - Photographer, has over twenty five years of experience in the photography industry. Her Talents acquired in the “Fashion and Beauty Industry”, coupled with her degree in Media Arts has molded Martha’s unique approach to photographing people. Her free spirit and adventurous nature has led Martha to photograph high profile celebrities to more subdued intimate portraits, family gatherings and special events.
Martha holds studio and location sessions for publicity shots or headshots. This is a need for anyone in the entertainment business or aspiring models and actors.
Local business owners, their staff, or anyone who wants to stand out from their competition can also benefit from this service.
Other specialities include, families, children, and pin up photography. Please contact Martha for further information.
You may view the event portfolio her WEBSITE.   For more information contact Martha by EMAIL
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