Cheryl Garganese Trottier established Cheryl’s School of Dance in North Providence, Rhode Island in 1980. For the past 40 years, Cheryl has influenced thousands of dancers that have stepped through her doors and have continued on to professional careers. Today, Cheryl’s two daughters continue her legacy by educating a new generation of dancers.
She is a member of Dance Teachers Club of Boston and Dance Masters of America. She is the past president of Dance in the RI Association of Physical Education, Health, Recreation and Dance. At the age of 14, Cheryl was a recipient of a ballet scholarship to New York City Ballet. She is a former member of the Rhode Island College Dance Company, and she was a semi-soloist with the RI Ballet Theatre. Cheryl has studied with Savior Glover, David Howard, Gregg Russell, Mia Michaels and many more.
Cheryl has served as an advisor for the teacher’s training program affiliated with the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston. She is recognized by the National Council of Dance Teacher Organization, Inc. and Dance Education of America, Inc. Cheryl has received her Coach’s Certificate from Rhode Island College and is currently active in Rhode Island Sports Medicine Consortium Workshops.
Her students have performed in Magic Kingdom, NBC Channel 10 Fitness Expo, Carnegie Hall, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and the Big Red Boat. Her students have received scholarships to Broadway Dance Center, Dance Teachers Club of Boston and various national dance conventions. Cheryl’s dancers are recognized regionally, nationally and compete in the World Dance Championship. Her students have received many awards including Regional and National Title Winners, High Score Awards, Judge’s Choice Awards, Top Scoring Studio and Most Entertaining Studio. Her students have also been chosen to tour nationally with various competitions and conventions and have received full scholarships to several college dance programs.
Her students have gone on to dance with Boston Ballet and Festival Ballet. They have also performed for Camp Broadway, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Moscow Ballet, RI State Ballet, Festival Ballet and Spindle City Ballet. Cheryl’s students have been accepted to dance at Disney World, Hershey Park and the Solar Power Competitive Team at Mohegan Sun. Several of her students have gone on to coach the Providence College Competitive Team taking them to the National Dance Championship. Shane Farrell, student of Cheryl’s, was semi-finalist in Las Vegas with “So You Think You Can Dance.” Jillian Barsalou, student of Cheryl’s was the Marketing Director for American Ballet Theater in New York City. Several of her students have also gone on to open dance studios of their own and teach the art of dance.
Owner/Artistic Director, Dance Instructor & Choreographer
Natasha is the Co-Director and Co-Owner of Cheryl’s School of Dance. Alongside her sister, Natasha is a second generation studio owner of Cheryl’s School of Dance. Under the direction of her mother, Cheryl Trottier, Natasha danced for over 25 years. Natasha is a member of International Dance Entrepreneurs Organization and a graduate of Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Dance Education Training Program. She has traveled and performed across the United States, performing on cruise ships, Walt Disney World, and Carnegie Hall. Natasha performed in the Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet and State Ballet of Rhode Island. She has also performed in Firebird and Coppelia with State Ballet of Rhode Island.
During her 13 years as a competitive dancer, Natasha was awarded several high scoring awards, special awards, leadership awards, and Power Pak. Natasha’s group performance was chosen for Hall of Fame’s National Competition’s Website Hall of Fame Video Section and her Competitive Team was featured on MTV.
Natasha has had the opportunity to train with the industry’s best choreographers and performers such as Billy Griffin, Savion Glover, Travis Wall, Ray Leaper, Sonya Tayeh, Tyce Diorio, Michael Minery and many more.
Natasha travels as a regional and national adjudicator for Star Dance Alliance. Natasha’s students are recognized regionally, nationally and compete in the World Dance Championship. Her students have won Regional and National Titles, High Score Awards, Special Awards, Judge’s Choice Awards and Dance-Offs and Top Scoring Studio. Her students have placed top 5 in the World Dance Championship. Her students have received college scholarships and have gone on to pursue exciting dance careers. Natasha has been recognized for her choreography winning Choreography Awards; such as choreographer of the year.
Natasha dedicates herself in keeping the studio’s mission in each and every class by providing the highest level of training to all our students in a positive, fun and nurturing environment.
Owner/Artistic Director, Dance Instructor & Choreographer
Gianna McLeish is the Co-Director and Co-Owner of Cheryl’s School of Dance. Alongside her sister, Gianna is a second generation dance studio owner. Gianna has trained for over 25 years under the direction of her mother, Cheryl Trottier and Cheryl’s School of Dance. She is a member of the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association as well as a graduate of Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Dance Education Training Program. She has traveled and performed across the United States such as Walt Disney World, Carnegie Hall in New York City and Royal Carribean Cruise lines.
As a young child, Gianna performed in the Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet, American Ballet Theatre of RI and the Spindle City Ballet Company. During the 12 years as a competitive dancer, Gianna has been awarded several high scoring prestigious awards, won the title of Miss Preteen Dancer of Massachusetts, “Outstanding Dancer” in 2004 and was chosen as an “Elite Dancer” to travel the country with several national dance competitions. She performed in the opening number for one of the world’s largest National Dance Competition in Ocean City, Maryland and was featured on MTV.
Gianna has had the opportunity to train with the industry’s best choreographers and performers such as Billy Griffin, Savion Glover, Travis Wall, Ray Leaper, Sonya Tayeh, Tyce Diorio, Abron Glover, Michael Minery and many more.
Gianna’s dancers are recognized regionally, nationally and ranked Top 5 in the World through the World Dance Championship. Her students have won Regional and National Titles, Choreography Awards, Judge’s Choice Awards, Dance-Offs and Top Scoring Studio. Her students have received full college scholarships and have perused exciting dance careers.
Gianna currently judges for National Competitions and enjoys sharing her love of dance with thousands of students. She dedicates herself in keeping the studio’s mission in each class by providing the highest level of training to all our students in a positive, fun and nurturing environment.
Preschool Director, Dance Instructor, Choreographer
Karissa Garganese is the Preschool Director, Dance Instructor and Choreographer at Cheryl’s School of Dance. Karissa started her dance career at Cheryl’s School of Dance at the age of two. While dancing at CSD, Karissa was trained in many styles of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and pointe. At the age of five, she joined CSD’s Competitive Team where she won numerous awards and has taken classes from the industry's most talented teachers and choreographers such as: Mia Michaels, Anthony Morigerato, Travis Wall, Michael Minery and many more. Karissa is a graduate of Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Teachers Training Program and received the Margaret Rogers Tap Scholarship.
Karissa’s dancers are recognized regionally, nationally, and compete in the World Dance Championship. Her choreography has won numerous awards such as Overall High Score Awards, Highest Scoring Tap Routine, Special Awards, and Choreography Awards.
Karissa attends Rhode Island College majoring in Early Childhood Education and has a minor in Dance. Karissa prides herself in combining her two passions of Early Childhood Education and dance as the Pre-School Director at Cheryl’s School of Dance. She also runs an after school dance program at St. Augustine School in Providence, RI. Karissa is also a certified Rhythm Works Dance Instructor which is a dance program designed for children with individual learning differences and other special needs.
Jason Berube was born and raised in Dighton, Massachusetts. At six years old, Jason took his first dance class and the rest was history. He went on to train in Hip-Hop and Musical Theatre at Spotlight Dance Studio, dancing competitively with their crew for eight years. During his training as a teenager, he studied the styles of Locking, Popping, and Breaking under Ricardo Plamenco, Daniel Washington, and Jeffrey Louizia. He was hired as the Choreographer for their crew at 16 years old and has since choreographed pieces for a multitude of studios around New England. Jason has performed in the Boston Celtics Pre-Game show, performed at Disney Springs, and has won numerous titles for his performances and choreography at Headliners Dance Championships, Spirit of Dance Awards, and two National Titles at Dance Ovations. Jason has attended Monsters of Dance Convention as well as Arena Dance Kamp in Los Angeles, California. He looks forward to continuing his dance career and inspiring audiences and students worldwide.
Elizabeth is a former principal dancer with Festival Ballet RI. She has performed soloist and lead roles in full-length classical ballets including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and Giselle. Elizabeth has also danced in many choreographic showcases performing contemporary, modern and jazz roles in addition to classical ballet. In recent years, she has performed as a guest character artist for Festival Ballet Providence and Heritage Ballet.
Elizabeth studied under Christine Hennessy, Winthrop Corey, Wayne Stewart, and Mark Schneider, as well as supplemental classes and dance programs with Boston Ballet, David Howard, Jeanette Neill, and The Dance Complex of Boston.
Ms. Donabedian has been a teacher of classical ballet, pointe, and jazz for 32 years, having choreographed many ballet, jazz, and pointe pieces for local and New England regional ballet companies, ballet schools, Waterfire Providence, Miss America, Miss RI, and local dinner theaters and cabarets.
Elizabeth is also a former Miss Rhode Island. Throughout the years, she has served as a mentor and judge for several pageants and dance auditions in the New England area. Currently, Ms. Donabedian sits on the Board of Directors for the Miss RI Scholarship Organization.
Elizabeth received her B.S. in Elementary Education as well as a Master’s of Education in Reading, and is currently a certified Reading Specialist/Consultant with nearly 20 years of elementary classroom teaching experience. While teaching in the Providence public schools, Ms. Donabedian also volunteered her time after school to teach dance to many children that had always wanted to take dance classes, but had never been given formal training. She brought the joy of dance and musical theater to countless young students in the Providence schools for several years.
Elizabeth is married and has a young daughter that loves to dance and sing. Being a mommy is her favorite role yet!!
Amanda Fournier danced at Cheryl’s School of Dance for fourteen years, beginning when she was three. Throughout her years training at CSD, Amanda trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and hip hop. She also danced on CSD’s Competitive Team for several years. Amanda has taken classes with several well-respected and talented choreographers such as Travis Wall, Mandy Moore, Teddy Forance, and many more.
Amanda completed the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston program for teacher training in 2015. Currently, she is studying Elementary Education at Rhode Island College with a concentration in English and is set to graduate in the Spring of 2021. Looking forward, Amanda hopes to get her master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Kristin Marsella has previously danced at Cheryl's School of Dance for 15 years under the direction of Cheryl Trottier. She has been trained in multiple styles of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, lyric, pointe and hip hop. She has had the chance to work with industry’s best instructors and choreographers. She began competing at the age of 8, winning various high score and special awards. She has also represented Cheryl's dancing on two cruise ships.
Kristin has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a master’s in Special Education. She is currently a preschool inclusion teacher.
She enjoys providing children with fun and positive experiences in a happy and comfortable environment!
Jessica T. Pearson
Jessica T. Pearson is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rhode Island College. Ms. Pearson is a dancer, educator and choreographer who danced with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Gesel Mason and Concepts In Motion (Bermuda). An educator of the modern dance traditions has been invited to teach at Ballet West Summer Intensive, Brown University, Providence College, Urbanity Summer Intensive, University of Kentucky Lexington and has taught overseas.
Her choreography has been selected to perform at Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Southern Vermont Dance Festival and Collective Thread (NY). Her choreography has been commissioned by Urbanity Next, Utah Regional Ballet, Rhode Island College, Salve Regina University, University of Kentucky Lexington, University of Utah and Providence College.
Prior to Rhode Island College, she was a Post MFA Fellow at the University of Utah. She received her MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder where she studied dance pedagogy and choreography and BFA in Dance from Towson University in Towson, Maryland.
Victoria began her ballet training at the age of 4 at Festival Ballet Providence. She continued her training at Heritage Ballet starting at the age of 10. She has performed numerous roles with Heritage Ballet including Dew Drop Fairy, Mouse Queen, and Spanish in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy and Finger Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, one of the lead Sylphs in Les Sylphides, and Autumn Fairy and Summer Fairy in Cinderella among other roles. She was invited to compete at YAGP and performed there in 2012 and 2013. She attended Houston Ballet Summer Intensive in 2017 and will be returning there for the summer of 2018. Currently she continues to train at both Festival Ballet Providence and Heritage Ballet.
Kiara Tracey started her dance career at Cheryl's School of Dance at the age of 2. She spent over 20 years of dance training at the studio and performing and competing as a company member. She is a former member, captain and choreographer of the Providence College Competitive Team. She is a graduate of the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston Teacher's Training Program. Kiara is a former Universal Dance Association Head Instructor and has traveled the country teaching at dance camps with the company. She has judged regional and national competitions, including the National Competitive Team Championship in Disney World. Kiara is a third grade teacher and runs an after school "Intro to Hip Hop" program at the school where she teaches. Currently, she is still judging competitions, working with various college Competitive Teams in New England, and teaching dance here at Cheryl's School of Dance.
Jamie is a former Apprentice dancer with Festival Ballet RI and Principal dancer with Heritage Ballet. She has performed many corps and leading roles in classical ballets including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, Paquita and Cinderella.
Jamie studied classical ballet and jazz under Christine Hennessy, Wayne Stewart, Eva Marie Pacheco, Patrick Notaro, Elizabeth (Reilly)Donabedian, Mihailo “Misha”Djuric and Patricia DuBois, as well as, attending classes at Broadway Dance and Alvin Ailey in NYC.
Jamie has been a teacher of classical ballet, pointe, and jazz for 20 years, having choreographed many ballet and jazz pieces for Heritage Ballet.
Jamie received her B.S. in Retail Marketing & Management, as well as, an M.B.A in Business Management with a concentration in Marketing. She is currently an Account Executive at Uncas International.
Jamie has a young daughter who loves to dance and perform. Jamie is excited for her first season with Cheryl’s!
Strength & Conditioning Coach
This Christine's third season teaching Company Strength and Conditioning with Cheryl's. Christine grew up as an artistic gymnast and segued into trampoline and tumbling as a teen. She found much success as a collegiate springboard diver. Under the direction of coach, Greg Louganis Christine became a 5 time national champion and 6 time all-American. These days Christine keeps busy with her two daughters, one of which is a dancer here! She is also a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and a gymnastics coach.
Lesley Fargnoli is from Providence, RI, where she currently resides. Lesley is a proud faculty member and alum at Cheryl’s School of Dance where she studied a variety of styles. While at CSD she performed on the competition team receiving many top score awards. While competing she has had the opportunity to train with top names in the industry including Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, Ray Leeper, Anthony Morigerato, Al Blackstone, Billy Griffin, and Stacy Tookey. She was the first recipient of the Olivia Rotondo Ballet Scholarship in 2014. Lesley was certified by Dance Teachers Club of Boston in 2015 and received a scholarship for excellence in Ballet, Faculty Choice award, and a college scholarship.
She is pursuing her B.A. in Dance Performance as a recipient of the Helen Forman Talent Scholarship at Rhode Island College. Lesley was a member of the RIC Dance Company for three years and performed dances by Alexander Beller, David Parker, Bridgman and Packer, Teena Marie Custer, Erika Randall, William "Bill" Evans, Larry Keigwin, B.S. Movement, Randy James, and Jessica Pearson and Angelica Carderte-Vessella. She spent her summers continuing her studies at Bates Dance Festival, Archcore40, and Keigwin + Co Summer Intensive. During her time at RIC Lesley has performed in various theatrical work.
Lesley has performed as a guest artist for the Festival Ballet's Women's Benefit Concert, Open for Dancing, The Jam in Providence, Providence Ballet Theatre, and the RISCA Showcase. Lesley also travels around the country as an employee for Imagine National Dance Challenge. Most recently, Lesley has been traveling the world performing as a guest entertainer in Step One Dance Company for RWS Entertainment Group aboard Holland America Cruise Line. Inspired by her former ballet teacher, Lesley enjoys competing in pageants. She was crowned Miss U.S. Italia in 2017 and has been a finalist receiving the lifestyle and fitness award in the Miss Rhode Island Pageant.