Faculty

Cheryl Garganese-Trottier

 Founder/Artistic Director

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.

 

Natasha Trottier-Estrada

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.

Gianna Trottier-McLeish

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.

Karissa Garganese

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. Karissa most recently became certified by Acrobatic Arts in their AcroDance Pre-School Program. She 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

Dance Instructor

 

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 Donabedian

Ballet Director
 

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

Dance Instructor

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

Dance Instructor

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

Dance Instructor

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 Reilly

Dance Instructor

 

Born in Providence, Victoria Reilly began her ballet training at the age of 4. She grew up training at Festival Ballet Providence and Heritage Ballet. While at Heritage Ballet, she had the opportunity to perform many lead roles, some of which include Dew Drop Fairy and Mouse Queen in The Nutcracker, Aurora and Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, lead sylph in Les Sylphides, and variations from Paquita & Raymonda. She has attended summer programs at Houston Ballet Academy and Festival Ballet Providence. 

Victoria is currently dancing as a trainee with Festival Ballet Providence while pursuing her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering full time at the University of Rhode Island. She is very excited to be returning to Cheryl’s School of Dance to teach for the 2020 - 2021 season!

Kiara Tracey

Dance Instructor
 

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.

Jay Markov

Dance Instructor

 

Jay Markov was born in Phoenix, Arizona where he started his training in classical ballet at the age of 7 training with Slawomir and Irena Wozniak of Master Ballet Academy. The years following he received full scholarships and training at San Francisco Ballet School, Harid Conservatory for the Arts, School of American Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. In 2012, Jay began his dance career with Ballet Arizona under the direction of Ib Anderson where he danced various roles in productions of Swan Lake, La Bayadere,Napoli, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Don Quixote, and Western Symphony. From 2016-2018 Jay danced with Los Angeles Ballet under artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary where he performed contemporary works by Meghan Lou, Aszure Barton, and Alejandro Cerrudo. Jay has also performed in many of Balanchine’s Ballets such as Theme and Variations, Serenade, Movements and Monumento, Violin Concerto, Who Cares, Four Temperaments, and Prodigal Son. Jay is currently a dancer and teacher with Festival Ballet of Providence in Rhode Island where he has performed various roles in productions choreographed by Viktor Plotnikov, Yury Yanowsky, Kurt Douglas, and Misha Djuric.

 

Christine Zinno

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

Dance Instructor

Lesley Anne Fargnoli is originally from Providence, RI where she currently resides. She recently traveled the high seas performing with Emmy-award winning RWS Entertainment Group’s Step One Dance Company. While onboard Lesley was a featured soloist and company manager. She has also performed as a cast member for Holland America line. Lesley has been a guest artist for many ballet companies including Festival Ballet of Providence, Providence Ballet Theatre, and Island Moving Company. You can watch Lesley assist multiple classes on Dancio.com.  She is also a featured dancer in various music videos including Eli Lieb's upcoming "Boys Who Like Boys." When she’s not performing, Lesley is educating and choreographing for young dancers around New England. She also enjoys traveling around the country as an employee for Imagine National Dance Challenge.

 

At a young age Lesley, like many dancers, learned her work ethic and found her passion at Cheryl's School of Dance. While at CSD Lesley was the first recipient of the Olivia Rotondo Ballet Scholarship. In 2015, she became a certified teacher by the Dance Teachers Club of Boston and received scholarships for Excellence in Ballet and the Faculty Choice Award. Lesley attended Rhode Island College for her B.A. in Dance Performance where she received the four-year Helen Forman Scholarship for technique. While in school, Lesley has had the opportunity to work with a variety of artists including Jennifer Archibald, Larry Keigwin, and 10 Hairy Legs. In her free time, Lesley is involved in pageantry and philanthropy. She was crowned Miss U.S. Italia in 2017 and as a finalist received the lifestyle and fitness award in the Miss Rhode Island Pageant.  

Office Manager

Lisa Garganese

Lisa has been with CSD for over 20 years! She will help you with any questions you may have! 

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