Faculty & Staff
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 30 years under the direction of her mother, Cheryl Trottier and Cheryl’s School of Dance. She is an Executive Member of More Than Just Great Dancing as well as a graduate of Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Dance Education Training Program. Gianna is certified in Youth Protection Association For Dance (YPAD) as well as Acrobatics Arts. These memberships and certifications mark CSD's commitment to offer high quality dance training in a healthy, safe and supporting environment.
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 won many prestigious awards and Titles, was chosen to travel the country with several national dance competitions and was featured on MTV. She has traveled and performed across the United States such as Walt Disney World, Carnegie Hall in New York City and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. Gianna has had the opportunity to train and learn from the industry’s best choreographers and performers and has traveled as a judge to several National Competitions.
Gianna’s students are recognized on a Regional and National level, have been awarded Regional and National Titles, in addition to being ranked Top 5 in the World through the World Dance Championship. Her choreography has been recognized and awarded both Regionally and Nationally at high caliber dance competitions. She is proud to say that her students have received full college scholarships and have perused rewarding dance careers. Gianna's choreography was awarded "Top Entertaining Routine of the Year" which was chosen out of thousands of routines.
Gianna wants to do more than teach high quality dance instruction. She wants to develop healthy, happy dancers in an environment that focuses on safety along with the social emotional and physical well-being of her dancers. She is dedicated to creating and contributing to a sustainable and safe future for dance overall.
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 has a degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Dance. She is a Kindergarten teacher and 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.
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!!
Lisa has been with CSD for over 20 years! She has knowledge in both dance and office management. She will help you with any questions you may have regarding classes, online portal and tuition!
Lesley Fargnoli is a choreographer, educator, and dancer from Providence, RI. She studied a variety of styles from a young age at Cheryl’s School of Dance. She continued her dance education at Rhode Island College under the Helen Forman Talent Scholarship. Through her youth, she has trained with Danny Buraczeski, Mia Michales, Al Blackstone, Billy Griffin, and other notable choreographers. Lesley prides herself on remaining versatile with a knowledge of both concert and commercial dance. Lesley is also a graduate of the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston, where she received the Excellence in Ballet and the Faculty Choice awards. She has continued to educate young dancers around the country for nearly a decade.
Lesley has traveled the world seeing 28 countries through dance. She has worked with Holland America Line’s Step One Dance Company as a featured dancer and soloist. Locally, Lesley has performed in the RI Women’s Choreographer’s Benefit, Providence Ballet Theatre’s production of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Boston She Party’s 2nd season, and Konnectivity Dance Company’s Inaugural season. Lesley has performed works by William “Bill” Evans, Alexander Beller, David Parker, Bridgman and Packer, Teena Marie Custer, Erika Randall, Larry Keigwin, B.S. Movement, Randy James, and Bob Boross. Lesley appears in a variety of music videos including Eli Lieb’s “Boys Who Like Boys” and can be seen assisting classes on dancio.com for of instructors. She can additionally be seen in Hocus Pocus 2 under the direction of Anne Fletcher.
Lesley fell in love with dance during her years as a competitive dancer and now enjoys providing the same experience for the upcoming generation. She has choreographed award-winning routines, including first place national champions. Lesley has traveled the country working with the Star Dance Alliance for the past five years and currently serves as Associate Director of Imagine National Dance Challenge. In all areas of her work, she seeks to provide a safe, nurturing environment for dancers to learn and perform.
Shane Farrell is a choreographer, dancer, and educator from Providence, Rhode Island. His diverse dance training started at a family-owned dance school in North Providence, RI under the direction of Cheryl Trottier and continued at the Brae Crest School of Ballet, the official school of the State Ballet of 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 performed works by José Limón, Colin Connor, Maurice Causey, Kevin Jenkins, Rodney Rivera, Stephanie Martinez, Spencer Gavin Hering, Miki Ohlsen, Danielle Genest, Staycee Pearl, Scott Putman, Simona De Tullio, and Mark Harootian. Shane 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), and Sacred Heart University (CT) where he currently serves as guest faculty.
Shane is a master teacher with educational experience at universities, ballet schools, and elementary schools. Using a variety of pedagogical approaches, he has helped dancers of diverse backgrounds understand movement education. Please visit www.shanefarrell.org for additional information and up-to-date news on Shane Farrell.
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.
Hannah Grivers began dancing at Cheryl’s School of Dance when she was six years old and trained with CSD for 12 years. Throughout these years, Hannah trained in multiple styles including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, acro, contemporary, and modern. She also danced on the competitive team for 6 years, winning multiple high score and special awards.
Hannah is a 2015 graduate of the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Dance Teacher Training Program and received a scholarship for excellence in Ballet.
Hannah graduated from Assumption College in 2020 and was a member of the competitive dance team for 4 years, leading as a captain her senior year. Her team focused on the styles of pom, hip-hop, and lyrical. They competed both regionally and nationally at competitions like Universal Dance Association, National Dance Association, and Dance Team Union. Most notably, her team placed 1st in the nation in the Open Pom Division of the Dance Team Union College Classic in 2018 in Las Vegas, NV. Her team also placed in the top half of their division at the National Dance Association Competition in 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Hannah currently works at a biotechnology company in Norwood, MA, and is also excited to continue her dance career as a member of the CSD Faculty
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.