Laura Foti, Owner/Artistic Director
Mrs. Foti received her early training under the director of Sylvia Clay of Clay School of Dance. Throughout her later training she was also taught by Laurie Clay (Boston Ballet), C. Larry Robertson (University of NH), and Michelle Tolson (Radio City Rockettes). She trained as an assistant dance instructor for seven years, eventually teaching locally at area studios. Hired by New Hampshire Academie of Dance in 2000, she became the principle instructor in 2001. She has participated in hundreds of master classes with such greats as Edward Vilella, Al Gilbert, Frank Hatchett, Leslie Browne, Janice Barringer, Joe Lanteri, Bob Rizzo, Pete Rose, David Howard, Debbi Dee, and many more. Mrs. Foti danced competitively in the Miss America program, earning enough money to fund almost her entire college education. She danced her way to the titles of Miss Manchester, Miss Nashua, Miss Merrimack, and Miss Greater Derry and was a finalist for the title of Miss New Hampshire. With twenty years of dance teaching experience, Mrs. Foti also holds business and computer degrees. She has been a member of the National Dance Education Organization, Professional Dance Teacher's Association and the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association .
Miss Laura believes that dancing schools teach much more than steps, and is most proud of the life lessons she sees being learned daily within the studio. While she is well known for her technical knowledge and methodical teaching, she is equally as well known for the fun classes she creates for our youngest dancers. You can find her working with all levels of dancers, from our "babies" to our seniors. She brings a love and enthusiasm for dance together with technical dance expertise that create an unequalled experience for her students.
Leo Donahue, Assistant Director
Mr Donahue has teaching for over 25 Years in jazz, tap, contemporary,yrical and hip hop. He has had the opportunity to study with many master Teachers like Savion Glover, Bob Rizzo, Frank Hatchett and Matt Mattox and has served as an Adjudicator and Director for the past 15 years for Regional and National Competitions.
His students have won many overall awards and have gone on to perform in Off Broadway Shows, on Cruise Lines, at Disney and with Modern Companies throughout the United States. Many of his students have received Scholarships to dance programs like Julliard, Walnut Hill, Boston Ballet and Alvin Ailey. Leo is very proud of his students and due to their understanding of his Choreography has enabled him to receivemany Choreography Awards.
Leo enjoys teaching Master classes and Choreography throughout the United States. In 2004, Leo had the honor of being the Choreographer for 96 dancers at a National level Finals. He believes that all
children who love to dance should have the opportunity to perform, compete or express themselves on stage. He also believes that through the art of dance, children gain a multitude of life skills which they carry throughout their lives.
Cheryl Donahue, Business Manager
Cheryl has been on both sides of the dance studio world for more than 30 years. She was a dance mom to two of her three daughters and learned the tricks and tips that she is famous for here at NHAD. Her husband is a former dance studio owner, and Cheryl became familiar with the office side of the business. A former Union Insurance representative, Cheryl's organizational skills are second to none. She is also an accomplished seamstress and is always helpful to everyone in our dance family providing services, instruction and advice. She is a born leader and is always at the ready to lend a hand.
Glenna Kurek, Office Manager
Glenna has been involved in dance for over 40 years. She started dancing at the age of 3 becoming a competitive dancer herself. Her daughter, Josie, started dancing at age 2 and they both became members of the NHAD family in 2009. After college, Glenna joined the Air Force and went on to have 4 children ( 2 boys & 2 girls). Glenna loves teaching and spent about 15 yrs as the Education and Programs Coordinator at the SEE Science Center in Manchester NH. After volunteering at every recital after her daughter graduated, she joined the office staff at NHAD in 2019. In April of 2022, Glenna married her high school sweetheart who swept her away to live in Seattle WA but unable to stay away they moved back to NH just a year later. Going back to her love of teaching, Glenna took a job at Easterseals working with the residential students in the classroom. She is very excited to be back with her NHAD family and looks forward
to seeing everyone's smiling faces and help out wherever she can!
Barbara Jones, Office Staff
Barbara has been in the dance world as a competitive dance mom for over 20 years. Her daughter, Samantha, grew up dancing at NHAD. She has gained extensive knowledge about all aspects of the dance studio world, competitions and the work that goes into them. Barbara studied Criminal Justice and is in her 36th year serving the town of Londonderry as a Police Dispatcher and Records Coordinator. She has joined the NHAD staff as part of the Office Team and is always a friendly face and a willing hand to help and answer any questions that you have!
Kelly’s dance training began as a child at local recreational and competitive studios in Massachusetts before earning her Bachelor’s degree in dance from Dean College. Upon graduating from college, Kelly moved to NYC where she has since been a member of multiple NYC tap companies and had some wonderful opportunities to perform and choreograph in New York. Some of her favorite experiences include; performing at Lincoln Center in Alan Onickel’s “Miles of Styles”, being Dance Captain of the Professional New York #Taplife company and the Head Captain of the pre-professional #Taplifetoo companies, overseeing many locations including New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, Choreographing and performing for the Inaugural NYC Mardi Gras event, and being the co-Artistic director of The Astoria Tap Crew. Kelly has been a company member of other professional NYC Tap companies including Undertoe Dance Project and Ya’el tap where she has choreographed and performed in many festivals such as The Tap Dance Day festival in NYC, the DC Tap and Jazz festival, NYC Holi Hai color festival and the Annual Astoria dance Festival. Kelly has also had the privilege of teaching Tap at New York City’s Broadway Dance Center, Peridance Center, Dance Masters of America chapter 26, and assisting Anthony LoCascio in teaching for the Big Apple Tap Festival, as well as teaching and choreographing for many dance studios in and outside of NYC. She is currently a proud member of Noa Barankin’s DrumatiX company based out of Boston, MA which has given her the opportunity to share her love of dance and percussion with audiences all throughout New England.
Miss Kelly will be teaching Intermediate and Advanced Tap this season, as well as joining our Preschool Faculty! Welcome, Miss Kelly!!!
Holly grew up in Hooksett, NH where she started her dance career at the age of 3. She has had many opportunities to train with teachers and choreographers around the nation. Holly has a very strong background in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and modern and extensive knowledge and exposure to the world of competitive dance. Holly also participated in young choreographer and won high scores for her choreography in high school. Holly graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a double concentration in Ballet and Jazz. While at Point Park, Holly had the privilege to study with many amazing teachers and choreographers and performed in “Under-wear” by Pearlann Porter, “The Bench” by Kiesha Lalama-White, and “Faculty Show” by Ron Tassone. Holly is now judging both regional and national dance competitions, and loves seeing the different style and talent around the United States. Holly has an extensive amount of teaching experience and looks forward to inspiring and encouraging each of her students to find the love of dance the way she has.
Allyson is a choreographer and dance educator with more than 18 years of teaching experience in all major forms of dance. Dancing since age three, she began assisting classes at 12 and teaching at 16. After graduating high school, she moved to NYC to train with industry professionals at the Broadway Dance Center and studied the Zena Rommett Floor Barre Technique for corrective body alignment and injury prevention at Broadway Dance Center and at STEPS on Broadway. Allyson is most influenced by her modern training under artists from the former Dance Space Center in SoHo (currently known as Dance New Amsterdam) where she also studied anatomy and kinesthetic body awareness.
Allyson successfully owned and operated Artistic Ballet and Creative Dance in Hampstead, NH for 8 years before marrying her husband and raising their two daughters. She is currently on staff at Phantom Gymnastics in Hampstead, NH where she coaches dance and choreographs competitive floor routines for NH State Champion gymnasts training in USAG Junior Olympic Program. Allyson is a graduate of the Dance Teachers Club of Boston Dance Education Training Course, a member of American Alliance and New Hampshire Alliance for Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD and NHAHPERD), and the National Dance Association (NDA). She was certified in Leap 'N Learn in 2012. Allyson continues her own dance training by attending classes in NY and Boston, as well as dance conventions and professional educator seminars across the Northeast. Her creative ideas and choreographic style have earned numerous gold medals, overall high score awards, and special judges awards.
Theo Martinez is originally from Nashua NH, and began dancing at age 7. He began dance as a self-taught Hip Hop dancer by watching and learning from, Michael Jackson, and MTV music videos- dancing on playgrounds, parties, and school dances all the way through high school. Later on, he fell in love with the dance style known as ‘House dance’ and immersed himself in the culture, freestyle/improvisational dance element, and the music. While teaching classes in gyms and various studios, he decided to get
trained in ballroom dance, and eventually turned his passion for dance into his own business, HTM Dance- focusing on Hip Hop and its many styles, and ballroom/partner dancing. His focus is Hip Hop competitive/recreational/solo dance, wedding dance choreography, adult ballroom student showcases,and competitive and professional ballroom dance. He has performed and choreographed with dance companies such as Urbanity, B-Side, Tribe, Triple Threat, Ipswich Moving Company, and the St. Jude
Performance Team- and has danced at Jacobs Pillow, Alvin Ailey, St. Jude Hospital, Boston Contemporary Festival, and Boston Salsa Festival.
Theo has worked in adult and teen community theater, choreographed for theatrical productions of Swing and Smokey Joes Café, also performed in 42 Street, and Ragtime. He has also worked in after-school dance programs independently, and also through the D.A.R.E organization. He has taught for the city of Nashua’s outdoor public event ‘Dancing in the Park’, and taught wedding dance programs for over 100 people at a time. He loves connecting with people, detailing the power and beauty of dance. His unique style and approach of choreography have won many awards and are loved by audiences who have seen
Miss Shannon has been dancing for 18 years. She started at the age of 3 and shortly after started competing. She competed until the age 18 when she graduated from high school. While still taking classes, she taught and helped with assisting classes. She then went on to attend the University of New Hampshire to pursue a Dance Bachelors in the fine arts as well as Business Administration. During her 4 years of undergrad, she discovered aerial. Her love and passion for aerial grew every day and she knew that she wanted to teach it one day. Miss Shannon’s favorite style of dance is jazz, though she was trained in jazz, modern, lyrical, ballet, pointe, contemporary, acro, hip hop, and tap. She also helped teach several classes during her college years. Miss Shannon was born to dance and to teach and she is beyond excited to be a part of the NHAD family!
Amanda s started dancing at the age of five and has been doing what she loves ever since. She is a New Hampshire Academie of Dance alumna spending eight years in the Dance Company training with Laura Foti and Leo Donahue and competing around New England. Amanda spent several years under the direction of Laura assisting in her classes and working with the younger students. Over the years Amanda has attended numerous workshops and conventions to expand her knowledge in both choreography and technique. Amanda just finished her Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education with a certification in Special Education. She is continuing on to obtain her Masters in Curriculum Instruction and Educational Leadership.
Sarah-Beth Smith has been a lifelong student of classical ballet. She has studied extensively both in the United States and abroad. Ms. Smith performed professionally with The Compania Nacional del Danza, The Paris Opera Ballet, and Boston Ballet. She has also trained in modern dance Limon, Graham, and Horton methods. She danced with the Prometheus Dance Company and Limon Dance company. Sarah-Beth holds a masters degree from The Boston Conservatory and is a respected teacher throughout the Boston and Southern NH areas. She is a noted choreographer and has created and staged many ballets including The Nutcracker, Sleepy Hollow, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Titanic, Alice in Wonderland, and The Hobbit to name a few. Sarah-Beth was the owner and artistic director of Gate City Ballet in Nashua, NH for 15 years and continues to share her love and passion for ballet with students from multiple studios in the area and is excited to share the joy of dance and movement with the next generation.
Sarah is a passionate and exuberant ballet teacher in Northern Massachusetts, where she has resided her whole life. After graduating summa cum laude from Dean College, where she earned her BA in both Dance and Arts and Entertainment Management, she decided to dedicate her life to teaching dance to the upcoming generations. During her studies at Dean, she participated in various disciplines including Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Horton, Tap, Hip Hop, and Ballroom. Additionally, she focused on the anatomy of dancers through Bartinieff fundamentals, anatomy classes, and working with her athletic trainer.
Originally trained at New England Civic Ballet under the direction of Roshni Pecora and Phyllis George, Sarah has performed in many ballet productions in both soloist and corps roles, including Mouse Queen and Spanish in The Nutcracker, and as Sleepy in Snow White. While at Dean, Sarah was also cast in multiple pointe companies and was asked to be a part of the restaging of William Evans' "Ritmos de la Tierra" to be performed as part of a William Evans production. Additionally, Sarah was selected multiple times to be a choreographer for the New Dancer Showcase for freshmen dance majors at Dean. Notable teachers include Jill Silverman, Laura Young, Todd Shanks, Kristina Berger, Jeremy Ruth Howes, Roshni Pecora, William Evans, and Adrianne Hawkins.
Sarah is teaching at various schools in the New England area, working with both competitive and noncompetitive students, promoting the love and appreciation of ballet as both a sport and an art form. Sarah is excited to continue sharing her passion for ballet and terrible puns with her students!
Hope Johnson - Apprentice
Bio coming soon!!