Our Staff Makes the Difference!
Our instructors have trained with the best in the industry. It is that training paired with our passion, which helps us to stand out amongst our competition and foster excellence within our students.
Choosing the right instructor is crucial to your child’s future success as a dancer. Bad habits learned at a young age are extremely hard to break. Our instructors focus on proper placement and key fundamentals with an emphasis on clean lines,strength and stability.
Fallon White - Owner & Director
Fallon White has been a part of the Danceworks Family for 26 years. She began her journey, as a student, studying under Margaret Tapgona Gatzonis. By age 15, Fallon, was training and choreographing competitive soloists and in 2001, she was awarded her first, national choreography award. A LaGuardia HS graduate, Fallon received training from the industry’s leading instructors in ballet and modern dance. She has traveled as a dance ambassador, to Beijing, China in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. Professionally, Fallon has danced & choreographed for recording artists 702 & Reina. She has also, choreographed for WKTU’s Summer Beatstock in back to back summer productions. Fallon has been interviewed and published in "Dance Spirit" magazine, as well as "Interview En l'air." You can read her expose with En l'air here: http://www.interviewenlair.com/fallon-white/ In addition to being a studio owner, instructor & choreographer, Fallon works as an adjudicator for multiple talent competitions on the east coast.
Teaching has always been Fallon’s passion. In 2008, Fallon, acquired Danceworks Dance Center from her mentor & founder, Margaret Tapogna Gatzonis. Since then, she has worked to expand the Danceworks brand, while keeping roots in the true essence of what makes the studio stand apart from others. Many of Fallon’s students have transitioned in to the professional field, dancing on stage with the Ailey and Lar Lubovitch Companies. They’ve also danced & cheered for minor and major league NY sports teams, including the NY JETS.
Fallon is pleased to announce the expansion of the Danceworks brand, as she's acquired a second studio in Howard Beach, Queens. This expansion has been a dream come true, as Fallon strives to bring her love of dance to students everywhere.
Joelle Nicole Messina - Artistic Director
Joelle Nicole began her training at Danceworks Dance Center in 1994. As her passion for dance grew she went on to attend & graduate from NYC’s premiere high school for the performing arts; LaGuardia High School of Music & Art & The Performing Arts. After high school, Joelle worked as a fellowship student at the one & only Ailey School in NYC where she had the honor of performing Ailey's "Memoria" alongside the Ailey Company for two consecutive seasons. Professionally, Joelle has traveled and danced with the SD Prism Dance Theater, DeMa Dance Company, Xhale Dance Company and Michael Susten & Company. She has performed works by: Milton Myers, Sidra Bell, Adam Barruch, Pedro Ruiz Jr, Sonia Dawkins, Yesid Lopez, Tyce Diorio, Tracie Stanfield, KC Castellano and Michael Susten.
Joelle has over 20 years experience on the competition scene, as a competitor, choreographer and adjudicator. As an instructor, Joelle encourages her students to strive for excellence and nothing less. She has trained many young dancers and helped them to prepare and successfully receive admission to their “dream” specialized Junior High & High School dance programs, including Mark Twain JHS & LaGuardia HS. Joelle’s choreography is consistently recognized and at both, regional and national dance competitions, including back to back grand national wins for her choreography, in 2017 & 2018. As the head of our company ballet program, the studios recognition for "Best Technique" (2016 & 2019) is much accredited to her vast knowledge and exceptional teaching skillset in the ballet genre.
Joelle is excited to celebrate not only her sixth season as the Artistic Director of Danceworks, but her first as
Co-Director at Stanford Dance Studio in Howard Beach, Queens. (Danceworks' sister studio) and wishes all of her students a successful year of dance!
Lu Cuadra - Hip Hop & Jazz Funk
Lu Cuadra is a choreographer and artist based out of NYC. He has trained under some of New York and California's most well known and accredited dance teachers. He is a proud member of the Kelly Peter Dance Company and has trained, performed and toured with them since the beginning of 2010.
Lu has worked and choreographed pieces for companies, studios, numerous schools and universities nationwide. His choreography is a fusion of all his favorite things from each style and places he's studied. Always dancing with a purpose and focused on the craft.
Nicole Garofano - Ballet, Jazz & Tap
Nicole began her training, with Margaret Gatzonis, Fallon White & Joelle Messina at Danceworks, when she was 3 years old. She is a proud graduate of LaGuardia High School (2011) & Long Island University (Brooklyn) in 2015. Where, she received a bachelors of Fine Arts in dance. Nicole was a member, of the charitable company, The All Star Dance Company, under the direction of Lu Cuadra. Nicole was a 5 time, Brooklyn Cyclone Beach Bum. 4 of those years, she also served as their captain and choreographer. Most recently, she was a part of the Westchester Knicks Dub Squad!
At Danceworks, Nicole, had been a class assistant, for 10 seasons before she became an instructor, in 2011. She has choreographed for the competitive team, since 2012 and received her first choreography nomination for her jazz production, "Im Every Woman" at Access Broadway's Grand Nationals, this past July.
In addition to teaching, Nicole works as a physical therapist assistant and continues to work towards her life-goal, of becoming a physical therapist.
Heather Pecorella - Company Technique & Hip Hop
Heather, a LaGuardia High School graduate, started her training at age three, before joining Danceworks Dance Center at 12 years old. During her time as a student at Danceworks, Heather accumulated numerous prestigious awards including "Miss Legacy 2013" & "Capezio's Dancer of the Year" at Starbound Nationals 2013. Heather transitioned into the professional world as a New York Jets Flight Crew Cheerleader. She has also performed as a backup dancer for Radio City Music Hall's "Freestyle and Old School Extravaganza", "I Love 90s Dance Concert”, "The New York Freestyle Reunion Dance Party" & "Decades of Dance." She has worked with numerous recording artists including Deborah Cox, Havana Brown, Mia Martina, Robin S, Giorgio, C&C Music Factory, Judy Torres, Aubrey, Sergio, Coro, Amber, Lucas Prata, Rockell, Cynthia, Gary Pine, Alicia, and Nayobe.
Heather pushes her students to achieve their absolute best and believes that hard work is the key to success. She is a passionate teacher and brilliant choreographer & is excited to be teaching at the place which always felt like home to her. Heather is also a certified real estate agent in addition to choreographing for studios throughout the 5 boroughs.
Valentina Pernicone - Hip Hop
Valentina, has been a part of the Danceworks family since she's three years old. Training under Fallon White and Joelle Messina, Valentina was a decorated company member and graduated in 2013.
During her time as a competitive dancer, Valentina received numerous awards for her extraordinary style and undeniable passion. She was the recipient of our Lucy Tapogna Scholarship and Paul Morelli Humanitarian Award upon graduation. After 3 seasons as an assistant instructor, Valentina, took on her own hip hop classes and created some the most memorable hip hop routines in Danceworks history. Most recently, her trio "Finesse" was the third highest scoring junior duet/trio at Access Broadway's 2019 Grand Nationals.
Valentina is a graduated FIT and has a bachelors of science in fashion business management, as well as a minor in english.
Marisa Finazzo - Elementary Ballet, Tap & Hip Hop
Marisa, has been a proud member of Danceworks Dance Center, since the age of three and graduated as a company member in 2016. Marisa, was a genuine and heartfelt performer and an essential part of her team at Danceworks. She graduated from Edward R. Murrow High school (2015,) as a theater arts student and participated in many shows as a lead dancer and dance captain.
Since graduation Marisa has danced as a Brooklyn Cyclones Beach Bum for two seasons, a Brooklyn Bolts cheerleader and a Westchester Knicks Dancer. Currently she is celebrating her third season as part of the NY Jets Flight Crew, dancing and cheering for the pro NY Jets. Marisa, is also a certified beauty and fashion makeup artist.
Marisa is an enthusiastic and encouraging instructor. Regardless of their age or level, every child leaves the room feeling good about themselves after a class with Miss Marisa.
Sandra Kluge - Company Tap
We're excited to have Miss Sandra back on our team & dance family, this season!
Sandra Kluge was hailed by Travis Knights as “one of the finest tap dancers of her generation.” She has performed in Thomas Marek's show NOLA, at the Tap Ahead Festival at tanzhaus nrw (Düsseldorf), and at various venues around NYC, including Symphony Space, LPAC, and Judson Church. Her current main project is Neosole, which explores tap as a full member of the rhythm section, not just soloing as a gimmick on top of the music, but being fully integrated, comping and providing a foundation for the musical context.
She has been invited to teach at renowned facilities such as tanzhaus nrw, tap club, and Spoke The Hub, and to be a teaching artist in residence at Thomas Marek's Studio Footprints. Sandra has recently been awarded a Music Omi Fellowship.
Marissa Pugliese - Elementary Ballet, Tap & Hip Hop
Marissa discovered her passion for dance, at Danceworks Dance Center. Training under Fallon White & Joelle Messina, Marissa, has dominated the competitive dance world since she was six years old. Her ability to command the stage, paired with her outstanding technical ability had always scored her amongst the top 5% at any competitions, she'd attend. Marissa holds multiple regional and national titles, including, Senior Miss On Stage America, which she won in her final pre-professional competition, in July 2017.
Marissa is a proud graduate of the prestigious LaGuardia High School, in NYC. She currently attends LIU (Brooklyn), as a double major in dance and business. Professionally, Marissa has worked as a model for Body Wrappers Dance Wear. She aspires to have a career in commercial dance, before opening her own dance brand & studio in the future.
Marissa is excited to kick off her second season, as an instructor at Danceworks this fall and looks forward to sharing her love and knowledge of dance with our future diamond dancers!