Teaching the next generation of dancers & acrobats since 2012!
Teaching the next generation of dancers & acrobats since 2012!
Miss. Gabby Sparks-Marfyak
Miss. Laura Busk
Laura began dancing when she was five years old and, for the next 19 years, loved performing in dance shows and with local theatre groups. After college, and becoming an elementary school teacher, she decided to share her love of dancing with the children that she taught by gaining her teacher's certificates in ballet, tap and modern jazz with the British Theatre Dance Association (B.T.D.A). The wonderful thing about teaching is the chance to travel; Laura has taught in London, Shanghai and New York. During her time in Shanghai, she had her own dance school, alongside teaching her Grade 1 class. The students had a great time performing in annual displays and feeling the satisfaction of taking graded exams. After eight years in the classroom, Laura is now a stay-at-home mum to two gorgeous tots, Henderson and Skye. She still loves to perform, though, and most recently took to the stage as part of the ensemble in Young Frankenstein, at the Thomaston Opera House. You've probably guessed that Laura is not from Litchfield, Connecticut, or even the USA! Laura was born in England and grew up in Cambridge, about 1.5 hours North of London. So how did she end up here? Whilst working in China, she took a vacation to Australia, where she met her husband...who happens to be from Watertown!
Miss. Kate Martin-Fusco
Kate Martin-Fusco has been dancing for 25 years and teaching for 14, studying jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, hip hop, and more! She’s been certified by the Dance Educators of America in Jazz and Ballet, and is constantly working on finding new ways to teach and bring new experiences into her classroom. As a writer as well, she really enjoys bringing an element of “story” to her choreography. She’s performed locally in a number of shows, including A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Footloose, and Company; and she’s been the choreographer for Canterbury School’s spring musical for the past 13 years. When not dancing, Kate is writing, teaching writing, or mostly hanging out with her family—toddler daughter and husband! She has her BA in Elementary Education, and her MA and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction.
Miss. Katie Brunetto- Acting & Musical Theater
Katie has been a dancer for over twenty years and has studied at various studios throughout CT. Throughout her career, Katie has had the opportunity to study many genres of dance, including jazz, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, ballet, and musical theatre. As a student, Katie was a part of the Musical Theatre track at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, and is also an alumna of vocal coach Laura Mashburn, with whom she studied both Classical and Musical Theatre vocal performance and technique.
After graduating high school, Katie played the role of "Annie" in the '08-'09 National Tour of "Magic Tree House: The Musical," and continued to play the role of "Annie" in Magic Tree House's subsequent "Passport to Adventure" tours. Currently, Katie directs youth productions for the Warner Theatre Center for Arts Education Young Actors Series, and teaches classes at the WTCAE as well. Katie is also an active member of the theatre community and has performed in many productions with The Warner Theatre, Landmark Community Theatre, and The Goshen Players, among others.
Katie studied English at UCONN and holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from The University of Saint Joseph. Katie teaches high school English and is thrilled to be back in the Northwest Corner after living on the Connecticut coast for the past two years.
Hali Thorne- Irish Step Dance
Hali Thorne began dancing at age 4 in Danbury, CT. From there her love for dance only grew. By the age of 12, Hali won the New England Oireachtas and qualified for the World Irish Dance Championships. In her 19 years of dancing she has placed top 5 in North America five times, achieved sixth place in the All Ireland Championships, and was awarded 9th place in the entire World. Hali is the 8-time New England Irish Dance Champion and Senior Ladies Champion upon her retirement in 2016. She hopes to inspire dancers to follow their dreams and achieve their goals.
Coach Jason Taylor- Hip Hop
Jason began his training at the Harlem School for the Arts. In 2001 he moved to Connecticut where he trained at Footlights Center for Performing Arts and Connecticut Concert Ballet. He performed for three years with the acclaimed Hartford Stage "Breakdancing Sheakspeare' program. Jason teaches at numerous different studios throughout CT, and his choreography has been awarded prestigious awards at the regional and national level. Jason continues his training with the Monsters of Hip Hop and Broadway Dance Center in NYC and is currently performing with the Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience. We are so excited to welcome Jason to the SASD staff! We are suer his knowledge of hip hop and performance will aid in the growth of our dancers and their passion for dance!
Karis Bongiolatti- Jazz, Lyrical & Toddler Twirl
Those who have had the pleasure of meeting Karis know her undying love and passion for dance. Karis started her career with SASD at of 11, and danced for 7 years, 6 of which she was an important member of the SASD Competition Team. Assistant teaching classes since age 12, Karis has wanted to become a dance teacher for as long as we can remember. Now as a sophomore at CCSU, majoring in dance, she is in her 2nd year of teaching at her childhood studio!
At the height of her competitive career Karis, an advanced level Jazz/Lyrical Dancer, had been awarded numerous accolades for her accomplishments, including Title Awards, a variety of invitations to National Teams & Master Classes as well as Special Awards for her passion and technique, including Top Overall scores at regional and national competitions. She has performed at a wide array of events, including Citi Field (home of the Mets), Madison Square Garden, and numerous local venues as well.
When Karis isn't teaching at SASD or in the classroom at CCSU, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her sister Jacey who can be seen on the current SASD Competitive Team!
Miss. Malie Grasmere- Saturday Ballet
Malie has been ballet dancing for 44 years (!) She trained in the Russian Vaganova ballet method with Nutmeg Ballet until she was 17, and went off to the University of Oregon to continue her study of ballet, modern, therapeutic dance and theatre. After graduating, Malie moved back to CT and put her dancing and theatrical pursuits on hold to become a mother, gardener, and business owner for a landscaping company. Since 2012, Malie has returned to the dance studio and the stage. She has performed in numerous productions at the Warner Theatre and the Thomaston Opera house. At her home studio, Malie has for several years enjoyed teaching private dance/movement lessons to children and teens through sensory learning and student lead improvisational movement. Malie’s approach to teaching involves engaging in creative imagery, exploring purpose, and connecting with music, while introducing technique and terminology. She enjoys teaching dance to students of all ages, from pre-ballerina to adult.