Staff Biographies

 

Miss. Linda Accardo, Artistic Director, has worked diligently alongside Miss. Gwenn since the beginning to insure the success of Backstage Studio. Her superb teaching techniques are evident through the BSD Company who consistently earns high honors in prestigious competitions. She has continued with her own dance education through the years with such masters as Germaine Salsberg, Lynn Schwab, Dianne Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Sand Man Sims, Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, the fantastic duo Avi Miller & Ofer Ben, Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon and Luigi. Her students have been honored with scholarships for Traditions in Tap, now known as the Big Apple Tap Festival. Miss. Linda believes in doing everything possible to ensure arts continue to be a respected profession by giving back to her community.  Miss. Linda represents the arts in career day for Comsewogue Elementary School and by volunteering her time teaching a ballet class for the Comsewogue High School Physics classes every year since 2007. She has also choreographed "West Side Story," "Fame" and "Guys & Dolls" for YEA (Youth Experiencing the Arts) Project.  Miss. Linda is a member of Dance Educators of America and has continued her dance education through Kentucky University and Broadway Dance Center. Miss. Linda creates an atmosphere of excellence and continues to bring her love and the best traditions of dance to her students.

 

Miss. Gwenn Capodieci, Artistic Director, uses her considerable talent to work together with Miss. Linda to run the highly successful Backstage Studio of Dance. With over 50 years of training and 35 years of teaching, Miss. Gwenn uses her performance experience on cruise ships, with Disney World and singing with the Marwick Opera Company to lead the stunning Backstage Studio of Dance Competition Team. Miss. Gwenn also believes in giving back to the community through projects like Believe In Long Island where she choreographed two featured numbers, choreographing for the Port Jefferson Dickens Festival and teaching a ballet class to the Comsewogue High School Physics classes every year since 2007. In addition, Miss. Gwenn was the Honorary National Coach for the Michigan State University Dance Team from 2007-2009 and the former President of the YEA (Youth Experiencing the Arts) Project where she has directed and/or choreographed "Oklahoma," "Suessical," "Fame," "West Side Story," "The Music Man" and "Guys & Dolls." Her professional regional credits include: "The Wizard of Oz," "West Side Story," "Grease," "Smokey Joes Cafe'," "Under the Bridge" (Long Island Premier of Kathy Lee Gifford's musical), "Singing in the Rain," "The Marvelous Wonderettes," and the list goes on. Miss. Gwenn has studied with many theater and dance legends such as Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon and the legendary Luigi. She studied at the highly acclaimed acting schools of Lee Strasberg and Herbert Berghof, is a member of Dance Educators of America and has continued her dance education through Kentucky University and Broadway Dance Center. Miss Gwenn loves what she does and continues to share her passion with her students every day. 

 

Miss. Nicole Terlizzo, Studio Manager, started her dance training at Backstage Studio of Dance when she was three years old. While growing up at the studio and forming lifelong friendships, she studied all forms of dance including Acrobatics, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Tap. From 2001-2008, Miss. Nicole was a member of the Backstage Studio of Dance Competition Team and competed each year across the tristate area. Miss. Nicole began teaching at Backstage Studio of Dance as a student teacher in 2005 and as an official teacher of her own classes in 2007. Upon graduating from Comsewogue High School in 2008, Miss. Nicole continued to teach multiple classes at Backstage Studio of Dance while attending Stony Brook University. From 2008-2012, Miss. Nicole was an active member of the Stony Brook Dance Team and voted Team Captain from 2011-2012. As a member of the Stony Brook Dance Team, Miss. Nicole choreographed the routines and performed at weekly football and basketball games. She also danced at multiple televised tournaments including venues such as Madison Square Garden and the UDA Collegiate National Dance Championships in Daytona, Florida. Upon graduating from Stony Brook University, Miss. Nicole received a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Miss. Nicole teaches Acrobatics, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Musical Theatre and Tap from Preschool and beginners to the highest advanced competitive levels. Miss. Nicole works with the current Backstage Studio of Dance Competition Team as a choreographer for multiple regional competitions and organizer of local charity performances. Backstage Studio of Dance is like a second home to Miss. Nicole and she loves being able to share her passion for dance with all of her students.

 
 

Miss. Pamela Strain, Media Manager, Found her love for dance at Backstage Studio of Dance where she began her training at the age of four.  She studied Acrobatics, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Tap. Ms. Pam started student teaching at the age of 12 and continued throughout high school all while being a member of the Backstage Studio of Dance Competition Team. From September 2001-June 2005, Ms. Pam was a member of the Longwood High School Lionettes Varsity Kickline and Dance Team. During her years on the team she was awarded numerous awards including MVP and made Captain her senior year. She was honored to have choreographed all of her team's routines that year for both football and basketball seasons. In 2010, Ms. Pam received a Bachelor's degree in Communication and Media Studies from Rutgers University. During her college years, she was very involved with the Rutgers Performing Dance Company (RPDC) where she performed, choreographed, and competed in many different pieces ; as well as, the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) where she was responsible for the advertising and marketing of all music events across all campuses. Since graduating from Rutgers University, Ms. Pam moved back to New York and began teaching at Backstage Studio of Dance as well as working for a production company that specializes in dance photography and videography. Ms. Pam is excited to be back with her dancing family that instilled her love and passion for dance as she hopes to do the same for her students. 

Ms. Kimberly McCann, Teacher

 

Miss. Paula Lattanza, Receptionist, first became a part of the Backstage Studio of Dance family as a dance mom in 1993. As all three of her daughters grew up dancing at the studio, Miss. Paula became more and more involved. In 2001, she became a competition dance mom as her oldest daughter, Miss Nicole, became a member of the team. In 2016, Miss Paula joined the Backstage Studio of Dance family as a staff member due to her loyalty over the years and incredible knowledge from costumes and make-up to juggling the schedules of all three of her dancers. She knows all the in's and out's of what it is like to be a committed member of Backstage Studio of Dance with over two decades of experience. Now, Miss Paula works at John F. Kennedy Middle School during the day before coming to the studio to work at the front desk in the evenings. She loves greeting all of our dancers and parents, but most of all, Miss. Paula loves being able to spend more time with her daughter at the studio.

 

Miss. Jessica Lombardi, Teacher, primarily runs the Irish Step and Special Needs programs at Backstage Studio of Dance. In addition, Miss. Jessica also teaches multiple other styles that include Jazz, Primary, Tiny Tots and Tap. Miss. Jessica has been a part of the local dance community for over 20 years. She began teaching in 2003 and has since then has trained dancers of all ages and levels in Ballet, Irish Step, Jazz, Preschool and Tap. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Stony Brook University and a Masters of Arts from St. Joseph’s College. As a result, Miss. Jessica is a New York State Certified Teacher in the subjects of Spanish and Special Education. Above all, Miss Jessica believes that dance has the potential to be a beautiful part of children’s lives as it will boost their confidence while giving them balance, strength and grace. 

 

Miss. Corinne Mansueto, Teacher, began dancing at Backstage Studio of Dance since the studio's opening year in 1985. Miss. Corinne was a member of the Backstage Studio of Dance Competition Team years and also assisted as a student teacher. After graduating high school, Miss. Corinne attended DeSales University as a Marketing/Management major, while still keeping active in the art of dance. In her senior year, she co-founded and choreographed for the DeSales University Dance Team that continues to perform at various sporting events today. After graduating college, Miss. Corinne returned to Backstage Studio of Dance as both a student and teacher. Today, she runs the Musical Theatre program, leads her students to numerous award winning competitions and local charity performances. Miss. Corinne believes that the most vital role she plays as a dance teacher stretches far beyond molding her students in their craft. She believes that some of the most valuable tools that a child can carry with them are a high level of self-confidence and the belief in one’s self, knowing that through hard work and dedication they can accomplish anything. Of course it is rewarding to watch all of one's students do well in the classroom and on the stage, but the true reward is to be able to watch your students grow into confident and self-assured young adults both on the dance floor and in life. That is the lesson Miss. Corinne learned from Directors Gwenn and Linda over so many years and that is the lesson she strives to instill in her students to this day.

 

Miss. Lori Olivari, Receptionist, first became a part of the Backstage Studio of Dance family when she brought her eager young daughter to begin her dance training with us in 1999. As her daughter grew up and soon became a member of the Backstage Studio of Dance Competition Team, Miss. Lori became more and more involved as every dance mom does. Now, as her daughter is off majoring in Dance & Performance Studies at Roger Williams University, Miss. Lori continues to work at our front desk treating every child like her own. She is a positive influence for all of our students and always willing to go out of her way to ensure that the needs of every child are taken care of. Miss. Lori is loved by the families of Backstage Studio of Dance and is highly respected for her vast knowledge that she has gained from her own experiences. She knows the ropes when it comes to preparing a new family to join Backstage Studio of Dance and it is a great feeling to know our studio has Miss. Lori to greet everyone with a smile.

 

Ms. Emilee Olivari, Teacher

 

Ms. Kelsea Adams, Teacher

 

Mr. Dante Mulraine, Teacher

 

Ms. Lisa Gartland, Teacher Assistant

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