A locally trained professional dancer and choreographer who studied under E. Virginia Williams and Lynne Simonson and performed in Peter Goss Compagnie de Danse and Matt Mattox JazzArt Company, Joanne began teaching classes in the area in the mid-1970s. When she opened the Joanne Langione Dance Center in 1976, it was the first “family center” in Newton. Over the course of those early years she designed a program based on her background in dance and choreography that combines sound training, artistry, discipline, performance and fun to a wide range of students. Though it is constantly evolving and modernizing, that program continues to form the core of JLDC’s approach to dance, to teaching and to character building. A recipient of the Elsa H. Kemp Memorial Award in teaching, Joanne has taught Ballet and Jazz technique at all levels and holds the Teacher’s Advanced Professional Certificate from The Dance Teacher’s Association of Boston affiliated with the American Society.
Meli Currie joined JLDC in 2003 and was appointed Managing Director in 2007 and today serves as Director overseeing the schools’ training and creative process. In addition, Ms. Currie is head of Faculty and Students serving as school principal managing all level classes and performances and has created a vision that inspires JLDC education teams to do their best work. Meli has spent her career dedicated to teaching and mentoring students of all ages. Using her background in education and psychology and teaching experience, Meli has earned the respect and devotion of a generation of JLDC students. During Meli’s tenure at JLDC, she has produced JLDC’S Senior Solo Performance Concert, SeniorSpeak for the past ten years. As a choreographer, Meli has created ballet performance productions highlighting students of the JLDC middle school preparatory program. Meli directs the JLDC Student Wellness Initiative that allows students to learn the discipline of dance in healthy ways while forming strong peer relationships. Ms. Currie serves on the JLDC Board of Directors.
Meli began her dance studies in a strict ballet environment in which she excelled. This advanced training at an early age afforded her full scholarship to NYC’s Joffrey Ballet Company Trainee Program in her early teens. Once in New York Meli began to seek out other opportunities in dance genres conducive to her changing body and mindset which led her to study ballet and modern in New York City with David Howard and Finis Jung.
While a dance major at U. Mass Amherst under Andrea Watkins, Meli received her BFA with honors in Dance Technique and Theory. Meli was an instructor in the Dance Dept. of Harvard University for 3 years.
Jaime Endreny leads the school as Executive Director, having joined in 2015 after a wide range of experiences leading arts organizations. Jaime’s vision for JLDC is to expand its reach while continuing the school’s traditions. As you enter the halls of JLDC’s state-of-the-art facility you’ll be greeted by the historic photo gallery that she curated.
Prior to joining JLDC, Jaime served as Executive Director of The Center for Architecture Foundation, New York for six years where she created Arts programs for over 5000 New York City school age children each year. She held previous positions with NYC Clifford Ross Studio, the Brooklyn Arts Council and Providence CityArts Council. Jaime is a graduate of Colby College and New York University, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service with an MPA in Arts Management.
Jaime began her training with her mom, Joanne at JLDC and continued at Concord Academy under Richard Colton and Amy Spencer, former members of Twyla Tharp Dance. Jaime continued her dance training at Colby spending summers in NYC at Alvin Ailey School for intense training in ballet and modern. Her daughter Livia now represents the third generation of JLDC dancers in the family.
Jennifer Snyder was invited to join JLDC in 2001 and today serves as Artistic Director. Jen heads upper school curriculum development and performance refining levels of technique for advanced students. Jen also directs performances in the JLDC School for Excellence and oversees JLDC recital programs. Jen spotlights JLDC as a leader in student-centered performance by directing each year a Winter Concert program which features SFE students with guest professionals – a highlight for JLDC SFE Students. She also heads the Teacher Assistant Training Program under Faculty in the school. Jen is head resident choreographer mentoring new teachers in the choreographic process. She heads the JLDC Competitive Dance program aligning chosen competitions with JLDC’s mission of creating well rounded dancers in a wide range of students. She has choreographed original works for Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, and University of New Hampshire dance departments.
Jen trained at the Hackworth School of Performing Arts in Easthampton, MA. She moved to New York City to continue her training under many great teachers such as Mia Michaels, Michelle Assaf and Sheila Barker. While in NYC she performed in MIA Live, choreographed by Mia Michaels. Life brought her to Boston, MA where she performed for Adrienne Hawkins and began teaching. In 2012, Jen was invited to become Faculty of the Generation IV, a nationally recognized advanced student summer workshop held at Smith College and is now a member of its creative team. To Jen, becoming a teacher /mentor has been a wonderful gift allowing her to share her love and passion for the art of dance with so many wonderfully talented people while being inspired to create every day. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Jen’s daughter Scarlett in now a student of dance at JLDC.
Lisa joined JLDC in 2013 and today serves as the Director of Early Childhood Program. Lisa creates age-appropriate curriculum that enables students to learn proper dance technique while having fun. She continues to develop JLDC’s flagship toddler program, PLAYDANCEtm featured on Channel 2 “What Every Baby Knows” with Dr T Berry Brazelton in 1990. She also heads JLDC Community Outreach Incentive developing the JLDC Dance Me A STORYtm for Newton Parks, Libraries and Childcare Centers. Lisa is a partner in the Teacher Assistant Training Program working with JLDC pre-school Faculty to enrich the JLDC Early Dance Education Program. Lisa heads JLDC Special Events allowing our students and the community to explore many styles of dance and ways they can find their passion in dance.
Lisa began dancing at the age of 3 at Karen Jean White School of Dance continuing her love and passion for dance at Dean College, where she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance in 2014. After College, she performed with Ballet Art’s Worcester, Kinetic Synergy Dance Company, and the Ipswich Moving Company.
Lisa is the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Boston Based dance company, Evolve Dynamicz. Evolve presents works throughout New England including NACHMO Boston, Southern Vermont Dance Festival, Boston Dance Theater’s trainee showcase of BTDx, and the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival. Evolve has produced three full length shows, SPACES: an Evolve Dynamicz Production (2017), circumnavigation (2018), and LUCIDITY (2019).
Assistant Artistic Director
Amanda was invited to join the JLDC creative team in 2015 and today is assistant to the Artistic Director. She handles all aspects of JLDC performance and serves as assistant rehearsal mistress for all JLDC productions along with teaching advanced technique classes. As assistant to the Competitive Dance Program, Amanda coaches students to do their best in a fun and challenging way. As a LCSW, with a master’s degree in Sociology from Boston College, Amanda works with students outside the classroom under the Director’s Wellness Initiative, a mentoring program promoting superior student health habits and strong peer relationships. In conjunction with DWI, Amanda directs JLDC Dance Free Fridays a student- centered program for all age dancers to come together to explore movement and express themselves. In 2017, Amanda created an original piece for The Dance’s Dream Fund and was featured at a New Jersey Devils National Hockey League Game.
Growing up 20 minutes from New York City, Amanda was drawn to the world of dance and theater. She began dancing at the age of 2 in New Milford, New Jersey training in all genres of technique. As an advanced student, and beginning choreographer, Amanda was given the opportunity to perform at The Joyce Theater and The Young Choreographers Festival. Since then, she has dedicated her time to taking and teaching dance classes. With her background in sociology, clinical experience, and teaching she is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge of the discipline of dance as a way of life with the future generation of dancers.
Katie Judge Couilliard began teaching ballet at JLDC to students of all ages and levels inspiring skill development and a love of ballet and contemporary in each of them. While continuing as ballet mistress, Katie assumed her role of JLDC Studio Administrator in 2019. She and her staff work diligently to manage student and parent services from enrollment through performance.
Katie received her early dance training at the Dance Workshop of Hanover, under the direction of Marylou Cunningham. A model student, Katie thrived in dance and was selected to assist Ms. Cunningham’s advanced classes throughout high school. Katie excelled in performance particularly “en pointe” often chosen to partner guest professionals to the Dance Workshop.
Katie holds a BFA (summa cum laude) in ballet and pedagogy from the University of Hartford’s, Hartt School, where she performed original works by George Balanchine and Martha Graham. The Hartt School Dance faculty commissioned a solo piece by Terence Marling for Katie to be performed at the American College Dance Association’s New England Regional Conference. Katie furthered her training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Katie’s early teaching experience led to an appointment by the Hartt School Community Division and the University of Hartford Magnet School to become Dance Director of the Hartt Community Division’s Prism Project, a performing arts program for students with exceptionalities.
Gabrielle teaches Acrodance at JLDC. She was a choreographer and director of Sarabande Dance Ensemble, a ballet, jazz, and contemporary group out of Tufts University. She was also a dancer/choreographer for Spirit of the Creative, an urban dance group. She recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts with bachelor’s degrees in Biopsychology and French. She spent summers in the all-star division at the New England Summer Dance Camp, where she trained under choreographers Courtney Ortiz and James Washington. Gabrielle trained under Jeanette Neill as part of the summer Boston Youth Moves program. Gabrielle was born and raised nearby in Natick, MA. She began dancing at the Greater Boston School of Dance at the age of 2 and took her training to the next level when she began competing at age 12. Gabrielle is trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, acrobatics, lyrical, tap, musical theatre, and hip hop. She is currently working in an Alzheimer’s Research lab at MIT in the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Gabrielle sees dance as an important outlet for self-expression, discovery, and overall well-being and something that must be shared with future generations.
Michelle teaches beginner to intermediate-advanced hip hop at JLDC. She received her BFA in Dance at UMass Amherst in 2016 under the direction of Thomas Vacanti and Paul Dennis. During her collegiate dance career, she performed works by Sidra Bell, John Heginbotham, Ellenore Scott, Leslie Frye-Maietta, Erica Wilson-Perkins, Brendan Drake, Rebecca Steinberg and Betsi Graves. She has received additional training from Urbanity Dance Company in 2013 and 2014, and Helen Pickett in 2016. Michelle currently dances with Static Noyze Dance Company; a hip-hop company based in Boston, Mass. With Static Noyze, Michelle has performed forHot 96.9 Boston, Converse ®, Venu Nightclub and more. This year, she completed her 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified teacher training through Barre & Soul Yoga Studio in Brookline, Ma. Michelle is currently the Hip Hop Dance Team coach for Newton South High School. She is passionate about continuing her performance, choreographic and teaching career.
Haylee Denham teaches modern dance at JLDC, School for Excellence and is a recent dual-degree graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Commonwealth Honors College. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a neuroscience concentration. Haylee also received two letters of specialization in Developmental Disabilities and Human Services (DDHS) as well as Civic Engagement and Public Service (CEPS). Throughout college, Haylee was an active member of the Boltwood Project where she cultivated relationships and engaged in activities with individuals of various developmental and intellectual differences; this program emphasized dance as a tool for interpersonal connection. She was also the co-president of UMass student dance groups including UMass Dance Company and Alive with Dance where she choreographed, held open classes, and took on administrative roles. Haylee believes that dance can be used to create positive change in the world and promote overall wellness for all individuals. She lives by the motto that dance is for everyone.
Isla Niezgoda, JLDC’s resident tap Meister grew up dancing in Chicago and Minneapolis where she trained in many styles of dance where her focus became rhythm tap. She joined Keane Sense of Rhythm Youth Tap Ensemble in 2004 and was a founding member of the Keane Sense of Rhythm Young Professional Company. Isla has had the opportunity to study tap dance under Lane Alexander, Jason Samuels Smith, Jason Janas, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Sam Weber, and many more. She has performed around the United States as well as abroad and has been teaching both competition and recreational tap dance since 2010 at dance studios in Minnesota, Ohio, and Massachusetts. Her choreography has earned numerous honors. When Isla is not teaching tap at JLDC, she takes her daughter Josie to JLDC Babydancetm.
Rene has taught in the JLDC Early Dance Education Program for over 15 years and has been a dance educator in the Boston Public Schools for over a decade and a graduate of the Arts in Education Master’s Program at Harvard University. Her choreography has been featured on HGTV’s Spontaneous Construction, as well as an episode of StyleBoston. Her philanthropic flashmob, titled Flashmob for Vision, was featured in the film, For Boston, and by everydayhealth.com as one of ten most inspiring flashmobs. In high school, she performed with Boston Public Schools’ All City Dance Company. She fell in love with performing and went on to earn a BFA in Dance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Afterwards, Rene moved to New York where she studied intensely with Lynn Simonson and became certified in the Simonson Method, an anatomically aware jazz dance technique. In New York, Rene performed with Memento Dance, Wasatch Dance Collective, and Diane McCarthy. She co-produced such notable concert series as In the Company of Men, Raw Material, and Works in Progress. Continuing in her mother’s footsteps, Rene’s daughter Ally studies dance and theater at NYU Tish School of the Arts and is a proud graduate of JLDC.
Justine Picarello teaches Contemporary and Jazz at JLDC. She trained at the Performing Arts Inc. in Sterling, MA under Michelle Edgar and The Academy of Dance Arts where she was a part of the two-time national champion competition team. Her awards include the Teen Critics’ Choice Award and the National Entertainment Award at Onstage New York regionals and nationals. Justine continued to dance after college and was a member of Alia Pro Dance Company under the direction of Katelyn Murphy. Justine also spent time dancing in NYC for Hayden Frederick. Her most recent performance credits include The Giving Tree 2016, Pushing Progress 2017, Sybarite 2017, and Hatch 2018. Justine received her BFA in Massachusetts and Adrienne Hawkins. During college Justine found her knowledge to help produce the next generation of dancers. She became known for her choreography in many styles and won numerous honors at regional and national competitions.
Michelle was invited to join JLDC Early Education program in 2017 and now serves as assistant in the JLDC Community Outreach program teaching hundreds of JLDC preschoolers. Michelle also works as parent liaison for all JLDC programming and special events.
Michelle began dancing at the age of 2 at the Karen Jean White Dance Studio where she was trained all genres of dance technique. Michelle graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Performance Studies and a minor in Biology from Roger Williams University. While in college, she had the opportunity to work with numerous guest artists including Christina Robson, Jenny Rocha, and Sean Curran. Michelle fell in love with costuming while studying dance in London for several months where she worked with local artists Jorge Cresis, Katie Lusby, Freddie Opoku-Addaie, and Steven Pelton. In school, Michelle performed in Dance Theatre, Alive Arts, various site- specific installations, and Basement Series. Since graduating, she has collaborated with colleagues on numerous projects for the Built- On- Stilts Festival on Martha’s Vineyard, Somerville Art Beats Festival, and residencies with On-Stage Dance Company.
Ashly teaches in the JLDC Early Dance Education Program. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University, fortunate to study the teachings of iconic dance movement specialist Norma Canner. Ashly has been teaching kindergarten for eight years in Arlington Public Schools.
She is a member of The Dance Teacher’s Association of Boston and The American Society as well as the National Dance Council of America. Ashly was raised on the South Shore where she began dancing at the Duval Dance Studio at age 3. Ashly danced through high school and went on to earn her BFA in Dance Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst under the direction of Thomas Vacanti, Billbob Brown, and Paul Dennis. After college, She performed with Onstage Dance Company. Years later, echoing her mother’s love for dance, Ashly’s daughter Brielle is now a JLDC student!
Goldie Walberg teaches beginner through intermediate-advanced ballet at JLDC. She grew up in Sherman Oaks, California where she studied at The Los Angeles Ballet Academy. She received scholarships to Houston Ballet, Harid Conservatory, and Pacific Northwest Ballet where she attended Summer Intensive Programs. In 2012, Goldie received the Royal Academy of Dance’s highest honor, the Solo Seal. Goldie was also a finalist at The Youth America Grand Prix in New York where she received a full scholarship to the Washington School of Ballet. In 2013, Goldie joined the second company at Balletmet in Columbus, Ohio. In 2014, Ms Walberg joined Kansas City Ballet’s second company. She then went on to dance with KCB’s main company for three seasons. Goldie Walberg moved to Boston at the beginning of 2020. She has always had a passion for inspiring young artists and hopes to continue to share her knowledge and love for ballet with the next generation of dancers.
Chantal hails from Danvers, Massachusetts where her love for dance began. Chantal received her BFA in Dance Performance from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Performing Arts under the direction of Stephen Pier. During her four years she performed classical and new works by Sean Curran, Stephen Pier, Katie Stevinson-Nollet, Jose Limon, Alla Nikitina, and Shannon Gillen. She also had the opportunity to perform in the American College Dance Festival and work alongside her peers to choreograph compositions of her own. After graduating Cum Laude from the Hartt School she had the honor of joining Boston’s Urbanity Dance company under the direction of Betsi Graves. She currently is a Choreography Fellow for the company and teaches weekly company class. Her first post-grad work entitled “Opaque” was presented at the first inaugural Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, representing Urbanity Dance. She since then has debuted mutliple works at the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival held at the Paramount Theater, Boston GreenFest, Dance for Life, Outside the Box festivals, and numerous Urbanity seasonal shows including the annual Spring Revue, NeXt and The Sun Queen. She has also danced in Underground and in the professional company for Urbanity Dance and has received other noteworthy performance opportunities including the honor of performing in Jaclyn Walsh’s “Trajectory” in NYC for the competitive Capezio A.C.E Awards.
Ava Louise Untermyer dances to support a deeper sense of connection amongst others. Ava performs throughout the Boston area with contemporary artists such as Evolve Dynamicz Dance Company. She danced professionally in New York City with Sydnie L. Mosley Dances (Bessie-winner), the Lori Belilove & Isadora Duncan Dance Company and Estado Flotante. Ava teaches dance full-time at the Curley K-8 Boston Public School, providing rigorous arts experiences for over 300 students. Ava holds a master’s degree in Arts in Education (Ed.M.) from Harvard University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Dance (honors) and World Literature (honors) from Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges, where she was awarded the Virginia Princehouse Allen Prize for Outstanding Performance in Dance.
Emma Bednarski was born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey and began dancing at the age of 3 at Dance Dimensions in New Milford, NJ where she trained in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Tap, and Musical Theatre. She trained under choreographers Marinda Davis, Mark Burrell, Allison Sale, Lisa Minery, Danielle Sheather and other guest choreographers from NYC. She frequently traveled to NYC to take classes at institutions such as Broadway Dance Center and Peridance Capezio Center. She has been teaching for three years and her choreography was recently nominated for an Industry Dance Award. She is now a Biology/Pre-Med student at Tufts University where she is also the Director of Spirit of the Creative, an Urban Dance Team. In addition to choreographing/dancing for the group, she is also involved as a choreographer/dancer for Sarabande Dance Ensemble, a dance group with a focus on Ballet, Jazz, and Contemporary. In her free time, she continues to take classes in the Dance Department at Tufts University and recently finished her second tour with Groove National Dance Competition as a Stage Manager.
Tory grew up in Northampton, Ma training at the Hackworth School of Performing Arts in dance and competitive gymnastics. She trained in Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, Musical Theater, and Acro. Tory graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Computer Science from Tufts University in 2018. During her time at Tufts she was a member, choreographer, and president of Sarabande Dance Ensemble, a contemporary dance team and a member and choreographer for Spirit of the Creative, a hip-hop team. When she isn’t in the studio Tory is a Software Engineer for an educational technology company in Boston and is excited to be a part of the JLDC faculty!
Shawn Mahoney began his ballet, tap, and jazz training at the Joanne Langione Dance Center and his early performing career with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in Boston, MA. As an apprentice, Shawn danced for American Ballet Theatre before joining Boston Ballet. At Boston Ballet, Shawn performed in Petipa, Balanchine, Kylian, Forsythe, Bejart and others. Shawn performed as a chosen member of “Tharp!”, a national and international touring company directed by Twyla Tharp. Ms. Tharp invited Shawn to be part of the creative and choreographic process for her Broadway hit “Movin’ Out” and performed in Tharp’s “Red, White, and Blues”. Shawn performed with the Suzanne Farrell/Balanchine Project, Sean Curran Company, Washington Ballet, and Bale Estado de Goias. As an educator, Shawn has taught internationally for Festa de Danca in Sao Paulo and Bermuda Civic Ballet. Currently, Shawn is on faculty at Emerson College, instructing dance classes to actors and musical theatre students and is a teacher and lecturer at Days in the Arts. Shawn founded Mahoney Agency, representing dancers for national engagements for the Nutcracker Ballet. Shawn is a sought out mentor for emerging artists and choreographers in ballet and contemporary dance.