Faculty & Staff

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Diana Evjen

Director - born and raised in San Jose California, Diana has studied, trained and performed throughout the world. From the ages of 13 to 18, Evjen was invited to tour Paris, London, various cities in Spain, Ireland and Scotland as a soloist and corps member with the JOD Dance Company. A few of her classical credits include Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf and Mid Summer Nights Dream. Evjen hold a BA in business and dance from Hofstra University. From classical to contemporary performances to dance competitions and master classes, dance has always played a huge role in Evjen's life. Recently and locally, Evjen has taught dance for the Miss Porter's school, the Hartford Conservatory and choreographed for Avon Old Farms High School.

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Rebekah Barnes

Assistant Director - has been teaching and dancing in the Farmington Valley for over 20 years. Prior to her current position at Evjen, Rebekah was the Artistic Director of The Master's School Dance Program for five years. She has always been passionate about dance and the performing arts and studied Musical Theater at the Hartford Conservatory in 2008. Rebekah has been a member of the Poet's Feet Dance Ensemble,  Hartford Youth Dance Initiative and is an alumna of the Evjen Elite Dance Company. Locally, Rebekah has choreographed & directed musicals at Avon Old Farms School. In 2014, Rebekah traveled to Recife, Brazil to teach dance at a school for underprivileged children and assistant direct a full musical theater production involving a collaboration of both American and Brazilian performers. Rebekah is passionate about creating a welcoming and safe environment where every dancer can learn, grow and be inspired! She hopes to instill her love of this beautiful art-form in all of her students.

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Naomi Lemire

Ballet Director/Nutcracker Director - began her dance training at the age of three. She trained in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. At the age of twelve, she received a full scholarship to the classical ballet program at the Hartt School Community Dance Division (previously Hartford Ballet) where she trained under the expertise of Susan Brooker, Miguel Campaneria, Debra Collins-Ryder, Alla Nikitina, Alexandra Koltun and Alex Lapshin. Some of her classical credits include lead roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Coppelia, and Le Corsaire. In 2011, Lemire was selected to perform a classical variation on the television program, Better Connecticut. She was also the youngest member of Poet's Feet, a CT-based modern dance company. Lemire joined the Evjen faculty in 2011 and has had the pleasure of choreographing for the Evjen Elite competition team. Since joining the Evjen team, she has choreographed numerous award-winning pieces and her group dances have been distinguished for its unique, conceptual choreography. In conjunction with the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Ballet Hartford commissioned Lemire's choreography for their first annual "Awakening" dance festival. In addition, she is the resident ballet competition coach. Her students have placed in the top 12 for both classical and contemporary categories at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals and in 2021, her student was invited to the finals in Tampa, FL. In 2015, she graduated summa cum laude from Quinnipiac University and received a Bachelor of Arts in English. In 2021, Lemire passed rigorous exams in American Ballet Theatre's National Training Curriculum and is proud to be an ABT Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 3. She looks forward to another year at Evjen!

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Tianna Oliva

Office Manager / Instructor - Tianna began her dance training at the age of 3 and has trained in Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, and Hip Hop. She was a student of Evjen Academy for 10+ years and has also traveled to California to train alongside other professionals at the Millennium Dance Complex. Aside from her dance training Tianna has also been a part of Evjen Academy’s Office Staff since she began teaching for Evjen in 2015. Tianna has a true passion for working with children of all ages and is honored to be a part of the Evjen Academy team. 

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Kristen Greig

Instructor / Elite Choreographer - Kristen studied dance at the Greater Hartford Academy of Performing Arts, Montclair State University, and Anaheim Ballet (formerly known as Coast Ballet). She is a former title holder and scholarship recipient from Dance Masters of America (CT, NYC, and Nationals), the Nikolais-Lewis School and Broadway Dance Center. Kristen has been teaching for over 15 years and has taught in CT, NJ, and CA. Her students have won numerous overall awards and titles at competition. Many have gone on to dance professionally in every venue, from music videos to theme parks to Broadway. Throughout her career as a teacher she has received numerous choreography awards and was recently recognized as a Top Teacher by Star Systems National Talent Competition. Kristen is married to "Mr. Joel" and is the proud mom of Ethan and Madison. Miss Kristen recently moved out to California with her family and we are incredibly lucky that she continues to teach and choreograph for us remotely, thanks to the technology of Skype!

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Olivia Wilson

Instructor / Elite Choreographer - Olivia has trained in ballet, jazz, musical theatre, pointe, modern, lyrical, hip hop, contemporary, ballroom dance, acting and vocal training for over 15+ years. Olivia has been teaching dance in the Farmington Valley for over 10 years. She has held the position of choreographer for Avon Old Farms School’s musical productions, was the Assistant Director of The Master's School Dance Program, and was the head of the dance program at Valley Community Baptist Church. Olivia has traveled to California to train and further her dance education at Millennium Dance Complex. Most recently, Olivia has attended the Dance Life Teacher Conference and trained under many excellent teachers and choreographers. Olivia enjoys choreographing for the Evjen Elite Dance company where her choreography has won numerous awards at regional and national competitions. As a performer, some of her favorite rolls include "Lola" in Damn Yankees, "Hermia" in A Midsummer Night's Dream and "The Sugarplum Fairy" in The Nutcracker, and a lead dancer in “The Gift” at Valley Community Baptist Church. In 2014 she traveled to Recife, Brazil to work with underprivileged children through the performing arts. Olivia is a certified cosmetologist and works in a hair salon in Burlington, Connecticut when she is not teaching dance. Olivia enjoys working with students on choreography and fostering a positive environment to learn how to dance. She is so happy to be a part of the Evjen family!

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Kasandra Coviello

EveryBODYDance Leader / Instructor- Kasandra began dancing at age 2. She has studied tap, jazz, ballet, modern, and contemporary dance. Born and raised in Southington, CT she studied at various local studios including Evjen Academy of Performing Arts. She studied at the Greater Hartford Academy of Performing Arts High School where she was a member of the repertoire ensemble and performed at various locations throughout the country. During her time at the Academy she studied and performed with members of Pilobolus and was a member of Poet's Feet Modern Dance Ensemble from 2000-2007. She has been teaching dance for the past 6 years and also works as a therapeutic mentor and paraprofessional working with children with social and emotional challenges. She attended the Adaptive Dance Teacher Training Workshop at Boston Ballet School this past summer and is very passionate about sharing her love of dance with children of all abilities!

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Leanne Poirier

Instructor / Elite Choreographer - Leanne started dancing at age four and has trained in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, musical theater, postmodern, hip-hop, contemporary, improvisation and choreography/composition. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Leanne moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to attend UCLA, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with B.A. degrees in World Arts and Cultures/Dance and Communications. Upon graduation, Leanne was asked to join David Roussève's contemporary dance company, David Roussève/REALITY, and has been with the company for 9 years now. Her dancing has taken her around the world and given her the opportunity to perform in iconic spaces such as Jacob's Pillow and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Leanne has taught dance for 14 years around Ohio, Los Angeles, Connecticut and throughout the states while on tour with REALITY. She recently relocated to New York and is so grateful to get to continue working with her Evjen students remotely on Elite choreography and beyond. 

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Noor Taweh

Instructor / Elite Choreographer - Noor has trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, and jazz since the age of three. She is a previous Evjen student turned teacher and choreographer! In college, she was a member of the UConn Dance Company for four years. She was also a choreographer for the company, responsible for the group's jazz and contemporary pieces. In her free time, she helps the local high school choreograph their musicals. Noor particularly enjoys mentoring students through their creative process and supporting them in their identity as artists and creators. She feels fortunate to continue to be part of the Evjen staff and community even after graduating college and as she begins medical school! 

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Cecilia Davis

Instructor - Cecilia began dancing at the age of three, training in ballet and tap and later began studying several other styles including jazz and contemporary. She has trained throughout Connecticut and New York with the Hartt School, Joffrey Ballet School , Radio City Rockettes, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has also competed in dance at the regional and national levels, attending the Youth American Grand Prix finals this past year. She plans to continue her dance education in college and pursue dance professionally.

Additional Faculty Information Coming Soon For...

Libby Kroeger

Josalyn Cipkas

Olivia Zimmerman

Erin Curry

Sydney DeBisschop

Kelly Guberman

Claudia Gugliotti

Kyra Sardinas

Sarah Thomas

Grace Zommer