Diana M. Evjen - Director - born and raised in San Jose California, 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 the spring musical for Avon Old Farms High School.
Rebekah Barnes - Assistant Director - has been teaching dance in the Farmington Valley for over 15 years and training and performing dance in Connecticut since the age of four. 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, a CT-based modern dance company; Hartford Youth Dance Initiative, a CT-based ballroom dance company and is an alumna of the Evjen Elite Dance Company. She was the choreographer for Avon Old Farms School's theater program from 2010-2013 and director for Avon Old Farms School's winter musical in 2014. One of Rebekah's favorite performing arts experiences was traveling to Recife, Brazil in 2014 with a team of performing artists to teach dance at a school for underprivileged children. During this trip Rebekah was also assistant director for a full musical production of "The Gift," a Christmas musical created by one of her long-time friends & mentors. Rebekah is passionate about creating a welcoming and safe environment where every dancer can learn and grow; she hopes to instill her love of this beautiful art-form in all of her students.
Tianna Oliva - Coming Soon...
Naomi Lemire - Ballet Track Liaison - 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, 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 addition, she is the resident ballet competition coach. Some of her responsibilities include teaching and preparing students for various classical ballet competitions around New England. In 2019, one of her students placed in the top 12 for the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix semi final's in Boston, MA. In 2015, Lemire graduated summa cum laude from Quinnipiac University and received a Bachelor of Arts in English. She feels exceptionally blessed to work at Evjen Academy and looks forward to another exciting year!
Kristen Greig - 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!
Kasandra Coviello - EveryBODYDance Teacher - 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!
Olivia Wilcox - 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!
Audra Brown - began her ballet training under the guidance of Noble Barker of New Haven Ballet. Later, she entered the competition and convention circuit dancing with the Hackworth School of Performing Arts. She attended the University of Connecticut earning a B.S. in Pathobiology and Veterinary Sciences. While at UCONN, Audra was a member of the Division 1A nationally ranked UCONN Dance Team, being nominated and selected as a Collegiate All-American in 2012 and 2013. She has been teaching since 2010 and has won numerous choreography awards. Audra also works with high school and college dance teams in the New England area; choreographing for game performances and helping them prepare for competitions. She currently works at the Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI) at Hartford Hospital performing pre-clinical research. In class, Audra emphasizes precision, confidence, and musicality and hopes to help all of her students reach their goals as dancers. She is very excited to be joining the faculty at Evjen!
Leanne Poirier - 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 further her dance career and 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 8 years now. She is currently performing Rousseve's latest work Halfway to Dawn around the world while simultaneously working on the administrative team to help manage the company. Besides dancing professionally, Leanne is also the Co-Director of the UCLA Dance/Performing Arts Summer Intensive for high school students. She's very passionate about mentoring high school students pursuing arts careers through the college application process and beyond. Leanne has taught dance for 12 years around Ohio, Los Angeles, Connecticut and throughout the states while on tour with REALITY. Due to her husband's job, she recently relocated to Charlotte, but is so grateful to still get to work with the Elite team on choreography and weekly lessons via Skype.
Elizabeth Anne Kroeger - received classical training in Fort Worth, Texas, at Gayle Corkery School of
Ballet, under Gayle Corkery, Carrie and Li Chou Cheng and Margo McCann. She received additional training at Texas Ballet Theater's summer intensive programs. In 2013, Ms. Kroeger graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Belhaven University and has most enjoyed performing George Balanchine’s Serenade and Walpurgisnacht. Since graduating, Ms. Kroeger has performed with Ballet Concerto under Margo and Webster Dean, Ballet Frontier of Texas under Chung Lin and Enrica Tseng, Zion Dance project under Vincent Hardy and Avant Chamber Ballet under Katie Cooper. She is currently dancing with Ballet Hartford. She has taught ballet and choreographed at the Epicenter for the Arts and the Gayle Corkery School of Ballet in Texas and is thrilled to be apart of the Evjen Academy.
Madeleine Parent - Maddie has been dancing for 15 years, specifically focusing on the styles of ballet, lyrical, contemporary, and jazz. While she only spent 4 years training at Evjen, she taught numerous classes for all ages of ballet and contemporary while taking classes herself. This year she is excited to continue working with the Evjen Elite team as a choreographer while attending The University of Vermont and studying environmental engineering.
Daniella Medvedovski - is going into her thirteenth year dancing with Evjen Academy and her twelfth year on the competition team! She began in the "Prima Petite" ballet class, and has since expanded her training to styles such as jazz, lyrical/contemporary, tap, musical theater, acrobatics, pointe, hip hop, and modern. As an incoming senior, Daniella is currently in the process of applying to colleges, with the intention of double majoring in dance and anthropology. After graduating with a degree in those fields, she hopes to attend law school and eventually be a lawyer while continuing to choreograph and teach dance on the side! As a third-year teacher and choreographer, Daniella wants to encourage her students to dance for themselves, be confident in their art, and take judges' criteria with a grain of salt. She is super excited for another great year of teaching, learning, and most importantly, dancing!
Grace Libucha - has been with Evjen Academy of Performing Arts for 13 years, and has trained in ballet, pointe, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, and modern under the very talented Evjen staff, and has been a part of the Evjen Elite Dance Company for the past 10 years. With over a decade of competitive dance training and performance experience, Grace has had amazing opportunities to learn from accomplished choreographers and instructors such as Nick Anthony, Derrick Schrader, and Jaimie Goodwin. In her years of experience through technique, improv, and composition, she has developed an intense personal connection to her work, and believes this is an important part of becoming a great performer. Apart from dance, Grace is currently a senior at Farmington High School and is in the process of applying to college to study education next fall, the next step of her ongoing journey working with children. Grace loves teaching dance at Evjen, and hopes that her students find the same passion and comfort that she has found in dancing.
Kayla Simone McGill - holds a Bachelors degree in Dance Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. She is trained in classical ballet, commercial hip hop, Graham and Horton style modern, house dance, jazz, contemporary and freestyle forms. As a performer, she has worked with Six Flags New England Entertainment, WNBA Connecticut Sun Dance and Philadelphia Museum of Art. As a choreographer, Kayla created dance phrases for promotional videos for Activity Works, and was a dance teacher at Kahrimaya Performing Arts in Philadelphia. In 2018, Kayla was featured on Celebration of Music on PBS highlighting her artistic journey. Kayla is elated to join the Evjen Academy family!
Alyson Grisham - started dancing at age 3 and has competed in all styles of dance. She was also on the cheerleading squad for her 4 years at Millersville University where she got her degree in Broadcast Journalism. She's worked in television production at NBC, MTV and WWE. In 2009 she started her own videography company Alyson Films, LLC. During this time Alyson has continued teaching dance classes and fitness instructing and is currently certified in Zumba and Kids Zumba.
Ava Joiner - started dance when she was 2 years old. She loves to preform and tell a story to the audience through dance. She enjoys dancing contemporary, jazz, ballet, and pointe. Ava has participated in many conventions, most recently Revel and GIV. At these conventions she learned from talented dancers like Teddy Forance. She loves to dance for fun and enjoys her time on stage. She hopes all her students feel the same about dance and enjoy every second of their performance. Ava looks forward to teaching and learning this year at Evjen Academy.
Claudia Gugliotti - is 16 years old and a junior at Conard High School. She has been dancing for 13 years, 11 of those at Evjen Academy. Her favorite style of dance is contemporary and she is very excited to be joining the Evjen faculty this year!
Keira Hovorka- started dance when she was three years old and has been dancing ever since. She started training at Evjen in 2018 and now loves being a part of the amazing group of people and staff at Evjen Academy. In particular, she enjoys taking classes in her favorite styles, ballet and contemporary, as well as competing on the Evjen Elite Team. Outside of dance, Keira is a junior at Avon High School and she loves to spend time with family and friends.
Additional Faculty Information Coming Soon!