Our Teachers

 The SoBo Crew

A1H_5255Cyndal Ellis is Co-Director of SoBo Studio and Al Amal Belly Dance Company. She teaches Fusion Belly Dance,  Modern Dance, and Dunham Technique at SoBo and at schools throughout southern VT. In 2017, Cyndal received a Certification through the Institute for Dunham Technique Teacher Certification. She holds a B.A. in anthropology and dance from Smith College. She has over 20 years of dance experience. She has taught at Jacob’s Pillow, Smith College, Landmark College, and grade schools throughout New England. She was a member of The Sovereign Collective with which she performed and taught nationally. She was also one of the co-directors of Firekeeper Productions and toured the mulit-media production “The Mabel Story” throughout New England. Cyndal loves to share the joy of dance with people of all ages and abilities. *photo by Kiqe Bosch

ToniAlAmalBioToni Nagy is Owner and Co-Director of SoBo Studio. She starting out dancing in the club scene in Boston when she was 15. She then majored in dance at Sarah Lawrence College. She studied different forms of Hip Hop in NYC for 10 years, and has cultivated her own style that involves isolations, basic breaking, footwork, and new current styles. She infuses her training of contemporary modern and belly dance. *photo by Abner Soto

Patricia bio picPatricia Wilson began dancing at a very young age at square dances in West Halifax, Vermont, where she learned that dancing is about joy and community. As a teenager, she began studying modern dance and ballet as well as practicing yoga and meditation. When she discovered the Dunham Technique at age 22, in a class with Arthur Hall at The American Dance Festival, it was a spiritual and physical homecoming, bringing together all the energy threads of her previous studies. Patricia then dedicated herself to furthering her knowledge of Dunham Technique, continuing to work with Arthur Hall, and attending the first Dunham Seminar in 1983 in East St. Louis. East St. Louis and St. Louis became a second home for Patricia as she returned each summer to study with Miss Dunham, Pearl Reynolds, Tommy Gomez, Lucille Ellis, Vanoye Aikens and Talley Beatty among many other fine teachers. Patricia especially treasures the memory of many years studying Ghanaian dance with C.K. Ghano and Ronnie Yao Marshall. In 1992, Patricia was honored to assist Katherine Dunham in the final week of her 47 day fast to protest the American treatment of Haitian refugees. Chosen to be part of the first group certified by the Institute of Dunham Technique Certification, Patricia was certified to teach the Dunham Technique by Katherine Dunham in 1994.

As a choreographer, Patricia has created several full evening shows as well as over forty shorter dances. She has choreographed six musicals, including, All That Jazz, The Wiz, Urinetown, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her company, ziadance, reflected Patricia’s commitment to community. With twenty-five dancers ranging from nine to 75 years old, ziadance toured in Russia in 1995, performing Imani’s Song and Images to Grow By. Thirty-seven Russian dancers of all ages were incorporated into the shows. The Americans stayed in the homes of host families, experiencing Russia life firsthand. The power of this kind of cultural exchange, with dance as the connective language, continues to inspire Patricia’s life goals.

Patricia has taught Dunham technique, ballet, modern, yoga and figure skating at studios, rinks and colleges in the Brattleboro, Vermont area for over thirty-seven years. She currently teaches at Keene State College. Patricia is also a filmmaker; her film, Kaliope, screened in festivals in DC and Seattle in 2003. Patricia is currently working on a 500hr teacher certification in Prana Flow Yoga with Shiva Rea.

Patricia received her BA in Music and Dance from Middlebury College and her MFA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University.

Patricia sends her gratitude to all her teachers, especially Katherine Dunham, Arthur Hall and Shiva Rea. As well she humbly honors the Great Mother, her teacher in the form of the mountains, the waters and the winds. Om Shanti. Jai Ma.

Claire Bio PhotoClaire LeMessurier was making up dances and performing them for her family before she began her “formal” training as a dancer at age four. During high school she took classes in choreography along with modern, ballet and tap. Claire attended the London School of Contemporary Dance, studying Graham technique and then went to Bennington College, where she majored in Dance and continued to do a lot of improvisation, composition and performing. Living in NYC, she produced “The Camera in the Body’s Hands” a weekly cable TV show on dance in NYC and ran a business videotaping performing artists, “Dancer’s Eye Video”. She also performed a concert of her own work.

After coming back to Vermont and cooking at the Common Ground restaurant, Claire became a Dance/Movement Therapist helping people of all ages engage the body for holistic healing. Working as a Dance/Movement therapist for the past 25 years, offering individual and group therapy sessions, Claire often invites people to create their own dances. She is in her 16th year as an Adjunct Faculty in the Dance/Therapy program at Antioch University in Keene, NH.

Claire discovered Journey Dance three years ago and found it to bring much joy and healing. She then became trained to begin facilitating Journey Dance. The class provides a flow of guided movement structures and simple choreographies, along with dance tunes, inviting people to move freely on their own and in community dances.

Katie Bio: Dance PicKatie Tordonato was born in Rutland, VT and began her dance training at Miss Lorraine’s School of Dance at the young age of five. A few years later, she began taking classes at Centre Dance until she graduated from high school. Here, she studied jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary and hip hop. In 2011, she was accepted to Keene State College in New Hampshire where she majored in Theatre and Dance with a specialization in Choreography and Performance under the guidance of Marcia Murdock. Her four years here primarily revolved around modern. She took a dance internship class for two semesters where she taught educational dance as an afterschool program for students from kindergarten to fourth grade. Katie is excited to share the joy, creativity and confidence that dance has brought her with others.

Caitlin Quinn is originally from Warner Robins, Georgia where she began her training at International City School of Ballet under the direction of Georne Aucoin. While there she competed at Youth American Grand Prix and qualified for the New York finals. Her professional credits include the trainee program at Ballet Austin, Nashville Ballet 2, Minnesota Ballet, Ballet San Antonio, and most recently Fort Wayne Ballet. While there she danced many various classical roles which include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Kitri in Don Quixote, Lise in La Fille Mal Gardee, Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker. She has also danced more contemporary works by Gerald Arpino,Jose Limon. And David Ingram. She has continued her dance training and desire to learn with workshops at Complexions, River North Dance Chicago, Arcos, and New Dialect. She has been teaching for 8 years and hopes to continue to pass down the art of classical ballet to the next generation of dancers.


Ernesto Lea Place is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has danced professionally with Ballet Florida, Nashville Ballet II, Minnesota Ballet, Ballet San Antonio and Fort Wayne Ballet. He has gotten the opportunity to do works by great choreographers such as Ben Stevenson, Fernando Bujones, Jose Limón, David Ingram, Gerald Arpino and many of the classics by Petipa. Performing has been a part of his life from a young age and he has loved his journey as a classical dancer and is currently studying at NECCA seeking for new heights in his career.

He has taught throughout the US in various levels and styles of dance. He truly enjoys sharing his passion for dance with all his students.



Ever since Ian Bigelow was a kid, he’s been playing with swords and homemade sword-like objects. His love for sword-play led to fencing in his early teens. He began studying USFA sport fencing in 1997. In 1999, he started training in historical fencing at Marlboro College. Fencing brought Ian to a more in-depth study of the history, art, and science of swords and sword fighting throughout the world. From training with Thomas Leoni in Italian rapier and traditional Chinese sword with Sifu Scott Rodell, to German longsword with Christian Tobler, Ian has studied with many internationally renowned masters. Ian now teaches fencing at Marlboro College, the Compass School, Hilltop Montessori, the Putney School, and the Grammar School, as well as SoBo Studio.

Adra, Bio PicAdrasteia K Andrews gives you an easier, more memorable nickname to recall. Adra is a fun- spirited, light-hearted, energetic mother of four. Returning back to the well-suited community of ever loving Brattleboro, we, as a family look to raise and influence our own while making the healthier lifestyle changes that could have only been dreamed of. With a background of dance, performing arts and wearing many of many hats to fit the bill in-between, this newly acquired, outstanding ability to increase health and wellness in the community makes for an extraordinary lifestyle that is a privilege to uphold.



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