CSDS FACULTY & STAFF
STUDIO DIRECTOR, TEACHING ARTIST
Christina Leonard is a lifelong dancer and Massachusetts based director, teaching artist, choreographer, and mentor. Working primarily in classical Ballet, Tap, and Broadway-inspired Jazz, her unique teaching style comes from connecting the deep history of dance styles to the lessons of today in the classroom. She is proud to have worked with hundreds of young dancers from studios and training programs across the Northeast over the past 2 decades. Christina received her fundamental dance training and mentoring through her mother, Donna Leonard and is an original CSDS Alumni. Since then, her professional career blossomed as a performer, dance teacher, guest artist, and choreographer at local & regional studios, including the inspirational Tony Williams Dance Center for which she worked for nearly a decade. Christina held the position of Associate Director of Melrose Youth Ballet for 9 years; producing and directing full-length ballets including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Coppélia, and more. She was co-founder of Middlesex Ballet Project in 2018, which produced summer shows for Massachusetts ballet dancers seeking more performance opportunities. In addition to her long relationship with the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston, she most recently worked with BalletROX as a teaching artist in Boston Public Schools and acquired certification from the Boston Ballet in Adaptive Dance. Christina's main focus is in the classroom where she applies her life experience and well-rounded perspective of dance to foster healthy leadership, strong technique, and goal-oriented training to her students. She continues to apply the core principles of learning as a lifelong student of in a never-ending pursuit of dance education available locally & in NYC.
TEACHING ARTIST & COMPANY MANAGER
Mikayla Martin began her training at the age of three at a small studio in Massachusetts. It didn’t take long for her to realize her love for dance. She’s trained in Modern, Classical Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary and more. When she was eighteen Mikayla auditioned for and joined professional dance companies in Boston, MA. She started to teach and choreograph, and went on to perform and flourish in Boston for another six years. In 2012 Mikayla joined Kairos Dance Theater and trained and performed with them as a principal dancer for four years. She was featured in many Kairos performances such as “ HER” an evening length production under the direction of Deanna Pellecchia and Ingrid Schatz among many of their other works. She also choreographed and danced in Bad Rabbit’s music video “ get up and go “ and was featured in Static Selektah’s music video “ Up every night “ In 2015 Mikayla decided to get her BFA in Dance. She started her education at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA and trained under Pat Hon, Deborah Wolf, Michele Miller, Wade Madison and others. She then decided to move back home and continued her dance career in Boston. She’s thrilled to settle back home and be with the ones she loves. She’s since danced back up for the opening artist for Ashanti & Ja Rule, performed all over New England with various artists and now trains with an all female Hip Hop crew called We The Females. She’s excited to continue her training and share her love of art with the Boston Dance Community.
STREET DANCE COACH, ARTIST
Fadayz is an artist, dancer, DJ, speaker, mentor, and all around creative mind that brings a uniqueness to the classroom that is unmatched. A lifelong street dancer, this kind of training can't be taught, and truly comes from within. It is this authentic and deep connection with dance that creates a magnetic presence in the classroom for students to be inspired by, and learn from.
Life experience, hardship, challenge, and resilience are some of the principles that guide students through their dance training with Fadayz. His class is high energy, fitness focused, and creatively adapted to suit the self expression of each individual student.
Students come away feeling seen, heard, empowered, and confident all while learning the genuine street styles that Fadayz has trained his whole life in. His specialties include Popping, House, and Floor styles/Breaking. His knowledge of music is woven into the classroom and he has over 20 years of professional DJ experience, making his library of music the largest one that students have ever listened to.
In addition to his work with the youth in various classroom and dance settings, Fadayz is the Owner and Founder of the SELF EXPRESSION PROJECT. Most recently he founded FADAYZ DESIGNZ, specializing in custom screen-printed shirts and apparel, and producing merchandise that supports the growth of the Self Expression Project.
BALLET TEACHING ARTIST
Tina Cassidy, a native of Erie, PA, trained under Arlene Ashton Hay of the Diana Byer’s Dance Ring and later Robert Steele and Jeff Satinoff of the Elliot Feld Ballet. Ms. Cassidy received her BA in Dance from Mercyhurst University and her MFA in Dance Performance from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Her professional affiliations include the Lake Erie Ballet, Indianapolis Ballet Theater, Indianapolis Dance Company, Boston Dance Company, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Melrose Youth Ballet and the Northern Ballet Theatre of Nashua, NH for ten seasons. Ms. Cassidy is a former Adjunct Faculty member at Berwick Academy and Northern Essex Community College. For twenty seasons, Ms. Cassidy was a Faculty Member and later Director with Northern Ballet Theatre Dance Centre where she has taught ballet, pointe, and contemporary dance and choreographed original works including the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Favorite dance roles include Concerto Barocco, Walpurgisnaught, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella; Flower Festival at Genzano; Balanchine’s Tarantella, Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty and Snow Queen, Sugarplum, and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. Ms. Cassidy has previously danced in six operatic centerpieces with the Boston Early Music Festival including the Grammy nominated Ariadne. Ms Cassidy has also choreographed extensively for musical theatre including the Actorsingers, NH Theatre Factory, Nashua High School , Music and Drama Company, StageCoach Productions, and Peacock Players of Nashua where she received an award for “The Best Choreographer of a Community Musical” at the NH Theatre Awards.
ADJUNCT FACULTY, TEACHING ARTIST
Ana has been dancing since she was three years old and continues to have a passion for the art. Her training focused on Ballet at Tony Williams Dance Center and BalletRox where she graduated as a soloist and company dancer. As time went on she branched out to other styles including Lyrical, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary, Belly Dancing, Mexican Folklorico, Bachata, and any other classes she could take! Ana has performed in the Urban Nutcracker for over 10 years with lead roles such as Natasha and Clarice, and eventually moved on to professional roles on pointe such as Snow. During her time at TWDC and BalletRox she has performed all over Boston for events, fundraisers and galas.Since 2015 Ana has transitioned more into a teaching role because she realized another huge passion of hers is working with youth in an impactful way that empowers them. In Ana’s classes you will see that she does not only focus on dance technique, strength and stage presence but also on building confidence and creativity with her students. Ana believes it is important to acknowledge that not all children decide to pursue dance as a career. With that being said, they can still enjoy their time while they dance and gain lifelong skills from it.
In 2014 she began working for BalletRox, a nonprofit dance program. She was the Program Assistant and an Instructor there. The summer of 2017 Ana trained through Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Program and became certified. Here she learned both the techniques and strategies to teach dance and movement to individuals with physical and mental disabilities, specifically for those who have Down Syndrome and Autism. Ana was able to utilize these techniques when she was teaching in numerous Boston Public Schools. Since 2018 she has worked as the Executive Assistant for Soca Fusion which offers a range of dance classes, performances and workshops for everyBODY. Currently she is creating a Creative Movement class for a Soca Fusion series. The class is catered specifically to Soca music and she is looking forward to bringing it to life this fall! Ana is proud to be a part oft CSDS and to work alongside Christina Leonard who was one of her most influential instructors in high school and a coworker at BalletRox!
JONATHAN LEONARD ALUMNI, ADJUNT FACULTY / NYC
Jonathan "Jonny" Leonard began dancing at the age of 3 at Center Stage. In his teen years, he spent summers at José Mateo Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet where he realized his love for ballet. After graduating high school, Jonathan received a full scholarship to attend Joffrey Ballet School's Preprofessional Training Program in New York City. Following his first year, Jonny joined The Joffrey Concert Group under the direction of Davis Robertson and Nicole Duffy. While with JCG, he danced in works by Gerald Arpino, Dwight Rhoden, Africa Guzmán, Gabrielle Lamb, and Tyler Gilstrap. After graduating from Joffrey, Jonny went on to dance with The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company , Ballet Hispánico II, and is currently a company member with New York Theatre Ballet under Diana Byer. Since joining NYTB, he has danced in Keith Michael's The Nutcracker, James Sutton's Sleeping Beauty, and in repertory works by Pam Tanowitz, Antonia Franceschi, and Robert La Fosse. Jonny's teaching experience began at Center Stage after receiving his certificate for teaching from the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston. He has refined his skills as a ballet teacher working with New York Theater Ballet youth school, and most recently traveling to Nagoya, Japan for an international performance collaboration with NYTB. Jonathan is grateful for the guidance of his family, teachers, and mentors and enjoys passing on the knowledge and artistic expression he's gained.
ADJUNCT FACULTY, GUEST CHOREOGRAPHER
Kristen Calder is an alumnus of North Shore Dance Academy where she was given a strong foundation in dance and where she realized her passion for the art. Kristen is a graduate of Montclair State University with a BFA in Dance. While on scholarship at MSU she studied several techniques of modern, ballet, Rhythmic Analysis, Labanotation, Improvisation, Compositional Choreography, Dance for Children and Dance Pedagogy. She has performed in choreographic works by José Limón, Charles Weidman, Sophie Maslow, May O’Donnell, SabatinoVerlezza, Karen Gayle and Elizabeth McPherson. Kristen’s most recent professional credentials include a modern performance in “Philipsz Sound Installation” at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem and a role in Machine Drum’s “Late Night Operations” music video, a benefit performance for Art for Life at the Kushi Institute, and numerous performances at New York City’s 92nd Street Y for “Friday’s At Noon”. She currently is performing with Echo Contemporary Dance Company in Boston, MA. Her experience as a teacher started at an early age with hands on training as an assistant teacher and then as a teacher for children 3 to 18 years of age. She has an understanding for the individual needs of each student and is able to incorporate this into her technique classes and when working on choreography with large groups, small groups and soloists, bringing each dancer up to their fullest potential.