Our Faculty

Alyona Amato
Classes: Modern, Contemporary, Strength/Stretch, Improvisation

Alyona Amato (Suslova) was born and raised in Russia, Siberia.  In 2011 she won a grant to study contemporary dance at the American Dance Festival and decided to move to Wilmington where she joined The Dance Cooperative as a teacher, dancer and choreographer. Her background includes contemporary, modern, ballet and improvisation. She likes to create choreography and performances based on the dancer’s own individuality and experience. She believes everybody can dance, even if they haven’t danced since their childhood. As a teacher she pays special attention to the quality, strength and fullness of a dancer’s movement.

IMG_0635Debra Berger
Classes: Ballet, Jazz

Debra Berger began her professional career at the age of nine when she performed with the New York City Ballet Company. Debra was a student at The School of American Ballet and performed with the company in The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Harlequinade. She studied modern at the Alvin Ailey School and jazz with Luigi, Charles Kelly and Nat Horne.

Growing up in New York City she had the opportunity to study acting at HB Studios and voice with some of the greatest teachers in musical theater.

Her performing credits also include: A Chorus Line, West Side Story, I Ought To Be In Pictures, and Educating Rita.

As a director, choreographer, and teacher, Debra has traveled extensively, teaching ballet and jazz in the U.S. and Brazil. Debra is a certified Teaching Artist with Dancing Classrooms. She recently moved toWilmington, and is thrilled to contribute to the performing arts in our community.

CarsonNancy Podrasky Carson, Co-Founder
Classes: Ballet, Modern

Nancy Podrasky Carson received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University and went on to perform and choreograph with many regional companies before moving to Syracuse, NY. Nancy taught technique classes at various performing arts schools while performing and choreographing with the Syracuse Contemporary Dance Company. She also taught Modern and Jazz classes at Syracuse University in both the Theatre and Health and Physical Education departments. Nancy currently teaches technique classes, dance history, and choreography and UNC-Wilmington. She is a founding member, teacher, dance, and choreographer at the Dance Cooperative. Nancy recently taught Modern classes for the Carolina Ballet’s summer residency program at UNCW.

Jenn_headshotJennifer Gage
Classes: Ballet, Jazz, Ballroom

Jennifer Gage recently moved to the area from Chicago where she taught for over 20 years at many schools, including her own studio, NorthSide Dance Theater. She has danced with over 15 companies in her 25+ year professional career with styles ranging from classical ballet to jazz and hip-hop. Jennifer is a huge believer in age appropriate/level appropriate and enjoys teaching with a positive and constructive philosophy.  Much of her classical foundation is from her years with Anna and Barry Van-Cura,  and with the Ballet Tennessee. At 18 she moved to Chicago and joined Joel Hall Dancers, where she taught for 10 years, serving as Rehearsal Assistant for the company and Ballet Mistress for the second company, JHD2. Additional opportunities included Rehearsal Assistant for Ballet Theater North’s Coppelia and Ballet Entre Nous for 10 seasons. Jennifer created her own not-for-profit company, Alliance Dance Company, in 2002.  Through many various opportunities she has created over 100 choreographed pieces including 16 productions and 13 full length story works.

Sue MeierSue Meier
Classes: Ballet

Sue Meier teaches all levels of ballet. She started her training in Midland, MI, studying ballet, jazz, and musical theater. Sue danced and taught in Sweden before continuing her training in ballet and modern at Michigan State University. Sue studied and taught in NY and NJ before moving to Wilmington.

Credit: Joel VannfullerKate Muhlstein
Classes: Modern, Jazz, Strength/Stretch, Improvisation

Kate Muhlstein is a Texas native with a BFA in Dance from Sam Houston State University. Since graduating, Kate has performed with the Rednerrus Feil Dance Company, Forward Motion Dance Company, and the Dance Cooperative. Kate moved to Wilmington in July, 2007, after attending the American Dance Festival in Durham and falling in love with North Carolina. Kate choreographs and dances any chance she can.

PattersonBrittany Patterson
Classes: Ballet, Modern

Brittany Patterson has been dancing since the age of 5 and began choreographing as a teenager.   She danced as an apprentice for Demetrius Klein Dance Company in Lake Worth, FL and has presented her own work in New York, NY in conjunction with DKDC.  Brittany studied dance at SUNY Purchase for two years before changing career paths.  Brittany has a BA in Literature from SUNY Purchase and a Masters in Social Work from Simmons College.  She moved to Wilmington in May, 2011 from Boston, MA and has enjoyed reentering the dance scene in Wilmington with performances in North Carolina Dance Festival and Dance-a-Lorus 2012. Brittany has choreographed for North Carolina Dance Festival 2013 and started teaching ballet and modern at The Dance Cooperative in 2013.

April Scott HeadshotApril Scott
Classes: Ballet, Modern

April Scott grew up in Frederick, MD and began her dance training at Mid-Maryland Performing Arts Center. She received a BA in Dance and Psychology from Goucher College, and later, a BA in Visual Arts from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She had taught and choreographed for various studios in South Carolina and Maryland and performed with regional dance companies including Goose Route Dance Theatre, Renacer Dance Company and 365 Dance Company. April moved to Wilmington in January 2015 and is excited to continue teaching, dancing and choreographing at The Dance Cooperative.

LarsonLinda Ann Webb
Classes: Ballet, Modern, Jazz

Linda Ann Larson is a Dance Cooperative core member and an MS analytical chemist. Her dance background includes a BFA from SUNY Purchase and 20 years performing in NYC with various modern dance companies and recording artists. Eight years in Wilmington have provided her with unique opportunities to present her work including NCDF and Dance-a-lorus. Linda’s approach to choreography and teaching incorporates intricate timing and expansive use of musicality and athleticism to encourage the dancer to reach their peak potential. Her extensive background in Graham and Pilates has shaped her approach in how she guides an individual to physically achieve their goals as well as mindfully maintain a healthy approach to dance and a healthy body.

WilliamsSamantha Williams
Classes: Modern, Ballet, Strength/Stretch

Sam fell in love with dance through her high school’s dance program. She went on to receive Bachelors of Arts in Dance from UNC Greensboro. While there she had the opportunity to study at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, UK and fell in love with dance all over again. Her senior year at UNCG she was lucky enough to work with Helen Simoneau, Loren Gronendaal and perform in Martha Graham’s ‘Steps in the Street’. Following graduation she was awarded a place at the University of Chichester’s MA Dance Performance program in 2010. In a turn of events, she found herself in Wilmington, NC and at the Dance Cooperative. She is grateful for the community and support she has found here and looks forward to sharing her passion and experiences.