Shari Lynn Boyaji, Owner and Director of Glastonbury Dance Center (GDC), graduated summa cum laude with both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education from the University of Connecticut. Miss Shari is a former 3rd grade teacher at Eastbury School in Glastonbury and has been teaching dance for over 25 years. Her favorite dance genre is jazz followed closely by musical theatre, creative movement, tap, lyrical, hip hop and ballet. Her favorite age to teach is EVERY AGE! Miss Shari began her dance training in East Hartford, CT with Anita Deprey and Mary Morlock. She danced at UCONN during her undergrad/grad years and studied with Jean Sabatine. She was also a member of Synergy Dance Company directed by Alyson Portelance. Miss Shari went on to become a founding member of Stop Time Dance Company under the direction of Darlene Zoller at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford. She is greatly influenced by mentor and dear friend Jean Cunningham, the founding director of GDC. Miss Shari has performed at the 5×5 Dance Festival & the Ted Hershey Dance Marathon and has studied in New York City, Florida and Boston with various teachers who helped shape her into the dancer, performer, and teacher she is today. Shari performed for (and in some cases, with!) Gene Wilder, Alec Baldwin, Ed Asner, Florence Henderson and Henry Winkler to name a few. Miss Shari has taken classes with some of the most influential dancers in American dance history including Luigi, Frank Hatchett and Mandy Moore. Miss Shari is a member of the National Association of Dance & Affiliated Arts and continues to attend workshops and conventions in the New England area to study the latest in dance. She is proud that Glastonbury Dance Center has been a community staple for over 40 years, bringing dance training, fun and passion to Glastonbury families and surrounding communities. Miss Shari dances side by side daily with her best friend (and sister!) Miss Kristy and is thankful to be living their dance dream together as they pass their love of dance to each of their students. Shari and Kristy are thankful for their parents Thomas and Linda Lynn who raised them in a household that embraced dance, education, athleticism, and the performing arts. GDC is known as “the happiest dance studio in the world” which goes hand-in-hand with the positive energy and “a little bit of magic” that exudes from Miss Shari. She lives in Glastonbury with her amazing husband Brian and her two dancing children: Trevor (17) and Lynn (15).
Kristy Lynn Quish is the Assistant Director of Glastonbury Dance Center (GDC). Although her dance training began at the age of 3, she considers herself a “forever” dance student. Miss Kristy’s passion for tap and creative choreography runs deep in her veins. She thrives to bring new rhythms and challenges to all of her students each and every day. Miss Kristy trained under the direction of Mary Morlock, Anita Deprey and Jean Cunningham and considers them amongst her greatest dance influencers. She went to the University of Connecticut and enjoyed taking dance classes in their arts and theater dept. Miss Kristy has been with GDC for 15 years teaching tap, theater tap, hip hop, jazz and ballet. Miss Kristy especially enjoys the magic and reward of training young children all the way up to adults both recreationally and competitively. She has received numerous top score rewards for her tap choreography. Miss Kristy attends workshops and conventions in New York City and the surrounding New England area to study the latest in dance education. Miss Kristy feels an immense amount of pride to live out a life dream of dance with her sister, Shari. She lives in Glastonbury, CT with her wonderful husband, Patrick, and her dream come true son, Justin Thomas.
Jean Ally Cunningham (“Mrs. C”) founded Glastonbury Dance Center in March of 1980 and served as Director for 32 joy-filled years. She sold the studio to good friend Shari Boyaji in 2012 and continues to enjoy teaching and being part of the GDC family. Prior to opening the studio, Jean completed Hartford Ballet’s Teacher Training certification program, joining their faculty upon graduation in ‘73. There, she developed and headed the Adult Dance Division in addition to teaching ballet and creative movement to children of all ages for 6 years. Jean lives in Glastonbury with her husband of 40+ years, cherishes time spent with their three children, their spouses and two grandchildren. “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” -Maya Angelou
Micaela Abernethy graduated from Manhattanville College with a bachelor’s degree in dance therapy and a minor in psychology. She began her dance training at Connecticut Concert Ballet at the age of 3, before attending college for dance in NYC. Micaela has performed professionally with the Civic Ballet of CT. Micaela is currently the director of Sacred Dance at Wapping Community Church. She is thrilled to be on staff at Glastonbury Dance Center! She also is on staff at a few other local studios. Aside from dance, Micaela works as an ABA therapist for children with special needs. She hopes to one day combine her love of dance and special education together for her dream profession! Yearly, Micaela returns to the studio she grew up at to perform in the Nutcracker with her fiance, Kyle. It’s a holiday tradition that Micaela has taken part in for as long as she can remember. Micaela and Kyle live together in Enfield, CT and can’t wait to get married in November!
Jamie-Lynn Fontaine Connell is originally from Westborough, MA and graduated with a B.A. in Theater & Dance from Trinity College, with supplemental ballet training at the Hartford Conservatory. Jamie-Lynn has been dancing with CONNetic Dance, a Hartford-based contemporary ballet company, since 2009 and is an original member of their “Nutcracker Suite & Spicy” production at the Wadsworth Athenuem’s Aetna Theater. She has performed at the American College Dance Festival, Built on Stilts Dance Festival, 5×5 Dance Festival, Ted Hershey Dance Marathon, and with the Judy Dworin Performance Project. Jamie has also performed with the Manchester Musical Players and at Playhouse on Park. She is a graduate of the Dance Masters of America Teacher Training School, a RYT 200 hr certified yoga instructor through Lotus Gardens Yoga School, an AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor, and a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Jamie-Lynn now lives in Glastonbury with her husband Alex and two adorable children Cole (5) and Maesie (2), and is proud to have been teaching at Glastonbury Dance Center for over ten years!
Jackie DeMaio graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice with a Theater Performance minor in 2016 and recently received her M.A. in Secondary English Education from UConn. Jackie grew up dancing at Glastonbury Dance Center. She was even a founding member of the original Hip Hop Team! She began choreographing in High School and served as the Choreographer for both BackBeat City Arts and Education and Glastonbury Youth and Family Services Peter Pan Players. During her undergrad at UD, she was the President for the Harrington Theatre Arts Company where she was also involved in 12 productions as a director, choreographer, and performer. She even received an award for her direction of Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party in 2015. She was also able to perform with UD’s Resident Ensemble Players. After graduating in 2016, she returned to Glastonbury and began working as a dance teacher at Kinsella Magnet School in addition to serving as the director for the summer musicals with Glastonbury Youth and Family Services and the choreographer for the Glastonbury High School Drama Club, both of which she continues to do today. She can also be found performing across Connecticut in various community theatre productions and was nominated for an Onstage Theatre Award in 2018 for her performance in August: Osage County with the Little Theatre of Manchester. During the day, Jackie teaches English at E.O. Smith High School. Jackie now lives in Glastonbury with two roommates (a fellow dance teacher and a music therapist) who are two of her favorite people to perform with on stage!
Emily Gauthier has been sharing her love of rhythm, storytelling and tutus with students at Glastonbury Dance Center since joining the teaching staff in 2012. She is a GDC alumni who absolutely loved growing up at Glastonbury Dance Center. Miss Emily is proud to continue the tradition of “raising” kind, confident, hard-working and passionate dancers! As a teenager, being a teaching assistant at GDC inspired her to pursue a career in education. While she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Connecticut, she kept her passion for dance alive by being a member of the UCONN Tap Team and choreographing tap, lyrical and hip hop routines for the UCONN dancers. Emily has continued her dance training by participating in theater/dance workshops in Hartford and NYC. Currently a first grade teacher in Simsbury, her students catch her tapping down the hallway or rockin’ a dance break at the back of the room (and sometimes front and center). You’ll always leave Miss Emily’s dance class with sweat, a smile, and a song in your head! When she isn’t teaching, Miss Emily enjoys spending time with her family in Glastonbury, her fiancé Alex, and any dog that will play with her!
Anne Kane is a proud teacher of jazz, tap, and musical theatre at GDC! She has a degree in musical theatre from Southern Connecticut State University. She is a two time nominee for the Irene Ryan award at the American College Theatre Festival. She attended an acting internship at Circle in the Square Theatre Company in New York City, where she studied acting with the same coach as actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. She trained to be a dance teacher under Jill Chase, former president of Dance Masters of America. She has attended many dance education conventions such as The Pulse and Dance Teacher Summit. She has received choreography awards at several dance competitions, and has trained students who have performed in commercials and film. She has been a passionate dance teacher for 14 years. When she’s not teaching or choreographing, she can be found dancing in her kitchen while cooking dinner with her wife Kristen and their two beautiful daughters Ashley (14) and Edie (1).