the academy is NOT moving… YET!

You may have noticed the sign in front of our building… This is not due to a confirmed plan to move but simply part of the process of exploring potential new locations as we look to expand our program offerings and continue to grow our legacy institution…

the nutcracker 2019 (full-length video)

Enjoy this full-length video of our 38th annual production of The Nutcracker…

our 38th annual production of the nutcracker – tickets now available!

Staged every December for the past 37 years, this professional production includes Academy students that are enrolled in our ballet program…

our 6th annual production of alice (2019): full performance video

Enjoy this video showing our full 2019/6th Annual Production of Alice…

2019-2020 season registration

Another Westport Academy of Dance season is rapidly approaching…

summer 2019 dance camps

Join us at the Academy for various summer dance camp programs…

please join us at our upcoming alice perfomance

please join us at our upcoming alice perfomance

Spring is here and so is Westport’s Academy of Dance 6th annual production of Alice!

the nutcracker 2018 (full-length video)

Enjoy this full-length video of our 37th annual production of The Nutcracker…

dance and the importance of emergency preparedness

Westport’s Academy of Dance is proud of our own Teacher and Choreographer David Fernandez and Student Charlotte Barrato for helping The Mayor’s Office of New York City and The New York City Emergency Management Department…

wywl’s craftwestport 2018!

Please join us at The Westport Young Woman’s League CraftWestport 2018 at Staples High School…

Westport’s Academy of Dance is proud of our own Teacher/Choreographer David Fernandez and Student Charlotte Barrato for helping The New York City Emergency Management Department raise awareness and educate on the importance of emergency preparedness.

“Moving Through It” shows the phases of an emergency through dance. David’s choreography demonstrates the actions and emotions in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from an event. This marks the first time New York City Emergency Management has used dance to raise awareness and educate on the importance of emergency preparedness.

Watch the full video in English here…

Spanish translation available here…

Produced by: Craig Hyland, David Fernandez and James McConnell in collaboration with The Mayor’s Office of New York City and The New York City Emergency Management Department.

Video Directed and Edited by: David Schiliro

Featuring: Shannon Maynor (Eglevsky Ballet), Morgan Stinnett (Cello Pointe) Dona Wiley (Cello Pointe), Julian Wanderer (School of American Ballet), Charlotte Barrato (Westport’s Academy of Dance), Christopher Grant (New York City Ballet), Traci Finch (The Suzanne Farrell Ballet), Paunika Jones (Brooklyn Ballet) and Miku Kawamura (Brooklyn Ballet)

To learn more about this project and to donate please visit The Dance Films Association…


Please join us at The Westport Young Woman’s League CraftWestport 2018  at Staples High School where The Academy  is among the sponsors of “Family Fun Day” on Sunday, 11/4 – featuring activities and demonstrations for kids and their families…

Prizes, giveaways and performances featuring Academy dancers beginning at 2:00pm on Sunday!

For more information please click here…

What a fantastic event!  Thank you Tina Meehan and the members of Westport Young Woman’s League (WYWL) for this opportunity. Great job dancers! Thanks to Miss Caitlin for the choreography and for capturing this performance video.

Check out our Facebook post for images from the event!


The Academy is excited to be among the sponsors of the upcoming 40th Annual Westport Young Woman’s League Minute Man Race on Sunday April 22, 2018…

Some of our dancers will be performing at the event, and we invite all from our dance community to join us in support of this fantastic and super fun tradition!


academy_of_dance_FLEX_blogThe Academy of Dance is proud to be among the sponsors for today’s FLEX:FAMILY FUN at the Westport Library. Please join us for for the day’s events between 10:00am and 5:00pm!

Enjoy these video clips from last year’s performance!

Dancers, teachers, parent volunteers all getting ready for the coming weekend!

Check out this video from in-studio rehearsal!

Photography by Kerry Long

Westport’s Academy of Dance is proud to announce that Miss Courtney’s piece ‘To this day’ will be performing in the 2017 Slam Jam. The Academy is supporting the anti-bullying movement in Westport and we are thrilled to be performing at such an important community event.


The 2017 SlamJam is a performance art showcase in which high school teens express their feelings about empathy and kindness as well as bullying, exclusion and their social world. Dance, music, rap, poetry, spoken word and song are all represented in this dramatic and powerful evening of exceptional talent. Teens from all over Fairfield County are participating.

Emcee’d by Poetry Slam award-winning artist CEEZ LIIVE, the 2017 SlamJam promises to move and motivate audiences of all ages. Inspired by events in Westport and surrounding areas, as well as by the Westport Arts Center’s “More Than Words” exhibit, SKATEmovement.org (K2BK Founders) presents the 2017 SlamJam – Teens with something to say.

For more information about this event and the link for reg tickets:


(If you would like to join us for VIP seating,  you need to call the box office at (203) 227-4177.  Includes pre-performance champagne “meet and greet” and post performance party)

more than words


Wishing a very special congratulations to Courtney Poulos and the WAD dancers for their acceptance into the MORE Than Words exhibition.

Be sure to stop by the Westport Arts Center to view all the wonderful works that center around such an important topic facing our kids and adults alike. The exhibit is open until January 7th, 2017.

MORE Than Words/#Iammore

The Westport Arts Center announces the MORE Than Words/#iammore exhibition, featuring selected works by the community at large.   The works were designed in support of the theme of the Arts Center’s previous exhibition MORE Than Words – courage, resilience and empowerment in the face of bullying – featuring pieces by some of the most important contemporary artists of our time.

 If you would like to learn more information about please click here. #iammore

artist brigade

Academy families, please take a moment to learn about NicaPhoto, a wonderful organization that is doing an enormous amount of work for disadvantaged children and their families living in the poorest barrios of Nicaragua.  We learned of their work through the Evans family who are also generously involved in a related non-profit organization, CT Quest for Peace, with a focus on sustainable solutions to similar needs in the same region.
The Evans family has graciously been part of our Academy family as former students, volunteers, and most recently as Abby has joined our staff! Please join us in supporting these extremely important initiatives, as together we can leverage the power of dance and the arts to help promote change.
Please be on the look out for signage in the studio, updates on the Academy blogFacebook and Twitter accounts where we will announce specific dates and times for planed clothing, dance apparel and school supply donations, fundraising events, and other related initiatives. A small amount goes a very long way!
We are so thankful for your support.  Anyone interested in getting more involved please email us! 
Nancy, and the staff at the Academy





senior sendoff



Every year another group of talented dancers leaves the academy to begin the next chapter of their lives. This year we sendoff 7 amazing ladies who have meant a great deal at the Academy. We wish them the best of luck towards their next adventure and remind them to always visit their dance home.


Growing up at the academy has taught me a lot. One of the most important things being friendship. The girls that I’m graduating with this year are seriously some of my best friends and I can’t wait to keep up with them even after our time together dancing. I would have never gotten to create such a strong friendship with these girls if it weren’t for Westport’s Academy of Dance. Thank you WAD!

- Harley


The studio has meant so much to me over the past years. I wasn’t one of the girls that had been there since I was little but regardless it’s become my second home. Everyone was so welcoming, I remember watching nutcracker my first year and being so amazed by all the girls involved. But now those girls have become part of my own life. They are unlike any others. They will always be there for me, to laugh, to dance, to listen to all my problems. They became some of my best friends and for that, I am so grateful. Even the teachers, and Kris of course, have always cared so much for all of us. They treat us like their own family. I can’t imagine how different my life would have been if I never came to WAD.

- Olivia


For the past 15 years, Westport Academy of Dance has been a huge part of my life. I love coming to the studio everyday, laughing with both my friends and teachers, but still being able to improve and further my dancing. To me, dance is more then just an after school activity, but it is something I truly love. Something that has played a significant role in my journey through the studio is the annual performance of the Nutcracker. I started just in 1st grade as a sheep and angel and have taken part in the Nutcracker ever since. As a little girl, my favorite part in the show was always the lead Arabian. This past year was really special because not only was it my final show, but I was able to perform that part on stage. However, one of the best parts about moving up through the studio and finally becoming a member of Senior Company was the fact that I got to share it with the girls beside me. The six other graduating seniors along with the other members of senior company have become some of my best friends and people I know I will always share something special with. I am definitely going to miss dancing and smiling along side these girls next year.

- Andrea

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 5.53.38 PM

One of my best memories of my years at the academy was my last day of classes this year. The younger dancers in senior company surprised all of the seniors with a senior day! They made us a really cute sign and got us a chocolate cake. We were all so surprised and it was really nice that they did something special to celebrate our last day. My favorite Nutcracker memory is the year I was Clara. Clara is always a role I aspired to dance ever since I started at the academy, so it was so rewarding to finally get it. I think my favorite part was being a role model for the younger kids to look up to. I just hope that even after I graduate there will be dancers who remember me or looked up to me. I always looked up to older dancers growing up at the Academy, so it’s really cool that now I’m in that position and girls look up to me. One of the best experiences I’ve had at the academy has been choreographing our graduating senior piece. This dance is the culmination of all our years at the Academy, so it’s amazing to be able to create it with my best friends. The friendships I’ve made at the Academy are so strong and loving, and I know it is because of the incredible environment the teachers have created. Throughout our piece we tried to incorporate a little bit of each teacher’s style of dance to show our appreciation for all they have done for us. This truly has been an amazing experience and I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the Academy. It’s so hard to believe this weekend will be my last time dancing for the Academy, but I am forever grateful for everything.

- Megan


I have become so close with my dance friends. Every year I become closer with them. I am going to miss laughing and dancing with them. I am so thankful for the academy. The teachers made me feel more confident about myself as a person and a dancer. I am so happy that I grew up at the WAD.

 - Renee


Thinking about leaving my WAD family breaks my heart, but every memory we’ve made together will stay with me forever. I’ve learned so much over the years, not only about dance, but also about how to be a better person and I’ve forever indebted to my teachers and my girls for that. I’m jealous of all of the younger girls that have time left at the studio, and I hope they cherish every day like I did. Love u wad

- Blair


I remember the first time I saw nutcracker. I was in Kindergarten and I saw the Sugar Plum Fairy come on stage with her wand and I turned to my mom and said “I’m going to be her one day”. This year, when I finally got to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux, it was probably one of the best feelings ever. It was like all my hard work had finally paid off, and I knew little me was sitting in the audience watching. But still, it’s hard for me to say that being the Sugar Plum was my favorite memory at the academy. Because, picking that memory would leave out my 7 amazing teachers, my 1 dedicated mother, and my 9 best friends. It would leave out Secret Snowflake, our scavenger hunts, and our sleepovers. It would leave out the infinite amount of laughter and puddles of tears. It would leave out all the people who have shaped me to be who I am today. It would leave out my family. Therefore, I cannot pick one favorite memory because no one memory could every capture my time at Westport’s Academy of Dance. I will forever miss, but never forget my journey through WAD. And, thank you to everyone who has been part of it.



Join us for a journey into The Land Of Sweets and on a grand adventure.

Westport’s Academy of Dance will perform the Nutcracker this weekend at

Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door. 

Please come join Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and several other dancers from our production at the Westport women’s club Nutcracker Tea on Saturday, Nov 29th from 2-4pm.   Mary Ellen Marpe, wife of first selectman of Westport, Jim Marpe, will be doing a live reading of the Nutcracker, followed by appearances by many of the cast members!   Dancers will take pictures, sign autographs, and delight your little one in their dazzling costumes.   Sweet treats, cakes, tea sandwiches, hot chocolate, and tea will be served, and attendance of the event will include automatic entry to win several holiday raffle gifts.  Tickets to this event are $40. All proceeds will go to support the performing arts program at the Waltersville school in Bridgeport, CT.  Please visit http://www.westportwomansclub.org/ for information and to buy tickets.


Also this year, Westport’s Academy of Dance will be partnering with the longstanding children’s charity Al’s Angels, by holding a holiday Toy Drive at each performance of the show.    Please join us in supporting this wonderful by cause by bringing a new, unwrapped gift with you when attending the performance.   All toys will be wrapped by volunteers at Al’s Angels and distributed to children in need, battling cancer, rare blood diseases, and those in severe financial hardship.   During this magical time of year, please help us to provide children who are less fortunate with a token of love and the holiday spirit!  And please visit http://www.alsangels.org/ to find out more about Al’s Angels and what you can do to help their wonderful efforts.


Ever wonder what your teachers are doing when they aren’t dancing in the studio. In Miss Caitlin’s case she continues dancing outside. Here is a video of her most recent dance escapades.


Westport Academy of Dance teacher David Fernandez is at it again! Some Dance Company’s tickets for Encore! are up and on sale at Ticketmaster. Feel free to purchase your tickets, and pass the link on and spread the word! This special performance takes place on Monday, April 28th, 2014 at 7pm and is featuring some of the Academy students!

To get your tickets, Click Here! 

Also, please check out the Kickstarter campaign. Ticket sales can go to benefit Career Transition for Dancers, a great organization that has helped numerous dancers in transition from their performance careers.  Our Kickstarter link is below, and feel free to also pass it on to other dance/arts enthusiasts.

Help support Some Dance Company on Kickstater! Click Here to make a contribution!

Finally, we leave you with a fun video put together by David featuring our lovely Academy Students!


Ever wonder who choreographs the various high school musicals in Fairfield County? Well, for the past 3 months, Westport’s Academy of Dance Teacher Miss Caitlin has been busy choreographing The Drowsy Chaperone for Darien’s High School Spring Musical. The performances are on March 20, 21, and 22nd at Darien High School at 7pm. Click here for tickets!



Also look out next month because Westport’s Academy of Dance student  and Senior company member, Jane Schutte has been assisting in choreographing Shrek The Musical at Coleytown Middle School. Performances are April 3, 4, and 5th. Click here for more details and tickets!


Thinking about where you might want to go for a summer dance experience? We asked a few of our Company members to share their experiences from last summer. See Below.

CPYB (Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet): Carlisle, PA

Attendees: Elizabeth Rhoads and Abby Suppan                      Ages: 14

Did you have to audition for this program?

E: No

A:  Kind of. You had to send in pictures in an echappé and attitude, but they judged your level from that and a placement class on the second day. 

Why did you choose this program?

E: I heard great things about it from my neighbor, Nancy and friends.

A: I chose this program because it was recommended to me and I went with a friend.

What was your favorite experience?

E: My favorite experience was coming back and seeing how much I improved and how much the camp was worth it.

A: I loved living in the dorms and walking to class everyday. I found it relaxing and fun because I had the time to walk and talk with my friends.

My favorite activity out of the town and off the campus was going to Penn’s Cave. It was so much fun and so cool to see the inside of a cavern. 

What kind of dance genres did you do?

E: I participated in ballet, modern, character and also supplemental classes including hip-hop, jazz, tap, modern, Pilates and yoga.

A: We did ballet, pointe, and jazz, but there was partnering offered for the older girls.

Did you learn anything new during your experience?

E: Definitely. Both times I went, I felt so much stronger and confident as a dancer as a whole once I returned. I also learned more dance moves that made others easier.

A: I learned a lot of new steps but I also improved my technique a lot

How long were you away or how long did you participate with this summer program?

E: I was away for 5 weeks but went twice, so 10.

A: 5 weeks (there is also a 2 week intensive in August)


Broadway Dance Center Summer Workshop Series, NYC

 Attendee: Lulu Busk                      Age: 14

Did you have to audition for this program?

No but there is limited room in classes so you have to sign up early

 Why did you choose this program?

I wanted to be able to commute in and out of the city, and wanted to get to dance with lots of different instructors. A great part about Broadway Dance Centers location is it’s only about a 10-minute walk from Grand Central Station.

What was your favorite experience?

My favorite experience was just the speed of it all. You are always moving and being asked to try or do something new. I loved having to learn combinations really quickly, and getting the privilege to meet so many new dancers and teachers who are all really helpful and kind.

 What kind of dance genres did you do?

Jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, contemporary all in the workshop, and then I took ballet classes in my free time in some off the great open classes offered at this school.

Did you learn anything new during your experience?

I learned a lot of new styles and tricks at this program. In turning and leaping classes I improved, and I got to attempt some new styles and types of dance like house, vogueing, gliding, and popping. I also learned how to quickly pick up difficult combinations which is a good skill to have for auditions and fast paced classes.

 How long were you away or how long did you participate with this summer program?

I did this program, and took open classes for 4 weeks but there are plenty of short workshops that students can attend.


ABT (American Ballet Theatre)

I’m Amanda Kenner and I’m 14. Last year I went to ABT Tuscaloosa Alabama. I chose this because I went the year before and I was familiar with the company. You do have to audition for it, but it’s not all that hard to get in. My favorite experience was the performance at the end, it was a recital of sorts. The intensive is three weeks long, and starts mid June through mid July. We learned ballet, modern, jazz, character, and Pilates even though it’s not exactly dance. We also took nutrition and anatomy classes on the weekends. Overall it was a great program and I really got a lot better. I learned all kinds of new steps, combinations, and dance etiquette.










WAD Teachers

Your dance teachers work REALLY hard. Want to show them you appreciate all that they do for you and for dance…Discount Dance is doing its first annual Dance Teacher Award! Nominate one of your dance teachers today!!!


Miss Nancy!   Miss Catalina!   Miss Tollie!   Miss Courtney!   Miss Caitlin!   Mr. Ted!   Mr. David!

Click here to fill out the form!


Click below to read more about this amazing way to recognize your dance teacher.




As many of you know, last month Jr. and Sr. Company members participated in National Dance Week Foundation’s Kick It Challenge. After submitting our video, we were recognized as one of the winners of the 2nd Annual Video Contest in the category of dance studios! We are so excited to be recognized for our efforts and can’t wait to participate next year.

Click here to see the results!


Also…our very own Jess Riniti was acknowledged in the Westport News for her performance in the Nutcracker!

Click here to read the article!


Each year we have another graduating senior perform their last Nutcracker with the Academy family. This year we asked that senior to tell us about everything their Nutcracker experience has meant to them over the years.


Jess (Clara)


Name:  Jess Riniti         Age:  17

How many years have your performed in the Nutcracker?  12 years

What was you favorite part to perform and why?  The year I was Clara when I was a freshman was my favorite because I got to act, I could watch everyone else, and it was relatively stress free. 

What was your favorite year to perform and why?  My favorite year was the year I was a flower, snow, pirouette, and lead chinese. It was a challenge to perform all of them in one year, but I enjoyed bring a new character to life every time I was on stage.

What will you miss most about performing in the Academy Nutcracker?  I love the traditions, the backstage ambiance. I also love that it’s one big story and we’re all working together to tell it. It feels like a team effort even though we all have our individual parts. I will miss that and the family we form because of it. 

Do you have any advice for young dancers interested in performing in the Nutcracker?  Do it! It’s a tradition and it’s the thing I look forward to most in the holiday season. Looking up to the older dancers and then becoming one is so rewarding. And don’t get discouraged! The audience loves every part and every part is a good one. They’re ALL an important part of the story. Every audience member has his or her favorite, you never know who’s out their just waiting for you! And every part is what you make of it!





It’s not too late! Order your tickets, tell your friends, share our Facebook event group and spread the love for The Nutcracker.

Performed at Staples High School
Saturday, 12.7.13 at 3:00pm & 7:00pm
Sunday, 12.8.13 at 2:00pm

Call the studio for more information: 203.226.9987

Download the ticket order form

Watch the trailer from the 2010 Nutcracker Movie

A very behind the scenes look at our 26th year


Over the weekend, Junior and Senior company members participated in National Dance Week Foundation’s Kick It Challenge. This event was to promote dance and fitness in the community. After a few rehearsals, the girls performed in several locations including downtown Westport. If you missed this live performance or if you want to see it again, here is the edited video of that day. This video is also up on NDWF’s website!



Great Job Girls!


Westport’s Academy of Dance is proud to perform a Kickline!

Inspired by the National Dance Week Foundation’s 2013 Kick It Challenge! 

FREE Performance!

Come see us Kick It for NDWF!

Date:  Saturday, November 9th

Time: 3:15pm and 3:45pm

 Where:  Jesup Green, Westport, CT
           (Right by the Westport Public Library)

the excitement is mounting for today’s first performance at 3pm.  tickets are available at the door for all performances.  enjoy these photos!

Performances will be held at Staples High School
Saturday, December 1st at 3:00 & 7:00pm
Sunday, December 2nd at 2:00pm

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for student/seniors. For tickets please call 203.226.9987 or download and return our ticket order form.

Thanks to all that give us the opportunity to share memories as we continually strive to form new moments to reflect upon in the future.

View The Nutcracker 2012 student cast list by clicking here
Watch the trailer from The Nutcracker 2010 movie
A very behind the scenes look at our 26th year

What an exciting show! Watch our Academy dancers at Toquet Hall after only a few short weeks of preparation and rehearsal for this new performance workshop with original choreography from our own Courtney Poulos.

Westport’s Academy of Dance is excited to announce this evening’s performance of Alice – a fun and funky new take on the children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland. Read the rest of this entry »