About

Cantarella School of Dance

The Cantarella School of Dance is known for its outstanding balanced dance curriculum. Director Madeline Cantarella Culpo founded the School of Dance in 1955 with the goal of providing personal attention and training for students and professional dancers. Graduates have gone on to dance with the Albany Berkshire Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow and the Pennsylvania, Idaho, Ohio, Portland, and Washington Ballets. The School teaches the Cecchetti method of ballet developed by Enrico Cecchetti, world renowned teacher of the Ballet Russes and ballet master of Diaghilev Ballet Russes, who trained such dancers as Pavlova, Fokine, and Nijinsky. Among his proteges was English ballerina Margaret Craske who later taught at the Juilliard School and Jacob’s Pillow. From Miss Craske, Madeline Cantarella Culpo developed her technique.

At the Cantarella School, the welfare of our young dancers is paramount. The program provides inspiration and progressive physical development in a professional friendly atmosphere. Classes are offered at all levels and are held Monday through Saturday. Modern, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and Lyrical classes are offered to complement classical ballet training. Students at the Intermediate and Advanced levels are encouraged to take a minimum of two classes per week; discounted rates apply for those taking multiple classes.

Serious students are encouraged to audition for acceptance into the Academies of the School or the Junior Company of the Albany Berkshire Ballet. This comprehensive training program for advanced students is designed for those who want to commit more time to the art of dance. Classes accelerate talented students, exposing them to nationally known teachers in a pre-professional instructional setting. In addition, both the Academies and the Junior Company perform frequently throughout the Berkshires and in the Capital Region.

Foundation

The Cantarella School of Dance uses the Cecchetti methods developed by Enrico Cecchetti, the world-renowned teacher of the Ballet Russes and ballet master of Diaghilev Ballet Russes. Pavlova, Fokine and Nijinsky were all trained by Master Cecchetti under these methods. One of his protégés, the English ballerina Margaret Craske, went on to teach at Juilliard and Jacob’s Pillow. “Miss Madeline,” who as a Juilliard alum was taught by Miss Craske, continues to develop her students’ techniques through the Cecchetti method.

Our Instructors

Madeline Culpo (Miss Madeline)
Director, Ballet & Pointe

Director-Founder and Artistic Director of the Albany Berkshire Ballet, is an alumna of the Juilliard School where she studied ballet with Margaret Craske, Antony Tudor and Alfredo Corvino and modern dance with Martha Graham. She is a nationally recognized teacher of dance, having taught throughout the United States, including at Jacob’s Pillow. She was featured in the November 1996 issue of “Dance Magazine” in an article entitled “Great Starts American Teachers Series” – “A Tribute To Teachers Who Have Produced Outstanding Results.” In addition, Mrs. Culpo has received three choreography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Nancy Ropelewski King (Miss Nancy)
Ballet & Pointe

Nancy Ropelewski King is a graduate of the Cantarella School. Mrs. King was a principal dancer and ballet mistress with the Albany Berkshire Ballet for many years. At Jacob’s Pillow she taught classes and also performed in Coppelia with the ABB. Her choreography “Peter and the Wolf” has been performed extensively throughout the Northeast. Mrs. King along with Artistic Director Madeline Cantarella Culpo choreographed the popular “Cinderella” and “Mother Goose” ballets.

Olivia Moran (Miss Olivia Moran)
Pre-Ballet, Modern & Tap

Olivia Moran holds a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in N.Y.C. with a minor in Arts Administration and has been instructing Dance Education for 20 years in Berkshire County. After graduating college in 2002, she began to focus on Dance Education and spent 15 years as a Lead Instructor at Berkshire Dance Theatre. She also founded “move with me” a program to increase coordination skills in young children and taught in area preschools as a guest teacher for their enrichment programs. In 2013 she founded Freedom Dance where she was the Artistic Director and Lead Educator. She also began the areas first “Youth Drum Group” exposing young children to African Inspired music, instruments, and Dance. Olivia’s training began at the age of 10 with the Berkshire Dance Theatre and she eventually went on to study with some of the best instructors in the country while residing in New York City including Classical Ballet with Virginia Johnson, Edward Ellison and Finis Jhung. She has performed original works choreographed by Jose Limon and worked with Chet Walker on a Broadway inspired Jazz piece. Olivia studied Classical Modern with teachers from the Graham school, Alvin Ailey and the Limon Institute including Milton Myers, Joyce Herring, Elena Comendador and Maxine Steinman. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor and Massage Therapist and is trained in Thai Yoga Massage. Her students have gone on to participate in some of the most prestigious programs in the country and work as professionals in the dance world as teachers, performers, movement therapists and professional dancers.

Deirdre Duffin-Swindlehurst (Miss Dede)
Ballet, Pointe & Variations

Deirdre Duffin-Swindlehurst started dancing at age five under Madeline Cantarella Culpo and went on to be a principal dancer with Albany Berkshire Ballet. She joined the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1980, and rose to soloist in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Les Sylphides, and The Four Temperaments. Deirdre has appeared as a guest artist at Jacob’s Pillow and has toured the United States with Leonid and Valentina Kaslov and with Cynthia Gregory and her “Celebration Tour.” Miss Dede teaches advanced levels of ballet and is Ballet Mistress to the Junior Company in Albany.

Chuck Paquette (Mr. Paquette)
Ballet, Modern, Choreography

Chuck holds a BFA in dance from Purchase College and a MFA in Dance from Smith College. Growing up in Adams, he discovered a passion for dance that was insatiable and soon left to study at the American Dance Festival, Purchase College and with David Howard in NYC. He danced with Mel Wong, Concert Dance Company of Boston and the Boston Repertory Ballet, as well as with several independent choreographers. Chuck has had an ongoing relationship with the Albany Berkshire Ballet since 1974. His teaching includes but is not limited to Smith, Hampshire, and Williams College, MCLA, The Pioneer Valley Ballet, Amherst Ballet Theater, the Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts in Natick and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Chuck currently works in the Art Department at Williams College.

Danielle Price (Miss Danielle)

Danielle first received her dance training at Sally McDermott Dance Centers, south of Worcester, MA, where she studied Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, and Modern. She danced with the studio’s Company competing regionally and nationally as a solo and group performer. Danielle was a member of the adult contemporary dance company, The Breakin’ Through Dance Company, located in Northern Connecticut. She was a company performer from the years of 2004 to 2007. She continued her love of dance at Westfield State College where she was a dance team member, choreographer, and solo performer. In 2008 she received her Bachelor of Science in Education in Special Education, and later moved to the Berkshires. Since she has been studying dance locally, as well as teaching middle school in Pittsfield.

Olivia Martin (Miss Olivia)

Olivia Martin is a graduate with a Bachelor of Art in Dance from Dean College-Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance (2014). She is a Kripalu trained and certified Yoga teacher and has attended continuing education classes in Progressive Ballet Techniques and BrainGym 101.  Olivia teaches yoga and dance at various schools and businesses throughout the Berkshires including Cantarella School of Dance, Community Access to the Arts in local schools, and co- directing the Moving Company with Dawn Lane and at Radiance Yoga. Her diversity in dance, movement, yoga, theatre and performing arts, has allowed her to quickly adapt not only to her environment, her clientele and the dance experience but will make the exercise experience truly unique and personal.

Destiny Culpo (Miss Destiny)
Preballet & Ballet

Destiny studied at the Cantarella School of Dance beginning at the age of 2. Over the years she trained in ballet, modern, pointe, jazz, tap and pilates. She subsequently studied under the direction of Angela Whitehill at the prestigious Burklyn Ballet Theatre in summers. Destiny is an alumna of St. Joseph’s High School, going on to study Cosmetology and Business Administration at Mildred Elley. She has danced with the Albany Berkshire Ballet Company in their production of the Nutcracker performing roles from Reindeer through Waltz of the Flowers.

Madeline Culpo (Miss Madeline)
Director, Ballet & Pointe

Director-Founder and Artistic Director of the Albany Berkshire Ballet, is an alumna of the Juilliard School where she studied ballet with Margaret Craske, Antony Tudor and Alfredo Corvino and modern dance with Martha Graham. She is a nationally recognized teacher of dance, having taught throughout the United States, including at Jacob’s Pillow. She was featured in the November 1996 issue of “Dance Magazine” in an article entitled “Great Starts American Teachers Series” – “A Tribute To Teachers Who Have Produced Outstanding Results.” In addition, Mrs. Culpo has received three choreography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Nancy Ropelewski King (Miss Nancy)
Ballet & Pointe

Nancy Ropelewski King is a graduate of the Cantarella School. Mrs. King was a principal dancer and ballet mistress with the Albany Berkshire Ballet for many years. At Jacob’s Pillow she taught classes and also performed in Coppelia with the ABB. Her choreography “Peter and the Wolf” has been performed extensively throughout the Northeast. Mrs. King along with Artistic Director Madeline Cantarella Culpo choreographed the popular “Cinderella” and “Mother Goose” ballets.

Olivia Moran (Miss Olivia Moran)
Pre-Ballet, Modern & Tap

Olivia Moran holds a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in N.Y.C. with a minor in Arts Administration and has been instructing Dance Education for 20 years in Berkshire County. After graduating college in 2002, she began to focus on Dance Education and spent 15 years as a Lead Instructor at Berkshire Dance Theatre. She also founded “move with me” a program to increase coordination skills in young children and taught in area preschools as a guest teacher for their enrichment programs. In 2013 she founded Freedom Dance where she was the Artistic Director and Lead Educator. She also began the areas first “Youth Drum Group” exposing young children to African Inspired music, instruments, and Dance. Olivia’s training began at the age of 10 with the Berkshire Dance Theatre and she eventually went on to study with some of the best instructors in the country while residing in New York City including Classical Ballet with Virginia Johnson, Edward Ellison and Finis Jhung. She has performed original works choreographed by Jose Limon and worked with Chet Walker on a Broadway inspired Jazz piece. Olivia studied Classical Modern with teachers from the Graham school, Alvin Ailey and the Limon Institute including Milton Myers, Joyce Herring, Elena Comendador and Maxine Steinman. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor and Massage Therapist and is trained in Thai Yoga Massage. Her students have gone on to participate in some of the most prestigious programs in the country and work as professionals in the dance world as teachers, performers, movement therapists and professional dancers.

Deirdre Duffin-Swindlehurst (Miss Dede)
Ballet, Pointe & Variations

Deirdre Duffin-Swindlehurst started dancing at age five under Madeline Cantarella Culpo and went on to be a principal dancer with Albany Berkshire Ballet. She joined the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1980, and rose to soloist in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Les Sylphides, and The Four Temperaments. Deirdre has appeared as a guest artist at Jacob’s Pillow and has toured the United States with Leonid and Valentina Kaslov and with Cynthia Gregory and her “Celebration Tour.” Miss Dede teaches advanced levels of ballet and is Ballet Mistress to the Junior Company in Albany.

Chuck Paquette (Mr. Paquette)
Ballet, Modern, Choreography

Chuck holds a BFA in dance from Purchase College and a MFA in Dance from Smith College. Growing up in Adams, he discovered a passion for dance that was insatiable and soon left to study at the American Dance Festival, Purchase College and with David Howard in NYC. He danced with Mel Wong, Concert Dance Company of Boston and the Boston Repertory Ballet, as well as with several independent choreographers. Chuck has had an ongoing relationship with the Albany Berkshire Ballet since 1974. His teaching includes but is not limited to Smith, Hampshire, and Williams College, MCLA, The Pioneer Valley Ballet, Amherst Ballet Theater, the Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts in Natick and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Chuck currently works in the Art Department at Williams College.

Danielle Price (Miss Danielle)

Danielle first received her dance training at Sally McDermott Dance Centers, south of Worcester, MA, where she studied Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, and Modern. She danced with the studio’s Company competing regionally and nationally as a solo and group performer. Danielle was a member of the adult contemporary dance company, The Breakin’ Through Dance Company, located in Northern Connecticut. She was a company performer from the years of 2004 to 2007. She continued her love of dance at Westfield State College where she was a dance team member, choreographer, and solo performer. In 2008 she received her Bachelor of Science in Education in Special Education, and later moved to the Berkshires. Since she has been studying dance locally, as well as teaching middle school in Pittsfield.

Olivia Martin (Miss Olivia)

Olivia Martin is a graduate with a Bachelor of Art in Dance from Dean College-Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance (2014). She is a Kripalu trained and certified Yoga teacher and has attended continuing education classes in Progressive Ballet Techniques and BrainGym 101.  Olivia teaches yoga and dance at various schools and businesses throughout the Berkshires including Cantarella School of Dance, Community Access to the Arts in local schools, and co- directing the Moving Company with Dawn Lane and at Radiance Yoga. Her diversity in dance, movement, yoga, theatre and performing arts, has allowed her to quickly adapt not only to her environment, her clientele and the dance experience but will make the exercise experience truly unique and personal.

Destiny Culpo (Miss Destiny)
Preballet & Ballet

Destiny studied at the Cantarella School of Dance beginning at the age of 2. Over the years she trained in ballet, modern, pointe, jazz, tap and pilates. She subsequently studied under the direction of Angela Whitehill at the prestigious Burklyn Ballet Theatre in summers. Destiny is an alumna of St. Joseph’s High School, going on to study Cosmetology and Business Administration at Mildred Elley. She has danced with the Albany Berkshire Ballet Company in their production of the Nutcracker performing roles from Reindeer through Waltz of the Flowers.