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The Ballet Center Faculty

Garance Nienhuis, Studio Owner and Director

Garance is passionate about teaching dance and life skills to all of her students and makes it a priority to develop a connection with every student at The Ballet Center. In December 2014, she received the Champion for Youth Award which celebrates and recognizes extraordinary commitment and dedication demonstrated on behalf of youth in the community and was presented by the Coalition for the Advancement of Student Activities’ Student Leadership Training Program.  

Garance began her training when she was eight years old at the Royal Academy of Dance in The Netherlands before immigrating to the United States in 1980. Garance trained with Gretel van Bruggen, Herci Marsden, Patrick Notaro, and Donald Acevedo.  She danced with the State Ballet of Rhode Island from 1985-1996 where she became a soloist in 1992 and and principal dancer in 1994.  In 1996 Garance ventured into the realm of modern dance while working for choreographer Sally Mayo with Sally Mayo and Company Dancers in Disport.  In 1997 she performed as Heloise’s dancing double in the world premier of the musical Rage of the Heart. From 1996-1999 she was a frequent guest artist with Spindle City Ballet. Garance was a board member of The Bristol Theater Company from 1997-2005 and choreographed their productions of Evita and West Side Story.

Garance started teaching in private studios throughout  Rhode Island and Massachusetts in 1989 and in 1992-93 she was the Regional Director for Creative Dance for Children, bringing creative movement to children in daycare centers throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  In September of 1997, she opened her own studio in Bristol, Rhode Island. Garance has also been a substitute ballet teacher for the ballet classes Roger Williams University dance program.

Garance resides in Warren with her two daughters, Anneke and Amelie.

Diane Campagna, Instructor

This will be Miss Diane’s 10th Season at The Ballet Center! Growing up in Colorado, Diane studied tap, ballet, and jazz at Miller’s Dance Studio. She attended Brigham Young University and the University of Colorado at Boulder where she continued her dance training and began studying ballroom dance and modern.  She started teaching in 1999 at Steppin’ Out Studio in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and has been a member of Dance Masters of America since 2001. In addition to teaching dance, Diane has choreographed and directed numerous productions for the Bristol Theater Company where she serves on the Board of Directors and for Caron Productions. Diane teaches Jazz, Tap and Ballet at The Ballet Center since 2007.

Jennifer Emerson, Instructor

Jennifer grew up in Massachusetts and received her dance training at the Deane School of Dance (Greater Milford Ballet Company). She has studied under Georgia Deane, Laura Young, Susanna Vennerbeck, Ann Beretta Morsilli, Myles Marsden, Patti Beando as well as Rhee Ghold.  She began teaching in 1998 and has taught ballet, pointe, tap and jazz.  Jennifer is a member of the Rhode Island Dance Alliance and is a RISD graduate. Jennifer teacher our fantastic Adult Ballet classes and has been with The Ballet Center since 2013.

Rodney Gore, Instructor

Originally from North Carolina, Rodney started teaching ballet, jazz, and hip hop at Poyner School of Dance. Currently a dance major at Bridgewater State University he is on faculty at Dance Theater of New England and Loral Sims School of Dance.  He has performed with several dance groups including Impact Dance Company, Coker College Competitive Dance Team, Repertory Dance Company, The Redefined Movement Dance Company and Bridgewater State University’s Dance Kaleidoscope 2012. Rodney teaches our Hip Hop and Contemporary classes and has been with us since 2014.

Erin Gildea, Instructor

Erin holds a BA from Butler University in Dance Pedagogy, is the creator and director of the Dance Program at The Wheeler School in Providence and the Adaptive Dance Teacher for Festival Ballet Providence which teaches dance to children with Down’s Syndrome. Erin spent a semester abroad at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia and has been a company dancer at Festival Ballet Providence. Erin has had numerous wonderful instructors in her training and I am so proud to say she was one of my students!  She teaches at studios throughout New England and joined our Faculty as a ballet instructor in 2015.

Todd Hall, Permanent Guest Instructor

Originally from Barrington, Rhode Island, Todd trained at the School of American Ballet in New York City as well as at the Joffrey Ballet School, and the School of the Boston Ballet.  He has performed with Boston Ballet and Washington Ballet among others and has been a guest artist with a number of ballet companies in the United States, dancing such roles as Albrecht in Giselle, the Prince in Swan Lake, the Cavalier in The Nutcracker, and Franz in Coppelia. Todd currently teaches and choreographs throughout the Northeast and overseas. Todd has been a guest instructor at The Ballet Center since 1997 working with the advanced levels.

Past and Guest Faculty

  • Todd Hall
  • Roger Fonnegra
  • Patrick Notaro
  • Donald Acevedo
  • Ashley Rice
  • Casey Harkness
  • Gina Carbone
  • Audra Morrow
  • Jessica Fontaine
  • Francesca Bernardo