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 13th 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.

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.

Shane Farrell, Instructor

Shane is a Rhode Island native who studied at the Brae Crest School of Ballet and has performed in most major full-length ballets. His television and film credits include MTV’s MADE, FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, and the 2010 film Hachi. Shane performed for ten seasons with Island Moving Company (IMC) in Newport, RI from 2009 to 2019, including several national and international tours. In 2016 and 2017 he toured Kazakhstan with the company, performing at the World Expo in Astana and choreographing a flash mob in metro stations throughout Almaty in a collaboration with IMC, Samruk Dance, and the U.S. Consulate. His choreography for IMC includes five world premieres: Pheromone, Luminous, Queens Are Made of Distance and Greasepaint, Pavo Cristatus, and Black Moon Lilith, as well as Jack and Jill from Mother Goose. Other choreography includes America’s Junior Miss Pageant, Providence College, Wheaton College and Salve Regina University. We are thrilled to have Shane join our faculty for the 2020/21 Season!

Eivar Martinez

Eivar Martinez graduated from the Youth Ballet of Venezuela and was offered a contract with the National Ballet of Caracas under the Artistic Director Vicente Nebrada, where he quickly rose to the rank of principal dancer. He was featured in Nebrada’s Coppelia, Nutcracker, Don Quiote, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Paquita, Diana and Actaeon, Le Corsaire, Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pa De Deux, Nuestros Valses among others. He has toured Europe, the USA, China and South America. As a finalist competitor in the June 2000 New York International Ballet Competition, critics and audiences noted his technical virtuosity and athleticism. Mr. Martinez danced for three years as a member of Tulsa Ballet where he was featured in many classical ballets as well as Lila York’s Celts, Paul Taylor Company B, Balanchine’s Who Cares? and contemporary works by Nacho Duato. Eivar then joined Festival Ballet Providence as a principal dancer in the 25th season, where he appeared in numerous classical ballets, Anthony Tudor’s Leaves Are Fading, Agnes De Mille’s Rodeo, Spring Waters, and Victor Plotnikov’s Carmen and Coma. Mr. Martinez went on to perform as principal dancer with Dance Alive National Ballet and guest principal artist with Kentucky Ballet Theatre and Minnesota Ballet. Eivar is thrilled to be able to pass on his knowledge and love of classical ballet to inspire our new generation of dancers.

Timur Kan, Instructor

Timur Kan (Almaty, Kazakhstan) began his professional training at age 11. His ballet training is based on the Vaganova Method. Besides ballet, he studied Contemporary, Character, and traditional folk dances. Timur joined the Abay State Opera & Ballet Theatre in Almaty, Kazakhstan where he has performed in a variety of classical ballets such as Don Quixote, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and The Nutcracker. He has worked as a guest dancer with Samruk Contemporary Dance Theatre, Joburg Ballet in Johannesburg, South Africa, Albany Berkshire Ballet and is currently with Island Moving Company (IMC) of Newport, Rhode Island. He has had the privilege to work and train with notable teachers and choreographers from all over the world. Tima provides instruction in Ballet, Character and Hip Hop and currently teaches as several studios throughout New England. We look forward to Tima working with our Hip Hop dancers!

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.

Anneke St. Angelo, Junior Instructor

Anneke is a student at Mt. Hope High School, is Garance’s eldest daughter and has started dancing (officially) at her mother’s studio since age 2.5. She has studied Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap and Hip Hop and has been an assistant to our Tiny Toes, Fancy Feet and Young Children’s Hip Hop classes for years. In 2018/19 she began instructing as a co-teacher for the Tap/Jazz Combo classes, Fancy Feet Ballet as well as an Instructor Assistant in the All Boys Hip Hop! Anneke has been teaching Fancy Feet, Tap/Jazz 1 & 2 since 2019. Her classes are high energy, detail oriented and positive, bringing all her students on a fantastic dancing journey!

Past and Guest Faculty
  • Todd Hall
  • Roger Fonnegra
  • Patrick Notaro
  • Richard Anton Marsden
  • Donald Acevedo
  • Jordan Nelson
  • Julia Guiheen
  • Amy Burns
  • Katie Wind
  • Ophelia Fernandes
  • Ashley Rice
  • Casey Harkness
  • Gina Carbone
  • Audra Morrow
  • Jessica Fontaine
  • Francesca Bernardo
  • Caley Patton
  • Rodney Gore

To check our current schedule of classes, create a Parent Portal today!

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