Heidi Klecak (Director) is a professional dancer, dance teacher, theatre artist and choreographer. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and the Hartford Conservatory, she has held teaching positions at Saint Joseph College, Eastern Connecticut State University, the Hartford Conservatory, and the Marjorie Serafin School of Dance, among others. Heidi has also earned many credits towards a Masters degree in Dance and Movement Studies at Wesleyan University. She served as resident choreographer at the Hartford Children’s Theatre for 5 years. Heidi currently dances professionally with the Judy Dworin Performance Project. Previously, she performed with Jazz Dance Theatre, Annex Dance Company, and the Sonia Plumb Dance Company. Heidi is the founder and director of the Figments Youth Dance Ensemble (formerly CitiArts), whose mission is to provide young dance artists, ages 10 – 18, the opportunity to create and perform their own work. Figments auditions are held in September, and the ensemble produces a full season concert of original student choreography in February, at the Carol Autorino Center for the Arts in West Hartford.
Marjorie Serafin was the owner and Director of The Marjorie Serafin School of Dance in Stafford Springs for 52 years. She then passed the school to Heidi Klecak, and it became what it is today: The Stafford Academy of Dance, LLC. Mrs. Serafin is a past President and member of Dance Teachers' Club if Conn. Inc. Also a member of Dance Educators of America, Dance Teachers' Club of Boston, Dance Masters of America and Associate member of the Stafford Arts Commission.
Colleen Kopp Millett is a proud Stafford Academy of Dance alum. She danced at STAD for 12 years. During college, Colleen joined the UConn Tap Team and traveled and danced with them for two years. She graduated from UConn in Dec. 2009 with a degree in journalism. She wrote for the Hartford Courant for a few years after graduating college. She currently teaches writing classes for teens. She has taught at the Dance Academy of Somers under the direction of Kara Stanley, and also taught music at John and Susan Leavitt's Preschool of the Arts in Tolland, Conn.
Susan Leavitt (Music Director for Musical Theatre) has been teaching, performing and directing musical activities for more than 30 years. She holds degrees in music from the Hartt School of Music and UConn. She is Founder and Director of Family Academy of Music, which celebrates family centered music-making from birth, on. As a music teacher, Mrs. Leavitt has founded several singing groups. She has taught piano privately for many years and has directed several high school musicals. She is the musical director of LadySong, a community women's chorus, and Treble Troubadors, a children's chorus.
Gloria St. George has been dancing since the age of two, studying many styles of dance at Mass Motion Dance in Fiskdale, Mass. Gloria has a Bachelors degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from Gordon College. In addition to teaching at Stafford Academy of Dance, Gloria also teaches gymnastics to children 19 months to 12 years old.
Carole Frassinelli graduated from Dartmouth College in 1985 and moved to New York City, where her plans of becoming an advertising executive were quickly abandoned to pursue a career in theatre. Although she never quite made it to Broadway, over the course of the next 10 years, Carole had many opportunities to act, sing and dance in a variety of venues, including regional theaters all across the country, three European tours and her own NYC cabaret show. Carole moved back to Conn. in 1995 to start a family and a new career as a Speech-Language Pathologist at Hall School in Willington. She currently expresses her artistic spirit by acting and singing at local events, choreographing school shows and teaching Musical Theatre at Stafford Academy of Dance.
Haley Zdebski is a Connecticut native, and Stafford Academy alum, who graduated Magna Cum laude from SUNY, The College at Brockport, with a BFA in dance in the Spring of 2014. During this time she had the privilege of working with world-renowned teacher/choreographer Bill Evans and former Trisha Brown Company Dancer, Mariah Maloney. She had the opportunity to have her choreography showcased in venues around New York. Haley attended the American Dance Festival on full scholarship in 2013, where she reconstructed and performed Merce Cunningham repertoire. She worked at the Bolshoi Ballet Summer Intensive in CT as a modern teacher, and senior staff member in 2014. She has also worked at New England Dance Conservatory under the direction of Shelley Ziebel and Ken Lipitz. Haley is a teaching artist for Judy Dworin Performance Projects in the Hartford Public Schools for the moving matters and Bridging Boundaries programs. She dances professionally in CT and MA with DancEnlight, Judy Dworin Performance Projects, and the Legible Bod(y).
Austin Kopp, a Stafford Academy alum, received his associates degree in Accounting and Business Administration from Manchester Community College in May 2015. He is heading to UCONN in the fall of 2015 to study accounting. His role as Robert Martin in "The Drowsy Chaperone" with the Wilbraham United Players marked his 30th musical production since birth. He currently teaches music to children ages 2-5 at the Preschool of the Arts in Tolland, CT. Austin would like to thank Mrs. Frazz, Mrs. Leavitt and his students for a jolly good time in musical theatre this year!
Paula Mayo our "teacher in training" began as a beloved Student Assistant at Stafford Academy and has developed into a wonderful assistant teacher and dependable substitute.
Several advanced students assist our staff in beginner level classes.