Our Dedicated Educators

Jennifer Wiesner - Director, Creative Movement, Ballet & Jazz

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Jennifer Wiesner was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of 7, she began studying ballet at the National Institute “Raymond Mauge Thoniel” under the direction of her teachers, Geoconda Minervini and Ivonne Hidalgo. At the age of 18, she earned a BFA in Dance from the same institute. She also studied ballet with her sister, Ana Wiesner de Tamrazov, who studied in Kiev, Ukraine. Soon after that, her teaching career began as she developed after-school dance programs for several different educational institutions in Ecuador. 

Ms. Wiesner has directed many youth programs and has participated in numerous performances in Ecuador and The United States. Such as Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Celebration of the Dance, La Bayadere, La Fille Mal Gardee and many more. In 2001, Jennifer decided to take up a permanent residence in the United States. In 2003, she founded Jennifer Wiesner Dance in Stamford, CT and has since extended her influence by developing dance programs throughout Fairfield County. One being in the town of Easton, CT where she still continues teaching ballet and jazz. In 2013, she opened Studio Arte offering not only dance instruction but also expanding to art education in music and visual arts. Ms. Wiesner also served as the Artistic Director at Hall Neighborhood House Inc. in Bridgeport, CT. where she helped to bring the arts to underprivileged children. Jennifer has received recognition from the government of Ecuador for her hard work and dedication to the community. Ms. Wiesner has also been recognized as one of the top 40 under 40 community contributors in the Fairfield County, CT area. Ms. Wiesner continues her education under the renowned jazz dance master Stephen Harding at the Manhattan Movement and Art center in NYC. Ms. Wiesner also works at Building One Community, a center for immigrants as its Case manager.

Yohanna Escamilla - Flamenco & Latin

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Yohanna Escamilla began her dance training at the age of 11 in Bogota, Colombia under the instruction of professional dancer, Janeth Cifuentes. In 2002, she was accepted into the Substitute Company at the Ballet Folklorico Tierra Colombiana where she studied ballet, jazz and Latin-American Folklore dance and performed with that company during that year. In 2003, she joined the Ballet Folklorico at the Universidad Autónoma de Colombia where she became the first dancer. During the same year, she received her initial flamenco dance training performing with the group "Aires de España" directed by Julio Cesar Roman and later on she studied with Junny Zarate "La Yunna". After moving to the United States, her interest for flamenco dance led her to continue her training under the instruction of Melinda Marquez at the Melinda Marquez Flamenco Dance Center, and taking Flamenco dance workshops in New York with Flamenco dancers Rosario Toledo, Fanny Ara, and a special Flamenco choreography/Stage workshop by Soledad Barrio Company director Martin Santangelo, and canto/structure with the Flamenco singer Alfonso Cid.  She is currently teaching Flamenco and Latin dance to children and adults and is the director of the Jr. Flamenco Dance Company at Studio Arte. She is pursuing an A.A degree in Visual and Performing Arts in Dance at Naugatuck Valley Community college. Yohanna is looking to bring more Flamenco to Connecticut and open a path for the currently young students of the area. She also encourages the community to support this art form and to support our young artist.

Carlos Velásquez - Guitar

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He began to study music early in the 90’s. After moving to United States, he began to study Music Performance at the University of Bridgeport where he got a degree in Music Education with emphasis in Jazz studies, and made several courses with Chris Coogan and Chris Morrison, two pioneers in New York City and Fairfield County area. Carlos also took private Guitar and Composition lessons with Dan Arcamone and private class Percussion and Drumming Education with Jeff Jones (Vic Firth Artist).

As an accomplished educator, composer, arranger, mentor and improviser, he has taught elementary, secondary in both private and public schools and has performed or worked with Cinemacinco, Alfonso Cid, Angie Durrell (INTAKE), Jessica Lopa, Yohanna Escamilla and among others. He has played at venues such SXSW 2013 in Austin, TX and The Wizard of OZ at JCC Stamford. Not just an accomplished performer, Carlos is also a skilled instructor and has been teaching young students for over eight years. Currently, he has just completed his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, M. ED. from Concordia University, and working/teaching at Mead School in Stamford. 

Shirley Ochoa - Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet & Hip-Hop

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Shirley Ochoa was born in Stamford CT. At age 8, she began dancing at Jennifer Wiesner Dance located in Stamford. She studied jazz dance and Hiphop. She later took classes of ballet, contemporary, latin styles, tap, and flamenco. At 15 years old, she was given the opportunity to learn alongside her teachers by assisting in Creative movement and pre ballet classes. Two years later she began to teach these classes. Currently, she is studying at Norwalk Community College for Physical Therapy, and continues to instill her passion and knowledge for dance to her students at Studio Arte. She is also the owner of “Quinceañera & Sweet 16”, her company is dedicated to choreographing for parties such as Sweet 15 & 16, and weddings.

Cheryl Carpio - Tap, Floor Acrobatics & Adult Zumba

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Cheryl Carpio is the former Owner, Director and Choreographer of the Professional Dance Center, Sandy Hook CT. Cheryl has choreographed numerous dances and artistic stage interpretations, coordinated major charity events, and on stage performances. She instructs classes in Jazz, Latin Rhythms including Salsa, Samba, Cha Cha, Jive, Rumba, Latin Cardio Dance, Strength& Toning, Cardio Fitness, Yoga, Acrobatics, Interactive Acrobatics, African, Partnering, Hip-Hop, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, Ballet, and Ballroom. 

Cheryl is a classically trained NYC Dancer where she began dancing in the streets in NY under the direction of Frank Hatchett, Charles Kelley and Phil Black in the styles of Break dance, Hop-Hop, African, Jazz, Tap, Acrobatics, Interactive Acrobatics and the Classical Broadway style of Bob Fosse Jazz with an emphasis on stage presence. She attended seminars taught by Joe Tremaine, Debbie Allen and the cast of Fame, Tony Dovolani and Melanie LaPatin. Cheryl studied Ballet and partnering with Brian Lewis. Cheryl then lived and studied Latin rhythms in Puerto Rico for many years. 

Cheryl began dancing at Dance-Makers Studio. She was in their primary dance company, and the Hip-Hop & Break Dance company. Cheryl then became a member of the faculty for seven years. Cheryl attended WCSU where she studied undergraduate classes in dance and theater. She was nominated captain of the dance team and performed at WCSU. Cheryl was granted a scholarship to the Philadelphia School of Performing Arts. Cheryl modeled for Meekka Mas and premier photographer Karl Decker. Cheryl competed in the All American Boy and Girl pageants in CT and nationally in NY. Cheryl collaborated with French Olympic Gymnast and Equestrian Jean-Luc Cornee on a film linking the art of dance and gymnastics to horse training.  

Other credits include; certified Yoga instructor, RYT 200. Dance instructor at Newtown Continuing Education Manager and instructor at STUDIO 63 Yoga, Equestrian, Licensed Drug and Alcohol counselor LADC. Past credits include Yoga and Dance instructor at Newtown Youth Academy. Master’s degree from UNH in Forensic Psychology studying under Dr. Henry Lee. She also worked for the State of CT as a Correctional Counselor and Juvenile Parole Officer.

Phillip Anthony - Hip-Hop

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Phillip Anthony received his start at age 17.  He began his dance training in a competitive studio while studying classical voice.  Upon high school he was accepted into A.M.D.A. in New York City where he studied musical theater and acting. Phillip continued his studies at the Ailey/BFA program. Currently he’s training in extreme stretch handstand and contortions at Aerial Arts and Circus Warehouse. Phillip has performed and taught internationally with Gloria Estefan, Jean Ann Ryan Productions, MMVAs Lady Gaga, Harry Jerome Awards, Caribana Toronto, Stiletto Entertainment, Donald Byrd, Rosie O’ Donnell, and Disney Lion King.   His true passion is helping people develop true artistry at every age and transforming lives! He is honored to be one of the Ontario, Canada’s first instructors to implement dance into the academic school setting and proud member of the Dominican Film Festival. He continues to teach recreational and competitive dance across the US and Canada in all styles. Phillip holds certifications in AFAA, 30/60/90, and Floor Tech while pursuing his Master’s degree and a second career as a Physician Assistant. He lives by this motto “Exercise is medicine and should be habitual…like brushing your teeth!”