Dance Staff

ALLYSON CAROLAN (Director, Dance and Dramatic Arts) holds a BFA in Music Theater from The Hartt School. Allyson is a passionate, caring and results-oriented performing arts instructor with 15 years of successful dance and drama instruction at all age levels. Allyson began teaching dance and drama at the JCC in 2007. In 2009, Allyson became the Director of Dance and in 2018, Allyson became the Director of Dance and Dramatic Arts. Allyson is passionate about spreading her love of dance and drama with our students and our community.

JILL MONACO (Company Director and Teacher) began her dance training at a small studio in her hometown of Park Ridge, NJ. She also studied at Broadway Dance Center in NYC. She received her BA in Psychology and Dance from Montclair State University, and has a teaching certification through Dance Educators of America. She has studied a broad range of dance including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Hip Hop, and even Cultural and Social dance forms. Jill has been teaching dance since 1998.

JACQUELINE NIGRO Miss Jackie's dance knowledge in the industry goes back many years and includes 5 years of professional dancing on teams for the NFL, NHL, and CIFL which include the New York Jets, the New Jersey Devils, and the soccer team the New Jersey Ironmen. She is also currently a USA Cheerleader, which her duties include performing at military functions all over the U.S. for many of the service men and women. She has been a dance instructor for the past 6 years, choreographing and teaching beginner to advanced classes for students of all ages and levels. She has traveled to different countries representing her teams doing commercials as well as television and radio shows. She was just featured as a dancer in the national KIA commercial, which aired throughout this past August. She has performed with Green Day, the cast of the musical Rock of Ages, and the cast of the musical American Idiot.

Ariel Harper (Teacher) grew up in Westchester County and began her dance training at the age of 5 at Darcy’s Academy of Dance in Putnam Valley. She continued her training at The Ailey School and Martha Graham School’s Young Artist Program During her time at the Young Artist Program, Harper performed in the 2012 All-City Panorama performance at the Joyce Theater. Harper attended Northwestern University and earned a Bachelors of Science in Dance and African American studies. In February 2016 Harper had performed in Garth Fagan’s “Two Pieces of One: Green” at Northwestern University’s 2016 Danceworks performance. In March 2016 Harper’s first choreographic work “Breakdown/through” was adjudicated at the American College Dance Association’s North-Central Conference. Since graduating in 2016 Harper has taught at several studios in Westchester County in New York.

Jamie Desser (Teacher) holds a BFA in Dance from George Mason University. She began dancing at the age of three and participated in many dance competitions. She has studied various styles of dance including jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, modern, and cultural dance. She has attended several dance conferences and intensives across the country, and her choreography has been adjudicated at the American College Dance Association. She has studied dance therapy, and formed a curriculum for adults and children with disabilities. Jamie has taught dance classes for children at orphanages in Panama, and is passionate about sharing the gift of dance.

TONI BLOCKBURGER (Teacher) is a graduate of Montclair State University where she earned her bachelors degree graduating with honors in Dance Education. She has been training since the age of 2 and has studied ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and modern. She began competing at the age of 10 and has won numerous top awards at regional and national competitions on the east coast. At Montclair, she has studied ballet, modern, and contemporary, and has had the privilege of performing in works by Martha Graham, Bill T Jones, Alwin Nikolais, and Nancy Lushington to name a few. She was most recently received the Maryann Peins Dance Scholarship for excellence in dance education, senior dance education award, and graduated with honors from the National Honors Society of Dance Arts. Toni is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with her students this season at JCC.