Jacqueline is Founder and Artistic Director of Jacqueline Rivera’s Dance Couture. She has trained in all areas of dance, competed both regionally and nationally, and has taught and choreographed for the past 24 years. Jacqueline teaches with a kind heart and strong will. Her undeniable passion for dance is evident every time she teaches, and is pleased to be sharing her experiences with future dancers of tomorrow.
Kathryn received her early training at a local dance studio on the south shore of Long Island. She began competing at age 7, winning regional and national titles at various competitions. Kathryn was selected to be a member of the 2001-2002 season of the New York Knicks City Kids dance team and performed at every weekend home game in the famous Madison Square Garden. By the time she was 12, Kathryn had been chosen as one of New York City Dance Alliance’s “Teen Outstanding Dancers.” Later that year, she auditioned and was accepted to the prestigious School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. At SAB, Kathryn studied under renowned teachers such as Andrei Kramarevsky, Sheryl Ware, Garielle Whittle, and Elizabeth Walker. In order to pursue her rigorous academic education, Kathryn left the School of American Ballet in 2005 and began studying with infamous ballet coach, Maggie Black. Maggie’s focus on correct alignment and placement has greatly influenced Kathryn’s own teaching philosophy.
Kathryn began her teaching career at the age of 16, giving private ballet and pointe lessons. She continued to give private lessons around Long Island while finishing high school. During college, Kathryn taught jazz, ballet, lyrical, and pointe at a studio in Richmond and as a guest teacher at studios around Long Island during holiday breaks. Kathryn is currently the main ballet and pointe teacher at two studios on Long Island, including Jacqueline Rivera’s Dance Couture.
Sarah Behrens grew up dancing in Omaha, Nebraska. She received her Bachelor’s from Oklahoma City University in Dance Performance. She has traveled all over the country teaching and choreographing various styles of dance. Sarah has performed with international companies such as: Royal Caribbean International and Dublin World- Wide Productions. She danced with American Spirit Dance Company and Dare To Be Soul Dance Company. Her regional theatre credits include: West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Legally Blonde, Spamalot, Gypsy, 9 to 5, and Bye Bye Birdie. She has also made appearances in the film How to Write a Joe Schermann Song and the Oklahoma Centennial. Sarah is thrilled to be a part of Jacqueline Rivera’s Dance Couture!!!
Merisa has been studying dance and performing since childhood. Her stage and TV credits include a featured dance role in “Latin Fever” at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino, MTV “Wanna Be”, and a performance at the legendary Apollo Theater for former President Bill Clinton. Merisa is honored to have the opportunity to share her love for dance at JRDC.
Jessica has been teaching for 17 years. She is trained in Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Hip Hop. In addition, she has taught competition teams on Long Island and loves it. Jessica strives to make her classes fun, motivational, and upbeat. She is excited to join Jacqueline Rivera’s Dance Couture!
From her first steps in a real dance studio at the age of three, she knew dance would be with her forever. With over 20 years of training and experience in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, and hip-hop, Lauren has evolved into the dancer she is today. As captain of her high school dance team, she moved on to dance for the University of Delaware Dance Team where, in her junior year, she and her teammate choreographed UD’s first ever National Championship (Division 1 Hip-Hop) at UDA’s College Nationals. Lauren was then co-captain of the team in her senior year. Since then, she has gone on to choreograph national level high school hip-hop routines while teaching both recreational and company classes at local studios on Long Island with a focus on continuing to develop her unique hip-hop style.
Giovanna has been dancing for the past 16 years and has enjoyed every second of it. She has been trained in all areas of ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical, and acro. She has had experience teaching and choreographing as captain of her varsity kick line team. Giovanna is so honored and excited to be a part of the JRDC family. She can’t wait to bring her tremendous love for dance to Jacqueline Rivera’s Dance Couture.
Abby Arzberger grew up on Long Island and graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a minor in Composite Science. Abby has danced for 13 years and has danced competitively in regional and national competitions for 11 years winning many national titles. She is trained in contemporary, lyrical, jazz, tap, ballet, and hip hop. She has performed at Bette Midler’s Hulaween in NYC and Dancers Responding Aids at St. James Theater and Bryant Park. Abby cannot wait to share her love of dance at JRDC!
Marissa Staniec began her dance training at the early age of 3 in Rochester Hills, MI at Deborah’s Stage Door Dance Center under the Artistic Direction of Deborah Agrusa. Her training allowed her to become fluent in Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Tap, and Gymnastics. From there she continued her training at Western Michigan University where she was awarded multiple awards and acknowledgements from the Department of Dance including the Ethel Eaton Dance Scholarship, the Partners in Dance Scholarship, and the Dalton Excellence Scholarship. While at WMU, she performed choreography from noted artists such as George Faison’s Suite Otis, Lou Conte’s The 40’s and Doug Varone’s Strict Love. She has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. for the American College Dance Festival in 2005 & 2006 where her choreography was chosen to represent Western Michigan University in the East Central Conference of the festival. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Video and Media Studies (2008). Immediately out of college she danced for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Int. as a featured dancer. She performed in Can’t Stop the Rock, Stage to Screen and Tango Buenos Aires on the Enchantment of the Seas for two seasons. She then moved to New York City where some of her other professional performances include work with DMTheatrics in Bible and Wine: The Music of Eric Matthews (2011), Jewish National Fund’s Broadway Sensation at Lincoln Center (2011), CheckIt Dance Company in the New York City Dance Parade (2011) and Agise and Dancers in Type-3 at Triskelion Arts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (2011). She has also danced for Dublin Worldwide/Spirit Productions in The Spirit of Christmas at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. Her talents were most recently seen is Grey Street the Musical, by Joseph Striffilino, a new up and coming rock musical exclusively performed in New York City.
Tracy was trained in all styles of dance here on Long Island. She began competing at age 11 and won numerous awards, including titles for solos and overall high scores and judges awards. She was afforded the opportunity to train under famous instructors whose credits include the Joffrey Ballet School, New York City Dance Alliance, So You Think You Can Dance, and more. In high school, Tracy participated in performances in NYC for the opening of the NBA store, a Dancer’s Responding to Aids benefit and even in Germany and Austria for the Tanzsommer Dance Festival. Tracy has been featured on television for Paula Abdul’s dance competition, Company Dance, which took place in MGM Studios, FL and was televised on ESPN. She was also featured early on in the first season of SYTYCD. In addition to her 10 years of choreographing and teaching, where her dancers were awarded high scores and overalls, Tracy has a Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education. She has been a Special Education Elementary School teacher in Queens for 7 years.