Dancers are strong, passionate, intelligent, confidant, graceful, and imaginative. The extraordinary collaboration of introspective study, performance skill, and physical training that create a seasoned dancer make this art form one of the most challenging and enriching to pursue. Sharing this incredible journey with the next generation has been one of Jenna's greatest joys.
Jenna studied numerous techniques under the direction of Martha Fowlkes, a former New York City Rockette. She became an assistant instructor at age 13 and a competitive dancer at age 14. She extended her training to include the professional teachings of Frank Hatchett (Broadway Dance Center), and Joe Tremaine, and went on to attend Longwood College where she was selected as a performing member of the Longwood College Company of Dancers her Freshman year, and a resident company choreographer her Sophomore year. In addition to her performance training she received accredited study in Directing, Light Design, Costume and Set Design, and Stage Management, and holds a BFA in visual and performing arts with a concentration in Theatre and a minor in Dance. Her notable credits include Cabaret, Annie, A Chorus Line, and Assistant Director as well as Principle Performer in A Mid Summer Night’s Dream. As a professional she was retained by a Fortune 500 company to lead multiple marketing teams and was choreographer and manager of their performance team in Tampa FL. She relocated to MA in 2010 with her husband and was blessed to find a new home at Medfield Dance Academy under the direction of Linda Levreault. Jenna served as an instructor, competition choreographer, and co-director at MDA and went on to acquire the studio from its founder of 20 years at her retirement. She continues her training in the Boston area at such facilities as Jeanette Neill Dance and Rhee Gold Dance Life.
As Owner and Director of the rebranded MDA Studios, it’s Jenna’s ambition to see students from all backgrounds, and all localities find a dynamic, passionate, and supportive environment in which to begin their own remarkable story…because a life enriched with dance is an extraordinary life indeed!
Hey hey guys, meet one of our fabulous instructors Ms.G! She has been tearing up the Competitive Dance scene for well over a decade! Winning numerous prestigious awards including Best Choreography, Best Hip Hop, and People’s Choice to just name a few for the Industry Dance Awards! Ms.G is a unique spirit! She thrives teaching dancers to move from your soul! “What feels organically free, is what sets you apart from the rest. “ Ms. G also spent many years choreographing for music artists, and runway fashion shows in the Rhode Island, and Boston area. Also a fun fact about Ms. G is she made it through 4 rounds of So You Think You Can Dance! Although she loved the experience, she realized that she feels most alive when she is in the studio molding the minds and souls of future dancers!
Originally from Westfield, MA, Karen has a B.S. in Performing Arts Management with a minor in Dance and Marketing from Russell Sage College, Troy, NY. As a young dance student, she studied dance and competed throughout the Northeast with Hackworth School of Performing Arts and Betty Champion’s Dance Studio. While living in Connecticut, she had the privilege to study dance under Jimmy Locust and attend the Ballet School of Stamford and the Connecticut Ballet. She keeps current with her training by attending classes and conventions in the Boston area.
Karen is on the Board of Directors for the Dover Foundation Theatre Group and teaches dance for the afterschool program at Lincoln Elliot Elementary School in Newton. Karen was a performing member and choreographer for NewStage Dance Company in Lexington. Choreography credits include the Summer Theatre at Mount Holyoke College and most recently the Dover Foundation productions of "Anything Goes," "The Music Man" and "Oliver". She has performed with the Legacy Dance Company and at a Boston Celtics pregame show with the Academy Dancers of Brookline. Karen’s favorite musical theatre roles are as Kitty/dancer in "Chicago" and as a townsperson/dancer in "The Music Man" which was the first time Karen danced on stage with her daughter, Lena. When not dancing, she utilizes her M.S. in Accounting and works as a Certified Public Accountant. Karen resides in Dover with her husband, Bob, and two children, Brady and Lena.
Recently earning her Bachelors of Science in Psychology at Worcester State University, Erin continues to train and audition within the dance industry. Dancing for 19 years, she has trained intensively in areas of ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, and tap. Her teachers include Teddy Forance, Jolanta Valeikaite, Derrick Yanford, Karin Tremblay, Katy Speadbury and trained at Walnut Hill summer intensive program with Michael Owen and Kathy Kozel. Erin’s community involvement includes building a dance club for grammar school aged children for over five years and working as the original choreographer for Mike Nyman Photography's park project, "Dancers in the Parks".
Erin’s professional credits include dancing and modeling for Reebok Industry; choreographing and assisting at "Turn It Up Dance Challenge" Nationals, TD Bank WOW awards and modeling for Capezio dance wear. Erin’s performance credits include, Sean Kingston’s concert dancer, Boston Symphony Orchestra, KISS 108, HGTV, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, The Nutcracker presented by Ballet Arts Worcester, Miss Massachusetts Pageant, Boston Celtics game, the Worcester State University Dance Team, Boston Contemporary Dance Project and New Age contemporary company. Within the past year she has assisted James Alsop (Beyonce’s choreographer) and Matthew Kzmierczak (sytycd) to name a few. Erin is a member of several hip hop crews in Boston including: CONceptARTists, PROject Nailz, and BOSStown. Her crews have been numerously crowned champions in competitions World of Dance Boston and Prelude New England. Recently she has been invited onto Static Noyze, a hip hop crew presented on the well-known television show America's Best Dance Crew. So far it has led her to many championships and performance opportunities. Outside of her dancing she loves teaching and choreographing all styles of dance as her full time job at numerous studios around Massachusetts.
Erin Saunders recently earned degrees in Dance and Performance Studies and Arts Administration at Roger Williams University, where she trained with artists such as: Christina Robson, Netta Yerushalmy, Ephrat Asherie, David Parker & The Bang Group, Hilary Easton, Sydney Skybetter, K.J. Holmes, Gary Shore, France Hunter, Cathy Nicoli, and Michael Bolger. In 2018, Erin performed at Tisch School of the Arts for choreographer Christina Robson, in a concert of works by the dancers of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Erin has also performed at the Dance Complex, Green Street Studios, and the Somerville Theatre. Her own choreography has been featured at Boston University during the American College Dance Conference. Erin spent a semester abroad training in London with Katie Lusby, Stephen Pelton, and Jorge Crecis and participated in training intensives of the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Currently, Erin is a company dancer with Project31, and teaches at several dance studios in the Boston area
Founder and Artistic Director of 8&1 Dance Company
Jill S. Rucci is proud to be back East after making her mark in Texas by building a successful Dance Company "8&1 DALLAS". Jill moved to Texas from NYC, where she was a principal dancer and guest choreographer for Vissi Dance Theater for over 10 years. She has trained, taught, performed and presented her choreography in many cities including Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York and Olbia, Italy. Ms Rucci enjoys producing and directing shows, and is proud to announce the success of her newest full length dance drama, "Exchange Street". Jill received her dance degree from Dean College in Franklin, MA, where she studied all genres of dance, musical theater, dance education, and voice. While in NY, Jill also performed with , Bare Bones Dance Co., she performed and choreographed for New Jersey Squires and was a principal West African-stylized dancer with Magna BA Drum and Dance Co. Jill studied at Alvin Ailey and, while attending two of their intensive certificate programs, earned certifications in modern and contemporary. Ms. Rucci danced with Contemporary Ballet Dallas for their 2010 and 2011 seasons and also guest choreographed for CBD's "Wild and Free" and "Sidewalk Stories" concerts. Ms. Rucci is a busy guest artist and choreographer throughout the United States. She is very pleased with her ever growing dance company 8&1 Dallas and is thrilled to announce that 8&1 is expanding East. She continues to strive to bring a new beat to the artistic community. Rucci, founder and artistic director of 8&1 DALLAS welcomes a seventh season of touring, training, choreographing,teaching and creating innovative and refreshing works. Throughout her many years of training working and performing she has come the most important part of her career; realizing that she can use her gift to give back to the communities, inspire students and help prepare them for their futures, regardless of which avenue they should choose. Jill is pleased to announce the launch of 8&1 EAST this year and looks forward to having a second company to help make her dreams and visions come to life .
Mary Winstanley began her relationship with dance when she was three years old. She looked forward to her class of twirling and puddle jumping every week. At her first performance she stood with a big cardboard flower around her neck and was frozen while the other children danced around her, yet she stayed with it and in years to come had no trouble on stage. Dancing and performing have been a passion she has now continued to explore and enjoy for thirty-three years, focusing her studies on the techniques of Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, and Hip Hop.
Mary has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She continued to practice dance throughout college in multiple clubs, as well as teach classes at her part time job with DCS. After graduation Mary relocated to Florida and continued to dance and perform with Broadway Dance in Saint Petersburg. While teaching art for Academy Prep Center, a nativity mission school for underprivileged, inner-city, middle school children she started a dance and theatre program which performed twice a year and at multiple venues in Tampa, Fl. Mary finally returned to her family in MA and received her Masters Degree in Expressive Therapy at Lesley University. She has done counseling, using art, dance and music within the school system for at-risk youth, learning disabilities and behavioral disorders as well as in nursing homes with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Mary has been blessed to share her love of the arts in so many different atmospheres with such a variety of people. She truly believes that music, art and dance should be experienced by everyone, as it has something to offer each soul in a unique way. Mary hopes that one day the arts are instilled within humanity as natural expression, rather than a gift only possessed by few.
2021-2022 Junior Instructors will be announced this summer!
Dolores White graduated from the New England School of Art in Boston, MA majoring in design, and she went on to work as a faux painter and stenciler for many years. She also worked as a circuit trainer at Curves for Women and currently calls Medfield, MA home.
Dolores joined the MDAS team in 2014, serving as Office Assistant, and aids in the day-to-day operations including customer service, account assistance, and costume management.