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!
Megan has a long history with MDA Studios. She began her dance career here in 2005 training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Pointe, Modern, and Hip Hop. In 2009 Megan was introduced to assistant teaching at the studio and eventually progressed to be a Junior Teacher. Through this opportunity, she expanded her knowledge and passion for dance to include instruction. During her later years at MDA Studios Megan became a very active member in the original Competition and Company teams and has enjoyed seeing these teams grow to what they are today.
Megan is a recent graduate of Roger Williams University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an American Studies core concentration. Megan continued dancing at Roger Williams through the Performing Arts Department, Dance Club, and mainly the RWU Ballroom Dance Team. Megan served as President of the Ballroom Team where she organized lessons, events and competitions, lead sections of classes and competed at the gold level in local collegiate competitions.
Megan has loved returning to MDA Studios over the years and is excited to be part of the senior staff. Megan wants nothing more than to share her passion with students and to pass on a love of movement to future dancers, just as her instructors did for her. She is so delighted to see MDA Studios thrive and grow with each new generation of dancers that step foot in our doors and can’t wait to be a part of what the future holds for MDA Studios.
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.
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.
Miss Beckey began her training at Burncoat Middle School at the age of 13 where she studied Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Modern, and Musical Theater under the direction of Joan Sherry and assistant Kellie Shea. She continued her training through Burncoat High school, becoming a member of the dance team and performing at half time for the Orange Bowl in 2010. At the age of 16 Beckey was invited to dance with Central Mass Dance Academy, under the direction of Kellie Shea, where she competed and performed in festivals such as Canal Fest and Kids Fest. She pursued her B.F.A. in Dance at Manhatanville College, where she studied closely with choreographer Petter Pucci. In 2013 Beckey transferred to UMass Amherst training extensively in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Improvisation, and Composition. Immediately after completing her B.F.A. in 2016, Beckey started teaching dance to inner city kids in elementary schools and at Bird St Community Center. Being a member of a dance team in high school and in both colleges gave her enough experience to know what it means to be a team and to work together. Today she is excited to share her knowledge with her students and encourage them to be a better person and dancer than they were yesterday.
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 .
Courtney Moniz graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.S. in Business Management and a Minor in Dance Performance/Education. Miss Moniz graduated with high honors and was recognized and awarded for her outstanding choreography. During her time at RIC she was part of the Rhode Island College Dance Company. Courtney also received the role of the college's residency zumba instructor. Miss Moniz had the pleasure of dancing with Providence Ballet Theater during their 2015 season. Courtney managed and taught various competition teams after graduating from school, and also danced with The Movement Specialists Hip-Hop Company for over 5 years. She enjoys both the business side of it as well as the creative, passionate, teaching side . Moniz continues to dance in professional guest roles in and around the Boston area . Most Recently Miss moniz danced with 8& Dance Company and looks forward to joining their EAST COAST EXTENSION. She currently is the director of their board and submissions team. Miss Courtney is thrilled to be a dedicated teacher and thrives of inspiring the next generation. She looks forward to continuing her professional career as well as keeping her focus on her students and sharing her knowledge and dedication with them .
Photos and Bios to come!
A Raynham native, Terri Horgan joined the MDA Studios team in early 2014. She has an extensive background in customer service and business relations and, having received her BFA from UMass Dartmouth in Painting/2D studies, she also brings another artistic eye to our family here!
As our office manager, Terri’s responsibilities include account management, customer service, and office operations. Terri has been an important piece since her arrival, from working with our parents and accounts, to serving as Stage Manager for our 2014 Recital: These Dreams.
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.
Jen Bencivenga received her early dance training in contemporary and modern under the direction of Paul Monaghan (Robin Becker) and Christina Lynch Markham (Paul Taylor). She later received her professional training at Broadway Dance Center, with a concentration in theatre, while training under mentor, Lane Napper. Jen competed regionally and nationally as member and captain of the Providence College Dance Team and was principal dancer and choreographer with Trinity Repertory Dance Company. Jen has also worked with Elena Greenspan (Prometheus Dance), Today Show (Matt Lopez), Walt Disney Pictures, SAI Global, HerCut Products and Quest Intensive.
Jen currently teaches throughout New England specializing in Musical Theatre, Tap, Contemporary and Hip Hop. Jen is an enthusiastic leader and strives to empower her students to reach their full potential through passion and perseverance!
Donna took her first dance steps at age four and has not stopped! She auditioned for and danced with the Boston Ballet in their season performance of Coppelia at 10yrs and went on to win numerous dance competitions and perform in shows including West Side Story, Carousel, Irene, Fiddler on the Roof and many more! From 1992-2006 Donna owned and operated the Millis School of Dance. Her students have gone on to win numerous dance competitions and have established themselves the in the world of dance as professional artists including performing with professional ballet companies.
Donna is a graduate of the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston dance teacher training and is certified by test to teach through Dance Master's of New England (DMNE). She is a member of DMNE's quarter century club and served on their Board of Directors from 2004-9, and was Chapter Secretary from 2006-9. Donna is a certified examiner, testing prospective DMNE applicants for membership. Donna has studied in NYC with some of the top dance teachers in the country such as Luigi, Charles Kelley, Ben & Miller, Gregg Russell, Ray Leeper, and Bob Rizzo to name just a few.
In 2009 Donna earned a M. Ed and is a licensed Massachusetts teacher. She currently teaches in the Holliston school district working with special needs students. This is Donna's seventh season with MDA Studios teaching classes in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and lyrical ~ she is looking forward to another exciting year!
A Massachusetts native, has had more than 20 years of performance and competitive dance experience. She began training at the Dance Arts Centre in Fitchburg under the direction of Jim Cassie and Melissa Luoma. As a member of the dance team Brittany performed and competed throughout the United States and abroad. Deciding on dance as her calling, Brittany received a BA in Dance from Dean College where she studied choreography, pedagogy and was a member of the Dean College Dance Company. While attending Dean College she also had the opportunity to study modern dance with artists from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
After graduation, she began teaching dance and became a member of the Boston Dance Alliance and Perceptions Contemporary Dance Company, performing throughout New England and in New York City. Brittany currently dances with the Boston Tap Company where she has performed at Fenway Park, the Bean Town Tap Festival, the D.C. Tap Festival, the Wang Theatre and at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival on the inside/out stage. Through-out her teaching career, Brittany has received numerous choreography awards and her students have been awarded with scholarships and high scores. Brittany is excited to bring her extensive, well-rounded experience and her passion for dance to MDA students.