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Four Dance Teachers join Dance Connection’s Faculty

Dance Connection is proud to announce the addition of four new dance teachers to their faculty for the 2022-2023 dance season.  Liz Camera, Michaela Darragh, Gretchen Goess, and Cathi Murphy join Dance Connection’s teaching staff this fall.

I am so excited to welcome Liz, Michaela, Gretchen, and Cathi to our team this season. They each bring a unique background that will perfectly complement our existing teaching staff and be a treat for all of our students. I am looking forward to welcoming them into the Dance Connection family!

– Mary Naftal, Artistic Director

Read below to learn more about Dance Connection’s four new dance teachers.

Liz Camera

Classes Taught: Tap

Liz has been dancing for 17 years with her focal point of tap. Her training extends to contemporary and jazz as well. She danced competitively for 10 years on Long Island and continued dancing at St. John’s University throughout her collegiate career. She is a member of Alpha Psi Omega Performing Arts Fraternity and Honor Society. Liz took a few years off to finish her Masters in Education and is now excited to share her passion for dance again.

Michaela Darragh

Classes Taught: Ballet, Jazz

Michaela was born and raised on Long Island and has been dancing since the age of four. She had trained primarily in ballet and pointe up until she attended college, where graduated with degrees in early childhood education and dance from Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. Michaela had the opportunity to perform at the American College Dance Association’s 2019 conference and train with choreographers from across the nation in styles of jazz, contemporary, ballet, modern, and hip hop. During her college experience, Michaela studied choreography and set pieces for the college’s dance company, with whom she also trained. Michaela loves sharing her passion of dance with young children while fostering their love for the performing art.

Gretchen Goess

Classes Taught: Preschool, Combo, Jazz, Acro

Gretchen has been dancing for 19 years and has studied ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, and hip hop.  Gretchen was apart of both the competition team for 6 years and participated in the petite, junior, and senior recital companies.  She has performed at many different venues including Walt Disney World, Carnival Cruises, Islip Street Fair, LI Ducks Stadium, and for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Gretchen recently graduated from Sacred Heart University with her Bachelors of Exercise Science where she was on their D1 Dance Team. Gretchen has always had a passion for dance and teaching and is so excited to be back at Dance Connection sharing her passion with others.

Cathi Murphy

Classes Taught: Contemporary, Technique, Jumps & Turns

Cathi was a soloist with Long Island Ballet Theatre, a member of Mad Cap Dance, and a Guest Teaching Artist for Motus Danza, Sienna, Italy, and The International Thespian Festival at the University of Nebraska. She was an assistant presenter at the NDEO Conference: The Creative Process: Choreography, Choice-Making, and Communication. She earned her B.A. in Theatre and Dance from Queens College, CUNY, M.A. in dance from New York University, is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) from the Bartenieff/Laban Institute of Movement Studies, and holds an Advanced Certificate in Instructional Leadership from St. John’s University. At Holy Trinity High School, she served as a dance teacher, curriculum developer, choreographer, and Performing Arts Department Chair. She is humbled by the work produced at Holy Trinity and was privileged to share the talents of numerous dancers, artists, and technicians, including Joe Naftal! This is how she was introduced to Miss Mary and the Dance Connection family. She has observed numerous Dance Connection recitals at Holy Trinity and has always been impressed by the level of expertise and professionalism. She had the opportunity to teach some master classes at Dance Connection as well as Making Wishes Grow performances. She is thrilled to join this wonderful family as a staff member! Cathi continues to serve as Adjunct Assistant Professor at Hofstra University in the Department of Drama and Dance and is a board member for Robin Becker Dance. She is a consummate advocate for the arts in education for all students. The arts are what make us human!