Our Staff

Kim lopiccolo

Kim LoPiccolo

Kim LoPiccolo is the Director of Magnolia Dance Academy. Kim’s extensive and incomparable training in ballet, pointe, modern, theater and all genres of dance enables her to offer the best of training to dancers in Long Island. Her passion, positivity and enthusiasm carries over to all members of the Magnolia Dance family, where she is an inspiration, mentor and information source.

Kim has performed with the National Dance Institutes (Jacques D’Ambroise) at Madison Square Garden and Lincoln Center, performed on both NBC and ABC; danced and toured with the Joyce Trisler Danscompany, performing Milton Meyers, Nuevo Tango (Alvin Ailey); The Joffery Ballet, and “Limelight” based on the life of Charlie Chaplin, with Charles McGowan (“A Chorus Line The Movie”). Kim appears in Harvey Edwards book, “The Art of Dance”, and appears in his “2003 Dance Calendar” (Pinnacle Passion); and her prints from Harvey can be seen all over the world. Kim was offered the role of “Victoria”, (the white cat), in Andrew Llyod Webber’s “Cats” and a role in “Starlight Express”; Kim has danced and done guest appearances with various NYC companies starring in lead roles for both ballets and modern pieces.

Kim is certified by Dance Masters of America, in Ballet/Pointe, and is a member of New York Dance Masters, Chapter 26. In addition, Kim is a member of The National Dance Association, “Who’s Who in Dance”, Dance Educators of America and is listed in “National Registers Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals.”

Kim is a graduate of Adelphi University, B.F.A, Cum Laude. She graduated from LaGuardia’s High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts, and attended The School of American Ballet and The Eglevaky School of Ballet.

Kim has been the ballet coach for aspiring figure skaters and gymnasts. Kim was the ballet coach both on and off the ice for the United States Figure Skating Gold Medalist, Sarah Hughes.

Kim brings to Magnolia Dance Academy more than 24 years of experience as a studio director. She has taught thousands of dancers the values of proper technique and more importantly a sense of self-confidence that they carry with them both in and outside MDA.

Cailey Bruno

Cailey Bruno, from Toms River, NJ, began dancing at the age of three. She has attended summer intensive programs at the Harid Conservatory, the Eglevsky Ballet, and the American Repertory Ballet. Coached by Jennifer James Church, she has been a successful candidate of the Royal Academy of Dance's examinations. She also trained at Dance Mixx Studio under the guidance of Jolene Baldini. Cailey studied all genres of dance at Peridance Capezio Dance Center in NYC, earning a certificate in Ballet and Contemporary in June 2016. During her training program, she performed works by Milton Meyers, Charlotta Overhölm, Cindy Salgado, and many others, including Igal Perry. Currently, Cailey dances with Peridance Contemporary Dance Company in Manhattan.

Cailey dances throughout the day and cannot be more grateful that she ends her days with the students and faculty at Magnolia Dance Academy. Magnolia Dance Academy is her home away from home and hopes to inspire, encourage, and nurture her students to feel the same way.
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Dena Vilardi

Dena Vilardi is a native of Long Island and has been teaching dance locally for many years. Dena’s dance training began as a preschooler and continued throughout high school. She was an active competition team member and won numerous awards for her performances. Miss. Dena began her college career as a dance major, studying under Stanley Berke at Nassau Community College. She free styled and trained with a group of break-dancers, who came to form the NCC Breakers, with Dena as a founding member. This is where her true passion for hip hop flourished. One of only two female crew members, she was interviewed by Oprah’s “The O Channel” for a piece about standout women in the fields that are predominantly male oriented. The NCC Breakers are still going strong and are about to celebrate their 15th anniversary at the college. Dena continued her dance education at the University of Tampa. In 2002, she traveled to Alabama for the 21st Annual Panoply Choreography Competition, representing UT, where they left as Grand Champions. She went on to become Riptide Films head chorepgrapher, where she choreographed commericals for Matel, Toys R Us, and Topps Candy Line. Dena is now our Competition Team Director and award winning choreographer. She has changed the face of hip hop on Long Island, and has been recognized for being unque, innovative, entertaining and above all, current. Her strong technique and style fuses hip hop along with jazz funk, contemporary and breakin’. Her explosive and intricate choreography has won numerous regional and national awards, including best choreography, top overall high scores, and most entertaining choreography.

Samantha Jannotte

Samantha Jannotte has been teaching dance competitively and recreationally since 2010. A proud member of the Magnolia Alumni, she was trained by Magnolia Dance Academy’s own Miss Kim for over fifteen years. Samantha has studied and taught classes in jazz, musical theatre, contemporary, & lyrical, and is currently a choreographer for the award-winning Magnolia Dance Academy’s Competition Team. Samantha attended Hofstra University, graduating as a member of the title winning Hofstra Dance Team with a BA in Theatre. Samantha feels that being a part of this family for over 20 years has taught her dedication, respect, discipline, and a love for the arts. She feels lucky to work in a community that nurtures her two life passions: teaching children and dance. Samantha is excited to enrich a dancer’s life, just as Magnolia has enriched hers.
Kristi guarnieri

Kristi Guarnieri

Kristi Guarnieri, from Middletown, NJ, started dancing at the age of two. She graduated from Adelphi University with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Sociology, and is currently studying at Adelphi for her Masters in Social Work. Kristi was a member of Vanessa Long 2 Dance Company. In addition, she danced in the Boston Community Dance Project guided by Sarah Katarina and “Break Out” in Piobbico, Italy with Amalgamate Dance Company led by Alana Urda. She has danced at the Patriots Opening Game at Gillette Stadium and Carnival choreographers Ball at the Highline Ballroom and many more. Having received training at Not Your Ordinary Dancers with Jessica O'Donnell and Dance Mixx Studio with Jolene Baldini, she has trained in many styles; ballet, jazz, tap, modern, pointe and contemporary.  Dance is a form of art that can be done in many different ways but the feeling that you receive can only be felt in your own heart. Kristi’s goal is to have each student feel as amazing as she does once she steps onto the dance floor - because every dancer deserves to know what that feeling is like. Miss Kristi will be teaching at the Westbury studio.

Dani Champagne

Dani Champagne is a dancer originally from Rhode Island. She has trained in all styles of dance, and has spent the last four years intensively studying with her mentors Dianne Walker, Donna Rodriguez and Derrick Grant specifically in tap dance, as well as attending master classes and tap festivals throughout the east coast. She has also spent time studying music and voice to develop her career in Musical Theater. She was last seen touring New England and New York as a dancer in a Boston based dance company with principal dancer and dance captain/choreographer experience. In her youth Dani competed at many regional and national competitions, winning many accolades for her tap performances, and has been given opportunities to perform in many popular venues and dance festivals.
Jessica swany

Jessica Swany

Jessica Swany is from Long Island, NY and spent her earlier years on her competitive kickline/Dance high-school team. She competed in pom, Kick, lyrical and hip-hop where she won national titles. After high school Jessica entered the pros and cheered for the MLL New York Lizards Lacrosse Team. After a season with the MLL she then auditioned for Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders and was selected as a member of the team for the 2016-2017 season. She attended countless performance opportunities including half time performances with celebrity guest. Jessica shares “ there is no feeling like dancing for 60,000 fans on football Sunday”. Jessica’s pro journey does not end there, as she went on to dance for our very own New York Jets. Jessica was a member of the New York Jets Flight Crew for the 2018-2019 season. Jessica now enjoys sharing her passion of dance with the dance community by conducting master classes across the island. She is beyond thrilled to join the Magnolia Dance Academy this season.  Miss Jessica will be teaching at the Westbury studio.
Jen apostol

Jen Apostol

Jen Apostol has been teaching dance and choreographing for over 25 years. She was a dance major at the famed LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts. As a teen, Jen performed at Lincoln Center in a special event with Jacques D’Amboise, she worked with the Barrow Ballet Company of New Jersey and was a member of the Performing Arts Youth Ballet Company. She received her BS from NYU‘s Gallatin school with a concentration in dance and elementary education. In addition to teaching dance, Jen has coached children’s gymnastics and choreographed numerous children’s theater productions in New York and New Jersey with Multiple Outlet Productions. She’s thrilled to be a part of the Magnolia family and will be teaching at the Westbury location.

Kelly A. Leya

Kelly A. Leya began her dance training on Long Island at the young age of two. As a competitive dancer, she was recognized for her technique and stage performance winning multiple top scoring awards and titles. She furthered her education receiving a dance scholarship to Adelphi University working under the tutelage of Frank Augustyn. During her time at Adelphi, she had the opportunity to perform the works of Paul Taylor (alongside the Taylor II Company), Martha Graham, Doug Varone, Danny Grossman and Christopher Fleming. She received her BFA in Dance graduating Summa Cum Luade and was the recipient of the Ruth St. Denis Award for Performing Arts. For the past 5+ years, Kelly has been teaching and choreographing for Maple Avenue Dance as well as their Competition Team. She has been recognized for her unique choreography which has earned multiple high score awards including Most Entertaining and Best Choreography, both regionally and nationally. Kelly regularly attends intensives with Complexions Contemporary Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Také Dance as well as attends classes at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and Peridance to keep herself proficient in all aspects of dance. Her main objective is to make sure each child feels like a star and to have them enjoy dance as much as she does. Miss Kelly will be choreographing at the Lynbrook location.
Amy oliver

Amy Oliver

Amy Oliver, from Hamilton, NJ, was trained at Stewart Johnson Dance Academy, and she attended summer programs at Hamilton Ballet Theater, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Fineline Theater Arts. Amy grew up performing in musical theater and was a featured dancer in John Kander’s special 90th Birthday performance of Chicago on Broadway. She competed for many years and was the honored recipient of various performance awards and scholarships from competitions and conventions such as Dance Masters of America, West Coast Dance Explosion, Legacy, Starbound, and more. Amy joined the Hofstra University Dance Team (HUDT) to become a National Champion in 2019 with their award-winning pom performance. Amy has earned the Unsung Hero Award (2019) for dedication and Torchbearer Award (2020) for leadership in HUDT. Amy recently joined Universal Dance Association (UDA) as a staff member and travels throughout the Northeast to instruct high school dance teams in jazz, hiphop, kickline, and pom. She is thrilled to be joining the MDA family and spreading her love of dance to new students. Miss Amy will be teaching at the Westbury location.

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