Meet the Directors
"Maggie: Your true gift is the spirit of performance and the force of magic you instill in all who walk through The Dance Extension doors. Thank you for the love and light you bring to lives and all you have brought to mine." - Lindsay MacDougall
"Miss Nancy, Thank you for being a thoughtful and kind teacher. Thanks for listening to our "shares" every day." - Sarah D., age 9
Meet the Faculty
Our all adult faculty has decades of teaching experience in the field of dance, and their love of teaching leaves students feeling refreshed, motivated and open to new ideas & creativity. Our faculty gives all TDE students the opportunity to train with a diverse team of teachers to insure they're well versed in a variety styles and methods.
Ballet, Pointe & Preschool
Gayle studied at the New York Juilliard School of Music and at the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College. She became the first ballet mistress and soloist of the original Dance Theatre of Harlem and has extended her career to film, television and musical/theatre productions. With her husband, Professor Donald Muldrow Griffith, she is co-founder/director of Fountainhead Tanz Theatre, Black International Cinema Interdisciplinary Film Festival, The Collegium forum and television program, in association with Cultural Zephyr e.V., which are based in Berlin, Germany.
Gayle teaches classical ballet, jazz & modern movement, as well as Pilates structured body placement. Gayle joined The Dance Extension in 2009.
Paula's training began at the Sylvia Reynolds School of Dance in Waterford, CT. She earned a BS in Physical Eduation with a Dance and Gymnastics concentration from UMass Amherst where she danced with the University Dancers Touring Company in Italy, Greece & Iran. She continued her dance education at the American Dance Festival and Wesleyan University.
In 1975, Paula began choreographing and performng with DANCEWEAVE, a local company. She helped produce two modern dance concerts: Collaborations I (1992) and Collaborations II (1995). Paula has also performed Denishawn repertory at the Dancine in the Millennium 2000 conference in Washington, D.C. and at the National Dance Educators Conference at Rhode Island College.
Paula has been teaching at The Dance Extension for the past 24 years. She is retired from the Waterford School system where she taught Health, Physical Education and Dance. She has been the director of the Waterford High School Dance Club for the past 24 years.
Jazz & Tap
Marcia began dancing at the age of five in her childhood hometown, Escondido, California. She was inspired at a young age become a dance educator by her own teacher, Georgia Copeland. Marcia has been teaching at The Dance Extension for 33 years and currently serves as the Junior Company advisor for the studio's performing company, the Community Dance Ensemble. She attends the Tremaine Dance Convention annually.
Marcia has choreographed over 35 musicals for local high schools and community theatre groups, and has also had many starring roles. Marcia leads a liturgical dance group at the United Methodist Church of Gales Ferry, which has performed for a national audience. Marcia has served as the secretary/treasurer of the Sacred Dance Guild for over seven years. She has taught at three SDG festivals and has been a dance clinician for the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music & Worship Arts in both Florida and North Carolina.
Ballet & Pointe
Jillian, of Derry, NH, began her training at age four in the Royal Academy of Ballet under Barbara Mullen of the Londonderry Dance Academy. She then furthered her studies with Mary McCarthy of Dance Progressions before attending a private high school to train with Andrei Bossov and Natalya Getman of the Bossov Ballet Theatre. Jillian spent her summers partaking in summer intensives offered by Bossov Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, and Ballet Theatre of Maryland. She was a Company Member with Ballet Theatre of Maryland from 2010-2016 and performed roles such as Carmen, Morgan LeFey, the leading female in Excalibur, Pas De Trois and a Little Swan in Swan Lake, Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Princess Isabel in Dancing Princesses, Anthony Tudor's Continuo, as well as many featured roles in Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Cinderella, Mid Summer Night’s Dream, and Original Company Ballets. As an instructor for The Ballet Theatre of Maryland for 6 years, she taught Pre-Ballet classes through Advanced Levels, Tap and Jazz. She also was an instructor for the company ballet classes and worked closely with the professional trainee levels. Jillian was chosen by the BTM Director to represent the company teaching outreach and master classes for the local education program.
Preschool, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Acrobatic Arts
Sarah started dancing at The Dance Extension at the age of three in the preschool program. Through the years, she studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and pointe. She performed with the Community Dance Ensemble for seven seasons, and was a class assistant in preschool, tap, and jazz classes for seven years. She served as the Dancers’ Representative on the CDE’s Board of Directors for two years and was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA). After graduating from Ledyard High School, Sarah attend Hofstra University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science (2018). While at Hofstra, Sarah was a member of Danceworks Productions, the largest run student organization on campus, and Rhythmix Tap Club. Sarah has attended the Rockette Experience at Radio City Music Hall, the Tremaine Dance Convention (NYC) and Broadway master classes led by cast members of Wicked, Billy Elliot, and Chicago. Sarah is an Acrobatic Arts Certified Teacher, and she also teaches Little Leapers, Rising Stars, Tap, and Jazz at TDE. Her favorite part of teaching is sharing the moment when a student achieves a step they’ve been working on for weeks, and “their eyes light up like you wouldn’t believe.”