Faculty & Staff
Elizabeth M. Gaynor
Ms. Gaynor is our founder. She has been a dancer, teacher, arts advocate and pivotal figure in the performing arts in Connecticut for 50 years. She has retired as director, but continues to serve as president of the not-for-profit organization and as its chairman of the board.
Elizabeth Gaynor’s formal dance studies began as a child with Duncan style dance training and continued with studies in ballet and modern dance. Her dance teacher training was with The Royal Academy of Dance in London, where she is a registered teacher. She also studied with teachers and at workshops throughout the United States. She performed professionally with Dancers of Faith, Folk Art Trio, Encore Dancers and Opera New England.
Moira Murphy Wright
Moira Murphy Wright, who teaches upper level ballet students, received her initial training at the Ballet Center of Buffalo in Buffalo, NY where she studied with Kathleen Crofton. And, as a scholarship student, Moira studied during her summers at the Chautauqua Institute Dance Department and the New York State Summer Ballet in Saratoga, NY. She danced with several civic ballet companies as well as Buffalo Ballet in Buffalo, New York, Richmond Ballet in Richmond, Virginia and Frankfurt Ballet in Frankfurt, Germany. She joined the CDS faculty in 1992 as the artistic director and rehearsal assistant to Mr. Alan Woodard. After Mr. Woodard’s retirement she became the school’s Artistic Director. In 2014 Moira completed her three-year American Ballet Theater Certification. She is ABT certified to teach pre-ballet through ballet 7 and partnering, a goal achieved by only a few of the world’s finest teachers.
Dona Wiley Kim
Assistant Artistic Director, Teacher – Lower Level, Intermediate, & Adult Ballet
Dona Wiley Kim received her pre-professional dance training at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance in Connecticut under the direction of James Robey, and studied ballet at many professional level summer intensives including the American Ballet Theater summer program in New York City. Dona Wiley Kim is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She joined the CDS faculty in 2017, later going on to become the Assistant Director to Moira Murphy Wright. As a dance instructor, she has taught ballet and pointe, choreographed new works, and set classical repertoire in studios throughout New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Dona is the co-founder and rehearsal director of CelloPointe, a chamber music and ballet company based in New York City which has gone on tour crossing the nation, performing in Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona, and Connecticut. As a professional dancer she has also performed with Connecticut Ballet, Lydia Johnson Dance, Staten Island Ballet, and many others.
Patrice Pudvah Logan
Teacher – Pre-Ballet, Introductory Ballet, Lower Level Ballet, & Jazz
Patrice Pudvah Logan holds a Teacher’s Certificate from the Hartford Ballet School. She has taught, danced and choreographed throughout the state and is well known for her creative work with young children. She joined the CDS faculty in 1987. Patrice has set a standard of excellence in dance training for pre-ballet, beginning ballet and young jazz students. She is highly regarded as a master teacher and has conducted many successful teacher training workshops. Patrice has also conducted outreach programs at Fairfield Library, Westport Library, Stratford Library and Fairfield University and has completed the Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Teacher Training Program. She along with Debra MacDonald implement and manage our Dance 4All Abilities programs.
Teacher – Creative Movement, Pre-Primary 1, Pre-Primary 2, Primary
Debra MacDonald received her pre-professional training at American Ballet Academy, studying under Carol Sumner and Richard Rapp and performed in the Academy’s production of the Balanchine Nutcracker. She joined the CDS faculty in 2010. Debra holds two degrees in early childhood education. She has also been certified to fit Gaynor Minden pointe shoes. After training with the adaptive training program at Boston Ballet, Debra helped to found Dance 4 All Abilities, a program providing dance classes for students with autism spectrum disorder, downs syndrome, and physical disabilities. Past ballet training includes Boston Ballet City Dance Program, East Coast Youth Ballet and Stamford City Ballet. For five years, she served as lower school coordinator and outreach coordinator for the Ballet School of Stamford, under Stephanie Marini. Debra is also a musical theater choreographer and has done productions in CT, MA and NY. Past shows have included Annie, Oklahoma, Pippin, The Music Man, The Adams Family and West Side Story. Her teaching experience in early childhood education, coupled with her extensive experience with ballet dancers at all levels, makes her a valuable member of the CDS faculty.
Teacher – Advanced Levels & Boys Ballet
Chihwan Kim holds a Master in Fine Arts for Dance Theater from Kookmin University in South Korea. Kim specializes in the Vaganova technique, which he has taught throughout the United States and Korea. Chihwan Kim is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. As a professional ballet dancer, Kim has performed with many companies, including the Gwangju City Ballet Company as a principal dancer, where he performed leading roles in the entire classical repertoire. He also performed internationally as a guest artist with several companies. Kim received his training at GITIS Korea as well as the GITIS Russian Institute of Theatre Arts in Moscow, under master teacher Illia Anatolivitch Migachev. Upon completing his training, he went on to win a gold medal in the International ballet Competition in South Korea.
Teacher – Intermediate Ballet
Julianne Warfield studied at Connecticut Dance School for nine years. While at the school, she performed leading roles in the Nutcracker including Arabian, Flower Soloist and Sugarplum Fairy. She spent her summers dancing at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, American Ballet Theatre master classes, The American Academy of Ballet at Vassar College and Connecticut Dance School. She was a trainee with the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City during her college years. Upon college graduation she joined Connecticut Dance School as a faculty member in September 2008.
Teacher – Modern and Jazz Workshops
Emily holds a B.F.A in Dance from Emerson College. Performing credits include, “Cabaret”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Spamalot”, “A Chorus Line”, “Pippin” and the National Tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar” where she was a swing and the Assistant Dance Captain. She has also danced with and choreographed for various companies and showcases in New York City, Fairfield and Westchester Counties. She choreographs for Darien High School and Middlesex Middle School for Darien High School as well as various other musicals Fairfield Center Stage and Curtain Call in Stamford. Emily’s choreography has been produced throughout Boston for the Emerson Dance Company at the Suffolk, Magestic, and Emerson Mainstage Theatres, and in 1999, she founded her own modern-jazz company, The Reach Dance Project. She has been teaching dance to children 18 months through adult for the past 28 years.
Originally from Ohio, Dyan is a graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Communication. After college Dyan moved to New York and worked as a Trade & International Sales Director for a children’s publishing company. She has also worked in advertising and has been a PTA President. Dyan and her family moved to Fairfield in 2004. Her passions include music, marketing and Essentrics – a stretching, strengthening and re-balancing fitness program. For the past five years she has been teaching Essentrics at CDS and that is how she developed a love for the school and its mission.
Marianela Colon joined CDS in February 2022. She works in the office part time. Marianela loves dealing with children and has worked many years in customer relations and business development. She previously worked with the nonprofit Hispanic Health Council which unfortunately closed during the pandemic. Marianela hails from Puerto Rico, speaks fluent Spanish, and is a professional photographer. She is also the proud mother of two boys. You can call her Nela for short.
Rochelle has been a costume designer for over twenty years and has also designed ready-to-wear women’s clothing for Macy’s. Originally from Jamaica, Rochelle lives in Bridgeport with her three teenage children. She loves fitting all our CDS dancers and looks forward to her next CDS Nutcracker performance.