About Us

Orange County School of Dance started in 1992 as a dance school and has since grown into a full conservatory of fine arts offering not only dance but art lessons, theater and private voice/music lessons. Little Feet Dance Company is the resident performing group that holds annual auditions each year.  Voted "Best in Monroe for Dance Instruction" for six consecutive years by U.S. Commerce Dept and Readers' Favorite from Kids Out & About for 2 years. Most of OCSD's faculty are current or former working professional artists who not only teach their craft but instill their passion and love for the art.

Joanna Markowitz, director (Towson State University) performed for 11 years in NYC in numerous dance companies.  Besides being a scholarship student with the Jose Limon Company, she studied at ABT, Alvin Ailey, Peabody Conservatory, Ruth Currier, Tokunagas and others.  Her teaching spans over 30 years including professional studios in NYC and SUNY colleges; Clark Center for the Arts, Ruth Currier, Brooklyn College, OCCC, WCCC and Antioch College/Theatre Project in Baltimore.  She has performed at Lincoln Center, on national TV and worked on a dance video for PBS.

Joanna is currently listed in "Who's Who of America".  In 2013, she established Chapter 18 of the National Honor Society of Dance and is a member of the National Dance Educators Organization (NDEO).  Joanna is also the recipient of two SUNY teaching awards.  Little Feet Dance Company was featured in several local and national magazines.

Alla Arzoumanov, piano (Institute of Art & Performance, Russia) was the dept. chair and received numerous gov't awards for her preparation of students in becoming professional musicians.

Michelle Di Troia, dance (La Guardia HS of Peforming Arts) performed with Youth Ballet, Baron Ballet and Performing Arts HS.  She currently teaches elementary school in Rockland County.

Mary Lee Ferris, piano/voice (School of Music, Univ. of Lousiville) was a vocal faculty member at Univ. of Louisville and has performed throughout USA & Europe.

Ingrid Hayden, piano has been teaching since 2006.  She is a graduate of Bergen Community College and was the recipient of the Long Island Music Teachers Association both Gold & Silver Medal Student Award in 1980 & 1981. In addition to teaching piano, Ingrid is a religion instructor/minister.  She is also a sonagrapher.

Erin Jennings Hunter, dance is an NYU grad and has taught at Ballet Hispanico, Steps on Broadway & other professional schools. She was a member of Pilobolus Dance Company and Sublime Dance Company.

Kim Lesley, voice & percussion trained Jasmine Cephas Jones in Hamilton and has worked with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and the Police.  Kim started performing in her father's jazz band in England at the age of 14.  Kim has won several grammys and was recently seen at this past year's Emmys with her husband Ron Cephas Jones.

Hannah Kerrigan, ballet, trained with Seda Suny Sorvillo , Leon Danielian & Gertrude Kraus.  She danced with Les Ballet De Monte Carlo and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Hannah has worked with Margot Fonteyn, Rudolph Nureyev, and George Balanchine.

 Michael D'Agostino, drums, vocals, songwriting, engineer, keyboard, formed INNERrOUTe improvisational quartet (3 records), drummer for NYC "Ballets with a Twist", drummer for King Chubby with former Pat Metheny bassist Mark Egan (signed to Calient Records; "IS" hit Top 10 on CMJ charts. MIchael was primary songwriter, lead vocalist & drummer on "Blue Halo Effect" performing at ASCAP Shows. His original songs "Scorched" & "Baghad" received honorable mention from 2009 Billboard World Song Contest. Taught at The Drummer's Collective, The Sam Ash Music Institute, School of Rock, The Music Den.  Worked with The Winter Olympic Orchestra, George Clinton, Gabrielle Roth, The Dance Companies fo David Dorfman & Ralph Lemon to name  a few.  Drummer & engineer for film "Sweet Lorraine". Compositions can be heard on LIfetime Channel, BET, BET on Jazz, CNN, 20th Century Fox's The X Files, Fox Sports, The Outdoor Channel and in film/tv throughout Europe, Africa, Canada and Australia. Programmed drum sounds for Herbie Hancock, Yoko Ono, Kiss, Third Word, Ronald Shannon Jackson & Kenwood Dennard.  He endorses Sabian Cymbals and Vic Firth Drumsticks.

 Sarah Fields, art & theater, is a graduate of Dickinson College as a major in Art & Art History with a concentration in Studio Art.  She remained with the school until completion of her Post Baccalaurate Artist Internship and her first solo gallery show. For almost a decade Sarah has worked as a musical theatre instructor for children & teens and has held positions as tehcnical director, artistic director, set designer/fabricator and stage manager for various local youth theatre companies, groups and organizations.

Celia Herman, piano has taught at the University of the Philippines,Tulane University and the University of New Orleans.

Gaby Formale, dance, was a student of Orange County School of Dance since she was 5.  She was a teaching assistant for 6 years and a member of Little Feet Dance Company for 8 years. Gaby has been teaching for OCSD for several years and is attending SUNY New Paltz. 

Mary Kate Lowe, Irish Step, competed in feis to championship level.  She is a social worker.

Nafisa Manapat, dance/piano/voice, graduated from the College of Music Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Bishkek School of Ballet & Igor Moyseev Dance School in Moscow.  She is a member of the Piano Guild of NY. 

Jesse Markowitz, woodwinds & piano, is a MWHS graduate and graduated from Crane School of Music.  He taught high school in Westchester County and conducted the marching band for the NYC St. Patty's Day Parade. 

Erol Ogut, guitar, is a graduate of SUNY NEW Paltz and Berkeley College of Music. He performs regularly throughout the Hudson Valley and NYC area. 

Joe Vincent Tranchina, jazz piano/composition, was voted Hudson Valley 2010 Jazz Musician of the Year, has been recognized for past 16 yrs. by ASCAP's "ASCAPPlus Award" for "creative contributions to American music" and has been honored by Lehman Center for the Performing Arts "Best of the Bronx series".  He has composed for PBS documentaries, and performs regularly throughout NYC jazz clubs, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Jazz Mobile.

Amy Wittrock, dance, holds a MSEd from Hunter College, MBA from Pace University and BS from Fashion Institute of Technology.  She was invited to join the Joffrey Ballet Company Training Program.  Amy has also trained at The Youth Performing Arts High School and Kentucky Governors School of the Arts.