Faculty & Staff
Dr. Thelma Larkin Goldberg, PhD, Director, started The Dance Inn in 1983 while on a leave of absence from teaching in the Boston Public Schools. Her early dance training was in Cambridge with Grace Bates and Joan O'Brien. She taught dance while earning her B.S. Ed. From Lesley College and then taught special needs students in Boston while earning her M.S. Sp.Ed. from Regis College. In 2020, Thelma completed her doctoral degree in Tap Education from Lesley College, officially becoming Dr. Goldberg.
In addition to being the Artistic Director of the performing companies of The Dance Inn, Thelma is very active in the classrooms teaching tap to all levels and supervising and mentoring her staff. She is also an active participant in the local and national dance community, serving as teacher, program coordinator, volunteer and student at tap and jazz festivals across the country, most recently the NYC Tap Festival and the Mass Dance Festival.
Sheila Brotherston received her BFA in acting from Emerson College where she also studied dance with Tracy Tedesco. Her background includes significant experience with the Boston Children's Theater, where she was a performer and teacher as well as choreographer for Oliver and The Wizard of Oz. You may have enjoyed her arias when she was an opera singer at Romano's Macaroni Grill. Sheila studies regularly with Hip Hop master teachers, such as Brian Friedman and Jimmy Locust. In addition to her regular teaching duties, Sheila is Director of the Hip Hop program as well as the Dance Inn Dance and Theatre Camp.
Ryan P. Casey, the recipient of a YoungArts award from the National YoungArts Foundation, began studying tap and jazz at the age of five at The Dance Inn. He spent seven seasons under the tutelage of Thelma Goldberg and Kelly Kaleta with the Legacy Dance Company, where he is now on faculty, and also served as Dance Captain of the New England Tap Ensemble, directed by Aaron Tolson. In addition to a burgeoning solo career, Ryan is a founding member of Michelle Dorrance’s company, Dorrance Dance, originating the lead role in “the Rag” and “the Machine.” He has also performed with Billy Siegenfeld’s Jump Rhythm Jazz Project and Lisa LaTouche’s Tap Phonics. You may have seen him on So You Think You Can Dance or read one of his articles for CNN.com, Dance Studio Life, Dance Spirit or Dance Teacher. His work has been presented at such venues as the Massachusetts Dance Festival, Dance for Life Boston and the Dance for World Community Festival. An NYU graduate, Ryan is also the creator and choreographer of an original touring tap show, “Transitions,” and a proud alumnus of the inaugural tap program at The School at Jacob’s Pillow.
Elana Harvey began her dance life here at The Dance Inn when she was the young age of three and stayed all the way until she graduated from high school. She was a member of the Legacy Dance Company, and was lucky to perform in many places, including an amazing performance in Disney World. She recently graduated Cum Laude from Dean College where she received her Associate's Degree in Dance and Liberal Arts. She had the honor of performing in the college's company and also in their monthly recitals. Now, she has joined the staff of The Dance Inn, and couldn't be happier to pass along all that she has learned to all of her students!
Maria LaRossa, graduated from Salem State University (SSU) with a BA in English and minors in Dance and Communication Disorders. While attending SSU, she was a three-time recipient of the Presidential Arts Scholarship, received the Creativity Award, the Moss Hart Award from the New England Theatre Conference and an Irene Ryan Scholarship Nomination from the American College Theatre Festival. Maria has appeared in several films, commercials and theatre production. Recent theatre credits include A Chorus Line (Reagle Music Theatre), My Fair Lady (Reagle Music Theatre) and West Side Story (Turtle Lane Playhouse). Maria has also had the honor of working with broadway/film choreographer Joey Pizzi as his demonstrator and assistant choreographer. Along with performing, Maria is a dedicated dance teacher.
Rebecca Robichaud grew up in New York and studied dance on Long Island and in New York City. A theater major at Adelphi University, she dropped out after being hired by Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus as a dancer and Dance Captain. After touring for 2 years, she was hired by Radio City Music Hall as a Rockette. Rebecca began teaching at The Dance Inn in 1986 and co-founded the Legacy Dance Company with Thelma Goldberg.
Locally, Rebecca has performed with Rainbow Tribe, Reagle Music Theater, The Umbrella, Concord Players, and other New England theaters. She also choreographs the musical for many local middle and high schools.
After Rebecca’s youngest son who has Down syndrome was born, her focus at The Dance Inn has been teaching students with special needs. A dedicated advocate for all students, she continues to educate herself and others about various special needs topics. Most recently, Rebecca was a guest teacher at The Riverview School in Sandwich and completed Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Teacher training.
Kellie Spillane’s second home growing up was her childhood dance studio where she was mentored by Joan O’Brien for over 25 years. Kellie has been a teacher at Watertown Middle School for ten years, where she has worked in a variety of classrooms as both a special education teacher and now a reading teacher. Kellie is also involved in the dance theatre community at WMS where she directs a student dance club and also choreographs the middle school musicals. Kellie has choreographed “Oklahoma,” “Into the Woods, Jr.” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Kellie attended UMASS Boston for her undergraduate education, majoring in Psychology with a minor in History and Dance. Post grad work includes a Master of Education in Moderate Disabilities from Cambridge College and Kellie earned her C.A.G.S in Reading from MGH Institute of Health Professions. Kellie recently earned her Broadway Jr. Teacher certification from Itheatrics in NYC. When Kellie is not teaching or planning lessons, she enjoys dancing with her daughters, Allison who is 6 and Kaitlin who is 5. Her daughters always ignite her passion for dance with just one beat of music and now she is thrilled to be teaching in the studio!
Melissa Gendreau graduated from Dean College with a BA Degree in Dance with a minor in business. Melissa performed as a freelance dancer with companies in Boston and New York. In 2007, Melissa started Perceptions Dance Company, which toured the country for 7 years. Melissa’s work has been seen on prestigious stages such as the Joyce SoHo, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Dumbo Dance Festival, Boston University, the Davies Symphony Hall, the SF Fashion on the Square runway, and many more. In 2010, Melissa founded the Perceptions Dance Festival, which is dedicated to creating high-quality performance opportunities for emerging and small dance companies and independent choreographers. The Festival has presented more than 40 national and international artists. Melissa has taught dance to children, adults and professionals. Currently, Melissa is pursuing a Masters Degree in Arts Administration from Drexel University.
Nicole Chaput, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition sciences, has been dancing for over twenty years. Specializing in tap, hip hop, jazz, and contemporary, she has performed at Jacob’s Pillow, Disney World, the Hatch Shell, and many venues in New York, Chicago, and the New England area. She received her training at The Dance Inn in Lexington, MA, and spent time studying dance at Arizona State University. Nicole teaches dance six days a week to students of all ages. She is committed to staying up to date with current teaching methods and has attended Rhee Gold's dance teacher training, the Dance Teacher Summit in New York, and works closely with Thelma Goldberg, author and creator of Thelma's Tap Notes. Recently, she teamed up with the University of Massachusetts Boston to work with a team of researchers on a pilot research study that focuses on teaching dance to teenage girls with mental and intellectual disabilities. Nicole is also a performing member of the Off Beat Tap Company, directed by Ryan P. Casey, where she helps to choreograph, set pieces, and design costumes.
Sarah Strong is a young and exuberant ballet teacher in Northern Mass, where she has resided her whole life. After graduating from Dean College in 2018, where she earned her BA in both Dance and Arts & Entertainment Management, she decided to dedicate her life to teaching dance to the upcoming generations. During her studies at Dean, she partook in various disciplines including Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Horton, Tap, Hip Hop, and Ballroom. Additionally, she focused on the anatomy of dancers through Bartinieff fundamentals, Anatomy classes and working with her athletic trainer. Originally trained at New England Civic Ballet under the direction of Roshni Pecora and Phyllis George, Sarah has performed in many ballet productions in both soloist and corps roles, including Mouse Queen and Spanish in The Nutcracker, and as Sleepy in Snow White. While at Dean, Sarah was also cast in multiple pointe companies and was asked to be a part of the re-staging of William Evans' "Rhythms of the Earth" to be performed as part of a William Evans production. Additionally, Sarah was selected multiple times to be a choreographer for the New Dancer Showcase for freshman dance majors at Dean. Notable teachers include Jill Silverman, Laura Young, Todd Shanks, Kristina Berger, Jeremy Ruth Howes, Roshni Pecora, William Evans, and Adrianne Hawkins. Sarah is excited to continue sharing her passion for ballet and terrible puns with her students!
Hannah Geller is a former Legacy dancer who recently graduated from Skidmore College, where she majored in education and minored in dance. Hannah taught classes at a dance studio throughout college and is thrilled to continue teaching back home at The Dance Inn. Currently she is teaching recreational classes, preschool and kindergarten, and teen classes. Throughout college, she was also involved in multiple programs teaching dance to individuals with disabilities, and has continued this work in adaptive classes at The Dance Inn.
Lucia (Lou) Kidney worked at The Dance Inn, as Office Manager, back in the 80’s, for several years. After spending 25 years supporting other small businesses, in 2006, she returned to The Dance Inn, as our part-time Bookkeeper and Accounts Manager. When Lou is not working, you will probably find her gardening, cooking, or most likely…..playing with her eight beautiful grandchildren!
Ally Michitson joined The Dance Inn staff for the 2019-2020 season as our Office Manager. Ally, a graduate of UMass Amherst, grew up in the dance world and is returning to her roots! Ally comes from a dance family as her mom was a dance teacher for many years in Haverhill, MA. Growing up, Ally performed in many different musicals while studying at McNally's School of Dance & Drama for 10 years. She took some time off from dance to join the varsity cheerleading team at Haverhill High School but she longed to be back in dance class so she joined Karla Pattavina's Dance Academy in Haverhill for her last 2 years of high school where she studied tap & jazz, which were always her favorite disciplines. She is so excited to be back in the dance world and surrounded by the thing she loves the most every day.