Announcing the 2022 New Connections Award Honorees

Thrown Stone Theatre Company is pleased to announce RVNAHealth President and CEO Theresa Santoro, and Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance Executive Director Amy Piantaggini as the inaugural honorees of the Thrown Stone New Connections Award.

The New Connections Awards were envisioned to recognize individuals who exemplify Thrown Stone’s values and our mission to move, connect, and challenge all who join our theatrical conversation. Each year, the award will focus on a distinct theme that harmonizes with our season. In 2022, that theme is Mentoring Young Women.

The inaugural honorees have distinguished themselves over a number of years as mentors, and have each selected a mentee, who will present their awards in a short ceremony following our opening night performances. Melissa Woodhouse will present Ms. Santoro with her award on July 15th, after the performance of Athena by Gracie Gardner. Nell Walton will present Ms. Piantaggini with her award on July 22nd, after the performance of Hysterical! by Elenna Stauffer.

Thrown Stone is grateful to these mentors who make a profound difference in our region, and we are delighted to celebrate their work with this award.

About the Honorees

Theresa Santoro has led RVNAHealth with vision, energy and compassion since 2007. She joined the agency in 1999 as a visiting registered nurse, and later served as director of clinical services and vice president of clinical operations. Relying on her 25-plus years of clinical and administrative nursing experience, Theresa has evolved and advanced RVNAhealth to become the dynamic, responsive provider of lifelong wellness services and preventative care that it is today.

Under Theresa’s leadership, RVNAhealth has expanded to offer a broad range of community clinics and wellness programs, and introduced RVNAhealth StayingWELL Caregiving Services, RVNAhealth ComfortWELL Hospice Services, and the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. Recognizing that RVNAhealth must continually grow to meet the challenges of an aging population, a dynamic healthcare landscape, and ever-expanding home and community health care needs, she guided the agency forward with the construction of a new $10 million, 23,000 square foot facility in 2016.

To fully reflect the agency’s breadth in both services offered and geographic coverage, in 2019 Theresa led a strategic rebranding: The agency known as RVNA (Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association) became RVNAhealth. In 2020 RVNAhealth merged with New Milford Visiting Nurses and Bethel Visiting nurses and now RVNAhealth serves 35+ towns with over 500 employees. “Over the years, we have expanded to address the full continuum of care that individuals need throughout their lifetimes,” she says. “RVNAhealth better reflects the lifelong care and wellness services that we provide when, where, and how you need it.”

She received her BSN and MSN from Sacred Heart University and is a certified home care administrator. In 2006, she received the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing, a statewide nursing recognition program. In 2009, she was awarded the Judith Hriceniak Award for Excellence in Nursing Leadership by the CT Association for Healthcare at Home. Sacred Heart University recognized her in 2015 with an outstanding alumni leadership award.

Amy Piantaggini has been the Executive Director of Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance since 2013, where she has taught since 2006.  She trained at the Boston Conservatory and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, where she received scholarships from the Gregory Peck Foundation and as a Finalist for the Coca-Cola Award for Artistic Excellence. As a performer, Ms. Piantaggini is a former member of the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Martha Graham Dance Ensemble, in which she danced many soloist roles including “Satyric Festival Song” and “Conversation of Lovers”. Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times said that Amy “made a luminous New York debut in Graham’s abstract view…” October 7, 1998. Amy has danced for the companies of Javier Dzul, Richard Move, and James Robey, and currently dances for Edgar Cortes Dance Theater. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College with a focus in early American Modern Dance and Embodiment Studies.

Amy’s teaching experience includes numerous schools including the Hartt School/University of Hartford, and as a guest teacher at Central Michigan University, Barnard College, Webster University, Dean College, and Endicott College.

At Ridgefield Conservatory, Amy has led volunteer high school dancers in biweekly dance classes with SPHERE of Connecticut since 2014.  Ms. Piantaggini established RCD as a charter for National Honors Society for Dance Arts in 2016.  Her popular pre-ballet program has more than quadrupled since her directorship began. At the same time, she established a class assistant program, where older dancers mentor young aspiring dancers in weekly classes. In 2018, she received the Nancy Comstock Andrews Superlative Teaching/Mentoring Award for her extensive collaborations between the Conservatory and countless Ridgefield arts organizations.  She has directed and choreographed for elite performing ensembles at the Conservatory each year, with performances regularly including Somers Holocaust Memorial Commission’s Yom Hashoah event, Ann’s Place’s Festival of Trees for cancer support services, Downtown Ridgefield’s Holiday and Spring Stroll events, and for area festivals, nursing homes, and more.  Her students have performed at the Palace’s Young Choreographers Festival and DanceFest, Dancers Responding to AIDS, and have even performed Martha Graham’s Steps in the Streets through a special arrangement with the Martha Graham Dance Company, as staged by Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch and herself.  Her students have gone on to BFA and BA Dance programs and professional dance careers.

Join the Celebration

Please join Thrown Stone on July 15th and July 22nd to celebrate these incredible community members and raise a glass to their accomplishments. Award presentations will take place immediately after the performances, and all ticket holders are invited to attend. Sparkling wine and dessert will be served courtesy of Cellar XV and Stacey’s Totally Baked.



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