Angela Harriell, the former director of the school’s jazz department, is returning as a teacher this fall. She taught jazz and contemporary and ballet for jazz dancers here for five years before leaving in the spring of 2015 to nurture her own touring company of professional dancers based in New York City.
“I am so excited that Angela is returning to teach,” said the school’s owner and director Alison Brown. “Her choreography is unique, interesting and age-appropriate. She keeps it fun for the younger dancers while challenging the older girls to plumb the depths of their talent and skills.”
Angela is excited to be back in Ridgefield, teaching contemporary, lyrical and theatre rep. “I love working with students in a studio environment,” she said. “My goals are to teach the connection between theater and dance while sharing the joy of movement to create strong dancers who believe in themselves.”
The world of dance, especially ballet, can be intimidating to a young dancer, Angela said. She strives to help her students not only better their technique but develop a deep connection to the narrative of the music and to the characters they perform. A focus of her teaching is on theater dynamics that bring a piece to life and using movement to tell a story. “If you really believe in yourself and pursue your path, you can create your own opportunities because the world of dance allows you to get out of it what you put in,” she said.
Angela said the studio has been like a second family to her and she still has a framed photo of her students from the first year she taught in Ridgefield. “I’m thrilled to be back and looking forward to working with a new generation of dancers not only improve their technique but develop confidence and self-discipline.”
She has been working as a choreographer and director in New York City, with her own touring professional company of dancers. Angela’s work has been on stage in Rome, Egypt, Japan and all across the United States. She has choreographed for The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park, television and film premieres, and conventions and various competitions around the U.S. and Canada.
Harriet’s background is in ballet, which serves as a solid foundation in her work with jazz and contemporary. Her choreography has been called “witty, moving and theatrical” and earned her a New York Innovative Theatre Awards Outstanding Choreography nomination. Her teaching resume includes Binghamton University, Peridance, The Joyce summer children’s program and Lincoln Center. She trained at Ballet Arts Theater, Goucher College, Towson University and Fredonia University.