Miss Jackee is so pleased that all of her experiences drove her to create FFD where she continues to explore new lengths of both teaching and performing. Miss Jackee absolutely loves sharing her love for dance with others. She feels that there is a place in dance for anyone who wants one and looks forward to the future of FFD.
BALLET Samantha Brown grew up locally and has been dancing since the age of three. She is a graduate of the University of NH with a dual BA in French and Theatre with Dance Emphasis and also has her Masters's degree in Education from Southern NH University.
Having passed all ballet examinations through the advanced level in her RAD study, she has earned her ARAD from the Royal Academy of Dance in England.
She has danced for many local companies including Ballet New England, the Portland Ballet Company, the New England Dance Ensemble, the UNH Dance Company, and the Portsmouth Ballet Company. Samantha is excited to be teaching ballet again this year at Fortitude for Dance.
TAP, TEAM, BOYS & HIP HOP
Rachel received a Bachelors Degree in Dance, with a minor in Psychology from Dean College in Franklin MA. At Dean, she studied Ballet, Modern, Tap, Hip Hop, and Jazz. Along with technique classes, she studied Kinesiology, Dance Composition, Pedagogy, and Dance History. While at Dean she took technique and master classes from a variety of teachers including Jill Silverman, Gregory King, Charles Holbrook, Ronald Todorowski, as well as Tracy Inman from the Ailey School. Rachel was part of the Dean Dance Company and performed professionally choreographed work. She also participated in and choreographed for several student shows. Before and after attending Dean Rachel trained and then taught at My Heart Leaps Up! in Jaffrey NH until the spring of 2017. Rachel has attended several dance intensives run by Dance Masters of America, SUNY Buffalo, and Plymouth State. In addition, she has choreographed Conval High School's musical theatre productions of "Crazy For You" and "Godspell". Rachel is a member of Dance Masters of America and plans to continue her dance training through workshops and master classes
Tina Cassidy, a native of Erie, PA, trained under Arlene Ashton Hay of the Diana Byer’s Dance
Ring and later Robert Steele and Jeff Satinoff of the Elliot Feld Ballet. Ms. Cassidy received her
BA in Dance from Mercyhurst University and her MFA in Dance Performance from the Boston
Conservatory at Berklee. Her professional affiliations include the Lake Erie Ballet, Indianapolis
Ballet Theater, Indianapolis Dance Company, Boston Dance Company, Burklyn Ballet Theatre,
Melrose Youth Ballet and the Northern Ballet Theatre of Nashua, NH for ten seasons. Ms.
Cassidy is a former Adjunct Faculty member at Berwick Academy and Northern Essex
Community College. For twenty seasons, Ms. Cassidy was a Faculty Member and later Director
with Northern Ballet Theatre Dance Centre where she has taught ballet, pointe, and
contemporary dance and choreographed original works including the Nutcracker, Sleeping
Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Favorite
dance roles include Concerto Barocco, Walpurgisnaught, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella;
Flower Festival at Genzano; Balanchine’s Tarantella, Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty and Snow
Queen, Sugarplum, and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. Ms. Cassidy has previously danced in six
operatic centerpieces with the Boston Early Music Festival including the Grammy-nominated
Ariadne. Ms. Cassidy has also choreographed extensively for musical theatre including the
Actorsingers, NH Theatre Factory, Nashua High School, Music and Drama Company,
StageCoach Productions, and Peacock Players of Nashua where she received an award for “The
Best Choreographer of a Community Musical” at the NH Theatre Awards.
Melissa can’t remember a time when dance was not a part of her life. She started training in ballet at age 7 with Patricia Rousseau in Merrimack, NH. As her passion for dance grew, she added classes in all forms of classical dance and joined Granite State Ballet in Nashua, NH in high school where she had the opportunity to study with Betsy Collins, Clyde Nantais, James Reardon, and Allan Kinzie. She attended Butler University in Indianapolis, IN where she graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance. While at Butler University, she developed a passion for modern dance in addition to ballet, studying with Larry White (former Martha Graham Company dancer). Melissa began teaching as an apprentice under Patricia Rousseau in high school and has been teaching her entire adult life, mostly in southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. She has taught classical ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap, and choreography to all ages from pre-school to adults. She also performed and choreographed for Jennie & Company, a contemporary dance company in Fitchburg, MA for a few seasons after graduating college. Melissa taught at Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater for 15 years where she helped choreograph and stage “The Nutcracker” at the Palace Theatre and was integral in coordinating their membership in Regional Dance America. She attended many RDA festivals with Southern NH Youth Ballet and had her choreography adjudicated by RDA on several occasions. She also coordinated a special production of “La Boutique Fantasque” for local schools to attend as a field trip. Melissa helped to create and choreograph two original ballet productions in collaboration with Tracy Kane based on her “Fairy Houses” children’s books. Melissa has choreographed original dance works in collaboration with local musicians Tod Parker, Christopher Gantner, and Recycled Percussion. Most recently, Melissa studied aerial fabric arts with Heather Dragoeiscu at Go Ninja in Manchester, NH. She has performed and instructed with the group and attended the American Youth Circus Organization national festival in Portland, ME. In addition to teaching at Fortitude for Dance, she teaches ballet for athletes at Bare Knuckle Murphy’s Gym in Manchester, NH.
FOUNDATIONS, LYRICAL, CONTEMPORARY, JAZZ & MUSICAL THEATRE
Miss Emily is a graduate from Dean College where she studied dance! She has been dancing since she was 5 years old. Her favorite style of dance is lyrical and contemporary but love teaching ballet. Miss Emily loves Disney and goes there a lot. She also has danced at Disney and is in a dance company in Boston called OnStage Dance Company. Miss Emily is very excited to be apart of the Fortitude family!
BALLET & TECHNIQUE
Sarah is a young and exuberant ballet teacher in Northern Massachusetts, where she has resided her whole life. After graduating from Dean College in 2018, where she earned her BA in both Dance and Arts and 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 restaging 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 freshmen 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!