Instructors


Denise Rivera

Artistic Director / Owner

Denise has fascinated audiences with her choreography for many musicals and theater productions. She is a model and actress with John Casablanca’s Modeling Agency. She has made appearances in musicals, such as Cats and West Side Story. In 1996, she created a well-known dance troupe, “Power Groove,” and functioned as director, choreographer and a dancer. Power Groove opened up for numerous recording artists, such as, Cyndi Lauper, George Lamond, Cover Girls, and more. In 1999, the troupe’s hard work led them to the stage of Oakdale Theater, opening for 98 Degrees, Next, and Taylor Dayne.

Denise, a versatile entertainer in her own right, has attended The Actors Network at Busch Towers in New York City and was a model for Faces International. She was also coordinator and choreographer for numerous stage shows and events at Foxwoods Resort & Casino and Mohegan Sun.

Denise is presently owner of Explosive Entertainment and Center Stage Ent. Dance & Voice Studios. Explosive Entertainment provides numerous services, while Center Stage provides students with dance, voice, and acting. Denise has had training in Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Hip-Hop Modern and Tap from various artists in New York City and workshops in the tri-state area. Her mentors include Cathy Roe, Bob Rizzo, Michele Assaf, Rhonda Miller, Gregg Russell, Desmond Richardson and Finis Jhung. She has danced for over 35 years and taught dance and voice for 20 years. She has won several awards for Best Choreography, and won Best Choreographer award in 2004 Miss Beauty Pageant, 2005 StarQuest Dance Competition, 2006 & 2007 Talent America NYC, and most recently, 2010, her choreography led two of her teams to 1st place in their division at Nationals. Some of her vocal mentors include, Rose Coppola of RVP Management, and Kathy Kuenzel.

Denise’s endeavors include recording and writing several songs for a Connecticut musician, John Pagliano, on his self-released CDs, Gone Away to Yesterday and Far Out. She also made an appearance on a TV show, “The Guide,” where she sang a couple of songs from those CDs. The CD led them both to a live interview on WICC AM with radio host, John LaBarca, and air time for the touching ballet, “Dear Sweetheart.” Other endeavors include an appearance on “ETV” as a narrator for a children’s story, “The Christmas Witch.” Denise also had the opportunity to sing a jingle for commercial radio, Kiss 95.7 FM. Her lead role in “Prom Nite 64” aired on local television, “ETV,” in East Haven, Connecticut. She played an extra on Dennis Leary’s TV series “Rescue Me”, appeared in several commercials, and has done a few voice overs.

She brings dance and theater into the school systems. She coordinates school assemblies and acts as a role model for young children. She encourages children and adults to stay motivated and achieve their goals through positive thinking, eating healthy, and exercising in her school program “Unlock Your Potential. Denise is also a certified elementary education teacher and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology.

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Daniel Joel

Daniel Joel Natal Thillet was born on August 28, 1992 in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Daniel started his dancing career as a street dancer by the year of 2003 in the disciplines of hip-hop and break dance. After two years of dance, Natal visualized himself dancing professionally alongside an artist. In 2006, he decided to enroll in a school of specialized arts called Bellas Artes, in which he started taking his first hip-hop lessons. After performing various hip-hop dance recitals, Daniel got awarded a scholarship to train in the dance academy called Ballet Senorial that would allow him to start training in the disciplines of ballet and jazz. In a few years of training, he got hired into the dance company of Ballet Senorial and from there he started his career as a professional dancer.

While being part of the dance company, he performed as the soloist and Pas De Deux of the Le Corsaire which is a ballet piece. Also, Daniel competed in the International World Salsa Congress with the dance company Ballet Senorial in group category and they won sixth place. In 2013 he won first place in International Dance Challenge as soloist in the Hip-hop category. In the next year, he competed again but this time as a hip hop duo and won first place.

By the year of 2014 he auditioned for the dance agency called Over the Top Dance Complex in which he made it and started dancing with reggaetón artists from Puerto Rico. With this agency, he performed as one of the principal actor and dancer of the official video called “Yo Nose,” by the artist La Tribu de Abrante. While dancing with various artists, he managed to travel and performed in LA and in Argentina by the year of 2016. After all those years, in 2016 Daniel decided to move to Connecticut to continue his career as a professional dancer. Daniel’s main goal is to become one of the best known dancer and choreographer by training and teaching continuously in the U.S.

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Shalin Foti

Shalin has been a Center Stage family member since 2009. She began her training in dance at the age of 3 at the Riley’s School of Dance in Enfield, CT. She continued her training at the New England Dance Conservatory in East Long Meadow, MA. After graduating High School, Shalin attended The Hartford Conservatory in Harford, CT and New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL to continue her education in Dance Teaching and Choreography. She has performed with Momix and Pilobolus. Shalin loves teaching Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern and Pointe. Shalin enjoys teaching all ages and helping students continue their dance education. She is excited to be back at the studio to reunite with her former students and meet new ones as well.

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Colleen Alyse McGuinness

Colleen Alyse McGuinness started dancing at the age of 3 at Lights Camera Dance in Waterbury, CT. There she was a Junior / Senior Assistant for 3 years. She performed in Disney World with the Lights Camera Dance Competition team in August 2001 & July 2005.

During her high school career, she was the Assistant Choreographer for Southington Summer Theater – Once Upon A Mattress during Summer 2007. Her other endeavors include being apart of the dance ensemble & a soloist for Bright Lights at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT.

Colleen graduated from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School & Theatre Department in 2011. At the Academy, she took many dance & theatre classes. Some of the teachers she has worked with there include tap teacher – Clare O’Donnell.

Colleen attended college at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT and graduated with her Certificate in Dance in May 2017. During her years at NVCC, she has worked with teachers Megan Boyd & Dana Rainey as well as guest choreographers such as Jamal Jackson, Freddie Moore from Alvin Ailey, Jacqueline Gaffney, & Matthew Westerby. She has also been apart of the 5×5 Dance Festival at Saint Joseph’s College in October 2015. Colleen was the dance assistant at her college for the Fall 2017 Semester.

Colleen is currently a dance instructor at Center Stage Entertainment Dance Studio as a jazz dance teacher. She is also a part of The Diversity Factor Dance Company created by Merly Cookson. She recently was a judge for the 1st Annual Lake Compounce Talent Show in the beginning of June at Lake Compounce Amusement & Theme Park in Bristol, CT.

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Alessandra Melluzzo

Alessandra Melluzzo has danced for over 12 years. She is well trained in various styles of dance forms such as lyrical, modern, hip-hop and jazz but her main forte is tap. Alessandra loves tap and really believes it is a great way to express your personality. She has been in several performances and has traveled to venues in the tri-state area as a professional dancer. She loves to inspire and push others to reach their goals! She is excited to be teaching tap this year to ages 10 and up.

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Fred Rosado

Fred Rosado has danced since he was a young boy. At the age of 16, he was given an opportunity to perform at the well-known Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Fred won two first place titles and earned a scholarship to train with various professional hip-hop artists in the industry. He also competed in many contests and won first place in the All Style contest in Boston. Fred also was a competitive dancer at the age of 17 and performed with several artists in music videos and other productions.

Fred is presently a professional back-up dancer for a world-wide artist, Joby Rogers, who is an impersonator for his stage presentation called the Michael Jackson experience. He has a passion to teach and inspire students through his talents and experience in styles such as popping, bachata, salsa, hip-hop and freestyle.

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Alex Pagan

Alex was born in Meriden CT. He has been dancing since he was about 13 years old. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and works full time as an Equal Opportunity Specialist. Alex has danced professionally for many years, entertaining people at parties, dance events, sweet 16’s and bat/bar mitzvahs. He is currently teaching break-dance classes and enjoys seeing the youth succeed.