Experienced teaching artists
Imagine the possibilities
HEATHER EDWARDS – Co-Founder – Heather has trained as a classical pianist and graduated from Berklee College of Music. She works as a pianist/songwriter/recording artist who has performed with many types of bands – from funk and rock to jazz and country. Heather conducts, directs, and regularly performs in musical theatre around the New York area. In addition to educating children in the performing arts for 25 years, she also enjoys teaching private piano and vocal lessons to children and working with them in musical theatre productions as pianist and Musical Director. Heather has also played a wide range of characters as an actress in television, film and theatre. Heather is fingerprinted through the NYC Department of Education, and has been a member of AFM Local 802 and Actors Equity Association for over 20 years. http://heatheredwards.net/ho
ABIGAIL JONES – Co-Founder – Abby has been a Lead Teaching Artist in the New York City area, teaching some 10,000 children over the course of her decades-long career. She has studied extensively with master teachers, written numerous shows, and performed regionally through California, Chicago and New York. Abby is fingerprinted through the NYC Department of Education. Abby’s favorite part of working in performance arts and education is introducing children to the magic of live theater.
NANCY BOCANEGRA grew up in Queens, New York surrounded by Latin music, heritage and culture. She started dancing folkloric dances at a young age, performing in parades, schools and special events, and family parties where she was introduced to Salsa, Merengue and Bachata.
Despite being exposed in a Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio to many styles of partner dancing such as Hustle, Tango, Cha Cha, West Coast Swing, Foxtrot and Waltz, her heart stayed true with salsa. She furthered her Salsa training, enhancing her techniques and timing by studying with many talented instructors in New York and competing successfully with choreographed routines and freestyle in Philadelphia, Miami, New York and Montreal. After years of education, performances, and competitions. A certification in Yoga enhanced her knowledge about the body and how it works complementing her style of instruction. Nancy loves to teach her students find their style and confidence on any dance floor! You’ll often find Nancy’s love of dance on her Instagram
EMMANUEL DE JESUS is originally from Puerto Rico and moved to NYC to pursue his dancing career. As a dancer he toured internationally and worked for Latin artists, Dance companies and shows including “West Side Story”. He is also a ProMakeup artist for MAC Cosmetics in New York City for the past six years. As a freelance Artist, he designs theatrical make up on performers for performance art, stage, shows, events, photo shoots, etc. You can see more of Emmanuel’s work on his Instagram and his website
JULIE DONOFRIO has been making people laugh for years, sometimes on purpose. She’s writes as a comedian and as a humor columnist for Rochester Woman Online (as Julie Dee). Julie has also worked as an improv actor, and has done stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy everywhere from New York City comedy clubs to the beverage tent at the County Fair. She has performed in the Toronto and Rochester Fringe Festivals, and her television credits include a guest-starring role in the pilot “Finding Fabulous.” Julie also appeared on the hit NBC television program, “Last Comic Standing”. She is also a dually-certified educator, children’s entertainer, and was the recipient of a Big Pencil Award from Writers & Books in 2015.
TATIANA KEEGAN, the reigning U.S. amateur national champion in International Latin (age 35+) with partner Anatoliy Shvarts, has taught at some of New York’s finest dance schools: Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Paul Pellicoro’s DanceSport, and Pierre Dulaine’s Dancing Classrooms, which was featured in the film Mad Hot Ballroom. She has also appeared as a teacher on The Late Show With David Letterman and the AMC reality series Into Character. Born in Volgograd, Russia, Tatiana was the Russian Amateur National Champion in Ten Dances before coming to the United States and winning multiple events, including the United States Ballroom Championship Rising Star title with Tony Dovolani of Dancing With The Stars. She teaches a wide variety of dances, from International Latin (Cha-Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, and Jive) to Standard and American Smooth (Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, and Viennese Waltz) as well as Swing, Hustle, Salsa, and Merengue. “Tati is the most patient, loving, thoughtful, and above all genuine teacher I’ve ever had,” says Lawson Harris, who has danced professionally for more than thirty years. “She will jump through a ring of fire to inspire her students to reach their potential.” Check out Tatiana’s amazing dance videos on her Instagram and website.
MARIA KENT is known for her one-of-a-kind costume designs and makeup styles. Maria is constantly creating bigger and bolder costumes and remains on the cutting edge with her variety of creative inspiring make-up looks for herself, as well as various entertainers and models throughout the NYC area! She has taught make-up artistry to children (and adults!) of all ages. Maria is a highly versatile performer who comes from a classically trained background also performs in such acts as stilt walking, showgirl, celebrity impersonator, living statue and much more! You can see the many looks Maria has created on her Instagram and website.
BRADDON MEHRTEN is proud to be a 4th generation Californian; now transplanted to New York City for the past 40+ years, he is definitely a New Yorker. With a BFA from the United States International University in San Diego California, Braddon has had an extensive and varied career in both the theatre and academic life. Touring Europe and the United States as an actor in countless productions, some of his favorite roles have been Tony in West Side Story, the Emcee in Cabaret, Freddy in My Fair Lady, Tulsa in Gypsy, and Will Parker in Oklahoma. In the 1990’s he created Sneakers Music Inc, which wrote, produced and toured Children’s Theatre to schools throughout the tri-state area and beyond. As the artistic director of Simply Elementary Inc. (established in 2000) he brought his own personal focus on helping kids find their inner strength and overcoming the obstacles and challenges of their everyday lives; using Musical Theatre as the foundation. Presently Braddon creates countless musical theater workshops and mini musical revues for grades K-12 and senior centers; as well as directs fully staged musicals throughout the tri-state area. Braddon is thrilled to be part of AhHa!Broadway where he can bridge the worlds of theatre and academics to help children and even children at heart live up to their promising potential.
CHRIS MURPHY has been on A&E’s “Evening at the Improv”, “Carolines Comedy Hour”, “The Artie Lang Show”, and Amazon Prime. He has appeared on Comedy Central’s, “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” where he was also a contributing writer. His students have appeared on The Tonight Show, Letterman, Colbert, Conan, MTV, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”, and have written for “Saturday Night Live”! Find Chris on Instagram!
CHRISTOPHER NOFFKE (Choreographer) is an award winning Choreographer/Director/Teacher and is currently on staff with Man In Motion NYC! Recent credits directing credits include “Death Of A Shoe Salesman” (Hudson Guild Theatre/NYTF), “And Then There Were None” and “Assassins” (Associate Dir/The Secret Theatre), and a NYC Reading of Dan Furman’s “The Proust Virus”. He was named Best Director for “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” and Best Choreographer for “Gypsy” and “The Wedding Singer” by DCMetroTheatreArts in 2014 and 2015. He has directed for Riverside Center for the Performing Arts (The Wedding Singer, Chicago, Footloose, Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Hello Dolly starring Sally Struthers, Full Monty, Dreamgirls and White Christmas and more), Secret Theatre, Kentucky Rep (Little Women, Yes, Virginia, Oliver, Santaland Diaries), The Navigator’s, Naples Dinner Theatre, (Chicago, Dames At Sea, Cabaret, Pirates Of Penzance, Victor Victoria, Funny Girl, Tommy, Bye Bye Birdie) Priscilla Beach Theatre (Dames At Sea) and Northern Lights Playhouse (My Fair Lady, My Way, Chicago, Honkey Tonk Angels), Pines Dinner Theatre (Altar Boyz)! Find Chris on Instagram.
VICKI OCEGUERA is an Actor, Teaching Artist, and Puppeteer originally from California. After attending UC Santa Barbara, where she double-majored in Dramatic Art/Psychology and minored in Education, Vicki attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC to hone her skills in Musical Theater. As an educator, Vicki works with several organizations bringing theater classes to children, both in school and on-line, including her educational work with the New York City zoos (where she performs for children and leads workshops since 2013). Vicki also leads workshops on puppetry for students of all ages. As an actor, Vicki loves traveling the country performing in National Tours, and many Off-Broadway and regional productions. Specializing in Theater for Young Audiences, Vicki worked with John Tartaglia on the National Tour of “Dinosaur Train Live” and with Mills Entertainment on the National Tour of “Clifford the Big Red Dog”, has traveled to Asia for the International Tour of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show”, and performed in several NYC school tours teaching kids about healthy eating, bullying, and making healthy choices. Vicki’s favorite aspect of performing children’s theater is inspiring kids to have a greater appreciation for theater and motivating them to explore their creative side. She loves using theater to engage, embolden, and build the confidence of our youth. Check out Vicki’s Website and on Instagram.
ERIN SPEARS LEDFORD is a New York City based Director, Performer, and Teaching Artist. As a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy Erin began her career as an actor/ singer/ dancer performing in tours and regional theatres across the United States. Her favorite credits include Nancy US/Mrs. Sowerberry in the National Tour of Oliver!, Alice in The Addams Family, and Sister Mary Patrick in Sister Act. In 2018 Erin was named Associate to the Artistic Director for the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, NY, where she has contributed to maintaining the artistic standard of the theatre as well as finding areas for growth and improvement in their educational practices. As a Director at Mac- Haydn her mainstage highlights include Little Shop of Horrors and The Wedding Singer as well as TYA productions of The Pied Piper and Pinocchio. Throughout her career, Erin has also worked in the arts education arena as a Teaching Artist which enables her to combine her years of performance experience with her passion for arts education. She now teaches hundreds of NYC students a year across all 5 boroughs, inspiring the next generation of performers and theatre lovers. She believes in utilizing the arts as a tool for personal growth in young people that can be applied to any goals they hope to accomplish in life. Follow Erin on Instagram!