Dancewave prides itself in being an organization completely run by women. Our staff members, including our interns, are immensely talented and committed towards the cause of Dancewave's mission, bringing a wide range of experience, expertise and enthusiasm to the table.

Diane Jacobowitz, Executive & Artistic Director at Dancewave (BFA, Ohio State University; MFA,Connecticut College) has a distinguished career in performing, choreography and arts administration. She has taught dance to youth and adults of all ages and backgrounds for 26 years at numerous institutions. She has directed and taught at several programs including the Dance Department at Westchester Music and Arts Camp and Hunter College Dance Department. She was instrumental in establishing the Dance Major at Long Island University, where she was a professor for 9 years teaching ballet, modern, choreography, aerobics and speech. She taught and directed the middle school dance program and afterschool dance elective at the Berkeley Carroll School in Park Slope for 6 years. Diane choreographed and directed her own company, the Diane Jacobowitz Dance Theater for 15 years, during which time, the company toured, performed and engaged in residencies throughout the Northeast. Her company, DJDT performed at BAM in 1992.  Diane has also performed with several prominent choreographers including Kenneth King, Marta Renzi, Grethe Holby, Kathy Duncan and Annabelle Gamson. She founded Dancewave in 1995 with the mission of  bringing dance to a broad spectrum of the city youth population, particularly to those talented dancers who lacked the means to afford pre-professional training. Her main focus has been working with young people as artists in the making and connecting them early to the rigor of high level performance and exposure to world renowned dance artists. As Executive/Artistic Director of Dancewave for the past 20 years, she has developed innovative programming to capture the talents and imagination of young dancers. Some of the programs she has developed, in addition to the Dancewave Company model, include Dancing Through College and Beyond, the Dance Career Symposium and the Kids Cafe Festival. Under her leadership, Dancewave currently reaches over 3,000 young people citywide through  programs both at the Dancewave School and in partnership with over ten New York City public schools. She is currently leading the campaign for Dancewave's city capital project-- the opening/launch of a brand new dance center in downtown Brooklyn in 2017.

Nicole Touzien, Director of Education at Dancewave is a Florida-born dancer, educator & administrator. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and is also an experienced Assisted Thai Yoga practitioner. Prior to joining the Dancewave family, she worked for several prominent dance organizations such as Dancing Classrooms NYC, Dance New Amsterdam, and NYC Dance Week. Nicole has also been on faculty for the Maricopa County Community College District, a Guest Artist in New York and South Korea, and has performed across the US, Mexico, and Northern Ireland. She is currently working on Feels Like Home, a collaborative performance project asking questions about place, belonging, and home. Email

Kristen Majoros, Dancewave's School Manager received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Performance studies with minors in Business and Psychology from Roger Williams University. After graduating in 2012, she continued to explore her passion for dance by moving to Brooklyn. She is excited to have joined the Dancewave team in 2013 and enjoys her current position as School Administrator. Email

Anuja Singhal, Dancewave's Associate Director of Design & Marketing received a Masters in Design Studies from University of the Arts London in 2010. Originally from India, she moved to the United States a few years ago. She has been involved with Dancewave since early 2014 when she designed Dancewave's visual identity as part of a Taproot grant project. Now as Dancewave's Design & Marketing Associate, she designs all print and web marketing collaterals and manage Dancewave's branding and marketing strategy. When not working for Dancewave, she spends her time on other Graphic+UX design projects. See her work on Email

Mariah Martens, DWave in Motion Coordinator at Dancewave is a Brooklyn based dancer, creator and educator originally from Denver, Co.  She achieved a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle, WA). Mariah believes that dancing is for everyone and is delighted to join the Dancewave staff as the D-Wave in Motion coordinator where she works hard every day to make dance accessible for NYC public schools. 

Jessica Zippin, Dancewave's Special Events Coordinator received her bachelors degrees from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Dance as well as Media & Society with a minor in Arts in Education. She studied Dance/Movement Therapy and received her M.S. from Pratt Institute in New York City. During this time she interned at the child & adolescent inpatient psychiatric units ofQueens Children’s Psychiatric Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital and was the student liaison to the American Dance Therapy Association. Her thesis research was conducted at Mt. Sinai Hospital focusing on sensory integration and dance movement therapy in child inpatient psychiatry. Jessica was previously employed as the creative arts therapist at St. Michael’s Home, a residential adult care facility, and currently works with students with autism for the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards Dance Therapy Program. Jessica is a teaching artist at Dancewave, the Special Events Coordinator, and works as a Dance Therapist for the D-Wave in Motion Program.

Janelle Barclay, Dancewave's Office Assistant is a native Brooklynite (born and raised with a sprinkle of Queens).  Janelle started dancing at 3 years old, in Queens NY. She met Diane Jacobowitz as a junior at Benjamin N Cardozo High School, Diane was there to recruit high school dancers for a free high school workshop she was teaching at Long Island University.  Janelle jumped at this opportunity and found not only a place to expand her dance knowledge but the University that she would attend, receiving a partial scholarship.  Graduating from LIU Brooklyn in 2001, she continued to teach and dance with a few dance companies and well-known artists like Clare Byrne, Duane Cyrus.  Since having her own little dancer, Janelle has obtained her MS. ED in Special Education from Brooklyn University, teaching in a DOE Middle School in Brooklyn. Because of her love of dance she continues to work at Dancewave's office ensuring all adult dancers are checked and prepared for class.

Lily Altreuter, Dancewave's Development Associate is from Buffalo, NY and a lifelong dancer. She received a BA in Dance from Smith College in 2015. Lily was Stage Manager for the Shadow Box Theatre before coming to Dancewave, and also serves as Company Manager for BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance. 

Chione Morris, Dancewave's Education Assistant is a Brooklyn Native. She has always had a passion for dance. Her passion for this form of expression, coupled with her sense of responsibility to help others, has led her to seek a career in non-profit Arts Administration. She is currently pursuing a BA in Business Administration and hopes that her experience at Dancewave will prepare her for a career in this field. She also currently interns for Alison Cook Beatty Dance. She is ecstatic to be a part of the Dancewave team. 

Rachael Oczkus, Dancewave's Marketing Assistant Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Rachael began dancing at three years old and immediately fell in love with movement an art. Rachael recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BFA in dance and a BA in communication. Upon graduation she completed Dance Education Lab’s Summer Institute as a Jody Arnhold Scholar. She is excited to combine her passion for dance and her deep interest in marketing and promoting growth through the exploration of social media platforms at Dancewave. In addition to her work at Dancewave, Rachael is actively seeking a career in dance and performance.



Saundra Thomas, Vice-President of Community Affairs at WABC-TV since 2001, has made community service the center of her life. Starting at a young age, she was eager to serve, teach, learn and provide opportunity for those in need. Thomas is in her 28th year at Channel 7 and after years of writing and producing on-air topicals for Eyewitness News and award-winning ABC7 special programs, she has gone on to combine her creative skills with her need to serve. Thomas holds a B.A. in Journalism from Rutgers University and an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School. She is a proud and enthusiastic resident of Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, where she lives with her family.

Lauren Elicks McCort joined Youth INC in September of 2012, and serves as Senior Associate Director on the Program team. In her current role, Lauren coaches nonprofit partners in the Metrics Program and Strategic Planning Program, tracks Youth INC’s organizational metrics, and supports communications and programming for the Partner Network. Prior to joining Youth INC, Lauren was Associate Director of Development at Dancewave, an arts-education organization based in Brooklyn, NY. Lauren also worked for Harlem-based nonprofit Broadway Housing Communities, and has had the pleasure of providing consulting support for the Binghamton Philharmonic, Broome County Health Department, and The Handicapped Children’s Association. Lauren received her Master in Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Binghamton University. She recently received a certificate in Organizational Psychology and Development at Teachers College Columbia University. Lauren sits as Interim Board Chair of Dancewave, and volunteers as a Success Coach with young adults at The Door.

Sabrina LeBlanc spent more than 14 years helping millions of people lose weight at Weight Watchers. She was part of the team that founded, establishing one of the Internet's first and most successful subscription-model businesses. She was also a driving force behind the introduction of the PointsPlus diet and other new products and services that combined the latest scientific research with consumer insights. Prior to Weight Watchers, she worked in equity research. She currently sits on the board of Global Workers Justice Alliance, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that protects workers rights across boarders, is the chair of fundraising for Brooklyn Friends School and advises several wellness start-up companies. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Colm Leahy is an Associate in Morgan Stanley's investment banking division, focusing on global power and utilities. Colm was introduced to Dancewave through a collaboration between Morgan Stanley and Youth I.N.C. that teamed junior bankers with local non-profits. He joined the board in 2014 and currently serves as Treasurer. Colm's dance experience is typically limited to weddings, but that doesn't prevent him from appreciating the transformative impact that Dancewave has on its students.

Colm received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brown University and an MBA from Columbia University.  He lives with his wife Mari and young son Tighe in Brooklyn Heights.

Grace R. Freedman, Ph.D. is a long-time Brooklyn resident and community advocate, committed to improving arts, dance, educational opportunities for Brooklyn’s youth. Her family has been part of Dancewave for over ten years and her daughters currently dance in DC company and ACE. Her professional background includes work in public health research and grant-writing at Columbia University and the New York Academy of Medicine, adjunct professor in public policy at New York University, and project management and sales support at Thinkmap (a data visualization software company). She is currently Director of Development at Beam Center in Brooklyn and is co-chair of Forth on Fourth Avenue, a committee of the Park Slope Civic Council. She serves on the Dancewave Board on the Development and Capital Campaign Committees, and has been Gala Chair/Co-Chair in 2015 and 2016. Grace has her B.A. from New College in Biology and Social Sciences and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University in Sociomedical Sciences (Political Science/Public Health).

Stacie Sherer has served as Vice President of Public Relations for Weight Watchers International, Inc. since 2012. In this role, she helps the company to fulfill its mission to inspire and guide healthier choices that transform lives through internal and external communications. Prior to joining Weight Watchers, Stacie was a Managing Director with leading global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller. Over her 15-year career with the agency, she advised clients across different industries on public relations, marketing communications, public affairs and issues management. Stacie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She has lived in Brooklyn since 2007 and moved to Prospect Heights in 2012. Stacie believes in the potential of the arts to unleash the full expression and potential of each individual, and was inspired to join the Dancewave Board after witnessing the energy and passion of the staff, supporters and students.

Grace Protos is the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau where she oversees a large part of the country. In her role, Grace designs and oversees the implementation of policy, research, projects and advocacy devoted exclusively to promoting the advancement of working women. She develops strong relationships with community-based organizations, federal, state and local government agencies and companies in order to work collaboratively on various initiatives related to women’s advancement in the labor force. As part of the management team, she is responsible for long and short-term planning of goals and the development of employees. Grace is an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work where she has taught courses on human resource management and board development. Before joining the Women’s Bureau, Grace was a senior vice president at MacKenzie Partners, Inc., a corporate advisory services firm, where she worked on corporate mergers, acquisitions and stakeholder identification and communications for clients who were Fortune 500 companies. Grace has a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.

Jessica Chalifoux holds a strong belief in the power of organizations big and small to positively impact people’s lives positively. In 2013, Jessica was inspired by Diane’s vision for Dancewave through volunteer brand strategy work with Taproot. As the Executive Director of Client Services for advertising agency Yard, Jessica consults with lifestyle brand clients to connect emotionally with their customers. Jessica has 19 years experience building brand and marketing campaigns for organizations such as Project (RED),, amfAR, Athleta, The Limited, Hawaiian Airlines, Shinsegae International, USA Today, AOL, Google, and more. Jessica lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her family, where her daughter is now a student at Dancewave.

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Upcoming Events

April 26:
Dancewave Gala 2017
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May 19-21:
Spring Season 2017
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Summer 2017:
Registration is open for Dancewave's Summer programs!
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Summer intensive and scholarship auditions begin on May 24. Register