DANCE IS FUN! It lifts the spirit, strengthens the body, and stimulates the mind
-Wayne Sleep


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Turning Pointe Dance Center Instructors

Julie Otani, Director

Julie is a graduate of Montclair State University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. She is also certified with the US Gymnastics Federation and a member of New Jersey Dance Teachers Association. Julie's studies include NJ School of Ballet, Broadway Dance Center and Dance Space. Through her extensive training and performance experience Julie has become a highly skilled, innovative teacher and choreographer. She enthusiastically shares her talent and knowledge with all TPDC students. Julie resides in Cranford with her husband and her 2 wonderful children.

Jude "Reggie" Cassion

Artistic Director, Choreographer, Dancer, Teacher
Jude, is an active dancer, choreographer, and teacher in New York City. His classes and choreography focus on musicality and performance, while capturing the emotion, rhythm, and lyrics of the music. Students should expect a fun and challenging class that enhances their performance with precision by fusing hip-hop, street jazz, and modern choreography. Classes will be an outlet to enhance your natural abilities.

Rachel Falis

Rachel is a graduate of Montclair State University where she received a BFA in Dance and a BA in English Education. While at MSU, she received extensive training in Ballet, Modern and Choreography and she performed works by Jose Limon, Alwin Nikolais, Alexander Beller and Lonne Morreton. Rachel is a founding member of moe-tion dance theater, a modern dance company based in NJ. Rachel teaches Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary and Musical Theater Dance. She is also certified in Pilates through the American Athletic Association/International Sports Medicine Association and has received training from STOTT Pilates. Rachel would like to thank her family for their continued love and support.

Meghan Gardner

Meghan has a passion for dance, which is evident in all aspects of her life.  She danced as a student at Turning Pointe for fifteen years, and has received her BFA in Dance from Montclair State University.  Her dance education ranges from ballet, pointe and jazz, to hip-hop, tap, and modern. She has performed pieces by choreographers such as Lori Katterhenry, Maxine Steinman, Robert Battle, Joao Carvalho, Jessica DiMaurio, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, the founder of Urban Bush Women. Her choreography was featured in the Montclair State University production Dance Collage 2010. Meghan has been on the teaching staff of Turning Pointe Dance Center for 11 years, and continues to challenge her students with exciting, technical, and inventive choreography. She is currently the director of the TPDC performance company.

Danielle Ivory

Danielle Ivory DeRuyter began her dance training in North Royalton, OH at Studio 82 Performing Arts Center.  In 1998 she moved to New York City to further her dance training at Marymount Manhattan College. Here she studied all styles of dance and earned a BFA in Dance with a minor in Education. Since then, Danielle has been fortunate to perform in numerous venues around the world,  from a principle role in the Off-Off Broadway musical There’s a Marquee, to the European and North American tours of Sesame Street Live!, to several industrial shows for L’Oreal just to name a few.   Danielle's greatest passion is teaching children the joy of dance! She has taught at The Ailey School, ABT’s Summer Intensive, Manhattan Movement Arts Center and Apple Seeds in New York City and numerous dance studios in the tri-state area.  She is excited to join the TPDC family! 

Alexa McCaffery

Alexa McCaffrey had developed a love for dance at a very early age. She began dancing at Turning Pointe Dance Center at the age of three and has continued ever since. Alexa has been trained in all genres of dance including, ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop and acro. She has trained with Master Ballet Instructor Thomas Hanner and has participated in dance workshops and various dance competitions. Alexa also took second place in a Dancers Inc. competition for a jazz senior solo. Alexa is a member of Turning Pointe’s dance company and has performed at local events with them. Along with her love for dance, she has participated in musical theater in different summer camp productions and also performed as Kim MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie.
With her technical dance training and musical theater background, Alexa is very eager to share her dedication, love of dance, and enthusiasm with her students.

Dylan Smith

Dylan graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in NYC with a BA in dance. Professional credits include: The Japan and North American tours of 42nd St., JUBILEE! at Ballys Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Holland America Cruise lines, Hershey Park, in addition to various regional theater work, industrials, television and film.
He is a national adjudicator and master instructor for talent competitions such as Dancers Inc. and Starpower. Dylan has taught and choreographed for countless studios across the US and his choreography has won numerous titles and high scores for his students.
A true artist, Dylan enjoys writing, photography, painting, designing his own costumes, and conceptualizing and creating works in all aspects of the dance world.
He is extremely excited to be part of the Turning Pointe Dance Center family!

Xander Weinman

Xander Weinman is a dancer for the legendary Brenda Bufalino’s “new” American Tap Dance Orchestra. He directs his own tap company, Sophisticated Sounds, and is on faculty at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. Xander has worked with So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Derick K. Grant, Cirque Du Soleil choreographer Jared Grimes and Emmy Award Winning choreographer Jason Samuels Smith, and has performed at Lincoln Center, The Apollo Theater, Symphony Space, B.B. King Blues Club and on “Sesame Street” and “The Today Show.”

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