Dance for All AGes
From Preschool to high school, adults and seniors
The Dance Center of Old Lyme offers a refreshing dance experience for students of all ages and abilities. Whether you dance for fun or fitness, or you are working toward a professional career in the performing arts, our experienced and dedicated faculty provide an excellent dance education in a fun, supportive and noncompetitive environment.
Meet Our Instructors
our reviews say it all…
Bethany Forcucci Haslam
Bethany Forcucci Haslam has extensive dance training in tap, jazz, ballet and lyrical dance, as well as musical theater. Bethany discovered dance at a young age, and enjoyed many years of performing and competing in a variety of dance styles in her hometown of Cheshire, Connecticut. Before opening The Dance Center of Old Lyme, Bethany choreographed Cheshire Youth Theater’s productions of The Wizard of Oz, Oliver!, Babes in Arms and Oklahoma!, and Cheshire Academy’s production of The King & I. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Communications at Boston College, Bethany continued to train, perform and choreograph as the Assistant Director of the Boston College Dance Ensemble. In 2006, Bethany earned her Juris Doctor degree, graduating magna cum laude, from the Quinnipiac University School of Law, where her scholarly journal article, Dancing Around the Issues of Choreography and Copyright, was published in the Quinnipiac Law Review. During law school, Bethany continued working as a dance instructor and choreographer, teaching tap, jazz and hip-hop to young students and choreographing dances for their annual recital performances.
More recently, Bethany had the pleasure of choreographing Carousel, Hello Dolly!, Curtains, Once Upon a Mattress, Anything Goes, High School Musical and The Addams Family for the Old Lyme Players at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, and performance medleys for Amped Up!, the high school’s show choir. Bethany also teaches adult tap classes at the Old Lyme Senior Center to an incredibly talented and enthusiastic group of dancers!
Bethany interned with Boston Ballet’s Marketing & Public Relations Department, and served as a Certified Judge for the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Program. She has also studied dance teaching techniques at the Teacher Training School of Dance Masters of America.
Bethany resides in Old Lyme with her husband, Jim, and two children, Cole and Julia. When she’s not dancing or spending time with her family, Bethany practices elder and estate planning law at the firm of Tobin, Carberry, O’Malley, Riley & Selinger PC in New London, Connecticut.
Contemporary, Jazz & Hip Hop
Allison Pearsall is currently dancing professionally with Dimensional Dance Company based in West Hartford, and she is delighted to be teaching at the Dance Center of Old Lyme! Previously, Ms. Pearsall was the Director of Dance at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington. Before moving to Connecticut, Allison lived in Washington D.C. while dancing with the ClancyWorks Dance Company and performing in theaters across the US and in London, England. She served as the Program Coordinator and Lead Teaching Artist for ClancyWorks while growing the company’s education programs in K-12 schools and universities. She also taught dance for Towson University Children’s Dance Division and Dance Place. Allison has had the pleasure of dancing at the Kennedy Center with VTDance and working with esteemed choreographers including Stephanie Powell, Linda Denise Fisher-Harrell, Nai-Ni Chen, Catherine Horta-Hayden, Dennis Price, and Sarah Fazio among others. She graduated summa cum laude from Towson University with a BFA in Dance Performance and Education and is certified to teach dance K-12. Allison lives in East Lyme with her husband, Andrew, and two kids, Addy & Owen.
Ballet, Pointe & ContemporarY
Born in California, Leyna Doran began her ballet training at the age of twelve at a local studio on scholarship. At fourteen, she was selected to be privately coached by Christina (Gibbs) Lyon, former dancer of American Ballet Theatre. Under Lyon’s tutelage, Doran attended American Ballet Theatre’s Detroit Summer Intensive (2006) and Kirov Academy of Ballet’s Summer Intensive (2008). A generous sponsorship to attend these intensives was provided by David Howard. In 2009, Doran was hired by the Crystal Cathedral to perform as a dancer in the Glory of Christmas productions. From 2010-2014, Doran received further training and dance education at Belhaven University. At Belhaven, she studied under the instruction of Laura Morton, Caleb Mitchell, and Ravenna Tucker. She represented the university at two American College Dance Associations (ACDA) and was awarded the Bezalel Award (2010) and the Daniel Award (2014). In 2012, she accompanied a group of Belhaven students and faculty to perform throughout South Korea. Upon graduating summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Fine Arts (2014), Doran worked as a company artist with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet. She began teaching at several ballet studios in the area alongside instructing ballet classes for different dance organizations at Yale University. In 2016, she began dancing for Vivid Ballet (Ballet Hartford) gaining opportunity to perform around the country. She performed choreography from Elizabeth McMillan, Silas Farley (New York City Ballet), Stephen Pier, Vincent Hardy (Complexions Contemporary Ballet), Steve Rooks (Martha Graham Dance Company), Michelle Thompson Ulrich (Ballet Austin), Caleb Mitchell (Houston Ballet), Miro Magliore, Victor Lozano (Julliard), and others. Most notably, Doran performed at the White House for an event held by the First Lady. In 2017, she was promoted to Principal Dancer and Ballet Mistress. Doran has been invited to teach at studios and summer intensives in PA, AL, CA, and CT. She continues to instruct and choreograph on a regular basis for dance schools in the Hartford area. In 2019, Doran became Artistic Director of Ballet Hartford and has eagerly carried the company forward with excellence and joy.
Ballet, Pointe & Contemporary
A Connecticut native, Stephanie Gagliardi began her formal training with the School of the Hartford Ballet at the age of 13. She has attended notable summer intensives such as Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Princeton Ballet. In 2004, she was awarded the Nora Orphanides Scholarship and was invited to study at the Princeton Ballet School for two years where she had the opportunity to perform with the American Repertory Ballet. Mrs. Gagliardi obtained her B.F.A. from the University of Hartford’s the Hartt School on merit scholarship where she graduated magna cum laude in 2011. While an undergraduate, she was invited to join the Hartt School’s Community Dance Division faculty in 2008. During this time she discovered a passion for teaching students of all ages, served as a college mentor, and worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford. She has also taught for Ekklesia School of Ballet, Eastern Connecticut Ballet, and Premiere Dance School. Mrs. Gagliardi was a Company Artist with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet from 2013-2017. A founding company member, she also operated as instructor, choreographer, rehearsal assistant, Director of Outreach. She performed in original works by choreographers such as Vincent Hardy, Steve Rooks, Caleb Mitchell, Elizabeth McMillan, and Elisa Schroth. In 2017, she danced with Arrows International ministering throughout the Philippines and Malaysia. Also a yoga instructor, Mrs. Gagliardi received her certification through West Hartford Yoga’s Teacher Training Program in 2018 and joined their staff in 2021. Stephanie is currently on faculty with Ballet Hartford, directed by Leyna Doran. She is thrilled to join the Dance Center of Old Lyme community sharing her passion for the art of dance!