Song & A Dance
Professional Instruction in the Arts
Get to know our staff
Ms. Ronnie Bertani is the heart behind S&D. Ms. Ron has worked with children her entire life even creating "summer camps" for kids, just a few years younger than she, since the age of ten. She saw a need in her community early on for a safe, non-competitive environment where children would be able to learn and flourish and later, created just that. She has fostered a genuine love for the arts in, not only her three boys, but an entire neighborhood for generations. She has used her keen business sense and intuitive personality to not only start the school we love, but also to help make S&D a success for nearly 40 years. She herself has studied piano and lived surrounded by music and dance for years but prides herself on being the friendly face behind the front desk. She is always welcoming and there to share with!
P.S. check her out front and center of our Rockette shot in the lobby!
Mr. Rick Lionarons is the soul behind S&D. As a true professional musician, businessman, and director of the music program, he recognized the genius of Ronnie's idea early on and brought to the table an innate ability to communicate and teach the arts. He always promotes community involvement, and gives of his time to local churches, community causes and charitable organizations. He has enjoyed much success in his musical career touring the world with his bands, playing professionally at weddings and other functions, and writing his own music. He specializes in playing jazz, rock, pop and spiritual music. He also prides himself on being musical director for several theater groups, including those at St. Mary's, St. Adalbert's and many more. He spends his days creating music teaching materials for the next generation of students, writing musical compositions, singing in the Brooklyn Diocesan Vicariate Choir and playing at St. Paul's Church in Corona. Above all, he has a knack for supplying the right teaching strategy to ensure that your child will learn properly. Rick thinks learning music should be fun and interesting and has mentored many of his students to success.
Ms. Susie Barry has been with S&D since she was two years old. She began dancing in our baby ballet classes and studied music with Mr. Rick. It was here she discovered her passion for the arts and has since gone on to earn four BA's in music, dance, psychology and English. She also proudly holds her MA in Education and loves to teach. She is skilled in a variety of instruments and types of classes including, but not limited to, musical theater, ballet, glee, kids choir, hip-hop, tap, piano, guitar, violin and vocal. She is a lifetime student of the arts & loves to perform whenever possible. She presently teaches music at local parochial schools, practices music therapy and teaches at S&D 7 days a week. She now wears the title of "School Manager" with pride and joy. Her personal motto is:
"life is like music, everyone must take responsibility for knowing their own part,
but when we all perform together and listen to one another we create something beautiful."
Mr. Larry Brown has been teaching drums in the rock and roll style for 15 years. He has performed, recorded, and toured with bands since 1975. In 1980 his band, April Dancer was signed to the Teen Beat record label. In 1985 he toured and recorded with the band Persian Gulf, signed by Raven Records. Larry is known by his peers as a NYC club scene veteran, and has over 1,000 performances with various bands in venues across the city.
Larry studied most notably with jazz legend Jim Chapin and at The Collective with Fred Klatz.
His students benefit from his knowledge of the rock genre and his ability to relate this to them in a clear and organized way.
Mr. Andru Cann has been teaching music at Song & A Dance for 17 years. He teaches piano, guitar, bass, drums, voice, and violin. He has a New York State teachers license and a Masters degree in music composition.
He works professionally, playing in jazz clubs, yoga schools, and has been the resident pianist/organist in the oldest and largest Baptist church in Manhattan for the past 20 years. He intuitively knows how to guide a student to excellence. His past work is featured in award winning movies, top forty singles, and is currently being played continuously on three radio stations in Brazil.
Mr. James Chan has worked at S&D for four years. He enjoys playing and teaching bass, electric/acoustic guitar, harmonica, drums and piano. He earned an Audio Technology Associate Degree at the SAE Institute of Technology as well as a degree from the First Design Institute, a Bachelors in Marketing and Tourism from HKU Space, and a Certificate from the Salesian English Secondary School in Hong Kong. His true passion resides upstairs however, in the recording studio. James has been a professional recording engineer for many years and is the proud Producer/Chief Audio Engineer of Hi-Shelf Records, located upstairs from S&D (www.hi-shelfstudios.com). His mastery at the sound dock would leave even a seasoned professional impressed.
Sensei Matthew Cleveland has been studying karate for 25 years. He began teaching 15 years ago. He proudly holds a black belt in Shotokan karate. He is also trained in Jiujitsu and Tae Kwon Do. He prides himself on passing on the virtues of discipline and training to his students and, while doing so, he always maintains a caring but authoritative persona in his classes.
Ms. Alanah Cuffe has been dancing and flipping at S&D since she was four years old. A graduate of the instrumental music program at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, she has come to have a love and appreciation for all things in the arts. She has assisted Ms. Susie with various dance classes and continues to assist Ms. Kristen with many of her acro classes since the age of eleven. Her love for all things dance and acro makes her a regular substitute teacher and familiar face in almost every class. She is beyond thrilled to be starting her own baby acrobatics class this fall.
Ms. Lori-Ann Fordunski has been dancing since she was three years old. She participated on the awarding-winning Moves and Motions, New York, competitive dance team for over ten years. She attended the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts where she majored in a pre-conservatory dance program. She graduated with an Arts endorsed diploma in 2012. Lori attended College at the University at Albany and graduated in 2016 with a Business degree in Management and Marketing. While at UAlbany she participated in an organization called Dance Council. She choreographed 14 dances and performed in approximately 45 pieces. Lori ran for the Executive Board of Dance Council during her junior year and was elected President. She ran the club as President during her senior year. Lori has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera House. Lori-Ann is so excited to be joining Song & A Dance as a dance instructor in the Fall. She can’t wait to share her love and passion for dance with kids.
Mr. Christopher Heinz is a New York native and has been a professional touring and session drummer for over fifteen years. A dedicated working musician, when he is not playing one of more than a dozen weekly gigs, he can be found in studio sessions throughout NYC. Christopher is also a staff member at New York’s prestigious Public Performing Arts School. Proficient in multiple styles and instruments, Christopher’s main focuses are Jazz, Rock and R&B. Among others he has worked with Norah Jones, Katharine McPhee, Miranda Lambert, Walking Shapes, The Wailers, Alabama and The Frail, as well as Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. In addition to his live work, he scores and performs music for television and film. His credits include MSNBC’s “Locked Up” series; Amnesty International’s documentary Women of Liberia; and MTV’s Sorority Life and Fraternity Life series.He has also been seen playing the part of a drummer on Law and Order’s Conviction.
Ms. Alexandra Joseph is a NYC certified dance educator and has been teaching in NYC public schools and dance studios since 2008. She graduated with her B.S in Dance Education from Hofstra University. Along with her college training she has also trained at Broadway Dance Center for Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Hip-hop, African and Latin dance. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree to continue to improve her craft and also running her own dance company. Alex loves working with children and sharing her passion for dance with them as they are
her biggest inspiration.
Ms. Kristen Kopec is a NYCDOE certified public school teacher. She enjoys working with children of all ages and seeing them learn and progress. She has been doing acrobatics since the age of 5 and teaching it for over
10 years now. She is a seasoned gymnast, having competed during her childhood, but overall loves the art of acrobatics. She prides herself on having created the contortion class at S&D, which is truly one of a kind!
Mr. Joseph Lionarons is a professional musician who specializes in instrumental instruction. In addition to playing guitar and keyboards professionally, he is also a composer and church organist. He can be a strict technician, but his patient and amenable demeanor make it easy for students of all skill levels to relate to him. When he isn't sitting at a keyboard or behind an upright bass, Joseph enjoys playing video games (that's right, guys!) and soccer.
Ms. Krista MacDonald has studied dance at S&D since she was 3 years old. She graduated from the dance program at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in 2012, as well as the speech pathology program at NYU. She is
now a full-time graduate student, works at a nearby pre-school as well as S&D and still finds time to intern. Her passion is to help students grow to reach their full potential. Whether through dance or speech therapy she puts her entire heart into her student's growth and always does so with a smile.
Ms. Amanda Malfitano has studied music since she was a child. She is an expert vocalist and has studied piano and guitar under Mr. Rick. She performs regularly at professional gigs as well as at her Church. She prides herself on understanding her students' passion for music and hopes to help all of her students succeed.
Mr. Hugh McNulty is a professional working musician specializing in guitar and voice. He has a sweet personality and a calm, relaxed persona in the classroom. This enables him to work well with all of his students, who range from the littlest beginners up to seasoned professionals. He performs every week for senior centers, is a loving husband, father and grandfather and is a motivated and caring teacher. Hugh is also very
happy to work with the man who started him in the music business, his long-time mentor and friend, Mr. Rick.
Ms. Courtney O'Reilly has been dancing and flipping for nearly 14 years. She has competed in various gymnastics competitions from a young age and all while studying acrobatics and dance at S&D. She has refined
her skills in all forms of dance but specializes in ballet and modern. She has been an asset as an assistant
teacher for many years but has recently started her own class, DanceTrix, fusing elements of dance and gymnastics. She was accepted to, and graduated from the dance program at LaGuardia HS. During high school
she discovered her true passion; she stopped competing and started teaching gymnastics freshman year and has been teaching ever since. She is now teaching and working towards her BA full-time.
Ms. Hailey Rama has been a student of the arts for most of her life. She has devoted herself, at an early age, to bringing the benefits and joy of music to everyone in every stage of life. Ms. Hailey is an accomplished musician who loves to play many instruments but excels at guitar, ukulele and vocal. She also loves to write her own songs and strives to share that skill with her students. In her "off-time" Ms. Hailey personally knows the
accomplishments of being a student athlete (and of course, a team-player) as well as serving as a valued
member of the community having proudly achieved a Gold Award as a girl scout for her work as a volunteer
music therapist and ambassador. Song and A Dance is proud to have Ms. Hailey join us as a teacher this year!
Ms. Emma Keegan has been a student at S&D for several years. She loves working with children both at S&D as an assistant teacher and camp counselor as well as outside of S&D. She has a love of the arts, particularly ballet, and practicing the ukulele in her off-time. Ms. Emma is very involved in community activities including but not limited to participating in girl scouts, mentoring teens, writing for her school newspaper and working as a junior council member. Ms. Emma joins our staff this year as the face of our front desk on the weekends.
Ms. Carly Barnes has been a student at S&D for TEN years having studied all types of dance, musical theater and music. She regularly assists every summer during summer camp as well as each and every weekend. Her expertise with the little ones is evident in the way the children love "Ms. Carly"! She is a friendly and recognizable face at every event S&D hosts as well as an integral part of the S&D family. You can catch her assisting Ms. Susie, stepping in as a substitute and working the front desk on the weekends.