Darcy's Academy of Dance and Performing Arts


Our staff of trained dance and performing arts professionals truly cares about every student, and makes sure each dancer is properly placed and is reaching their full potential. Take a few minutes to get acquainted with our amazing faculty!


  DARCY BAIA  •  Founder and Artistic Director
Darcy Baia

At the age of 2-years-old, Darcy Baia embarked on her lifetime career path in the world of dance by studying ballet with Madam Nina Sokolova in Larchmont, NY. After merely 3 years of study, her talent caught the attention of local producers, and by age 5 she was already under contract to perform in the Sound of Music in the role of "Little Gretel" at the Elmsford Dinner Theater.

By the time she was 6, Darcy was also studying at Firestone Studios in Bronxville, NY and touring the U.S. with the dance company at Mimi Kellerman’s Academy of Dance. A year later, she was receiving additional instruction under the direction of Rita Curry.

Continuing her studies through her adolescence, Darcy’s quest for excellence took her to France, where at age 15 she studied and performed in dance companies there and in Switzerland. Returning to the U.S., she received additional instruction under Robert Rayow.

As a featured dancer with Mr. Rayow’s Step In Time Dance Company, Darcy was tapped at age 19 to begin teaching other students. This was a turning point in her career, as Darcy realized that although she loved to perform, her true calling was to share her love of dance by instructing others.

After only two years as an instructor for Mr. Rayow, Darcy stepped out on her own and founded Darcy's Academy of Dance in 1993, where she continues to regularly teach classes in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, theatrical and more. As the organization's main choreographer, she is the creative driving force behind the Academy and Darcy's Dance Company, and has won countless awards for excellence in choreography.

To assist her in imparting the love of dance to the students in her Academy, Darcy has assembled a stellar team of instructors, including...

Mary Ellen Bruno

Mary Ellen Bruno began her professional training at the School of American Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. At the age of 17 she was asked to join the Milwaukee Ballet, and performed roles in "The Nutcracker," "Swan Lake" and "Copelia."

Before joining Darcy's Academy of Dance in 1996, she taught at the Ohman School of Ballet, the school for the New York Dance Theatre, based on Long Island. She also acted as the Ballet Mistress for the New York Dance Theatre's production of "The Nutcracker."

 BREANNE O'TOOLE   •  Darcy's Dance Crew Instructor (Hip Hop, Combo)
Breanne O'Toole

Breanne O'Toole is excited to be back at Darcy's Academy of Dance, where she acquired her foundation in dance, and won several national titles as a member of Darcy's competing team.

In addition to her studies at Darcy's Academy, she also trained at the American Academy of Ballet, Northern Westchester Center of the Arts (NWCA), Scarsdale Ballet, Gus Giordano's Jazz Dance World Congress, Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway. While attending University at Buffalo, Bre participated in the the BFA Dance Program and continued her training under Thomas Relabate, William Thomas, Karen Georger, Melanie Aceto, Lynn Kurdziel Formato and others, and also performed with the Zodiaque Dance Company for 5 seasons.

Upon graduating from college with high honors and a BFA, Breanne moved to New York City, where she currently holds a position with the McDonald/Selznick Associates (MSA) dance agency.

  KATIE DOUMA   •  Darcy's Dance Crew Instructor (Hip Hop, Mini-Crew, Combo, Hip Hop Crew)
Katie McHenry

Katie Douma started training at Darcy's Academy of Dance when it's doors opened in 1993. Katie spent ten years competing with Darcy's elite dance company, winning many regional and national titles throughout her career. 
While attending the State University of New York at Cortland from 2006-2010, Katie continued to teach ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop at Jill Reener's School of Dance and Performing Arts in Cortland, NY. Also during her time in Cortland, Katie was then captain of "Danceworks", Cortland's competitive hip hop dance team. 
In recent years, Katie has attained her masters degree in childhood special education, and is now enjoying her third year teaching at Todd Elementary School in the  Briarcliff Manor School District. While she has experience teaching forth and second grades, she is excited to move to third grade for the 2015-2016 school year.
Katie returned to Darcy's teaching staff in 2011. Along with teaching many different classes including tap, jazz and hip hop, Katie has taken multiple award-winning crews to competition and choreographs for the Elite dance company. 

Karissa Spinola   •  Hip-Hop, Combo Classes, Competition Teams, Preschool

Karissa has been a part of Darcy's Academy of Dance since she was 3 years old. She studied ballet, tap, hip hop, and lyrical for 14 years. Karissa competed on Darcy's elite dance company winning numerous national awards and titles throughout the years.

Once her years as a student finished Karissa found a new passion.  She has become one of Darcy's main teachers and choreographers since her graduation.  She has been teaching her own classes since 2012. Karissa's passion as led her excel as a teacher and choreographer.  She has won numerous choreography awards at competitions both with the elite team and her own competition teams.

Alexa Giannico                      Competition Teams, Lyrical

Alexa is a 2014 Dean College graduate who received her B.A in Dance from the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance. 

Throughout her education, she trained under the direction of Jill Silverman, Nailah Randall-Bellinger, Gregory King, Ricardo Foster Jr, Kelly Peters, Todd Shank, and others. She has studied dance since the age of four and is experienced in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, and Modern. Alexa has taken classes all over Westchester County and at Broadway Dance Center, Steps, and Alvin Ailey in Manhattan. 

Alexa has taken master classes from Ellenore Scott, JaQuel Knight, Mark Kanemura, Maria Torres, Theresa Howard, Jeff Shade, and Shondra Leigh. She has a love for choreographing and teaching dance and hopes to spread her passion and knowledge to all young dancers who are as eager to learn as she was.

Marcus Franklin                      Tap

This year Darcy's is very excited to introduce an amazing new teacher to our dance family.  Marcus has performed as a tap dancer at a myriad of hallowed venues including the The Paramount Theatre in Peekskill, NY, S.O.B’s in Manhattan, Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem, NY and a multitude of others. As a member of the Tap City Youth Ensemble, Marcus performed in over 30 different gala events for American Tap Dance Foundation (ATDF). His specialties in tap include improvisation, audience inclusion and music arrangement. As a teacher, Marcus has assisted as a teaching intern at all of the festivals he’s attended, as well as a technique/mechanics instructor at the Gwendolyn Bye Dance School in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Tap Festival, and the New York Tap Festival sponsored by the American Tap Dance Foundation (ATDF).  


Marcus studied and performed with Harlem School of The Arts and 
Tap City Youth Ensemble
.  He had teaching roles at the DC, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and St. Louis Tap Festivals
 and most recently the Newburgh Performing Arts Academy.

Alexis Racanello                   Musical Theater/Jazz, Modern, Tap

Alexis Racanello is thrilled to be back at Darcy’s Academy of Dance where she began her formal dance education as well as performed and competed for over 10 years.

Alexis went on to graduate from the the University at Buffalo with a BA in Dance and minors in Health and Wellness and Counseling.  While at the University at Buffalo, she was a member of Zodiaque Dance Ensemble. She performed and choreographed for Dancer’s Workshop and Digital Poetry and Dance, where she was also a soloist.  At Buffalo, Alexis trained under Thomas Ralabate, Melanie Aceto, Kerry Ring, and many others. 

Alexis has a love of choreographing and performing, as well as a true passion for teaching and spreading a love of movement and self-expression through dance!


Arielle Cruz                    Preschool, Combo Classes, Competition Team

Arielle began her dance training at Darcy’s Academy of Dance in 1996 at 3 years of age. She trained in all facets of dance including ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz, and hip-hop. She was an award winning member of Darcy's elite competing team for many years. Arielle won numerous title awards for her solos at a national level.

In 2005, in addition to her training at Darcy’s Academy, Arielle began studying ballet at the Scarsdale Ballet Studio, working with Diana White and Anastasia Edery. The following year, she began taking classes at Joffrey Ballet School. She was later invited into the Joffrey Ballet School Pre-Professional Program, which she attended for 2 years. She then attended the Margot Fonteyn Academy of Ballet in 2008.

Arielle has also received training at several ballet summer programs including Miami City Ballet, Boston Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. At ABT she performed in leading roles at both their Detroit and Bermuda locations.  Arielle began as a teacher at Darcy’s Academy of Dance in 2012. 



Brittany DeFreitas                  Contemporary/Lyrical

In 2004 at 5 years old, Brittany DeFreitas began her dance training at Darcy’s Academy of Dance. Since, she has trained in many genres of dance including Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, and Hip-Hop and been apart of Darcy’s Elite Company since 2006. Competing has enabled Brittany to attend competitions regionally and nationally receiving many awards & titles and allowed her to experience performance opportunities including benefits, at the Barclays Center, & in Walt Disney World. 

Along with training at Darcy’s, in 2014 Brittany began additionally studying at the French Academie of Ballet in NYC. She has been able to attend and experience numerous Summer intensives since the age of 12 including Manhattan Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Abby Lee Dance Company Booty Camp (x2), Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet (x2), Complexions Contemporary Ballet (winter & summer), NYSSSA School of Dance, and French Academie of Ballet (x5). Throughout these programs she has been able to develop in Ballet, Pointe, Pas De Duex, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Tap, Hip-Hop, Flamenco, Character, Pilates, Yoga, Dance Conditioning/Nutrition, & Dance History.

Brittany has an innate love for performing and story-telling and beginning to explore boundaries choreographically has furthered her passion immensely. She loves to work with young dancers and has been given the opportunity to train the newest additions to Company helping them achieve their first milestones. Brittany hopes to assist students in pushing past their own boundaries. 


Joe D'Addona                     Boys Hip Hop

At the age of four, Joe began his career at Darcy's Academy Of Dance. Immediately, he exemplified a passion for dance. He was asked to become a member of Darcy's Elite Company in 2009. As a member of the elite company he competed at regional and national dance competitions and received various awards.

Joe has performed at Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York for the Brooklyn Nets and also in Orlando Florida for Walt Disney World. Joseph continues his studies at Darcy's Academy and Broadway Dance Center in Manhattan.


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Email: Info@DarcysAcademyofDance.com