Annamaria Diamant (she/her)

Annamaria is an experienced dancer and educator with over 10 years of experience working in dance studios, NYC public schools, after-school programs and early childhood movement classes.

Annamaria Diamant (she/her)

Program Manager

Annamaria Diamant earned her BA in Theater Arts from the University of South Florida. Following graduation she performed with Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company as a dancer and choreographer. She’s had the opportunity to work with dance teams and young individuals from around the country as a dance instructor for MA Dance and the Capital One Bowl HalfTime Show. Annamaria loves to create; she’s produced and showcased her choreographic works throughout NYC.

In 2020 Annamaria graduated from Baruch College with a Masters in Arts Administration. Most recently, she served as the Children’s Program Manager for WR Arts where she helped implement after-school performing arts programming in NYC public schools and managed their Brooklyn studio. In early 2022 she joined Dancing Classrooms as a Teaching Artist before becoming a Program Manager.

Issac Lopez (he/they)

A lifelong dancer and theater artist, Issac is committed to promoting the transformative power of art by placing themself at the intersection of creativity and mental wellness.

Issac Lopez (he/they)

Operations Coordinator

Issac has worked in a myriad of roles supporting multiple nonprofits around New York City. Previous to their work with Dancing Classrooms, Issac worked with New York Project Hope to help the city focus on physical and mental wellbeing while coping with challenges brought on by COVID. Other notable collaborations include The Public Theater and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Along with their professional work, Issac centers their artistic work around mental wellness and community engagement. During the height of the pandemic they created Issac’s Masks, a charitable shop of hand-crafted face masks whose profits were donated to local activist organizations that supported the LGBTQ+ community and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Issac has a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. They studied acting and movement at Playwrights Horizons Theater School and the Experimental Theater Wing. When away from their computer, you can also find them growing their presence as an up-and-coming drag artist in NYC, under the persona Tella Novela.

Dance Day at the Farm

Dance Day at the Farm
Saturday, June 18, 2022 from 10am – 1pm
Free and open to all!

Dance into summer at this fun-filled, family-friendly day at the Queens County Farm Museum! Enjoy interactive dance workshops, student demonstrations, and special guest performances. Plus spend a beautiful day on the farm with hayrides, animals, a scavenger hunt, and more!

Madeline Bank (she/her)

Knowing that the study of dance changed the way she viewed the world, Madeline has always advocated for
equitable arts education and engagement.

Madeline Bank (she/her)

Development Manager

Before joining Dancing Classrooms, Madeline managed organizational collaborations at the New York City Department of Records and Information Services. She also created a robust volunteer program for the City Agency. This program enabled volunteers to virtually engage with several community projects that helped the public access all the resources offered by the Archives. Prior to her work at the Department of Records, Madeline managed the everyday operations of the Field Gallery, an art gallery on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She has also worked at several other cultural institutions, in both administrative and curatorial capacities. Madeline earned her Bachelors degree from Connecticut College with a double major in Art History and Dance. She also gained a pre-professional curatorial Museum Studies Certificate. Madeline started learning the art of dance at age three and continued her study throughout college with a focus on choreography.

Diana Pettersen (she/her)

A former Dancing Classrooms teaching artist, Diana is a dancer, educator of NYC youth, and founder of Sans Limites Dance company.

Diana Pettersen (she/her)

Associate Director of Curriculum & Professional Development

Diana Pettersen is a Queens, New York native. For over a decade she has served NYC youth as a dance educator, working with students in grades K-12 in after-school programs, in-school arts-in-education programs, and as a full-time dance teacher for students with social, emotional, and learning disabilities. Diana first joined Dancing Classrooms in 2011 as a Teaching Artist and was a member of the last cohort trained by founder Pierre Dulaine.

In 2011, Diana founded her own dance production company and served as the Artistic Director until 2019. In addition to producing her own choreographic works, she oversaw more thanover 12 dance productions that provided 150+ guest choreographers/companies and 400+ dancers with performance opportunities.

Diana’s formal dance training includes Ballet, Flamenco, Modern, Contemporary, Ballroom/Social dance forms, Laban Movement Studies, Pilobolus-style partnering, and Contact Improvisation. An avid dancer for all her life, she has also informally studied Latin(o/a/e/x) and Hip-Hop dance styles within familial and social contexts. Diana holds a B.A. in Dance and Theater (with a concentration in Dance Therapy and minor in Psychology) from Manhattanville College. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Dance Education at Hunter College.

Honoring Alumni Kevin Heredia

Celebrating the Life
of Alumni Kevin Heredia

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our Alumni Kevin Heredia, who was featured in Mad Hot Ballroom while attending P.S. 115 in Washington Heights. Among his artistic accomplishments, Kevin won Best Cinematography for his work on A Sorrowful Birthday at the Virgin Spring Cinefest in February 2021. We wish his family and friends healing and love. We’re honored to have shared our Ballroom journey with Kevin. He will forever remain in our hearts.

Pictured Top Left in Mad Hot Ballroom Image

Swing Uptown! A Celebration of Dancing Classrooms and the Roaring 2020s

Join us for a memorable swing dance masterclass with our senior teaching artists and swing pros, Akemi Kinukawa and Felix Pitre. Featuring live music by a six-piece collective of jazz phenoms, The Summer Camargo Swing Band!

Friday, January 28, 2022
7 – 8:30 pm


Virtual Ticket: $25 suggested donation
Streaming link will be shared via email.

LIMITED In-Person Livestream Ticket: $50 suggested donation
Prefer to dance in-person and have the special experience of being in the livestream? We will cap our in-person guests at 20 and Covid vaccination, masks, and social distancing will be strictly enforced.

A mid-winter night swing dance party that will be the cat’s meow and get you shaking and grooving, safely, to celebrate 2022.

ALL proceeds support our work in bringing the joy and power of dance (including swing!) to K-12 students in NYC and beyond. Make a donation and join the fun on January 28th!

Read about our Featured Guests and Covid Safety Protocols!

Swing Uptown Event Host Committee: 

Carrie Shea Steinmetz, Chair

Patrice Tanaka, Vice Chair

Harry Chung, Treasurer

Hilary Wolf Bayer

John J. Entwistle

Sheila A. Hoerle

Tyrone Bazelaire

Patricia Koyce

Slava Takhalov

Lu Mejia (she/her)

Lu Mejia (she/her) is a bilingual, professional dancer, content editor, writer and photographer from Bogotá, Colombia based in New York City, who is looking to make an impact and direct change through arts, culture and and community spaces.

Lu Mejia (she/her)

Communications & Content Coordinator

Lu Mejia (she/her) is a bilingual, professional dancer, content editor, writer and photographer from Bogotá, Colombia based in New York City. She is a 2021 honors graduate from Eugene Lang College at The New School with a BA in Culture and Media and a minor in Journalism+Design who is looking to make an impact and direct change through art, culture and emerging community spaces.

Lu Mejia is currently the Communications Coordinator at “Dancing Classrooms NYC” and the youth department at “Broadway Dance Center”. She is also part of the creative team that launched the new online-tutorial platform, “adpt’95“.

In the past, she has worked closely with New York City based New Opera-Theatre and Music-Theatre producer, “Beth Morrison Projects” as their Marketing Assistant, with the tri-lingual business magazine “Latin Trade” as content editor, and with the NYC based arts platform “The Artists Forum” as their Video and Graphics intern.

As a journalist, she has published written and visual work in Dancegeist magazine and WeTheKnow, and as a dancer Lu is part of the contemporary-fusion dance company: “The Catastrophe!” directed by Cat Cogliandro.

Follow her journey on instagram through @lu_mejiaa and @lumejia.jpg

Akemi Kinukawa (she/her)

Watch to learn more about Ms. Akemi:

Akemi Kinukawa (she/her)

Senior Teaching Artist

Akemi Kinukawa began working for Dancing Classrooms in 2011 and by the end of the year was nominated “Rookie of the Year.” She is originally from Japan where she didn’t have any chance to explore the art of social dancing. It was when she was welcomed into the Lindy Hop dance community in Washington, D.C. that her life changed dramatically. For this reason, she is passionate about sharing social dancing with children. She also works as a Lindy Hop choreographer and instructor. Her work, from dance pieces to dance theater, champions Lindy Hop’s spirit by educating on its history and cultural context, furthering the legacy of inclusivity. Highlights of her career include performing at the opening night of Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing in 2017 as well as performing with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in 2016.

Dance Break!