Creativity and Community Through Dance

Who We Are

 Administrative Director, Helene Nilsen has been active in the dance community for thirty years, from modern dance classes in Denver, Colorado to classes with the Wolcott Ballet in its beginning in 1977. She was active on the board of the Wolcott Ballet and was instrumental in its transition to an integrative arts program called On the Rise. For the last ten years, Helene has taught creative movement to 4-7 year old children integrating dance with children’s creations of their own fairy tales set to classical music and accompanied with narration.

Helene believes that the arts are critical for the development of each child’s sense of his/her creative self. The arts afford children a grounding in self discipline and focus. She believes that dance as the artistic modality and the teacher-student relationship are the key elements for the developmental benefits to occur.

Helene is a psychotherapist with a Psy. D. in clinical psychology. She integrates the arts and the creative process in her practice, working with children, adolescents, and adults. She also works part time as an adjunct professor in the graduate clinical psychology program at St. Michael’s College. She has the firm commitment and belief that the instrument to enriching people’s development is in the relationships created between each other.

She is committed to the Ballet Wolcott mission of creativity and dance through the community connection.

 Artistic Director, Brandy Ofciarcik-Perez has been teaching dance for over 20 years.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in dance from Point Park College in Pittsburgh, PA. Before that, she studied with the esteemed faculty of the Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts and with the Chartiers Valley Arts Council Dance Company (later, The Carnegie Performing Arts Center) where she became well known for her performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy.  Her dance education has focused on ballet, but also includes jazz, tap, modern, folk, and historical dance.

Brandy's experiences took her to Frontiertown Western Theme Park in Maryland where she taught, created dances, and performed. Since moving to Vermont, she has been a member of the Vermont Dance Collective, taught at Johnson State College, and has collaborated with many local choreographers, teachers, and dance studios. As a member of the Vermont Dance Collective, she performed in schools and theaters all over Vermont as well as around the country. Since the beginning of Ballet Wolcott in 2007, Brandy has created original choreography for performances and community events as well as ballets:  The Secret Garden (2012), The Little Humpbacked Horse (2013), Peter Pan (2014), Alice in Wonderland (2015), Cinderella (2016) and Excerpts from the Nutcracker (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016).   Brandy currently directs the Ballet Wolcott Youth Company, a group of passionate young dancers who perform throughout the community.  At Ballet Wolcott, Brandy feels blessed to be able to share dance with an encouraging and supportive community and to watch the students grow and blossom within it.

 Avi Waring began dancing at the Wolcott Children’s Ballet at age 8 where she learned a love of movement and performing from June Gorton. She studied ballet and modern dance with the Vermont Junior Ballet Company and with the National Youth Ballet at Walnut Hill School in Natick, MA. She danced with the Newcomb Dance Company at Tulane University in New Orleans, and went on to study the wild and endless art of improvisation with Fawn and Arol Wulf and the Heretica Dance Company at Zendik Arts in West Virginia. She has performed with the Vermont Dance Collective, Moving Light Dance Company, the Montpelier Movement Collective and is a member of the newly relocated Double Vision Dance Company. Avi is excited to bring her love of dancing back to where it began for her.

 Analou Hathaway began pursuing her life of movement taking gymnastics, in Titusville, PA at age 4.  She was actively involved into her teenage years.  She then found her roots in music and theater, which opened her pathway to the performing arts.  This outlet led to experiences in acting, dancing, singing, choreographing, stage managing, as well as much backstage and behind the scenes work.  By the time Analou was 15, she began to study Cecchetti as a ballet technique.  Alongside ballet, she studied modern, jazz, lyrical and pointe under the direction of Alethea Bodine.  She was soon teaching the youngest ballet classes at Bodine’s Dance Conservatory.  At this point, she already had deep ties in working with children.  Analou went on to attend Clarion University where she was involved in their dance and theater programs.  When she moved to Vermont, she began clogging with Linda Wickenden of Hyde Park.  She was soon teaching creative movement classes with Wickenden’s Rim Rock Dancers.  In 2008 she met Ballet Wolcott and has enjoyed such classes as, West African Dance, Middle Eastern Belly Dance, and Ballet.  She has assisted Ballet Wolcott, by helping in classes and in the theater.  As of 2016 Analou was teaching creative movement classes alongside Helene Nilsen of Ballet Wolcott.  She also worked with Becca Johnson, teaching gymnastics in Johnson.  Analou’s life has embraced the arts and children, mostly through music, dance and theater.  She finds great joy in the many connections made through art!


 Celia DeVoe grew up studying at the American Theater Dance Workshop and Eglevsky Ballet on Long Island, NY. Beginning at a young age, she studied ballet, theater dance, musical theater, tap and eventually classical and post -modern techniques. Studying and dancing ballet was always a joy and challenge, but it was within the modern dance world that Ms. DeVoe truly found her voice and passion. She went on to study and graduate with a BA in Dance and minor in Education from Marymount Manhattan College. Following college, Ms. DeVoe performed in the tri state area with choreographers such as Andrea Gise, Julian Barnett, Yung-Li Chen, Ofelia Loret de Mola and Beth Jucovy. She worked on many multi media productions and site specific works, including SNAP, a dance film by Andrea Gise that has been internationally premiered at multiple dance film festivals since 2006. Ms. DeVoe moved to Colorado in 2012 to pursue her Masters Degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology at Naropa University. While exploring Laban Movement Analysis, non-verbal communication and the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Ms. DeVoe also had the pleasure of working as a Dance/Movement Therapist and Mental Health Counselor with hundreds of children and families at the Children's Hospital Colorado. Ms DeVoe's career as a performing artist and somatic educator has led to an expansion of skills which include certifications in Gyrotonic®, Gyrokinesis®, Reiki, Thai Massage and a License as a Somatic Therapist. Ms. DeVoe moved to Vermont in March of 2018 at which point she joined Ballet Vermont as a demi soloist and soloist for their Summer and Fall Productions, Farm to Ballet and Bee's and Friends. Ms. DeVoe is excited to both share her expertise and continue to grow as a teacher through her classes at Ballet Wolcott.


 Gianna began her Self-Realization journey in 2001 after a shoulder/hip injury. She could no longer train as a triathlete, so she started attending yoga classes. Within a week of practicing she noticed she felt better in her heart and mind. Within a month her joint injuries were healed (and in better alignment). Within six months she no longer was taking anti-depressants. Her new lifestyle had begun and it was time to learn how to help others. 

Gianna sought how to facilitate health through soft tissue adjustments, otherwise known as massage. She initially trained in sports massage and Thai Yoga Massage through Central Oregon Community College. Gianna graduated from Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Fall 2005. She mentored under Michael Harris in Oregon and Jamie Mitchell in Idaho. Gianna grew her teaching wings and traveled through out the Western US and Hawaii teaching the yoga that heals along the way. In 2008 Gianna came to Vermont to teach and help run a studio in Pittsfield. She was also led to train with Green Mountain Massage Institute, specializing in Reiki and Shen Touch. A year later, life brought her True Love and she knew it was time to follow her heart and travel away from her beloved Green Mountains.

Since Gianna’s new husband was in the Navy, she found herself in a town without a Hot Yoga studio. She instinctively knew it was time to dig deeper into her practice and find other modalities for healing. Gianna found that she was indeed her own inner teacher. She became a disciple of Rajashree Choudry, Bikram’s wife. Gianna also learned the balancing aspects for mind/body/spirit and thus became a certified Yoga Therapist. Gianna's talent and desire to learn more body/mind exercises led her to become a Comprehensive Pilates Physical Therapist certified through Polestar Pilates, a rehabilitation based Pilates Method Alliance recognized program.

Now Gianna and her young family have come back to Vermont. She is an advocate for health and wellbeing. Her teaching style is definitely to be experienced. She molds the discipline and focus of the original Hot Yoga style with the esoteric and energetic healing aspects of deep meditiation.

Gianna inspires students who are young and young at heart. Her teaching experience includes Bikram,  Core Power, Fit Kids Yoga, Guided Mediation, Emotion Freedom Therapy, Yoga meets Dance, National Dance Institiute, Mat Pilates, Peak Pilates, Polestar Pilates and Yoga Therapy.

Gianna not only is a talented yoga teacher, she is a gifted healer. She offers Integrative Healing Sessions which include Yoga, Pilates, Massage, Meditation and Nutrition. 


 Jennifer Wiley began her early training with Lorraine Peltonen and Flint Ballet Theater.  She graduated from Western Michigan University and was a member of University Ballet Theater, performing soloist and principal roles.  Jennifer was on the faculty at Young People’s Ballet in Flint for 15 years, teaching ballet and jazz, and creating original works for their spring concerts and other performances.  She directed the Dancscape youth dance program, served as Nutcracker rehearsal coach, and choreographed musicals at the Midland Center for the Arts.  She has coached students for dance competitions and was the ballet teacher for the Swartz Creek dance teams for several years.  Jennifer has studied with many wonderful teachers including Jacob Lascu, Margaret Marsh, and Jurgen Schneider.  As a member of the Cecchetti Council of America she is certified to teach the Cecchetti Method of ballet, traveling to Vermont every summer to coach teachers preparing for CCA certification.  Jennifer is currently on the faculty of Fenton Ballet Theatre and Bohatys School of Dance in Saginaw.

 Robert Royce began his ballet training at Greensboro Ballet in Greensboro, NC at the age of ten. He continued on to study at the North Carolina School of the Arts under numerous teachers including Gyula Pandi, Mellissa Hayden and Duncan Noble. During the summers away from NCSA, Mr. Royce attended summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet and School of American Ballet. At the age of sixteen Robert moved to New York to study under Richard Rapp and Stanley Williams at School of American Ballet.

After two years at the school, Mr. Royce joined the Cincinnati Ballet where he spent the next three seasons dancing in such works as Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, George Balanchine’s Four Temperaments and Jewels, along with numerous other pieces by various choreographers. Robert moved on to Dayton Ballet where he performed in the works of Christopher Fleming, Septime Weber and Christian Holder. After moving back south and dancing briefly for Augusta Ballet, Mr. Royce joined the Alabama Ballet under the directorship of Wes Chapman. During his time as a dancer for the company Rob performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Serenade, Roger Van Fleterens Dracula and Spring Waters Pas de Deux, as well as soloist roles in many other ballets including Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty and Coppelia. Mr. Royce spent a year as the ballet master for the company before moving on to work in the same capacity for Ballet Theater of Maryland and then as a dancer/ballet master for the newly formed BalletFleming in Philadelphia.

Since the age of twenty Robert has been teaching, choreographing on and coaching young dancers, teaching as a core staff member for Alabama Ballet School, Sanford College, Ballet Theater of Maryland and Philadelphia Ballet School. Robert has also taught master classes and guest taught at numerous different schools including Goucher College and Long Island Ballet Theater. For the past sixteen summers Mr. Royce has been a ballet master for Burklyn Ballet Theater. During this time he has choreographed a number of ballets including story ballets for the Edinburg Fringe Festival in Scotland. Robert, along with artistic director Joanne Whitehill, choreographed a Cinderella that received the 2001 Viewer’s Choice Award in the Scotsman and Robert’s The Little Mermaid received a four star review in 2011. Mr. Royce has coached professional dancers as well as students in a great deal of classical ballets including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Graduation Ball, along with creating over 20 original ballets of his own. 

 Jesse Tidquist started her ballet training at the age of 4 and her love of ballet ultimately led her to The Charleston Ballet in Charleston, West Virginia. While with The Charleston Ballet she performed in many ballets including Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, La Bayadere, and Christopher Fleming’s Play Ball!. She then joined Ballet Theatre of Maryland, performing soloist roles in ballets such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Swan Lake. She then moved to Philadelphia, training under Christopher Fleming and his newly formed company BalletFleming, performing in Janis and Joe Excerpts, The Myth and Madness of Edgar Allan Poe Excerpts, and Gaspar, a Pirate Fantasy. She spent one season dancing, teaching, and ballet mistressing for City Center Ballet in Lebanon, New Hampshire, performing as a Wili soloist in Giselle and as Dewdrop in Clara’s Dream: a Nutcracker Story.

She will be spending her fifth summer performing and teaching at Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Johnson, Vermont. While at Burklyn, she has performed many different roles including Good Girl and Pigtails in Graduation Ball, Medora in Le Corsaire, Swanilda in Coppélia, Swan Lake Pas de Trois, and soloist roles in contemporary works choreographed by Robert Mills of Oklahoma City Ballet, Matthew Keefe of Rockford Dance Company, Jared Mesa of Ruidoso Dance Ensemble, and freelance artist Robert Royce. She is now teaching pointe at Huntington Dance Theatre and Morgantown Dance Studio and freelance dancing, most recently performing with Greensboro Ballet in Balanchine’s Serenade as Russian corps and Robert Royce’s Dracula as Mina Harker.



 Michael Stone began his training at age 14 in Lewisville, TX, and quickly found his passion for ballet and contemporary work.  Michael recently graduated with his Bachelor’s on scholarship at Southern Methodist University. He has had the opportunity to train under several master teachers such as John Gardner, Amada McKerrow, Helen Starr, Alun Jones, Thom Clower, David Howard, Ethan Stiefel, Dylan Crossman, Daniel Ulbricht, and Gillian Murphy as well as with Jim Cooper, Joshua L. Peugh, Adam Hougland, Danny Buraczecki, Myra Woodruff and many more. He has has the opportunity to perform classical works like Giselle and A Midsummer's Night Dream as well as modern works such as Shapiro and Smith's To Have and To Hold and Paul Taylor's Mercuric Tidings. Through SMU, Michael was fortunate to travel to New York City to perform in the 70th Anniversary Jose Limón International Dance Festival as a soloist in the classic work There is a Time. He is also an Artist in Residence with North Central Ballet Theater, Festival Ballet Theater, and Collin County Ballet Theatre. Michael has begun teaching and choreographing his own works and looks forward to giving back to the next generation of dance.