Alyssa DiBrango

Modern, Jazz, Tap

Alyssa began dancing at a young age and has had opportunities to take classes in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and improv. She has participated in numerous competitions, conventions and workshops including New York City Dance Alliance, Co Dance, Tremaine, Starpower, Hall of Fame Dance Challenge and many others. Alyssa graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2012 with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Dance. While at SUNY Oneonta, she choreographed and performed with the Terpsichorean Dance Company and was also on the Oneonta State Dance Team. Alyssa was a part of the AHL's Utica Comets Dance Team, the Utica Comettes, for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. As a proud Dancenter alumna, she has choreographed high scoring, award winning routines for Dancenter of Utica's Competition Company and is also happy to be a part of Living Arts Movement. Alyssa feels she has a special connection with each and every one of her students and loves to live by the quote "when words fail Dance speaks."


Samantha DiPietro

Preschool, Primary, Ballet 

Samantha DiPietro grew up in New Hartford, NY and began dancing at the age of 3. Samantha danced with the Dance Academy and the Leatherstocking Ballet Company, under the direction of Ms. Jamie Sitera. At the Dance Academy she studied the Royal Academy of Dance Syllabuses. She was a member of the Leatherstocking Ballet Company for five seasons, performing in numerous Nutcrackers and Spring Ballets. Samantha continued her dance training at SUNY Potsdam where she majored in Childhood/Early Childhood Education and Dance. She is a NYS certified dance education teacher. At Potsdam she taught children pre-primary and beginning ballet and tap classes. While studying at SUNY Potsdam she performed and choreographed works for the student and senior choreographers' concerts. In March of 2014, her piece "Where Have All the Children Gone?" was performed at the American Colleges Dance Festival in Boston, MA. Samantha is presently a first grade teacher at Clinton Elementary School.


Mallory Miller

Ballet and jazz

An upstate New York native, Mallory is excited to have the opportunity to share her dance knowledge with the community. She has attended summer programs on scholarship at Joffrey Ballet NYC, Atlanta Ballet, and Indiana University. Her professional experience spans all styles of dance. Since graduating from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, her professional credits have included: dancer in “The Binge” movie choreographed by Travis Wall, Company Member/Soloist with Gainesville Ballet, captain and choreographer of the Utica Comettes Dance Team, performer for Foxy Entertainment Agency, and performer for Turning Stone Casino & Resort.


Jamie Payne

Preschool, Primary, Jazz

Jamie started dance at age 5. She grew up and studied dance locally at Step W/ Jodianne and Dancenter and has competed at state and national levels. Jamie enjoyed many years teaching at Dancenter previously from 2001 - 2007. She resides in Utica with her fiancé and their two children.


Ellen Smith

Jazz, hip-hop, preschool, primary, lyrical

Ellen’s passion for dance began at the age of two. She was exposed to a variety of dance styles, and competed with The Dance Studio in Fairmount. Ellen’s formal dance training was involved with the Movement Box in Lakeland, NY under the direction of Alissa Bachand and Katie Williams. She became a member of TMB’s company team for three years and was awarded with a solo scholarship in June 2013. Ellen participated in the West Genesee Dance Program, as well as other musical affiliations in Syracuse. Ellen has had the opportunity to take master classes with the Broadway Dance Company, from the opportunity of Caroline Brackett. Ellen has had a significant commitment of dance through the Syracuse Silver Knights, Syracuse Strong and The Syracuse Stallions Dance Team. Ellen has continued her passion for dance by teaching, while also achieving a dual bachelor’s degree in Nursing and Health Science.

Ellen’s work on her students, strives a focus on determination, self love and perseverance. Ellen engraves her teaching styles through technique, discipline and motivation. When Ellen is not focusing on school or teaching, she perseveres on her own health and fitness by the practice of yoga, mind-body balance, hiking and even zumba!


Sarah Yacco


Sarah Yacco has spent the 18 years of her life dancing. She has studied jazz, tap, lyrical, ballet, modern, hip-hop, and contemporary, tap being her favorite. In her senior year of dance she was voted Elite team dance captain by her teammates. After graduating from the studio in 2014, she began college at SUNY Polytechnic Institute where she will be graduating with my BA in Psychology in December. Her plan is to continue on with my education in Child Life.


Carrie Putrello, Director

Jazz & Ballet

Carrie has earned scholarships from prestigious schools including North Carolina School for the Arts, San Francisco Ballet School, and Ballet Aspen in Colorado. She danced professionally with the Santa Monica Dance Company for many years and was a showgirl in Osaka and Nagoya under the direction of Ben Lokey. Ms. Putrello received her education through the School of Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio and the University of Cincinnati. Ms. Putrello has been a guest teacher at Hamilton College, Munsun Williams Arts in Utica, NY and Absolute Dance in Auburn, NY. Carrie opened the DANCENTER in 1998 and has since created a quality dance school where students have fun and learn to become better dancers. Carrie has brought advanced jazz, lyrical and ballet. pieces to national competitions. Winning special awards in choreography, technique, intensity, precision and entertainment. Carrie is Marrone Photography's Annual Fashion Show's Director to benefit Ride for Missing Children and the original dance choreographer for the Comettes opening season for AHL's The Comets team.