Board of Directors

Cynthia Newland

Vice President

MFA in Dance, Arizona State Universityz / BFA in Dance, George Mason University

Cynthia A. Newland, earned her MFA in Dance from Arizona State University, with an 
emphasis on choreography and performance and BFA in Dance from George Mason 
University, Fairfax, Virginia. 
Ms. Newland is the founding Director of Feet Speak Dance. Prior to her appointment at  Belhaven University as the Chair of Dance, Ms. 
Newland served as director for New Field Dance Theater, East Bay of San Francisco. For nearly three decades she has traveled nationally 
and internationally as a teacher, choreographer, and performer working with varied arts organizations and institutions such as Campus 
Crusade for Christ, Children of the World, International Christian Embassy, Intervarsity, Operation Mobilization International, International Christian Dance Fellowship, Youth With a Mission, Project Dance, Christians in Theater Arts, and in Korea, Dong Ah
 Institute of Media and Arts, Hang Yang ERICA University and FEBC. 
A portion of her work and artistic endeavors has been in the realm of inclusive dance where she has created numerous choreographed 
works for people with and without disabilities, which have been presented in the United States through VSA International and USA
 International Ballet Competition. 
She has received recognition as a recipient of the Higher Education Awards from the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education including
 the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Humanities Teacher Award by the Mississippi Humanities Council. At Belhaven University she
 has served on the Faculty Council and Education Advisory Council. She has served on the board and/or held membership with USA IBC
 (International Ballet Competition)Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education, ACDFA, Alabama Dance Council, CORD, Dance Camera West,
 NDEO, Performing Arts Medical Association and Screen Dance. Ms. Newland has also been a presenter for NASD’s Annual Conferences. 
She is honored to be in affiliation with YPAD supporting the work in advocacy for youth in dance and a board member of Ballet Hartford. 
Currently, as the founder of Alible3, she offers wellness education, teaches part time at Belhaven University, directs Feet Speak Dance and travels nationally and internationally providing dance training, presentations and choreography, as well as offering equipping tools for all 
ages on “Nourishing the Body, Soul and Spirit”. 

kris lucke


Banking Center Assistant at PeoplesBank

Kris began banking in 2018 as a teller in Rocky Hill. After being moved to Financial Services Representative in Simsbury, she worked strategically to onboard new customers to the branch. Over the years, she has truly enjoyed building the customer base by thorough follow-up and follow-through. She has continued her education in banking through PeoplesBank employee courses, finding self-education, research, and mentorship a regular part of her life. She has enjoyed working with non-profits by being involved in her daughter’s activities from sports to girl scouts. Volunteering her time to brainstorm new ideas and create unique fundraising events has helped these organizations thrive. Kris is a proud member of the community and seeks to do her part as a participating member in the West Hartford and Hartford area.

stephen pier


 Director of The Hartt School /  The Juilliard School / Royal Danish Ballet / José Limón Company / Hamburg Ballet

Stephen Pier has performed throughout the world with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, the José Limón Company and as a guest artist. His repertoire spans a vast range including the works of Petipa, Bournonville, Balanchine, Cranko, Kylian, Limón, and Neumeier. He created roles in original works for choreographers John Neumeier, Maurice Béjart, Kim Brandstrup, and Laura Dean earning critical acclaim as “ a dancer of tremendous taste and insight”“highly defined, a tour de force”, and “one of the most gifted dancers on the modern dance scene today.”

Mr Pier became internationally known as a teacher and coach of both Limón work and Ballet. He taught for the Royal Danish Ballet’s company and school while serving as ballet master and dancer from 1990 -1996 and was a full time faculty member of the Juilliard School from 1996-2010.

Pier was invited to teach for the Alvin Ailey School, Martha Graham Center, Regional Dance America, New York International Ballet Competition and for many notable companies in Europe, America and Asia including Company Wayne McGregor, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Introdans, Scapino Ballet, Philadanco and New National Theater Tokyo. His students have danced in companies around the world including, The Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Forsythe Company, Netherlands Dance Theater, Martha Graham Company, Lar Lubovitch, José Limón Dance Co., Mark Morris Dance Group, Doug Varone Dancers, Cullberg Ballet, Cedar Lake Ensemble, Alvin Ailey and Bat Sheva.


Ravenna Tucker Wagnon


Associate Professor of Dance / Masters of Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology
Pilates Certification, Body Arts and Science International (BASI) / Associate of The Royal Academy of Dance (ARAD) / Royal Ballet School Teachers’ Course for Professional Dancers (TCPD) / The Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing Diploma (CSTD)

As a dancer, Malaysian-born Ravenna Tucker, began dance training in Hong Kong then at the Royal Ballet Upper School in London. In
1978 she won the Adeline Genée Gold Medal Competition, and in 1979, the French Resolution Prize at the Prix de Lausanne. She joined The Royal Ballet in 1979, and was  named “Dancer of the Year” by Dance and Dancers magazine in 1984. On promotion to principal dancer in 1985 she danced the title roles in the Royal Ballet versions of the classics. In 1990, she joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet until 1996. Tucker has also performed with Singapore Dance Theatre, International Dance Day 2001 in Manila, Rose Borromeo Dance Company (Flamenco), Ecnad Project Ltd., Project Dance London (2011), the inaugural Mississippi Dance Festival (2012), in several Belhaven Community Dance Concerts, and with the Belhaven University Dance Ensemble in Erin Scheiwe Rockwell’s Threads of Resemblance (2010) and Liz Lerman’s Still Crossing (2018). 
Wagnon taught full-time at LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore for nine years, and has guest taught for Singapore Dance Theatre, Debra Colker Dance Company, the Mississippi Dance Festival, the Alabama Dance Festival, American College Dance Association 2013 and 2016, competitor classes of the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson in 2010 and 2014, Ballet Arkansas Summer Intensive, and for The Cecchetti Council of America Summer School 2019.
Wagnon has served as Secretary for the Dance Association (Singapore)/World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific Dance Bridge 2001 conference, Artistic Committee of Singapore Dance Theatre, and as Artistic Director of Singapore Dance Legacy: The Unsung Heroes – Tony Llacer in 2004. She has examined for the Royal Acadmey of Dance Solo Seal and judged various ballet competitions in Britain, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. She was a member of the selection committee in 2010 and an evaluator in 2014 and 2018 for the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. 
Wagnon is a certified teacher for the Royal Academy of Dance, the Commonwealth Society of Teachers’ of Dancing (Australia), Body Arts and Science International (BASI) Pilates, and holds a Masters of Creative Industries from Queensland University of Technology in Australia. She is currently a Professor of Dance at Belhaven University and is married to Stan Wagnon.

Tom Kassan


Doctor of Physical Therapy /  Bachelor of Arts in Political Science / Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist / Certified Orthopaedic Manual Therapist / ImPACT Trained Physical Therapist / RedCord Neurac Level 1 Practioner / Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist

Tom Kassan earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Connecticut in 2014. Since graduating, Tom has achieved specialized certifications in orthopedics, manual therapy, and trigger point dry needling to better serve a broader patient population. In May of 2019, he opened Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers of West Hartford taking on the role of Partner/Director.  In addition to this role, he currently serves as Chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Connecticut Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and has recently formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness (DEI) Committee within the same chapter to ensure more equal access to the profession. Tom believes that movement is the key to a happy and healthy life, and is passionate about helping people get back to what they enjoy most.

Tom prides himself in being a strong member of his community by supporting many groups within the health and wellness space. He is an active member of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce and sponsors local youth sports programs. When he is not working, Tom enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and dog. He is an avid skier, hiker, and rock climber, enjoys gardening, and considers himself an amateur bonsai enthusiast.


hannah bush


Company Manager Ballet Hartford / ABT Certified Pre-Primary – Level Three / Author of “Ballet Etiquette”

Hannah Bush began her serious training at Myers Ballet School and Northeast Ballet in Schenectady, NY. After graduating with a B.F.A in Dance Performance from Belhaven University, Hannah joined Ballet Theatre of Indiana as a founding company member. Hannah has performed and taught in the classical and commercial genre throughout Europe, China, Africa and Canada. She has worked administratively for Russian Ballet International and Joffrey Ballet. Hannah has completed a teacher training course through Bolshoi Ballet, Levels One through Three, and is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level Three of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Hannah Bush is also the author of Ballet Etiquette: A Primer for the Student.

Ballet Hartford Co. All Rights Reserved © 2018