President & CEO
Ms. Nowakowski has been involved with CityDance since its founding in 1996 and was appointed Executive Director in 2005. She began as a dancer in CityDance’s professional company and served as an adviser until formally joining the organization’s administrative staff as Business Director in 2002. Prior to 2002, Ms. Nowakowski spent 10 years as a technology and online product development professional serving as an Operations Manager at UUNet/WorldCom and then Vice President of Online Services at MarketResearch.com. Ms. Nowakowski brings her extensive business background to her leadership role with expertise in finance, software and web development, marketing and management. This breadth of skills, combined with an intimate knowledge of dance, guides her work with the CityDance board and ensures the organization’s artistic, educational and programmatic goals are supported by a viable strategic and operational plan. Ms. Nowakowski has spearheaded a remarkable transformation of CityDance, growing the organization’s budget from $150,000 in 2002 to over $3 million today. Under her leadership, CityDance has developed a strong and solvent infrastructure and ambitiously established three thriving, award-winning programmatic arms, including one of the region’s most prestigious centers for pre-professional dance training located at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD. During Ms. Nowakowski’s tenure, CityDance has won the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist, Innovation in the Arts, Excellence in an Artistic Discipline and Outstanding Achievement in Arts Education. In 2015, CityDance DREAM was a recipient of the prestigious President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.
Dedicated to the DC community, Ms. Nowakowski has been an active voice for the arts and arts education in the District, serving on numerous arts education panels. She has also been an outspoken advocate of the city’s out-of-school-time programming, testifying at several hearings on behalf of funding for DC youth. In 2012, Ms. Nowakowski was invited to sit on Mayor Gray’s Economic Transition Team’s Sub Committee on the Creative Economy, which informed the Mayor’s platform and resulted in his 100-page document entitled the Creative Economy Strategy for the District of Columbia.
With over 15 years working and living in Washington, DC, Ms. Nowakowski has successfully built numerous strategic partnerships to advance CityDance’s goals and enrich the city’s cultural ecosystem. Ms. Nowakowski obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from the College of William and Mary.
Lorraine Audeoud Spiegler
Artistic Director, School & Conservatory
Founding Director, DREAM
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Organizational Development
Ms. DiLeo began her work with CityDance in the summer of 2008, when she relocated from New York to Washington, DC to deepen her professional work in the field of performing arts. Since that time, she has been a Senior Teaching Faculty member for two programatic arms of the organization: CityDance DREAM and the CityDance School at Strathmore. Ms. DiLeo has also served in various internal administrative roles including DREAM Program Manager and presently as the Director of Organizational Development.
In 2016, Rachel was the recipient of the prestigious Segal-Seashore Fellowship Award, which recognizes students with special potential for the field of organization development. Rachel's strength as a consultant is her ability to bring together theory and practice in ways which empower people to navigate transition in their specific context. With a Bachelors Degree in Dance (University of North Carolina-Greensboro) and a Masters Degree in Organizational Development (American University), she combines her dance training background with human development theories to optimize program experience and outcomes. In addition, Ms. DiLeo applies her expertise in behavioral science models and theories to optimize organizational effectiveness, productivity and quality of work life.
In addition to her internal capacity building work for CityDance, Rachel is a part of the Institute for Youth Development (an office under the DC Deputy Mayor of Education) Training Corps. This group of selected individuals serve as capacity building specialists for local non-profits and youth workers. As a member of this training group, Rachel uses her expertise and background in Advancing Youth Development (AYD) and her Training Certificate from the Weikert Center for Youth Program Quality to empower other organizations to have more effective programming tied to youth needs and increase youth engagement in programs throughout Washington, DC.
Both in her own life and through her professional work, Rachel has experienced and witnessed the transformative power of dance. She believes that dance has the power to catalyze the development of an individual's physical, social-emotional and cognitive intelligence as well as the power to unite communities and people of diverse backgrounds. Rachel is proud to be a part CityDance, an organization in pursuit of equity, access and excellence and where the power of dance is leveraged in this pursuit everyday.
Marketing and Development
Larkin brings to CityDance nearly 20 years of development experience. She started as a volunteer with the Millburn-Short Hills Education Foundation where she worked on the the annual gala for 10 years. In 2010 she joined St. Philip's Academy's development team as their Special Events Director and Stewardship Coordinator. St. Philip's offered a private school education for children in Newark, NJ-tuition free. In 2014, St. Philip's converted to a charter school and the development office spun off to form a "friends of" organization. Larkin joined Philip's Education Partners (PEP) and took on the larger role as Associate Director of Advancement as the fundraising model changed and the school opened another location in Patterson, NJ.
Larkin moved to Washington DC in 2016 and joined the Washington Education and Tennis Foundation as their Special Events Director. WTEF raised 1.2 million dollars with it's annual Tennis Ball. The children in Ward 7 are given tennis instruction as well as academic support in a beautiful facility built by WTEF. Larkin then joined the Burke School as Assistant Director of Development-Special Events in 2017. She worked on their annual Auction for Finacial Aid.
She has a professional certificate from New York University in Meeting and Event Planning, did graduate work in Nonprofit Administration at Georgia State and has a bachelors degree from the University of Maryland. The work that is most important to her is giving children the opportunity to succeed by providing them with life skills like resiliency, self discipline, belief in themselves and sense of belonging.
Sarah J. Ewing
Grants Manager and Technology Specialist
Sarah J. Ewing is an Australian-born dancer and choreographer, a CityDance Ignite Artist and the Director of S. J. Ewing & Dancers. She has received extensive support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities through multiple Artist Fellowship and Project Grants, as well as Arts Grants from The Capitol Hill Community Foundation. She has been awarded the Local Dance Commissioning Project grant from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a Dance Metro DC Dance Connect Commission Grant and was selected for CulturalDC’s Mead Theater Lab and Storefronts projects.
Her company, S. J. Ewing & Dancers, has presented throughout DC at The Kennedy Center, Dupont Underground, Dance Place, Atlas Performing Arts Center and in site-specific installations at Bread for the City, 2M Apartment Building, Flash nightclub and The Warehouse. The Company has toured across the United States to Green Space (NYC), Boston Contemporary Dance Festival (MA), White Wave Dance Festival (NYC), Ailey Citigroup Theater (NYC), Your Move JC (NJ), Dance Gallery Festival (TX), CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore (MD) and twice to the Detroit City Dance Festival (MI). In the 2018-2019 season, the company will have residencies in Michigan at Cranbrook School and Lightbox Theater. Internationally, they have presented at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art & Culture (Paris, France).
Senior External Relations Manager and Faculty, POP!
Studio Director, CityDance POP!
Co-Director, CityDance DREAM
Managing Director, CityDance School
Asanga Domask is a performer, teacher, choreographer and the founder and Artistic Director of SerendibDance, a Sri Lankan traditional and folk dance company in the Washington, DC area. The mission of SerendibDance Company is to serve a fundamental role in preserving the sacred and endangered art of traditional Sri Lankan dance through training, education and performance. Growing up in Sri Lanka, Domask devoted her childhood to studying the art of traditional Sri Lankan dance, Kandyan and Low Country, under prominent dance masters. In 1993, she performed her Ves Mangalya in Kandyan dance – a high achievement in the field of dance and has won many national solo and group dance awards in Sri Lanka. Domask received her Bachelors in Economics, worked at the World Wildlife Fund, and later earned her Masters in Dance from the American University with a thesis on Sri Lankan traditional dance preservation. Domask has choreographed and performed extensively in local and international venues, including at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Sri Lankan Embassy events, the US State Department, The Music Center at Strathmore, Astana Ballet in Kazakhstan, VelocityDC Dance Festival, Dance Place, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Intersections and the American Performing Arts Presenters in NYC, among others. In 2010, Domask established the Sri Lankan Traditional and Folk Dance Program at CityDance at Strathmore and has directed and choreographed concerts since then to help preserve the heritage of Sri Lanka. Domask is an Ignite Artist at CityDance and is a recipient of the prestigious 2015 and 2013 Individual Artist & Scholars Award from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and 2014 Individual Artist Award in Dance: Choreography from the Maryland State Arts Council.
Senior Manager, CityDance Conservatory
With more than 10 years of experience in the performing arts industry and dance education, Irina brings her experience and passion for dance and education to CityDance. She has two masters degrees, one in Project Management from Moscow University, and one in Leadership in the Arts and Entertainment Industries from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). An excellent organizer, she is a member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and CID Unesco and has been a consultant for dance companies and ballet competitions.
Her personal dance background includes being a professional ballerina, touring nationally and internationally with State Opera and Ballet Theatre and teaching both world dance and ballet of all levels by Vaganova method. She has previously worked as Education Program Director at Brighton Ballet Theater/the American School of Russian Ballet in New York. Irina was born in Siberia, Russia, and she is representing the Sakha Diaspora in America by promoting Siberian indigenous culture and world dances.
The arts have always been at the core of Irina’s life, and her array of experiences live in her approach to performing arts including producing, presenting and educating.
Ballet Master, CityDance Conservatory
Stanislav Issaev studied at the Perm Dance Academy in Russia, and upon graduation, joined the Moscow State Ballet Theatre (Moscow Classical Ballet) as a principal dancer.
In 1980, Issaev was awarded the Gold Medal in the National Soviet Ballet Competition in Moscow and soon after won the Gold Medal and the Award for Extraordinary Technical Skills at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, the world's most prestigious ballet competition at the time. In 1983, Issaev was presented with the title of Distinguished Artist of Russia, and seven years later, he was awarded with the title of People's Artist of Russia, the highest artistic honor in the nation. In 1984, he was awarded the Nijinsky Prize by the Paris Academy of Dance, which recognized him as "the most distinguished dancer in the world." This is an award that was also given to Alexey Ratmansky, Jiri Kylian, Sylvie Guillem, Pina Bausch, John Neuemeir and Trisha Brown.
During the two decades of his performing career, Stanislav partnered many famous and highly respected ballerinas including Ekaterina Maximova, the Prima Ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre. Stanislav Issaev appeared in more than 40 countries around the world and was a leading dancer in special galas throughout America, Canada and Spain. In 1990, he was invited to join the Atlanta Ballet as a principal dancer. Issaev’s teaching career began with coaching for the Moscow State Ballet Theatre, and while dancing with the Atlanta Ballet, he was invited to be a guest teacher for Columbia Classical Ballet. In 1996 he became Director of the USC Dance Conservatory and Associate Director of USC Dance in South Carolina. From 1999 Issaev served as the Chair and Artistic Director of the Dance Program of the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities of South Carolina. In 2015 Mr. Issaev moved to the Washington, DC area to work with the Kirov Academy of Ballet as a Master Teacher/Choreographer.
In 2017 Stanislav Issaev joined CityDance as Ballet Master of its Conservatory.
Over the past fifteen years, students that Issaev trained have won and placed in leading national and international ballet competitions in Jackson (MS), New York (NY), Helsinki (Finland), Rome (Italy), Prague (Czech Republic) and Seoul (Republic of Korea). Students of Mr. Issaev have also gone on to dance professionally with leading ballet companies, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Cuban National Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theatre (Russia), The Royal Danish Ballet and many others.
Ballet Master Emeritus, CityDance Conservatory
Anatoli Kucheruk was born in the Ukraine and studied dance throughout Eastern Europe. He was educated at the Ballet Academy in Kiev, Ukraine and the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. He graduated with a Ballet Soloist Diploma and soon began touring all over the world. In 1986, Anatoli was invited for a special appearance with The Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet. Anatoli has performed and worked with the Los Angeles Ballet, Ballet West, the Russian Ballet Institute, Murray Ballet Center, La Jolla Festival Dance Center, the State of Alabama Ballet, the Ventura Ballet of California, Birmingham Southern College Spring Dance Concert and the Kirov Academy of Ballet. During his tenure at Kirov (1994-2010), Anatoli trained many male and female dancers who have gone forward to win awards and enjoy professional ballet careers. Some include Chase O’Connell, principal dancer at Ballet West, Mathias Dingman, principal dancer at Birmingham Royal Ballet and Constantine Allen, principal dancer at Stuttgart Ballet. Anatoli trained three Gold medal winners at the Varna International Ballet Competition — Rasta Thomas, Mathias Dingman and Brooklyn Mack, and he himself won silver. Anatoli has received the award for best teacher at the New York International Ballet Competition and has trained dancers for competitions in Helsinki and Moscow.
Part-Time Rehearsal Assistant, CityDance Conservatory
Part-Time Rehearsal Assistant, CityDance Conservatory
Marie Renee McNair
Summer Camp Manager, Faculty, CityDance School & Conservatory
Marie Renee McNair began her ballet training at The Washington School of Ballet in Washington, DC under the tutelage of Lorraine Spiegler, Septime Webre, Victoria Leigh, Rebecca Wright and Rudolph Kharatian. She trained there for six years. Marie was a recipient of the Virginia Johnson Scholarship Award. Marie also attended intensives at The Rock School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance (San Francisco, California) and the Dance Theater of Harlem Residency Program (Washington, DC).
Marie received her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at The State University of New York Purchase College. She trained with Kazuko Hirabyashi, Megan Williams, Ted Kivit, Stephanie Tooman, Rosanna Seravalli, BettiJane Sills and Helen Pickett. She has choreographed for CityDance Conservatory, The Brooklyn Ballet's Counterpoint Festival and The Hoover Damn Collective (Brooklyn, New York).
Marie recently graduated from Dance ICONS Choreographic Institute with a certificate in choreography.
Along with teaching and choreographing for CityDance, Marie has worked as Costume Mistress and onsite summer camp manager as well. She started working in 2010 at the CityDance summer intensive and has set quite a few dances on the Conservatory and top level students. As a year-round faculty member, Marie teaches between 7 and 9 classes a year in ballet, modern and jazz.
Currently, Marie is also Head of the Dance Department at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC.
Zenas "Tobi" Okanlawon
Program Manager, Faculty, CityDance DREAM
Program Administrator, School
Robert J. Priore
Senior Teaching Faculty
Ms. Vakhromeeva’s ballet career began in the world famous Vaganova Ballet Academy, where she received her MFA of Ballet Artist. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She toured throughout the world as a soloist and Principal dancer with the Moscow Ballet Company, Festival Ballet, International Ballet Company and Metropolitan Ballet.
Ms. Vakhromeeva danced principal roles in many ballets, including The Nutcracker, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, Paquita, Italian Caprichio, Flame of Paris, The Swan Lake, Corsaire, Cinderella, The Snow Maiden, The Blue Bird and many others.
As a Principal Guest Artist, Teacher and Choreographer, Ms. Vakhromeeva worked with Hamilton Ballet in Canada, International Ballet in Taiwan, Krassovska Ballet Jeuness and Galveston Ballet, where she staged La Bayadere, La Fille Mal Gardee, Napoli, Les Sylphides, Carmen, The Nutcracker, her own choreography, The Blue Bird, Solitude, Spring Verse, Glinka Waltze and others.
Her knowledge of the most current teaching methods and styles has produced many young dancers who have been accepted into some of the world’s greatest schools, including Bolshoi Ballet Academy and Vaganova Ballet Academy, Juilliard School, University of North Carolina School of the Arts and to professional ballet companies.
Sr. Manager, Special Projects CityDance School and Conservatory
Sr. Manager, Special Projects CityDance School and Conservatory
Operations and Administration
Front Desk Administrator
Administrative Assistant, CityDance Conservatory
CityDance School and Conservatory Registrar
Front Desk Administrator, CityDance School & Conservatory
Front Desk Administrator, CityDance School & Conservatory
Academic Services Manager, CityDance DREAM
In addition to her background in education, Janet has worked to establish community partnerships that have helped increase youth’s college and career readiness and personal development. Janet works diligently to provide the support needed to funnel collaborative visionary ideas for the merging of academic and arts education for youth with diverse background and life experiences.
POP! Administrative Assistant
DREAM Center Manager
Rian Matthews (MA, BA) is the Center Manager for the DREAM Center for Dance. A graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio in 2016, Rian earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Dance. Shortly after receiving her BA, she began pursuing a Master’s Degree in Communication Management at the George Washington University’s Columbian School of Arts and Sciences, which she received in May of 2018.
While actively pursuing her Master’s degree, Rian was introduced to the CityDance DREAM program and served as a member of its Youth Development Senior Dance Faculty for two years. Rian also serves as a member of the Leadership Team at Spirit Wings Dance Company & Studio, where she received formal training in the art of dance starting at the age of five. Her passion and dedication to impacting her community in positive and creative ways is a constant goal and driving force in her professional career.
Front Desk Manager, CityDance School & Conservatory