FACULTY

Amanda Watson
Amanda WatsonOwner & Director
I started Nickel City Dance & Fitness Center because I knew there were many former and aspiring adult dancers in WNY searching for a studio that catered to their needs.  I danced throughout my childhood and teen years (Michelle Merwin Dance Arts, Tonwanda Dance Arts, and Darlene Ceglia’s Dance Project) and found it incredibly hard to commit to a typical dance school while dealing with the many demands of adulthood.  I missed having dance in my life and I needed a place that offered flexibility with class levels that suited my background. Nickel City offers those former dancers, like myself, a place to reconnect with movement and dance in a stress free environment. There is no year end performance and no registration fees or contract. We offer a variety of drop-in dance and fitness classes year round, for beginner to advanced level dancers. It’s never too late to take up dancing, and I’m proud to teach Basic Beginner classes geared towards adults who have never danced.

I am a proud Graduate of the Dance Master’s of America Teachers’ Training program. DMA is an international organization which offers a multi-grade, multi-year program that provides both basic and advanced teaching techniques for current and would-be dance instructors.  Completion of the four-year program and examinations result in DMA certification in the dance education profession, where teachers are certified by test to teach.  It was an amazing experience and I had the opportunity to take class and learn from some of the best teachers in the country.

Along with a passion for dance, I’ve always been interested in health and fitness.  I received my Personal Training and Group Fitness certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) in 2008.  This passion for the fitness side of things led me to compete in Figure Competitions in the Spring and Fall of 2011. Always thirsty for more knowledge, I continue my fitness education by participating in local workshops and classes. This past November (2015) I became a licensed PiYo LIVE! instructor and have begun teaching this amazing format at the studio.

I am so excited to bring dance to the adult community in WNY! Exercise doesn’t have to be boring and feel like a chore.  The trick is to find something you love to do and look forward too. I hope to see you in on the dance floor soon!

Laura Chubineh
Laura ChubinehInstructor
Laura began her journey in dance in Connecticut at the age of 2 and a half. Although tap was her first love, she quickly developed a passion for many genres of dance such as ballet, jazz, modern and hip hop. Her enthusiasm for dance followed her to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. While at Skidmore, she studied modern and ballet under the direction of former Mark Morris, Martha Graham, American Ballet Theatre and Saratoga Ballet company members. She also participated in and choreographed for many student productions including those for Rithmos, Skidmore’s jazz and hip hop company, and Cabaret Troupe, Skidmore’s musical theater company. In her senior year, she received Departmental Honors for her Dance Capstone choreography, a 20 minute piece based on Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice in Wonderland. After graduating from Skidmore, she worked in Connecticut as a guest artist at Loomis Chaffee High School, choreographing 8 pieces during her 4 year tenure. Now in Buffalo, she is an enthusiastic member and choreographer for Converge Dance Company and a passionate teacher and student at Nickel City Dance and Fitness Center.
Timmy Goodman
Timmy Goodman Instructor
I took my first dance class at the age of 16 and immediately fell in love. It’s what I had spent my whole childhood looking for. After spending a year training I was accepted into the UB Dance Program. While there, I was a member of Zodiaque Dance Company, and served as dancer/choreographer for many other school related productions. In 2008 I graduated with a BFA in Dance and knew that teaching was the route I wanted to take. I currently teach at multiple studios in the Buffalo area and am delighted to return to Nickel City Dance!
Aimee Kinsley
Aimee KinsleyInstructor
I have been teaching dance and fitness in the Buffalo area since 2001.  I started my dance training at the age of 9 with Betty Rogers.  Through the years, I was fortunate to be trained by some of the best studios in the area, including Debonaire (Sam Fiorella), David DeMarie and finally Darlene Ceglia’s Dance Project. During my years dancing, I participated in many regional and national competitions, as well as several local performances.  After my time as a  competitive dancer, I began sharing my love of dance with other adults around Buffalo as an instructor. I have taught various levels of tap, jazz, and hip hop to dozens of amazing students of all ages.  My passion for dance eventually crossed over to a passion for fitness as well.  I currently hold certifications in personal training, various group fitness classes (including kickboxing, barbell, bootcamp and core training) as well as yoga.  I am excited to continue sharing my passion for dance and fitness with others.

Dance is for everybody.  I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.”  ~Alvin Ailey

Megan Rutkowski
Megan RutkowskiInstructor
Megan started dancing at the age of six at a local dance studio where she studied tap, jazz and ballet. She continued to pursue dance at the collegiate level, graduating from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in education in 2014. While training at UB Megan had the opportunity to study jazz, contemporary, ballet, tap, modern, contact improvisation and ballroom under the direction of Jeanne Fornarola. During her time at UB she also had the opportunity to study under Tom Ralabate, Tracy Navarro, Kerry Ring, Melanie Aceto, Joyce Miller Lichtenberger and Anne Burnidge. Megan also gained experiences through professional companies such as Doug Varone and Dancers, Taylor 2, River North Dance Chicago, Michelle Gibson, Duncan Cooper and local dance company Lehrer Dance. Megan’s performance experience includes Zodiaque Dance Ensemble, Amahl and the Night Visitors along with Amanda Watson, the Buffalo Infringement Festival, Artist and Models Showoff and was a member of the Melanie Aceto Dance Company.

Currently Megan is working towards her Masters degree in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling (DMT) at Antioch University New England. Recently Megan began working with Hospice of Buffalo in their Essential Care for Children program as a dance/movement therapy intern. Dance/movement therapy is a mental health counseling profession that uses movement as a mode of expression. Dance/movement therapy can benefit any person of any age or ability level. A DMT facilitates an individual to furthering their mind/body connection to foster greater coping and healing by supporting emotional, intellectual and physical expression. Megan’s clinical experience includes working with developmentally disabled individuals, children and caregivers as well as children who have experienced trauma. Megan is looking forward to growing the field of DMT in Western New York.

Megan’s experiences have allowed her to build a dance class perfect for adult dancers who are entering the studio after a long pause or no pause at all. She guides her dancers to artistic expression and proper technique through a supportive learning environment. Megan understands that each dancer that enters the studio is entering for a different reason and as a result maintaining a safe, fun and stimulating environment is always a top priority for her.

Megan has been a part of the NCD family since 2013!

Kristen Thomas
Kristen Thomas Instructor
Raised in the shadow of Buffalo’s Central Terminal, Kristen grew up honing her craft in tap, jazz, ballet and theater under the tutelage of many of Buffalo’s finest dance studios and instructors, including Eugenia’s, The Dance Workshop,and Clark Academy Dance Company.She has danced and performed in a number of musical revues and productions throughout Buffalo over the last twenty years. As a trained physician, yoga instructor, and DJ, Kristen believes we can find healing and joy in acknowledging our own personal rhythms found within the beating of our hearts and the movement of our breath. A passionate student of tap, Kristen continues to train in the Copasetic Cannon, and loves to share her enthusiasm for tapping with her students. Kristen’s motto is “It’s impossible to frown while you’re tapping,” and she is excited to welcome students of all levels for a bit of tap therapy at Nickel City Dance and Fitness.
Kayla Washburn
Kayla WashburnInstructor
Kayla Washburn originally from Amherst, danced and trained at Sherry Martin Dance since the age of 3. Kayla attended both Niagara County Community College & SUNY Cortland where she performed and choreographed for The Tanzen Dance Company & The Mone Dance Project. During her collegiate dance career, Kayla trained in a variety of styles such as Hip Hop, Modern, Contemporary and African Dance. During her participation with the Tanzen Dance Company, Kayla trained and performed with The Garth Fagan Dance Company, who is the founder and artistic director of The Lion King on Broadway. Since 2011, Kayla has had her own choreographed pieces performed at a variety of Art festivals during her Summers here in Buffalo such as Music is Art festival, The Peach festival, Taste of Buffalo, The Erie County Fair and the Niagara County Fair. Kayla is also currently working full time in Retail banking for Northwest Savings Bank. Kayla began teaching Hip Hop at the age of 15 at Sherry Martin Dance and is thrilled to be on staff at Nickel City Dance & Fitness!