Empire East at Dance Art Creative Center was conceived from a childhood dream of passing my appreciation for the arts to everyone I met. I imagined a place where nationality, religion and social status would be unimportant. Love of the arts is not about these things. I wanted a place where people could come together, not to compete, but to work as a family and find happiness in their common love of the arts. In 2005, we began to bring the DACC dream into reality. We transformed an empty space into over 5,000 colorful square feet, encompassing three dance studios with state-of-the-art sprung Marley floors, recording and art studios, changing rooms, designer bathrooms, and a comfortable waiting area complete with closed-circuit video access to the classes. Whether they are learning to stand in first position, acting a monologue, singing a song or painting a landscape, our goal is for our students to master technical skills and thrill audiences in live performances and exhibitions while learning lessons about the importance and value in being part of a greater whole. DACC will always remain committed to expanding the reach of dance, theater and graphic arts for all ages. Arts education empowers and defines self-esteem, discipline and creativity. We look forward to having you or your precious children join us as DACC continues to educate and inspire the joy of being alive! Thank you for making my dream possible.
Born in Brazil in 1964, I danced from the time I discovered my legs. At age 6, I began my formal training in all forms of dance. Since then my pursuit of excellence has taken me throughout South America as a performer and student. In the U.S. I studied at the Alvin Ailey School. At 17, I began work as a teacher at SOGIPA, the largest organization of dance, sports, and gymnastics in Brazil. My work there continued for 16 years and I became the head of the Dance Department, creating award winning choreography and producing one of the most well known Dance Festivals in Brazil, PREMIO SOGIPA PARA DANCA, drawing dancers from all over South America. Looking for new challenges I have made the U.S. my new home and hope to add something special to my great love, THE DANCE. Shortly after opening my dance studio I discovered something else that gives me great challenges and joy. Painting... I have been very fortunate to have had my paintings in several galleries in the USA and Brazil and in the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida.
Liz, who’s involvement in the arts spans over 3 decades, has studied with industry greats, such as, Dave Russel, Sheila Barker, Frank Hatchet and Germaine Salsberg. Lizzie is currently an Assistant Director/ Head Judge for Dancers Inc Competitions travelling throughout the country adjudicating young dancers. As a singer, Lizzie released a 12 inch single Titled, Not Gonna Be the One on Renegade Records. She also currently enjoys performing with various Wedding and Cover Bands. In Theatre, some of her favorite roles have been Miss. Hannigan in Annie and Anita in West Side Story. She has been awarded numerous choreography awards over the past twenty years. She has also choreographed several pre-professional musicals throughout NJ and enjoys teaching Master Classes throughout the country. Several of her students have gone on to perform on Broadway, at Radio City, in LA and can be seen on Glee. Lizzie is certified by both DMA and DEA, and in addition, works for the Passaic Public School System.
Jeff is one of the original cast members of "Phantom of the Opera" and the first American to play The Phantom on Broadway. He began his career in Harold Prince's revival of "Candide", played Perchik opposite Zero Mostel in the Broadway revival of "Fiddler On The Roof", and was directed by Carl Reiner in Gary Marshall's comedy "The Roast". A favorite role was Johnny Cantone the Sinatra-like crooner in "The 1940's Radio Hour, for which he received a Drama Desk nomination. Jeff spent a year in the Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s "Sunday In The Park With George". He then had the pleasure of playing George in the West Coast premiere of the show winning the San Francisco Theater Critics Circle award. Other Broadway credits include "On The Twentieth Century, Jule Stein's "One Night Stand", and Alan Jay Lerner's "Dance A Little Closer". During the run of "Phantom" Jeff took a leave to create the character of Marley’s Ghost in Alan Menken's musical version of "A Christmas Carol". Off Broadway he starred as the villain Barnaby in "Charlotte Sweet" and created the role of Sam in the hit musical "Personals". Jeff has appeared in concert with Leonard Bernstein and John Houseman, and performed in numerous Repertory Theaters around the country. On TV he played Peter Prescott on "Loving". He began to be known in Brazil on October 10, 1998 when, during the ceremony of his marriage to the ballerina Andréia Romana Simm, he sang the love song, El Dia Que Me Quieres to his bride. Because of the tremendous wave of publicity that was generated by Jeff and Andréia, TV coverage of their wedding was carried live and his singing was heard all over Brazil. Jeffs career as a singer in Brazil began. Since then he has toured Brazil with his “Phantom Band” in numerous concert tour appearances. Jeff now devotes most of his time to Dance Art Creative Center, the performing and visual art school he and his wife started. But he still finds the time to sing with symphony orchestras around the country. He has performed with Broadway star Judy Kaye and the Princeton Symphony, Arkansas Symphony, and Albany Symphony. He also makes an occasional guest appearance in the Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore hit comedy Youve Got Hate Mail. Several years ago Jeff was inducted into the Freehold High School Hall Of Fame, an honor he shares with Bruce Springsteen.