MARY BETH BESLER, DIRECTOR

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Mary Beth BeslerMary Beth began dancing at the age of four and her love and enthusiasm for the art has grown ever since. She is formally trained in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical and hip hop. Throughout her years of training, she has taken master classes under renowned dancers and choreographers such as, Mia Michaels, tWitch, Mandy Moore, Savion Glover, Gus Giordano, Frank Hatchett and many others. She has won numerous awards at national dance competitions. Mary Beth also performed as a backup dancer in a Jessica Simpson concert in Syracuse, NY.

After graduating from high school, Mary Beth attended Siena College where she was a member of the Siena College Dance Team for four years and served as Captain of the Dance Team for her junior and senior year. During the same time, she studied ballet and modern at Skidmore College. Mary Beth continues to expand her dance education and teaching skills by regularly attending seminars and conventions with some of the most knowledgeable and talented people in the industry.  She is constantly looking for new and creative ideas to keep everyone who walks into The Dance Lab engaged and having fun.

Mary Beth has owned and operated The Dance Lab for the past 5 years and has been teaching dance for the last 18 years. Throughout those years her dancers have won many awards including placement and Entertainment Awards for her choreography. One of her former students recently performed on Broadway! She was also a consultant to the Head Coach of the Ice Mice Dance Team, which performed at AHL Hockey Games. Along with her dance training, Mary Beth was also a certified Zumba instructor for two years. She also continues to expand her knowledge of dance through continuing education courses.

The Dance Lab has been a life-long dream of Mary Beth’s and she is beyond excited to share her passion and knowledge of dance with her students!

Christine Benidt

Miss Chris developed a passion for dance and music at a very young age. As a young dancer, Miss Chris studied at various studios before finding her home in musical theater. She attended Ithaca College for theater and has remained very active in community theater through the years. As an adult dancer, she studied ballet at Phyllis Latins American Dance Center in Saratoga Springs as well as taking classes at other locations before studying with Mary Beth at The Dance Lab. Miss Chris is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and musical theater and has been honored to be sharing her knowledge and love of dance with students at the Dance Lab for the last four years. When not at The Dance Lab, Miss Chris owns and operates a family child care business. She brings with her many years of experience with children of all ages and recognizes the importance of introducing all children to the wonders and magic of movement and music!

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Jacqueline Dropkin

Christine Benidt

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Jacqueline Dropkin

Miss Chris developed a passion for dance and music at a very young age. As a young dancer, Miss Chris studied at various studios before finding her home in musical theater.  She attended Ithaca College for theater and has remained very active in community theater through the years.  As an adult dancer, she studied ballet at Phyllis Latins American Dance Center in Saratoga Springs as well as taking classes at JDC in Ballston Spa before studying with Mary Beth at The Dance Lab.  Miss Chris is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and musical theater and has been honored to be sharing her knowledge and love of dance with students at the Dance Lab for the last four years. When not at The Dance Lab, Miss Chris owns and operates a family child care business.  She brings with her many years of experience with children of all ages and recognizes the importance of introducing all children to the wonders and magic of movement and music!

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Jacqueline Dropkin

Brittany Collyer

Brittany Collyer began her dancing career at local area dance studios where she went on to compete at both regional and national levels. Following her high school graduation, she attended college at SUNY Oneonta.  While in college, Brittany participated in both the Terpsichorean Dance Company choreographing numerous tap numbers for their end of semester performances as well as the SUNY Oneonta Dance Team where she performed at basketball games and competed in regional level competitions.  She also continued to share her love of tap by becoming an instructor at Jillian’s Dance Arts in Oneonta.  Upon graduating from college, she continued to teach at local dance studios while attending nursing school.  She is now a full time RN in the ICU at Saratoga Hospital and loves to share the art of tap with all of the students at The Dance Lab!

Brittany Collyer

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Jacqueline Dropkin

Brittany Collyer began her dancing career at local area dance studios where she went on to compete at both regional and national levels. Following her high school graduation, she attended college at SUNY Oneonta.  While in college, Brittany participated in both the Terpsichorean Dance Company choreographing numerous tap numbers for their end of semester performances as well as the SUNY Oneonta Dance Team where she performed at basketball games and competed in regional level competitions.  She also continued to share her love of tap by becoming an instructor at Jillian’s Dance Arts in Oneonta.  Upon graduating from college, she continued to teach at local dance studios while attending nursing school.  She is now a full time RN in the ICU at Saratoga Hospital and loves to share the art of tap with all of the students at The Dance Lab!

Jacquelyn Dropkin

Jacquelyn “Jacqui”  Dropkin was born and raised in New York City, where she was classically trained in ballet from the age of 5 under the direction of Elfried Merman, former soloist with Ballet Russe. In high school, she also pursued training in various forms of modern dance and jazz. Before going to college, Jacquelyn was accepted into American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive, where she spent a month dancing in Texas. Jacquelyn continued her studies at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, where she graduated with a B.S. in Dance with a concentration in Dance Research Studies. While at Skidmore, she performed works by Robert Battle, Erika Pujič, Mary Harney, and Denise Limoli, as well as choreographed her own pieces.  Jacquelyn’s studies at Skidmore culminated in a final capstone that she presented in the form of a three part dance lesson plan for preschoolers. Jacquelyn is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. With the aim of sharing her love and knowledge of dance through teaching and choreographing, Jacquelyn hopes to continue to provide inclusive dance opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Jacqueline Dropkin

Jacquelyn Dropkin

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Jacqueline Dropkin

Jacquelyn “Jacqui”  Dropkin was born and raised in New York City, where she was classically trained in ballet from the age of 5 under the direction of Elfried Merman, former soloist with Ballet Russe. In high school, she also pursued training in various forms of modern dance and jazz. Before going to college, Jacquelyn was accepted into American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive, where she spent a month dancing in Texas. Jacquelyn continued her studies at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, where she graduated with a B.S. in Dance with a concentration in Dance Research Studies. While at Skidmore, she performed works by Robert Battle, Erika Pujič, Mary Harney, and Denise Limoli, as well as choreographed her own pieces.  Jacquelyn’s studies at Skidmore culminated in a final capstone that she presented in the form of a three part dance lesson plan for preschoolers. Jacquelyn is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. With the aim of sharing her love and knowledge of dance through teaching and choreographing, Jacquelyn hopes to continue to provide inclusive dance opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

Caitlin Goetz

Caitlin began dancing at the age of five at Chickee’s Dance World in Worcester, MA.  At the age of 10, she was asked to participate in her studio’s competition team and remained a member of the team for the next four years.  During that time she began training in pointe and fell in love with ballet.  Upon moving to Pennsylvania, Caitlin continued her training and began to focus on ballet.

During her college years, Caitlin attended Penn State where she was a member of Orchesis Dance Company – a modern dance company that focused on student choreography.  Caitlin choreographed in the student showcase three times.

After college, Caitlin taught ballet to students of all ages at a local studio in Idaho Falls before returning to Pennsylvania to attend law school.

Following law school, Caitlin moved to Saratoga Springs and began looking for a dance studio.  By chance, she saw a sign for a new dance studio opening just around the corner from her house and decided to check it out.  Caitlin realized The Dance Lab was a perfect fit and has been an amazing dance home since, allowing her to continue sharing her love for dance.

Caitlin Goetz

Caitlin began dancing at the age of five at Chickee’s Dance World in Worcester, MA.  At the age of 10, she was asked to participate in her studio’s competition team and remained a member of the team for the next four years.  During that time she began training in pointe and fell in love with ballet.  Upon moving to Pennsylvania, Caitlin continued her training and began to focus on ballet.

During her college years, Caitlin attended Penn State where she was a member of Orchesis Dance Company – a modern dance company that focused on student choreography.  Caitlin choreographed in the student showcase three times.

After college, Caitlin taught ballet to students of all ages at a local studio in Idaho Falls before returning to Pennsylvania to attend law school.

Following law school, Caitlin moved to Saratoga Springs and began looking for a dance studio.  By chance, she saw a sign for a new dance studio opening just around the corner from her house and decided to check it out.  Caitlin realized The Dance Lab was a perfect fit and has been an amazing dance home since, allowing her to continue sharing her love for dance.

Heather Hay

Heather has been dancing since she was four years old and danced competitively from age 10 to just this past year, earning many top-ranking awards from regional and national dance competitions. She has trained in the styles of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, pointe, and lyrical and attended many dance camps and trainings in order to strengthen her technique and knowledge in these styles. She began teaching dance as a teacher’s assistant at age 12 and later took on solo dancers in choreographing for national dance competitions. She has experience with teaching ages 3-adult. After high school, she attended SUNY Oneonta where she received a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Pre-Occupational Therapy and a minor in Art. While at college she continued dancing as she was able to be a part of the Oneonta State Dance Team and the Terpsichorean Dance Company. She was chosen by the student board of the Terpsichorean Dance Company to choreograph for four semesters out of her eight semesters with this company, in the styles of jazz, contemporary, and hip hop. She also continued her education of dance by taking Modern and Jazz academic dance classes while at school. Heather has dreamed of being a dance teacher since she was little and is so thankful and excited for this experience!

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Heather Hay

Heather Hay

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Heather Hay

Heather has been dancing since she was four years old and danced competitively from age 10 to just this past year, earning many top-ranking awards from regional and national dance competitions. She has trained in the styles of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, pointe, and lyrical and attended many dance camps and trainings in order to strengthen her technique and knowledge in these styles. She began teaching dance as a teacher’s assistant at age 12 and later took on solo dancers in choreographing for national dance competitions. She has experience with teaching ages 3-adult. After high school, she attended SUNY Oneonta where she received a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Pre-Occupational Therapy and a minor in Art. While at college she continued dancing as she was able to be a part of the Oneonta State Dance Team and the Terpsichorean Dance Company. She was chosen by the student board of the Terpsichorean Dance Company to choreograph for four semesters out of her eight semesters with this company, in the styles of jazz, contemporary, and hip hop. She also continued her education of dance by taking Modern and Jazz academic dance classes while at school. Heather has dreamed of being a dance teacher since she was little and is so thankful and excited for this experience!

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Lizzie Usack

Stephanie Samascott

Stephanie began dancing at the age of two and throughout her dance career she has trained in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, and Clogging. Stephanie started dancing competitively at the age of seven and has competed throughout the Northeast. She holds multiple titles and overall high scores for her Clogging. Stephanie has also had the opportunity to attend the Rockettes Summer Intensive where she trained in the Rockettes’ precision dance style.

After high school, Stephanie attended Montclair State University where she received a B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science. She then went on to receive a M.S. in Applied Nutrition from the Sage Graduate School. While at Montclair, Stephanie was a member of the Montclair State Dance Company and the Montclair State Dance team. Currently, Stephanie is a Registered Dietitian at Saratoga Hospital where she works in the outpatient setting.

Stephanie Samascott

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Lizzie Usack

Stephanie began dancing at the age of two and throughout her dance career she has trained in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, and Clogging. Stephanie started dancing competitively at the age of seven and has competed throughout the Northeast. She holds multiple titles and overall high scores for her Clogging. Stephanie has also had the opportunity to attend the Rockettes Summer Intensive where she trained in the Rockettes’ precision dance style.

After high school, Stephanie attended Montclair State University where she received a B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science. She then went on to receive a M.S. in Applied Nutrition from the Sage Graduate School. While at Montclair, Stephanie was a member of the Montclair State Dance Company and the Montclair State Dance team. Currently, Stephanie is a Registered Dietitian at Saratoga Hospital where she works in the outpatient setting.

Lindsay Shaner

Lindsay began her dance training at the Mary Lee School of Dance in Virginia and then Carter School of Dance in Maryland, where she trained in ballet (Cecchetti method), tap, jazz, modern, pointe, and hip hop.  Lindsay received her B.S. in Dance from Radford University in 2001, graduating with honors. While at Radford, she studied under Frano Jelincic, Dagmar Kessler, Dr. Pegeen Albig, Margaret Devaney, and Doris Ressl and performed in Ballet and Modern productions.  She was also one of the original members of the RU Cloggers.

Lindsay has experience teaching creative movement, tumbling, ballet, tap, jazz, modern, pointe, hip hop, and liturgical and has worked with ages 2-adult.  In addition to teaching, Lindsay spent 2 years performing professionally with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Eileen Carson-Schatz.  Footworks performs Appalachian Clogging, Irish, Cape Bretton Step Dancing, South African Boot Dances, Hambone, and Tap.

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Lindsay Shaner

Lindsay Shaner

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Lindsay Shaner

Lindsay began her dance training at the Mary Lee School of Dance in Virginia and then Carter School of Dance in Maryland, where she trained in ballet (Cecchetti method), tap, jazz, modern, pointe, and hip hop.  Lindsay received her B.S. in Dance from Radford University in 2001, graduating with honors. While at Radford, she studied under Frano Jelincic, Dagmar Kessler, Dr. Pegeen Albig, Margaret Devaney, and Doris Ressl and performed in Ballet and Modern productions.  She was also one of the original members of the RU Cloggers.

Lindsay has experience teaching creative movement, tumbling, ballet, tap, jazz, modern, pointe, hip hop, and liturgical and has worked with ages 2-adult.  In addition to teaching, Lindsay spent 2 years performing professionally with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Eileen Carson-Schatz.  Footworks performs Appalachian Clogging, Irish, Cape Bretton Step Dancing, South African Boot Dances, Hambone, and Tap.

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Lizzie Usack

Lizzie Usack

Lizzie was born in Elmira NY but grew up in Saratoga Springs NY. From the age of five she was trained in classical ballet at Saratoga City Ballet, all the way through her high school career. Throughout her youth she trained at New York State Summer School of the Arts for Ballet with NYCB Principal Daniel Ulbricht for several summers. She continued her dance training at Skidmore College partaking in classical Ballet, Modern, and Contemporary Dance. She studied Performance and Choreography along with Business at Skidmore College and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in May 2020. In addition to her education she worked alongside Elizabeth Streb and Ann Bogart during their 2019 residency at Skidmore College as the programs administrative assistant and continued to work with the Skidmore Office of Special Programs on academic programs, art  institutes, lecture series, artist/scholar residences and community programs until graduation in May.

Lizzie Usack

The Dance Lab Dance Instructors - Lizzie Usack

Lizzie was born in Elmira NY but grew up in Saratoga Springs NY. From the age of five she was trained in classical ballet at Saratoga City Ballet, all the way through her high school career. Throughout her youth she trained at New York State Summer School of the Arts for Ballet with NYCB Principal Daniel Ulbricht for several summers. She continued her dance training at Skidmore College partaking in classical Ballet, Modern, and Contemporary Dance. She studied Performance and Choreography along with Business at Skidmore College and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in May 2020. In addition to her education she worked alongside Elizabeth Streb and Ann Bogart during their 2019 residency at Skidmore College as the programs administrative assistant and continued to work with the Skidmore Office of Special Programs on academic programs, art  institutes, lecture series, artist/scholar residences and community programs until graduation in May.