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The Dance Annex Faculty

Artistic Director Lauren Gaul

Lauren Gaul is an Associate Professor of Dance at Sands College of Performing Arts in the BFA Commercial Dance Program located at Pace University in New York City.  She is also the Associate Director of the Sands College of Performing Arts and was Co-director of the BFA Commercial Dance Program which she co-founded and co-wrote.  She teaches numerous courses within the curriculum such as Jazz Dance Technique I and III, Jazz Dance Pedagogy, Dance History, Ballet Pedagogy, Senior Seminar, UNV Freshman Seminar, Senior Project, and Commercial Dance Lab.  She directs the Senior Showcase Concert and regularly choreographs for the dance concerts at Pace.

As a performer, Lauren appeared as a Radio City Rockette for 10 years in the Christmas Spectacular three of those years were also as a Rockette Swing. She performed both in the national tour of the Christmas Spectacular and at Radio City Music Hall and performed in many other events and shows as a Rockette. Her performance career spanned numerous other shows, industries, and companies.  Lauren has also been an assistant choreographer for industrials such as: Lady Footlocker, IZOD, Capezio, Sesame Street, and Sesame Workshop featuring recording artist Brandy, and for cruise lines such as Princess, and Celebrity.   She was an assistant choreographer for Broadway Bares for three years directed by TONY winner Jerry Mitchell and Denis Jones.  She has presented her work at Jacob’s Pillow inside-out theater, Jazz Dance World Congress (choreography event finalist), Broadway Dance Center, the Bridge for Dance, SUNY Purchase, Pace University, Destiny Rising at the Joyce, and the Tennessee Williams Festival.  She also choreographed the Drama Desk-nominated play The Mutilated (Off-Broadway) starring Mink Stole and Penny Arcade.

She received her undergraduate degree from OCU as a dance performance major and her MFA from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance.  While there she was a graduate teaching assistant to Kazuko Hirabayshi (Composition I) and Roz Newman (Senior Seminar).  Lauren also choreographed for the Purchase Nutcracker and performed works by Joyce Trisler, Anna Sokolow, Daniel Nagrin, Max Stone, Pedro Ruiz, Mark Morris, Cherice Barton, Ruth Currier (through the Limon Foundation), and many others.   Lauren is an ABT® Certified Teacher primary to level 5.  She has taught all over the country for numerous schools and conventions such as:  Broadway Dance Center, The Rockette Experience, New Dance Group, Oklahoma City University, SUNY Purchase College, McComb College, Dance Masters of America, Perry Mansfield, Arts Council of PA, NYCDA Summer Dance Intensive, Williams Syndrome foundation, and created and directed a dance program at the New York School for the Deaf.

Pedro Ruiz

Pedro Ruiz is a celebrated international choreographer and dancer who was born and trained in Cuba, and later in Venezuela. During his 21-year career with Ballet Hispanico as a principal dancer, Ruiz choreographed three critically acclaimed ballets for the company, among them Club Havana, which has become a signature piece for the company. Last November, he premiered La Estancia for the New Jersey Ballet, alongside cellist YoYo Ma and Wynton Marsalis at NJPAC. On July 2023, Ruiz had the word premier at the BAAND Together Dance Festival of his new Pas de O’Farrill, a collaboration between Ballet Hispanico and New York City Ballet, commissioned by Lincoln Center. In February 2010, Mr. Ruiz created The Windows Project, a groundbreaking endeavor celebrating the art of dance as a cultural bridge between the U.S. and Cuba, which was captured in a PBS Emmy-nominated documentary in 2011 called: Coming HomeAs a dancer, Ruiz was distinguished with a Bessie Award, the New York Dance World’s highest honor, the Choo-San Goh Award, The Cuban Artists Fund Award, and The Joyce Foundation Award. For 10 years, Ruiz was a Resident Artist of the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter. He has also taught master classes and performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Central and South America. Today he is on the dance faculty of Hunter College, Marymount College, The Ailey School, Pace University, and 92NY Harkness Dance Center and teaches company class for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet Hispanico.

Alyssa Epstein

Alyssa spent 16 years kicking up her heels as a World-Famous Radio City Rockette. She has been seen dancing on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day ParadeThe Today ShowGood Morning AmericaLive with Kelly and MichaelAmerica’s Got Talent, and many more. Favorite regional musical theater credits include 42nd StShowboat, and Crazy for You. She has worked with Broadway choreographers Andy Blankenbuehler, Randy Skinner, and the late Chet Walker on various projects. Alyssa is currently a sanctioned teacher with the Verdon/Fosse Legacy. She is the first individual who never worked with either Bob Fosse or Gwen Verdon to hold that title. In her role, Alyssa assists in recreating, archiving, and teaching the work of Mr. Fosse to the next generation of dancers. She was instrumental in helping to create Fosse Jazz which serves as the fundamental building block for a deeper understanding of all things “Fosse.” Notable reconstructions include LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Alyssa has been a faculty member at both Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center in New York City. She has been a guest teacher at Juilliard, the University of Illinois, Wagner College, and more. Alyssa holds a Master’s degree in Sport and Performance Psychology. She works with performing artists to help them to achieve their greatest potential. She is working towards building and designing programs that can be embedded into existing companies and curriculums that will assist performers in areas such as performance anxiety, return from injury, mindfulness, and career transition. She is most proud of her title as an 8-year Breast Cancer Survivor! Alyssa works with various charities around the country spreading hope to those that need it most.

Dylan Pearce

Based in New York City, Dylan Pearce has over 24 years in the industry with credits as a dancer, choreographer, director, educator, entrepreneur, and artist. Dylan is an Associate Choreographer for the Radio City Rockettes. Over the past 14 years with The Rockettes, Dylan has held roles as both a performer and choreographer for stage, television, and digital content, including collaborations with artists like Dua Lipa, Abba, and Pit Bull, and in 2021 choreographing for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Christmas in Rockefeller Center. Most recently, Dylan directed and choreographed two new shows aboard MSC’s newest ship the SEASCAPE. In 2021 he led the creative vision for Kate Spade, directing and choreographing their 2021 Summer and Fall campaigns, celebrating the vibrance of New York City through dance in digital, out-of-home, and social media formats.

Dylan’s distinctive choreography has been featured in music videos for Amy Lynn & The Honey Men and the 2021 Broadway Bares (“Closet Diva”), supporting the non-profit, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He is a founder and co-director of DEViATE Dance and The Process, a new kind of dance convention and competition that recreates real-world professional experiences to help students grow as artists. 

James White

James Alonzo White is a North Carolina native, who received his Master of Arts in Dance Education at New York University. With a strong background in Street Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern, Contemporary, and Commercial Dance, James is one of the most acclaimed choreographers and dance teachers in today’s industry.  Currently, he is a teaching faculty member at the world-renowned Broadway Dance Center, Brickhouse NYC, and Peridance Capezio Center. 

James’ choreography credits include: Mad Apple – Cirque Du Soleil, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruises, MSC Cruises, Footloose – The Rev Theater, Dream Girls, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and the Knicks City Dancers. 

He currently works with rising artists such as:  Chloe Flower, Alex Mali, Saint Ahmad, and Miss Madeline as their lead choreographer.  Choreographing several of their musical videos and live performances. 

In 2020, during the global pandemic, James released a visual entitled “Brand New Day” featuring NYC’s finest dancers, inspired by the iconic film, The Wiz. With a pure intention to spread joy during uncertain times, Brand New Day took on a life of its own by quickly becoming a viral success garnering attention from acclaimed artists like Diana Ross, Evan Ross, Jennifer Garner, Octavia Spencer, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Todrick Hall, Billy Porter and Deborah Cox.