OUR PEOPLE

We are full of passionate people dedicated to helping New York City youth

Teaching Staff

Lindi Duesenberg

Lindi Duesenberg

Founder, Lead Teaching Artist and Teacher Trainer

Lindi’s passion for dance began as a toddler and drove her to pursue a career as a professional dancer and educator. She has performed and taught for nearly 20 years in both Los Angeles and New York and has been seen in numerous music videos, industrials, musical theatre productions and tours across the country. She has also served as an adjudicator for several national dance competitions. Ms. Duesenberg holds degrees in both Dance Education and Journalism from Chapman University and has worked with children for over 15 years in many educational capacities—teacher, dance instructor, tutor and mentor.  

Since retiring from performing, Lindi has been forging her path in the NYC fitness and education world, working as a personal trainer, a leading instructor at Physique 57, creative movement director at the Nursery School at Congregation Habonim and founder her own company, Dance Motivation Fitness (DMF). She built DMF into one of the leading dance cardio workouts in NYC and become well known for her upbeat, motivational, and positive approach to wellness. Though she loved working with adults, her true passion is working with kids and teens and motivating them to achieve greatness is in all aspects of their lives. 

As a youth educator, Ms. Duesenberg has worked with children ages 3-18 in over ten dance studios throughout Los Angeles and NYC, served as a substitute teacher in the Compton and Garden Grove Unified School Districts (LA) and taught DMF specialty dance classes to underserved children in NYC for years.  She has also worked with Literacy Support Systems in New York to create and implement a unique dance and movement curriculum in K-12 classrooms to enhance and supplement traditional learning and promote key academic concepts.  As seasoned teaching artist, she provides a road to innovative kinesthetic learning that weaves arts education into language arts, math, science and social studies.  

While working as a “big sis” mentor, and teaching specialty dance classes to underserved NYC youth, Ms. Duesenberg was shocked by the lack of physical exercise in NYC schools and the dramatic rise of childhood obesity.   Arts opportunities for low income and transient families were also extremely limited and she knew she could create a program to help alleviate these issues.  DMF Youth was born out of the idea that a successful afterschool program needed to be much more than a dance class or sports program.  It needed to expose children to imperative life skills like goal setting, managing emotions, mindfulness, and growth mindset.  By working with educators, phycologists, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) specialists, she created the DMF Youth curriculum that creatively weaves in these life skills and increases students’ self-esteem, confidence, and grit.

Alison Giampolo

Alison Giampolo

Teaching Artist

Alison has a BA in dance from Rider University’s School of Fine and Performing Arts. She has trained with the Walnut Hill School, Princeton Ballet School, and Martha Graham School of Dance, and is currently a dancer with Vissi Dance Theater and rehearsal director for Impact Movement Collective. In addition to performing, Alison has also taught a variety of styles of dance for almost 10 years, and is a firm believer that dance is a multifaceted art because it can be a form of expression, entertainment, and supplemental learning.

She is currently an instructor for Nimbus Dance Works’ Dance to Learn program, which collaborates elementary school academics and movement to further students’ understanding of the topics they’re learning in school through exploration of the three tenants of dance: time, space, and energy. Alison is thrilled to be a part of the DMF Youth team to bring dance, fitness, wellness, and fun to the underserved youth of NYC.  She has been with DMF Youth from its inception and has worked with over 500 children in the program. 

Kennedy Hill

Kennedy Hill

Teaching Artist

A native of Greenville, North Carolina, Kennedy Hill received her BFA in Dance Education from East Carolina University. Kennedy has had the privilege of participating in various summer programs and professional workshops with companies including Abraham.In.Motion and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She enjoys both performing and creating a safe space for student learning. With five years of teaching experience and a K-12 Teaching License, Kennedy has the ability to serve a range of students in both age and learning ability.

Juan “Coel” Rodriguez

Juan “Coel” Rodriguez

Teaching Artist

Juan “Coel” Rodriguez is an Arizona born artist, educator, performer and researcher. He graduated from Arizona State University with a B.F.A. in Dance and has a vast resume of teaching breaking, house, locking, bboying, postmodern dance, contact improvisation, improvisation and choreography. He has served as guest/faculty at a variety of institutions including Arizona State University, American University, Mesa Community College and Western Wyoming Community College. Currently, Juan’s work entails the research of both history and aesthetics of urban forms, primarily breaking, as well as researching his own integrative contemporary practice. He joined the DMF team last year and has been integral in expanding our urban dance curriculum to include bbyoying, house and locking. 

Enya-Kalia Jordan

Enya-Kalia Jordan

Teaching Artist

Enya-Kalia Jordan is a choreographer, researcher, scholar, and teaching-artist, from Brooklyn, New York. She received a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Buffalo State in 2017 and a Master of Fine Arts from Temple University in 2019. In 2020, she began her doctoral studies at Texas Woman’s University researching the decolonization of dance curriculum in higher education. This directly intersects with her work as a Lecturer at the University of Virginia and Assistant Professor at SUNY Erie. She has conducted ethnographic research in Tokyo, Japan; Guimaraes, Portugal; Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands; and Paris, France. She has presented research twice at the NDEO annual conference in Miami, Florida, and San Diego, California. She founded and artistically directs her own movement-based artist collective, Enya Kalia Creations, which has performed nationally and internationally. This includes at the University of West Indies in Barbados, Pennsylvania State at Abington, CADD at Duke University, DaCi conference in Salt Lake City, BAAD! Ass Women in Dance Festival & Kun-Yung Lin’s Inhale Performance Series. Enya has won numerous grants, scholarships, and awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant, Arts Administrators of Color Network, Dance Union, Cooper-Newell Foundation, Texas Woman’s University, SUNY Buffalo State, Temple University, for her work.

Alexa Lindberg

Alexa Lindberg

Teaching Artist

Alexa Lindberg is a dancer/choreographer based in New York City. After graduating with a double BFA in Dance and Acting from SUNY Fredonia, she decided to take her passion for movement to New York City. By fusing her acting and dance training, she has found an immense love for teaching and creating with children in a fun and expressive way. She has spent the last 9 years teaching ages 2-18 at multiple dance studios. Her latest endeavor led her to be the dance and healthy body instructor at Wegrow school. Alexa has also recently created her very own adult dance company entitled Rubix Dance Collective. The goal of the collective is to bring dance back to its child-like form of play and to have an energized and therapeutic space to move. While she is not teaching, she is performing live music with her rock band as the lead singer. With three albums already out, her most recent accomplishment is booking a movie, in which one of her songs will be featured later in 2021. She is so excited to be a part of the DMF family and is extremely grateful to continue to teach her love for movement to this incredible community. 

Alyssa Parnell

Alyssa Parnell

Teaching Artist

Alyssa M. Parnell is from Birmingham, Alabama. She is a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts. In 2017 Alyssa attained her BFA in Dance from The Ohio State University. She has trained with the American Dance Festival, the Bates Dance Festival, the American Ballet Theatre, and the Alabama Ballet. Alyssa currently works as a freelance dance artist throughout NYC.

Barry Givens-Paige

Barry Givens-Paige

Teaching Artist

Barry Givens-Paige has a BA in English and hails from the Bronx, NY. He began dancing in high school, performing in shows and continued in college, providing hip hop choreography on the dance team. He has participated in a triple threat program that involved acting, dancing, and singing. Aside from dance, he is a teacher in many other areas including English, performing arts, nutrition, and step. His favorite part about teaching are the smiles emanating from each student, and the knowledge they attain along the way. Barry  also works with foster children who have developmental disabilities at the Center for Human Development and Family Services. Outside of these professions, Barry is an actor and poetic music artist. He performs procuring poetry to the ears of city souls throughout New York. He is passionate about helping others, whether in the form of dance, social work, or poetry.

Jalisa Brown

Jalisa Brown

Teaching Artist

Jalisa Brown started her dance training at Happendance School and Everett High School: Magnet School for the Performing Arts in Lansing, Michigan. She furthered her dance studies at Western Michigan University (WMU) where she was one of eight dance majors selected to study and perform in Taiwan and China the summer of 2013 with the College of Fine Arts Global Initiatives Grant. During her time at WMU, she performed works by renowned choreographers Ohad Naharin, Peter Chu, and K.T. Nelson. Jalisa relocated to New York City in 2016 and since has performed with Alma NYC, Impact Movement Collective, GM + Dancers and Bloodline Dance Theatre.

In 2017 Grit Dance Chicago selected her dance film, “I’MMA”, to be presented in their evening-length show. Most recently, Jalisa was awarded the Diane Newman Award for distinguished alumni from Happendance School. Jalisa is so excited to be a part of the DMF Youth team where she can help students build self – esteem, discipline, self – expression.

Rathi Varma

Rathi Varma

Teaching Artist

Rathi Varma, born and raised in Mumbai, India started dancing at the age of 15 in various dance styles alongside pursuing her Diploma in Visual Arts and working as an Illustrator. In 2018, she moved to New York to pursue her passion in Dance professionally at Peridance Centre to study Contemporary and Ballet. In Mumbai, she trained under Shiamak Davar’s Institute of Performing Arts and The Danceworx in Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary. In 2006, she had the opportunity to perform at the Closing Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia through Shiamak Davar’s Institute. She has also performed at the 9/11 Table of Silence Project with Bugilsi Dance Theatre. Currently, she is a dancer with Apollonia & Dancers (Artistic Director Apollonia Holzer).

Tumi Nkomo

Tumi Nkomo

Teaching Artist

Tumi Nkomo (Choreographer/Founder/Artistic Director: Nyane Khosi Dance Theatre) was born in exile in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. Her family moved back to help rebuild their home, South Africa, in 1992. Tumi graduated from the University of Cape Town specializing in African dance and Contemporary dance, during which time she trained under Maxwell Xolani Rani. She has been dancing professionally since 2005, both on-camera and onstage. Her on-camera work has aired nationally and internationally. Her repertory experience has included African, Modern, Contemporary, Hip Hop, as well as an array of historical, cultural and social dances. She has also trained with the Garth Fagan Dance Company. Her work as an artist has sent her to various parts of the world; including Mauritius, Japan, the USA and Australia. In 2012 she founded the touring dance company Nyane Khosi Dance Theatre in New York City.

Celine Leigh

Celine Leigh

Teaching Artist

Celine Leigh has been dancing since the age of seven with choreographer Obediah Wright. She has performed throughout NYC at The Brooklyn Borough President Showcase, Sakura Park Festival, The Audelcos “VIVE” Awards and more. For the past three years, she has been teaching children and adults tap dance with Balance Dance Theatre Inc. Learning and growing with Obediah Wright has helped Celine develop into the dancer and educator she is today. She has performed with people like Carla Hall from “The Chew” and “The Black Panthers” at Brooklyn Commons. Celine believes that dance is for everyone, and with the right education, anyone can learn how to dance. Dance is critical tool for expressing emotions and building confidence and self-esteem.                   

Board of Directors

Elizabeth Candido Petite

Elizabeth Candido Petite

President

Elizabeth Candido Petite is an attorney at Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper in Westfield, New Jersey. Elizabeth’s primary practice area is trusts and estates. She also has experience with corporate and tax matters such as forming entities and obtaining tax-exempt status for nonprofits.  She has been involved with DMF Youth since its inception and ensures that the organization is in compliance with all corporate matters and tax requirements and advises on other legal issues as they arise. Elizabeth received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her law degree from New York Law School. As a student, she tutored underserved children in Philadelphia and New York City, which made her aware of the great need for quality programming that focuses on the whole child, as DMF Youth does. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys cooking and spending time at the Jersey Shore with her family.  

Lindi Duesenberg

Lindi Duesenberg

Executive Director & Vice President

Lind’s passion for dance began as a toddler and drove her to pursue a career as a professional dancer and educator. She has performed and taught for nearly 20 years in both Los Angeles and New York and has been seen in numerous music videos, industrials, musical theatre productions and tours across the country. She has also served as an adjudicator for several national dance competitions. She has worked with children for over 15 years in many educational capacities—teacher, dance instructor, tutor and mentor.

Since retiring from performing, Lindi has been forging her path in the NYC fitness and education world, working as a personal trainer, a leading instructor at Physique 57, creative movement director at the Nursery School at Congregation Habonim and founder her own company, Dance Motivation Fitness (DMF). She built DMF into one of the leading dance cardio workouts in NYC and become well known for her upbeat, motivational, and positive approach to wellness. Though she loved working with adults, her true passion is working with kids and teens and motivating them to achieve greatness is in all aspects of their lives.

While working as a “big sis” mentor, and teaching specialty DMF classes to inner-city youth, Lindi was blown away by the lack of physical exercise in NYC schools and the dramatic rise of childhood obesity. After further research, she found the majority of NYC public schools fail to meet the state PE requirements due to lack of space and lack of teachers. Afterschool opportunities for low income and transient families were also extremely limited and she knew she could create a program to help alleviate these issues.

Lindi’s motivational approach to teaching worked extremely well with K-12 children, but she wanted to create more than just a dance-fitness program. She wanted a program that exposed children to imperative life skills like goal setting, dealing with emotions, and facing fears. By working with educators, phycologists, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) specialists, she created a unique curriculum that increases her students’ self-esteem and confidence, helping them realize their ultimate potential.

Heather Bergstein

Heather Bergstein

Secretary

Heather is the head of e-commerce strategy and initiatives for Remy Cointreau USA, and has a background in Marketing & Media. Heather is passionate about fitness as a part of daily life, and making fitness, dance and sports accessible to everyone is a mission she has long believed in. Heather lives with her 11-year-old son, Micah, in New York City.
Served since 2018

Katie Cook

Katie Cook

Board Member

Katie Cook is a licensed real estate broker with Elegran. With her family’s background in construction and real estate investing, Katie has a broad knowledge of the real estate landscape and is committed to providing her clients creative solutions to their needs. Prior to joining Elegran, Katie worked for Wellness in the Schools, a national nonprofit that inspires healthy eating and fitness for kids in public schools. She works in high need schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn, providing nutritional education, cooking lessons, and culinary support to the school community. Katie received her bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola College, and a Culinary degree from Institute of Culinary Education. Katie is an active member in the community volunteering with the New York Junior League. There she currently serves on the Management Council, overseeing critical community programming. In her free time, she likes to stay active by running and playing tennis.
Served since 2018

Anne Koksi

Anne Koksi

Board Member

Anne Koski serves as senior legal council for the Segal Group, an international benefits, compensation and human resources consulting firm.   She focuses on drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts, with an emphasis on regulatory (Investment Advisers Act, ERISA) and data security (particularly HIPAA) issues.  Prior to joining the Segal Group, Anne worked for the Metropolitan Opera in the development department.  She brings her knowledge of foundation research, donor acquisition, and development to the DMF Youth Board.  In her spare time, Anne volunteers for the Junior League of NYC. 

Member since 2019

What our community say about us

My favorite part about DMF is the teachers. I love them.
C.J.

5th grade student

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