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New York City Quality Meets Small Town: The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance

There’s a new family in town and they’re not missing a beat.  Meet Christina Paolucci Duncan, Terence Duncan, and their 14 month son, Alexander. Christina and Terence are the new artistic directors of The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, taking the reins from James Robey and Melissa Gerth.

Robey, a former colleague of both Christina and Terence, reached out to the duo last summer about the opportunity of leading the Ridgefield Conservatory.  “In July, I got a Facebook message James,” explains Terence. “Neither of us was looking but we thought it wouldn’t hurt to check it out,” admits Christina. But leaving life in Manhattan and their jobs, for the burbs?

It didn’t take long for Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance to win their hearts.  “There is someone watching over us. The standards here are high and I wouldn’t have left the city and my job to do something less,” says Christina. “The board, the students and Ridgefield’s Main Street won me over,” she adds.

And it’s a match made in dance heaven.  Their level of professionalism, coupled with their high caliber of dance instruction, make Christina and Terence the perfect team to fill the polished dance shoes of talented and highly respected Robey and Gerth.  “It’s so important that we continue that lineage and preserve this legacy,” says Christina.

Christina is a graduate of the renowned Juilliard School in New York City and principal dancer with New York Theater Ballet.  “Juilliard is so rich in history, just like Ridgefield Conservatory,” says Christina.

Terence and Christina will proudly embrace the founding principles of Pat Schuster who created The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance in 1965 when she was determined to bring New York City quality dance to Ridgefield.  “I’d like to locate some of Pat Schuster’s former students. A major goal is to have an alumni presence in some way,” explains Christina.

Students of Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance learn technique, artistry and creativity. They also develop self confidence and poise. “Our goal is to provide our students with the highest quality dance education possible,” explains Terence, who has danced professionally some of the best dance companies in the United States including New York Theater Ballet and The New York Baroque Dance Company.

Do Christina and Terence plan on raising the barre of Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance? “We would like to increase the structure and rigor of the schedule and the curriculum. I’d like Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance to have a presence in the national dance scene,” says Christina.

At The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, the dance steps learned become a way of life. “We can’t just train the students in our four walls. We want them to go out into the community and be ambassadors,” explains Christina.

“We work well together,” says Terence. They dance well together too.

And, there’s nothing like jumping right in…Terence will be competing in the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra’s “Dancing with the RSO” Spring Gala with dancing partner, Jenny Conciatore. The pair will dance the ChaCha on Saturday, March 2 at Salem Golf Club in South Salem, NY.

The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, a 501c3 organization, is located at 444 Main Street in Ridgefield. Dance instruction begins at age three and continues through the age of 18.

Kerry Anne Ducey