DANCE AND MARTIAL ARTS FACULTY
Bonnie Gombos
Director
Bonnie Gombos, DAC Dance Department Director & Performance Kids Summer Camp Director, has been teaching for over 35 years in Queens and Fairfield County. She has been at DAC for more than 20 years working with students from ages three to adult; with a wide range of dance styles from classical ballet, to jazz and modern. She also worked at Connecticut Ballet as a teaching artist for many years; working with Kids in Crisis, Trailblazers and in Juvenile Detention Centers.

Bonnie was a Dance Theater major at Queens College, N.Y. and received most of her training from Hannah Kroner, Finis Jhung and the New York School of Ballet, and holds a degree in Avionics from the College of Aeronautics.

She is the artistic Director of the Darien Arts Center's Adult Troupe, which performs for many local nursing homes and senior centers, and directs and choreographs for the annual adult showcase every October, "Scenes from the Nutcracker" every December and the spring Ballet Series every April. Also, the artistic director of the DAC Senior and Junior Dance Companies which perform in many venues, including the Palace Theater, charity events and Disney World. Bonnie has achieved the rank of 5th degree black belt (Master) in Shaolin Kempo Karate and also teaches in the DAC Martial Arts program.
Sarah Collins-Napier
Sarah Collins-Napier a local Westchester native has been teaching dance since 2003. Her teaching credits include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New Dance Inc., East Pointe Dance as well as The New York City and Bronxville public school systems. Mrs. Collins-Napier received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College studying under Sarah Rudner, Peggy Gould and Kathy Westwater. Sarah is excited to be teaching here at The Darien Arts Center and looks forward to being a part of this wonderful community!
Cindy DeForest
Cindy trained as a dancer with the Cornish School for the Performing Arts and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and has performed with the Joffrey Ballet. She has studied dance in Paris, London and New York. Cindy holds a BA from Yale and has performed with the Yale dancers troupe, and has a teachers certificate from the CT ARC program.
Emily Frangipane
Emily Frangipane holds a BFA in dance from Emerson College. She then went on to study dance in New York. Her choreography has been performed at the Magestic and Suffolk theaters in Boston and venues throughout Fairfield County as well as various choreographers showcases in New York City. As a performer, she toured the U.S. and Canada with the national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar as well as various roles in regional theater such as Fastrada in "Pippin". Emily is currently working in film, TV, commercials, industrials and print. Emily also dances and presents her choreography with the Adult Company.
James Gombos
Sensei James Gombos is a 5h degree black belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate. He has been studying various types of Martial Arts for over 20 years and has taught many students throughout Fairfield County.
Elizabeth Hall
Elizabeth has been teaching dance and exercise for over 30 years. She first started teaching in New York City in corporate fitness. She continued to teach in Connecticut, Singapore and Malaysia. Elizabeth holds a BA in Literature and Dance from Hunter College, and holds a full teaching diploma from the Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing in Singapore, and is certified in personal fitness, yoga and aerobics. Elizabeth also teaches " Dance For Health" and pilates at the Darien Senior Center. Elizabeth has performed with the Windmere Ballet and Fellow Performance Group, and now performs with the Darien Arts Center Dance adult troupe.
Emily Hull
Emily Hull has been teaching ballet for the past 25 years.  Prior to teaching, she danced professionally with the Pennsylvania Ballet and the New York City Ballet. Her training began with New York City Ballet dancer Carol Sumner and continued at the School of American Ballet under the close tutelage of Richard Rapp, Elise Reiman and Kay Mazzo. She trained at the summer intensive programs of the Boston Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School (on scholarship), and Pennsylvania Ballet School (on scholarship). After college she worked for seven years alongside Rockette and studio owner Betsie Andrews as teacher, performer, choreographer and Assistant Director. Following a summer session training with Jacques D’Amboise at his National Dance Institute in New York City, Emily began working in public schools sharing her love of dance and theatre outside the private dance school setting. Since moving back to Fairfield County 17 years ago, where she married and started a family, she has taught ballet and musical theatre dance at Ballet Etudes/The Studio in Norwalk. Because of her broad as well as focused experience, Emily has found a perfect outlet for sharing it all, teaching and inspiring little ones in her pre-ballet classes where she is both music teacher, dancer and performing artist. Her first love is and always will be ballet, and it is her joy to share it with the students and families at the Darien Art Center.
Joe Kiley
Joe Kiley has been part of the Darien Arts Center for many years, he has performed with the Darien Players and with the Dance and Martial Arts Performance groups. Joe has achieved the rank of 2nd degree black belt, and currently teaches our beginner level classes. Joe is also currently a sergeant in the Army National Guard.
Raymund Lagdamen
Raymund Lagdamen, born and raised in Iloilo, Philippines, started dancing in Central High School Bridgeport CT. He studied dance, mostly in hip hop, at the Performing Arts Center of Connecticut. He was a member of the Double Up Dance Company’s Team Leggoo and is now the Assistant Choreographer. He appears in many artist’s music videos such as international singer Kat DeLuna, Rickstarr (London, UK), John Thomas, and the local favorite Gabriel Brunot. He has also taught in many dance workshops such as “Be Inspired” and “The Y.A.R.D”. His goal is to soak up as much knowledge as he can in the field of dance and hopes to share it with his students.
Neeta Maniar
Neeta has performed, choreographed, and studied with the Darien Arts Center since 2006. She has explored a wide range of dance styles, including ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, salsa and Bollywood. She received her earliest dance technique training with the Ballet Theater of Scranton in PA and went on to perform and choreograph for the Penn State Orchesis Dance Company. She has completed dance intensive training with the Martha Graham Dance School, the Alvin Ailey Horton Teacher Workshop, Complexions Summer Intensive, Mark Morris Dance School, Limon Repertory Intensive, Shen Wei Dance Arts, the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, Finis Jhung's ballet technique workshop, Double Up Dance Studio's hip hop workshops, and the Connecticut Ballet School. She has performed with Stamford's local theater Curtain Call in "A Chorus Line" and "Spamalot". Neeta continues to do freelance choreography and performances throughout the local area. She is also a certified vinyasa yoga teacher and a Shaolin Kempo Karate Martial Artist. In her spare time, she has a full time job doing cyber security at Live Nation Entertainment.
Marie Maccarone
Marie has been dancing and teaching for over twenty five years in Darien and Brooklyn, NY. She recieved her dance training in NYC at DanceSpace where she studied under Laurie Devito and Lynn Simonson.  Marie is a master teacher of Leap 'N Learn, the premier dance curriculum for early childhood dance education as well as an NDI-certified instructor in dance education for children and adults with disabilities.
Jana Powers
Jana Powers a DAC alumni, is a singer, dancer and actor. She graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy Integrated (Music Theatre) Conservatory. Jana was raised in Connecticut where she found her passion for dance at the Darien Arts Center. She has choreographed musicals for the studio such as You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Baby. Jana assisted in choreographing the Bridgeport Downtown Cabaret’s production of Chess and ended up becoming a featured ensemble member.