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Karen began studying social dance in 1978, and after taking some time off to focus on career and family, she returned to ballroom dancing and teaching in 1991. She has studied with Mark and Dawna Nocera, Dan Radler, and Suzanne Hamby. She has also participated in numerous seminars with other dance luminaries including Ron Montez, Jim Maranto, Jonathan Wilkins, Michael Mead, Toni Redpath, and Edward Simon among others.
Prior to opening her own business, Karen taught a social dance curriculum for studios in Boston and Cambridge, MA, and Amherst, NH. Karen has competed pro-am at ballroom dance competitions on the Maine and Massachusetts circuits. She is an Associate Organization Member of USABDA. Karen is a Dance Vision International Dance Association (DVIDA) certified instructor.
In addition to International and American Style Ballroom training, Karen's repertoire includes country western, west coast swing, lindy hop, hustle, salsa, and nightclub two-step. Karen's exposure to dance began as a youth, with a theatrical dance program under the direction of Mary Bertagna, former Radio City Music Hall Rockette.
Karen has been choreographing and producing showcases since 1996. Her work has been presented at five NH shopping malls as well as the Chestnut Hill Mall in MA, the Intown Manchester Buskers on the Bricks program, the Center of NH Senior Expo, the Palace Theatre's production of "Keyboard Lounge", the Bel Esprit Arts Festival, the Seacoast Classic, the Southern NH University Dance Club, NH Community Technical College, several local nursing homes, and various events sponsored by Queen City Ballroom.
Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Hampshire. While she was attending UNH she included some theatrical dance training as part of her studies.
Karen demonstrates longtime support of various nonprofit and charitable institutions through donations of dance lessons, and providing showcases for events. These include Emily's Place Shelter, The American Heart Association, The New Hampshire Coalition for Missing and Abused Children, The March of Dimes Special Olympics, Catholic Medical Center, Compassionate Connections Youth Mentoring Program, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, Child and Family Services, The Acting Loft Studio, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and The Villa Augustina Charitable Corporation.
Karen has one daughter, Nicki, whose recently earned bachelor's degree includes a minor in dance. When not on the dance floor, Karen enjoys photography, music, healthy living, floral design, decorating, writing, and fashion.
Karen can be contacted at Karen@queencityballroomnh.com.