Our Story

At Tournesol Dance We Believe Dance Is For Everyone

Our studio welcomes the adult dancer without sacrificing classical ballet and jazz technique.  We’re creating a supportive yet motivated community of people who share a common drive and goal to constantly improve, work hard, and support each other along the way.

A message from our founder Erica Centola

Erica started dance at age 4 and fell in love with ballet and jazz immediately (not so much tap). She took class at a typical competition dance school where she competed and helped her team win in national competitions. This was a large part of her life up until she was about 12. At 12 she became disenchanted with dance and started to worry about more important things like popularity in school (yes, we know, not the best decision). She took a long break from dance and tried other things to fill the void; modeling, pageants, soccer, swimming, marching band etc. But nothing ever really completed her quite like dance.

She didn’t really come back to dance till she was 29, after her second child was born. Finding an adult class was no easy task, but she was determined and she found Mary Nolan’s adult ballet class. She took class, under Mary’s tutelage, for 3 years. During this time she made some amazing friends, re-found herself, and was dubbed Mary’s protege. How’s that saying go? “All good things must come to and end.” In a very unexpected and tragic accident this chapter came to a close. Mary was taken away from us in a motorcycle accident. And even though this is how this chapter ends, the book is still not over.

Encouraged by Mary’s daughter Rachel, Erica took over teaching Mary’s classes. However, only being back to dance for 3 years, she felt like she needed to continue to learn and help her students grow. So she took as many drop-in classes as she could, read every dance book she could get her hands on, searched for a teacher that would take adult students seriously and help her fill in the holes she was missing in her training, all the while continuing to teach Mary’s classes and expand on the program

The process of finding a new teacher to mentor her became very frustrating. No one was taking adult dance students seriously, corrections were glossed over in class, which made the ability to progress difficult; there were little to no performance opportunities. If there were performance opportunities they were typically roles that never really gave the chance to dance. Even through all of this she was determined to better herself and learn for her students. And after 5 years of not finding exactly what she wanted, and a small shove from her friends, she decided to make it herself, and Tournesol Dance was born.  A classical dance school just for adults. A program where you are taken seriously, your questions are not glossed over, and you are given every opportunity to perform.

Meet Danielle Bonnette – Performance Director/Jazz Instructor

Danielle trained under Lisa Allain at Little Red Dance Studio for 15 years and taught classes there for 6 years.  She has also trained under Frank Hattchet, Suzi Taylor, Andi Bankenbueler, Joe Lantern and many more fabulous instructors.  She has also danced for the Roc City Diamonds under the direction of Julie Giarratano.

Outside of dance Danielle is a stylist, educator and creative team member at Scott Miller.  Danielle and her husband own Mr. Big Bounce LLC bounce house rentals and have 2 children (one who is a competitive dancer).

Dance has always been a passion of Danielle’s and she is so excited to be teaching Jazz at Tournesol Dance!

 

Meet Erin Warr – Ballet Instructor

Erin began dancing as a child, taking tap, jazz, and ballet classes through elementary and high school.  She performed and assisted in tap choreography in various school and community theatre productions as well as Mercy High School’s Show Choir. In her youth, she had the privilege of training under actor Michael Blevins (Chaplin and A Chorus Line) in dance and theatre productions with Downstairs Cabaret and Big & Loud Theatre.

Erin took a break from dance after high school.  She resides in Chili, New York with her husband and four children.  Seeking dance classes once again as an adult, fate brought her to class with Mary Nolan, where she met Tournesol’s founder, Erica.  

She has been dancing again now for over 10 years.  She was thrilled to join The Company at Tournesol Dance in 2021 and is excited to now begin teaching some of Tournesol’s newest adult ballerinas!

 

We hope you come dance with us!