Christiana Bitonti

Director & Owner

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Ms. Bitonti is the founder and director of Peconic Ballet Theatre since its establishment in 2012 and Peconic Ballet Foundation in 2014. She has choreographed and directed numerous ballets. She debuted contemporary works in NYC and has won awards for her choreography, which include Best Choreography for her modern piece “Ying Yang Yo” at the Onstage American Dance Competition. Ms. Bitonti is certified in Autism Movement Therapy.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Speech Communication as well as a Master of Arts degree from New York University in Counseling. 

Claudia Marinescu is a choreographer and teacher with over 25 years of experience in the pedagogy of classical ballet. Born in Romania, she worked for the Romanian National School of Ballet for 13 years, where she obtained the highest achievement in the teaching of Vaganova Syllabus. At this time she collaborated with the Romanian and Hungarian State Operas in Cluj, and she got her master’s form the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music, department of dance. Meanwhile she participated in international and local dance competitions where her students were awarded the first prize, and were recruited by top dance schools and theaters all over the world. 

Claudia Marinescu

Ballet Mistress

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Claudia Marinescu is a choreographer and teacher with over 25 years of experience in the pedagogy of classical ballet. Born in Romania, she worked for the Romanian National School of Ballet for 13 years, where she obtained the highest achievement in the teaching of Vaganova Syllabus. At this time she collaborated with the Romanian and Hungarian State Operas in Cluj, and she got her master’s form the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music, department of dance. Meanwhile she participated in international and local dance competitions where her students were awarded the first prize, and were recruited by top dance schools and theaters all over the world. 

Johnnier Fenner

Teaching Arist

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Ms. Fenner is currently studying Dance Education. She studied at Long Island University - Post Campus where she danced for Post Concert Dance Company for two years. Also participating in Dance Programs at Nassau Community College for a year. During Ms. Fenner’s senior year of high school, she attended and graduated from Long Island High School of the Arts (LIHSA) where she studied modern, ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop. Ms. Fenner believes that the harder you push yourself to become your version of a better dancer, you truly see the connections you make with people and the stories you tell through movement.

Jillian Adams

Assistant Director

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Ms. Adams is the Assistant Director of Peconic Ballet Theatre and has been a teaching artist at PBT since it's establishment in 2012. She grew up training with Romania's Claudia Marinescu. She went on to study at Eglevsky Ballet as well as the Manhattan Ballet School on scholarship. In 2009, under the direction of Denise Jefferson, she was admitted to the fellowship program at the Ailey School where she performed and debuted original pieces by Carlos Dos Santos and Juilliard's Peter London.  Ms. Adams graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a B.A. in journalism and is a certified Pilates instructor.

L'aura Vakar

Teaching Artist

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​L'aura Bagdziunas earned her BFA in dance from Marymount Manhattan College and is a graduate of Long Island High School for the Arts. She has studied under the direction of Broadway stars: Elizabeth Parkinson, Scott Wise, Mary Ann Lamb and numerous others. She has performed in works by Jeff Shade, Larry Keigwin, Mark Morris, Pascal Rioult, Twyla Tharp and Cherice Barton. She is a member of Yellow Brick Road Theatrical INC, Mad Cap Dance Company and is the lead choreographer for CPSM at Queens College. Ms. Bagdziunas is currently a visiting guest lecturer at Long Island High School for the Arts.

Angela Selvaggio

Teaching Artist

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Angela Selvaggio has been part of the gymnastics scene for over 35 years. Ms. Selvaggio competed until she was 18 years old. Her strengths included floor, vault and trampoline. Directly after high school, she began coaching at Debbie’s Gym, Nastics, and Gold Medal Gymnastics. Once Acro started finding it ways into the dance culture, Ms. Selvaggio started devising a curriculum for dance studios that infused Acro and dance.  Ms. Selvaggio taught Acro to many dance studios across Long Island and is very excited to be part of the Peconic Ballet Theatre family. In addition to her Acro training, Ms. Selvaggio is a Special Education teacher at Westhampton Beach Elementary school.  

Andrei Kisselev

Ballet Master

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​From Moscow, Russia, Andrei Kisselev began his career at an early age receiving intensive training in Vaganova Ballet Method.  In 1992, he received a diploma from the Russian Conservatory of Culture and Art after four years of study as a ballet master and choreographer. In 1995 Andrei was discovered by the producers of Riverdance and for the next four years he performed with this international hit show in North America and Europe culminating in a two-year successful Broadway production.  For the last 8 years he is a Professor of Ballet at Manhattanville College. Andrei Kisselev and Yana Volkova were a part of Aleko production in 2016 at the New York City Opera. Andrei and Yana choreographed and performed Gypsy dance that was one of the highlights of the production and received many positive reviews in the media including NY Times

Josie McSwane

Teaching Artist

Ms. McSwane worked with primetime Emmy nominated hip-hop choreographer Shane Sparks and trained at Millennium Dance Complex.  She also participated in a world known hip-hop dance convention known as Buildabeast founded by known dancer and choreographer Willdabeast Adams and continued her training at Millennium Dance Complex. She also studied and trained at Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio. Ms. McSwane performed as a backup dancer for latin-pop singer/songwriter Abrin. She is graduate of LIU POST with a BFA in Dance Studies.

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Sarah Brynes

Teaching Artist

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Peconic Ballet Theatre with Christiana Bitonti in 2011 and is proud alum of Peconic Ballet Theatre.  She was an Advanced Apprentice student for five years and performed with the Peconic Ballet Foundation.  Leading roles include: Dew Drop Fairy in the “Nutcracker,” Kitri’s friend in “Don Quixote” and Cinderella Pas De Deux in “Sleeping Beauty.” Summer Intensive studies include: “The Rock School of Dance” and Gelsey Kirkland Pre-Professional Intensive.” Ms. Byrnes is now in her second year at Adelphi University as a Psychology major, Dance minor and Teaching concentration. She is honored to be part of the Peconic Ballet Theatre Company and is thrilled to be combing her passion for dance and love for children. 

Peconic Ballet Theatre with Christiana Bitonti in 2011 and is proud alum of Peconic Ballet Theatre.  She was an Advanced Apprentice student for five years and performed with the Peconic Ballet Foundation.  Leading roles include: Dew Drop Fairy in the “Nutcracker,” Kitri’s friend in “Don Quixote” and Cinderella Pas De Deux in “Sleeping Beauty.” Summer Intensive studies include: “The Rock School of Dance” and Gelsey Kirkland Pre-Professional Intensive.” Ms. Byrnes is now in her second year at Adelphi University as a Psychology major, Dance minor and Teaching concentration. She is honored to be part of the Peconic Ballet Theatre Company and is thrilled to be combing her passion for dance and love for children.