the dance department

Connie Sweeney

Connie became the Director of The Dance Department in 2017. She is not only an owner but also a teacher. She began passing her extensive knowledge of gymnastics on to our students in our exciting new Acro classes. Her focus on form and technique keeps the dancers wanting more!

Erica Connell

Erica is transiting away from teaching this year. She will still be a presence in the studio as she will continue to help run the studio from the administrative end. She started dance at the age of 2 at Cindy's Academy of Dance and at the age of 5, she began attending Elenor's School of Dance in Colonie. She has maintained her dance skills by attending continuing education tap classes and has taken adult lessons at various local studios throughout the years. Erica strives to create a fun, yet challenging environment where the dancers can grow together.

Mia Sweeney

Mia has been part of The Dance Department family for nine years. Her competitive dance experience began at age eight, receiving her first solo at age nine while also dancing in countless group dances and receiving numerous awards. She has been assisting teachers since age 11, to then co-teaching at age 16, to now having her own classes teaching all styles and ages. Along with being a dsnce teacher, she is also studying Social Work and Family studies at The College of Saint Rose. Mia is excited to still be part of her childhood studio, while also growing as a dancer and a teacher along with her students.

Heather Sheehan-Pielo

Heather started her dance journey at the age of 2. She danced in recreational classes until the age of 7 and then started dancing competitively. She competed throughout high school and then continued to compete through college earning numerous regional and national awards as both a soloist as well as a team memeber, while also earning her Associates in Early Childhood Education. Heather began teaching as an assistant to her teacher at the age of 12 and then began teaching her own classes at 15. She continued teaching and eventually opened a studio(Dance Dimensions, Albany) with a business partner in 1999. Heather is currently preparing to begin her third year with us at The Dance Department and is excited to watch her students grow tremendously this year!

Jennifer Manino

Jennifer began her life-long love of dance at the young age of 5. Attending private schools such as Walnut Hill and later a graduate of The HARID Conservatory. Mrs. Manino also studied at renowned schools such as: The Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet and Boston Ballet. Her professional career began touring for the Broadway show Cinderella which took her to over 20 cities throughout the USA. She then joined Columbia City Ballet where she danced soloist and principle roles. After two years at CCB, she went back to NYC where she began performing for The Metropolitan Opera Ballet. During that time, she attained a degree from New York University. After eight seasons dancing with the MET, she began teaching for various schools in NJ & NY including the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. She also taught for Miami City Ballet School in Florida for 3 years. She has over eight years of teaching experience, teaching students from age 2 to adult. Jen, her husband and three energetic children live in the Saratoga area. Founder of Story Dance Studios (, she began teaching and creating her classes in September of 2018. She is excited to be joining the faculty at The Dance Department.