Hayden Colorado Logo

Dance Instructor Biographies

Caitlin Abraham, Artistic Director/YVAA Dance Chair, 

Caitlin Abraham

Artistic Director/YVAA Dance Chair

Caitlin has led the Dance Department at YVAA since the program’s recent inception. YVAA students have gone on to winning scholarships and/or training at professional company summer intensives including Colorado Ballet, Carolina Ballet and more. In addition to their rigorous training, some students also participate in YVAA’s teacher training program under Ms. Abraham’s direct mentorship.


On stage, Caitlin Abraham premiered An American in Paris (Director/Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon) both in Paris and on Broadway. After her Broadway debut in La Cage aux Folles, she joined the National Tour of Chicago. Favorite regional credits include: starring as “Cassie” in A Chorus Line, On the Town at PaperMill, and Marie: Dancing Still at 5th Avenue Theatre. Ms. Abraham has worked with industry leaders including Susan Stroman, Josh Bergasse, Peggy Hickey, Anne Reinking and the Verdon/Fosse Legacy. Commerical/TV/Film credits include: L’Oreal, two (2) Tony Awards, Salt Water (starring Desmond Richardson) and The Sound of Movie Musicals, a BBC documentary.


Before her theater career, Ms. Abraham achieved the rank of Soloist at Carolina Ballet under Director Robert Weiss (NYCB). She performed principal roles by Balanchine, Robbins, Limon and performed to benefit Dancers Responding to AIDS, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Amnesty International. Teaching credits include: coaching Tony-nominee Ariana DeBose and pop star Lauryn Hill, Broadway Dance Center, trainee programs at Joffrey Ballet School and Joffrey Jazz & Contemporary, Alvin Ailey and NYCDA. Ms. Abraham is currently an adjunct professor of Theater Arts at Marymount Manhattan College, where she teaches Daily Dance. Ms. Abraham has also served as Assistant Dance Captain for La Cage (Broadway), Assistant Choreographer to Dontee Kiehn on Broadway Bares (BCEFA) and Assistant Director on Salt Water (starring Desmond Richardson).


Ms. Abraham trained on scholarship at Interlochen Arts Academy as well as the Joffrey Ballet School, Alvin Ailey and the Paul Taylor School. She also trained on scholarship with David Howard and Nancy Bielski in New York City, and attended David Howard’s Teacher Training. Visit www.caitlinabraham.com. Follow @caitlin.abraham.


Upcoming Events

Featured NEws

Martin St. Pierre, YVAA Dance Program Operations Manager & YVAA Assistant Artistic Director 

Martin St. Pierre

YVAA Dance Program Operations Manager & YVAA Assistant Artistic Director

Martin is a Steamboat Springs native, now returning to teach. Onstage, Mr. St. Pierre spent two seasons performing with Colorado Ballet and one season with State Street Ballet in California. Favorite credits include working with Hong Kong Ballet’s Artistic Director, Septime Webre on Wizard of Oz and performing the role of “Arabian” in Nutcracker at State Street. Mentors include his hometown teachers Ben Spiegel (tap) and Solange Guenier (contemporary ballet). Mr. St. Pierre has received elite training in ballet, but has also trained extensively in jazz, hip hop, contemporary and modern.

Jessica Sanzone, Instructor 

Jessica Sanzone


Jessica is a New York City-based performer and theatre educator. She is currently studying at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC to receive her BFA in Musical Theatre Performance. Ms. Sanzone is also currently the Artistic Director of Broadway On The Boulevard, a non-profit children’s theatre company in NJ. She has performed with multiple theaters and production companies throughout the tristate area. Favorite credits include performing for FELD Entertainment, DreamWorks and performing A Chorus Line with Surflight Theatre. Ms. Sanzone graduated as a Dance Major from the Ocean County Performing Arts Academy in NJ.

Ellen McGihon, Instructor 

Ellen McGihon


Ellen grew up studying jazz, contemporary, ballet and tap in Palm Springs, CA. At age thirteen, she joined California Ballet Opera’s Pre-Professional Program and their competition team, “Team Heat.” On top of Ms. McGihon’s training with CBO, she completed regularly at dance competitions & conventions in Southern California, coached CBO’s junior dance team, and taught ballet, jazz and contemporary classes. Ms. McGihon currently lives in New York City where she studies with master teachers at Marymount Manhattan College; she is earning her BFA in musical theatre. Additionally, Ms.McGihon trains with industry leaders offering classes at STEPS on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. Favorite onstage credits include “Velma” in Chicago and “Georgia” in Curtains, both at Musical Theater University (CA).

Serena Van Engelenhoven, Instructor 

Serena Van Engelenhoven


Serena has danced with the Yampa Valley Arts Academy for three years, and has taught for one year under the school’s Teacher Training Program. Ms. Van Engelenhoven’s own dance training spans many genres, including classical ballet, pointe, Latin, contemporary, and jazz. Favorite onstage credits include Fairy Violente from Sleeping Beauty and the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux female variation with YVAA. Truly a versatile performer, Ms. Van Engelenhoven was also a part of the Steamboat Springs Figure Skating Club for ten years, performing in all of their theatrical shows, including starring as “Ariel” in The Little Mermaid.

Carsen Gerstell, Junior Instructor

Carsen Gerstell

Junior Instructor

Carsen has danced with the Yampa Valley Arts Academy for three years, and is new to the school’s teacher training program. Her own dance training spans multiple genres, including classical ballet, pointe and jazz. Ms. Gerstell has trained with master teachers at summer dance intensives including Carolina Ballet (NC) and Rocky Mountain Ballet Academy (CO). Favorite onstage credits include Raymonda and Bluebird with YVAA.