Co-Director, Co-Founder // Configuration Dance Theatre & School of Ballet
Joseph is a Buffalo native whose talents have taken him to stages around the world, performing as a principal dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Highlights of his thirty-two-year career include performing at the White House during a visit by Margaret Thatcher, dancing in the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Summer Olympics and receiving a nomination for the prestigious Olivier Award. Cipolla’s teaching resume is worldly and extensive. The Royal Ballet School, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Boston Ballet, Walnut Hill School and Chautauqua Institution are a mere sampling of his experience. He has an entry in “Who’s Who in America” and “People of Today” and is the Director and Co-Founder of Configuration Dance Theatre & School of Ballet.
KOLLEEN KELLY FISCHER
Co-Director, Co-Founder // Configuration School Dance Theatre & School of Ballet
Kolleen brings an extensive background in dance instruction, performance, and education to the school. She teaches classical ballet to students of all ages and is committed to the studio’s mission of “truly engaging in the spirit of dance.” At the heart of her teaching is the philosophy to motivate and inspire while instilling confidence, awareness, and an appreciation of the art form. Kolleen began dancing at the age of six and received much of her classical ballet training in the Vaganova method at the Royal Academy of Ballet under the direction of Ginger Burke. Prior to opening the studio in 2009, she gained extensive experience as a teacher and choreographer at several of Buffalo area’s top dance studios, schools, and summer programs. Among her credits, she created Configuration’s popular Storybook Dance curriculum for pre-school-aged children, incorporating creative movement, literature, and song as an introduction to dance. She continues to oversee the program and is thrilled to be part of the children’s first dance experience. Kolleen regularly plans and organizes studio programming, events, and studio performances throughout the year. She has also worked with Young Audiences of Western New York as a teaching artist, offering students,who may not otherwise have access, opportunities to engage in arts through workshops and residencies.
Kolleen earned both her Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education degree from the University at Buffalo. Her commitment to student success and wellness led her to pursue an NYS advanced certificate in Mindful Counseling for Wellness and Engagement through UB’s Graduate School of Education.