Dance Academy

YMCA Dance Academy

At the Meriden YMCA Dance Academy, we strive to provide a fun and constructive environment to teach a high quality dance education. We are dedicated to developing our students’ talent, an appreciation for dance and helping every student reach their own personal potential.

We offer a variety of dance programs including:

  • Contemporary/Lyrical blends ballet & jazz dancing.
  • Hip Hop is a high energy level class that uses the latest music and dance moves from music videos and dances.
  • Jazz dance combines techniques of Ballet and Modern dance with the current forms of popular dance.
  • Tap emphasizes clarity of sound, rhythm, coordination, and speed with special shoes that have metal plates on the toes and heels.
  • Ballet is the foundation for dance. We focus on developing a solid ballet technique with emphasis on understanding correct body placement, proper use of turn out, coordination of the upper body and use of arms.
  • Baby Ballerinas characterizes a love of movement in your child with this fun and energetic class.


  • Winter: Sundays, January 5 - February 16, 2020
  • Spring I: Sundays, February 23 - April 5, 2020
  • Instructor: Rachael Gnatowski from the New England Ballet Collective
  • Location: Meriden YMCA Arts Center, 14-16 West Main Street
  • 2:00 - 2:45 PM Ballet (3-4 years old)
  • 2:45 - 3:45 PM Ballet/Tap (5-6 years old)
  • 3:45 - 4:45 PM Beginner Ballet
  • 4:45 - 6:00 PM Advanced Ballet
  • 6:00 - 7:00 PM Contemporary
  • 7:00 - 8:00 PM Modern
  • Full Member: $69 per 7 week session for one dance class, each additional dance class is $62 per 7 week session
  • Program Member: $99 per 7 week session for one dance class, $89 per 7 week session for additional dance class

Jazz/Tap Combo

  • Winter: January 9 - February 20, 2020
  • Spring I: February 27 - April 9, 2020
  • Instructor: Jane Hannon from Ballet Hartford
  • Location: Meriden YMCA Arts Center, 14-16 West Main Street
  • Thursdays, 5:30 - 6:15 PM Ages 3 -4
  • Thursdays, 6:15 -7:00 PM Ages 5 -7
  • Thursdays, 7:00 - 8:00 PM Ages 8+
  • Full Member: $69 per 6 week session for one dance class, each additional dance class is $62 per 6 week session
  • Program Member: $99 per 6 week session for one dance class, $89 per 6 week session for additional dance class


  • Register at the Meriden YMCA 110 West Main Street. 
  • Dancer must have some type of Meriden-New Britain-Berlin YMCA membership either youth full membership or be part of a family membership. 
  • Contact: Carolyn Daniels, Arts and Education Director at

Rachael Gnatowski, Dance Teacher

Originally from Frederick, Maryland, Rachael began her dance training under the direction of Joyce Morrison at the Frederick School of Classical Ballet. While performing as a member of the Urbana High School Dance Company under the direction of Stephanie Weigelt, she was named a Maryland All-State Dancer. She furthered her dance training attending summer intensives at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, North Carolina School for the Arts, the Kansas City Ballet School, and the Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Rachael then went on to graduate from Mercyhurst University in 2013 with a BA in dance. As a member of the Mercyhurst Dancers, Rachael was fortunate to perform Gerald Arpino’s Viva Vivaldi, set by Cameron Basden, and 6-1 by Martin Lofsnes. Rachael was also given the chance to perform with the Lake Erie Ballet, the Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre, and the Bayhawks Dance Team, allowing her to work with artists such as Thom Clower, Alethea Bodine, and Holly Anderson. Since graduation, she has danced with BalletFleming under the direction of Christopher Fleming and the Fort Wayne Ballet under Karen Gibbons-Brown. Rachael has also guested with the Albany Berkshire Ballet, Connect the Dots Dance Company, Deos Contemporary Ballet, and Three Rivers Dance. Rachael dances with the New England Ballet Collective.

Jane Hannon

Jane Hannon is currently a Trainee with the Ballet Hartford under the direction of Leyna Doran and Elizabeth McMillan as Artistic Director Emerita for the 2019/2020 Season. Most recently, she participated in a workshop with Ballet Hartford and had the honor of working with soloists of the New York City Ballet, including Lars Nelson, Rachel Hutsell and Silas Farley. Jane had the pleasure of being selected to perform the female variation from George Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas” at the workshop’s performance. Previously, she had pre-professional training at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. working with Bat Udval, Evgenia Singur, Runqiao Du, Svetlana Kravtsova and Vladim Pijicov. Miss Jane has been teaching  and choreographing over the past five years throughout New England and DC. Memorable roles performed were Clara and the Snow Queen in “The Nutcracker,” and Lumière in Edra Toth’s original production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

How to register for programs:

1. If you already have an up to date membership - You can register online, by phone at 203.235.6386 or in person at the Meriden YMCA at 110 West Main Street.

2. If you do not have a membership yet or need to update your membership - Register in person at the Meriden YMCA at 110 West Main Street. 

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