Faculty

Jane Bragg, Owner & Director-Jane has owned Thomas School of Dance since 1983 when she took over the direction of the school from founder Polly Thomas.  Jane has taught both ballet and tap classes over the years as well as carrying out all administrative duties at the school. She is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College with a masters degree from Wesleyan University.

Ivy Clear-Forrest-Ivy has been the director of the ballet program at Thomas School of Dance since 1991 as well as artistic director of Bangor Ballet since its creation in 1994. Having trained with George Balanchine, she became a soloist with the Joffrey Ballet at age 16 and a principal dancer by age 17, the same year she graduated from The Professional Children’s School.  She was honored by dancing at the White House during the Johnson Administration and has had “the good fortune to meet & work” with some of the great dancers of our times, including Balanchine, Stravinsky, Fosse, Nureyev, Gelsey Kirkland, and Maria Tallchief.  In addition to classes at the Bangor studios, Ivy teaches classical ballet on Fridays in Ellsworth.

Samantha Lott Hale-Samantha is a Girl Scout executive in Bangor. She grew up dancing with Ballet New England and was in the pre-professional company of Ballet Theatre Workshop – training at both places with Misha Djuric and Susan Duffy. She has taught ballet for Thomas School of Dance, has appeared in Bangor Ballet productions and has served as assistant to the artistic director of Bangor Ballet.

Cassandra Lovett-Cassandra has over 22 years of dance training including many years at Thomas School of Dance studying ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and modern. She studied under teachers from companies such as Alvin Ailey and the Joffrey Ballet. She served as an adjudicator in New Brunswick, Canada for the Atlantic Dance Competition. Cassandra holds a degree in music education from the University of Maine. Cassandra is currently teaching preschool, jazz, tap, hip hop and combination tap/ballet classes at Thomas School of Dance in Bangor and in Dexter.  She is co-coaching the Performance Team.

Serena Lovett-Serena Lovett has over 26 years of dance training.  She has studied with professionals from elite companies such as The Joffrey Ballet and Alvin Ailey Dance Company.  She has danced and acted in many stage productions such as Music Man, Oklahoma and her personal favorite,  A Comedy of Errors.  Serena has even traveled to New Brunswick, Canada to be an adjudicator for the Atlantic Dance Competition.  While attending The University of Maine, Serena studied elementary education with a concentration in performing arts, then moved on to become a certified cosmetologist. She has since been Co-Director and choreographer of Thomas School of Dance’s original production of Peter Pan.  Serena currently teaches for Thomas School of Dance in Bangor, teaching, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap/Ballet, Tap, and Co-Coaches the Thomas School of Dance Performance Team.

Christine Mihan-Christine grew up at Thomas School of Dance where she studied all styles of dance and performed with Bangor Ballet when it was still Bangor Youth Ballet. Before returning to Bangor in 2010 she was on the staff at Princeton Ballet in New Jersey. She is currently teaching tap at Thomas School of Dance.

Cassie Pillsbury-Cassie Pillsbury is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in Dance and World Studies. She was student director of UMF dancers and has been head dance instructor and counselor at Hidden Valley Camp. She has over 18 years of dance training including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, clogging and Irish. She is currently teaching preschool students, Irish, hip hop, tap and modern at Thomas School of Dance in Bangor and in Ellsworth. Cassie also runs her own dance studio in Unity, Maine.

Gene Syphers-Gene began his dance training with Polly Thomas in the 1950s and continues to study at workshops throughout New England. He teaches adult tap and has been coaching the senior tap group for over 20 years. He has served as stage manager for Thomas School of Dance annual shows.

Michelle Syphers-Michelle began her dance training with Polly Thomas in the late 70’s.  She has over 25 years of dance training at Thomas School of Dance.  Michelle started teaching jazz in 1993 at Thomas under the direction of Jane Bragg, and over the years she has taught beginner tap and children’s combination classes.  She has attended various dance workshops in Maine and New Hampshire, as well as Maine Dance Teachers.  Over the years, Michelle has assisted her father, Gene Syphers with choreographing stage productions for local schools and Bangor Community Theatre, as well as performing in several YWCA and BCT productions.  In 2002, Michelle moved to South Florida only to return in 2010.  Michelle is a board member of the Bangor Ballet.  She is currently teaching combination classes as well as beginner tap at Thomas School of Dance.

Amy Whitmore-Amy is a certified Zumba instructor and is now offering classes at Thomas School of Dance.