Get to know the best in the area . . .


photo Cynthia Rauschert - Owner/Creative Director

Cynthia is thrilled to take on the leadership role at Spark Arts and knows she has big beautiful shoes to fill. With a background in arts education, including a few years running a cultural arts center in the San Francisco Bay Area, Cynthia is ready to take this wonderful adventure to the next level. Not only is she stepping in as Owner and Creative Director at Spark Arts, but she will also be creating a fully integrated circus skills program at the studio.

In 2009 Cynthia founded Circus Moves, a mobile circus arts education organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering people of all ages and abilities using the transformational powers of circus. Originally from a tiny town in New Jersey, she spent 2006-2016 honing her skills in the San Francisco Bay Area and is excited to bring her circus back to the east coast to merge with the other performing and visual arts programs at Spark Arts to grow the most extraordinary little arts center in the most extraordinary little city of Bethel. Since 2004 Cynthia has brought her coaching and performing skills to eighteen states, five countries, three continents, and one great big ship. But of course, there's no place like home.

     
photo Erin Volpintesta - Founder

Erin Volpintesta moved to Bethel,CT in 1999 from her home town of Los Angeles, CA. Growing up in a family of actors, directors, musicians and writers, her early years were packed full of joyful home spun theatrics. She graduated as a music major from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from California State University, Long Beach.

Erin has enjoyed a singing career packed full of jazz, rock, musical theater, opera and session singing with performances at the LA Theater Center, Opera Pacific, the German Pink Pop Jazz Festival and Capital Records. She has taught the early childhood music program Music Together for 15 years and has co-owned and operated Angel Thorne Music, a lesson and recording studio, with her husband since 1999.

Erin loves dancing and singing with her three crazy kids at home! 

     

     
photo Donna Santos Bosworth - Art Department Head

Teaching Artist - Studio Art, Sip & Paint

Donna is a certified art teacher for grades PreK - 12th, and has been teaching in CT for over 16 years. She has worked with all age students, and currently teaches at two Danbury Public Schools (Academy for International Studies Magnet and Morris St. Elem.). Donna is a Teacher/Artist - much of her own creativity comes out through the lesson designs she creates for the students. She also creates art, usually in chalk pastel painting, drawing and photography. Donna has two children who have gone through the Bethel schools, and two big dogs who keep her busy. She looks forward to working with the community to explore their own creative expressions with small class sizes in a comfortable and supportive environment.

 

     
photo Tanya Murray- Club Spark Summer Program Director

Teaching Artist - Fine Art, Painting, Drawing, Recycled Art, and so much more

There is a quote by someone unknown that reads; the earth without “ART” is just “EH".
My whole life I have been interested in art and its impact with children. I believe art can be an honest expression of oneself and a way to communicate through beauty without so many words. It can also play an important role in child development that allows a balance between creativity and discovery. My name is Tanya Murray, I am a mother, an educator, an artist, and am inspired by many. I have worked with children throughout my whole life and feel that art helps engage and integrate the senses that can bring wonder and joy to them through many art styles. Art can be an effective way into the imagination and an instinctive display outwards for children. It holds a sense of freedom while encouraging confidence with a reward of accomplishment. I attended graduate school at Southern Connecticut State University and achieved my Bachelor degree in Fine Arts with a certification in Art education for grades K-12. I currently work part-time at a nature school where children are granted an avenue of exploration through their surrounding environment that enriches their body and soul. I am also a substitute teacher for various ages in local schools when needed. I am always left with a sense of gratitude when I see a child flourish and thrive when exposed to an art experience at the end of the day, I am just glad to be part of it.  (Tanya's photo is a chalkboard drawing. Yes, CHALKBOARD.)

     
photo Susan Cragg

Teaching Artist - Club Spark After School, Sip & Paint

Susan Cragg is both a wildlife enthusiast and an artist who specializes in watercolor and graphite pencil mediums. Her subjects range from wildlife to portraits of pets and their people. Susan graduated from East Bay Arts High School in 2010 and then attended Paul Smith's College in the Adirondacks for three years, where she studied Wildlife Science and Chemistry. She transferred to Iowa State University for her senior year and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biology in December, 2015. Since then, Susan was employed as a Wildlife Research Assistant in South Texas and Iowa, where she spent her days stalking frogs, reptiles, raptors, songbirds, bats and small mammals. These experiences were very influential to her artwork, and she continues to enjoy every moment of it. Art is an integral part of her life as she pursues her career in Wildlife Biology.

     
photo Laura Volpintesta

Teaching Artist - Fashion Design, Samba Dance, Carnivale Dance, Drumming

Laura Volpintesta grew up in Bethel, CT, singing and doodling. She got her BFA at Parsons School of Design in NYC in 1995, with one year at their Paris school, all the while singing and dancing with gospel choirs, salsa bands, and jazz ensembles. She's been teaching fashion design and illustration, model drawing since 1997, along with a few years of sewing and draping. In 2001 she became a certified Music Together instructor with the birth of her second child and started being active as a singer on the local and NY Brazilian music scene. Today she lives with her 3 kids who are also active in the visual and performing arts.

     
photo Elizabeth Cotter

Teaching Artist - Broadway Dance

Elizabeth Cotter is a dancer, educator, and liscenced counselor. She received a B.S. in Dance Education at New York University, and an M.S. in Community Counseling at Western Connecticut State University. Elizabeth enjoyed a career performing with various modern dance companies, industrials, and Walt Disney Northeast. She has taught at numerous dance studios and schools in New York and Connecticut as a dance and fitness instructor, personal trainer, and preschool music and movement teacher. Elizabeth is the proud mother of a daughter and fellow dancer who is a student at Danbury High School.

     
photo Aalejandra Tudeta

Certified Fitness Instructor, Dance Instructor/Zumba, Latin Dynamic Fitnessista. Join my dance party, let's shake it!

     
photo Kathryn Wichman

Teaching Artist -  Dancin' Darlins

Kathryn Wichman is an honors graduate of Bethel High School, currently studying Elementary Education at Western Ct State University. Kathryn has studied dance for 18 years, taking classes in Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet and Pointe. At BHS, Kathryn performed as a lead dancer in musicals such as Fame, 42nd Street and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; she was also a member of the Dance Team. In 2014 Kathryn returned to Bethel High School to work as the Choreography for their production of, "Zombie Prom". Kathryn is an amazing teacher and dancer herself. She absolutely loves working with children of all ages.

     
photo Ashley Malbin

Teaching Artist - Ballet, Tap, Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz

Ashley grew up in Danbury and has been dancing since the age of 3, studying at local studios as well as training at studios in New York City and SUNY Purchase. She has trained dancers in tap, jazz, ballet, and contemporary for the past 15 years. Additionally, she has been in local productions of West Side Story and My Fair Lady (Danbury High School), as well as being cast as an extra in the Disney movie Life With Mikey. Ashley loves working with children of all ages and passing on her knowledge, passion, and love of dance and performing.

 

     
photo Anthony Depoto

Teaching Artist - Improv, Acting, Director of Spark Arts Junior Theater Productions

Anthony DePoto is a theatre educator, actor, director and playwright. He has received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Western Connecticut State University and his M.F.A. in Acting from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is the owner of innerAct Theatre Education LLC and is an adjunct professor at Western Connecticut State University in the theatre arts department. Some of his acting credits include three Off-Broadway plays, an appearance at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the cast of Romeo and Juliet and in Mary Zimmerman’s Odyssey presented at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington D.C. He has also appeared in various films and has voice over credits. Anthony has had the pleasure of working in various Regional Theatre’s Education departments such as The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN, Hartford Stage in Hartford, CT and Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.

     
photo Kristie Liotta

Teaching Artist - Bellydance

Kristie has been a student of bellydance for the past 10 years, dancing her way through Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood. As a mother of 4, she passionately believes that woman can "only pour from a FULL teapot". She believes bellydance is the perfect way to "fill up", so that we can give..as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. Kristie is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and Doula. bringing her experience from these areas into the studio, to create a nurturing, intelligent, and sacred class just for you.

     
photo AJ Ascher

Teaching Artist - Ballet, all levels

Amity J. Ascher was born in NYC and began her dance life at the age of 5 or 6 at the Youskevitch School of Ballet where she was taught by Igor Youskevitch, Anna Scarpova and, Maria Youskevitch. From there she was accepted into New York City Ballet’s School of American Ballet, where she studied for many years and most notably with Alexandra Danilova, Suki Shorer, Felia Doubrovska among others. She had the privilege of working with Jerome Robbins in Circus Polka as a youth.

Aj performed at The New York State Theater with New York City Ballet in Balanchine’s repertoire: The Nutcracker Suite, Harlequinade, Coppelia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, etc.

As a dancer, Aj attended The High School of Performing Arts in New York City . While at Performing Arts, she trained in the classic modern technique of Martha Graham.

She went on to work and perform with a California based ballet company and upon returning to NY taught ballet to children in Harlem through a community based project that aimed to bring the classics to an underserved population. Aj has taught adult and teen classes continually throughout her career and her mastery of classical ballet can be seen in her class development from barre to center. She provides a clear and precise embrace of ballet technique while supporting and nurturing the sense of beauty, power and grace that are the signature of ballet.

     
photo Rachel Parille

Teaching Artist - Dance: multiple disciplines

Rachel discovered her love of dance when she took her first class at the age of 10. She was formally trained for 10 years at Larnel School of Performing Arts in tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, contemporary, and hip hop. She honed her skill and went on to choreograph multiple numbers at the studio. Before graduating, she created an art cabaret at her high school showcasing multiple dances and her very own choreography. After graduating high school she went on to teach dance at Seven Stars School of Performing Arts. While getting her degree, Rachel also perform on the dance team at her college, Western Connecticut State University.  For the past 4 years, Rachel has also learned line dancing. She has performed at multiple venues with Premiere Entertainment and has instructed others on the dance floor. She has also collaborated with other dancers in choreographing numerous line dances.