Dance Faculty

Michael Nickerson-Rossi





Gail Dezon


Chad Allen Ortiz



Alexis Hull

Intro to Dance

Alessandra Di Pierro


Academy Directors

Michael Nickerson-Rossi

Artistic Director

Chad Allen Ortiz

Programs Director

Laurie Bianchin

Academy Director

Michael Nickerson-Rossi


Michael Nickerson-Rossi’s choreography is filled with complex intricacies that unravel through a beautifully orchestrated mixture of artistic movement and emotional freedom. It has been recognized as profound and it is with this passion he creates quality and meaningful programming throughout the world. Currently, you can find Michael teaching choreography and composition at John Hopkins University "Peabody Conservatory," Directing at his school "Palm Springs Dance Academy," and continuing to present concert dance works in theaters world wide and films online.

Michael has taught at over 35 Universities/Colleges across the nation, started a classical modern program at Princeton Ballet, choreographed for Maserati & Porsche and worked as the Creative Director of Dance at the Palm Springs Annenberg Theater and Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center.

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Chad Allen Ortiz


Chad Allen is from Temecula, California, and was under the mentorship of his brother, George Ortiz Jr. His professional career began as an apprentice of Nickerson-Rossi Dance in 2014. Chad Allen is now the Executive Director and Principal Dancer of Nickerson-Rossi Dance. Chad is also the Co-Owner of the Palm Springs Dance Academy and Executive Director of the Palm Springs International Dance Festival. Through NRD's multiple dance programs throughout the nation, Chad has worked with over 32 high schools, 35 universities, 20 professional dance companies/choreographers, countless amounts of dance studios.


Currently, you can find Chad teaching as an adjunct at Johns Hopkins University Peabody Conservatory, directs the Co-Operative Educational Internships with Nickerson-Rossi Dance and Drexel University’s Steinbright Program, and is a full-time faculty member at the Palm Springs Dance Academy.

Chad has worked with multiple non-profits with therapeutic dance programming, from the Flourish Foundation with Jackie Lopez’s Versa-Style Next Generation in Los Angeles, Sister Mary’s Project Home in Philadelphia, and the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center in Rancho Mirage. Plus has taught at multiple educational programs throughout the Palm Springs Unified School District and Riverside County’s Office of Education.

Chad’s choreography has received multiple first-place awards and choreography choice awards at venues such as Nuvo, Art of Movement, Showstoppers, and KAR.

Chad Allen has danced internationally with the Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company and has also worked with Union Dance Project, PGK Dance Project, Brandywine Ballet, Compulsions Dance & Theater, and a touring group for Romeo & Juliet. Chad has performed at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow, the McCallum Theatre’s Choreographer’s Festival, the Royal Theatre in Turin, Italy, and many others.


Alessandra Di Perro


A native of Rome, Italy, Alessandra received extensive ballet training and started her professional dance career at the age of seventeen in Verona performing in Golestan and Bolero with Maurice Bejart’s Ballet du XXe Siecle. After that, she went on to Venice where she danced soloist and principal roles in The magic toy box and Giselle with Rudolph Nureyev. She performed more soloist and principal roles throughout Europe touring with the Italian company “Aterballetto” dancing classical works like Sleeping Beauty, August Bournonville’s Napoli and Flower Festival in Genzano, George Balanchine’s Agon and Allegro Brillante, and more contemporary pieces like Alvin Ailey’s Night Creatures, Jose Limon’s Orpheus and Glenn Tetley’s Mythical Hunters. Shortly after moving to the US in 1984, with a few months stop in New York to take a class with Maggie Black and Madame Gabriela Darvash, she moved to California and became the Artistic Director of Western Ballet School and Company in the SF Bay Area collaborating with the other instructors to devise a curriculum for 300 students that included inviting NYC Ballet guest instructors like Violette Verdy, Suky Shorer and John Prinz and choreographing many productions like The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Coppelia.

After moving to the desert last year, she is grateful to Michael Nickerson- Rossi for the opportunity to teach for the Palm Springs Dance Academy.


Gail DeZon


Originally from the New York/New Jersey metro area, Gail DeZon began her ballet studies under the

tutelage of some of the world’s most revered teachers, including Vitale Fokine, Graziella Danielli, Muriel

Stuart and Finis Jung. As a Jazz dancer, Matt Mattox, Charles Kelly, Lynn Simonson, Phil Black, Fred

Benjamin and Luigi were her mentors. Gail’s formal training also included the Boston Conservatory of

Music as a dance major/minor voice, Brooklyn College, and many independent studies in NYC.

Gail began her teaching career at sixteen, providing instruction in Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Exercise

techniques throughout the New Jersey area. Moving to Brooklyn, she partnered in opening and

operating The Dance Studio of Park Slope, still thriving today. An ongoing collaboration between the

Studio and Macy’s resulted in co-choreographing many televised events including Macy’s

Thanksgiving Parade and the Tap Event for the Guinness Book of Records, assembling the

greatest number of tap dancers ever assembled. The studio partnership also created many staged

productions including multiple recitals and performances of the Nutcracker.

She then went on to teach at all three locations of the prestigious New Jersey Ballet, then under the

direction of Edward Villella; a further series of moves enabled Gail to continue to teach multiple dance disciplines with a strong specialization in Ballet in NE Ohio, Philadelphia, Southern California and, as a guest teacher in Tianjin, China. Eagerly sought after as a personal coach, she has also provided

private training for Olympic level skaters, gymnasts and regional dance teams.

When she first arrived in SoCal, Gail taught in Ontario, and then anchored Beaumont’s Dance

Spectrum for 14 years, which usually includes choreographing their ongoing bi-annual production of

the Nutcracker. She has also taught and choreographed at the California Ballet Opera and Dance

Dimensions here in the Valley.

Gail considers it a great privilege to also continue to exercise her vocal talents as a member of several

leading regional choral groups which provided the career highlights of singing in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln

Center, Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, Beijing’s’ Forbidden City, and Shanghai’s Grand Theatre.

Most recently she happily added The Redlands Bowl, the McCallum Theatre and the Segerstrom

Center for the Arts to her roster of vocal performances.

Based in Redlands, CA for almost thirty years, Gail was deeply involved in the community as a leader

in cultural and philanthropic efforts and also taught Ballet at the Brockus Conservatory. She continues

to stay current with the latest Ballet disciplines and modifications with online continuing education and

20 years of Pilates training. Now in the Coachella Valley since 2012, she continues to seek out

community involvement including school reading programs, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate

for a foster child) and is currently working with the Ophelia Project, a mentoring group helping college-

bound teenage girls.


Gail feels very lucky to have continued teaching wherever she has lived and looks forward to being an

integral team member of the Palm Springs Dance Academy.


Alexis Hull


Alexis Hull is a dance instructor and choreographer in styles of jazz, hip hop, beginning ballet, and technique for gymnasts. She choreographed for the award-winning high school dance team at Xavier Prep and still coaches a group of undefeated level six gymnasts. Alexis was featured in the “Phantom of the Opera” at the McCallum Theatre in 2019. Her latest goal is to instruct the students enrolled in the Palm Springs Dance Academy's “Intro to Dance” program, as they make their first steps with successful dance training.

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