Open post

Cynthia (Thia) Wirling

Cynthia (Thia) Wirling was born and grew up in Beverly, MA. She started dancing at age 5 in 2007, taking Ballet lessons at her local YMCA. She fell in love with dance as an artform, and explored different styles as she got older, including Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Tap. In 2015 she began competitive dance, performing at competitions such as Step Up 2 Dance, Dance Ovations, American Dance Awards, Starquest, etc. When not dancing, Thia can usually be found curled up with a pencil and her sketchbook. She is currently an Art and Design student at Northern Essex Community College, hoping to pursue a career as a concept artist or character designer. Thia is very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Forty Steps’ 30th Anniversary Concert, and dance alongside such talented, passionate individuals.

Open post

Kelsey Clausing

Kelsey grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she fell in love with dance at the age of 10. She trained primarily in ballet at the Academy of American Ballet in Redwood City, California, where she was also first exposed to modern dance. While attending the University of California at Berkeley, she pursued her love for ballet, dancing with the student-run Ballet Company at Berkeley. She also solidified her classroom training in modern dance technique, earning a minor in Dance and Performance Studies under the guidance of professors and choreographers Lisa Wymore and Amara Tabor-Smith. She moved to Boston to begin her PhD, and while she devotes most of her time to her neuroscience research, if you can’t find her in the lab, you’ll certainly find her in the dance studio. She loves to take dance classes in Boston and Cambridge, and she’s thrilled to be dancing with Forty Steps this season!

Open post

Johanna Ferrell

Johanna is originally from Massachusetts’ North Shore, she started dancing in Newburyport, MA at The Dance Place at the young age of three and didn’t want to do any other activity. Johanna was a member of the Joppa Dance Company studying and performing jazz, ballet and modern across the North Shore for several years. Johanna moved to Virginia to attend Roanoke College, after graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration, she stayed in Virginia before making the move back to Massachusetts. While in Virginia, Johanna took classes at local dance studios to maintain her skills and keep pursuing her passion. Johanna is grateful to have found Forty Steps Dance where she can dance with likeminded, talented dancers, elevating her skills to a new level. Johanna currently works in the accounting and billing field for a North Shore based company but loves spending her free time dancing.

Open post

Alexandra Morales

Alexandra (Allie) Morales grew up in DeForest, WI, beginning her dance training at the young age of three. She quickly fell in love with the art form, training in as many genres as she could. After many years of assistant teaching, performing competitively, and working with the DeForest Parks and Recreation Dance Program, she decided to expand her dance knowledge at the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities. Allie graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Health and Wellness Promotion in May 2020. While in school, she curated a dance and visual art collaboration show, fulfilled a teaching dance practicum with Ballare Teatro, choreographed works for five composition showings, and completed an arts administration internship at Lundstrum Performing Arts. She was also selected to perform in pieces by renowned choreographers, Robert Moses, Pramila Vasudevan, Eko Supriyanto, and Chris Schlichting, among numerous student-choreographed works. She was a featured soloist in Robert Moses’ “Cause” in December 2019, and the piece was chosen to compete at the American College Dance Association in March 2020. Post graduation, Allie performed professionally with Madison Contemporary Dance for two seasons and was a dance instructor near Chicago, Illinois for both recreational and competitive programs. In the fall of 2021, Allie and her husband relocated to New England, where she continues to perform and teach dance in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Allie is thrilled to be joining Forty Steps Dance for its 30th Anniversary season!

Open post

Liza Tremsina

Liza grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where she began dancing at the age of 5, primarily trained in classical ballet at the Contra Costa Ballet Centre, as well as dabbling in modern and contemporary. She has also been fortunate enough to study Russian folk dance with Vladimir Ryazantsev, former soloist of the Moiseyev Dance Company. She continued dancing in college while attending UC Berkeley, participating in Jazz Dance Company and Ballet Company at Berkeley. After moving to Boston for her graduate studies, Liza has been glad to explore the local dance scene and expand her range of dance styles. Liza is currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, where she is researching magnetic materials. She is honored to participate in the 30th anniversary season and is extremely excited for the upcoming performances! Liza joined 40 Steps Dance in Fall 2021.

Open post

Michaela Romulo

Mica Romulo is a freelance dancer and choreographer based in the Boston – NYC area. Originally from Manila, Philippines where she was classically trained in ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, and folk dance. She got her professional start teaching children’s ballet and jazz classes around various studios in the city. In 2016, she was hired by De La Salle University as the trainer for the La Salle Dance Company – Folk and produced and choreographed their concert, “Tala”. In the same year, she became a member of Hotlegs Dance Company, Manila’s premier commercial jazz dance company and performed on various TV appearances, concerts, and corporate shows. In 2017, she formed the Dance Collective together with a group of independent dance artists in Manila and produced and choreographed the show “DancExchange” for Manila’s Fringe Festival. With a strong desire to keep learning and developing herself as an artist, she moved to NYC and trained at Broadway Dance Center upon acceptance to their training program in 2017. Since then she has appeared on stage in works by Sheila Barker, Michelle Barber, Paul Alan Brown-Lombardi, Julia Kane , DoubleTake Dance Co., and walked and danced the runway during NY Fashion week. She is currently part of the project based dance company Alpas Dance (founded by Mica Butnar and Alicia Kee) and appeared in their premier dance film, “Rise Up”.  In the fall of 2020 she choreographed, and directed her first dance film, “To Be Free”. This is her first season with 40 Steps Dance and is grateful and looking forward to all our upcoming performances in 2022.

Forty Steps Dance Concert Returns To Nahant

The following article was published in The Lynn Daily Item by Sam Minton June 22, 2021 read here

NAHANT — Forty Steps Dance is aiming to bring people together after such a long year apart.

The Nahant dance studio will be hosting its 28th annual concert Saturday evening. Concertgoers will be in for a treat as new choreography and some old favorites will be on display.

Just like every aspect of human existence, dance was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year the studio held its performance outside and will continue to do so on Saturday.

With Forty Steps finding success in their new, al fresco last year, coupled with relaxed guidelines from the state, Artistic Director Sallee Slagle said the best decision was to once again have the performance outdoors.

“We didn’t know, so we decided to prepare for an outdoor performance as we knew that we would probably be able to do that and were uncertain if we would be able to do any indoor variation,” said Slagle.

The choreography was also affected by the pandemic. A new work titled “Reverse Dance” utilizes and represents a medieval dance form that has dancers spread out and making limited contact.

For many, the arts can be used to bring the community together. Slagle and other dancers are very excited to be able to perform for the crowd once again.

“Just being able to present to the community and keep the arts alive — not just bring them alive but keep them alive — that’s the key, and we really feel like arts are essential especially to our spirit and all of that,” said Slagle. “I think through the isolation that we all experienced with the pandemic it’s really soul-feeding in that way and it definitely is something that we all missed during this period of time.”

Getting to perform for a crowd is not something that Slagle and her dancers take for granted, especially when they were forced to have online performances last year, she said.

“As dancers and performers, we have done some online work as well and it’s rewarding but it doesn’t have that same instant connection with your audience and you are never quite as sure whether you have connected with your audience when you are online,” said Slagle. “So, this (performance) is where we get to interact and connect and that’s really the soul of art.”

Slagle will also be performing a special solo, “Window Panes.” While it was choreographed in 2016, the piece strikingly hits home since it is focused on isolation.

“‘Window Panes’ kind of has the idea that you are always looking at other people’s lives and comparing your life to their life, and I think we’ve all had some introspective moments through this period too,” said Slagle. “Looking at our life and looking at others—  trying to figure out what’s best for all of us — it has that kind of quality.

“It does show that there’s a little bit of that despair in there, but the final point … they are working together as a group as well.”

Tickets are available at