135 Main Street Putnam CT 06260     860-963-7170

The Complex Performing and Creative Arts Centre

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The Complex Faculty 2019-2020

Nichola Johnson, MFA  -  Founder/Owner/Director.  Danceballet, modern, choreography and composition, tap, musical theatre. Director of The Complex Dance Theatre.  
~Nichola began dancing at the age of three under the direction of the late, Roy Perrault and hasn't stopped since!  Nichola studied Dance Pedagogy at The Hartford Camerata Conservatory,  holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College.  Nichola has spent her life immersed in the performing arts and brings a passion to this community that is infectious.  Nichola began The Complex in 2004, then named - Nichola Johnson's Studio of Dance.  In the past 15 years The Complex has grown and evolved into an anchor  for the town of Putnam.  Nichola is a performing arts teacher at Arts at The Capitol Theatre - a performing arts high school in Willimantic CT and an Adjunct Professor of Performing Arts/Dance at Eastern CT State University.  She also served as the Associate Director of The Cultural Center at Eagle Hill and as a Professor of Dance at Nichols College.  Most recently, Nichola Directed and Choreographed "Cabaret" for ECSU.  Her work has been seen in numerous venues, schools and colleges throughout New England.  Nichola is passionate about creating arts programs that advance the development of our youth and emerging artists.  

Julie Watt, MFA  -  Owner/Director of Communication.  Visual and Creative Art - painting, drawing, creative process, photography, creative writing, 3-dimensional art, community art, graphic design

~Julie Watt brings a wealth of knowledge, passion, and inspiration to The Complex Community.  Julie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Graphic Design from Northeastern University and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College.  Julie is a Graphic Design teacher at Norwich Technical High School and an Adjunct Professor of Multi-Media Design at The University of New Haven.  Julie spent much time in the professional world of Graphic Design working for companies such as Time Warner NYC, Valassis Communications CT, ADVO CT, and ADCO MO.  Julie is passionate about education and the arts and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Educational Leadership at Johnson and Wales University.


Sarah Andrews  -  Studio Manager.  Dance - ballet, jazz, musical theatre, modern, conditioning.  Advisor to The Complex Dance Theatre.  Theatre - choreographer

~Sarah is the studio manager and is part of the dance faculty here at The Complex! She is a senior at Rhode Island College studying arts administration. In addition to managing the studio, Sarah also teaches creative movement and teen repertoire. Back in the day, Sarah was a student at The Complex and a member of The Complex Modern Dance Company.  You can also find Sarah on the development team of Providence Water Fire.


Katie Lusa  -  Development and Marketing Manager Visual and Creative Art - painting, drawing, creative process, creative writing, 3-dimensional, community art

~Katie Lusa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Administration with a concentration in the Performing Arts from Stonehill College. She teaches visual and arts classes at The Complex. Katie was a theatre student and dance company member at The Complex growing up. She returns to The Complex from completing a year of AmeriCorps VISTA service at the Business Development and Community Outreach VISTA at an arts nonprofit in Portsmouth, NH. 


Alexandra Plucenik  -  Director of Student Engagement.  Dance - ballet, modern, hip hop, tap, contemporary, musical theatre, elementary dance.


Michael Bolger, MFA  -  Dance - creative movement, ballet.  Director of The Complex Ballet Company.

~Michael Bolger recieved a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase and a MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Michael has enjoyed a wonderful professional life as a movement based artist that has allowed him to be in contact and connect with many creative thinkers and movers. He continues his creative life and work as a teacher, choreographer and performer in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Michael has been on faculty since 1996 at Providence Ballet, instructing in the young dancer program and a company dancer and choreographer for Providence Ballet Theatre. In 2005 he joined the Dance Performance Studies program at Roger Williams University where he continues today as adjunct faculty teaching Ballet and Modern Technique as well as contributing choreography to the RWU Dance Theatre. Past Artistic affiliations include Island Moving Company (Newport RI) Cadence Dance Project (Providence RI) Portland Ballet (Portland ME) Phffft! Company (NYC, France) Underfoot Dance (NYC) Carol Somers Dance (Boston MA) Spindle City Ballet (Fall River MA) Cape Cod Dance Center (Bourne MA) and Trinity Repertory Company (Providence RI) . His choreography and teaching work spans many educational programs in South Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island and has been commissioned by Providence College, Rhode Island College, Wheaton College, MIT, Salve Regina University, St George’s School and CityARTS! Michael has had the honor to work with Gary Shore and be a part of his award winning films  Children of Providence (2008) and Nijinksky’s Room (2010) as well as the stage work Little Bed BIG Dreams (2015). Michael joined The Complex faculty in 2012. 


Larissa Bailey  -  Dance - tap,  jazz

~Larissa teaches tap and jazz here at The Complex.  She began dancing at the age of 5 in Plymouth, Michigan. She competed with her studio for 10 years regionally and nationally traveling to places such as Gatlinburg, Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas, and even performed at Disneyland.  She moved to Connecticut after meeting her husband at a national dance convention in Florida.  Since arriving in New England, Larissa has been heavily involved at The Bradley Playhouse appearing in shows such as The Pirates of Penzance, The Buddy Holly Story, The Little Mermaid, and Rock of Ages. In addition to involvement with the theater, Larissa also tap dances with a band performing mostly in the local area from Worcester to Providence.  Lastly, Larissa works as a stage technician at Foxwoods Resort and Casino moving shows in and out of the entertainment venues.


Erin Raymond - Dance - ballet, modern, hip hop, musical theatre, elementary dance.

~Erin is an arts education intern and part of the dance faculty at the Complex. She graduated in 2018 and is pursuing a degree in Theatre with a concentration in Dance and Global Performance from ECSU. Erin teaches modern and ballet; Erin was a previous member of the Complex modern and ballet company and was a student at the Complex for nearly ten years.


Seana Hendrickson  -  Theatre - acting techniques, theatre history, directing.  Director of The Complex Players.

~Seana Hendrickson holds a bachelors degree in Acting and Directing from Eastern Connecticut State University. Since graduating in 2012, Seana has been director of the PCS Drama Club as well as serving as a member of the Artistic Committee at the Bradley Playhouse. This past  fall she assistant directed Eastern Connecticut State University’s production of Cabaret. Seana has been on the faculty of The Complex since 2012 and is the Co-Director of The Theatre Department.  


Emily Zornado  -  Music - ukulele and voice, music theory.  Theatre -  theatre and music classes.  Music Director of The Complex Players.

~Emily Zornado has been working as a member of the Complex music faculty since 2015, as the Co-Director of the Theatre Department, and a private voice instructor.  She is a composer and playwright, and regularly creates original content for student performance.  Emily Zornado holds Bachelor's degrees in Social Work and Music, with a focus in Education.


Katie Smith  -  Music - voice, ukulele.  Theatre - children's music and theatre classes.

~Katie Smith holds a BA in vocal music education with a teaching certification in Oklahoma from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and currently is a part of the teaching faculty at Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson, CT. She has many years of teaching experience with all ages, teaching voice privately and in group settings. Her love for the arts expands through threatre and dance as well. With having the opportunity to dance in a variety of shows along with choreographing a few pieces herself, Katie is experienced in the art of movement. Her theatre experience includes but not limited to director of Grease, stage managing/tech crew for The Complex theatre performances, assistant director of the Rocky Horror Show, and two seasons directing the fall show at Marianapolis. Along with performing and directing Katie has experience writing a few original works performed by her students throughout the years. 


Joshua Smith  -  Theatre Department Music Direction.  Guest Faculty Music.

~Joshua is a New England transplant from Oklahoma who loves all things art and family. He is married to the wonderful Katie Smith (a fellow Complex music/theatre teacher) and has an enthusiastic 6-year old daughter named Dakoda who loves to dance at The Complex. He serves as one of the musical directors and as a summer guest faculty member here at The Complex. His artistic passion is making music within community and conducting musical ensembles. He currently holds the position of Chair for the Performing Arts and Director of Choirs at Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson and also serves as the Pastor of Worship and Arts at Green Valley Crossing in Putnam. His studies at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma awarded him the degree of BA in Piano Performance and now he currently is pursuing a Masters of Music in Conducting at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. When not making music, Joshua is drinking coffee. Follow him on instagram @thecaffeinatedmaestro 


Morgan Brown, MM  -  Music - guitar, classical guitar, ukulele, piano.
~Morgan Brown received his M.M. in Guitar Performance at The Hartt School in West Hartford, Connecticut and his B.A. in Music from Eastern Connecticut State University. His performance experience includes playing at The Ivoryton Playhouse, The DiMenna Center, The Bradley Theater, Cheney Hall, The Charter Oak Center, The Governor’s Mansion, The Chestnut Street Playhouse, along various other locations throughout the tri-state area. Additionally, during his time in the Hartt School Guitar Quartet he had the opportunity to perform in the world premiere of La Perla del Pico by Frank Wallace and A Growing Absence Lisa Coons. He was a semifinalist in the CMFONE International Competition in Boston, Massachusetts as part of the Nebula Duo.


Rick O'Neal, MS  -  Music - guitar, bass, ukulele 

~A practicing musician since he was 7 years old, their was no doubt what career path this person was going to take. Frederick "Rick" J. O'Neal IV was born on Cape Cod Massachusetts, but transplanted to north east Connecticut in 2006. Rick has performed and recorded professionally since he was 18 year old, toured the country since he was 21, started teaching private lessons at 24 and has since performed on Grammy-nominated songs, performed internationally, all on bass guitar. Rick was also a learning specialist for 4 years at Eastern Connecticut State University, tutoring college students in a variety of music related subjects. In addition to O'Neal's training in composition, music theory and music history, Rick also has experience in business admin., terrestrial radio, digital audio/MIDI, music technology, recording studios, live music settings and artist management. Rick has worked for music industry giants like Roland/Cakewalk and for music-tech startups like Nimbit Inc., all along writing, recording and performing his own (and others) music.  Rick favorite places to be are on stage, in a recording studio or in a classroom.  Rick hols a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Composition/Theory/Electronic Music from Eastern Connecticut State University, and a Masters in Science-Music Industry Leaders from Northeastern University 


Alex Aldridge  -  Music - guitar, classical guitar, ukulele, piano

Classical guitarist Alex Aldridge is an emerging performer both as a soloist, and chamber musician.  A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Alex received a Bachelor’s in music from the University of Northern Iowa in 2015 where he studied with Robert Dunn. He has performed across the Midwest and throughout New England. Additionally, Alex has performed internationally on several occasions. In the summer of 2014, he toured Spain with the UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club both as both a singer and a soloist on guitar. Later that summer Alex attended The Volterra Project, a one-week guitar workshop and master class led by Greek virtuoso Antigoni Goni in Volterra, Italy. In Spring of 2016 he performed solo guitar in Reykjavik, Iceland at the Free Church of Reykjavik.  Alex has performed in master classes for internationally acclaimed guitarists Christopher Parkening, Gaelle Solal, The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Thibaut Garcia, Andrew York, Jason Vieaux, Christopher Ladd and Oscar Ghiglia.  Most recently Alex and his duo partner, flautist Sierra Schmeltzer, were awarded 2 nd place in the annual Hartt Chamber music competition. Additionally in spring of 2018, he was a featured soloist with the contemporary music ensemble “Foot in the Door”.  He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree under the direction of Richard Provost and resides in West Hartford, Connecticut, as both teacher and performer.