Walter Schalk

Bios - Our Instructors

  Walter Schalk  
Walter Schalk: Mr. Schalk grew up in Stamford and began dancing at the age of nine. Career highlights include performing in variety shows such as "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Fred Waring Show," performing in television specials with Frank Sinatra, and being a finalist at the Harvest Moon Ball. His brief career was cut short when he was drafted into the Army. After serving in Europe, he returned to the U.S. and worked in advertising while choreographing many Off-Broadway and summer stock productions. Mr. Schalk opened his school in 1957 with 13 ballroom dance students.
  Walter Schalk  
Charles Micha: Charlie began his association with the Walter Schalk School of Dance forty-eight years ago. Our Special Assistant, Charlie flys up from Florida to help with the dancing school periodically during the year. When Charlie is not dancing he is riding his motorcycle. Charlie lives in Florida with his wife of 40 years, Carol.
  Kelly Nayden  
Kelly Nayden: Kelly serves as our Show Coordinator, as well as teaching and choregraphing for our Jazz & Musical Comedy classes. Kelly has been a Schalk dancer since the age of ten and was a student instructor and director while attending Wilton High. Kelly graduated summa cum laude from Connecticut College with a BA in dance and a minor in mathematics. She resides in Norwalk.
  Patricia Grey  
Patricia Gray: Patricia grew up in Wilton and has been involved with the Walter Schalk School of Dance since the age of 5. Patricia was a student instructor while in high school. Patricia graduated with a B.A. in Education from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2001, and earned a Masters Degree in Education in 2003 from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. Patricia enjoys teaching in Darien and Wilton, and choregraphing for our Jazz classes.
Jennifer Cogswell: Jennifer is our Costume Designer and Chairperson, as well as serving as our Office Manager. She grew up in and currently resides in New Canaan. Jennifer has been a Walter Schalk dancer since the age of ten, and was a former Ballroom Instructor. In 1999, she graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University, where she earned a BA in Biology, Chemistry & Secondary Education. While at FSU, she was a skilled performer and acrobat in the Flying High Circus.

Jim Lewicki: This is Jim's 18th year teaching Ballroom and 15th year teaching Musical Comedy, though he has been associated with the dance school since 1969. Jim is the Head Boys Soccer coach at Wilton High School and is the program coordinator for the Wilton Parks and Recreation department. Jim and his wife Susan, who works as a Dental Hygienist for Dr. Agostin, live in Trumbull.

Tami Hughes: Tami grew up in Darien where she was involved with the Walter Schalk School of Dance throughout her high school years. She was also a Blue Wave Dancer and was chosen to perform in the dance performance during the Bluebonnet Bowl halftime in 1987. She received a BA in Economics from Bucknell University in 1991. Tami had a successful career at Merrill Lynch for 16 years where she was a Director in Fixed Income Sales. She resides in Darien with her husband, Danny, and two boys, Charlie and Henry. She is thrilled to be home and teaching Jazz/Theatre Dance and Hip Hop in Darien.
  Libby Tiani  

Libby Tiani: Libby grew up dancing in our program (her father is one of the Walter Schalk School of Dance's original 14 students!). She is a recent graduate of the University of Tampa with a minor in dance. This year, Libby is teaching jazz in Darien, and Jazz and Musical Comedy classes in New Canaan.


Elise Brzoska: Elise joined the Walter Schalk School of Dance at the age of nine and was involved in jazz, ballroom, and musical comedy. She was a student jazz instructor while attending Wilton High School. Elise graduated from Michigan State University in December of 2008 with High Honors and a BA in Supply Chain Management. She currently lives in Norwalk and works in Stamford. Elise teaches musical comedy and ballroomclasses at The Walter Schalk School of Dance.
  Alice Honcharik  
Alice Honcharik: Alice danced with Mr. Schalk many years ago. As well as teaching ballroom, she helps backstage at the revues. Alice currently lives in North Stamford. She teaches classes in our cotillion ballroom program.
Jen Cippoletti: Jen grew up in Wilton and began dancing ballet at the age of 5. She joined Walter Schalk in grade and was a student instructor through high school. She received a BA in Political Science and French from Middlebury College in 1993. Jen now lives in Darien with her husband Michael and three children, Kane, Brooke and Drewe.