Meet our Team - Teaching Artists

Director of Dance and Education

Vanessa Finnegan

Vanessa graduated with her BFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Sweet Briar College, where she studied Dance and Creative Writing. Among other dance professionals, she studied with dance educators Mark Magruder, choreographer for the dance company “Menagerie” and Ella Magruder who is the author of “Dancing for Young Audiences.“ She then went on to receive her Masters in Teaching degree for K-12 Dance as well as English, and maintains post-graduate professional licensure to teach those subjects in 48 states across America. She has been a dance educator for the past 5 years, specializing in modern dance and choreography for all ages. Her recent projects have included establishing 246 The Main’s dance program in southern VA which still runs in her absence, choreographing for the children’s musical “The Little Mermaid”, performing original choreography at the Dance and The Child International (DaCi) conference in Adelaide, Australia, and now heading the Dance programs and Education initiatives at Infinity Arts Center.

Director of Theatre Arts and Events

Stef Gaertner

Stef is a professional musical theatre performer from NYC with additional experience in teaching, nannying, and event planning. Growing up in NJ, Stef trained at PaperMill Playhouse, NJPAC’s Youth Theatre, OnStage Inc., Ramapo High School’s in-school theatre intensive program, and Skyline Theatre Co. Stef is trained in classical, jazz, and pop singing, various acting techniques, improvisation, musical theatre dance, jazz, ballet, stage movement, and public speaking. After she obtained her B.A. for Theatre Performance and Speech at Wagner College, she starred in the international tour of “In the Mood,“ and many shows at The Mac-Haydn Theatre. Her theatre and teaching skills got put to the test when she went abroad to teach ESL in Thailand for one year, which was the best experience of her life! Now settling in Virginia with her fiance, Stef is eager to spread her passion and knowledge for theatre arts to the Loudoun community! Favorite roles include Marmee (Little Women), Mrs. Walker (Tommy), Lucy (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Woman 2 (Songs for a New World), and Nellie (South Pacific). Favorite musicals are Annie Get Your Gun, 42nd Street, Ragtime, Hamilton, and Waitress.

Visual Arts Teaching Artist

Wendy Ghannam

Ms. Wendy comes to us with over five decades of art experience, including cartooning and animal caricature art across several mediums. She spent many years working via the Young Rembrandt’s national art franchise methodologies in the NOVA Area. She is also a consummate professional needlecrafter and practices textile arts professionally.

Theatre Teaching Artist

Elizabeth Davis

Born in Minnesota and raised internationally, Elizabeth has her BA in French and English and a BS in Elementary Education. She speaks both French and Urdu, and has strong intercultural experience. She has written or adapted several scripts for performance by children, has coached drama on a volunteer basis, and has consistently incorporated drama and song in her classrooms during her 20 years’ experience as a preschool teacher. Her combination of training and experience with children and her love and experience with drama coalesce in her classes here.

Dance Teaching Artist

Jessica Thaxton

Born and raised in Sterling, VA, Jessica studied dance at The Northern Virginia Center for Dance and Theater and Studio Bleu. After graduating in 2008 she began teaching dance for Groundworks. She has over 5 years experience as a dance educator teaching Creative Dance, Ballet, Hip Hop, and Modern dance to children. She was a member of the Beth Elliot Dance Company, performing all over Northern Virginia, including the Workhouse in Lorton, VA. In addition to her dance training she specializes in early childhood development and works as a preschool teacher.

Theatre Teaching Artist

Deidre Robinson

Deidre Robinson is a Maryland born actor/teacher/drama director for 7 years in the Arlington diocese and Washington DC public school system. She has been heading the drama club in both school systems for students aged 4-13. Deidre has multiple plays to her credit including “For Women and Wallace“ , “The Color Purple“ and extra roles in hit Movies such as “Step Up 2“.

Theatre Teaching Artist and Voice Coach

Elana Polin

Elana Polin has distilled the essence of good speaking into the same techniques behind good singing and stage presentation. Since opening Polin Voice LLC she has worked with politicians; military; clergy; artists; actors; mothers returning to work; corporate executives attempting to reach that next rung of the corporate ladder; the over-competitive children of Washington high achievers; foreign born executives; corporate lunch ‘n learns and with the everyday individual just looking to get in front of others and speak with confidence. Elana Polin has performed in theater, opera, liturgical music, film and television. She is a voice graduate of the prestigious Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and a member of Actors’ Equity; Screen Actors’ Guild; and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. A true believer that theater prepares you for life, she can help you to incorporate vocal projection skills into yours.

Theatre Teaching Artist

Chris Mantione

Chris has been an actor for nearly twenty years. In addition to receiving his MFA in Drama from Pace university he has performed in nearly every genre from Shakespeare plays to Evil Dead: The Musical and now turns his sights on preparing the next generation of theatrical artists. He is looking forward to the challenges of creating a fun and safe space for the education of our young artists here at Infinity Arts Center. He is proud to pass on the his love of acting as well as his tools for success in theatre.

Music Teaching Artist

Samantha Cordasco

Samantha Cordasco teaches private voice lessons, musical theater, and group piano at the Infinity Arts Center. Samantha received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Her principal instrument was classical voice, and she studied and performed genres including opera, musical theater, pop, and jazz. She sang soprano in the school’s premiere touring choral ensemble, the Frost Chorale, and has been singing in auditioned choirs since elementary school. She has been a part of many productions, including “The Sound of Music” (Maria), “The Secret Garden” (Colin Craven), and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (Marcy). In 2016, Samantha directed, choreographed, and provided lighting and sound for a production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” with Raising the Barre PAC in New Jersey. Samantha grew up in New Jersey, and moved to Virginia in June of 2018 to work for the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts program. Samantha strongly believes in the interdisciplinary structure of the Infinity Arts Center, and is ecstatic to teach at such a well-rounded institution.

Music Teaching Artist

Lin Wang

Lin Wang, native of China, received his Master of Music in Violin Performance at the University of Oklahoma. During his time at the University of Oklahoma, he studied with Dr. Gregory Lee and played with the OU Symphony Orchestra and Accademia Filarmonica regularly. He was the Concertmaster of Sooner Sinfonia for the spring concert in Oklahoma City. Recently, Lin organized and performed a fundraising concert for Southern Oklahoma Chinses Baptist Church in Norman, OK which sustained damage in a fire, and through his efforts, he raised a total of around $14000.
Before pursuing his Master’s study in the USA, he studied at Henan University, Kaifeng, China where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Violin Performance. He was the teaching assistant and training partner while he was studying at Henan University. He has previously performed with Yellow River Symphony Orchestra, and Henan Poly Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2014, Lin won the First Prize of Chinese Repertories B and Third Prize of Quartet in Hong Kong International String Competition.