Alumni

SOSD Alumni

Shannon O’Brien School of Dance takes pride in the achievements of their alumni. Regardless of their career choice SOSD alumni move ahead in their lives with the poise, experience, enrichment and self-confidence that a SOSD education has given them. 

KELSEY FOURNIER

Kelly Fournier SOSD AlumniSRA Grad Fournier a Patriots cheerleader
January 24, 2011 
By TERRY NAU

PAWTUCKET — Most pro football experts figured Kelsey Fournier and her New England Patriots cheerleader teammates would have spent a chilly Sunday evening outdoors at Gillette Stadium, coaxing freezing fans into making noise for the home team in the AFC championship game.
Instead, the New York Jets ousted the favored Patriots last Sunday in the conference semifinals, ending the season for players, fans and cheerleaders alike.
Fournier, a 2007 graduate of St. Raphael Academy, has been a member of the Patriots cheerleading squad for the past two seasons and hopes to make the team one more time before moving on to other things in her life.
“It was always a dream of mine to become a Patriots cheerleader,” Fournier admitted last week. “My parents (Ron and Heather) and sister (Alicia) are all big Patriots fans. I can remember sitting around the television, watching the Patriots, ever since I was a little girl. That’s when I started to dream about becoming a Patriots cheerleader.”
That dream came true in 2009. Kelsey has spent the last two years balancing her studies at Rhode Island College with the many duties of a Patriots cheerleader.
“There is a three-year limit for Patriots cheerleaders,” Fournier said. “I am finishing my second year. We have to try out all over again every year. I am hoping to qualify for my third and final year with the Patriots.”
Fournier’s background is in dance, not cheerleading. She did not participate in cheerleading as a high school student.
“I began taking dance lessons when I was three years old,” she admitted. “I have trained at the Shannon O’Brien School of Dance in Seekonk for 18 years. I have danced competitively, both in national and international competitions. I went to Poland in 2008 with the United States Dance Team.”
Looking for a new challenge, Fournier tried out for the Patriots’ cheerleading squad in 2009 and made the team on her first try. Kelsey’s experience and training in dance gave her a strong foundation for the tryouts. However, once she made the team, Kelsey learned a whole new array of cheerleading skills under the direction of head coach Tracy Sormanti.
“I had to learn a lot of new things,” he said. “In cheerleading, you have to be able to toss people. You need great social skills because we do so many community and charity events. It is considered a part-time job but it’s more full-time when you take into account all the time we put in each week.”
Fournier is a senior at Rhode Island College majoring in community health. She spent Christmas and New Year’s entertaining troops in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Qatar. Fournier was joined by coach Sormanti and five other Patriots cheerleaders. They blended into a group of entertainers who gave 10 shows while touring 12 forward operating bases and command outposts.
Fournier never realized that the dancing lessons she began taking as a three-year-old would take her 18 years later to Afghanistan where she would help entertain soldiers.
“I volunteered to go on an Armed Forces Entertainment Tour,” she said. “Six Patriots cheerleaders and our coach (Sormanti) went on the tour. We flew over on a plane that was called the Bob Hope Express.”
Bob Hope, of course, began the whole process of entertaining troops during World War II and followed through in Korea and Vietnam. This vital morale-building process has continued in Hope’s memory during recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fournier and her teammates arrived in Kyrgyzstan on December 20. They reached Northern Afghanistan on Christmas Day and then spent celebrated New Year’s in Qatar.
“Kyrgyzstan was pretty cold,” Fournier said. “It is near northern China, up near the mountains. It was snowing all the time. Afghanistan is just very cold. We finished in Qatar, where the temperature was around 70 degrees.”
Fournier gained some insight into the hardships that soldiers experience during their tours.
“Our trip definitely gave me a greater appreciation of what our soldiers are doing over there. We got to experience some of the things they deal with, like the cold weather. One of the best things we did was eat every meal with the troops. We got to know some of the soldiers on a personal level.
“It was Christmas and New Year’s and that really put things in perspective for us, knowing the soldiers were away from home during the holidays. You realize that could be any one of us. I really appreciate what our soldiers are doing over there.”
Fournier said it was “a touching moment” when the troops presented the entertainment squad with coins that honored their visit.
“They give out coins to soldiers for special things they have done,” Fournier said. “It meant a lot to us to receive one from the troops.”
And the soldiers really appreciated the shows that the Patriots cheerleaders and other entertainers performed in front of large crowds.
“The shows were great for their morale,” Fournier said. “We did 10 full shows. We visited 12 forward bases and command outposts.”
Several bases featured crowds of around 3,000 soldiers. At a few remote forward command posts, the show played to perhaps a dozen soldiers. The entertainment squad traveled on a variety of military aircraft: Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters along with C130 and C17 airplanes.
Fournier and her teammates signed autographs, did photo sessions with the troops, and participated in several re-enlistment ceremonies.
“It is an experience I will never forget,” Kelsey Fournier said

Devon Larcher

Devon Larcher was part of the Bill Evans Touring Company for the 2014- 2015 season, performing at the Ailey Dance Theatre, And other venues in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts area. He has just returned from working with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as a dancer and an aerialist on Legend of the Seas. Now home, Devon is continuing to pursue his passion for the arts dancing with Urbanity Dance Company, Fusionworks Dance Company and Ten31 Productions.

Julia Neto

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After her time at SOSD, Julia attended Hofstra University in New York, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Dance and a minor in business. Since then she has moved to NYC to pursue her dance career. Some of her notable performances included a workshop with the esteemed Merce Cunningham Trust, and the Amalgamate Guest Artist Series, both at City Center Studios. Most recently Julia performed with the Amy Marshall Dance Company at the Battery Dance Festival, outdoors in Manhattan (pictured). When not performing and taking class, Julia is an instructor and personal trainer for a dance-based fitness method. She loves coming home each year to set choreography on the fabulous SOSD dancers!

Sarah Abdow

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Sarah Abdow began her early dance training at a small recreational dance studio in Rehoboth, MA at age 3. Dance became her passion and by age 6, Sarah continued her training in both dance and gymnastics. At 8 years old, Sarah began her formal dance training at Shannon O’Brien School of Dance where she began to compete both regionally and nationally, winning numerous national titles with her SOSD dance company. In addition to her busy training and competition schedule, Sarah joined her dance company in performing at numerous charitable events, volunteered her time teaching younger dancers, and performed in school musicals. This past year, Sarah traveled to Chicago, IL where she won the title of American Dance Awards Dancer of the Year. Sarah was proud to represent Shannon O’Brien School of Dance at the American Dance Awards National Competition in New York City in July, 2016. Here, Sarah competed with her teammates and individually with other title winners from South Africa, China, Ecuador, Canada, and across the U.S. In September of 2016, Sarah will continue her studies as a Pre-Professional Jazz/Contemporary Trainee at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. While at Joffrey, Sarah will receive rigorous academic and technical training in a variety of dance styles necessary to prepare her for the competitive profession of dance. Sarah credits her success to the strong foundation and training provided by the dedicated and knowledgeable faculty at Shannon O’Brien School of Dance where a strong work ethic, a positive environment, and encouragement instill the love of dance and the pursuit of success.

Courtney Asselin

Courtney has been with SOSD for 23 years! She is currently dancing professionally in a modern company Fusionworks and does outreach work for a non profit organization Part Of The Oath. Dance is her passion and she could not be happier to be a part of the SOSD family

Javid Moghaddasnia

Born: Pawtucket, RI. Javid began taking a recreational tumbling class at SOSD in 2003 at the age of 17. In 2004, Javid joined the company as an acro dancer, and also took classes in jazz, ballet, and lyrical. As a company member, he preformed in dances like "Black Parade", "Doctor Doctor", and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". After SOSD, Javid continued his dancing career as a core dancer of The State Ballet of Rhode Island. He worked his way through the company and by 2007, Javid was promoted to a principal dancer. As Principal Dancer, he performed roles such as “Franz” (Coppelia), “Albretch” (Giselle), and “Oberion” (A Midsummer's Night Dream) to name a few. Javid also practiced his acro skills as a All-Star Cheerleader for Rhody All-Stars and went on to compete nationally. He currently works in the retail management field.
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