About the Founders


HI! Thank you for visiting our site!

We are Nicole Gallo and Steven Vaughn!

Nicole and I have been working and dancing together for more than 5 years. We met at Georgian Court University in New Jersey and continued working together in New York City until the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on the world. Nicole and I left New York to spend an anticipated week or two in Massachusetts with my parents. One day, on our government approved, socially distant and masked daily wellness stroll we fantasized of living in this wonderful place and sharing our experiences and devotion to dance with younger dancers.

As the lockdowns grew and the closures extended, our conversations of returning to New York began as plans to get “back on track” and morphed into questioning - as many artists have - what does the future of dance in New York City look like? Who will be able to get back to work and when? Wait - what work will be available at all in any capacity!? We had an opportunity to critically consider our priorities.

In between fantastic discussions of living on the South Coast of Massachusetts and casual creative endeavors like dancing and making videos and music, we recognized we were already living the creatively driven lives we strived for in New York City. Here, under quarantine in Mass., we were finding intense joy and creative passion. We both have long-lived desires to open a dance and performance studio, so in the spirit of carpe diem, welcome to The Studio on Pope’s Island. We’re thrilled to be here!

Nicole Gallo

was born and raised in New Jersey starting dance classes when she was 3 years old. After years of competing and participating in conventions, she attended Georgian Court University performing works by Sidra Bell, Stefanie Batten Bland, Gregory King and Daniel Gwirtzman. She graduated cum laude in 2018 with a BA in Dance Performance and a Minor in Business Administration. Nicole was awarded the Scholar Award in Dance and Performance, 2017 and Most Accomplished Dancer, 2018.

She had the privilege of attending Impulstanz Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria and presenting her work, Exhale, at American College Dance Festival in Montclair, NJ. Nicole continued her education in New York City and attended various dance intensives: Dance Italia, Gallim Intensive, Parsons Dance Intensive and Peridance Summer Intensive. Nicole was hired as a member of Mignolo Dance Company, under the direction of Charly Santagado and as a Principle with Open Category Dance Company, under the direction of Steven Vaughn.

As a freelance dancer in NYC she performed works by various artists in venues including; Here Arts Center, Dixon Place, Suzanne Roberts Theater and Bridge for Dance. Nicole teaches several genres of dance, including contemporary, ballet, modern, jazz, improvisation, and hip hop. Her competitive routines have won many top scoring awards including; Best Choreography, Best Staging, Overall High Score Placement, and Scholarship Awards for Nationals. She has judged and stage managed for dance competitions and choreographed school musicals.

Nicole is a Certified Yoga Instructor (RYT 200) She is passionate about sharing her love for creative movement and nature with others, always feeling inspired by the beauty, strength and grace of practicing yoga. Classes are designed to reinvigorate the mind, body, and soul, naturally relieving stress, building immunity and endurance.

In 2020, Nicole relocated to Massachusetts and opened The Studio on Pope’s Island in New Bedford, MA.

Steven Vaughn

was born in the Midwest and raised in Massachusetts. He graduated with Honors from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, earning a BFA in Modern Dance, focusing on choreography. As a senior at the University of the Arts, Steven began working with Parsons Dance as an apprentice, performing at the Joyce Theater with the company while finishing his BFA. At graduation, he was honored with the Stella Moore Prize for Four-Year Achievement and the Award for Excellence in Modern Dance. After graduating he joined Parsons Dance full time, under director David Parsons; touring and teaching with the company. He danced with Parsons both domestically and internationally, including Italy, China, Brazil, Russia, and more. This opportunity afforded him the opportunity to work with Monica Bill-Barnes, Kate Skarpetowska, and Robert Battle.

Steven has taught throughout the United States including various dance college programs, Broadway Dance Center in NYC , University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University , as well as masterclasses in Italy and Israel.

His choreography has been set on the Philadelphia based SHARP Dance Co. under director Diane Sharp- Nachsin. SHARP Dance Company commissioned several of Steve’s early choreographies and continues to tour his work nationally. Steven’s work was selected for the 2014 Emerging Choreographer Commission for Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, and Harvard University, among others.

Steven is featured twice in Jordan Matter’s New York Times Bestseller, Dancers Among Us and TV and film experiences include Teddy Forance and Jon Arpino’s dance documentary Movement One, starring Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Operatic Heat: Parsons Dance presentsRemember Me’, All the Right Moves, the feature film Now You See Me and Law and Order: SVU.

Steven earned a MFA in Dance from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA (2017). He served on Faculty at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, NJ, 2014-2019. In addition to academic pursuits and studies, Steven has been serving as a Judge and Mentor at various dance competitions across the United States at Regional and National events.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Steven worked as a physical therapy trainer and Pilates instructor in New York City.

Now, having retuned to his childhood home on the South Coast of Massachusetts, is co-owner and director of The Studio on Pope’s Island in New Bedford, MA.