Linda Bernabei-Retter


Dancer, Choreographer, Director, Master Teacher, Motivator, Studio Owner & Mother of One


Linda, an exciting motivator, educator, choreographer and dancer, is originally from Canton, Ohio, began dancing at age 18, and the story of how she started dancing is rather unique. She had always danced and proudly called herself a “street” dancer. Then once when she was in a club dancing, she entered a “Jack and Jill” Dance Contest, where you had to pull your partner’s name out of a hat.

Her partner happened to be the lead dancer in the “Lido De Paris” in Las Vegas – Rich Rizzo! After winning the contest, they began talking and he told her she should take dance class, to which she laughed. She thought the idea of her becoming a dancer was as absurd as her going to the moon! However, Rich took her to her first class at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she met her first teacher and mentor, Ms. Nora Cattaneo. She says the rest is history. Linda credits Ms. Nora with giving her the permission to feel.

Before that, she says she bottled everything up inside but dance gave her that outlet for her emotions. In addition, Ms. Nora was motivating, fun, talented, inspiring and giving, not to mention she accepted a short street dancer into the world of classical training, at a time when “short” wasn’t cool in the classical world. In addition to Ms. Nora, Linda would like to thank her many other teachers and mentors over the years who in her words gave and gave to her including, Elise ValleeWinston DeWitt HemsleyRich Rizzo, Ron Watson, Cary LeSpina, Jeff Kutash, Ron Lewis, John Palethorpe, Breck Wall, Patrick Maze, Kevin Carlisle, Bill Guske, Jaime Rogers, Joe Bennett, Billy Goodson, Julie Adler and of course, Joe Tremaine. She says words cannot express the regard she has for each of them. Linda’s professional career included becoming a regular on the television shows “Midnight Special,” and “Solid Gold,” as well as many other productions including films, videos, cabarets and theater shows. After finding her partner in life, Darryl Retter, who would later become her husband, father of their daughter Renata, and her business partner, she co-founded Retter’s Academy of Dance in Agoura Hills, California, where she and Darryl are both co-owners and co-artistic directors.

In addition, she founded the Dancers Care and “United in Dance” campaigns which are projects to help build a connection to those in need that have raised thousands of dollars for various charities including the Alzheimer’s Association, 9/11 Victims and Tsunami Relief efforts, to name a few. Linda was honored with the first Educator Award from Co. Dance which was presented by Desmond RichardsonCharles McGowan and Nick Florez. She has also been featured, with husband Darryl, on the cover of Dancer Magazine,as well as many other recognitions in Dance Spirit and Dance Teacher magazines.

Her deep emotional tie to dancers is what inspires Linda to be a positive role model for all dancers. She believes her greatest achievement is being a member of a dance society that promotes dance in a positive manner. Therefore, all of her work is focused on passing on the gifts of dance to as many people as possible and their proteges, including those who have gone on to operate successful dance studios and appear on Broadway, in films and on television, are living proof of this. Linda believes dance saves lives, it helps give purpose and it brings light to all. Her motto, “Keep your dreams alive!” You won’t find a more exhilarating and motivational teacher anywhere and we are so glad that she is a part of the Tremaine family.

Entertainers Linda Bernabei-Retter has worked with: