Our Award Winning Dance Teachers
love training all types of students to achieve their personal best!
Our dance teachers create professional level dancers and strive to be great role models for their students.
SHAYNE & NICK MISHOE - DIRECTORS
The Mishoes have been Co-Artistic Directors of The Academy of Dance Arts since 2008 and have inspired and educated thousands of students over the years!
Read more about the Mishoes below
MORE ABOUT THE MISHOES
Since taking over directorship of The Academy the Mishoes have maintained the excellent caliber of training established by Jennifer Church, while continuing to add exciting, cutting edge training methods. During their directorship they have restructured The Academy’s training curriculum including the addition of Pilates equipment classes which has resulted in a higher level of dancing at ADA. The Mishoes have implemented intensive training programs like the 14+ hour per week “Merit Scholarship Program” and the 2 week summer program “Performance Intensive” that gives students a taste of a professional dancers schedule. A weekly Advanced Ballet Class with guest dance teachers is now on the regular schedule, and frequent master classes expose students to the different styles & techniques that exist in the current dance world. Through the Mishoe’s relentless dedication to The Academy, students are better equipped & more inspired than ever to be part of the world of dance!
The Mishoes are detailed dance teachers & coaches, and under their direction the vast majority of Academy students who have participated in RAD exams have received the highest grade of Distinction from grades 2 through Advanced 1. The Mishoes thoroughly enjoy coaching their students for the Youth America Grand Prix, and are thrilled that out of thousands of competitors from around the world their students have been selected to perform solos and ensembles at the competition’s finals in New York City! In 2016 & 2018 the Mishoes were honored to receive YAGP’s ‘Outstanding Teacher Award’ at the semi finals in Boston & NYC. And in 2019 ADA was honored with YAGP’s ‘Outstanding School Award’ at the Semi Finals in NY! Due to their success at YAGP 2018, Dance Teacher magazine was prompted to feature the Mishoes in their October 2018 issue!
The Mishoes are passionate about working with their students on repertoire and full length ballets, which lead them to take over artistic directorship of the Company Of Dance Arts in 2010. CODA is a pre professional youth dance company affiliated with the Academy founded by Jennifer Church in 1985. CODA performs twice a year at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank and as Company directors the Mishoes have overseen numerous Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Wizard of Oz productions. The Mishoes added their own choreography to CODA’s repertoire with their premiere of Cinderella in 2012. The Mishoes love watching these productions grow and improve each year and are thrilled that new students are drawn to train at The Academy because of them.
The Mishoes’ students have received scholarships and acceptances for the summer & school year at prestigious programs and have gone on to dance with some of the best dance companies in the world! (check out ‘Our Alumni’ further down this page!)
The Mishoes are immensely proud of the wonderful people their students become and are thrilled by the many amazing successes they achieve!
SHAYNE MISHOE - ballet, pointe, pilates, gyrotonic®
Mrs. Mishoe is a proud alumni of The Academy of Dance Arts!
Mrs. Mishoe began her training with Jennifer Church, Charles Nicoll and Bridget Trochiano and danced with The Company of Dance Arts until graduating from high school. She then went on to train at the Boston Ballet School, and perform with Boston Ballet and various contemporary choreographers. While performing in Boston, Mrs. Mishoe received teachers certificates in Pilates & GYROTONIC® and began teaching those methods at Boston’s premiere studio, Boston Body Works. In 2003 Mrs. Mishoe moved to Amsterdam where she quickly became a teacher in high demand. She taught a wide range of students in ballet, pilates and GYROTONIC® including several principal dancers with the Dutch National Ballet! She was a founding company member of “The Movement Network”; a contemporary ballet and modern dance company. From 2008-2012 Mrs Mishoe was a guest ballet mistress for the Trey McIntyre Project in Boise, Idaho. In her time with TMP she staged many of Mr. Mcintyre’s works on his company as well as Point Park University and Boston Conservatory dance majors.
In 2011 Mrs. Mishoe represented TMP as a guest teacher at the Snowy Range Dance Festival in Laramie, Wyoming. An experienced teacher and coach, Mrs. Mishoe believes that with the combination of ballet, Pilates and GYROTONIC® dancers can gain a much deeper understanding of their own bodies, overcome physical limitations and develop a technique based on muscular efficiency. This has proven itself to be true through her students’ successes. Mrs. Mishoe loves to teach and in particular, to instill love and respect of the art of dance. She challenges students to approach ballet analytically and to develop a strong sense of awareness and self discipline. She creates an extremely focused classroom environment where each moment is utilized and details matter immensely. Mrs Mishoe is deeply passionate about her art and her teaching. She is known for her no nonsense approach and for the way that she aids students in developing the muscular awareness necessary to create a reliable base of technique.
NICK MISHOE - ballet, partnering
Mr. Mishoe began his ballet training with Ella Hay in Huntington, West Virginia, then completed his education at the North Carolina School of The Arts.
After graduating from NCSA he went on to dance with Boston Ballet under the direction of Anna Marie Holmes, where he had the privilege to meet and work with former Dutch National Ballet director, Rudi van Dantzig, on his acclaimed “Four Last Songs”. After 4 years with Boston Ballet Mr. Mishoe moved to Amsterdam to dance with the Dutch National Ballet where he was promoted to Demi-Soloist by director Ted Brandsen. During his dance career Mr. Mishoe performed soloist and ensemble roles in a wide range of classics as well as cutting edge contemporary. He had the joy of working with such influential choreographers as Sir Peter Wright, Natalia Makarova, William Forsythe and Christopher Wheeldon among many others as well as the thrilling experience to dance with such powerhouses as Sarah Lamb & Pollyana Ribeiro. In 2006 Mr. Mishoe was named one of ’25 To Watch’ in Dance Europe Magazine’s Critics’ Choice Awards and soon after this had the distinct pleasure of dancing for Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands! In 2014 Mr. Mishoe was a contestant on Season 9 of “America’s Got Talent” and his act “Blue Journey”, danced together with Rachel Kivlighan, made it to the Top 12! Since then he has performed excerpts from “Blue Journey” at venues across the U.S. including the Youth America Grand Prix’s 2016 “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” Gala in New York City. Mr. Mishoe has been a guest teacher for the Dutch National Ballet Academy, the Royal Academy of Dance Summer Intensive in Long Beach, California and at the Red Bank Regional High School dance program. Mr. Mishoe’s classes emphasize pure ballet technique with an aim to educate dancers on the importance of self awareness. He is known for his lengthy and challenging exercises delivered with a dose of dry humor!
Our Dance Teachers
Nick Mishoe danced with Boston Ballet & Dutch National Ballet and his dance duo Blue Journey reached the Top 12 on Season 9 of America’s Got Talent
Shayne Mishoe danced with Boston Ballet, was a Ballet Mistress for Trey McIntyre Project and teaches Ballet Hispanico
Bridget Trochiano danced with Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble as well as for Roberta Flack, Liza Minnelli & Shirley McLaine
JoVonna Parks currently dances with Elisa Monte Dance
Alison Oks danced for the Rolling Stones & Ricky Martin as well as on The Tonight Show
Viorica Stampfel was a principal dancer with the Romanian Opera Ballet Company
Dan Peterson won a world title as a tap soloist at the Fred Astaire International Jazz and Tap Championships
Michele Moritz danced under ballet master Willy Burman and is mentored by Hilary Cartwright
David Halpern received four multi-platinum record awards with The Bee Gees
JENNIFER CHURCH, RTRAD, AISTD - founder
is a registered teacher and member of the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D) and holder of the Advanced Teaching Certificate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (I.S.T.D.) in Classical Ballet, National Dance, Modern and Jazz, also holding Associate Status in Greek Dance and Cecchetti Ballet. Ms. Church founded ADA in 1985 was owner & director from 1985-2008. The quality of instruction has earned The Academy a reputation of being one of the premiere schools in New Jersey. In addition, she is the Founder and Artistic Advisor of The Company of Dance Arts. It is with great pride and joy that Ms. Church handed her life’s work over to the care of Shayne and Nick Mishoe.
SORI GOTTDENKER, RTRAD - ballet, pre pointe, pointe, new pointe mini course
developed ADA’s successful pre-pointe and stretch program. She is a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance. She also acts as rehearsal assistant for the Company of Dance Arts. She creates choreography for children, and has designed many ballet costumes and sets for the stage. In addition, she is a registered nurse. Trained primarily at the Academy of Dance Arts under the direction of Jennifer M. Church and Charles Nicoll, she also studied at the Joffrey Ballet and at the American Ballet Theatre. Sori has been on staff since 1990.
ELAENEE NOWELL - ballet, pre pointe, pointe, pilates, flexistretcher, jazz
began dance training at the age of 5. She has studied ballet, jazz, modern and tap. She has appeared in Frank Hatchetts Showcase and at Merv Griffins Resorts Casino. As a student of the Academy of Dance Arts, she was trained in the Royal Academy of Dance. Mrs. Nowell continued her training, on scholarship, at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. Performing credits include The Nutcracker, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, and Peter Rabbit & Other Tails with the Company of Dance Arts, The Nutcracker, Petrouchka, and Romeo and Juliet with the Pennsylvania Ballet, and the Philadelphia Opera Company’s Aida. Elaenee has been on the ADA Faculty since 1999.
BRIDGET TROCHIANO - modern, ballet
has been a featured performer and a member of The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble and The Joyce Trisler Dance Company. She has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music and toured extensively worldwide. She has done various music videos and television specials with artists Roberta Flack, Liza Minnelli and Shirley McLaine. She has taught Modern and Jazz dance at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She rejoined the faculty at The Academy in 2005.
MICHELLE SYMOS - ballet, pointe, body conditioning
considered the Academy of Dance Arts her second home while growing up and training under the direction of Jennifer Church. Michelle has been teaching at The Academy since 2012 and has been part of the Company Of Dance Arts Artistic Staff for many years, acting as Ballet Mistress for The Nutcracker, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Cinderella.
DAN PETERSON - tap, theater arts
is a member of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television & Radio Artists). He has performed in both regional and professional theater productions and has made several television appearances. He won a world title as a tap soloist at the Fred Astaire International Jazz and Tap Championships held at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, NY. He currently teaches at a number of facilities including the Academy of Dance Arts and the New York City Performing Arts Centre. Dan has served as a guest artist for the Dance and Drama programs and as Choreographer of the Spring musicals at Red Bank Regional High School Visual and Performing Arts Dept. He has also been an instructor for the Shakespeare Young Peoples Company as part of the the Count Basie Theaterʼs educational program. Dan has been on faculty since 2012.
JOVONNA PARKS - ballet, modern, contemporary
is a Philadelphia native where she began her intense formal dance training in ballet, Horton and Graham techniques. She attended the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program under the direction of
Ana Marie Forsythe and graduated in 2012 with her BFA in dance. While in college she was a member of Ballet Hispanico’s BHdos under Nicholas Villenueve. Upon graduation she was invited to perform with John-Mark Owens Presents… in Requiem. She has had the pleasure of working with and performing works by Mary Anthony, Camille A. Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Donald Mckayle, Hofesh Shector, Robert Battle, Jill Echo and many others. JoVonna has also had the extreme pleasure of working with Ty Jones and The Classical Theatre of Harlem in their productions of MacBeth (Soldier/Ensemble) and The Three Musketeers (Kitty/Ensemble). She also previously worked with Ballet Inc before joining Elisa Monte Dance where she is excited to start her 4th season! Alongside dancing with Elisa Monte Dance, JoVonna also enjoys teaching ballet and modern techniques in the New Jersey and greater New York area. Past studios include, CenterStage (East Brunswick), Brighton Ballet Theatre: School of Russian American Ballet, Essential Elements, and DreamMakers Performing Arts. Since 2016 she has taught at the Academy of Dance Arts in NJ and she also has the opportunity to be on faculty with the Police Athletic League of NYC!
LINDA MINNELLA - tap, pilates
received her B.A. from Montclair State University and Kean College. Her performing experience includes community summer theater, The Company of Dance Arts productions and American Repertory Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet. Linda joined the faculty in 1995.
ELEONORA ZAMPATTI - yoga, pilates
author, fitness model, and cover girl, Eleonora began her career as a varsity synchronized swimmer. Her love for movement and fluidity easily transferred from the water to the dance floor when she moved to NYC and enrolled at Peridance International School of Dance. There, she studied ballet, modern dance, and flexibility, but not until she tried a hot yoga class one day that her life was transformed. As a survivor of domestic violence, Eleonora’s distinct teaching style and practice are heavily influenced by her experiences. Like the cycles of the moon, she focuses on the lyrical flow of dark and light, life and death, strength and surrender. Convinced that yoga is much more than just asana, Eleonora encourages her students to accept their vulnerabilities. She feels that without weakness there can be no strength and without acceptance there can be no healing. Her classes are challenging yet accessible, and provide her students with the knowledge and courage necessary to carry their practice out of the yoga studio and into their daily lives. Eleonora has been on the Academy’s faculty since 2016. In addition to her work as a teacher, Eleonora created a project very near and dear to her heart: Ode to the Moon, a non profit foundation that uses yoga, art and music together to bring awareness on the topic of domestic violence. (www.odetothemoon.com).
MIRANDA TAYLOR - ballet, modern
was a student at the Academy of Dance Arts from 1985-1997 where she studied with Jennifer James Church, Charles Nicoll, Bridget Denise, Victoria Hall, Daniel Catanach, and Yvonne Scudiery. She was a member of the Company of Dance Arts where she performed as a soloist in the Nutcracker, Celebrate Dance, Snow White, and Beatrix Potter and Other Tails. Upon graduating she attended Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers studying with Randy James, Sherry Alban, Claudia Gitelman and John Evans. She received a BFA in dance from Mason Gross in 2001. After college she continued to choreograph for her own company, Miranda Taylor Dance, and has been a teacher at Perna Dance Center since 2001. Miranda joined the Academy of Dance Arts faculty in 2017.
LEAH BRANDSTETTER - ballet
started ballet at a young age with instructor Viorica Stampfel. In 2009 she began training at the Academy of Dance Arts under the guidance of Nick & Shayne Mishoe, Sori Gottdenker, and later on, Viorica Stampfel. At the Academy, Leah has had the opportunity to participate in Master classes with dancers from Pennsylvania Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet. In 2017, she went to the SLK Ballet Summer Intensive to train with Sara Knight to gain a deeper understanding of Vaganova technique. Leah is currently an intern at The Whole Dancer under the guidance of founder Jess Spinner and is also working towards earning her MS in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through Saybrook University. She hopes to be able to use her knowledge and experience of nutrition and health to help dancers be as healthy as they can be while learning ways to cope with the many body image issues dancers face. Leah joined the faculty in 2018 and continues to train at The Academy so that she can continue to learn and grow and inspire her students to do the same.
ALISON OKS - hip hop
received her BFA at Montclair State University and trained at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia as well as Broadway Dance Center, Martha Graham School, Peridance and Steps on Broadway. During her dynamic dance career that included theater, television & video performances, Alison was with the Knicks City Dancers for 3 years, was a principal dancer for Ricky Martin at the Grammy Awards, danced for The Rolling Stones at Fenway Park, was a principal dancer on the MTV Music Awards & Good Day New York, and was a featured dancer on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno! Alison has worked on several live industrial shows for companies like Reebok, Capital One & Hyundai and has choreographed & performed in several shows for the Nike corporation. Between 2005-2012, Mrs. Oks choreographed for the Knicks City Dancers, a Cindy Crawford commercial, was an assistant to choreographer Mia Michaels, and taught in Stamford, CT, Greenwich, CT and White Plains, NY. Alison’s passion is performing and she truly enjoys teaching students the techniques of dance, performance & choreography. She joined the faculty in 2018.
ELYSE MERTZ - ballet
began her dance training at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio under the direction of Risa Kaplowitz. She continued her dance education at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, receiving a BFA in Dance in 2017. At Mason Gross she performed in works by Randy James, Megan Frederick, Paul Ocampo, Kyle Abraham, Joe Goode Performance Group, and various student works. In 2016 she performed at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Later that summer the piece, a cønversation on drowning by Javier Padilla, was performed at the Inside/Out Stage at Jacob’s Pillow. In 2016 she also completed her 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training through the OM Factory, NYC. Elyse is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Elyse joined the faculty in 2018 and is dedicated to teaching children of all ages that through movement and play, we gain a better awareness of our bodies and our selves.
MICHELE MORITZ - stretch, gyrotonic®
has a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Marymount Manhattan College and is a certified GYROTONIC® instructor since 2001. Michele danced professionally under renowned ballet master Willy Burman and later trained for Merce Cunningham. After living, learning and running a business in Manhattan for 20 years, Michele has relocated to Red Bank and joined the ADA faculty in 2018. She believes every person deserves clear and focused education on how our bodies move and she looks forward to sharing and learning even more with her new ADA community!
VIORICA STAMPFEL - ballet
began training at the Institute of Choreographic Arts in Bucharest, Romania at the age of 9. She studied the Vaganova Ballet Technique, Modern & Character dance as well as Choreography and Piano. She apprenticed with the Romanian Opera Ballet Company for six years before joining their corps de ballet. After 1 year she was promoted to soloist and 3 years later to Prima Ballerina. She performed an extensive repertoire as Prima Ballerina including Kitri from Don Quixote and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. Viorica moved to the Red Bank area in 1984 and has been teaching ever since. She joined ADA’s faculty in 2010.
KATRINA PORTAGALLO - jazz
is a native of Middletown, NJ and received her training at LA Dance, The Academy of Dance Arts and Red Bank Catholic HS, where she was a member of the dance company. She has had vigorous dance training in styles such as ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap and hip hop. In her recent training she has developed skills in aerial arts, musical theater, modern, choreography and vocal music.
In May 2017, Katrina graduated Magna Cum Laude from Pace University’s esteemed Performing Arts Program earning a BFA in Commercial Dance with a minor in Arts and Entertainment Management. She has trained under industry professionals such as Dee Caspary, Rhonda Miller, Lauren Gaul, Jessica Hendricks and Alexandra Damiani. She recently spent time in Los Angeles learning On Camera and Choreographic techniques from Emmy award winning choreographer Mandy Moore of Dancing with the Stars and La La Land.
Katrina is featured as a principal dancer in The Gaslight Anthem’s music videos for Get Hurt and Rollin’ and Tumblin’ directed by VMA winning director Emil Nava. She has also appeared in the Timeflies music video Worse Things Than Love, commercials for Canon camera & Chobani, and modeled for Dance Spirit magazine.
Katrina is represented by talent agencies CESD and Clear Talent Group and is continuing to pursue opportunities to perform professionally on stage and on camera.
Katrina joined the Academy faculty in 2018.
Our Guest Dance Teachers
ALEXANDRA BASMAGY - ballet
was born in Red Bank, New Jersey and began her ballet training at The Academy of Dance Arts under the direction of Jennifer James Church. There, she achieved the grades of Highly Commended and Honours in the Royal Academy of Dance examinations in Grade 4 through Advanced. In 2001, she continued her training at Studio Maestro, in New York City, with Francois Perron, Deborah Wingert, and Fabrice Herrault. In 2004, Basmagy was accepted into the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT under the direction of John Meehan. She continued her studies and graduated from the JKO School under the direction of Franco de Vita. During her training, Basmagy attended Summer Intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and three consecutive summers at American Ballet Theatre in New York. In 2008, Basmagy joined as an inaugural member of Corella Ballet Castilla y León, in Segovia, Spain. Under the direction of Angel Corella, Basmagy performed tall pas d’action and a shade in Natalia Makarova’s La Bayadère, pas de trois and a big swan in Swan Lake, stomper in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, friend variation in Marius Petipa’s Raymonda, Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto, Christopher Wheeldon’s VIII and the first principal pas de deux in DGV: Danse a Grand Vitesse. Basmagy joined the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre in October 2011. Her repertoire includes Madame in Manon, the Spanish Dance in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, a Harlot in Romeo and Juliet, the Spanish Dance in Swan Lake as well as roles in all of the Company’s full-length ballets.
CHRIS BLOOM - contemporary, ballet
is from Middletown, VA where he started training at the Vostrikov Academy of Ballet at the age of 15. Christopher trained as a scholarship student at the Ballet and Contemporary Dance Programs in the School at Jacob’s Pillow under Anna-Marie Holmes and Milton Myers. Since graduating from the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Dance program in 2012, he has performed and toured with the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and Parsons Dance performing masterworks by David Parsons, Igal Perry, and Ohad Naharin across several continents. Christopher joined Ballet Hispanico in 2013 and has since originated roles in works by Edgar Zendejas, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, and Eduardo Vilaro.
ERIN FORREST - ballet exams
Erin Forrest began her ballet training at the O.D.U. Ballet in Virginia with Istvan and Ana Ament of Romania. In 1992, she received an invitation to study with Nina Sakhnovskaya at the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. While at Vaganova Academy, she was awarded a scholarship to continue her education at the St. Petersburg State Institute of Culture & Arts, studying Ballet Pedagogy, Choreography, and Russian language under Boris Bregvadze and her teacher, Olga Muxhortova. Following graduation from the Institute of Culture, Ms. Forrest returned to the U.S. to open and manage her own ballet school in Virginia, The Russian Academy of Ballet. She later moved to Boston to teach at Boston Ballet where she instructed beginning through advanced classes for eight years. She was also the audition teacher for Boston Ballet School, an instructor for Young Dancers’ Summer Workshop and Dance Lab, coached dancers for competitions, rehearsed students for performing with the company, and was an adjudicator for Boston Ballet’s City Dance Outreach Program. Upon moving to New York City in 2010, Ms. Forrest taught at Joffrey Ballet School and Gelsey Kirkland Academy. She then joined the faculty at Ellison Ballet where she created the Variations Intensive and an Intermediate level for the program. Ms. Forrest later became Head of Faculty and was in charge of the Advanced Ladies class. She has coached gold medalists at YAGP and Indianapolis International Ballet Competition. In 2014, Ms. Forrest’s students were selected to take part in “Class Concert” with Mikhailovsky Ballet at Lincoln Center where she also assisted in coaching and translating for rehearsals. She has taught and choreographed for Classical Dance Alliance’s “International Youth Ballet Festival” with Oleg Vinogradov, Artistic Director. Ms. Forrest has coached students to perform the lead role in full-length Giselle in St. Petersburg, Russia, and has produced choreography which was taken on tour around Russia. Her students have performed at Oleg Vinogradov’s International Dance Day Gala in St. Petersburg, Russia, and can be found dancing at Dutch National Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Salzburg Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet West, Universal Ballet, and more. For the 2016-2017 school year, Ms. Forrest was invited to teach the top level at Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC, and coached her student, Emma Zoe Harris, to compete in Youth America Grand Prix where she won a silver medal for Senior Classical and a silver medal for Senior Contemporary divisions at the semi-finals. Ms. Forrest was also presented with YAGP’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 2017. She moved back to New York City and founded Forrest Academy of Ballet New York, a year round program designed to train serious dancers for a professional career in ballet.
RACHEL HAMRICK - ballet, flexistretcher
trained at the Kirov Academy in Washington D.C. and went on to dance with the Dutch National Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, Universal Ballet, Orlando Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. She is also the creator of the FlexiStretcher: www.FLXBody.com
MEGAN JOHNSON - ballet
Megan Johnson began her dance training at the age of 3 at the Academy of Dance Arts, and studied there for 10 years before entering the School of American Ballet in 2003. She studied at SAB for 5 years, and began her apprenticeship with New York City Ballet in June 2008. She became a corps de ballet member of NYCB in October 2008, and danced for 10 years there, before retiring in October 2018. Megan now teaches at the School of American Ballet.
ANITRA KEEGAN - ballet, contemporary
Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Holmdel, New Jersey, Anitra N. Keegan brings a wholly unique and diverse approach to her passion for dance. With close to three decades of experience, Ms. Keegan began her training at the Academy of Dance Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey with continued study at the famed Royal Academy of Dance in London, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Rock School for Dance Education. Out of high school, Ms. Keegan began her professional career in Philadelphia with the Pennsylvania Ballet, where she performed in classical works such as George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Western Symphony, and Who Cares? Ms. Keegan was later accepted to the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. After graduating, she was asked to join the Ohio Ballet in Akron, Ohio. Under the direction of Heinz Poll and Jeffrey Graham Hughes, Ms. Keegan had the privilege to work with distinguished choreographers, including Alonzo King, Donald Bryd, Lynn Taylor Corbett, Laura Dean, and Anne Marie DeAngelo. Looking to strengthen her dance repertoire, Ms. Keegan then moved to New York City to pursue a free-lance career, which allowed her the opportunity to work with companies including DancesPatrelle, Chamber Dance Project, and BalletNY, where she was featured as “Desdemona” in John Butler’s Othello. In 2007, Ms. Keegan returned to Philadelphia and joined BalletX as a Principal Artist, where she was featured in world-premiere roles by such noted choreographers as Matthew Neenan, Edwaard Liang, Alex Ketley, Jorma Elo, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Jodie Gates, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Ms. Keegan continues to pass along her knowledge and passion to a new generation of dancers, serving as an instructor at numerous schools and academies, including the Pennsylvania Dance Conservatory, Metropolitan Dance Academy, and Bryn Mawr College, where she is a distinguished member of the dance faculty.
LENORE MORALES - ballet
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Lenore Pavlakos Morales trained with Vicky Simegiatos and continued her training at Nubert Ballet School. She was awarded a trainee scholarship to study at Harkness House for Ballet Arts. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School where she received her BFA Degree in Dance. Ms. Pavlakos Morales performed with Maryland Ballet and Eugene Ballet before joining Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1993, where she danced as a soloist and principal dancer. She additionally served as assistant rehearsal director and master teacher. While with DTH, Ms. Morales toured Europe, Asia, South America, Canada, The United Kingdom, and the United States, performing ballets by noted choreographers such as George Balanchine, Glen Tetly, John Taras, and Michael Smuin, to name a few. Ms. Pavlakos Morales is a guest teacher with “Tremaine Conventions,” teaching ballet classes to hundreds of children throughout the United States. She has performed on TV for the 2000 Kennedy Center Honors Awards and has been seen in various magazines such as Oprah, Mademoiselle, Pointe, and Dance, as well as the Italian magazine Io Donna. She formerly was the Ballet Mistress and Rehearsal Director of Staten Island Ballet and currently is the Ballet Mistress of NJDTE and a guest artist with Morales Dance.
GLENN ALLEN SIMS - modern, ballet
began his training at The Academy of Dance Arts. He was a scholarship student at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and The Juilliard School before joining Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1997. He has achieved soloist status and travels worldwide with Ailey.
KATYA STRELNIKOVA - ballet
Katya Strelnikova was born in Moscow, Russia. She soon followed in the dancing footsteps of her mother who was a soloist with the Kirov Ballet. Upon graduation from acclaimed Perm Choreographic Academy, Katya joined the Moscow City Ballet, attaining soloist level in 1997 and danced featured roles in “Swan Lake”, “Giselle”, “Don Quixote”, “Nutcracker” and “Cinderella”.
ELIZABETH WHITE - ballet, contemporary
Academy students have graduated to the following professional dance companies and year round dance programs, often on scholarship!
Alonzo King Lines School | Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater | American Ballet Theater | Avant Chamber Ballet | Ballet Arizona | Ballet Hispanico | Ballet Idaho | BalletMet | BalletNY | Ballets with a Twist | BalletX | Boston Ballet | Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet | Charlotte Ballet 2 | Colorado Ballet | Columbia University | Corella Ballet Castilla y Leon | Dance Theater of Harlem | Fordham/Ailey BFA Program | Francesca Harper Project | Houston Ballet 2 | JKO School of ABT | Joffrey Ballet Trainee Program | Juilliard School | Miami City Ballet | Nashville Ballet | New York City Ballet | New York Theatre Ballet | New York State Ballet | Ohio Ballet | Pacific Northwest Ballet | Pennsylvania Ballet | Peridance Contemporary Dance Company | Princeton University | Rock School for Dance Education | Roxey Ballet | Sarasota Ballet | School of American Ballet | SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance | TU Dance | Urban Ballet Theater | USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance | USC Dept. of Theater & Dance | The Washington Ballet
“As an alum of The Academy of Dance Arts and a current professional dancer with American Ballet Theatre, it brings me great joy to see the high level of ballet training offered at the school and how much students grow from year to year when I come back to teach. Students are given wonderful opportunities to learn from current and former professional dancers, have beautiful studios to dance in, and are given fantastic performance opportunities throughout the year. Knowledgeable teachers, dedicated students, and a nurturing environment!! Proud to say that I come from ADA and that it’s the place that gave me the foundation for not just my ballet career, but also taught me lessons that have helped me outside of the studio!” Alexandra Basmagy
DIANE LYNCH - piano
received her musical education in Lima, Peru with Blanche and George Czemere; she continued her study at the Rollins Music Conservatory in Florida. Diane has been a group accompanist for the theater group Saints & Sinners and a choral director for area churches and temples. She joined the Academy staff in 2000.
DAVID HALPERN - percussion
has been playing drums and percussion professionally for over 30 years. David has received four multi-platinum record awards with The Bee Gees, toured the world with award winning artist/dance diva Deborah Cox, the Iconic Spencer Davis Group and has signed to major label record contracts with bands mR. reality, Samhill, Hwy 9 and Love In Reverse. Also, David is presently the drummer in The John Eddie Band based out of Nashville who recently toured with Kid Rock and will again in the spring of 2014. David recently returned to teaching drum set, conducting drum circle classes and has played percussion for modern dance classes at The Academy of Dance Arts since 2012, which he is having a great time with.
DAVID DE LA MORA - piano
joined the Academy faculty in 2016
Our Office Staff
LEORA KORB - administrative director
joined the staff in 1991. She prides herself on having brought The Academy into “the computer age”. Responsible for the overall running of the business, she has seen the school grow tremendously. Being able to combine performing arts with a strong sense of what it takes to make that type of business successful is a challenging task. She worked in New York City in Press relations and has an Associate degree in Communications. She utilizes her skills in helping make The Academy of Dance Arts the success that it has become. Leora has lived all over the world and has always had a love of ballet and dance.
KRISTIN DRISCOLL - programs coordinator
was a student of The Academy of Dance Arts at it’s inception in 1985 and an original member of the Company of Dance Arts when Jennifer Church founded it. She graduated from Montclair State University with a degree in Communications and Journalism and went on to become an Emmy Award winning television news writer/producer. She also spent time studying early childhood education and worked as a preschool teacher for several years. Kristin found her way back to the Academy in 2008 when her daughter began training here. She volunteered for the Company of Dance Arts and became a member of the Board of Trustees in 2010. Kristin worked part-time in the Academy office for 2 years before joining our staff in 2015.
LINDA ARMSTRONG - billing & attendance coordinator
joined the Academy administrative staff in 2017 as Billing Coordinator. During the past year, she has worked to facilitate the seamless transition of billing processes to Dance Studio Pro (DSP) while maintaining our previous billing database. She continues to play an integral role in reviewing and modifying billing processes as we move through our first full year with DSP. Linda is the first point of contact in assisting Academy families with any questions regarding tuition and student accounts.
Linda spent the majority of her career as a Corporate Communications professional for a large global corporation. She began her professional life in public relations and eventually transitioned to internal and Human Resources communications. Prior to Communications, Linda spent several years in Corporate Meeting and Event Planning. In addition to her professional career, Linda is an active school volunteer and PTA board member at her daughter’s school. Over the years, she has put her professional skills into action through volunteer work with various community projects and charitable organizations.
Linda is thrilled to be a part of the Academy team and looks forward to getting to know all of you, our Academy family!
The Academy partners with organizations and teachers in an effort to provide as many people as possible with the joy of movement!
Nia barefoot cardio dance is holistic fitness set to soul-stirring music that feeds your body, focuses your mind, stirs your emotions and uplifts your spirit – every body is welcome.
Classes use diverse movement patterns with 52 basic moves that lubricate joints, strengthen and stretch muscles, while promoting stability, flexibility, mobility, agility and strength. Various levels are provided so the experience is personalized for your body.
Nia invites you to align with your natural rhythm, building a healthy and sustainable body. Through movement we find health.
This class is perfect for anyone who loves dance and movement. A great complement to any fitness practice, you will sweat, smile, move every part of your body and leave grounded and energized!
Step in to this class at ADA on Wednesdays from 10-11am $15
BALLET FOR MIND, BODY & SPIRIT
Whether you are new to ballet or advanced this adult class offers something for everyone! Build body tone and strength, work on posture, learn how to move efficiently and wake up your brain. All this in a fun and supportive environment!
Fridays 11:30-12:30 Contact Doreen Laperdon-Addison for more information! firstname.lastname@example.org
We are so excited to have Dance Fit classes at The Academy of Dance Arts!
Sweat, shine and werk with us every Monday at 9:30am and Thursday at 7:30pm.
Class includes high-energy, easy-to-follow and FUN dance cardio and toning exercises.
Drop in rate is just $15 per class. Grab your friends and get ready to get down.
Warning: Dance Fit may result in more energy, weight loss, smiling.
Contact Rachel Kutner for info: RachKutner@gmail.com
“The Academy of Dance Arts offers top notch dance instruction with caring and highly skilled faculty. The professional quality of instruction is exceptional and the staff trains each dancer to reach for their personal best. I highly recommend this fantastic school and their wonderful teachers.“