DANJ’s faculty include professional university and conservatory staff; dance company members; and on and off Broadway choreographers.
DANJ’s staff include faculty from Joffrey Ballet School, Marymount Manhattan, Alvin Ailey, NYU Tisch, Point Park, and Montclair State; dance company members including the Radio City Rockettes, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, numerous Broadway shows, and New York City Ballet; and choreographers whose works have been presented On and off Broadway, the Kennedy Center, Joyce Theater, and Central Park's Main Stage.
“What makes DANJ different is that your dancers have the unique opportunity to work in-studio, every week with gifted professionals.”
— Randy Skinner, Director and Choreographer, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics and Astaire award nominations for Broadway's White Christmas and 42nd Street
“The professionalism and personal care in nurturing and training its students sets DANJ among the best university and conservatory dance preparation programs in the nation.”
— Myra Daleng, Director of Dance Emerita, University of Richmond
Jason Luks is a performer, choreographer and teacher. He is currently on faculty at Joffrey Ballet School teaching Musical Theater. He was a member of the Tony Award nominated Falsettos choreography team with Director and Pulitzer Prize winner, James Lapine. He worked with Josh Prince and James Lapine on the choreography for "Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing." Jason's performance credits include “White Christmas” (Broadway), “On The Town" (Barrington Stage), “My One And Only” (Stages St. Louis), Rasta Thomas' Tap Stars, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the Late Late Show with James Corden, MTV’s Video Music Awards, and Good Morning America. He has performed at the Kennedy Center for Presidents Obama and Bush. Jason is a member of the award winning The JaM Project. He won the Adult World Tap Dance Solo Championship at International Dance Organization’s World Tap Dance Competition (’03), and ADA’s National Young Choreographer of the Year Award (’05). Jason’s choreography has been presented on Broadway's Walter Kerr Theater (Falsettos), the Kennedy Center, and Symphony Space NYC. Jason graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance.
Alexandra DeTrolio grew up dancing in all styles of dance. She went to to train at New Jersey Ballet and was a member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble under the direction of Deborah Mitchell. Alex has performed with the New York Liberty “Lil Torches” and the Knicks City Dancers as a Knicks City Kid at Madison Square Garden. She is best known for her leap and turn training methods, which have become well known in the competitive dance, gymnasts and ice dancing communities. Her students have been earned regional and national titles. She is currently on staff with Imagine Dance Challenge.
Angelica Stiskin is the Director of Joffrey Ballet School's Contemporary and Jazz Program. She earned her BFA in Dance at Marymount Manhattan College under the direction of Katie Langan, performing works by Shen Wei, Robert Battle and Lar Lubovitch. Her credits include ASH Contemporary Dance Company, and American Dance Artists, dancing with Travis Wall and Rasta Thomas. Angelica performed a self-choreographed solo at Jerome Robbins Theater as an advocate for solo artistry in concert dance. She is widely recognized for her versatility as a performer and teacher and has assisted Emmy Award winning Mia Michaels.
Angelica's "My Rooms" explores the compartments of the human spirit. The bold voices that direct decision can easily be the same voices that distract from reality. Her choreography is the guide through the rooms we create to survive circumstance. The dancing follows the tour between head and heart, leading us into the rooms we hide in to save ourselves from the truth.
Ashley Lindsey graduated from the University North Carolina School of the Arts. He has since performed with the Limon Dance Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Defero Dance Collective, VIA Dance Collaborative, and Jessica Gaynor Dance Company. Ashley worked with choreographers Jason Parsons, Mia Michaels, Lauren Adams and Suzi Taylor; and created works for the North Carolina School of the Arts, UNC, American Youth Grand Prix, CC& Co Dance Complex, Plumb Performing Arts Center, and Defro Dance Collective. Ashley has taught at UNCSA, Duke University, Elon College, and Jose Limon Workshops. He was a 2013 finalist for the Capezio ACE Awards.
Brandon West was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. "West" is a professional dancer, entrepreneur and trainer with a relentless passion for artistic & personal development; a passion that has proven monumental to his personal progression and the elevation of his brand. West was once a well rounded, accomplished student-athlete and international martial arts champion; but has now quickly ascended into a demanded source of performance and entertainment. Having entered the industry as a commercial Hip-Hop dancer, his hustle, ambition, and talent has fast-tracked him into both an artist and coach within the music and entertainment business; accredited for works that include Chris Brown, America’s Got Talent, BET, Rocawear, and Missy Elliot to name a few. West seeks to fuse what he calls “athletics & appeal” by combining his love for athletics and the arts, and devoting himself to using his movement and artistry to help build and showcase the best versions of himself and others from presence to performance.
Chris Kinsey is a DANJ alums. He graduated with a BFA in contemporary dance performance at Boston Conservatory (class of 2018) as a scholarship recipient. While at the conservatory, Chris has created three works, and has performed the work of Shapiro and Smith, Doug Varone and Aszure Barton. He spent his summer’s studying abroad at Impulstanz, Henny Jurriens and Springboard Danse Montreal. Chris currently dances for MADBOOTS DANCE, under the direction of Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz. As a choreographer, his work has been shown at Boston Contemporary Dance Festival (2017), TRACKS Boston (2017), Institute of Contemporary Art (2017), and the Choreographers Canvas in NYC (2014). Chris earned ADA's coveted Young Choreographer of the Year (2015).
Conner Bormann was recognized by New York Times Dance writer Ruby Washington for his performance in Loni Landon’s “And Then There Was One” stating “this dark, bracing piece … ferried bodies across the stage like cresting, breaking waves, as groups scattered and converged and scattered again.” Conner traveled with choreographers Mia Michaels and Brian Friedman as a ”Pulse Premier Performer.” He performed at Madison Square Garden in NYC and has received many awards and scholarships including National Junior Dancer of the Year at American Dance Awards. Conner graduated from The Juilliard School in New York City and is currently a Principal Dancer with Saarländisches Staatstheater.
Daniel Vaniska was recognized as 'National Outstanding Dancer' by New York City Dance Alliance and Broadway Dance Center, honoring him with the coveted Richard Ellner Scholarship. Daniel’s credits include Rosta Thomas' "Bad Boys of Dance,” "Hairspray,” "Footloose,” and the national tour of "The Music Man" with original choreography by Susan Stroman. He performed in Atlantic City’s Caesar's Palace in the Broadway review productions "Nights on Broadway II & III.” Daniel's industrial/TV appearances include: Volkswagen Germany, Walmart, as well as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Jaclyn Walsh was a principal dancer of Keigwin + Company from 2011 thru 2017, was named by Dance Spirit magazine as one of the dance world's thirteen "Hottest Young Choreographers" and by Dance Magazine as one of the dance industry's "Top 25 to Watch." Her choreography has been presented at numerous dance festivals and conservatories/universities including: Perceptions Contemporary Dance Festival, American Dance Guild Festival, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, NYU’s Past/Forward, NY City Parks Foundation SummerStage Main Stage, Joffrey Ballet School, and Montclair State University. She received Broadway Care’s coveted Choreography Award at the Joyce. Jaclyn choreographed and performed in Vienna Teng's music video "Level Up." Jaclyn received ADA's coveted Choreographer of the Year Award (2019) for "The Knot." She was named a finalist in the Capezio A.C.E. Awards for choreographic excellence in 2018 for "Appalachian Spring" and in 2016 for "Off The Grid", both choreographed for and presented by DANJ dancers. Jaclyn received her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she performed works by Susan Marshall and Ronald K. Brown and received the Tisch Achievement Scholarship in Dance. Jaclyn is on faculty at Crunch Fitness and BDC’s Contemporary Variations Series.
Jake Casey is a New York based dancer, choreographer, actor, and teacher. He was born in Syracuse, New York, where he began his training with Kathleen Rathbun at the Syracuse City Ballet. He then moved to Philadelphia to train on scholarship at the Rock School for Dance Education. During his summers, he studied with the Boston Ballet and at the Chautauqua Institution. In the 2013-2014 Season Casey danced as a corps de ballet member with Ballet Idaho, and as an Artist with Lauren Edson & Dancers. Under the artistic direction of Peter Anastos, he performed principal and soloist roles. In Summer of 2014, Jake joined the Cincinnati Ballet, where he danced as a corps de ballet member until Spring of 2017 performing in ballets by: Ohad Naharin, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, Val Caniparoli, Viktor Plotnikov, Victoria Morgan, Septime Webre, Trey McIntyre, Edwaard Liang, Jennifer Archibald, Adam Houghland, and many others. Jake danced at the National Choreographer’s Initiative in Irvine, CA. In Summer of 2017, Casey moved to Europe to dance with the Estonian Theatre Vanemuine. While with Estonia he performed Soloist and Principal parts in creations by some Europe’s most sought after choreographers. Choreographically, Jake has been commissioned by several companies to create new works. He has been commissioned by Cincinnati Ballet three times, Metamorphosis Dance Company (Trinidad), Pulse Dance Company ( Alaska), Miami Dance Project, and Stalder Dance (UK), to name a few. His work placed second at the Reverbdance Festival in NYC. Jake has also worked in the commercial dance world, where he is represented by The Movement. Casey was a 2013 NYC Finalist for the Youth American Grand Prix. He also competed nationally as a Level 10 gymnast with USA Gymnastics, where he was an academic All-American. As a Guest Teacher and Artist, Jake has instructed and danced at institutions around the world.
Jayne Gendreau grew up as a student of dance, and has been teaching multiple forms of dance for 8 years. Her training has primarily focused on ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, and musical theatre, but she has experience in most dance styles including tap, African Dance, ballroom, and acro. In 2015, Jayne graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in Dance Education cum laude. While attending Montclair, she performed works by Martha Graham, JosÃ© Limon, Christian Von Howard, Anna Sokolow, Maxine Steinman, and Lynne Grossman. Along with her performance background, Jayne has taught children 3 to 18 years of age of all different skill levels, including children with special needs. Jayne developed Pride Academy Charter School’s first Dance Program where she currently a faculty member.
Jenn Freeman is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. Her live performances include MTV’s VMAs, The Jimmy Fallon Show, Comedy Central’s Awards, and The Rolling Stone's 50th Anniversary Tour. She has assisted in the development of large scale productions for Florence and the Machine, Madonna, The X-Factor, LA Ballet, The Brit Awards, and Cirque du Soleil. Jenn has assisted renowned choreographers including Sonya Tayeh, Mia Michaels, Chris Dupre, Cherice Barton, and Chris Jacobsen. Jenn is currently collaborating with Charlotte Boye-Christensen for NOW International/Interdisciplinary Dance Company. Jenn received a BFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Jennifer Savelli has danced professionally for over 25 years. At the age of 17 she joined The Pennsylvania Ballet and was a member for four years. She was a Radio City Rockette under the direction of Maurice Hines in Las Vegas. Jennifer’s Broadway show credits include Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, Anything Goes, Guys and Dolls, The Boy From Oz, Dance Of The Vampires, and Fosse. Along with being a Dance Captain on Broadway, she served as Kathleen Marshall's Associate Director and Choreographer for the National Tours of the Tony Award-winning Anything Goes! Jennifer has been in the casts of five City Center Encores Productions and was featured opening The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas with Hugh Jackman performing an Apache duet. Her movie and television credits include CHICAGO, Not Your Time, thePBS TV series Broadway: The American Musical, and the CBS series NYC 22. Jennifer has also danced in several television award shows including The Kennedy Center Honors, The Tonys, The Academy Awards, The MTV Movie Awards, and The VMA's with J.Lo and Ja Rule; and she has directed and choreographed shows for Princess, Radisson, Carnival, and Oceania Cruises.
Jennifer is on the permanent guest faculty at The Rock School in Philadelphia, PA. and has taught at Akron University and Pennsylvania University's Dance Arts Company. She has taught all forms of dance at studios and universities across the country sharing her vast knowledge and love for the performing arts. She likes to encourage the importance of being proficient in and respectful to as many forms of dance as possible -- to have the freedom and flexibility to make the choices desired for a long career in dance. Jennifer also loves being able to teach dance as a means of expression and enjoys sharing its positive impact and tools in preparation for her students' future endeavors.
Jenny LeProtto started dancing at age four, studying all forms of dance including tap with Mike Minery (Tapaholics, Slide, American Tap Festival, JUMP Director) and performing works by Ray Leeper (So You Think You Can Dance Choreographer, NUVO Director). While she trained in all forms of dance, Jenny's current fortes are teaching tap, hip hop and jazz, as well as teaching all styles of dance for young children. Jenny is best known for her tap choreography. She was recently recognized by American Dance Awards for many of her tap, jazz and lyrical pieces. Jenny’s work has been described as “intricate, polished and exciting!” Jenny is a graduate of Seton Hall University with a major in Education.
Jimmy Stuart was born and raised in Long Beach California. He began his path in dance under the guidance of some of the most sought after teachers and choreographers in the industry, most notably of internationally recognized master instructor, Paula Morgan. His journey with dance has allowed him to travel the country choreographing and teaching, as well as perform in numerous music videos, industrials, and live stage shows. Recent works include dancing for American Idol’s Lovey James, “The Vampire Diaries” star Kat Graham on her debut nation-wide tour, International K-Pop Star Kim Jang-Hoon’s “Miracle Tour”, and“Forever Dangerous” – a Michael Jackson tribute created by his original and long-time guitarist, Jennifer Batten.
Jordan Norton is a member of Asha Dance Company. Jordan was a member of “Broadway’s Leading Men” national tour where she performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Jordan graduated with honors at State University of New York at Purchase College with a Bachelor of the Fine Arts Degree in Dance while working closely with her mentor and choreographer Nelly van Bommel. Jordan began her dance training with Jamie Salmon, Ray Leeper, and Al Blackstone in the studio and at Joffrey Ballet School, Broadway Dance Center, and Peridance. While dancing competitively, Jordan won two national titles.
Jordyn Luks started dancing at age four in all styles of dance, including studying ballet with Jamie Hoctor and Alana Isiguen, tap with Chris Lee and Mike Minery, jazz with Elisabetta Spuria, and performing works by Ray Leeper. Jordyn received her BA from the University of Richmond with a major in business and minor in dance. She was a dance scholarship recipient, member of the University Dancers Dance Company, and performed works by Robert Battle, Myra Daleng and other leading choreographers. Jordyn is a co-founder of Performing Hearts Corp, a non-profit dedicated to providing movement and dance classes to special needs children. She is currently working as a Brand Lead at Beamly (A Coty Company), a leading digital marketing agency.
Kathleen Arcieri grew up in Ridgewood, NJ where she began ballet lessons at the age of five. As a prized student at Irine Fokine’s School of Ballet, Kathleen performed in annual recitals as well as in Tchaikovsky’s classic, The Nutcracker, for over twelve years. At the age of 17, Kathleen was chosen to dance the coveted Sugar Plum Fairy role. After seeing her perform, the renowned Russian ballet dancer, Igor Youskevitch, invited her to train and compete professionally. In 1990, Kathleen was awarded the bronze medal in the prestigious New York International Ballet Competition. Kathleen also danced with the Connecticut Ballet Theater and taught classes at Irine Fokine's School of Ballet.
Katy Guth began dancing at the age of three and competing at the age of eight. Her training focused on Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary and Musical Theatre. She continued her dance eduction at Broadway Dance Center in New York City and dance seminars hosted by Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America. Katy began her teaching career in 2001 while attending East Stroudsburg University of PA. In addition to her teaching experience, with expertise teaching young children and teens, Katy is an established choreographer and has received numerous awards recognizing her work. Katy manages the Sparta location for The Dance Academy of North Jersey.
Laura Van Peenen Merino started dancing at four and continued training in acro, ballet, pointe, modern, lyrical, and tap - studying with Chris Lee, Dawn LaViola-Schaub, and Yuliya Akopyan. Prior to joining DANJ, Laura was on the artistic teaching staff at Performing Arts Academy for four years. She also taught Gymnastics for ten years under the direction of Debbie Tahan. Laura is the owner and director of TumbLe-nasium located in Wayne, NJ. She graduated from William Paterson University with a BA in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, & Psychology. Laura is also certified in CPR/AED & first aid.
Leo Manzari, professional tap dancer and actor, is a Lucille Lortel award nominated tap dancer. He headlined in the touring and Off-Broadway productions of Maurice "Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life," and was a featured Guest Artist on So You Think You Can Dance, The Mo’nique Show, PBS News Hour, Jerry Lewis Telethon, and ABC’s “The View." Combining his on-stage experience and charisma, Leo is doing something completely familiar and yet entirely different at the same time. Leo is bringing together tapping and rapping to hip-hop, with his own lyrics and music all while combining elements of experimental R&B and soul. The release of Leo's debut album, Clockwork, reveals a collection of compelling, well-honed and thoughtful songs that he says are "the rhythmic and melodic embodiment" of his thoughts and values. In 2017, at the prestigious Kennedy Center, Leo and his brother John performed during the Marvin Gaye gala celebration that was attended by dozens of VIPs including President Obama. As part of this duo act, called The Manzari Brothers, Leo and his brother received the Shirley Chisholm Trailblazer Award from the National Congress of Black Women in recognition of their work, the Helen Hayes Award, and nominated for the Ovation Award. They have performed at renowned venues such as New World Stages, The Rainbow Room, Lincoln Theater, The Apollo Theater, and Arena Stage. Leo's credits include a recurring role in Showtime’s “Homeland,” being featured alongside Harmony Zhu in TAPxBACH, and fronting his Hip-Hop/Neo-Soul band with vocals and tap dance. You can keep up with Leo via his Instagram @leomanzari
Logan Epstein graduated from Pace University with a BFA in Commercial Dance where she studied under Rhonda Miller. She has danced all over the country assisting many of the top choreographers including Andy Blankenbuehler, Christopher Gattelli, Nick Kenkal, Mandy Moore, Dwight Rhoden and Mia Michaels. While growing up and training in all styles of dance, she won many regional and national titles in addition to dance scholarships. Logan has appeared in many dance magazines and instructional dance videos. She has also been a professional assistant and faculty for New York City Dance Alliance, Onstage New York and Break The Floor Productions.
Michele Micholas grew up training with some of the finest teachers and choreographers in the industry. She excelled in all areas of dance and, while competing, held titles at both the regional and national level in the United States and Canada including American Dance Award’s Junior and Teen Dancer of the Year, Dance Masters of America’s Junior and Teen Miss Dance of America, and the coveted Miss Dance of American. After graduating high school, Michele went on to a successful career in the in the industry. Her Television and commercial credits include: Video Music Awards, Alanis Morrisette music video, Cinema Summer Screen, One Life to Live, and the Body Rock Workout video. Michele's theatrical credits include “Wicked” 1st National Tour, “We Will Rock You”, “Contact” 1st National Tour, "Saturday Night Fever" 1st National Tour, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and “Club Indigo” at the Taj Majal in Atlantic City.
Michele Kane is currently in her 10th year teaching dance at Lincoln Avenue School. Before joining the Lincoln Avenue faculty, she was a student at the County College of Morris and Montclair State University. At Montclair State, Michelle earned a bachelor's degree in dance education. Michelle loves all styles of dance, but tap has always been her favorite.
Nicole Pietraszkiewicz grew up training at The Dance Academy of North Jersey, studying with Jaclyn K. Walsh, Joelle Cosentino, Angelica Stiskin, and Jason Luks. She is currently attending the Ailey School in NYC. Nicole has been a featured dancer in many award winning pieces including: “Shame” (Impressions IV Benefit Dance Concert at NYC Symphony Space); and “Mutual Core” (Broadway Care’s “Dancin’ Downtown at the Joyce” at NYC’s Joyce Theatre). Following its performance at the Joyce, NYC’s Arts Council awarded the piece the coveted annual Choreography Award and invited the trio to perform at New York City’s Central Park ‘Summer Stage’ Main Stage.
Dr. Patti Krapels is the director of the Performing Hearts Program at DANJ. She is a chiropractic physician specializing in pediatrics. As her children began to demonstrate a love for dance at a young age, Patti became actively involved in a program specializing in children’s dance education -- starting at the beginner level with rhythmic movement, and thereafter, developing skills in ballet, tap, lyrical and jazz. Since then, she has become a children’s dance program lead teacher at several area dance studios and preschools. Patti earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology at Michigan State University and her Doctor of Chiropractic from Life University.
Sharon Hockstein received her Ballet training at the School of American Ballet, and studied on scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School and with Robert Denvers. She danced many leading roles in the School of American Ballet Workshop performances, such as George Balanchine’s Serenade and Concerto Barroco. Sharon danced professionally with The New York City Ballet performing at Lincoln Center, touring the West Coast, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and Jacob’s Pillow. She was also a Guest Artist with other Ballet companies across the USA, performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. Sharon currently teaches ballet on the adjunct faculty at Montclair State University. She choreographed Ballets and full-length Musical Theater productions at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts. Sharon truly enjoys passing on her knowledge and love of Ballet to future generations of dancers. She has been teaching for over twenty years and is thrilled to join the DANJ family – and we are thrilled to have her!
Tatyana Yatsenko is an accomplished ballet dancer with over twenty years experience performing solos and leading roles in many classical ballets as a Principal Dancer for over ten years each with: the Moscow State Classic Ballet Theatre; and New Jersey Ballet. She has performed internationally, touring the USA, Russia, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, China, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Norway, Belgium and Holland. Tatyana graduated from the Moscow Academy of Choreography with special recognition from the International Competition and International Festival of Music and the Arts; and maintains her professional membership with the Union of Theatre Professionals of Russia.
Terk Lewis Waters, Complexions Contemporary Ballet Artist in Residence, joined Complexions in 2010, performing works by Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Jae Man William Forsyth and Marcelo Gomes. Terk has taught at The Joffrey Ballet School, Marymount Manhattan University, Western Michigan University, Broadway Dance Center, Alvin Ailey Extension Program, American College Dance Festival, NYCDA, The Pulse, and Complexions intensives. After training with the City Ballet of San Diego and River North Chicago, Terk received his BFA in Dance from Western Michigan University where he performed in works by Ron De Jesus, Frank Chavez and Antony Tudor. "I believe greatness resides in Terk Waters. He is not just a really good dancer but a dancer rare for his generation." - Darrell Wood, Critic, NYC Dance Stuff
Tracy Badini received her early training at New Jersey School of Ballet and went on to train at the School of American Ballet in NYC. While studying at SAB she performed with New York City Ballet in numerous ballets including “Coppelia”, “Union Jack”, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” and “The Nutcracker”. Tracy was a dancer for the New Jersey Nets for four years as well as a choreographer for the New York Nets Kids and the New York Liberty Kids. Tracy has over twenty years of experience as a dance educator and choreographer. Her choreography has been performed at Madison Square Garden, The Prudential Center, Dance Rave NY and Symphony Space. Most recently, Tracy set choreography on the Duke Dancing Devils at Duke University. Her students have been accepted to The Ailey School, Juilliard summer intensive, Joffrey summer intensive and ABT summer intensive, to name a few. In addition, her students have danced in “Billy Elliot” on Broadway, “Macy’s Kids”, “Radio City Christmas Spectacular”, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and most recently, Season 8 of Dance Moms on Lifetime. Tracy’s students have been accepted to the Rutgers, Penn State, Hofstra and USC college dance teams. Tracy continues to learn and grow as an artist and teacher every day and she is excited to share her passion with the next generation of dancers.