Two 5-Day Sessions
June 14-19 and August 21-25
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
Alana Isiguen trained and apprenticed with the North Carolina Dance Theater and with Rebecca Massey Wiley of American Ballet Theater, focusing on dance pedagogy, restaging classical works, and rehearsal direction. Professionally, Alana has performed works by George Balanchine, Ohad Naharin, Mark Morris, and William Forsythe, and presented her own choreography at the La Mama Experimental Theatre. Alana received her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, studied abroad at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, and received her MFA in Dance at the University of California, Irvine where she researched the integration of somatic concepts into technical training, specifically ballet.
Albert Blaise Cattafi is the Resident Choreographer for the Phoenix Ballet and is a proud faculty member of Los Angeles based dance convention, “L.A. Dance Magic”. He began his training at the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. Upon high school graduation, Albert won the prestigious title of Mr. Dance of America and shortly thereafter was honored to receive a full scholarship to the dance program at Montclair State University. Albert has been cast in several episodes of “Saturday Night Live”, has appeared as a guest artist on SYTYCD, and was featured in an international Coke Zero Commercial. He has performed on the Video Music Awards for Florence and the Machine and on the American Music Awards with Kelly Clarkson. Known for his technical prowess and artistry, Albert was an original member of both internationally recognized dance companies “Shaping Sound” under the direction of Travis Wall, and “Bad Boys of Dance” under the direction of Rasta Thomas.
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.
Barton is a native of Denver, Colorado where he began his training at Denver School of the Arts and The Academy of Colorado Ballet. We went on to attend The University of Arizona, graduating with a BFA in Dance. Barton recently returned from the 1st National Tour of 'An American In Paris' where he was the understudy to the role of Jerry as well as starring in the Lifetime original film 'Center Stage: On Pointe'. He has appeared in featured roles with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Pontus Lidberg Dance, and Bad Boys of Ballet (among many others). Barton can also be seen in print ads for Gap Fit, Old Navy, and Capezio. www.bartonc.com
"...dance is, as I see it, a form of poetry for which physical prowess is merely a means but surely not an end. Dancers who get stuck emphasizing only the athletic aspect of dance seem to have only one note they strike repeatedly. They appear to be shouting all of the time. It’s the difference between yelling and singing. Barton sings. It’s a choice.” - Lar Lubovitch
Brandon Cournay Brandon Cournay is originally from Detroit, Michigan and is one of the most versatile dancers in the industry. Since receiving his BFA from The Juilliard School, he has had an exciting journey performing in both commercial and concert dance. Brandon has performed in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, can be seen in TV commercials for Puma as well as industrials for Sesame Street and Target. He is featured in the upcoming film, “Musical Chairs.” Brandon has performed with the New York Theatre Ballet, Morphoses, Mark Morris Dance Group and is currently dancing with KEIGWIN + COMPANY.
Chris Hale is Associate Director and Director of Education at Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance, which launched in the fall of 2009. Through his work with Pushing Progress, Chris and his partner Calen J. Kurka are at the helm of a revolution in the way we train in dance. Through an energetic approach and the incorporation of varied methodologies for sustainability and injury prevention they hope to bring a sophisticated level of information into the lives of every dancer who has the drive and passion to grow as an artist. Chris has been on faculty at Broadway Dance Center as well as teaching around NYC at Steps and Dance New Amsterdam. A renowned master teacher, Chris travels around the U.S. and Canada bringing his passion for technique and artistry to dancers of all ages. Teaching opportunities have taken Chris to Italy, Ireland and was on faculty at the ABT New York Summer Intensive 2013.
Professional credits include KTU's miracle on 34th Street where he performed with such recording artists as Mary J. Blige, Deborah Cox, Tamia, Gloria Gaynor, and Michael Jackson. In 2002, he performed with international singing sensation Anastasia at the FIFA World Cup Final Draw in Busan, Korea. Television credits include HBO's "Sex and the City" playing opposite Kim Catrall. He, along with fellow instructor Calen Kurka, released an instructional video for the Live At BDC series entitled “Floorwork with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale”
In the summer of 2004 Chris debuted a collection of never before seen works entitled “CollidE (with me) at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Art Nexus “WAX” in three evenings of sold out performances. Since then his work has appeared throughout New York in choreographer’s showcases such as “The Turning Point” at NYC’s Puffin Room, and “Envision This” by Enfocus Dance. Most recently his work has appeared in the Pushing Progress “Showcase Series” started by Calen J. Kurka as a means to bring a wide range of choreographer’s together in the shared vision of creating a memorable dance experience. As a choreographer, he will continue to create work that pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance and hopefully bring it to the mainstream in a way that is accessible to everyone. His more than four years-experience with the GYROTONIC® methodology has hugely influenced his teaching and brought a heightened awareness to his own dancing. Chris is certified in GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® methodologies. Chris is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Christina Dooling began her dance education at the age of three under the direction of Isobel Johnson, Kim Johnson-Spolitino, and Sandra Moore (Stewart-Johnson Dance Academy.) Christina was given the opportunity to train and compete nationally, working with choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Dee Caspary, and Tyce. In 2003 she was accepted to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. There she studied with dance legends such as Gus Solomons, Jr., Kathy Grant, Deborah Jowitt, and Linda Tarnay. In 2006 she became a member of Tisch’s Second Avenue Dance Company. It was here she crossed paths with Mr. Rhoden where he created her featured role in Phoenix Variations. That summer Christina began her professional dance career with Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Since then Christina has traveled and performed extensively. “A pint-sized powerhouse (she’s just shy of 5’3”), she dances with attack, precision, and confidence. She’s equally at home doing Rhoden’s challenging off-center pointe work and strutting across the stage in stilettos…” –Dance Spirit Magazine. Christina has been a guest artist for dance companies featuring classical Ballet to Broadway styles. Most recently, Christina made her musical theater debut with The Phantom of the Opera. Additionally, she has taught master classes internationally and continues to choreograph for her award-winning students at SJDA.
As a member of the New York City Ballet for ten years, has had the privilege of dancing a wide range of repertoire by some of the great choreographers of the 20th and 21st century, including works by George Balanchine, August Bournoville, Justin Peck, Jerome Robins, Troy Shumacher, Susan Stroman, Peter Martins and Christopher Wheeldon. David Prottas began studying ballet at the Walnut Hill School. He went on to study at Canada’s National Ballet School with Sergiu Stefanschi and the School of American Ballet. He became an apprentice with New York City Ballet and was invited to become a member of the corps de ballet in 2007. His NYCB featured roles include George Balanchine: Chaconne, Coppélia, Harlequinade, The Nutcracker, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, La Sonnambula; August Bournonville: Flower Festival in Genzano; Peter Martins: Les Gentilhommes; Justin Peck: In Creases; Alexei Ratmansky: Russian Seasons; and Jerome Robbins: Dances at a Gathering. Mr. Prottas is a recipient of the Christopher Ondaatje Ballet Prize, the Jerome Robbins Scholarship, and the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise.
Elizabeth grew up dancing in Raleigh, North Carolina and her passion for movement led her to a professional dance career in New York. Over her fifteen year career as a dancer and choreographer, Elizabeth worked with Madonna, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., SNL, X-box, MTV, Google, Roberto Cavalli, Dos Equis, Perrier, Ben Stiller, Anna Kendrick, Jason Schwartzman, The Knocks and others before deciding to focus her career on fitness. Elizabeth is certified in Pilates mat, Mad Dogg spin, Pre and Postnatal exercise and is a NASM personal trainer. Since 2010, Elizabeth has been training men and women in North Carolina, New York and Indianapolis. She is known for being an energetic, encouraging and challenging instructor.
Grace Buckley grew up dancing in and around New York City before heading to Colgate University. Since graduating from Colgate in 2007, Grace has dedicated her time to working and training as a dancer in NYC. Grace has performed as a member of DeMa Dance Company in Brooklyn, NY, Willow Oak Contemporary Ballet in Louisiana, and recently returned from touring with Rasta Thomas’s Bad Boys of Dance. When she is not traveling, Grace works as a guest teacher/choreographer around the country, most recently debuting her choreography at the Joyce Theater this past April. Grace remains a regular faculty member at Kelly Burke-Fitzpatrick’s Westchester Dance Academy as well as a guest teacher at studios in the NYC tri-state area and around the country.
Hannah Zin received her training at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School under the direction of Dennis Marshall and Marjorie Grundvig. In addition to being a scholarship student with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, she has studied at the American Ballet Theatre in New York, North Carolina Dance Theatre, the Movement Invention Project, and the Northwest Dance Project. Hannah moved to New York City to pursue a BFA in Dance and Art History from Fordham University and The Ailey School where she had the opportunity to perform works by Alvin Ailey, Robert Battle, Manuel Vignouelle, Kate Skarpetowska, Elisa Monte, and Milton Meyers. Currently working as a professional dancer in NYC, and is a member of Phoenix Project Dance. Hannah has completed her comprehensive certification with Pilates Master Teacher Ellie Herman.
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.
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.
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.
Jourdan Epstein began her dance training at Summit School of Dance and won 1st place at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix. While training at Ballet Arts Minnesota, Jourdan received a scholarship to attend the Walnut Hill School. Jourdan earned her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School. The following year, as a Complexions apprentice, she performed Benoit-Swan Pouffer’s choreography in Fashion Week. Jourdan has studied at ABT, The Juilliard School, Kirov, Kaatsbaan International Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, and Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet. She was a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company from 2011 to 2014 before joining Rasta Thomas’ Romeo and Juliet.
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.
Katie Kozul began her dance training at the Gold School in Brockton, Massachusetts under the direction of Rennie Gold and her mother, Kathy Kozul. She attended the Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, where she had the honor of performing George Balanchine’s Serenade. Katie attended the Ailey/Fordham BFA program where she had the opportunity to perform works by Francesca Harper, Jennifer Archibald, Alenka Cizmesija, and Malcolm Lowe. Most recently she had the pleasure of performing in the annual “Ailey at the Apollo” event. Kozul joined then Hubbard Street 2 company as an apprentice in September 2012 and was promoted in August 2013.
Kelby Brown received his training at the School of American Ballet, the official School of the New York City Ballet. As a classically trained dancer, he performed with State Ballet of Missouri, Ballet Chicago, Pennsylvania Ballet, Pacific NW Ballet and Los Angeles Ballet. He danced featured roles on some of the most notable stages including, The Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, the Los Angeles Opera and Cirque du Soleil’s, Mystère. After Cirque he was invited to join Celine Dion’s, A New Day Las Vegas Show, Directed by Franco Dragone and Choreographed by Mia Michaels.
He has worked with other musical artists such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Melody Gardot, Elton John, and Usher. He has appeared on So You Think You Can Dance, dancing alongside Lady Gaga. He also assisted Emmy Nominated Choreographer, Stacey Tookey and Emmy Award Winning Choreographer, Mia Michaels on SYTYCD. He graced the big screen dancing in, The Dance Flick, Transformers 2, Showtime’s Television Series, Weeds, as well as the hit TV show, Gossip Girl.
Kelby, the Choreographer, joined forces with Director, Ryan Shiraki, on the big screen for the movie Spring Breakdown, where his moves were showcased by the star studded cast, including Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, and Rachel Dratch. He reunited with Ryan Shiraki, to choreograph for the hit MTV show Awkward. His Choreographic stage credits include, Zombie Strippers the Musical, where his choreography was quoted as being, "the star of the night”. He choreographed the 20th Anniversary of The Kids Choice Awards, where he got to work exclusively with multi-platinum recording artist Justin Timberlake.
Kelby’s dedication to the art of dance naturally carries a presence in teaching. His expertise in the art of dance has made him a highly sought after instructor, coach, and choreographer. He has held faculty positions at some of the most prestigious institutions including American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and State Ballet of Missouri. He regularly adjudicates and teaches for dance conventions, like CANDANCE and THE PULSE.
Kelly Burke-Fitzpatrick, Artistic Director of Westchester Dance Academy, has been and remains to be the driving force behind the success of her studio. Her dream of opening her own studio was first realized in 1997 in Harrison, NY, after her final public, solo performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Kelly has combined her years of extensive professional training – including the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theater – and her love of teaching, to create a unique experience in dance education for all of her students. Additionally, her personal experience and pervasive success in the competition industry has played a pivotal role in the consistent accomplishments of the WDA Troupe. Kelly has been recognized with countless awards for her celebrated choreography and role as a dance educator.
Logan Epstein is an alumni of Westchester Dance Academy and is currently in New York City studying Commercial Dance at Pace University where she is getting her Bachelor in Fine Arts degree. Logan has danced all over the country assisting many of the top choreographers including Mia Michaels and Andy Blankenbuehler in all styles of dance. While she attended WDA she won many regional and national titles in addition to dance scholarships and has appeared in many dance magazines and instructional videos. Besides going to school full time she is currently a professional assistant for New York City Dance Alliance and Onstage New York and teaches Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz, and Ballet at WDA.
Lynne Grossman is on faculty at Montclair State University where she is the Dance Auditions Coordinator for the Department of Theatre and Dance. She received her BFA at MSU after her extensive performance career. Since 2005, Lynne has been guest ballet teacher at the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts in Denville, NJ where she choreographs and assists in concert productions bi-annually. Ms. Grossman has been on faculty at New Jersey Ballet, Front-n-Center for Performing Arts and The University of Texas Austin, where she received the College of Fine Arts Teaching Excellence Award.
Lynne’s early dance training with Fred Danieli at the Garden State Ballet, led to performing opportunities in the company. During that time she was fortunate to meet and study extensively with renowned master teacher and choreographer, Gabriela Darvash. She was directed and coached by Darvash in ballets such as Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Walpurgis Night. Her professional career continued with the Israel Ballet, Austin Ballet Theatre, Sharir Modern Dance Company and the Texas National Dance Theatre as co-founder and Director of the Academy. She was able to perform nationally as a solo guest artist, and with her dance partner of many years, Greg Easley. Ms. Grossman danced the title roles in classics such as The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Sleeping Beauty. She was honored to perform George Balanchine works including, Serenade, Symphony in C, Concerto Borocco, and Valse Fantasie. She performed works by Doug Verone, David Parsons and many original pieces by contemporary artists. At Radio City Music Hall, Ms. Grossman performed in over 300 shows as both a ballet and jazz dancer. She spent five summers at the South Carolina Governor‘s School for the Arts catering to gifted and talented dancers.
Michael Cusumano grew up on Long Island, New York. He began dancing at the age of 6. At the age of 14 he won the bronze medal at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, the youngest male dancer to medal in the competition’s history at the time.That same year he went on to win the special Jury Prize at the Prix de Paris 1994.
Michael then joined American Ballet Theater at age 15, the youngest male dancer in the company’s history. With ABT, Michael danced in all the full-length classics as well as works by Twyla Tharp, John Neumeier, Agnes DeMille, and Lar Lubovich to name a few.
After ABT, Michael danced as a principal with Alabama Ballet, then as a soloist with the Boston Ballet. He went on to perform in the original cast of All Shook Up on Broadway, then most recently starred as “the jury” in the smash hit Chicago the musical on Broadway. Michael competed and won the title of "Mr.Broadway" in the Broadway Beauty Pageant in 2011. Other credits include The Most Happy Fella at New York State Theater, On the Town at Encores, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Today’s Show, ABT Now for PBS, Le Corsaire for PBS, feature film Center Stage. Michael frequently teaches at Broadway Dance Center, Ballet Arts at City Center, the Peridance Center, and is currently on faculty at Pace University.
From Dance Teacher Magazine - When he's not teaching at Pace University or editing funny videos on YouTube, Ballet instructor Michael Cusumano is transforming into his alter ego Madame Olga, a feisty Russian ballet star who claimed part of his brain and a lot of his closet.
Cusumano knows a lot about intense ballet personalities. At only 15, he joined American Ballet Theatre as the youngest male dancer in the company's history. Similar to Madame Olga, Cusumano was a prodigy. He could turn triple pirouettes at age 6 and performed a lead role at 16. His talent meant he had to grow up quickly.
"Back at ABT in the 90s," he says, "I was always fascinated with the Russian ballerinas—their passionate interactions with their partners and the pride they took in their ballet culture. It was the best education. Russian dancers have some of the most prestigious training, but I was always silly as a kid, so I just couldn't help but imitate them out of admiration. As I was imitating, a name emerged."
Madame Olga more fully took shape when he transitioned from ballet into musical theater. During Cusumano's seven years in Chicago on Broadway, Madame Olga couldn't contain herself. Each night when Hunyak performed her "Hungarian Rope Trick," Madame Olga gave life lessons to castmates. It was "Olga's Moment." Dancers in the show crowded around the stairwell to hear words of wisdom.
While Broadway taught him how to be in the moment, Cusumano felt he needed to express himself in a different way. "Being told what to do so much as a child in dance translated into problems in my relationships and a feeling of being stuck," he says. Playing Madame Olga felt therapeutic. "Ballet gave me a specific skill," he says. "But Madame Olga helped me develop within." Soon Olga, whom he describes as Anna Pavlova reincarnated, had a following. When the owner of Ballet Arts invited her to teach class, Olga got her big break.
Outside his busy teaching schedule at Pace, Broadway Dance Center, and various other schools in the New York area, Cusumano offers pop-up Olga classes. "There's no one doing what I do, teaching as a character," says Cusumano. Students "get" the joke and work hard with more ease than they might in other classes.
Madame Olga teaches serious technique, emphasizing that arms are part of the back, not extra appendages that flail around without support. She also lets students shout out words and be ridiculous. Sometimes she plays the piano or sings, but Cusumano never wants his classes to become "the Madame Olga Show." "She wants her students to get what they need that day," says Cusumano.
One teenage girl wrote to Madame Olga explaining that ballet often makes her feel discouraged she can't reach perfection. Yet Madame Olga helps her access the best part of herself. "I love helping young people," he says, tearing up. "So does Madame."
Born in Asheville, NC, Nick Kepley trained with Sandra Miller and spent summers at the School of American Ballet and The Juilliard School. He has danced professionally with Ballet Austin and Kansas City Ballet performing works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp and Margo Sappington, among others. In his theatre career, Kepley served as dance captain in McCarter Theatre’s A Christmas Carol and appeared on Broadway in Mary Poppins and in Camelot with the New York Philharmonic, which was broadcast nationwide on PBS. His television credits include: Live with Kelly and Michael, Celebrity Apprentice, and Smash. In 2013, Kepley served as an assistant choreographer on the Tony-Award winning Broadway revival of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Additional choreographic credits include: Working (Associate, Off-Broadway), Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Assistant), One For My Baby (Associate, NYC Workshop), Guys and Dolls (Flat Rock Playhouse), Carousel (Asheville Lyric Opera) and Frosty the Snowman (Casa Manana). Kepley served as Co-Conceiver, Director and Choreographer on two evening length productions with Quixotic Performance Fusion in Kansas City, MO. In the concert dance world, Kepley has created works for Ballet Austin II, Kansas City Ballet’s In the Wings program, BC Beat, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, and Manhattan Youth Ballet. His ballet, Thrace, was selected as one of the top five performing arts events in Kansas City, MO for 2007. He has created site specific work for The Blanton Museum of Art and the Human Rights Campaign of Austin, TX. In April 2015, Kepley premiered Season of Innocence, a 45-minute ballet based on Arthur Miller’s Tony Award-winning play The Crucible created for Ballet Austin II. The work featured an original score by Steve Parker and couture costume designs by Liz White. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Motion Dance Theatre, a summer choreographic laboratory based in Asheville, NC.
Roland Dwight Culler II hails from York City, NY, where he began dancing at the age of 9 years old. He continued his dance, acting, and singing training with the youth theatre company “TADA” until the age of 13, performing in many musical productions. He attended the “High School of Performing Arts” now called “Fiorello H. LaGuardia”, majoring and receiving a diploma in academics/dance in 1993. While attending high school, he studied on scholarship at “The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center” , “The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance”, and “The School of American Ballet” performing lead roles in many of it’s annual workshops. Roland has worked with “Les Ballet Grandiva” touring extensively in Japan. He has also worked with “The Pennsylvania Ballet”, “The Boulder Ballet”, “David Taylor Dance Theatre”, and “The Longmont Dance Theatre”, touring and dancing in many classical and neo-classical roles.
Ronnie Todorowski has had a diverse career in musical theater, concert and commercial dance. His Broadway credits include Angels in America, Cats, Finding Neverland (original cast), Wicked, Come Fly Away (Resident Director of national tour), Guys and Dolls (Brandy Bottle Bates), The Times They Are A Changin, Movin' Out (Eddie) and Footloose. He starred in London's West End production and first national tour of Movin' Out playing the role of Eddie where he received a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor in a musical. Off Broadway and other theater credits include Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party, Christopher Wheeldon’s Brigadoon at City Center, Chess for the Actor's Fund with Josh Groban, Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, Spirit, Cinderella, recent workshops of Something To Dance About - An evening of Jerome Robbins and the recent Hello, Dolly! revival.
Ronnie is currently a member of Twyla Tharp Dance. He's performed all over the world with the company and others such as Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, The Parsons Dance Company and Mia Michaels RAW.
Some television and film credits include Saturday Night Live, The Tony Awards, The VMA's with Ne-yo, The Today Show, The View and the feature film Winter’s Tale. As a choreographer he's created original work for Nate Ruess (music video, Ah-ha!), RWS Entertainment, Wayne State University, BC Beat and was Assistant Choreographer for the Lyric Theater's production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as well as Celine Dion’s Las Vegas show, A New Day.
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!
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
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“I can’t imagine a stronger group of faculty for up-and-coming dancers than the DANJ's Ballet Bootcamp teaching staff. These are the types of educators that helped me achieve my dreams!!” — Brandon Cournay, KEIGWIN + CO.
As a regular guest faculty and choreographer at DANJ, I am so excited for all the dancers who will be attending Ballet Bootcamp and learning from this amazing faculty.... it's going to be awesome!!!!!” — Ashely Lindsey