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Natasha Morken

Rock School West Manager


An alumna of the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Natasha Morken went on to perform with Ballet Magnificat and was a member of Artesan Dance Company.   In addition to performing various principle roles in classical ballets such as Nutcracker and Don Quixote, Ms. Morken also performed many original works by Choreographer Summer Ovies such as Fusion in Paris, France in 2010 and Parallels of Another Universe at the Inside/Out series at the Jacobs Pillow dance festival in 2013.  Ms. Morken has served as ballet mistress for Artesan Dance Company and Dance Director for Bethel Christian School in Redding, California from 2007-2018.  In managing at Rock West, it is her passion to unlock potential in students, passing on technique, artistry, honor and love for the art form. 

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Mary Ann Baldwin

Administrator

baldwinm@therockschool.org

Debbie Bassett

Bookkeeper

bassettd@therockschool.org

Terry Riccardo

Danielle Bower

Consultant
& Choreographer

Danielle began her training in West Chester, Pennsylvania with the Chester County Ballet Company and with The Rock School West. She attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and, after graduating, resided in Bermuda dancing and choreographing for the Bermuda Music Festival, United Dance Productions and Tappers off the Hoof. She has been on Hip-Hop faculty at the Koresh School of Dance, Contemporary faculty at Millennium Dance Complex in Philadelphia, has head coached the Rustin High School Dance Team, has been on staff at Broadway Dance Center, and continues to choreograph and teach for multiple companies and dance schools throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. As a dancer, she has worked professionally for Montazh Performing Arts Company and ContempraDance Theatre, along with performing in additional projects for various choreographers in Philadelphia and New York City. She is a Contemporary guest teacher and substitute at Broadway Dance Center, Peridanceand STEPS on Broadway and teaches convention classes for National Dance Showcase and Take Center Stage Dance Challenge. Danielle is also the Artistic Coordinator and a Company choreographer for The Rock School West where she has been on faculty since 2003. Currently she performs with SynthesisDANCE, a New York City Contemporary Ballet company under the artistic direction of Tracie Stanfield and most recently she is on full time dance faculty at The Grier School, an all-girls prep school in central PA.

Joshua Rogers

Donna Cherry

Ballet Coordinator
Ballet Mistress
Ballet Faculty

An alumna of the School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Donna Cherry was a member of the Florida Ballet, Ballet Metropolitan, a principal dancer with the Harrisburg Ballet and a member of Pennsylvania Ballet. Ms. Cherry has performed many roles, including principal roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Pas de Quatre, and The Nutcracker, as well as soloist roles in Balanchine's Agon, The Four Temperaments, and Stars and Stripes. Donna Cherry has taught at The Rock Schools since 1997. Ms. Cherry was also a Ballet Mistress with West Chester Ballet Theatre, now West Chester Dance Theatre, and continues to assist in rehearsals with the student company.

 
 

ARTISTIC FACULTY

Katherine Williams

Jody Anderson

Ballet Faculty

As a principal dancer with the Kansas City Ballet for 16 years, Jody had the honor of performing some of the greatest works of the 20th Century. She was also hand picked by Alvin Ailey to perform as a guest artist with his company The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Jody also performed and was the Associate Choreographer and Community Chorus Director with Kansas City's Starlight Theatre in addition to performing with St. Louis MUNY Opera, Atlanta Theatre of the Stars and Houston's Theater Under the Stars. As a choreographer she has staged original works for Kansas City Ballet, Delaware Dance Company, West Chester Dance Theatre in addition to choreographing musicals all over. Jody was honored to be nominated for a Philadelphia Theatre Alliance Barrymore Award for her choreography for the New Candlelight Theatre's 2007 production of CHICAGO. She has been on the faculty since 2003.

John Lee

Vanessa Baker

Jazz/ Contemporary Faculty

Vanessa, the first African American Miss New Jersey USA, competed in the nationally televised Miss USA pageant and donated her time to over twenty different charities and foundations during her reign. She was the official American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Region spokesperson where she promoted blood donation, a cause near and dear to her heart. A native of Marlton, NJ, and a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Vanessa started to pursue a career in broadcasting. Currently, she is working on her show “The Wish List” as co-executive producer and creator.  Vanessa is with Click Model Management and is a beauty model for QVC.  She has worked for top cosmetic brands like Bare Minerals, Laura Geller, Dr. Gross Skin Care and many more. Vanessa is also the co-owner of Wonderland Cookie Dough, an edible cookie dough eatery located in Cherry Hill. Vanessa has been teaching dance for 25 years and has appeared in an international Adidas commercial, has done extra back up dancer work on Beyoncé‘s Back in Business tour and has choreographed for the 76ers and New Jersey next dance teams.

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Stephanie Demby

Jazz/ Modern Faculty

A native Philadelphian, Stephanie Demby-Afum realized her love and dedication to dance at an early age and began formally training at the age of six at Progressive Center for Dance.  Stephanie studied Dance at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative & Performing Arts and later received her B.F.A. in Dance Education from the Howard University School of Fine Arts in Washington, DC.  Over the years she has developed her technique and love of the art form under the tutorlage of many noted instructors and dance institutions, including: Joan Myers Brown at Philadanco, Patricia Hobbs at Freedom Theater and Dr. Sherrill Berryman-Johnson at Howard University.  Skilled in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, and tap, Stephanie began teaching at an early age.  She continues to study and grow herself while sharing her knowledge of the art with her students. Throughout her career, Stephanie has performed with several companies and for many renowned choreographers, including: Kevin Iega Jeff of Deeply Rooted in Chicago, IL; Ronald K. Brown of Evidence in New York, NY; and Assane Kante of Kankouran in Washington, DC.  For several years she was a member of Philadanco's 2nd company, Danco II, and is currently a member of Grace Dance Theater where she now serves as Artistic Director.  Stephanie is an award-winning and sought-after choreographer.  Her work has been performed by GDT, Grace Dance Ensemble, STTP, and Eleone Dance Incorporated.  In 2012, Stephanie was a recipient of The Rocky Award, given by Dance UP, for Outstanding Achievement in the Philadelphia dance community. Stephanie owes a lot of her achievements to her late dance mentor Carol Lorraine Cubbage-Davis, Founder of GDT, who instilled importance of dance in the lives of children.

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Alana Donato

Guest Choreographer

Alana Donato received her BFA in Dance and a BA in Journalism Mass Media from Rutgers University.  While at Rutgers she was a member of the nationally ranked dance team. Alana can currently be seen as a featured dancer in the hit tv series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a featured disco dancer in HBO’s The Deuce, and a shimmier in the Amazon series Z: The Beginning of Everything. She was also a featured ballroom dancer in Steven Spielberg’s The Post.  Alana was also a company member of Synthesis DANCE under the direction of Tracie Stanfield. Those performances have included APAP at The Jazz Room in Lincoln Center, The Booking Dance Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, YCF at Symphony Space and The International Dance Festival at the The Ailey Citigroup Theater.   Alana also performed with Gallim Dance at New York City’s Grand Central Station to launch LaCoste’s LaMachine. When she is not dancing, she loves to share her passion for dance with her students at Artists in Motion in NJ.

Sean Long

Rose Dowlin

Early Dance Faculty

Rose Dowlin is a multi-talented dancer, teacher and choreographer, and is a former faculty member of the Philadelphia Arts League. She has been teaching dance in the Chester County area for 19 years and has been a faculty member of the Rock West for the past 12 years. She has choreographed numerous musicals for Main Line and Chester County high schools as well as the Born Playhouse, Dutel County Players and the Montgomery Theater Project.

Janet Dominga

Ruthe Freeberg

Early Dance Faculty

Ruthe Freeberg has been dancing almost all of her life. Her love of dance was fostered by many great teachers, which inspired her to become a dance teacher herself. She has been teaching ballet and tap to our youngest dancers since 1994. Her love of dance and caring approach allow her to help her students discover their own love of dance. One of Ms. RuthE's greatest joys is to watch her former students grow into beautiful, mature dancers. Her degree in Human Development, with a minor in dance, from Stephens College, along with her lifelong experiences with children (including working with special needs children, teaching pre-school and raising five children of her own) make her classes a good first dance experience for young children.

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Jim Green

Hip Hop Faculty

With 20 years of dancing experience, 12 of those years teaching and choreographing, he has competed in national competitions for more than a decade. Even though his primary focus is hip-hop, he also enjoys teaching jazz, lyrical and gymnastics. In addition, he has studied in ballet, modern, jazz, lyrical, tap, acrobatics, and karate. With belief that dance education is never-ending, leads Jim to continue training in several elements of dance such as popping, locking, waving, breaking, street jazz, and contemporary. He performed in 4 consecutive off-Broadway shows with Dan Karaty’s “Shake the Floor” summer intensive. Jim was a featured dancer in Santalina’s “Kick In the Door” music video. He also performed with Jade Starling and Pretty Poison at Philly 106.1’s Summer Freestyle Concert as well as the “Eat Bulaga” Philippine Festival in Atlantic City. In one of many auditions, Jim was chosen to perform with the hip-hop artist Ashanti, as one of her back up dancers; and has also performed in companies such as FloMotion and Jaxum Records. One of Jim’s proudest moments includes being invited to continue onto “Vegas Week” in Fox’s hit show “So You Think You Can Dance.” Honored to be an original founder, Jim currently remains an active member of Point Blank Dance Crew. They opened for America’s Best Dance Crew’s Kaba Modern at Philadelphia’s Transit Night Club 6 years ago. Together they have performed at venues in Boston, Chicago, Virginia Beach, New Brunswick, Cherry Hill, Atlantic City, and of course their hometown of Philadelphia. Recently, Point Blank had the opportunity of competing at Hip Hop International in Las Vegas. Aside from that, they have taught nationwide, raising money and donating to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Jim travels with the Monsters of Hip Hop’s Road Team, where he continues his training with international choreographers, including, but not limited to: Marty Kudelka, Kevin Maher, Tony Testa, Rhapsody James, Laura Edwards, Parris Goebel, Tabithaand Napoleon D’umo, and the Jabbawockeez. Jim is committed to educating the dance community. His passion for dance and music inspires and invokes dancers to appreciate and excel in the art.

Gary Nelson

Margarita Hoelper

Ballet Coordinator & Ballet Faculty

Magge received her training in Northeast Philadelphia at Olga Kresin’s Ballet School. Under Ms. Kresin and Russian Master, Lev Assoulyak, Magge participated in international competitions such as Tanzolymp Danz Festival, Youth America Grand Prix, Barcelona International Dance Competition and Prima de Roma. Magge became a member of the Mystic Ballet Company and danced world premieres by Brian Enos, Sergei Vanaev, and Gregory King. In 2012, she premiered Gabrielle Lamb’s Marooned at Jacob’s Pillow. In 2015, Magge moved to Rome, Italy to finish her BFA in Art History through Temple University where she continued dancing with companies in the city. Her last performance was with Compania Ballet de Nicaragua where she performed the bedroom pas from Manon. Magge has been teaching in the Philadelphia area since 2016.

Sarah Vogan

Early Dance, Tap, & Jazz Faculty

Ms. Vogan began her training at a young age, studying at various studios in the area. During her years of study, she has made appearances in the WPVI 6 ABC Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Sunoco Welcome America 4th of July Parades, Sunoco Welcome America 2 Cities 2 States Concert featuring the Ba Ha Men, 4th International World Dragon Boat Races - Opening Ceremonies, Republican National Convention - Opening Ceremonies, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell Inauguration Parade and in 2003, and made her debut dancing at Carnegie Hall in concert with Janellen Farmer. While acquiring her BA in dance at Mount Holyoke College and the Five College Dance Department, she choreographed an adjudicated piece for ACDFA. In 2007, Ms. Vogan traveled to Ireland to exhibit and teach American tap dance to the students of various schools, while also studying Irish step dance with international champions, Jim Hickey and Justin Walsh. Since graduating from college, she began her teaching career and continues to teach at many dance studios in the greater Philadelphia area. She was recognized with a choreography award in the 2013-2014 competition season for one of her tap numbers. Ms. Vogan has also been choreographing musicals for local schools and community theaters, including the Barn Playhouse and Forge Theater. In addition to teaching and choreographing, she spent two years dancing from 2011-2013 with Opus1 Contemporary Dance Company and is currently in her third year now dancing as first company with the Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble, Philadelphia's premier all female professional tap company. With the Lady Hoofers, Ms. Vogan has had the opportunity to perform alongside Philadelphia's best in Koresh Dance Company's Come Together Festival at the Suzanne Roberts Theater as well as share the stage with tap greats Brenda Buffalino and Savion Glover at the 25th Anniversary of the NJ Tap Ensemble. She was most recently recognized by Camille Bacon-Smith of BroadStreetReview.com as the “star turn” of the Lady Hoofer's annual spring show, On Tap, performing “Booty Swing,” a solo choreographed by artistic director, Kat Richter.

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DENISE STREET

Ballet Faculty

Denise has performed with the San Antonio Ballet and Harrisburg Ballet Companies. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. She has been teaching, choreographing, and performing in the area since 1980.

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Patty De Tomas

Hip-Hop/ Street Jazz Faculty

Patricia began dancing at the age of two in Miami, FL where she trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theater, modern, flamenco, and hip hop. After moving to Pennsylvania, Patricia continued her training at the Rock School West where she became a member and competed with the performance company winning many awards and scholarships and numerous competitions. Patricia then attended the Pennsylvania State University where she majored in Biological Sciences and Health Professions. At Penn State she was a member of both the Millennium Scholars Program and a Schreyer Honors College Scholar. She also had the opportunity of being on the Penn State Lionettes Division IA dance team, where she performed at football, basketball, and other sports and community events both at Penn State and around the country. Patricia was also a member of the competing nationals team where the Lionettes ranked amongst the top 10 teams in the nation at both NDA and UDA college national championships consistently. She also had the opportunity of choreographing numbers for the Lionettes football and basketball performances as well as contemporary pieces for other dance companies at Penn State.

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BRIA WALTON

Jazz & Hip Hop / Street Jazz Faculty

Bria Walton is a central Jersey native where she started dancing at a young age. Bria began her training with hip hop classes and quickly added many other styles of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and tap to her studies. After graduation, she continued her hip hop training at Academy of Phresh in Philadelphia under the direction of Smart Mark Boston. Bria’s professional credits include Good Morning America, Pharrell Williams Sephora Fragrance Launch, and she was recently a featured dancer in Todrick Hall’s music video for his visual album. Bria has completed two seasons with Introspective Movement Project, under the direction of Sonia Pennington, where she was able to dance for Matthew Schuler at the Wawa Welcome to America Festival and the Philly Fringe Festival. In 2014, Bria completed one of her biggest projects where she was the co-choreographer for an Off Broadway production in NYC called Sound Syndrome. Bria is on faculty at The Rock School West and is traveling around the country teaching the next generation of dancers!