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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

Artistic Coordinator
Contemporary & Jazz Faculty

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.

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.

Gary Nelson

Margarita Hoelper

Ballet & Acro Faculty

Margarita Hoelper began dancing from a young age at Dance Theater of Pennsylvania. Inspired by Natalie and Alexei Cherov, Magge began studying classical ballet at Olga Kresin Ballet School in Philadelphia, Pa. Under Ms. Kresin’s training, Magge participated in many international competitions including Youth America Grand Prix, Prima Roma, Barcelona Dance Competition and Tanzolymp. Magge joined Mystic Ballet as a company member in 2011 working with choreographers like Brian Enos and Sergei Vanaev. In 2012, she performed at Jacob’s Pillow under the direction of Gabrielle Lamb. Magge went on to tour Europe and performed as a guest artist with the Compania Ballet de Nicaragua. Magge moved back to Philadelphia in 2015, graduating Temple University with a Bachelor's Degree in Art History. She now lives in West Philadelphia, freelancing with local choreographers and teaching the next generation of dancers.

John Lee

Jaclyn O'Rourke

Contemporary Lyrical Faculty

Jaclyn O'Rourke is a graduate of University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz Dance Performance. She has been a member of ASH Contemporary Dance Company under the direction of Braham Logan Crane where she has toured extensively throughout the country. As a member of ASH she performed in Budapest, Hungary at The Sziget Festival, at the Philly Fringe Festival, and at New York City’s Carnival Choreographer’s Ball. Jaclyn spent six years as a performer at Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal with Almost Angels where she had the opportunity to perform for many of the industry’s top artists. Most recently, she has worked with Michael Susten & Company where she had the opportunity to perform in various shows in New York City. Jaclyn's eclectic and award winning choreography has won several top awards and has been showcased at the annual New York City Carnival Choreographer’s Ball and on Boston University’s dance team. She has also been featured as a teacher for Bill Hotaling’s Manhattan Dance Project and as a guest teacher at The University of the Arts & Millennium Dance Complex Philadelphia. She is on faculty at The Rock School West Jazz Summer Intensive & currently teaches at Jazz Unlimited Dance Studio in Marlton, NJ. Jaclyn truly enjoys the process of helping to mold and shape her students into well rounded individuals. She continues to challenge her students to not just become well-trained dancers but to push their boundaries and become true performers.

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Autumn Drulis Schneider

Tap Faculty

Rock West is thrilled to welcome back Autumn Schneider to faculty! Autumn taught for The Rock School’s previously before relocating to Lewes, DE and has continued to guest teach and choreograph for Rock West. Autumn is not only incredibly talented; she is a beautiful person who brings an incredible amount of passion and enthusiasm into the classroom. She has taught all over the tri-state area and choreographed for commercials, dance competitions, industrials and numerous theatres. Most recently she became the co-founder of The Diane Drulis Foundation, a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to students wishing to further their dance education.

Lisa Rae Smith

Jazz Faculty

Lisa Rae Smith's love and passion for dance started at the age of three in a small studio not too far from home, where her mother worked. The youngest of seven children , most who were found dancing in the studio, Lisa trained in ballet, jazz, tap, gymnastics, and pointe and was broadened by master classes in hip-hop, swing, and modern. At the age of 12, Lisa came to Jazz Unlimited Dance Studio in Marlton, NJ and became a member of the Ensemble. For five years, Lisa studied under numerous talented choreographers such as Meghan Braun, Billy Angell, and Molly Misgalla. She performed in many local, regional, and national events including Philadelphia 76ers half-time performance, Miss New Jersey USA fundraiser, the 2006 Philadelphia Mummer's Parade, and the 2008 Orange Bowl halftime show.

Lisa Rae attened Montclair State University's dance program for 2 years beofre returning home to begin her journey as a teacher and choreographer.

Lisa is currently on faculty at The Rock School West for Dance Education in West Chester, PA and has guest taught at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, PA. She can also be found at Vorhees Middle School where she is the choreographer for the drama club's spring musicals. Most recently, Lisa became a guest judge for National Dance Showcase. She is also one of the choreographers for Paul VI High School's Project Dance, celebrating artists from across the country.

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 25 th 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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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!

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Gabby Wright

Hip-Hop, Contemporary, & Jazz Faculty

Gabrielle started dancing at the age of three and has lived in New York City dancing for 6 years. Most recently she was able to perform at the International Emmy's in New York City. She has had the pleasure to perform with Opus 2 Contemporary Company, Koresh School of Dance, on stages in Disney World, at the Premiere of Happy Feet the movie, and on Marymount Manhattan College's stage. Gabrielle has also spent a year working for the Philadelphia SOUL indoor football's dance squad. She has trained at Broadway Dance Center with Shelia Barker, Derek Mitchell, and Luam to name a few. Gabrielle currently works with New York City Dance Alliance and Onstage New York dance competition and convention. She has won many awards for her ability to entertain and loves to teach new students how to be the best dancer they can be while remaining individuals!

Patty De Tomas

Hip-Hop 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.