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Nicole Harmon

Regional Director, The Rock School West / Jazz Faculty

Nicole Harmon graduated with a BFA in Dance from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia in 1999. Upon graduation Ms. Harmon received the Faculty Recognition Award for excellence in dance. Throughout her years of training, she extended her education at Koresh, The Broadway Dance Center, Steps and The Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.  Following graduation, Nicole began teaching in the Philadelphia area and performing throughout the United States in numerous industrials and productions   Nicole joined The Rock School faculty in 2000 and since has served as the Regional Director for The Rock School West.  Nicole is proud to have played an integral part in developing the Jazz and Tap program, including the schools Jazz and Tap performing companies.  Additionally, Nicole has had the opportunity to guest teach throughout the area and most recently, The University of Penn.

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.

Jeremy Jones

Kristin Brown

Ballet Coordinator
Ballet Mistress
Ballet Faculty

Kristin Brown danced professionally from 1989 – 1996 with ballet companies in Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. She has had the pleasure of working with choreographers Yanis Pikeris, Russell Sultzbach, Andre Prokovsky, Christopher Fleming, Dominique Gabella, and performing “Mobile” by the late Tomm Ruud. Ms. Brown received her training with Richard Hoskinson, Donna Muzio, and Cherie Noble. She also attended summer programs at Richmond Ballet, Washington Ballet, and the PA Governor’s School for the Arts, as a scholarship student. Ms. Brown began teaching in 1993 while still performing professionally. She has choreographed for Longwood Dance Theatre, Brandywine Ballet, and The Rock School. Ms. Brown was a principal faculty member at the Brandywine Ballet for eight years, as well as a rehearsal assistant for the company. In June of 2007, Ms. Brown joined the faculty of The Rock School for Dance Education where she is also a rehearsal mistress for the student company. In addition to dance, Ms. Brown earned a degree in Sports Medicine and was a nationally certified Athletic Trainer. In 2010, she joined the faculty at the University of the Arts teaching anatomy and kinesiology to the dance majors.

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.

Mary Lee

Jessica Frazier

Ballet & Pilates Faculty

Jessica started dancing at The Rock School West in West Chester, PA at an early age. She studied with Jennifer Wheat, Donna Cherry, Jody Anderson, Kristin Brown, and Nicole Harmon. At age 16, Jessica was invited to study at The Rock School in Philadelphia and finish high school in the RAPA (Rock Academic Program Alliance) program. She continued to study with her teachers from Rock West along with Servy Gillardo, Mariaelena Ruiz, and Natasha Zeiger. She has attended summer intensives at Nashville Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Butler University, BalletX, The Rock School, and Philadelphia Ballet School. Jessica continued her studies at SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance; working with Bettijane Sills, Ted Kivitt, Michelle Lucci, Eve Chan, and Rossana Serivalli. During college, she studied classical pilates with Simona Cipriani, becoming a certified pilates mat instructor. Jessica went on to dance with BalletFleming for 2.5 seasons performing works by Christopher Fleming, Adrianna de Svastich, Stephaen Hood, Eliska Vitanovska-Mayer, and Thomas Gant Jr. Jessica currently dances with Ballet 180 in Paoli, PA where she has performed roles such as Lucy in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, Mary in “Mary Poppins”, as well as contemporary works by Matthew Soojian and Liu Mo. Ms. Frazier is also currently a guest artist with Dance Del Bello.

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.

Jean Amirpour

Jim Green

Hip-Hop & Acro Faculty

Jim has fourteen years of dance training in jazz, modern, ballet, hip-hop and tap. He has primarily studied jazz, but now specializes in hip-hop including, popping, locking, waving and breaking as well as street jazz. His background also includes acrobatics and karate. Recently, Jim was a featured dancer in the Kick in the Door music video for up and coming artist, Santalina. He has also performed with Jade Sterling, Pretty Poison, hip-hop artist Ashanti, off-Broadway shows with Dan Karaty and with companies such as Flo Motion and Jazum Records and his dance crew opened for America's Best Dance Crew's Kaba Modern.

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.

Laura Ojeda

Rita Marie Santos

Ballet Faculty

Rita began dancing at an early age at Dance Elite in Doylestown, PA where she remained for 16 years studying classical ballet, broadway style tap and jazi under instructors who had a strong focus ontechnique. After several years competing in tap and jazz categories, her attention turned toward ballet. She continued her education at Dancers' Studio Workshope where she had the opportunity to perform full-length ballets accompanied by a live orchestra. She went on to study with the Richmond Ballet and receive a full scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet under John and Margarita White of the National Ballet of Cuba. Her professional career began with the Sarasota Ballet of Florida, and from there she went on to dance with the Nashville Ballet, where she also became a teacher for the School of Nashville Ballet. After returning to PA, Rita completed a Vaganova teacher training seminar under John White and also graduated with honors from the University of the Arts with a BFA in Costume Design. Besides teaching, Rita currently makes dancewear with Martha Chamberlain of Chamberlain Goods, and costumes for BalletX in Philadelphia.

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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, made her debut dancing at Carnegie Hall in concert with Janellen Farmer. While acquiring her BFA 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. Ms. Vogan was also proud to be a member of Opus 1 Contemporary Company from 2011-2013. Most recently, Ms. Vogan has been choreographing musicals for local schools and community theaters and was recently recognized with a choreography award in the 2013-2014 competition season for one of her tap numbers.

BriaWalton

BRIA WALTON

Jazz & Hip Hop / Street Jazz Faculty

Bria Walton is a central Jersey native where she started dancing at the age of 8. Though Bria started her training with hip hop classes, she quickly join a competition team where she studied many styles of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, tap, and hip hop. 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. In 2014, Bria finished her biggest project where she was the co-choreographer for an Off Broadway production in NYC called Sound Syndrome. Bria is excited to be teaching at Rock West and is looking forward to inspiring 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!