Instruction of all programs are administered by dance professionals and college educated adults, who are able to enrich the developmental process of the emerging dancer. The class room is a positive environment with a dedicated interest to the needs of young children, while instilling a sense of responsibility in older students. Whether a dancer desires a professional career that requires steady attention, or a uses dance as a recreational activity, the constructive and engaging lessons meet the needs of the individual dancer.
“The staff have impressive credentials and are hand-picked for their ability to teach technique and artistry.”
~ Cynthia Seiler, parent
Joy Delaney-Capponi Talia Barrows Marie Brown Patricia Brown Melissa Chisena Martha Chamberlain Yosbel Delgado Sigrid Payne DaVeiga Michele Dolaway Wendi Fisch Monica Cameron Frichtel Joe Gonzalez Katie Jasmin Kirsten Kaschock Karen Lacy Gina Battista Shifferly Dillon Shifferly Ruka White
Jeffrey Gribler (former Ballet Master Pennsylvania Ballet) Rosanna Seravalli Addul Monzano (Charlotte Ballet) Daniel Baudendistel (School of Ballet Arizona) Gary Jeter (dancer Ballet X) Wayne St. David (Assistant Professor with University of the Arts) Lauren Putty White (Philadanco/freelance choreographer)
Joy Delaney-Capponi received her early training under Olin D. Kearse. She earned a B.A. from Virginia Intermont College in both Dance and Early Childhood Education. As the artistic director of Philadelphia Dance Theatre, she has led the company to honor status in the national organization of Regional Dance America, and her choreography has been chosen to appear in gala concert.
Ms. Delaney-Capponi has created several original ballets for children including Mother Goose and Friends, The Emperor and the Kite, The Rough Face Girl, as well as the re-staging of classics including Cinderella and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Under her guidance, Philadelphia Dance Theatre has brought dance to wide community through outreach programs for boys and tuition assistance programs for families in need. She has coached students to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix who have placed in the top three of regional finals.
Ms. Delaney-Capponi has trained students that have gone onto study at some of the world's most prestigious ballet schools including School of American Ballet, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theatre, National Ballet School of Canada, and The Harid Conservatory. Many graduating students have received merit scholarships in dance at universities including Indiana University, Ursinus College, Wake Forest University, University of the Arts, Fordham University, and Columbia University. Ms. Delaney-Capponi currently serves as the Vice President of Regional Dance America Northeast.
Talia Barrows has been teaching dance and movement in Philadelphia for over fifteen years. She holds a BFA in Dance from Temple University, where she received the Rose Vernick award for excellence in choreography and performed works including Martha Graham’s Steps in the Street. Talia is a founding member of Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble and her international studies and performance credits have taken her to Oslo, Norway, as well as Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon West Africa. She is certified in the Pilates Method and is passionate about using movement to heal both physical and emotional injury. Talia has had the honor of teaching at diverse educational institutions in Philadelphia, such as the Philadelphia Dance Theatre, William Penn Charter School, The High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Temple University. She believes that dance is an artistic and intellectual form of human expression that should reflect the underlying tensions and needs of the community and dancers that it serves. Talia's biggest inspiration is her daughter, Gigi. As a mom to a daughter with cerebral palsy, Talia believes all children regardless of ability, deserve an opportunity to pursue their dream of dancing.
Marie Brown, originally from Jacksonville, Florida, moved to Philadelphia in 2005 after graduating from Radford University with a BFA in Dance. While in Philadelphia, she had the honor to work with a variety of companies and independent artists such as Scrap Performance Group, Group Motion Dance Company, MacArthur Dance Project, StoneDepotDance Lab, Chisena Danza, Beau Hancock, Jodi Obeid, and Olive Prince Dance. She has recently returned to Philadelphia after graduating with an MFA in Dance Performance from The University of Iowa and is most recently working with Chisena Danza and Megan Bridge. She is currently an adjunct professor at Temple University and is alsolooking to create her own work after many years of identifying as a performer through a program called HATCH. She looks forward to continuing teaching and exploring dance for years to come.
Patricia Brown grew up in New Jersey and studied ballet at a young age with the New Jersey Ballet School. As a teenager, Patricia was awarded full scholarships to the American Ballet Theatre School and the Joffrey Ballet School. Ms. Brown has danced professionally with the New Jersey Ballet Company, Joffrey II Ballet Company, Cleveland Ballet (soloist), Elliot Feld Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet Company (soloist). She has worked with many well known choreographers such as Agnes DeMille, Anthony Tudor,Gerald Arpino, Elliot Feld, Paul Taylor, Laura Dean, and Dennis Nahat. Ms. Brown has served as principal teacher for trainee programs at the Milwaukee Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet School, Harrisburg Ballet School, Nashville Ballet School, The Dance Center, and the Mill Ballet School.
Ms. Brown has taught company classesfor Joffrey II Ballet, Elliot Feld Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Harrisburg Ballet, Brandywine Ballet Theatre, Roxey Ballet, and she has served as Ballet Mistress for the Pennsylvania Ballet. Ms. Brown has choreographed ballets performed at Joffrey Ballet workshop, Milwaukee Ballet workshop, Harrisburg Ballet Company, Brandywine Ballet Theatre, Roxey Ballet, and for the international competition at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. Most recently, she has been asked to join the faculty of the Joffrey School in New York City where she commutes weekly to teach class.
Martha Chamberlain began her dance training at age five at the Fellowship House in Media, Pennsylvania,where she was born and raised. She went on to study with Donna Muzio, Paul Klocke and Cherie Noble at West Chester's Dance Center and The School of American Ballet's Summer Program from 1985 to 1988. She is a graduate of Friends Select and The School of Pennsylvania Ballet.
Ms. Chamberlain joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an Apprentice in the fall of 1989 and was promoted to the Crops de Ballet three months later. She was promoted to Soloist in 1997 and to Principal after her premiere as Juliet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet in March 2000.
Ms. Chamberlain has danced several leading roles including Katherina in the Taming of the Shrew, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Myrtha in Giselle, Dewdrop and Sugarplum Fairy in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, and Helena and Divertissement pas de deux in A Midsummer Night's Dream. She has also had featured roles in George Balanchine's Ballo della Regina, The Four Temperaments, Agon, Western Symphony, Serenade, Apollo, and "Rubies" from Jewels; Paul Taylor's Company Band Arden Court. She has created roles for such choreographers as Trey McIntryre, Kevin O'Day, Jessica Lang, Jorma Elo, and Matthew Neenan; and she has had the opportunity to dance internationally in Portugal, England and Germany. She recently retired from the Pennsylvania Ballet after dancing with that company for 21 years.
Ms. Chamberlain has designed costumes for many years. Among the choreographers she has created works for are Christopher D'Ambroise, Matthew Neenan, Meredith Rainey, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Jorma Elo.
Melissa Chisena is the founder and artistic director of Chisena Dance. She has danced professionally with Richmond Ballet and the North Carolina Dance Theatre, Philadelphia Dance Theatre, Norristown DanceFest, Regional Dance America, Ursinus College, and various local venues. She danced with Jeanne Ruddy and freelances with choreographers in the tri-state area. While in Philadelphia, Melissa has been a member of Tania Isaac Dance, Meghan Durham/Merge Dance, PIMA Group, and has been on the faculty of Ursinus College. She curates the Norristown DanceFest annually, a summer performance series featuring dance companies from throughout the East Coast.
A native of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Yosbel Delgado-Hernandez began his training at the E.V.A. (vocational school of arts) in his hometown, where he studied ballet for five years. Mr. Delgado's first professional position was at the Camaguey Ballet in Cuba where he remained for almost two years. While at Camaguey Ballet he performed most of their repertoire including several works by Osvaldo Rivero. After dancing at Camaguey he was hired to dance at the world renowned Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Cuban National Ballet) under the direction of Alicia Alonso. There he stayed for two years and performed featured roles in many works including Von Rotbart and pas de six in Swan Lake, Quixote, toreros and sword dance in Don Quixote among many others.
In 2002, Mr. Delgado came to the United States to study and join the Pennsylvania Ballet. Since then he has performed numerous featured roles with the Pennsylvania Ballet in many works including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Taming of the Shrew, Dracula, Firebird, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Concert, Kazimir's Colours, Carmina Burana by Matthew Neenan, Five Tangos, Nine Sinatra Songs, Western Symphony, Messiah, Fearful Symmetries, The Four Temperaments, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Carnival of the Animals. He currently dances with Lustig Dance Theatre.
Sigrid Payne DaVeiga
Sigrid began dancing at the early age of 3 years at The Canyon Concert School of Ballet in Colorado and continued her training in Philadelphia, Washington DC and Chicago. She began teaching pre-ballet and ballet at The Georgetown School of Ballet in 1996 under the mentorship of Brooke Desnoes, the founder of the American Academy of Dance in Paris. Sigrid has since specialized in early dance curriculum development and training in ballet for all levels at studios such as Jo's Footwork Studio in Western Springs, Illinois, Studio J in Cleveland, Ohio and Wissahickon Dance Academy. Sigrid's passion lies in instilling a love for the art of dance in young children and in creating an inspiring environment in class that helps lay the fundamentals for the future rigors of training in ballet. She is also a dance critic for Critical Dance Magazine and a physician at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Michele began her dance training with The Ballet Theatre of Scranton and Scranton Civic Ballet Company before continuing her training at Point Park University with a concentration in jazz and The University of the Arts. She performed professionally with Steppin’ Out Productions throughout the tri-state area, Bally’s in Atlantic City, the Sixers Dancers (Philadelphia 76ers) and choreographed for West Chester University. Michele went on the get her Nursing Degree and after having her three daughters, got back into dance by taking classes at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, Bucks County Dance Center and Koresh Dance Company.With two of her three daughters seriously studying dance, Michele returned to teaching and choreography. Michele is also a pilates and fitness instructor certified in both Mat and Reformer (IMX) Pilates, Balanced Body Pilates, Balanced Body Barre and aerobics (STRIDE). She enjoys teaching students of all ages and loves to share her passion for dance and pilates with those in her class.
Wendi Fisch began dance training at the age of three and still continues to study her art form. She became a serious student at the Tidewater Ballet Association in Norfolk, VA. under the direction of Gene Hammett. She was an invitational student at the School of American Ballet in New York City, The Royal Ballet in London, Melissa Hayden Ballet School and a scholarship recipient at the
Joffrey Ballet. She performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov and New York City Ballet at Kennedy Center and the White House. Wendi was one of two dancers chosen to dance Balanchine’s Union Jack at Kennedy Center. She has worked or studied with renowned choreographers and teachers ,including Alexandra Danilova, Edward Villella , Meredith Baylis, Francesca Corkle, Suki Schorer, Patricia Sorrell and many more. Wendi has been a guest artist for many companies including the Richmond Ballet,Washington Ballet and a member of the San Antonio Ballet Company and American Festival Ballet Company. She received a Bachelor of Science in Ballet/Music and Psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington under the direction of Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride and Jacques Cesbron. While at Indiana, she originated roles in Carmina Burana for Jaques Cesbron and works for the opera with noted choreographer JeanPierre Bonnefoux . She has performed lead roles in Gisele, Swan Lake, Paquita, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty and Balanchine works. She has been teaching for over twenty-five years throughout the country and the Philadelphia area and enthusiastically continues to teach and choreograph.
Wendi has been involved in the preparation of her students participating in the Youth America Grand Prix competition and dancing at Regional Dance America. She has started numerous nonprofit dance programs throughout the country that are still thriving today. Wendi uses her current pilates training to focus on proper alignment and body awareness while concentrating on a strong technical foundation. She believes in inspiring her students to follow their dreams with a solid work ethic, confidence, artistry and passion. Wendi has been practicing pilates since she was studying dance as a teenager. She has also incorporated the
reformer, tower and wunda chair. She has trained in Power Pilates as well as other styles of the craft. She enjoys combining her dance knowledge and experience to enhance her pilates classes for a challenging and optimal practice.
Monica Cameron Frichtel
Monica Cameron Frichtel holds a Masters in Education (EdM) in dance and a PhDis dance. She researches dance in education, dance and culture, and dance as knowledge. She is a trained ballet and modern dancer with background in jazz and Flamenco styles, and has performed with many independent dance companies in California and Philadelphia. In recent years she has worked with locals such as Keila Cordova and Teresa van Denend Sorge. Monica teaches all levels of ballet and modern, and creative movement. She has recently collaborated in the development of a curriculum for a parent-child dance class that include infants through pre-schoolers. Ms. Frichtel teaches part-time at Temple University and is affiliated with the Center for Research in Dance Education. She is passionate about teaching in many capacities and learns so much from the youngest dancers!
Joe Gonzalez started dancing at the age of 13 at the Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts and later became an honorable academics dance major at the Boston Arts Academy. Joe has received numerous scholarships to attend renowned summer dance programs such as The Boston Conservatory Summer Intensive, American Dance Festival, SpringBoard Danse Montreal and Bates Dance Festival. Joe Gonzalez holds a BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory. He has performed masterworks by Alvin Ailey, Anna Sokolow, Ronald K. Brown, Paul Taylor, Sean Curran, Nathan Trice, Pedro Ruiz Jr., Jose Limon, Rubber Band Dance Group, and Alwin Nikolas to name a few. Joe has toured the USA, Canada, India and Scotland performing with Anna Myer and Dancers, Prometheus Dance, and currently with The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco). Joe has choreographed over 20 original works nationally and is the Co-Artistic Director and Choreographer of Jo-Mé Dance, a company dedicated to creating a full dance experience in Contemporary art.
Katie Jasmin, a native of Rhode Island, is a performer and dance/movement educator currently living in Philadelphia. She holds a BA in music and dance performance from Rhode Island College, an EdM in Dance Education from Temple University and is a PMA certified Pilates instructor. Additionally, she has participated in somatic movement education courses with the Center for BodyMind Movement. Katie is a life-long dancer and has performed with many independent artists in RI, Boston and Philadelphia. She has also enjoyed teaching dance and movement in various settings from community centers to university courses, and working with a wide range of individuals from three to 80! She has been dancing and exploring with little ones at Philadelphia Dance Theatre since 2013 and is excited for more spontaneity, stickers and giggles to come with her young dancers!
Kirsten Kaschock is the author of three books of poetry and a novel, Sleight, a work about performers and performance. She was trained at Pennsylvania Regional Ballet and attended the Ailey School after completing her English degree from Yale. She has earned a PhD in English from the University of Georgia and a PhD in dance from Temple University. She is on faculty at Drexel University and has worked as a free-lance choreographer and master teacher in the Northeast. In 2015, Kirsten will serve as the Editor-in-Chief of thINKing DANCE, an online Philadelphia dance-writing consortium. She resides with her three children and their father in Elkins Park where she likes to work with words, bodies—and when she is lucky—other people.
Karen Lacy graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in Dance and English. She lived in New York City for 21 years, working as a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer and recently moved to the Philadelphia area. Some of her dance credits include the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, New York City Opera, Neville Dance Theatre, John Passafiume Dancers, Eglevsky Ballet, and Covenant Ballet Theatre. Her choreography credits include LaTraviata, Once Upon a Mattress, Romance Romance, The Big One, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and countless children’s dance recitals.
For the past thirteen years, Karen has worked as a teaching artist in the NYC public schools with both City Center and American Ballet Theatre, and is an ABT certified teacher who has successfully completed the ABT TeacherTraining Intensive in Primary through Level 7. She taught for almost 20 yearsat the School of Garden State Ballet and most recently, at Manhattan Youth Ballet in NYC. Karen also teaches at Dance Delaware and works at Gaynor Minden, where she is Senior Fitter and Dance Teacher Liaison.
Gina Battista Shifferly
Gina Battista Shifferly began her early training with Forest Gehret at the Harrisburg Dance Conservatory. Her additional training included the Capital Area School for the Arts, Atlanta Ballet, American Academy of Ballet and Pennsylvania Regional Ballet. She continued her studies at the Boston Conservatory and received her BFA at Wright State University in 2009, while dancing professionally with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Second Company. Other professional performing credits include the Brown Dance Project, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, Western Ballet Theatre of Puerto Rico, BalletFleming and The Embodiment Project. Her choreographic career began with the Northeast Regional Dance America Festival and her work has since been performed in the U.S., Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. She is currently dancing with Sanbrooka Productions and Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet.
Dillon Anthony Shifferly originally started his training at Canton Ballet School under Cassandra Crowley. Throughout his training he studied at American Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Chautauqua Ballet. Dillon joined the North Carolina Dance Theatre second company under Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, and Mark Diamond. He then continued on to the Dayton Ballet, Western Ballet Theatre of Puerto Rico, Balletfleming and Pennsylvania Ballet. Dillon has been welcomed as a guest dancer and choreographer at many schools and companies around the Northeast and reaching as far as the Dominican Republic. Dillon has enjoyed exploring his love for photography and music while pursuing his professional dance career.
Ruka White is a proud member of Carol Armitage, serving in his first year. He was born in Italy, and raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Ruka began his dance training with the Miami City Ballet while attending Dillard Center for the Performing Arts. He then went on to train with the Alley School and holds a BFA in dance from Florida State University. His dance credits include an Act So Glad Medalist and has performed works by: George Balanchine, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Alonzo King, Louis Johnson, and Jose Limon. Ruka has served as dance captain for Royal Carribean International. He has performed professionally with Ballethnica, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, New Dance Group, Dayton Contemporary and most recently Philadanco.
Gary W. Jeter II began dancing in 1997 at Pebble Brook High School for the Performing Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, where he graduated in 1999. Gary attended the Ailey fellowship summer program and he received a full director's scholarship to the University of the Arts where he graduated in 2003 with a BFA degree. After graduation he was asked to join Philadanco where he was a principal dancer from 2003-2007. Gary has also worked with Fernando Bujones & Eddie Shellman in addition to dancing with Eleone Dance Theater.
Gary has choreographed works for Eleone Dance Theater, Danco 2, The University of the Arts, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Gary joined Complexions in 2007, and in November of 2013 premiered his first ballet for the company. Gary joined Ballet X in September 2014.
Heather is a native of Philadelphia, PA where she trained in all style of dance since the age of 3. She grew up performing at dance competitions and pageants where she was awarded numerous titles and scholarships including the title of Junior Miss Pre-Teen New York. As an Independent Study Program student in high school, she was able to train full-time in NYC and tour nationally with Tremaine Dance Conventions as an assistant for Desiree Robbins, Liz Imperio and Joelle Martinec. She received her Associates Degree from The Borough of Manhattan Community College where she was on a full academic scholarship. Heather assisted at numerous Broadway Dance Center Summer and Winter Intensives also giving her the opportunity to perform in NYC since the age of 11. She moved to Manhattan at 18 where she trained extensively with Tracie Stanfield, Sheila Barker, Michelle Assaf and Wes Veldink at Broadway Dance Center and Joe Lanteri at STEPS. She taught and choreographed at many studios in the NJ, NY and PA area and also joined the The Pulse on Tour and Broadway Dance Center as a Work-Study student. Heather’s performance credits include “Fly with Me Workshop” Tracie Stanfield/SynthesisDANCE, EOS Caseology Watches Industrial Commercial “How We Roll”, along with additional performances with numerous companies and choreographers in the NYC and Philadelphia area. After 7 years of being based in NYC, Heather relocated back home to Philadelphia where she is currently the owner/artistic director of the junior training/performance company, Transcendance, a guest teacher/choreographer at many local studios and programs and a regional/national judge with Revolution Talent Competition. Heather is the Assistant Studio Director of Millennium Dance Complex Philadelphia, where she also teaches Contemporary Lyrical/Jazz.
Robert Gosnell is from North Carolina, where he began his training with the High Point Ballet and went on to study at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (1993-1998), School of American Ballet, The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Atlanta Ballet. He then joined Nashville Ballet in 1999 and danced with them until 2007. Robert has been featured in ballets by David Allan, Salvatore Aiello, Sir Frederick Ashton, Winthrop Corey, and Paul Vasterling and with regional companies Atlanta Dance Theatre, Roswell Dance Theatre and High Point Ballet. He has also served as Youth Cast Rehearsal Master for Nashville Ballet’s Nutcracker. Robert has choreographed several musicals for Brentwood High School, in Brentwood, TN. In the summers of 2004, 2005, and 2006 Robert attended the National Choreographers Initiative in Irvine, Ca, where he worked with Val Canaparoli, Anne Marie DeAngelo, Gina Patterson, Peter Pucci, Luca Vegetti, and Molly Lynch. He was a featured artist at the 2004 and 2008 Southeastern Regional Ballet Association’s annual festival. In the summers of 2007 and 2008, Robert had the honor to return to UNC School of the Arts, along with other alumni, to be a part of UNC School of the Arts performance series in Manteo, NC. In the summer of 2009, he had the opportunity to perform in Arezzo, Italy with Amaranth Contemporary Dance based in Richmond, VA. His ballet Within, was chosen to be performed at the National Regional Dance America Festival in Montreal, Canada in May of 2012. Robert is on staff with N-House Productions under the direction of Casey Noblett, Guest Artist with Roswell Dance Theatre, Atlanta Dance Theatre, and served as the Associate Director/Resident Artist with the Atlanta Dance Theatre from 2010-2013. Robert continues his relationship with UNCSA, as a Guest Faculty member in the regular school year, Summer Dance Comprehensive and the Preparatory Program.