Joanna Andriopoulos, Executive Director, has been teaching dance for 29 years. She is a graduate of New York University, with a Master of Arts in Dance Education from the Steinhardt School of Education, and a graduate of Montclair State University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. She is certified in Levels Pre-Primary through 5 of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. She is also an Affiliate Teacher with the ABT NTC, an honor few teachers receive each year. Joanna has been an adjunct professor at DeSales University, teaching Ballet, Montclair State University, teaching Modern, and at Raritan Valley Community College, teaching Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Choreography.
She has choreographed numerous original story ballets, including "The Wizard of Oz", "The Little Mermaid", "12 Dancing Princesses", and "Alice in Wonderland", as well as many original productions of "The Nutcracker". She has also set both "Swan Lake" (excerpts) and "Paquita Grand Pas Classique" on her students. She has choreographed for the Gallatin Arts Festival in New York City, for Madison High School's musical theatre production of "The Wizard of Oz", and ballet, modern, tap, jazz and acro works at various studios during her teaching career.
Joanna is proud to be a co-director with her daughter, Elena, and believes a nurturing, family environment in the studio helps students reach their potential.
Elena Andriopoulos, Artistic Director, has studied dance for 19 years. She began assisting classes at age 10, and has been involved in dance education since then! Elena is a graduate of DeSales University as a Dance major, and is currently certified in levels Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. She will begin the NYU/ABT Master's program in September to complete her training through Level 7.
Elena was primarily trained with the ABT NTC in her studio years, along with Modern, Jazz, Tap, and Acro. She has attended the Hartt Ballet Summer intensive twice in Hartford, Connecticut, working with Angel Corella, Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, and numerous workshops and short summer intensives in the Tri-state area, including the moe-tion dance summer intensive, Centenary College's dance intensive, Somerset County Vo-Tech dance intensive, and classes in New York City at ABT, Gibney, Dance New Amsterdam and at Princeton Dance and Theatre in NJ.
Elena's performance credits include: "Flock", by Jessie Young, "Magnificat", by Caroline Fermin, "breaking THE cycle", by Daria Evans, "Eneya" by Maddie Rasbold, "REMembering a dREaM", byEmma Maurer, and "MOVE!", by Maureen Glennon. She has danced almost every role in "The Nutcracker" during her studio training years, and performed in "Paquita", "Swan Lake", and other classical and story ballets.
As Artistic Director, Elena combines her training in classical and contemporary dance to create captivating and creative choreography for each student. Elena believes that dance training creates a strong person, as a dancer and an individual, teaching them that hard work and perseverance is the way to achieve their goals.
Caitlin Knowles is a performer and educator based in the NYC/NJ area. They graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA in Dance and Theater and continue their training by taking classes regularly at Gibney, Peridance and Steps on Broadway in NYC. They have committed to growing as an educator and choreographer by participating in programs such as the ABT NTC Pre-Primary- Level 3 Teacher Training, Royal Winnipeg Ballet Summer Teacher Training, AXIS Summer Intensive and BergenDanceMakers.
Caitlin is so grateful to have been able to perform works by José Limòn, Bill T. Jones, Nancy Lushington, Doug Varone, Marked Dance Project, Meghan Daly, David Ingram, Mei Yamanaka and Stephanie Beauchamp among others. They have also had the opportunity to perform in venues such as The Joyce Theater, Gibney, Hackensack Performing Arts Center, The Actors Fund Arts Center, Ramapo College, and Oskar Shindler Performing Arts Center.
Caitlin has had 10 years of education experience working for various studios, public schools, intensive programs, and residencies. Knowles’ teaching integrates student-centered practices that foster mental health, anatomically sound technique and alignment, and strong partnering and floorwork. They also collaborate with companies to create accessible and socially conscious spaces and advocate for Mental Health Awareness through volunteering for the NJ Mental Health Players.
Their choreography has been shown at festivals/events such as The Craft, Manifest, NJ Mental Health Association webinar, Dance Parade, DanceRising, and Anytime Anyplace Online Dance Film Festival. They are currently a company member with Nikki Manx Dance Project and MarDel Dance, freelance/collaborate with individual artists regularly and will be entering a residency at Mignolo Dance with Haley Yacos this summer. They are thrilled to be teaching for Joanna Andriopoulos, as their career wouldn’t be possible without her foundational training and support.
Nathan Forster is an NJ based Dance artist and teacher. With an AFA in dance from Raritan Valley Community College, BA in Theatre from Drew University, and voracious appetite for information, Nathan brings a diverse skill set informed by their theatrical and dance training to cultivate the next generation of dancers.
Originally from Berkeley, CA, Nathan has previously danced for choreographers Marissa Aucoin, Stephanie Beauchamp, Loretta Fois, Emmeline Gonzalez-Beban, Lisa Grimes, and Nina Haft.
Nathan is also the founding artistic director of ReFrame Dance Theatre, a company devoted to creating accessible dance in surprising places, and has been commissioned by the Rahway Arts+Business Partnership to create outdoor performances for their annual Culture Crawl. Most recently, ReFrame Dance Theatre successfully produced and performed their first evening of performances, Remember Me, in the Rahway Arts District Park. Nathan also just completed an artist residency at Mignolo Arts. Additionally, Nathan performs with Mignolo Dance, and is regularly invited to collaborate and teach in their class series and intensives. He also continually collaborates with West Coast-based choreographer Michael J. Lee on a variety of live and film projects. Nathan’s choreography has been described as surreal, transformative, and “everything you need in a good gumbo at a fancy restaurant.”
Nathan’s teaching is heavily influenced by his years of experience developing Pre-K movement curriculum and facilitating dance experiences for seniors; somatic practices including yoga and Feldenkrais; Laban Movement Analysis; and dance training in Cunningham, Hawkins, Limon, Release, and Simonson techniques. In Nathan’s class, dance is a vehicle to develop expressiveness, artistry, and critical thinking. It is his firm belief that the fundamental value of dance class is not to perfect a dance, but to discover all the ways a dance can be perfect.
Office Staff: (l to r)
Amanda Mulligan (Office Assistant)
Emily Taggart (Enrollment Coordinator)
Elena Andriopoulos (Artistic Director)
Joanna Andriopoulos (Executive Director)
Kristen Klein (Office Manager)