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About Us

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Joanna Andriopoulos, Executive Director, has been teaching dance for 30 years. 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. 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.  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 an ABT® Certified and Affiliate Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

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Elena Andriopoulos, Artistic Director, has studied dance for 21 years. 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. 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 pursuing a Master of Arts in Dance Education through New York University. 

 

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.

Elena is an ABT® Certified and Affiliate Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She is also a Fellow with the ABT® NTC, an honor few teachers receive each year. 

Instructors

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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.

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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.

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Mindy Golder is a classically trained ballet dancer who started dancing at the age of 3. She began her classical ballet training when she was 7 at the New Jersey School of Ballet, where she studied under several world class teachers such as George Tamal, Caralyn Clark, and Eliie Lazar. She performed in numerous productions of The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and end of year workshops. By the age of 8, she was dancing an average of 25 hours a week. At the age of 11, Mindy continued her training at the Mill Ballet School under the direction of Mark and Mellisa Roxey. After spending her summer training at Princeton Ballet Summer Intensive program, she was accepted into their Ballet Plus year-round program at the age of 13. 

 

Throughout Mindy's dance training, she has trained around the country through various programs, which have given her the opportunity to not only train from international professional dancers and teachers but gave her the ability to grow as a dancer. Unfortunately, a knee injury at the age of 16 prevented her from pursuing a professional career. She then attended St. Francis University, where she obtained her BA in Social work. Since graduating, she has taught ballet, lyrical, pointe, and ballet/tap combo classes in several studios in new Jersey.

 

Miss Mindy believes that ballet is not only her passion but is in her bones; she loves nothing more than sharing her love for the art of ballet with children of all ages.

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Kristen Klein leads our upside down program, from our tiny tumblers toddler classes to our advanced acro classes. With a lifelong interest in tumbling and acrobatics, she began assisting classes and obtained certification in Acrobatic Arts in 2023. She enjoys finding unique tricks and partner stunts for our dancers to try and master! 

 

Kristen graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism and mass communication, with a focus on digital media. She’s worked on content creation, marketing initiatives, and social media for national magazines. After leaving the New York City area and settling in Warren County, she transitioned her skills to local businesses. managing the website, social media, and front desk for a local gymnastics studio before joining the West Jersey Youth Ballet team as marketing manager. 

Kristen was a competitive cheerleader for 10 years with the Flemington Falcons and Hunterdon Central Red Devils, giving her a strong knowledge of tumbling and stunting mechanics. She also danced recreationally for most of her childhood and was a competitive baton twirler for several years. 

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Amanda Mulligan has danced since she was 3 years old! She started to dance competitively at the age of 7 and trained under Ms. Joanna for three years. She has competed at high level ballet competitions including Youth America Grand Prix and has also performed in The Nutcracker and other ballets. 

She currently dances on the Hunterdon Central Dance Team and teaches ballet and jazz at WJYB. She also works the front desk. 

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Stephanie Brodeur is co-leader of our Fine Arts Program. She is also one of the directors of DaVinci Forest School, a homeschooling co-op that uses nature as an anchor to teach interdisciplinary studies in literature, science, engineering, and art.

 

Stephanie is an educational professional with nearly two decades of teaching and administrative experience in New York City and New Jersey schools. She is passionate about education and has developed and implemented curricula in nearly all subject areas. After becoming a mom, she embarked on her homeschooling journey, seeking to preserve childhood while providing immersive real world experiences that are both fun and enriching. Stephanie believes that children learn best when all their senses are engaged and they can see the interconnectedness of each discipline. 

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Marilyn Puerschner is co-leader of our Fine Arts Program. She is also one of the directors of DaVinci Forest School, a homeschooling co-op that uses nature as an anchor to teach interdisciplinary studies in literature, science, engineering, and art.

Marilyn has been working with children since graduating high school. She has worked in daycare and preschool settings and has experience teaching Awana classes. After deciding to give her son a homeschool education, she immersed herself in homeschooling by running two homeschool websites, teaching at multiple co-ops for children of all ages, and teaching other homeschooled students via zoom and in-person. Marilyn believes an interdisciplinary education is integral to a child's development and that being in nature is one of the best gifts you can give your child.

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Kate Roehm is our in-house seamstress. She has over 20 years of sewing and costuming experience, mostly in historical recreation and fantasy genres. Many of the costumes seen in our spring ballets,  as well as newer additions to "The Nutcracker," are Kate's creations! She is also available to design competition costumes for our conservatory students, and she is always ready with a needle and thread backstage in case of any wardrobe emergencies.

Prior to homeschooling her children and becoming Head of the Board for her co-op; she studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Albertus Magnus College, and was a site director for an after school enrichment program in Hunterdon County.

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