Thank you for your interest in Academy of Movement. Below is some information about my personal and professional background.
I am a graduate of West Chester University where I earned a BS in Kinesiology and a Minor in Dance Education. While attending WCU I was a Member, Captain and Choreographer for the West Chester University Dance Team. I was a 3 year participant, officer and choreographer in our Annual Dance Production Workshop Performance and was also a recipient of the Charles Swope Memorial Foundation Scholarship awarded to students who excelled in academics and community leadership. Post graduation, I attended Alvernia University and earned a Masters Degree in Education with a concentration in Urban Education. I have been teaching Health, Physical Education and Dance for the past 17 years. The last 15 years have been in the Wilson School District.
While at Wilson I have created and implemented one of the states few public High School Dance curriculums for a PE course called Dance Workshop. The first class grew from 9 students five years ago to over 100 students a year for the last 2 consecutive years. We now offer a Dance Workshop 2 as well so more students can take an additional dance course even after the state graduation requirements for PE are met. In addition I have coached and choreographed for the Wilson High School Dance Team for 8 years. I have also been an active part of the Wilson Theatre Company for the last 7 years. I am a choreographer for our Summer Theatre Camps and have choreographed both Wilson West and Wilson High School Musicals such as Grease, Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde, How to Succeed in Business, Shrek, Honk, and most recently Chicago.
As you may already know I had the privilege of experiencing some professional dance opportunities as a member of the MISL Philadelphia KIXX dance team as well as being a 3 year member of the Philadelphia 76ers Dance Team. After retiring from the Sixers in 2005 I began the beginning of a long term community/professional relationship with the Reading Phillies/Fightins as the Director of the Reading Fightins Pro Dance Team, Jr Pro Dance Team, and our Diamond Divas Mini dance teams as well. It was through a mutual Phils contact that I was able to create and open the doors for ACADEMY OF MOVEMENT LLC in 2007 in Bern Township. Together with a friend, mentor and colleague, we opened a "one room schoolhouse" with 22 students my first year. Over the past 3 years we have earned 3 Consecutive National Championships and I will close out my 10th anniversary in Sinking Spring this June with just short of 300 students!
I am an active member of my State's professional organization and have been a State and National Presenter for PSAPHERD on incorporating Dance into the PE Curriculum. In 2017 I served as the Vice President Elect of Dance for Pennsylvania's State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. I was the Chair of the annual 2017 Dance Gala as well. In 2016 I received the prestigious nomination and was awarded the Pennsylvania State Dance Teacher of the Year.
I currently reside in Sinking spring with my two beautiful little girls Jacie and Jiana. I am looking forward to each and every aspect of this new position and am so grateful for this opportunity. I plan to continue to provide quality dance instruction and valuable performance experience to all aspiring dancers! I am confident in my abilities and experiences, and that the Dance Department at the Yocum Institute of Arts Education will thrive as I continue to pursue success in supporting the arts in our community and helping children learn to move with confidence at Academy of Movement at The Yocum Institute for Arts Education!
Miss Jennelle - Cheer Dance and Tumble Instructor
Head Coach of Cheer FX Allstar Cheerleading Program
Miss Jennelle began dance, tumbling and competitive cheerleading at a young age. She continued cheerleading throughout high school. As an UCA All-American, she went on to teach cheerleading camps, while also instructing tumbling. She then began choreographing routines for local cheerleading and dance teams. While coaching high school cheerleading for 4 years, she was also a member of the PA Coal Crackers Cheerleaders, and the NEPA Miners Cheerleaders. Jennelle began teaching dance and tumbling at the Academy of Movement in 2008. During the past few years, she has done competition choreography for various cheerleading teams in Berks County. Many of which have won first, or placed in the top 3, with 1 award for "Best Choreography". She is a former R-Phils Dance Team member, and the current coach of AOM's Cheer FX All Star Cheer Team.
Miss Lauren - Dance Instructor
Miss Lauren has a well rounded 20+ years of training in classical ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, character, hip hop, pantomime, musical theater, & voice performance. Lauren's training has taken place across the Tri-state area with several different studio's, certification programs, professional instructors and companies including Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre - Gina Malsky-Prokop, Bravo!, Jamie Verazin, Broadway Dance Center, Trinette Singleton - Joffery Ballet, STEPS and NAPE Broadway Theater and Dance Company to name a few. Some of Lauren's favorite pre-professional memories include dancing many soloist and principal roles in classical ballet's such as "Coppelia", "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Nutcracker". Lauren's training has included the exploration of ballet techniques including Cecchetti, Vagonova and Balanchine. Lauren danced throughout college at Kutztown University and has been a member of The KU Dance Team where she served as the team's choreographer. She was also was a member of the R-Phils Dance Team where she served as a co-captain. Lauren made her Broadway debut in 2000 appearing in Broadway's "The Nutcracker" and again in 2001 for Broadway's "Cinderella" along side of Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?". She was then selected as a Dancer/Stage Show Character at Disney's Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios until perusing other professional performance opportunities. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Speech Communications, Lauren continued auditioning and working as a professional dancer with credits including guest artist roles and even back up dancing for recording artist, Lenny Kravitz. Lauren also became an NFL Cheerleader and Co-captain for the NFL's New York Jets in 2011 and served three seasons with the team and was promoted to a co-captain position. While dancing for the JETS, Lauren was selected to travel and perform with the inaugural show team which included a small group of the teams' elite technically trained dancers who traveled and performed at high-profile appearances which included dancing at the Superbowl at Metlife Stadium. Lauren then went on to become an alumni ambassador for the team. Currently, she enjoys traveling to train and choreograph with different dancers across PA, NY and NJ privately coaching in conjunction with teaching at AOM. During Lauren's teaching career, she has earned over 25 choreography and technical recognition awards. One of Miss Lauren's fondest achievements as a ballet instructor to date has beenproducing a student who has been excepted and to the pre-professional program at the prestigious Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. In addition to being a dance instructor, Lauren is the Tristate Sales Representative for Discount Dance Supply which allows her to work with instructors and studio directors across the country. Lauren is specializing in technique, ballet, pointe, lyrical, modern, contemporary, and jazz.
Miss Laura - Dance Instructor
Miss Laura started dancing at the age of 3 at The Dance Gallery, taking lessons from the late Maria Fessler- Frick for 17 years along with various other instructors/choreographers. She participated and competed in various dance competitions across PA for 16 years winning various awards in tap, jazz and hip hop. She has performed twice in the dance TV show, Al Alberts and has also performed 3 times for The Magic Music Days in Disney World! At the age of 19 she started teaching tap, jazz ballet and hip hop. From 2005-2010 she choreographed many dance/pom routines for various middle/high schools in Berks County. Laura is 3 year veteran of the Reading Express, Smokin' Hot Steam Team and was captain/choreographer in her 3rd season with the team, 2009-2010. She is currently returning for her 3rd year teaching here at AOM.
Miss Erica - Dance Instructor and Communication Coordinator
Miss Erica is a 8th year dance instructor at AOM in addition to an Administrative assistant and our Communication Coordinator. She is at the desk Monday-Thursday anytime she is not teaching class. She can answer all of your questions, assist in placing shoe and apparel orders, process payments and most importantly greet your children with a smile. Erica was a 3 year member of the WHS Dance Team and student at Academy of Movement. Upon graduating from Wilson High School she has earned a spot on the Fightins Dance Team 6 consecutive seasons in a row. She has performed, choreographed and fulfilled the leadership role of Captain 2 years in a row. Erica is currently a co-choreographer of the Fightins Junior Pro Dance Team and the Diamond Diva Mini Dance Team. She is a yearly participant in the Philadelphia All Pro Dance Convention and has trained and performed with one of Philadelphia’s most talented female Hip Hop crews. She enjoys continuing to take classes in New York at Broadway Dance Centers and Philadelphia Millenium Dance Complex which have earned her opportunities to perform in both commercials and film. Erica is in charge of all levels Hip Hop and has been a Co-Director and Choreographer for AOM's Dance FX Entertainment team. Over the last 3 years, her choreography has won 3 consecutive national titles. Erica is graduate of Alvernia University and is a teacher in the Wilson School District, where she also is a coach for the WHS Dance Team and the musical choreographer for West Middle School and the High School. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Education at Kutztown University.
Miss Kayla - Dance Instructor
Miss Kayla spent most of her life as a competitive gymnast. She made it all the way to level 10 in the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Program. Kayla found dance at the age of 14 and quickly fell in love with it. She switched over from gymnastics to dance completely and has now been with AOM for 6 years. She enjoys several genres of dance including lyrical, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, musical theatre, and ballet. Her favorites are lyrical and contemporary. Kayla has been part of our Dance FX competition team for as long as she has been here. She has many national titles under her belt including several 1st place overall solo, duo, trio, small group and large group awards, Triple Threat Titlist 3 years in a row, and many Summer Intensive scholarship awards in New York City to train with professionals. Kayla is now 'Miss Kayla' and loves teaching and sharing her love for dance with our students.
Miss Ashley- Dance Instructor
Miss Ashley began dancing, cheering, and tumbling at a young age. She danced competitively since elementary school and continued through high school, winning many awards in tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, jazz, contemporary, etc. She taught dance at her studio for many years, and she has also performed in and choreographed many musicals at Conrad Weiser High School. Ashley received the performing arts award for her jazz dance at the Outstanding Young Woman competition. Ashley has also had the opportunity to teach to both instructors and young dancers in the tri-state competition, International Teachers of Dance Inc. (ITDI). After receiving NCA All-American cheerleading title 6 times and being selected to cheer in the Big 33 game, Ashley was accepted as an NCA staff member where she ran summer camps in the northeast region, judges’ competitions and choreographs routines for high school teams. While on staff, Ashley received “Best Dancer Award” two years consecutively. She continued to cheer at Kutztown University where she competed in UCA College Nationals. While at Kutztown, Ashley was also a member of the Lenhart Dance Company who was trained by some of New York’s elite dancers, and later became a member of the KU Dance Team. Upon graduating, Ashley co-coached Wilson West Jr. High Cheerleading and currently helps with the Conrad Weiser Varsity team. She is a two year veteran member of the Reading Fightin Phils Dance Team and assists with the Diamond Divas Jr Dance Team. Ashley has also been a participant at the Philadelphia Go Pro Dance Convention. Miss Ashley has also starred as Peter Pan in AOM’s production of Peter Pan. She is currently in her second year of teaching at Academy of Movement and is high school English teacher at Conrad Weiser High School.
Ms. Kristi- Gymnastics/Tumbling Instructor
Gymnastics has been part of my life since I was 10 years old. I was formerly a USAG competitive gymnast. After graduating High school I was hired at Berks Gymnastics Academy where I was coaching under Former Olympic Coach Tom McCarthy. I worked there for 10 years then opened my own Gymnastics Program in Denver, Pa. I was the head coach and also ran the entire program for 14 successful years. I have trained many State Champions and medalists. I enjoy teaching gymnastics and tumbling and love to see the joy in a students face when they learn a skill for the first time. This is so rewarding for both me and the student. My daughter has been dancing at AOM for the past 5 years and I am very excited join the awesome staff in this program.
Miss Erin - Dance Instructor
Erin started dancing at the age of two at Marilyn’s School Of Dance in West Lawn taking tap, ballet, jazz and acrobat classes. As she went on to high school she assisted in choreography for a number of musicals at Muhlenberg High School while continuing dance classes, cheering for football and playing basketball. After high school graduation, Erin attended the University of Delaware where she auditioned to be on their very first Blue Hen dance team to compete nationally in Orlando, FL and have their routine aired on ESPN. She choreographed a number of routines for the Hens and continues to dance during halftime of basketball games for the university’s alumni events. After college graduation, Erin attended Koresh Dance Studio in center city Philadelphia where she was chosen to be a part of Montage Hip Hop Company of Philadelphia. Montage featured a number of Sixers Dance Team members and performs at a plethora of events/shows held all over Philadelphia. Erin is also a selected instructor/choreographer for hip hop classes for the House of Starz in the city of Reading. Five years ago, Erin joined the talented staff at Academy of Movement teaching tap, ballet, hip hop, jazz and break dance. Two years ago she became an integral part of the Dance FX competition choreography staff and has led numerous soloists and duos to national titles at dance competitions including, True Talent, Dance Explosion and StarQuest. She enjoys teaching all ages and every genre of dance.
Miss Kelly began her dancing career when she was 8 years old. She danced all through high school, taking classes in tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet, pointe, and hip hop. Throughout her dancing experience, she attended several years of summer dance camps as well as yearly NYCDA Dance Conventions. She was also actively involved in theater while growing up, dancing and acting in plays and musicals. Kelly currently teaches Social Studies at Wilson High School. She is in her 6th year teaching tap and lyrical at Academy of Movement.
Originally from Monmouth County New Jersey, Miss Rachel has been dancing since 1978. Trained primarily in classical ballet, Miss Rachel enjoyed many years under the strict and exquisite teachings of Ms. Rosemary Boross, former Radio City Music Hall Rockette. In addition to ballet, Miss Rachel trained in classical jazz under choreographer/Broadway “Can-Can” performer Bob Boross, whose major influences were none other than Bob Fosse and Matt Maddox. Miss Rachel spent two years performing with the Reading Fightin’ Phils Dance Team and has been teaching at Academy of Movement for five years. Over the course of adulthood, Miss Rachel has trained in ballroom dance and continues to take lessons in ballet. She believes dance is an ongoing journey, and never stops learning. In addition to teaching dance,Miss Rachel enjoys spending time with her three children and her large extended family, digging in her garden, spending time at the ocean, reading, walking, home redecorating projects, and listening to live music.