Our developmentally focused training is dedicated to locating a student’s maximum potential.
At Washington Rock Dance, we believe in acknowledging the sincere individuality residing in each and every student of dance. We foster the unique development of our students by providing an opportunity to be creative, understand the field of body mechanics, and discover their personal sense of artistry through the performance of high caliber works. Our developmentally focused training is dedicated to locating a student’s maximum potential while experiencing a smart, inspirational, and fun environment.
Cleo Mack was selected by Dance Magazine as one of the “25 to Watch in 2002.” She began her dance training at the Purpich School of the Arts and earned her BFA in dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, where she was the recipient of ACDFA/Dance Magazine Award for Outstanding Student Choreography. Ms. Mack has received grants and fellowships from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, The Gerldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in honor of her high artistic merit. She has been commissioned to create new work for Purpich School of the Arts, Quad Cities Ballet and DeSales University. She has been a teaching artist for the American Repertory Ballet Institute, Rutgers University, DeSale University, Muhlenberg University and the University of Iowa. She is currently Director of Dance at the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School of the Performing Arts and the Artistic Director of Washington Rock Ballet and Modern Companies.
Kelli McGovern is a graduate of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with an Ed.M. in Dance Education from the Graduate School of Education and a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts. She is a dancer with the Cleo Mack Dance Project and Connolly & Co. Ms. McGovern has performed works by Merce Cunningham, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Manuel Vignoulle, Alwin Nikolais, and Randy James. She has performed in various venues and festivals throughout New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Boston such as the Joyce Theatre, NJPAC, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Dixons Place, Joe’s Pub, George Street Playhouse, Salvatore Capezio Theatre at Peridance, Koresh Artist Series, The Hatch, and REVERBdance Echoes Tour. Kelli is also a dance educator at the Academy of Fine Arts and Academics at Bayonne High School and is Co-Artistic Director of the Washington Rock Ballet. Ms. McGovern recently served on the panel to develop the Model Curriculum Assessments for the state of New Jersey and is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Blair Ritchie is a professional dancer in addition to being a dance educator and yoga teacher. Blair is a member of the Faculty of Mason Gross School of the Arts Dance Department at Rutgers University where she teaches technique sits on their Technique Curriculum Committee and has formulated the curriculum for their Yoga for Dancers Program. This past summer she was pleased to collaborate as a teacher with Rutgers University and Om Factory in their first ever 200 hr. Yoga Teacher Training. For the last decade she has continued her education in alignment based Hatha yoga and the life affirming philosophy it brings with it. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts and, since graduating, has actively pursued her two passions, performing and the study of the human body. Since 2005 Blair has performed both nationally and internationally as a member of multiple modern dance companies. She is also a registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). In addition to her required teacher training she has taken extensive therapeutics training to learn the practical applications of yoga and hands-on adjustments to the chronically and acutely injured body. She is actively completing her advanced 500 teacher training with renowned yoga teachers Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeny at DIG Yoga.
Rachel Stanislawczyk began her dance training at The Princeton Ballet School in 2003. She continued her studies at the Middlesex County School of Performing Arts where she trained and performed in several works by Cleo Mack. Rachel recently graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. At VCU, she was awarded the VCU Arts Dance and Choreography Outstanding Service Award, the VCU Academic Achievement Award, and the VCU Arts Dean’s Renewable Scholarship. In the spring semester of her junior year, Rachel was a student of The University of South Florida’s Dance in Paris Program- a semester abroad where she worked with various celebrated dance artists in Europe. Currently, Rachel is a Dance for Parkinson’s Disease intern for the Mark Morris Dance Group and a dance teacher at several schools in the New Jersey area. She is honored to become part of the team at Washington Rock Dance this upcoming season!
Jacob Taylor received his formative training at Boulder Ballet School and in the summer programs of American Ballet Theatre, the School of American Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Kaatsbaan, and Perry Mansfield. Mr. Taylor is a graduate of the Ballet Performance Program at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. At IU his repertoire included ballets by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, Dwight Rohden, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp. In addition to Ballet Performance, Taylor studied dance pedagogy at IU and was commissioned to choreograph the Opera Cendrillon for the music department. His professional career includes working with such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Christopher Caines Dance, FJK Dance, Thomas Ortiz Dance, and Boulder Ballet.
Sean Langford graduated cum laude from Mason Gross School of the Arts in 2016. Professionally, he has worked with Keith Thompson’s danceTactics and Erick Montes/Danceable Projects. While at school he has performed the works of Jessica Lange, Camille A. Brown, Pam Tanowitz, Shen Wei, Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, Stefanie Batten-Bland, Keith Thompson, Randy James, John Evans and Paul C. Ocampo. He is a certified Pilates teacher through Polestar Pilates and the Pilates Method Alliance.
Emily Funicello, from Laurel Springs, NJ, earned an Ed.M. in Dance Education from Rutgers University and a B.F.A. in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, graduating summa cum laude. She holds a PK-12 Teaching Certification with Advanced Standing from the NJ Department of Education. Emily is a Teaching Artist for The Dance Theatre of Harlem and has previously worked as a Teaching Artist for 10 Hairy Legs Dance Company. She has been a member of Zella Dance since 2013. Emily has performed at venues including The Kennedy Center, NJPAC, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Paramount Theater (Boston), and Dixon Place. She is an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher in Pre-primary through Level Three of the ABT National Training Curriculum.
Dani Fishman recently received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Ohio Dance University. She has performed in Dancers Responding to AIDS at The Joyce Theater choreographed by Andrew Turtletaub. Dani has interned for Rock Dance Collective and studied composition, ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop and tap for many years.
Maribella Miller is originally from Los Angeles, CA where she began dancing at the age of 3. She trained at Los Angeles Ballet Academy and was a member of the Los Angeles Youth Ballet Theater and Team Theatrics. Miss Maribella graduated with her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and holds a Masters in Dance Education from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Maribella is a Pre-K through 12th grade certified dance educator currently teaching in the Franklin Township School District. Maribella has taught dance in the New York City Public Schools, as well as in Public and Charter schools across New Jersey. She has performed at various venues around the US including the Joyce Theater in NYC, Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, Spreckles Theatre in San Diego CA and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Miss Maribella is also an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher.
Dan Mitra is primarily a tap dancer native to Woodstock Valley, CT. Since he has started tap dancing at a young age he has received awards such as the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap Future Award, youngARTS silver finalist, and one of two dancers selected to perform at the Kennedy Center as Presidential Scholars in the Arts in 2009. Shows Dan has been in are Joseph Webb’s “Beautiful Fire”, Henry St. Theatre’s “Urban Nutcracker,” Omar Edward’s “Passion of Tap”, in works by Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards in “On Tap at Summerstage,” the film “Black Nativity,” and is a member of Jason Samuel Smith’s A.C.G.I. Most recently Dan has performed in the “Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala,” performing choreography by Jared Grimes. In terms of teaching Dan Mitra is on faculty at Peridance and Mark Morris and is a Guest Teacher at Broadway Dance Center.
Christina Petrilli received her high school dance training at Dance Express. In college, she was co-captain of the Marywood Dance Team and graduated from Marywood University with a BFA and a minor in dance. In 2008, Chrissy received her MA in Fine Art Education from Kean University and is currently an elementary art teacher. In addition to teaching the younger students at Dance Express, Chrissy also practices and teaches Nia, a sensory-based movement that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts.
Becky Visintainer recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with her BFA in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School for the Arts at Rutgers University. During her studies at Mason Gross, Becky traveled abroad to expanded her movement studies at the Trinity Laban Conservatorie of Music and Dance in London, UK. While at Mason Gross and Trinity Laban, Becky has had the opportunity to perform works by many accomplished choreographers, such as Keith Thompson, John Evans, Bojana Cvejić and Christine De Smedt, Lizzi Kew-Ross, Valerie Preston-Dunlop, Kim Gibilisco, and David Parker. Currently, Becky is completing her final year of the Masters in Dance Education program at Rutgers University.