Dance & Company

We offer serious classical and contemporary training from youth to adult in a positive and progressive program of study. Performance opportunities are provided through annual spring concert performances, informal showings and student participation in the dance center's repertory youth performance companies. Classes are offered year-round in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, musical stage, hip-hop, and Irish step dance.

Drew Jones, founder and director of Dance & Company, holds a Bachelors of Education from JMU, where she studied dance on the master’s level. She trained privately with Robin Haig, former soloist, Royal Ballet Company, (London) and has studied with the following: Andahazy School of Classical Ballet (St. Paul) with Marius Andahazy, Luba Gulyava and Gabriella Komleva (Ballet Russe de Monte’ Carlo), Finis Jung (Harkness Ballet), Ted Kevitt and Michelle Lucci (Milwaukee Ballet) and Robert Atwood (Alvin Ailey School) She attended summer intensives with Boulder Ballet, Florida Dance Festival, Somerset Ballet (Kansas City) and Copley Ballet (Boston).

Janine Aberg holds a MA in Conflict Resolution from EMU and BA in Performing Arts from University of the Nations, Kailua-Kona, HI, where she also served as a Dance as Healing Instructor. Janine has taught dance, performing arts, fine arts, restorative arts for the past 15 years. She is the former Creative Director and Production Manager for Heart Bridge Performing Arts Company, and a former dancer/choreographer for Island Breeze International Dance Company, Hawaii. Janine has been a Restorative Justice Presenter at Eastern Mennonite University and a facilitator of arts-based Restorative Justice processes at the Zehr Institute’s annual RJ conference.

Faith Bitsko has trained at Dance and Company for thirteen years in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, musical stage, lyrical, and hip hop and is a four-year member of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theater. She trains additionally with Mary Robare (instructor/choreographer and former professional, Broadway performer), and Erin Puscar and Dani Maloney, Shenandoah University, and Alexi Sherrill, free-lance professional trainer. Faith trained with Joffrey Ballet School, summer 2017 and returns from performing in an LA dance video, summer 2018.

Kristen Bitsko studied at Dance & Company for 15 years, where she
trained in ballet, tap, jazz, musical stage, modern, lyrical and hip-hop.
Kristen is a former member of Tappin’ Company competition team. She is
currently a Communications Sciences and Disorders Major at JMU, where
she continues to dance as a member of Dancing Dukes, focusing on tap
dance.

Karmy Fellers trained at Dance & Company, Center for Dance Education (SC), Columbia Music Festival Association (SC) among other venues; for over 19 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication/Theatre from Bridgewater College, and recently completed accreditation requirements for the Virginia State teaching certification. 

Casey Fodge is a Senior Dance Major at JMU. She trained for 11 years in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop and improvisation, at Anna Marie School of Dance in DE. Casey has worked with numerous world-renowned choreographers from Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Philadelphia. Casey is Director of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre, Jr. Company.

Briana Jackson studied dance throughout her childhood at Matinique
School of Dance, Legacy School of Dance, and Dance Destination, Richmond, Va. Briana attended Henrico High School Center for the Arts in
Dance and Theater. She was awarded a merit-based scholarship to Martinique School of Dance, 2013. Briana has taught Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-hop, and modern at the Center for the Arts Theatre Program. Briana organized developed performances for the youth of St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Richmond. Briana is a dance major at JMU.

Liddie Knoche is a former dance instructor at Music in Motion Dance
Academy, Virginia Beach, Va., where she studied ballet, pointe, jazz, tap,
modern, hip-hop and Irish for fifteen years. Liddie was selected to perform annually in The Richmond Ballet’s Nutcracker and placed first in
choreography in Reflections competition. Liddie is a dance major at JMU.

Melodie May is Dance & Company’s office manager and serves as Liason Director of The Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Company. Melodie holds a degree in Elementary Education and substitute teaches in area schools. Melodie has danced for over 30 years: first at Dance & Company, where she was a member of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre and later at Messiah College. While at Messiah, Melodie became Director and Head Choreographer for Accalamation Dance Ministry and taught advanced Modern and Tap classes.

Victoria Natale is currently in her sophomore year at Blue Ridge Community College. She plans to transfer to a four-year university to major in dance and choreography. She has been dancing since the age of 3 and has grown up dancing here at Dance and Company. She has taken classes in almost every style offered, ranging from Ballet to Irish Step, but her passion is Ballet. In addition to regular classes, Victoria is a former member of The Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theater.

Emily Parkinson graduated from James Madison University with degrees in Dance and English as well as earning a teaching license in dance for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She was the recipient of the Dance Faculty Award at JMU and served as Student Technical Director for the Dance Department for the 2012-13 academic years. Emily is Director of The Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre, Sr. Company.

Julia Pasquale trained at Riding Dance Academy and The Dance Academy of Loudon, where she also taught ballet, modern, contemporary and jazz, Julia attended the Virginia Governor’s School for the Performing Arts and is a recipient of the Thomas Memorial Scholarship for perspective
ministry. Julia is presently a dance major at JMU.

Eva Robertson, trained from childhood at the School of the National Ballet of Canada. Following her training, Eva became a member of the company. Eva later became a member of the American Ballet Theater during which time; she performed as a soloist in numerous roles including: Chinese Dance from the Nutcracker, Variations from Paquita, La Bayadere, and Pillar of Fire, among others. Eva has performed as a free-lance artist in the Matthew Nash Modern Dance Company. Some of her awards and honors include: Finalist, International Ballet competition. Peter Dyer Award for excellence in ballet, and a Canadian Council for the Arts grant which enabled her to study abroad at the Royal Ballet School, Paris opera Ballet School, Les Ballet De Monte Carlo, The Royal Danish, The Stuttgart Ballet and numerous other international schools.

Ammara Shafqat currently a dance major at JMU, has 14 years of dance training at Dance & Company where she trained in multiple dance genres, participated in Dance & Company’s teacher training program, studied  privately with John Gill Seaman and performed the choreography of numerous international choreographers. She is a former member of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre. Alongside her choreography for Dance & Company Ammara choreographed high musicals, and plays, such as The Wizard of Oz, Oliver! and The Yellow Boat.

Jade Shields is an open championship level dancer who has qualified for
and competed at the Irish Dance World Championships, National Championships, Regional Championships, All Ireland’s and All Scottish competitions. Jade placed 17th at Northern American Irish Dance Competition in 2015. She is a former teacher at Teelin Irish Dance Academy (Maryland) and Lagacy Dance Academy (Florida). Jade is an Athletic Training major at JMU.

Rebecca Thomas, the founder and Director of Tappin’ Company, trained at the Wilkins School of Dance (Virginia Beach), where she later became a teacher. Rebecca graduated from JMU in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies with minors in Dance & Early Childhood Education. Rebecca teaches third grade at Peak View Elementary School.