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, has taught dance for 36 years. She 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 possesses fifteen years of teaching experience in dance, performing arts, fine arts, restorative arts, and fitness. Janine holds her MA in Conflict Resolution from EMU and her BA in Performing Arts from University of the Nations, Kailua-Kona, HI, where she also served as a Dance As Healing Instructor. Before relocating to Va., Janine was the former Creative Director and Production Manager for Heart Bridge Performing Arts Company, and a former dancer and choreographer for Island Breeze International Dance Company, Kailua-Kona, Hi. Janine hails from Grahamstown and Johannesburg, South Africa where she was a teacher and performer for various semiprofessional and professional dance companies, performing: modern, Jazz, Afro-Fusion, Contemporary, and Dance-Theatre. Janine’s youth training was examined under the following certifying agencies:: Royal Academy of Dance, International Dance Teachers Assoc., and The Speech and Drama College, SA. Most recently, Janine has been a Restorative Justice Presenter at Eastern Mennonite University and a facilitator of arts-based Restorative Justice processes at for the Zehr Institute’s annual RJ conference.

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.

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.

Faith Bitsko has been dancing with Dance and Company for twelve years. Her training includes ballet, modern, jazz, tap, musical stage, lyrical, and hip hop. Faith has been part of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theater for four years. Other than her training at Dance and Company Faith has trained with Mary Robare (dance instructor, choreographer and former broadway performer), Erin Puscar (dance instructor, choreographer and graduate of Shenandoah University Conservatory Of Dance), Dani Maloney (dance instructor, choreographer and 2017 graduate of Shenandoah University Conservatory Of Dance), and Alexi Sherrill (James Madison University dance and pilates instructor and former ballerina). Faith earned a partial scholarship with Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, which she just completed this summer. Faith is a sophomore at Spotswood High School. Faith plans to continue her dance training at Dance and Company majoring in dance when she enters college.

Gabrielle Calderon is a member of the JMU Contemporary Dance Theater and Artistic Director of Visual Distortion Dance Crew. Gabrielle is a former instructor at Benjamin Cardozo Dance Program, Bayside, NY. Gabrielle holds high gold and platinum competition achievements from her childhood studios: Elite Dance Academy, NY and Stanford Dance Studio, NY. She is currently seeking BA degrees from James Madison University in Theater and Dance, and Media Arts and Design.

Hope Gallagher is a student at James Madison University, studying Public Relations and Music Industry.  Hope started Irish step dancing at age eight at the Boyle School of Irish Dance in Alexandria, VA, and later was a student teacher of all ages and levels.  She competed as a solo dancer regionally, nationally, and internationally.  She earned a position as an Open Champion dancer, the highest competitive level in 2011, and has competed in prestigious festivals around the world such as the USA Southern Regionals, USA and North American National Championships, and the Irish National Championships.  As well as competitive dancing, Hope also enjoyed a long performance career in the Washington D.C. area, including esteemed venues such as DAR Revolution Hall and the White House Christmas Tree.  

Cynthia Kovacick is a Health Sciences Major and Dance Minor at JMU. She is trained
in hip-hop, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern and tap. Cynthia currently serves on the executive board of JMU’s Visual Distortions Dance Crew, as well as, dancing, directing and performing with the group. In this capacity, Cynthia has taught numerous contemporary and hip-hop workshops, throughout the region and beyond.

Melodie May has danced for over 20 years; first at Dance & Company, where she was a member of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre and later at Messiah College. Melodie became Director and Head Choreographer for Acclamation Dance Ministry at Messiah, and taught advanced Modern and Tap classes. Melodie now holds a degree in Elementary Education, is currently is a substitute teacher in area schools and is Dance & Company's Office Manager.

Nicole Moran is a former instructor at Fredericksburg Dance Center and South Stafford Christian School, where she instructed an average of five weekly dance classes (kindergarten through adult) in Ballet and Jazz. Nicole was a member of Dance Matrix Modern Dance Company, and Fredericksburg Ballet Senior Company. She attended six years’ of summer ballet intensives at Central Pennsylvania Ballet and The American Dance Festival 6-week summer intensive. 

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 lies with Ballet. In addition to regular classes, this will be the third year Victoria has been a part of The Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theater (SCDT).

Emily Parkinson trained for 19 years in Northern Virginia in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, and Modern.  She graduated from James Madison University with two Bachelor of Arts 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 year.  She has taught modern, ballet, creative movement, jazz, tap, and musical theatre for private studios and public schools throughout Virginia.  Emily is Co-Director of The Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre, Senior Company at Dance & Company.  

Rebecca Ann Richardson is a former assistant ballet teacher at Albemarle Ballet Theatre and former President of Piedmont Dance Club, where she taught a variety of dance classes. Rebecca trained at Northern Connecticut Ballet, Albemarle Ballet, Phoenix Studio and attended summer intensives with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Charlottesville Ballet, and Richmond Ballet. Rebecca holds an Associate of Arts, Suma Cum Laude, from PVCC, and
anticipates earning a BA, majoring in dance, from JMU in 2017.

Ammara Shafqat is a freshman dance major at JMU. While attending Spotswood High School, Ammara accepted numerous leadership roles. She was responsible for choreographing high school musicals, and plays, such as The Wizard of Oz, Oliver! and The Yellow Boat. Ammara served as the president of The National Honor Society and the SCA. Ammara's dance background comes from Dance & Company where she received 14 years of training in multiple dance genres, and trained as a dance teacher in Dance & Company’s mentorship program. She studied privately with John Gill Seaman and has performed the choreography of numerous international choreographers. Ammara was also an active member of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre.

Karmy Thornley 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. She is a former member of SCDT, and now serves as Coordinating Liason Director for both The Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre Companies.

Sophie Witmer trained at Dance & Company, in ballet, modern, jazz, lyrical, and musical stage. She is currently majoring in Dance Education and minoring in Spanish at James Madison University. Sophie was an active member of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre Senior Company. She was also a student choreographer for two of Spotswood High School’s musicals and spent time choreographing for the school’s a cappella group, SoundCheck.