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.

Katie Angle is currently a freshman Psychology major at JMU. She has danced for ten years, studying at Five Pointes Dance Center in Farmville, VA. Of those ten years, she danced eight of them competitively around the state and in North Carolina. Katie has training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Acrobatics, Lyrical, Modern, Pointe, and Hip Hop. In addition to this, she is the founder of the Ambition Dance Team at her home studio; a program for underprivileged children.

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.

Hailey Clevenger is a dance major at JMU and a member of The Virginia Repertory Dance Theatre. Her early dance training came from The Latin Ballet of Virginia (2012-2013), School of Dance Arts (2013-2016), and 804 Dance Place (2016-2017). Hailey attended summer intensives with Christopher K. Morgan and Artists, Mid-Atlantic Dance Intensive, and RADAR Dance Intensive. She is a former apprentice and youth ensemble member of Dogwood Dance Project, and attended Dance Makers Inc. (2013-2017). Hailey was an assistant for Miracles in Motion, special needs performing dance group and a volunteer with Champions Together, united track team of all abilities.

Lexie Cutchins is a former dance teacher at Dance & Music Creations Studio in Lynchburg, VA, where she trained in jazz, tap, ballet, clogging, musical theatre, and lyrical. She performed competitively with Dance & Music Creations Performance Company and is currently a member of the Madison Dance Club. Lexie is a senior Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, Inclusive Early Childhood Education Major at JMU.

Samantha Dawkins began studying ballet at age 9, at the Russel School of Ballet in Northern Virginia. At 14, she moved her studies to the Center for Ballet Arts where she danced under Bennett and Debra Savage, later joining their pre-professional senior company, the Ballet Arts Ensemble. Samantha has performed in various ballets including The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Alice and Wonderland, and Cinderella. At CBA she received the Vincent Guerrero scholarship (2015) and the Excellent Ballet Arts Ensemble member of the year (2016).

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. 

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.

Jana Kalivoda is a former member of Capitol Movement Inc., a DC based dance company with whom she has performed at renown venues, including: The Anthem Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, and Atlas Performing Arts Center. As an intern for CMI, Jana served as a choreographer and assistant rehearsal director (2017-2018). Jana was a partial scholarship recipient to the Joffrey School of Ballet Summer Jazz Intensive (2014), attended The Dance Sessions, (Charleton MA, 2016), and apprenticed at Intrigue Dance Convention (2017), where she trained with Sonya Tayeh. Other industry choreographers with whom Jana has trained included: Laura Edwards, DJ Smart, Courtney Thurston, Emily Greenwell, Zachary Venegas, and Dejan Tubic. Jana is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in dance 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 Acclamation Dance Ministry and taught advanced Modern and Tap classes.

Jennifer Miller has taught tap classes at Dance & Company, as well as studied Tap and Irish Step dance for the past 15 years, at Dance & Company. She is a former member of Tappin’ Company performing company. Jennifer is a graduate of James Madison University where she earned a B.S. in Biology and a minor in music percussion. She is a former member of the JMU Marching Dukes Drum Line. She holds a DVM from Tuskegee University.

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.

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, where she has recently become a member of The Virginia Repertory Dance Company. Ammara has 15 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, such as Kyle Abraham, Kik Lucas, and Tiffanie Carson. She is a former member of the Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theatre. Alongside her choreography for Dance & Company Ammara choreographed high musicals, and plays, and has had her choreography featured in JMU’s Spring Student Dance Concert.

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 fourth grade at Peak View Elementary School.