George Warren, Artistic Director
Mr. Warren’s union affiliations are Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild, Dance Educators of America, and the International Tap Association. He is a noted New York Teacher and performer whose students have appeared on over 50 Broadway Shows, National and International tours, National Ballet & Modern Companies, Regional Theatres across the USA, Dance & Cheer Squads for Professional Sports Teams, and in many movies and television shows. His last professional Musical Theatre appearance was the national tour of the Broadway musical “Whoopee” with Imogene Coca and Mamie Van Doren and still works with Brenda Bufalino and The American Tap Dance Foundation in NYC. George has been teaching in Central Jersey for 42 years and is very proud of his Center Stage family.
Susan Penaskovic Bednarski, Ballet
Susan is currently a company member of the Anglo-American Ballet and the Staten Island Ballet. She has taught ballet in New York at New York University, and at Kingsley Studios, as well as Saint Peter’s College and Raritan Valley Community College. She studies ballet with Catherine Kingsley and has studied at the Joffrey Ballet School, and jazz with jazz legend Luigi. Susan has a Master’s degree in dance from New York University.
Angelique Chandler, Hip-Hop
Angelique Chandler started dancing at the age of 2 at Danceforce. She joined the competition team at the age of 5 and continued dancing at Danceforce for 15 years. She has been trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, acro, modern, pantomime, and lyrical ballet. She taught many genres including tap, ballet, acro, and jazz. Angelique danced on her high school dance team serving as captain her senior year. That year, her team competed on the TV show MSG Varsity Talent Show and placed 2nd out of 10 groups! After graduation, Angelique joined the dance team at Saint Peters University and was captain during her junior and senior years. Angelique is also an accomplished singer and model, winning several overall titles. She has also served as modeling coach. Having such a wonderful rapport with the children that she mentors enables her to bring the best out of her students. As a choreographer, her dances have won many awards, including Highest Overall Small Group in the 8 & Under Division at 2016 Nationals, and Overall High Score at 2017 Nationals. She admits, ”I love my students like they are my own. My goal is to, one day, see my students have the same passion for dance as I do. I enjoy watching my students performing on stage and seeing how much they’ve grown since the first day of class.”
Amanda Chiarello, Ballet, Jazz/Hip-Hop, Lyrical/Contemporary
Amanda received her Masters degree in Dance Education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. She also received her B.F.A from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Amanda trained at Center Stage Dance and Theatre School in East Brunswick, New Jersey. She was a C.A.T.S dancer for many years at Center Stage. In 2009 Amanda competed at the Youth American Grand Prix where she placed in the competitions top 12. Amanda has performed in various concerts. She has worked with choreographers such as Doug Elkins, John Evans, and Randy James. She recently was awarded an assistantship from Mason Gross School of the Arts to participate in American Ballet Theaters National Training Curriculum where she received training to teach pre-primary to level 3 students. She assisted instruction to students in pre-primary to level 1 at American Ballet Theaters satellite school at Mason Gross School of the Arts. During the fall of 2014, Amanda interned at Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts in East Orange, New Jersey. During her time at Tyson, Amanda had the privilege of working with middle and high school students.
Lainie DeFranco, Ballet Department Director
Lainie began her studies at the Hartford Ballet Co., where she performed with the junior company and chamber ensemble. She graduated from Hartford’s two year teaching program. Ms. DeFranco has taught all levels of ballet for both adult and children’s professional classes for the Hartford Ballet, Syracuse Ballet Co., Metropolitan School for the Arts and the Princeton Ballet. Lainie is our Ballet Director, overseeing our ballet syllabus and designing our pre-professional student’s ballet studies. In addition, Lainie has the extraordinary task of producing and directing Center Stage’s acclaimed production of the Nutcracker, which occurs every two years in December. Lainie has been teaching for Center Stage since 1985.
Mickey DeFranco, Jazz, CATS Company Director-Choreographer
Mickey served as choreographer for “Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego”, as well as the opening dance montage, for PBS television; Metropolis Studios, New York City. She is an active member of Dance Educators of America, and is the director of the national award winning Pre-Professional Center Stage CATS Jazz Company. CATS Alumni have appeared on Broadway in “Hamilton”, “The King and I”, “If Then”, “Elf”, “Memphis”, “CATS”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Tommy”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Les Miserables”, “Bring it On”, “Mamma Mia”, “In the Heights”, “West Side Story”, “Catch Me if You Can”, “Star Light Express”, “Showboat”, “Carousel”, “A Chorus Line”, “Gypsy”, “Urban Cowboy”; Nationals Tours of: “Fame”, “Footloose”; Euro-tours: “Best of Broadway”, and the Liss Fain Dance Company in San Francisco. Her students have appeared on television and theatres around the country (including “Saturday Night Live”, “Unsolved Mysteries”, “The Today Show”),as well as commercials and industrials. She has done choreography for Resorts International Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, and was a Master Choreographer/Teacher for Dance Troupe, Inc.. A guest choreographer with Broadway Dance Center featuring Frank Hatchett, Finis Jhung, and Savion Glover (Bring in Da Noise) in American Heritage (NYC). Our CATS Reunion recently brought together over 100 of our treasured alumni throughout the country who have been trained by Mickey these 30+ years, showing us all the love and respect our company members have for this very special teacher.
Samantha DeFranco, Ballet, Lyrical/Contemporary
Samantha has been training at Center Stage since she can walk. Making her way through the ranks of our various dance companies, Samantha was a SR CAT Dancer for many years. Samantha was seen each year at the State Theatre performing not only her many dance routines but her various complex acting roles. In addition to our Main Stage performances, Samantha starred as Clara and Arabian in our biannual production of The Nutcracker: Clara’s Dream. She received her Education Degree from Montclair State University, where she coordinated the start of the award winning Dance Team. Besides being an integral part of our Dance Faculty, Samantha is a Science Teacher for the Long Branch School District.
Lauren Elsasser, Jazz, Hip-Hop
Lauren began her dance training at Center Stage at the age of three. She progressed through all competition companies leading up to the pre -professional C.A.T.S. program. She then went to Rutgers University where she trained in the Mason Gross program and was a member of the nationally ranked Rutgers University Dance Team. On the dance team, she traveled from east coast to west coast performing, competing, and working with various choreographers such as Paige Davis (TV host and Broadway cast of Chicago), Josh Bergese (Choreographer of the hit TV show Smash), and Jon Rua (Performer in the Broadway cast of In the Heights and the original Broadway cast of Hamilton). In her final year, she led the team as captain and received the MVP award. After graduating, she began her teaching career with Universal Dance Association, in which she traveled the country teaching and choreographing for different dance teams. She was also the assistant coach for the nationally ranked Montgomery high School Dance Team from 2013-2015. She has continued to teach all different styles from Hip-Hop to Jazz and Contemporary winning many awards such as a choreography award, multiple overalls in regionals and nationals, and the ultimate entertainment challenge. She is extremely excited to be back at Center Stage, teaching in the place where she grew up and received all her training.
Jessica Fensterstock, Intro to Dance, Tap/Jazz
Jessica has been dancing since a very early age, receiving her dance training at Center Stage. As an alumnus, she was a member of our award winning Tap CAT company. She received her degree from Syracuse University, where she was involved in “Danceworks”, Syracuse’s own student run dance organization . She was a choreographer and dancer for 3 years and continued to choreograph for the Parents Weekend shows. After living in New York City for several years, Jessica returned to New Jersey to raise her family. When it was time for her daughter to dance, the obvious choice was to return to her roots, and have her daughter become a second generation Center Stage Dancer. Jessica is extremely excited to be back at Center Stage, not only as a parent, but now as an instructor. Her years of dance training allows her to be a well rounded teacher, bringing the fun as well as the discipline of dance to our youngest dancers.
Elizabeth Fisher, Acrobatics, Gymnastics
Elizabeth joins us with a passion for gymnastics which has been developed throughout her many years in the sport. She started taking classes at a local YMCA as a toddler and has been involved in gymnastics ever since. Having developed a balance between fun and technique, she has coached all levels of gymnastics from recreational classes to team programs. She comes to us from Ancient City Gymnastics in Florida where she coached their XCEL Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond team programs. Elizabeth is USAG safety certified and a certified Professional member.
Elaine George Foulides, Voice, Piano, Musical Director
With a degree in Music Education, Elaine has maintained a career as a professional vocal coach, teacher, musical director and performer for more than thirty five years, focusing on vocal production, technique, and performance skills for both solo and choral ensembles. Her students have appeared on Broadway, in national tours, on television, in commercials, movies, and regional theatres. AS a performing artist, Elaine’s personal credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, cabaret, dinner theatre, church and synagogue soloist, and numerous recordings. She also appeared with Labors of Love, in several benefits for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and was a featured soloist on their Christmas CD, Carols for a Cure.
Megan Froio, Ballet
Megan is a proud alumni of Center Stage Dance and Theatre School. She was a member of the Jr. CATS, CATS and Tap CATS dance companies. Megan attended the Burklyn Ballet Theatre program and trained with Arthur Leeth from the Boston Ballet company, David Howard from the Royal Ballet, and Robert Barnett from the NYC Ballet. She also continued ballet and modern dance at Stockton University. Some of her performances include roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, A MidSummer Nights’ Dream, and Romeo and Juliet. We are pleased to have Megan back at Center Stage, and joining our Ballet Faculty.
Bruce Garahan, Gymnastics, Acrobatics, Trampoline
Bruce was a nationally ranked gymnast and springboard diver throughout high school and college. For ten years thereafter Bruce served as coach for a nationally ranked gymnastics team while also working as a professional acrobat. Bruce has performed as a high diver, bungee diver, and in a two man trampoline act known as Flash and Crash. He has performed in venues such as amusement parks, state fairs, NBA half time shows and circuses throughout the country. Television appearances include WONDERAMA, ABC’s THAT’S INCREDIBLE, ESPN, and several television commercials. Some of his antics can be seen on YOU TUBE – Just perform a search under his name.
Shannon Garahan, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Gymnastics
Shannon is an alumnus of CATS, Tap CATS, and Hoofers Club at Center Stage along with many years in the pre-professional acting class and countless leads in Center Stage shows and summer shows. She has assisted Mickey and George in CATS, Tap CAT, and Jr. CAT classes and has choreographed the summer shows since graduating. She continues her training at Broadway Dance Center taking weekly classes and summer intensives with Ricky Hinds. She is currently a member of USA Gymnastics and a wonderful part of our Starz Gymnastics Program. Immediately after graduating Center Stage, she got her first professional show at Surflight Theatre in “A Chorus Line” under the direction/choreography of Mitzi Hamilton and Jessica Lee Goldyn. Other favorite show credits include “Anything Goes”, “CATS”, “Oklahoma!”, “Spamalot”, and “Junie B. Jones: The Musical”.
Sue Garahan, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre, Acrobatics, Gymnastics, Company and Show Director
Sue has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rowan University and is a member of both Dance Educators of America and USA Gymnastics. She has trained extensively as a dancer and musical theater performer in New Jersey, New York City and London, England. She was a member of her high school gymnastics team as well as a cheerleader in both high school and in college. Her theater credits include Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, Val in A Chorus Line, Nancy in Oliver!, The Witch in Into the Woods, Gladys in The Pajama Game, Mona Kent in Dames at Sea, Nelly Forbush in South Pacific and Tiger Lily in Peter Pan. She has been a teacher and the director of the young children’s and older children’s jazz and tap companies at Center Stage Dance for many years. She has enjoyed developing our young dancers and preparing them for our pre-professional companies throughout the years and has won many choreographic awards for her work with them. Many of her students have gone on to appear on Broadway, movies and television.
Katrinka Gelsani, Jazz/Hip-Hop, Tap
Senior CAT alum, Katrinka has been part of the Center Stage family since she was 9 years old. She has trained at the Rock School, Briansky Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, going on to complete her BA in Dance at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. Beyond her ballet and jazz technique, she has danced with local hip hop performance companies: Fr3sh, Ven15, and currently is a creative director of UFP . Such company memberships have allowed her to dance in hip-hop showcases around the country; from Boston to New York to DC to San Francisco. A recent ballroom bug has also put Katrinka on the latin competition circuit as she currently trains with the Chmerkovskiy brothers and Tony Dovolani of DWTS. After recently graduating NYU’s MBA program, Katrinka is excited to return to her Center Stage family and share her passion for dance!
Elaine Harned, Voice
Elaine has a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy (teaching) from Westminster Choir College and a bachelor of Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she studied pipe organ. She has worked as a paid church soloist in New York City and has many years of experience as an Organist/Choir Director. As a member of the world renowned Westminster Choir, Elaine has sung concerts throughout Europe and Asia as well as in the US with such orchestras as the Philadelphia, the New York and the Berlin Philharmonics in such venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City. She has also made several professional recordings. As a soloist, Elaine has performed with The Chautauqua Symphony, The Indiana University of Pennsylvania Chorale and Orchestra, The Allegheny Chorale and Orchestra, The Princeton Freshman Choir and Orchestra, The Lehigh University Choir and Orchestra and the Princeton Singers. Elaine has been teaching at Center Stage since 1997, helping many of our students achieve their professional dreams.
Kathryn Kane Luberecki, Lyrical/Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet
Kathryn joins us, bringing her extensive experience as a teacher, choreographer and performer to our students. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Performing Arts/Dance from, De Sales University. She has performed professionally with Push Factor Dance Company in NY and ACTion Dance Touring company. Kathryn has choreographed extensively for competitions, given master dance classes throughout our region, and works extensively with our Jazzcats and Jr Cat companies.
Tannis Kristjanson, Tap, Jazz, Company Director
Tannis trained under George Warren for eleven years winning many competitive awards and becoming his valued assistant. She has spent the last fifteen years touring the country and performing as a musician and singer. Her song, “No Bitterz,” co-written with her husband, Ari Katz, was recently performed by Miss TK & the Revenge in the Oscar-nominated movie, “The Wrestler.” Her numerous choreographic projects include Annie, Wizard of Ox and Oliver and she has been very involved with the NJ Repertory Theatre while simultaneously raising her two young daughters and son here at the Jersey shore. We are so happy to have Tannis back with her Center Stage family.
Anne Krug, Ballet, Director of Ocean Ballet Department
Anne is a Center Stage graduate, having worked her way up through the Jr. CATS and CATS companies. As a member of CATS, she competed for national titles and at the Youth of America Grand Prix ballet competition. At the age of 14, she was awarded the New York City Dance Alliance Ballet Scholarship by Daniel Catanach. In her senior year at Center Stage, she performed the lead role of Sugar Plum in our bi-annual production of “The Nutcracker.” She has trained additionally at the Briansky Saratoga Ballet summer intensive, and at The School at Steps under the instruction of Leslie Browne. Anne performed with the Urban Ballet Theater and the Abrons Arts Center Dance Ensemble in Daniel Catanach’s production of “Nutcracker in the Lower,” and is a member of the Ensemble, and an apprentice with the Urban Ballet Theater.
Julianna Marsh, Ballet, Jazz/Hip-Hop
Julianna has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and competing since the age of 8, training in styles including jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, contemporary and ballet. She was a part of many award-winning group numbers, solos, and duets under the direction of Jeanne Kane, Kathryn Kane Luberecki, and Karen Lester. During her senior year of high school, Julianna auditioned her jazz solo “Be Italian” for the Francis. L Chalif scholarship and was awarded first place. She was also a volunteer student teacher at her studio, where she taught students in jazz, tap and ballet. It was during this time that Julianna discovered her passion for teaching young dancers. Julianna is now a student at The College of New Jersey where she is a member of their nationally ranked Dance Team. With her team, she performs jazz, pom and hip hop styles at Football and Basketball games as well as a regional and national competitions. Julianna could not be more excited to share her love of dance with her students at Center Stage!
Jill Molinaro, Ballet, Musical Theatre
Jill Molinaro earned a BA in dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University and a MA in dance from NYU. She has taught and developed dance programs in NYC and NJ. She has been a teaching artist at Kean University, Mercer County Community College, Brookdale Community College, The Count Basie Theatre Education Program, and has created The Dance/Arts Collaboration with the Monmouth Museum. She has produced dance seen in NYC and NJ and has performed at the Merce Cunningham Theatre and the Andes Modern Dance Festival. She has performed for Gloria McLean and Renata Celihowska of the Erick Hawkins Dance Company and has studied the Hawkins technique closely with principal dancer, Cynthia Reynolds. Jill is very proud to be part of the Center Stage family where she began singing and dancing.
Danielle Mondi, Jazz/Hip-Hop, Ballet, Contemporary, Lyrical
Danielle Mondi began her dance training at Center Stage working her way up to become a member of the Senior Cats Company. She then attended Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts and graduated with a BFA in dance in 2009. Since graduation, she went on to work with Joyce King/JKDC and Tangerine Dance, Marie Alonzo Snyder , where she has had the opportunity to perform in New York City at The Ailey Citigroup Theater, Harkness Dance Center/92nd Street Y, GreenSpace, Dance New Amsterdam and Manhattan Movement and Arts Center. In addition to performing, Danielle’s ultimate goal is to teach dance education to children of all ages. Danielle works closely with Artistic Director of JKDC, Joyce King, to further develop their dance education program for young dancers and she choreographs for a children’s community theater program. She also presented work in Times Square for the Phineaus and Ferb Platybus Tour Kickoff, in honor of the Disney Channels original Movie Phineaus and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension. “Focus on constant improvement and Never Give Up!” Danielle is the valued director of many of our Jazz Companies.
Tori Moots, Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Acting, Jazzcat Company Director
Tori is a Center Stage Alumnus, where she was a member of CATS, Tap CATS, and three years in the Pre-Professional Acting Class. She starred in the Center Stage mainstage show for all four years of her high-school, and also appeared in productions of “The Bald Soprano,” “The Laramie Project,” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.” She appeared for many years in Cabaret for Life, an AIDS benefit. Since graduating from Center Stage, she studied for two years at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, taking classes in dance and acting, while simultaneously studying at Broadway Dance Center and Steps. She recently choreographed a school production of “Beauty and the Beast,” and continued as assistant director the following year. Upon completion of her Bachelor’s degree in education at Rider University, Tori became the director of our JAZZ CATS Program and also works with our Sr Cats and Jr Cats. Her choreography is Nationally Award winning.
Kimberly Moscariello, Musical Theatre
Kimberly is proud to be a Center Stage alumnus and thrilled to be teaching Musical Theatre! While at Center Stage she studied dance and voice. She has previously taught musical theater through the Matawan Student Enrichment Program and Old Bridge Parks and Recreation. She has performed locally in a number of community theaters as well as singing professionally for formal occasions. She is also currently an elementary school teacher with the Old Bridge Public School District. She has degrees in Theater, Musical Theater, Elementary Education from Montclair State University, Masters in Special Education from Monmouth University, and certification in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Penn State University! She is very enthusiastic to use her education and talents in musical theater to enrich the lives of children and continue being a part of the Center Stage Family!
Christy Rak, Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, Tap, Hip-Hop
Christy is happy to return back to teaching at Center Stage where she is an alumnus of our dance companies including Kittens, Jr. Cats and C.A.T.S! For the past 20 years, Christy has been teaching and choreographing shows at Dance Studios and Theaters throughout the Tri-State area. Former students have appeared on Glee, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent, The Today Show and performed with several recording artists including Meghan Trainor, and Chris Brown to name a few. Christy is currently the Assistant Director and Choreographer for Pegasus Production Theater Company at Christian Brothers Academy High School in Lincroft, NJ. When not dancing, she is also certified in Yoga, Barre & Pilates and recently appeared on a Yoga Segment with Harry on the Harry Connick Jr. Show!
Kassie Ruboyianes, Ballet, Tap
Kassie began dancing at a local studio in Monmouth County, NJ at the age of 7. She then joined the competition team where she was regionally and nationally recognized on a competitive level. Kassie attended Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s Performing Arts Academy where she received her high school diploma with a concentration in dance. While in high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. Kassie studied at various summer intensives such as Point Park University’s International Summer Dance, The Joffrey’s Ballet Summer Intensive, and the MetDance Professional Intensive where she trained under world-renowned teachers and choreographers. Kassie continued her education attending Point Park University, graduating in 2016 with a BA in dance, concentrating in Jazz technique. After graduation, Kassie also studied at Broadway Dance Center in New York City for their Professional Semester Program. Most recently, Kassie performed with Nickerson-Rossi Dance for “Full Throttle” at the Performance Garage in Philadelphia.
Pamela Susan Sarch, Tap, Jazz, Intro to Dance, Company Director
Pam has an extensive Dance and Theater background and is thrilled to be a member of the awesome, and diversely talented, faculty here at Center Stage. She has studied and performed throughout New Jersey and continues her education in NYC, taking classes and attending workshops, and at the Princeton Ballet School with Director Kim Chandler-Vaccaro. Theater credits include Plays in the Park (Oliver), New Jersey Renaissance Festival (featured performer), Franklin Theater Ensemble (Bonnie, Anything Goes), Somerset Valley Players (Man of La Mancha) to name a few! Pam has appeared in and Choreographed “Godspell” several times in several different roles! She has also been a featured performer on television with the MDA Telethon and has choreographed many local High School productions and Pop Warner cheer competition dances. Pam is a proud member of the American Tap Dance Foundation and is company director for the East Brunswick and Marlboro Jr. Tap Companies. Pam also incorporates music and movement into the integrated pre-k class she works with for the North Brunswick Board of Education.
Michelle Scarpa Sullivan, Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz
As a CATS Dancers Alumnus, Michelle is super excited to be back with the Center Stage family! Through her career, she has worked extensively both on and off stage in the US and abroad. As a performer, most notably she was see as Diana Morales in the national tour of “A Chorus Line” directed by Baayork Lee and as Anita in “West Side Story” with the Nashville Symphony. Other credits include the national tour of “The Who’s Tommy”, the Frug Girl in “Sweet Charity”, and she was featured in the world premiere of “Only Kingdom” at the Pasadena Playhouse directed by Scott Schwartz, where she served as associate choreographer. Michelle was also the assistant choreographer for the national tour of “A Funny Thing… Forum” staring Rip Taylor. She has taught all over the country as an invited guest teacher, most notably for Delta State University. In addition, Michelle has worked as an adjudicator for many national competitions. As a screen actress she can be seen in episodes of “Sex and the City”, “The Sopranos” and the independent film “The Entrepreneurs.” Michelle is a nationally award winning choreographer. for our CATS company. We are so pleased to have Michelle back with our family, where it all began!
Rebecca Servon, Acting, On-Camera
Rebecca Servon graduated from Rutgers University MGSA with her BFA in Acting. At Rutgers, she studied the Meisner technique and trained classical with the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, England. She has also studied improv with UCBLA and performed with her improv group at iOwest in LA. She studied Acting on Camera with legendary daytime drama casting director Bob Lambert and Criminal Minds casting director Erica Silverman, in addition to shooting two of her own short films with her production team CRC. Television credits include 2 Broke Girls and General Hospital. Favorite NYC theatre credits include Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest, Jenny in The Shape of Things, and Marla in Specter. She is very excited to be returning to Center Stage where she studied with Stephen Waldrup for many years.
Jordan Simon, Jazz/Hip-Hop, Ballet, Tap, Gymnastics
Jordan is a Center Stage alumnus where she was apart of our Senior CATS, Tap CAT, and Ballet Companies. She started taking dance and gymnastics as a child and has continued to train consistently throughout the years. During her time at Center Stage she spent many years assisting our faculty as a student teacher. It was during these years that Jordan discovered her love for teaching. She is now a student at Monmouth University pursing a degree in Early Childhood Education. Her passion for working with young children makes her a wonderful instructor for our youngest students. Jordan’s patience and enthusiasm helps our dancers succeed at any level. Jordan is also USA Gymnastics and Safety Certified and can be seen teaching gymnastics as part of our Starz Gymnastics faculty.
Jonathan Skolnik, Set/Prop Master, Technical Advisor
Jonathan, our proverbial “man behind the curtain” began working with us over 20 years ago, managing our Marlboro Studio. After completing his degree at Montclair State University, Jonathan began pursuing a career in Concert and Event Production. During these years, he gained vast experience producing many exciting corporate and social events, and high profile productions such as the Dalai Lama’s visit to NYC at Central Park. The experience and skills he gained throughout the years has allowed Jonathan to be an important fixture at Center Stage, elevating our overall theatrical production value. When he returned to Center Stage he began setting up our Technical Department – a unique asset for a Dance School to possess. Utilizing his skills in both general construction and design, Jonathan has been able to produce the various sets and prop pieces that our choreographers require to bring their vision to life. In addition, Jonathan’s musicality and years of experience using Computer Music Programs, has allowed him to seamlessly cut the music needed for each of the dance numbers you see on stage. Known for his witty sense of humor, Jonathan is always available for our comic relief.
Julie Johnson Thick, Curtain Up, Tap, Jazz, Acrobatics, Gymnastics
Julie is co-owner/producer of the Off-Broadstreet Theatre which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. She has choreographed over 75 musicals for the Hopewell Dessert Theatre. Julie is a member of the DEA and PDTA dance associations and has taught in NYC at the Ed Sullivan Theatre and Broadway Dance Center. Julie has worked at Center Stage since 1980 teaching tap, jazz and tumbling. As a performer, she worked with Mercedes Ellington and the late Frank Hatchett, as well as the late Gregory Hines in an open tap company and with Luigi’s Jazz. Julie continues to study with many teachers including Germaine Salsberg, and Luigi. Julie was the NJAIAW State Collegiate All Around Champion in Gymnastics.
Marjorie Toron, Jazz/Hip-Hop, Tap
Marjorie is a Center Stage Alumnus, where she was not only a part of many company teams throughout her years here, but has also been an assistant to numerous teachers since the age of 11. Marjorie attended Howell High School’s FPAC program where she majored in dance and continued dancing throughout college on her University’s dance team. Marjorie even had an opportunity to choreograph many routines for her dance team including their National’s dance that was performed on the ESPN Wide World of Sports stage in Orlando, Florida. Marjorie has received her Master’s Degree from the University of Scranton and is currently working as an Occupational Therapist. Her dream is to incorporate her passion of dance to assist those with neurological conditions and help them regain function.
Brian Ust, Partnering Coach
An alumni of Center Stage Dance and Theatre Program (Voice, Acting, Jazz, Ballet and Tap “I took it all”…). Brian continued his dance training at Princeton School of Ballet dancing with PBII , Broadway Dance Center, Steps and Miami City Ballet. A former fixture in New Jersey theatre, singing and dancing in productions of “How 2 Succeed…”, “The Fantasticks”, “Godspell”, “Mame”, ”Carnival”, “Pippin”, “Annie Get your Gun”,” Little Shop of Horror”, “West Side Story”, “The Good Bye Girl” to name a few. Brian quickly moved on to the world stage performing in the international tours of “On the Town”, “Best of Broadway”, and “Guys and Dolls”. Returning from Europe he worked with Anne Reinking on the TV production of “Bye Bye Birdie” staring Vanessa Williams and Jason Alexander. He toured with A CHORUS LINE (Mike), SHOW BOAT starring Cloris Leachman and Dean Jones, MISS SAIGON, and DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. In addition: Productions of ”La Cage Aux Folles”, (Hanna), and “Bat Boy : The Musical”. He also performed as a guest artist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra and danced a season with Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre.
Stephen Waldrup, Acting, Managing Director
Stephen has been directing the acting program at Center Stage for over 25 years. He has taught at the T. Schreiber Studio in Manhattan and does private coaching for NY & LA Actors. As a performer, he appeared at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival in “A Man for All Seasons, ” “The Sunshine Boys”, and Shakespeare’s “Henry VIII”, “Othello”, “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, and “The Merchant of Venice”. In New York, he appeared in “An Ideal Husband”, “Once in a Lifetime”, “Ambrosio” and “I Am A Camera” at the T. Schreiber Studio, “On the Road to Holeness” at Theatre for the New City, “Dogg’s Hamlet/Cahoot’s Macbeth” with the 1010 Players, “The Bald Soprano” and “The Wailing Wall” with the Farrington Company and at the American Theatre of Actors. Stephen’s directing credits include “Four Dogs and a Bone” and “Birdbath” in Manhattan and “Zoo Story” for Black Box in Asbury Park. Stephen is a talented writer, creating the amazing characters and stories you see in our yearly performances at the State Theatre.
Mike Zdeb, Guitar, Piano, Brass, Woodwind
Mike is a New Jersey based guitarist, who can regularly be seen and heard playing throughout the tri-state area. Mike currently gigs with various artists, such as Amanda Greatorex, Quincy Mumford, and ’90’s cover band Full House. Mike started studying music at age 11 with Matt O’Ree, from whom he learned blues, rock and pop-styles. Mike then enrolled at Rowan University, where he studied jazz and classical guitar, jazz and classical piano and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Jazz Studies. Mike has compiled his own method and philosophy of private instruction that is guaranteed to get students jamming, rocking and learning within their first few lessons!
Christopher Bloom, Guest Artist, Modern/Contemporary
Christopher Bloom is from Middletown, VA where he started training at the Vostrikov’s Academy of Ballet at the age of 15. Christopher trained as a scholarship student at the Ballet and Contemporary Dance Programs in the School at Jacob’s Pillow under Anna-Marie Holmes and Milton Myers. He holds a B.F.A. from The Ailey/Fordham BFA Dance program where he had the opportunity to perform works by Sidra Bell, Francesca Harper, Camille A. Brown, Jennifer Muller, Paul Taylor and Alvin Ailey. He has performed professionally with 360° Dance Company, Thang Dao Dance Company, VonUssar DanceWorks, Parsons Dance, The Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, and with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Marlowe Davis, Guest Artist
Marlowe Scott began his dance training at Center Stage. He was a competitive dancer with Tap Cats and Sr. Cats. While competing he received several regional and national titles. Marlowe continued his dance training at “North Carolina School of the Arts” in Winston-Salem, N¬¬C. After finishing school he received a scholarship to attend the “Alvin Ailey American Dance Center” in Manhattan. He performed with the “Alvin Ailey” company in “Memoria” at City Center in NYC. Marlowe has toured Europe as a backup dancer for “103.5 KTU’s” dance music Diva “Despina Vendi” (I Can’t Be) and appeared in one of her music videos. Returning to the state’s he’s performed choreography by former “Madonna” dancer “Slam” and has done industrial performances for “Toyota.” Marlowe has appeared in an Off-Broadway musical “Thin Line” choreographed and directed by S.Y.T.Y.C.D., Germany, Derek Mitchell and produced by “Vogue” magazines, Joe Zee. Marlowe’s TV credits include “TLC – Four Weddings,” and NBC, CBS and CNN features “Flash Mob Marriage Proposal at Bryant Park” which was also featured in “Carrie Underwood’s” video “See You Again.” He has also moved away from dance to pose for HX magazines annual swimsuit issue. You can catch him every year in Manhattan’s annual Mega-Event “Broadway Bares” at Roseland Ballroom. Dancing on stage with stars Matthew Morrison, Christina Applegate and Cyndi Lauper. Marlowe continues to further his dance training in Street Jazz, Hip Hop and Contemporary. His versatility in many styles of dance is what keeps him motivated to choreograph theatrical and creative productions. Marlowe works with our JR CATS and has won countless high national and regional awards. Marlowe has been a competitive dance judge for the past 5 years, working with Legacy Dance Championships, Groove Competition and Starquest International. Marlowe’s new project “Over the Rainbow” will be premiering in the Fall of 2016.
Matt Lopez, Guest Artist, Hip-Hop
Matt first started dancing at the age of 10, performing for a Filipino dance troupe in New Hampshire. He attended Northeastern University majoring in theatre. Lopez later transferred to the University of Central Florida where he danced at Walt Disney World. Matt had the opportunity to perform with Hillary Duff in the Christmas Day Parade televised on ABC. Upon graduating from Central Florida, he landed a job as the mascot for the New England Patriots. In the spring of 2010, Lopez was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly’s Go-Go Segment. His other notable past stage/television performances include dancing for Sean Kingston and Wyclef Jean on a kids programming show on PBS, as well as artists Yulya and Matt Palmer. Matt now lives in New York City where he is currently dancing with his crew, DEF-C, and choreographing flash mobs to raise awareness for non-profit organizations. In April 2012, Lopez was the audition facilitator for a Nicki Minaj performance and chosen as a lead dancer in Times Square for the debut of her album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.” Matt is now choreographing for R&B/Pop artists, Kyle James and Sid Haywoode, whose song, “No Excuses” is #6 on Europe’s dance hit chart. Lopez teaches hip-hop/funk master classes abroad including the Philippines and the United Kingdom. He is currently teaching hip-hop and street jazz at Broadway Dance Center and other prominent drop-in studios in NYC.
Ida Saki, Guest Artist, Lyrical/Contemporary
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Ida Saki attended Tisch School of the Arts of New York University. She has received such accolades as modern dance winner by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts YoungArts, named a Texas Young Master in dance, Iran’s Person of the Day, and received five national honors, including Distinguished Performer of the Year and Outstanding Dancer of the Year. Ida has graced the cover of the prestigious Dance Spirit Magazine, Parastoo Magazine, and has appeared within the magazines numerous times. Ida’s choreography has received national recognition through various dance competitions as well as National High School Dance Festival. She has performed alongside Gallim Dance in Grand Central Terminal in a Lacoste Fragrance Launch as well as danced in benefits for Ronald McDonald House, Hurricane Sandy, and Japan Relief Benefits. She has also performed at the Wanderlust Yoga Festival, as well as Alicia Key’s annual Black Ball. In addition to her accomplishments, she works to raise money for childhood cancer through Dancer’s Give Back and college scholarships through the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation. Ida continually searches to extend her studies, such as studying gaga in Israel and Italy, and teaching students in Ukraine. In 2010, Ida was the only female dancer to be named the Presidential Scholar and meet President Obama. Recently, she co-created and performed at a show premiered at the Kennedy Center and was also named one of Dance Magazine’s 2013 Top 25 to Watch.
Jason Warley, Guest Artist
Jason has more than 20 years experience as a dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist. His training began under jazz dance legend, Frank Hatchett, and subsequently at Lehman College, Broadway Dance Center, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (currently known as The Ailey School). Jason’s professional performing opportunities led him to work with celebrated choreographers, Peter Pucci (of, Pilobolus), Edward Morgan (of, The Joffrey Ballet), Slam (of Madonna’s,“The Blond Ambition Tour”), Brian Thomas (Emmy Award nominee), and Tony Award winning choreographer, Jerry Mitchell. Early in his career, he did world tours with recording artists, Shannon, Le Click and the Backstreet Boys. As a choreographer, Jason’s works include productions of Ragtime, Dreamgirls, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Singin’ in the Rain, and recently, Dreamgirls-in-Concert for ReVision Theatre Company, starring Patrice Covington-Bland as, Effie (Dreamgirls, National Tour, 2010). He also choreographed a 2000 world tour for 80’s pop diva, Shannon. Jason has served on the sub-faculty at the world acclaimed, Broadway Dance Center in New York City and has led master classes and workshops at a host of other dance institutions throughout the United States and Japan. Jason is the cover story of the August 2014 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine featuring his 20 years of work with our JAZZ CAT Program and runs Man In Motion – supplying master teachers/choreographers to dance studios across the Northeast including NYC Master Workshops. Stay in touch with Jason @ www.jasonwarley.com