Instructors and Choreographers

Amber Perkins
Amber Perkins

Amber Perkins is the owner of the nationally distinguished Amber Perkins School of the Arts and founder and Artistic Director of the Phoenix Project Dance. Ms. Perkins has won many choreography awards, including the prestigious Elan Award, presented annually by Dance Spirit Magazine and Capezio. Amber received her BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts and her BS in Economics. Amber performed with the Danscore Company as a principle dancer for three years. As a choreographer, Amber has worked with various companies and dance institutions across the United States and Canada, including Williams/Henry Dance in Kansas City.

Angelica Stiskin
Angelica Stiskin

Angelica Stiskin earned her BFA in Dance at Marymount Manhattan College under the direction of Katie Langan, performing works by Shen Wei, Robert Battle and Lar Lubovitch. Her credits include ASH Contemporary Dance Company, and American Dance Artists, dancing with Travis Wall and Rasta Thomas. Angelica performed a self-choreographed solo at Jerome Robbins Theater as an advocate for solo artistry in concert dance. Angelica is widely recognized for her versatility as a performer and teacher. Angelica assisted Emmy Award winning Mia Michaels and is a faculty member of Joffrey Ballet School’s Summer Program and school year Pre-Professional program.

Ashley Lindsey
Ashley Lindsey

Ashley Lindsey graduated from the University North Carolina School of the Arts. He has since performed with the Limon Dance Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Defero Dance Collective, VIA Dance Collaborative, and Jessica Gaynor Dance Company. Ashley worked with choreographers Jason Parsons, Mia Michaels, Lauren Adams and Suzi Taylor; and created works for the North Carolina School of the Arts, UNC, American Youth Grand Prix, CC& Co Dance Complex, Plumb Performing Arts Center, and Defro Dance Collective. Ashley has taught at UNCSA, Duke University, Elon College, and Jose Limon Workshops. He was a 2013 finalist for the Capezio ACE Awards.

Brandon West
Scott Fowler

Born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, "West" is a professional dancer, entrepreneur and trainer with a relentless passion for artistic & personal development; a passion that has proven monumental to his personal progression and the elevation of his brand. West was once a well rounded, accomplished student-athlete and international martial arts champion; but has now quickly ascended into a demanded source of performance and entertainment. Having entered the industry as a commercial Hip-Hop dancer, his hustle, ambition, and talent has fast-tracked him into both an artist and coach within the music and entertainment business; accredited for works that include The Dollhouse, Chris Brown, America’s Got Talent, BET, Rocawear, and Missy Elliot to name a few. West seeks to fuse what he calls “athletics & appeal” by combining his love for athletics and the arts, and devoting himself to using his movement and artistry to help build and showcase the best versions of himself and others from presence to performance.

Chris Kinsey
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Chris Kinsey studied at DANJ with Jaclyn K. Walsh, Joelle Cosentino, Angelica Stiskin, and Jason Luks. He is currently attending Boston Conservatory (class of 2018) as a scholarship recipient. Chris has been a featured dancer in many award winning pieces including: “To Make You Feel My Love” (chor. Dee Caspary; performed at Impressions IV Benefit Dance Concert at NYC Symphony Space). In his senior year, Chris was the Senior Solo Champion at Hall of Fame Nationals. Many dancers performing Chris’ choreography have received awards at competitions including ADA, NUVO, Open Call and others.

Conner Bormann
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Conner Bormann entered Juilliard School in New York City (class of 2017). He was recognized by New York Times Dance writer Ruby Washington for his performance in Loni Landon’s “And Then There Was One” stating “this dark, bracing piece … ferried bodies across the stage like cresting, breaking waves, as groups scattered and converged and scattered again.” Conner traveled with choreographers Mia Michaels and Brian Friedman as a ”Pulse Premier Performer.” He performed at Madison Square Garden in NYC and has received many awards and scholarships including National Junior Dancer of the Year at American Dance Awards.

Daniel Vaniska
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Prior to starting his professional career, Daniel Vaniska was recognized as 'National Outstanding Dancer' by New York City Dance Alliance and Broadway Dance Center, honoring him with the Richard Ellner Scholarship. Daniel’s credits include Rosta Thomas' "Bad Boys of Dance,” "Hairspray,” "Footloose,” and the national tour of "The Music Man" with original choreography by Susan Stroman. He performed in Atlantic City’s Caesar's Palace in the Broadway review productions "Nights on Broadway II & III.” Daniel's industrial/TV appearances include: Volkswagen Germany, Walmart, as well as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Jaclyn Walsh
Jaclyn Walsh

Jaclyn Walsh is a principal dancer of KEIGWIN + COMPANY. Her choreography has been presented at Perceptions Contemporary Dance Festival, American Dance Guild Festival, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, NYU’s Past/Forward, and SummerStage Main Stage. She received Broadway Care’s coveted Choreography Award at the Joyce and has been featured in Dance Spirit and Dance Teacher Magazine. Jaclyn received her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she performed works by Susan Marshall and Ronald K. Brown and received the Tisch Achievement Scholarship in Dance. Jaclyn is on faculty at Crunch Fitness and BDC’s Contemporary Variations Series.

Jason Luks
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Jason Luks is a performer, choreographer and teacher. He was recently a member of the Falsettos Broadway choreography team, including preparing the cast for their Tony Awards performance. He worked with Josh Prince and Pulitzer Prize winner, Director James Lapine on the choreography for "Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing." Jason's performance credits include “White Christmas” (Broadway), “On The Town" (Barrington Stage), “My One And Only” (Stages St. Louis), Tap Stars (international tour), Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and MTV’s Video Music Awards. Jason performed at the Kennedy Center for Presidents Obama and Bush. He earned the title of Adult World Tap Dance Solo Champion at the International Dance Organization’s World Tap Dance Championships (’03) and ADA’s national Young Choreographer of the Year (’05). Jason’s choreography has been presented on Broadway's Walter Kerr Theater (Falsettos), the Kennedy Center and Symphony Space NYC. Jason is a guest teacher at many conventions including NYCDA, ASH, Syncopate, and Tap the Map. Jason graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance.

Jenn Freeman
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Jenn Freeman is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. Her live performances include MTV’s VMAs, The Jimmy Fallon Show, Comedy Central’s Awards, and The Rolling Stone's 50th Anniversary Tour. She has assisted in the development of large scale productions for Florence and the Machine, Madonna, The X-Factor, LA Ballet, The Brit Awards, and Cirque du Soleil. Jenn has assisted renowned choreographers including Sonya Tayeh, Mia Michaels, Chris Dupre, Cherice Barton, and Chris Jacobsen. Jenn is currently collaborating with Charlotte Boye-Christensen for NOW International/Interdisciplinary Dance Company. Jenn received a BFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Jenny LeProtto
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Jenny LeProtto started dancing at age four at Kelly Allen’s renown For Dancers Only, including studying tap with Mike Minery (Tapaholics, Slide, JUMP) and performed works by Ray Leeper (So You Think You Can Dance Choreographer, NUVO Director). While she trained in all forms of dance, Jenny's current fortes are teaching tap, hip hop and jazz, as well as teaching all styles of dance for young children. Jenny is best known for her tap choreography - most recently recognized by American Dance Awards at their 2015 Nationals in Hollywood Florida for two of her tap pieces, “Five Guys Named Moe” and “Hiccups.” Her work has been described as “intricate, polished and exciting!” Jenny is a graduate of Seton Hall University with a major in Education.

Jessica Longo
Jessica Longo

Jessica Longo’s training included ballet, pointe, acro, modern, lyrical and tap. She studied with George Lon, Chris Lee, Mary Felber, Dawn LaViola-Schaub, Frank Hatchett, Michele Assaf, AC Ciulla and Joe Lanteri. Jessica also trained as a gymnast, reaching the Class III competitive level, and was named to the All County and All Conference gymnastic teams. Prior to joining DANJ, she was on the artistic staff at Performing Arts Academy for over ten years. Her credits also include commercial and modeling roles. Jessica attended the prestigious High School for the Performing Arts in New York City and Montclair State University where she majored in Dance.

Jordyn Luks
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Jordyn Luks started dancing at age four in all styles of dance, including studying ballet with Jamie Hoctor and Alana Isiguen, tap with Chris Lee and Mike Minery, jazz with Elisabetta Spuria, and performing works by Ray Leeper. Jordyn received her BA from the University of Richmond with a major in business and minor in dance. She was a dance scholarship recipient, member of the University Dancers dance company, and performed pieces by Robert Battle, Myra Daleng and other leading choreographers. Jordyn is a co-founder of Performing Hearts Corp, a non-profit dedicated to providing movement and dance to special needs children. She is currently working as a Brand Lead at Beamly (A Coty Company), a leading digital marketing agency.

Kathleen Arcieri
Kathleen Arcieri

Kathleen Arcieri grew up in Ridgewood, NJ where she began ballet lessons at the age of five. As a prized student at Irine Fokine’s School of Ballet, Kathleen performed in annual recitals as well as in Tchaikovsky’s classic, The Nutcracker, for over twelve years. At the age of 17, Kathleen was chosen to dance the coveted Sugar Plum Fairy role. After seeing her perform, the renowned Russian ballet dancer, Igor Youskevitch, invited her to train and compete professionally. In 1990, Kathleen was awarded the bronze medal in the prestigious New York International Ballet Competition. Kathleen also danced with the Connecticut Ballet Theater and taught classes at Irine Fokine's School of Ballet.

Katy Guth
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Katy Guth began dancing at the age of three and competing at the age of eight. Her training focused on Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary and Musical Theatre. She continued her dance eduction at Broadway Dance Center in New York City and dance seminars hosted by Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America. Katy began her teaching career in 2001 while attending East Stroudsburg University of PA. In addition to her teaching experience, with expertise teaching young children and teens, Katy is an established choreographer and has received numerous awards recognizing her work. Katy manages the Sparta location for The Dance Academy of North Jersey.

Laura Van Peenen Merino
Scott Fowler

Laura Van Peenen Merino started dancing at four and continued training in acro, ballet, pointe, modern, lyrical, and tap - studying with Chris Lee, Dawn LaViola-Schaub, and Yuliya Akopyan. Prior to joining DANJ, Laura was on the artistic teaching staff at Performing Arts Academy for four years. She also taught Gymnastics for ten years under the direction of Debbie Tahan. Laura is the owner and director of TumbLe-nasium located in Wayne, NJ. She graduated from William Paterson University with a BA in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, & Psychology. Laura is also certified in CPR/AED & first aid.

Nicole Pietraszkiewicz
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Nicole Pietraszkiewicz grew up training at The Dance Academy of North Jersey, studying with Jaclyn K. Walsh, Joelle Cosentino, Angelica Stiskin, and Jason Luks. She is currently attending the Ailey School in NYC. Nicole has been a featured dancer in many award winning pieces including: “Shame” (Impressions IV Benefit Dance Concert at NYC Symphony Space); and “Mutual Core” (Broadway Care’s “Dancin’ Downtown at the Joyce” at NYC’s Joyce Theatre). Following its performance at the Joyce, NYC’s Arts Council awarded the piece the coveted annual Choreography Award and invited the trio to perform at New York City’s Central Park ‘Summer Stage’ Main Stage.

Patti Krapels
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Dr. Patti Krapels is the director of the Performing Hearts Program at DANJ. She is a chiropractic physician specializing in pediatrics. As her children began to demonstrate a love for dance at a young age, Patti became actively involved in a program specializing in children’s dance education -- starting at the beginner level with rhythmic movement, and thereafter, developing skills in ballet, tap, lyrical and jazz. Since then, she has become a children’s dance program lead teacher at several area dance studios and preschools. Patti earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology at Michigan State University and her Doctor of Chiropractic from Life University.

Sharon Hockstein
Sharon Hockstein

Sharon Hockstein received her Ballet training at the School of American Ballet, and studied on scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School and with Robert Denvers. She danced many leading roles in the School of American Ballet Workshop performances, such as George Balanchine’s Serenade and Concerto Barroco. Sharon danced professionally with The New York City Ballet performing at Lincoln Center, touring the West Coast, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and Jacob’s Pillow. She was also a Guest Artist with other Ballet companies across the USA, performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. Sharon currently teaches ballet on the adjunct faculty at Montclair State University. She choreographed Ballets and full-length Musical Theater productions at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts. Sharon truly enjoys passing on her knowledge and love of Ballet to future generations of dancers. She has been teaching for over twenty years and is thrilled to join the DANJ family – and we are thrilled to have her!

Tatyana Yatsenko
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Tatyana Yatsenko is an accomplished ballet dancer with over twenty years experience performing solos and leading roles in many classical ballets as a Principal Dancer for over ten years each with: the Moscow State Classic Ballet Theatre; and New Jersey Ballet. She has performed internationally, touring the USA, Russia, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, China, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Norway, Belgium and Holland. Tatyana graduated from the Moscow Academy of Choreography with special recognition from the International Competition and International Festival of Music and the Arts; and maintains her professional membership with the Union of Theatre Professionals of Russia.

Terk Lewis Waters
Tercell Waters

Terk received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Western Michigan University where he performed in works by Ron De Jesus, Frank Chavez and Antony Tudor. His formal training began with Tony Calucci at The Dance Extension in Columbus, Ohio. Terk also trained with the City Ballet of San Diego and River North Chicago. He joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet in 2010 and has since performed in works by Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Jae Man William Forsyth and Marcelo Gomes. Waters became an Artist In Residence with the Company in 2017.

Terk has taught at The Joffrey Ballet School NYC, Broadway Dance Center NYC, New York City Dance Alliance, The Alvin Ailey Extension Program, The American College Dance Festival, The Pulse Convention, Complexions Contemporary Ballet intensives (NYC, Atlanta, Detroit) , Atmosphere Dance Events (Ukraine), Vilnius Cultural Center (Lithuania), Marymount Manhattan University, and Western Michigan University.

"I believe "greatness" resides in Terk Waters. He is not just a really good dancer but a dancer rare for his generation." - Darrell Wood, critic, NYC Dance Stuff