Melissa Padham-Maass (Artistic Director, Ballet, Pointe, Mommy and Me, Modern Dance) received her early dance training at the Dancer’s Studio in Warwick, NY under the direction of Lucinda Henry. Melissa holds a BFA with honors from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College (SUNY) and an MSc in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Her research from Laban was presented at the IADMS conference in Seattle Washington in October 2013 and published in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science. Melissa graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Dance in May 2014.
Melissa has been performing professionally both in NYC and around the country with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre since 2005 and Darrah Carr Dance since 2006.
Ms. Padham-Maass is the current Artistic Director of the Warwick Summer Arts Festival and has co-directed Eros Movement Company, Brooklyn Contemporary Ballet Collective, Artisan Dance Company of Sugar Loaf, NY, and the Identically Different Dance Festival. She has presented work at various venues including Dixon Place, Center for Performance Research, Triskelion Arts, Tisch School of the Arts, WAX works, Built on Stilts Festival in Martha's Vineyard, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Brooklyn Actors Fund and 60x60 Dance at the Winter Garden Theater.
Melissa has been on faculty or a guest teacher at Joffrey Ballet School, The Dancer’s Studio in Warwick, NY, Connecticut Dance Center, Conservatory of Dance in Wilton CT, Harlem Children’s Zone, Kinderdance NYC and Brooklyn, Gallatin School at NYU, Scarsdale Ballet, Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF), SUNY Purchase and the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Academy.
Melissa is currently an adjunct professor and choreographer at SUNY Rockland and Fei Tian College in Middletown, NY.
Claire Beebe (Contemporary Jazz, choreographer) is an accomplished dancer and dance instructor who has studied and taught ballet/pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary/ modern/ lyrical , hip-hop, Zumba, and aerial dancing. She has been affiliated with the Hudson Valley Conservatory for approximately 14 years as a student and instructor and has also studied voice and flute at the Conservatory. Claire is a member of the Valley Contemporary Company under the direction of Paige Constable Cummings and has played major roles in their productions including, ‘Janis Joplin: Pearl’ , ‘Lady Day: A Tribute to Billie Holiday’ , and ‘The Giving Tree’. She is a company member of Hudson Valley Ballet under the direction of Kristen Prescott and Rebecca Balbach. She is also a member of the Warwick Dance Collective Company under the direction of Melissa Padham- Maass. Claire has recently joined Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company, under the direction of Abdel Salaam, as they performed in Paul Winter’s 38th Annual, Winter Solstice at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC. Claire choreographed Chester Academy's 2016 musical "Fame" and their 2017 musical "Rent", and their 2018 musical , “The Addams Family”. She currently teaches at the Hudson Valley Conservatory in Walden, NY and Dance Revolution, Inc. in Slate Hill, NY. She is also a certified Zumba instructor. Claire is a 2013 graduate of Valley Central School. She graduated Rockland Community College in 2018 with an associates degree in dance (AA), and will be continuing school to become an Occupational Therapist.
Denishah Desroches (Hip Hop) Received her associates degree from SUNY Rockland with a concentration in Dance, under the direction of Melissa Padham-Maass. Denishah is currently at Purchase College (SUNY) pursuing a bachelors in Arts Management. Miss DesRoches is a member of the Surge Dance Company under the direction of Carly Harper and Sabotage Hip Hop team under the direction of Antony Ware. She specializes in contemporary/modern, Hip Hop, African, and improvisation.
Emilee Dupré (Theatre, Yoga) is the ultimate triple threat: actress, singer, and dancer. Emilee has originated roles in Broadway shows Chaplin and The People in the Picture, Off- Broadway in Venice, The Blue Flower, and many more. She’s traversed the country three times with National Tours of Fosse, A Chorus Line, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, as well as having performed at incredible venues around the world. Dupré holds a BFA in Theater from New York University. She received her acting training at The Atlantic Theater Company and CAP 21, and has studied with some of the best choreographers, singing and acting teachers around: Henry LeTang, Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon, Gregory Hines, Ben Vereen, Javier Dubroq, Andy Blankenbuehler, William H. Macy, Scott Zigler, Anya Saffir, Clark Middleton, Josh Pais, Susan Finch, Bryan Perri, Bruce Kolb, and more. Emilee has worked alongside some of the best in the business. Recently, Emilee starred in the award-winning indie film Waiting on Mary, for which she has been nominated Best Actress. She also received rave reviews after for her performance in the world premiere of the play Moneymaker, as well as a wild and delightful re-interpreted Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the freeFall Theater. Dupré is a proud member of two New York City acting companies: Upstart Creatures: a non-profit theater company feeding mind, body and soul in
Hell’s Kitchen, New York City (Co-Artistic Directors Michael Barakiva and Suzanne Agins); and The New Circle Theater Company: fostering provoking new works from renowned artists in the NYC community. Emilee taught in the Acting program at the Broadway Theatre Project. She has assistant choreographed & directed many projects over the years as well. Her knowledge of the theatre, her versatility, and her positive attitude, Emilee inspires her peers and her students to put in 150%!
Isabel Fernandez (Ballet, Conditioning) began her training at The Dancer’s Studio of Warwick at an early age under the direction of Lucinda Henry. She supplemented her training with study at Ballet Academy East as well as numerous other prestigious schools such as Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Santa Cruz Ballet for their intensive summer program. She was also invited to work with Katrina Killian of the New York City Ballet in private lessons. She graduated from Purchase College Conservatory of Dance with a ballet concentration, and immediately began performing with multiple dance companies and creative artists in New York City such as, the Staten Island Ballet, LaneCoArts and Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company. She performed in the Reverb Festival in 2007 with LaneCoArts. She began taking classes at Steps on Broadway at this time with instructors like Nancy Bielski among others, who guided her and helped her to improve
considerably, both technically and athletically. Later, she began performing with Eryc Taylor Dance company with whom she performed leading roles such as the duet Inside/Out. She has taught ballet throughout her career as a performing artist and holds a 200 hr yoga certification from Three Sisters Yoga, as well as a Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga Certification in March 2014.
Ariana Henry (Ballet) received her primary training at Dancer's Studio under the direction of her mother, Lucinda Henry. Growing up in Warwick NY, she was a member of Warwick Ballet Theatre and spent her summers training at New York State Summer School of the Arts.
Arianna is a Deans List graduate of University of the Arts with a BFA in Ballet Performance and the recipient of the Alesei Yudenich Award in Ballet. While in college, she guested corps roles with the Pennsylvania Ballet in The Nutcracker and toured to Ottawa, Canada, interned with contemporary ballet company Ballet X, and was hired to work for Walt Disney World as a character performer.
In 2012, Arianna was accepted into the Arsenale della Danza, under the direction of Ishmael Ivo to study 6 months in Venice, Italy and toured their production of "Biblioteca del Corpo" throughout Veneto, Italy and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Proceeding her time dancing in Italy and Brazil, Arianna was selected to go to The Wien Konservatorium in Vienna, Austria and The Centre of National Dance in Paris, France to learn and share Forsythe Technologies under the direction of Douglas Becker. She also traveled to Chiasso, Switzerland to dance in a workshop series with Ticino in Danza.
Arianna has lived in New York City since 2013 as a Freelance dancer and teacher, as well as a Pilates instructor. She is an educational specialist at New York State Summer School of the Arts, dance instructor for Hamptons Ballet Theatre School in Bridgehampton, NY, and has toured the U.S. with artist St.Vincent as a Pilates instructor and performer. Arianna is thrilled to be in her home studio instructing and performing for the Warwick Center for the Performing Arts.
Sharlene Miller-Pizza (Head Teacher for Performing Arts Pre-school Program) born & raised in Warwick, is a loving wife & mother to 3 young ladies, 23, 16 & 14. Ms. Sharlene graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a Communications & Psychology degree which had her working in the marketing & advertising field for many years. After her second daughter was born she stayed home to raise her children.
She has served in all the Warwick school PTA's where she has been a tireless volunteer to many events. She currently serves on the board at the Warwick Valley Community Center in which she has been instrumental in the building and development of 3 Pines Nature Place, an outdoor nature play area for children for the past 3 years.
Ms. Sharlene has also had the pleasure of teaching & playing with many 2 & 3 year olds at St. Marys Community Preschool in Tuxedo NY where she worked as a teacher for 3 years. She is now excited to bring her life's experiences to WCPA's Performing Arts Pre-School program -(since her daughter has been dancing since she's been in preschool)!
Christine McKnight (Barre Fitness, Cardio Dance) is a certified American Barre Technique instructor, and received her degree in Dance from Connecticut College, where she studied under instructors including David Dorfman, Dan Wagoner, George de la Peña, and Lan-Lan Wang, and with guest artists such as Heidi Latsky, Claire Porter, Jeremy Nelson, and Eddie Taketa. She began her dance training at the Franklin
School for the Performing Arts (FSPA) in Franklin, Massachusetts, where she performed for many years with the Franklin Performing Arts Company and the FSPA Dance Company. She has also studied at the Peridance Center and the American Academy of Ballet in New York.
Christine was introduced to barre fitness while living in Hoboken, NJ and recovering from the birth of her first daughter, and was impressed by how quickly barre helped her to regain her pre-pregnancy strength and energy. She is committed to helping others reach their fitness goals in a supportive, encouraging, and fun environment. Christine also works as a freelance editor, and lives in Sugar Loaf with her two daughters.
Julia O'Brien (Tap) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgian Court University in 2017 with a B.A. in Dance Performance, a B.A. in Psychology, and a minor in Dance Therapy. While in school, she was selected to work with choreographers such as Sidra Bell, Randy James, Beau Hancock, Silvana Cardell, Hee Ra Yoo, Steve Vaughn, Kata Mejia, and Charles Anderson. She also had the opportunity to perform at the MMAC in the 2015 Choreographer’s Canvas, and at the American College Dance Festival while completing her undergraduate degrees. Julia continued her training in June 2017 at the American Dance Festival's Dance Professionals Workshop in Durham, NC. In addition to the Warwick Dance Collective, Julia dances with Introspective Movement Project, a Philly-based contemporary jazz company. Her favorite styles include improvisation, contemporary, and jazz. When she's not dancing, you can find her blogging, teaching dance, at the gym, or drinking iced coffee
Eileen Padham – (Director of The Performing Arts Pre-School Program) has her degree from Suny Orange in Childcare Administration and had been the owner and director of a wonderful local pre-school for 20 years before selling and semi-retiring 10 years ago. Eileen and her husband Michael have lived in Warwick since 1980, they have 4 wonderful children, one being Melissa Padham-Maass, and 4 grandchildren. Eileen is looking forward to over-seeing the operations of the new Performing Arts Pre-School.
Janette Rawls (Pilates) holds a B. F. A. in Dance from Belhaven University with additional summer studies at American Ballet Theatre and the American Dance Festival. Janette started her professional career in Kansas City with Stӧrling Dance Theater, performing in the large productions Underground and The Little Match Girl. In Houston, Janette danced with Earthen Vessels: Sandra Organ Dance Company and appeared as a guest artist with FrenetiCore, Jhon Stronks, and for several commercial dance and modeling projects with Dance Houston. In the northeast, Janette worked with Catapult on international tour after their feature on “America’s Got Talent." She has also toured with Elements Dance and currently performs with Warwick Dance Collective. Janette has over ten years of teaching experience including teaching at the collegiate level, for summer intensives, at conventions, and in performing arts schools. She is certified in Stott® Pilates and holds an ABT® National Training Curriculum teacher certification in primary through level five. Janette currently teaches in the New York/New Jersey area, and serves as the administrative director, production manager, and occasionally as a dancer for Emotions Physical Theatre
Shawn Rawls (Modern Dance) grew up in Cleveland, Ohio studying martial arts and street dance from a young age. At sixteen he attended Cleveland School of the Arts and began dancing with the Y.A.R.D (Youth At Risk Dancing) an award winning program helping youths develop an artistic voice and U.D.C (Urban Dance Collective). These youth company experiences provided training with Paul Taylor, Pilobolus, and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. In 2003, Shawn graduated as a double major in Visual Arts and Dance. Shawn is now a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer in New York City. He trained at Broadway Dance Center, Steps, Peridance, and with artists like Mia Michaels from So You Think You Can Dance, Ravenna Tucker from the Royal Ballet, David Keary of the New York City Ballet, Steve Rooks of the Martha Graham Company, Bill Wade artistic director of Inlet Dance Theatre, and Hope Boykins from Alvin Ailey. He received a full scholarship in dance to pursue a B. F. A. in performance and choreography from Belhaven University. Shawn has performed with over a dozen shows and dance companies throughout the United States and abroad including Pilobolus, the Aluminum Show, Abarukas, Ad Deum, Monster Energy Drink and the Roots, Culture Shock, the Roxey Ballet, Chicago Dance Crash, Tygo Ballets, K-Theory, Son Kiss’d Hip Hop Contemporary and the Chicago Lyric Opera. He served as dance captain and as a dancer on tour with Catapult. As a freelance choreographer for more than ten years, he won the first round of NYC XYZ choreography competition and placed runner up in the final round and placed third in VKIBC. He has been commissioned to create work on Dancing Wheels and the Roxey Ballet along with numerous choreography commissions for colleges and student training programs. Shawn is the founder and artistic director of Emotions Physical Theatre, a dance company that performs in New York and around the United States. His work has been seen in NYC 10 festival, the Houston Fringe Festival, and the Moving Beauty Series. He has curated and produced the Evening of Contemporary Dance and Thought Provoked where he presented his own choreography and invited other artists to present work. Through his company, Shawn works with the DEA to create shows and teach residencies that combine high quality dance presentations with and anti-drug message for at-risk kids. Shawn has also been teaching dance for over thirteen years at numerous dance schools, training programs, summer intensives, conventions, and in the Newark Public School system
Tami Small (Musical Theater Jazz and Ballet) is an accomplished performer and teacher. She’s been in the Hudson Valley for the
last 10 years, moving from New York City where she taught at The School at Steps, PeriDance, The School at Columbia University, and Ballet Hispanico. She began her training in Ohio, studying primarily tap and jazz. She started taking ballet when she was 15, and was fortunate
enough to have an amazing teacher who fostered the love of the art and upholding the tradition and etiquette involved...all while making it fun! That’s an important component of Tami’s classes today...teaching technique and discipline in a fun and exciting way. A lifelong student (as all performers should be), some of her biggest influences as a teacher have been Carole Alexis, Pamela Bolling, Mdme. Peff Modelski, and Jeff Shade among so many others. As a dancer, she has performed in the Castle Show in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, with The Tom Evert Company for The Great Lakes Theater Festival, Cleveland Ballet Dancing Wheels, The Miss Orlando pageant, and many regional musicals. As an actor, Tami has appeared in “Watching The Detectives” on A&E and several commercials for Disney. As much as she enjoyed performing, her greatest accomplishments have been as a dance teacher, working with children and adults of all levels.
Gwynenn Taylor Jones (Ballet) Gwynenn began her dance training with the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet at the age of 14. She continued her studies at Ballet Met Academy in Columbus, OH. In 1998 Jones moved to NYC where she studied at the Ailey School as a fellowship student for 2 years. She danced with Ailey II from 2000 - 2002. Jones was an original member of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet from 2003 - 2004. She was a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 2004 - 2009. She returned to Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, under Director Benoit Swan Pouffer from 2009 - 2012. Jones has also danced with Earl Mosley Diversity of Dance, Fred Benjamin Dance Company, and performed with Aretha Franklin. She can also be seen dancing in the movie The Adjustment Bureau. She now resides in Orange County, NY with her husband and 2 children.
Malley DeSanto (assistant teacher for Performing Arts Pre-School Program) recently graduated from SUNY Rockland, where she received an AA in Performing Arts with concentrations in Musical Theatre and Dance. There she was seen in several productions including West Side Story, Noises Off and Godspell. Malley is currently studying ballet and other disciplines of dance at the Warwick Center for Performing Arts under the advisement of Melissa Padham-Maass. She is also a member of the Warwick Dance Collective Studio Company and has recently performed in their productions of The Nutcracker and A Midsummer Night's Dream.