Melissa Padham-Maass (Artistic Director, Ballet, Creative Movement, Contemporary) 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 a full time professor of dance at Fei Tian College in Middletown, NY.
Tami Small Tap, Jazz, Creative Movement, Preschool 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, Pointe, Adult 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.
Kerry Gleason (Ballet) has pursued a life of all things dance since the age of 5. She started her ballet training at The Hartford Ballet and went on to perform and tour with the company. She also studied with Boston Ballet and at Steps on Broadway.
Kerry has a BA in Dance from SUNY Brockport where she was hired to teach ballet in the major program while obtaining her degree. There she studied the techniques of Doris Humphrey and Jose Limon and also had the opportunity to work with notable artists including Anna Sokolow and Viola Farber. She taught for many years at Dancer’s Studio in Warwick and at The New Paltz School of Ballet.
Kerry is a certified Irish Dance teacher (TCRG). She is a former US and All World Cross Channel Champion. She has had the privilege of studying with many great teachers including Michael Smith, Donny Golden, Dean Crouch and Colin Dunne. She was co-founder of the Shamrock School in Ct and founder and director of Kerry Dance in Warwick until 2016. Her students won numerous solo and team championships and performed regularly in the area.
Kerry is a retired RN residing in Warwick with her husband. She has 2 daughters and 1 grandson (#2 coming soon!)
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.
Danielle Caldwell (Ballet) began her dance training at age 6 at Coupé Theatre Studio in Rockland County, NY., where she studied ballet, jazz, tap, modern dance, and musical theater. There, she was fortunate to develop a well-rounded and versatile foundation under incredible teachers including Diane Frankel, Mme. Nanette Charisse, Luba Gulyaeva, Robert Tucker, and Jay Norman. She spent summers training at NYSSSA, The Chautauqua Festival Program, The Boston Ballet School, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, The Royal Academy of Dance, and the School of American Ballet (SAB). Danielle was invited to continue her ballet studies as a full-time scholarship student at SAB, training in the Balanchine technique under Suki Schorer, Susan Pilarre, Kay Mazzo, Mme. Tumkovsky, Stanley Williams, Andrei Kramarevsky, Jock Soto, Katrina Killian, and more. She originated a role in Christopher Wheeldon's Scènes de ballet and has performed with The New York City Ballet, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Chautauqua Ballet, The Stamford Ballet, The Little Orchestra Society, and The Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble. She has also choreographed for film and TV. She currently resides in Warwick with her husband and two children.
Emilee Dupré (Tap, Jazz, 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%!
Shawn Rawls (Hip Hop and Ballet Partnering) 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
Kendal Griffler began dancing at the age of four. She trained in various styles with a focus on Irish dancing with the Early Mcloughlin School. During her competitive career she placed 3rd regionally, 6th nationally and received medals at the All Ireland and World Championships. She has been dancing professionally the past four years and has toured with various companies throughout the United States and Europe. When she is home from tour she dances with Darrah Carr Dance, a company based in Manhattan that fuses modern and contemporary dance with Irish. Kendal is also a NASM certified personal trainer, the Social Media Marketing Manager for Celticore-Pilates for Irish Dancers and is currently completing her business degree through Pace University.
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.
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.