Faculty

The Performing Arts School maintains a staff of teaching artists and instructors with professional credits to provide our students with high quality instruction in a nurturing atmosphere that stokes creativity and growth.

Alexander Diaz

AlexDiaz-HS-2014.jpgAlexander Diaz comes to us from New Milford, NJ. Born and raised in Union City, NJ, Alexander is still a very active member in Hudson County with the promotion of art and culture in Union City. Alexander headed the outreach of the Union City Performing Arts Center where he served as Coordinator of the Theatre and brought many students and parents in the underdeveloped city a cultural awareness and provided a venue for the citizens of Union City to experience live performances by great Hispanic Stars. He has been affiliated with the Paper Mill Playhouse, having performed in Everything Old Is New Again, and Wish You Were Here. Acting credits at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center  include, “Nicley Nicely” in Guys and Dolls, “Father” in Ragtime, “Billy Bigelow” in Carousel.

Alexander’s work spans beyond New Jersey and New York. He is a graduate of the University of the Arts with a BFA in Theatre Management and Directing. While attending the University of the Arts his performance credits include “Col. McKean” in 1776, “Harold” in In The Boom Boom Room, “Col. McCarthy” (Court Martial At Fort Devens) Philly Fringe Festival. Directing Credits include Behind Hidden Doors by Tanya Leppert, The Philadelphia by David Ives, Lone Star by James McClure, The Philadelphia Story (Assistant Director to David Howey). In 2008 Alexander opened a theatre in Philadelphia dedicated to bringing to the stage the work of young talented actors in Philadelphia. Other professional Credits include “Brother Trucker”, “Roberto” and other roles in “Working” (Theatre Horizon). Extra “State Fair”, understudy “Franz Libkien” The Producers (Walnut Street Theatre), Actor (Philadelphia Young Playwrights), Nick Massie (Atlantic City Jersey Boys, Borgata Casino).

Alexander is a singer, actor, director, and producer of theatre. Alexander acted as the producing artistic director at New Milford School where he directed the award nominated RENT, WORKING, and INTO THE WOODS and received rave reviews as well as several nominations from the National Youth Theatre Awards and The Helen Hayes Theatre Company. As the Director of Education and Outreach at bergenPAC, Alexander directed the theater's inaugural musical, FAME, and CHILDREN OF EDEN. Alexander is extremely excited to be part of the bergenPAC team and has made it a relentless goal to provide professional performing arts training and make bergenPAC the home for arts education in Northern New Jersey.

Khadija Ahmaddiya

KhadijaAhmaddiya_150x175.jpgKhadija Ahmaddiya is a native of Philadelphia, PA. Upon graduating from the University of the Arts, she joined DanceSpora Contemporary Ballet and NonaLee Dance Theatre, performing in several cities throughout the United States. In 2012 she toured cities in Panama with The New Freedom Theatre as a guest artist of the International Karate Tournament. Khadija has premiered choreographic work in Philadelphia, New York & New Jersey. She is a founding director of DRIGGproductions Dance & Film Company. In 2015 Khadija Co-Produced & Co-Directed ‘Smoke Lines’ a full evening of dance, film, and live music performance. Under her direction DRIGGproductions received the 2015 New Music USA Project Grant. Choreographic  Commissions include 2016 partnership with JCTC for the production of IN(ward),  'Magnificent You' and 2017 programming.

Kalena Brown

Kalena Brown..JPGKalena Brown, was born in Bronx, NY and raised in New Jersey. She is an Alumni from Penn State University with a dual degree in Dance and Psychology (BA). She began dancing at the age of 5 years old. She has studied various genres of dance such as West African Dance, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and modern dance. She attended Five Star Dance Center during her early childhood years. She was a part of the Repertory Company at Center for Modern Dance (CMDE) in Hackensack, New Jersey. In 2010 she attended the NYU Tisch Dance Program for high school students called Dancemaker. During the summer of 2012, she attended the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Professional Division Summer Intensive Program where she studied with some of the most prestigious choreographers and teachers such as Keith Alexander and Quenia Ribeiro. Kalena was a part of the Afi-Mojah Dance Company at Penn State where she danced and performed around Pennsylvania. She was a member, fundraising chair, and choreographer of Ambitions Dance Organization at Penn State. Also during her years at Penn State, she attended the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) where she networked and took dance classes to broaden her horizons of dance. Recently, she has finished a winter dance intensive at the Martha Graham School. Kalena is currently a dancer and choreographer for the dance company, Forza Malizia Dance Company in NYC where she performs different genres of dance. Kalena is also a dance teacher at local studios and has had the opportunity to do some teaching for beyondDance. 

Anthony Caiola

AnthonyCaiola_150x175.jpg Anthony Caiola is a performer and theater teacher. Born and raised in Paterson, NJ, Anthony received his Bachelor of Arts from William Paterson University in Theater and Comedy and recently achieved his Masters of Arts in Theater Studies from Montclair State University. His passion is acting, and his stage credits include Boeing Boeing, Speaking in Tounges and The Dining Room as well as numerous online short plays and skits.

Madeline Calandrillo

Madeline Calandrillo 150x175.jpgMadeline Calandrillo is a New York based actor and teaching artist. Madeline is passionate about using theater as a tool to build community and enliven education. As a teaching artist, she works to create opportunities that inspire young people to reach their highest potential in devising and performing theater.  She has been teaching for various organizations/non profits such as the New York City Children’s Theater, The McCarter Theatre NJ, Hartford Performs Ct, The George Street Playhouse NJ,  The Johnny Mercer Foundation and Disney Theatrics In-school Musical Programs at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center NJPAC. She is so excited to be apart of the growing programs at the BergenPAC this year! 

Brittany Rhodie

BrittanyRhodie_150x175.jpgBrittany Rhodie is a multidisciplinary artist and an art educator. Born and raised in Essex County, New Jersey her passion for arts ushered her to the Illustrious Howard University where she received her B.F.A in acting under the tutelage of Al Freeman Jr., Henrietta Edmonds, Mike Malone and Dr. Sherrill Berryman-Johnson. Brittany has performed throughout the entire Tri-State area and Washington D.C. Her credits include Dreamgirls at Crossroads Theatre Company, I'm Here at Newark Symphony Hall, The 70 at the Library of Congress, and touring with R&B artist Genna as dance captain and background dancer. Brittany taught theater and dance at North 13th Street Vo-Tech High School for several years. She currently serves as the Marketing Director for Crossroads Theater Company in New Brunswick, NJ. Brittany is a co-founder of Mirage Inc., an arts philanthropic development group. Brittany is excited about joining the bergenPAC team!

Adam Seitz

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An Award winning writer/producer turned, Award winning comedian, turned Award winning actor, Adam Sietz has spent more than a quarter century producing and performing in the Entertainment Biz.  He won a special achievement Emmy award at the ripe old age of 21 years. He has written and produced nationally televised shows, been on Broadway 3X, Worked with Woody Allen 2X and Performed Stand-Up & Improvisational Comedy Internationally. He wrote his first play at only 7 and has written for television, corporate events, awards shows and coached CEO’s. As one of NYC’s top VO artist’s, he has been on the cast of successful shows ranging from  Chappelle’s Show, Celebrity Death Match  and the Sopranos to Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go and the Wonder Pets. He has won awards and signed many autographs. He has also changed many diapers, changed a few tires and washed many dishes. He has had the good fortune to LEARN, To EARN and now it is his time to RETURN. With this driving desire to give back, Adam began volunteering at local Nursing homes, teaching and training kids 7yrs. to 87yrs. This is why Adam is now taking his personal brand of Edu-tainment on the road to deliver leadership, value, confidence, humor, support, focus and most of all…Smiles!  

Tim Sheehy Jr.

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     Tim Sheehy Jr. brings with him over 32 years of Theater experience.  As a professional performer, Tim has been seen at Six Flags Great Adventure, in Jackson, NJ, as Texas Tim, the Country Singing, Guitar Playing, Law Man of The Gallows Show, and The Best of The West Cabaret Show, both of which he wrote, and served as Music Director. Trained under World-renowned Mime Artists, Bill Bowers and Yass Hakoshima, for many years, all throughout NJ Tim was a featured Mime for Centennial Celebrations, NJ Wine Growers Festivals, and performing especially for the Mentally and Physically challenged of all ages in cooperation with the Elks Lodge Fraternal Order.  As the result of his dynamic and energetic movement technique, his Mime talents were utilized in many full Stage Productions, including Children’s Theater.  Some of Tim’s most notable roles were the Emcee in Cabaret, Eugene in Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Biloxi Blues, and Puck in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, which garnered him a Nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Comedy.

No stranger to Technical Theater as well, Tim’s credits include all aspects of Theater Production from Directing, Choreographing, Light and Sound Design, Stage Combat Choreography, which he learned from Broadway Fight Director Rick Sordelet, to Set Design, Construction, and Tim has also been Technical Director for the two World Premier Musicals, A Tale of Two Cities and Bubble Boy.

This marks Tim’s second season with the Education Outreach Team, through The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC, and hopes he will be a part of the future Education and dreams of students for years to come! 

Rebecca Sonia

RebeccaSonia_HS.jpgRebecca Sonia, an alumni of beyondDANCE at bergenPAC is a graduate of The University of the Arts with a BFA in Jazz/Theatre Dance and Minor in Musical Theatre. Regional: West Side Story (Rosalia), White Christmas (Rhoda), Mary Poppins (Katie Nanna). NYC Workshops: The Verdon Fosse Estate with Ann Reinking, Mary Setrakian's Showcase at The Triad Stage 72 (Soloist). Concert Performance: Peter Nero and the Philly POPS featuring Capathia Jenkins, Ashley Brown and Rachel York and The Academy of Music Gala featuring Sting. Here at the bergenPAC, Rebecca has performed for "Weird Al" Yankovic, opened for Tony Bennett, Betty Buckley and Stephanie Mills in past bergenPAC gala events and was on the team behind the PAC's productions of AIDA, Cats, Children of Eden and most recently choreographed Les Miserables’.

Roberta Mathes, Artistic Director

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born and trained in NYC, received a BA in dance from Adelphi University and has a distinguished career in the performing arts, both in front of the audience as a performer, and behind the scenes as a choreographer and coordinator. Her litany of achievements include feature films, Beat Street, Fatal Attraction, television programs,The Guiding Light, Law and Order, and award winning music videos, Higher Love (Steve Winwood), Heard it through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye). She has also performed in shows, Sweet Charity and Kismet, an off off Broadway in play, Invisible Child, in major industrials for IBM and Chrysler, in special events including the Liberty Bicentennial and Broadway’s opening of the Disney’s film Hercules. Her strength as a dancer and choreographer is her versatility in style. One of Roberta’s outstanding credits was as assistant choreographer in Brian de Palma’s film, Carlito’s Way. She has choreographed the opening segment of bergenPAC’s annual galas, featuring such notables as Tony Bennett, Chaka Khan, Stephanie Mills, Paul Anka and their very first musical, FAME. For thirteen years Roberta co-directed dance plus…a whole lot more, a dance school in Englewood, NJ. She especially loved teaching and choreographing for American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive in NYC and was fortunate enough to be a part of their Make a Ballet Program where her work was presented at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. Roberta guest teaches internationally- Israel, Italy, Canada, Norway, Venezuela and Brazil. Currently she is the artistic director of beyondDANCE at bergenPAC and remains on the faculty of Steps on Broadway, NYC. Roberta feels that her best achievements lie in the area of teaching dance as mentioned in a feature article in the February 2000 issue of “Dance Teacher Magazine. Roberta loves watching her students grow into expressive and successful dancers. Along with Broadway stages: Wicked, Mamma Mia, Spring Awakening, Les Miserables, Sound of Music, Footloose,and major dance companies, her students have been on SYTYCD, the American Music Awards, competed in the prestigious Youth Grand Prix, performed in the New York Jazz Choreography Project, Dance Collage, a 9/11 Tribute in NYC and can be seen on television in commercials and music videos. Roberta’s dynamic personality, along with her own style and “technique” forms a whole and responsive learning experience. She loves giving the gift of dance and sharing her passion with the next generations of dancers!

“My goal is to make every one of my students physically strong, mentally focused and as technically perfect as they can be!” Check out her very own website: www.robertamathes.com!

Kalena Brown

Kalena Brown..JPGKalena Brown was born in Bronx, NY and raised in New Jersey. She is an Alumni from Penn State University with a dual degree in Dance and Psychology (BA). She began dancing at the age of 5 years old. She has studied various genres of dance such as West African Dance, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and modern dance. She attended Five Star Dance Center during her early childhood years. She was a part of the Repertory Company at Center for Modern Dance (CMDE) in Hackensack, New Jersey. In 2010 she attended the NYU Tisch Dance Program for high school students called Dancemaker. During the summer of 2012, she attended the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Professional Division Summer Intensive Program where she studied with some of the most prestigious choreographers and teachers such as Keith Alexander and Quenia Ribeiro. Kalena was a part of the Afi-Mojah Dance Company at Penn State where she danced and performed around Pennsylvania. She was a member, fundraising chair, and choreographer of Ambitions Dance Organization at Penn State. Also during her years at Penn State, she attended the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) where she networked and took dance classes to broaden her horizons of dance. Recently, she has finished a winter dance intensive at the Martha Graham School. Kalena is currently a dancer and choreographer for the dance company, Forza Malizia Dance Company in NYC where she performs different genres of dance. Kalena is also a dance teacher at local studios and has had the opportunity to do some teaching for beyondDance.

Lisa Garino

Lisa Garino 150x175.jpg Lisa Garino is our Acro class teacher and a choreographer for the competition team. Lisa has been teaching various styles of dance with an emphasis in artistic gymnastics, acrobatics, cheerleading, as well as body conditioning for more than 15 years throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Florida. She has studied dance at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in New York City, and trained in gymnastics at multiple gyms in New Jersey. Lisa continued her studies in dance and theater at Montclair State University while coaching and choreographing gymnastics, cheerleading and competitive teams. Though Lisa greatly enjoys performing, she receives more personal satisfaction from teaching and watching her students receive special awards and recognition and helping them grow into professional artists, athletes and young adults. It is important to Lisa to emphasize basics and fundamentals - a strong foundation on which to build proper technique. Lisa uses positivity and a sense of humor to motivate her students, and often uses the lessons from class as a metaphor to teach important life lessons. In her spare time, Lisa studies psychology, which has been a huge asset in her teaching career. 

Kelli Gautreau

Kelli Gautreau.jpg Kelli Gautreau is excited to be back at beyondDANCE. Most recently she choreographed and directed an anti-cyber bullying film during the Summer Dance Intensive at bergenPAC. Kelli graduated from Brigham Young University’s Music Dance Theatre Program (BFA) where she later became a faculty member of the jazz dance division. She has performed in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Broadway tour), High School Musical (North Shore Music Theatre), and was recently the assistant choreographer of Mama Mia at the Engeman Theater in Northport, LI. Currently she is an associate choreographer for a national tour of FAME. Other credits include: Cyndi Lauper’s music video, Into the Night Life, featured dancer in the new Broadway Bares Documentary, opening for Tony Bennett, Chaka Khan and Paul Anka at bergenPAC’s Annual Gala. Kelli is an accomplished dancer, choreographer and has won many awards for her work in musicals, music videos, film, dance competitions and theme park shows. 

Danielle Hernandez

Danielle Hernandez 150x175.jpg Danielle Hernandez, owner of On 1 Dancewear, will be our competition team coach. She has nearly two decades of experience leading competitive cheer squads and dance teams and brought them to success with State, Regional and National Championship titles. Danielle toured nationally with the original cast of "Selena Forever", played Cha-Cha in the European Tour of West Side Story, and was a dancer for the NJ Nets. She performed on many regional stages including the New Jersey State Theater and the Rogue Theater Company in NYC. Danielle attended Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University with a major in dance and was a member of the Rutgers University Dance Team.

Yucari Kobayashi

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Yucari Kobayashi, hailing from Tokyo, Japan, has been dancing since the age of three. After training at Kazuko Fukazawa Ballet and H Dance Company, she began teaching, choreographing, and performing as a soloist among an elite group of dancers from Alvin Ailey including Obediah Wright. Yucari came to NYC and trained under Patricia Dokoudovsky’s tutelage at The New York Conservatory of Dance. Her NYC performing credits include the bergenPAC’s annual gala, opening for such notables as Tony Bennett, Paul Anka, Chaka Khan, and Stephanie Mills, the 2003 ELAN Awards, Dancers Responding To Aids at Symphony Space and St. Marks Church, as well as the International Chopin and Friends Festival. This dancing dynamo has been featured in several dance companies: Jete, Stankovic Ballet Company, Faune Dance Troupe, Dzul Dance. In addition to Steps on Broadway, she has taught at The New York Conservatory of Dance, Lumiere Ballet, dance plus…a whole more of Englewood, Dance Emotions and Central Park Dance in Westchester, NY and continues to choreograph for the NJ Association of Verismo Opera. Currently, Yucari teaches ballet and jazz at beyond dance @ bergenPAC in Englewood, NJ, and taught jazz at Buddy Balou’s and Elaine Kudo’s Theatre Arts Dance Academy (TADA) in Upper Montclair, NJ. Yucari continues to work closely with roberta mathes and has assisted her at The School At Steps and at American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive.

 

Kirsten Lane

KirstenLane-HS.jpgKirsten Lane, began studying classical ballet at age six in Teaneck, New Jersey where she developed her love for dance. She continued her studies on scholarship at the School of American Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet School, and the Joffrey Ballet School. As a student, Kirsten performed at Lincoln Center in a production of Coppelia with the New York City Ballet. She has performed with regional dance companies in the New York/New Jersey area and traveled to Nagano, Japan to dance in the opening ceremonies of the 1998 winter Olympics. Her teaching credits include classes at the School at Steps in NYC and various schools in Bergen County. Kirsten is a certified yoga instructor for both children and adults.

Natalie Lugo

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Natalie Lugo, grew up in Haworth, NJ and started dancing at age three at a local dance school in Cresskill, NJ and then continued her training at dance plus...a whole lot more in Englewood, NJ. She graduated with a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University. Natalie, a well-rounded dancer, has trained and performed with many choreographers including Donna Scro Gentile, Alberto Del Saz, Jay T Jenkins, Sean Curran, and roberta mathes. Natalie performs regularly with various entertainment companies. She danced with European performing artist, Dan Balan at Adventureland Theme Park. She was cast in Sean Kingston’s televison video for the Electric Company which was aired recently on CBS. Natalie especially loves working with children, teaching pre-ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop. She is happy to be a part of beyondDANCE, alongside her teacher, roberta mathes and the other talented faculty. Natalie’s high energy class will advance your child’s abilities as they learn the art of dance in a fun and disciplined atmosphere! Currently Natalie is also pursuing a career in dance medicine.

Miro Magloire

MiroMagliori_HS.jpgMiro Magloire, is a choreographer, teacher, pianist, composer, and artistic director of New Chamber Ballet. Born in Munich, Germany, he started playing the piano at age six and later studied composition at the State Conservatory of Music in Cologne, Germany. Miro moved to New York City to study dance at the Ailey School and performed with the Martha Graham Ensemble and the Nikolais/Louis Company. Focusing on ballet, he continued his training with Willhelm Burmann and Peff Modelski among others. He has danced with several ballet companies, including Florida Ballet, Omaha Theatre Company Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet and American Repertory Ballet. In 2004, Miro founded New Chamber Ballet, for which he has choreographed over 40 ballets. Parallel to his dance career, Miro has worked as a pianist, most recently at American Ballet Theater and Steps on Broadway, and has recorded and published six CD’s with music for dance classes.

Madelyn Mickelsen

Madelyn Mickelsen.jpgMadelyn Mickelsen, originally from Racine, Wisconsin, began studying dance at the age of six. She continued her professional dance training and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point obtaining two Bachelors of Art degrees in both Dance and Arts Management. Madelyn has produced and choreographed works in various showcases, performances, and festivals including the adjudication at The American College Dance Association. Madelyn has performed in a variety of shows and productions throughout the Midwest. She has done workshops and studied with dancers and teachers from The Joffrey Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street, as well as with the Radio City Rockettes. Madelyn recently relocated to New York City to continue her career in performance arts. Ms. Mickelson is thrilled to be joining the esteemed faculty at bergenPAC.

 

Melissa Ramos-Lopez

Melissa Ramos Lopez.JPGMelissa Ramos-Lopez, has trained extensively in ballet, modern, and jazz on full scholarship at Ballet Hispanico. She continued her training at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center where she also studied hip hop and street jazz from prestigious dance teachers/choreographers. Still practicing her original styles of dance, she developed a great passion for hip hop and joined DEF-C Crew under choreographer (and now husband),  Matt Lopez. Dancing for The Crew has expanded her performance opportunities, creating flash mobs, shooting how-to-videos for Howcast.com as well as being part of various NYC showcases including the Steps Faculty Show. She has successfully booked many jobs dancing for singers such as Amira, Loren Martinez and Sid Haywoode. Melissa was a company member of the Pointillism Jazz Consort based in Ohio where she performed ballet, jazz and hip hop in a modern version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Alice in Wonderland." Most recently she joined the NBA Nets Dancers, the “Brooklynettes.” Along with her blossoming performing career, Melissa enjoys teaching and choreographing hip hop /jazz for kids ages 18 and younger at Broadway Dance Center in NYC, Center Stage in Marlboro, NJ, Debi's Dance Studio in Suffern, NY and the Sweet Enuff Program at the YMCA in Harlem. She regularly substitutes hip hop in the musical theatre department at the New York Film Academy as well as Steps on Broadway and has even taught abroad in Colombia, South America. Melissa is very happy to be teaching at beyondDANCE, alongside roberta mathes and the rest of the faculty! 

Rebecca Sonia

RebeccaSonia_HS.jpg Rebecca Sonia, an alumni of beyondDANCE at bergenPAC is a graduate of The University of the Arts with a BFA in Jazz/Theatre Dance and Minor in Musical Theatre. Regional: West Side Story (Rosalia), White Christmas (Rhoda), Mary Poppins (Katie Nanna). NYC Workshops: The Verdon Fosse Estate with Ann Reinking, Mary Setrakian's Showcase at The Triad Stage 72 (Soloist). Concert Performance: Peter Nero and the Philly POPS featuring Capathia Jenkins, Ashley Brown and Rachel York and The Academy of Music Gala featuring Sting. Here at the bergenPAC, Rebecca has performed for "Weird Al" Yankovic, opened for Tony Bennett, Betty Buckley and Stephanie Mills in past bergenPAC gala events and was on the team behind the PAC's productions of AIDA, Cats, Children of Eden and most recently choreographed Les Miserables’.

Alexandra Williamson

AlexandraWilliamson_HS.jpgAlexandra Williamson, a graduate of Montclair State University, Alexandra received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance and a minor in Musical Theatre. She is Dean’s List Honors recipient and received the Dance and Theatre Department Service Award. Alexandra currently dances for Moe-tion DanceTheatre, Darrah Carr Dance Company, Kristina Berger and Dancers, and DiMauro Dance Company. While at Montclair State University she performed works by Robert Battle, Helen Tamiris, Shapiro and Smith, Martha Graham, Bill T. Jones and Jay T. Jenkins. She has also studied at the Paul Taylor School, Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, and Bates Dance Festival. Alexandra is a faculty member at Union County College and also teaches Pilates throughout New York and New Jersey. She is thrilled to a part of beyondDANCE at bergenPAC!

Madeline Calandrillo

Madeline Calandrillo 150x175.jpgMadeline Calandrillo is a New York based actor and teaching artist. Madeline is passionate about using theater as a tool to build community and enliven education. As a teaching artist, she works to create opportunities that inspire young people to reach their highest potential in devising and performing theater.  She has been teaching for various organizations/non profits such as the New York City Children’s Theater, The McCarter Theatre NJ, Hartford Performs Ct, The George Street Playhouse NJ,  The Johnny Mercer Foundation and Disney Theatrics In-school Musical Programs at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center NJPAC. She is so excited to be apart of the growing programs at the BergenPAC this year! 

Jane Keitel

JaneKeitel-HS.jpgJane is a professional actor, teaching artist, & musician.   Her recent stage credits include: Mi Casa, Tu Casa at Luna Stage;   MoM A Rock Concert Musical (off-Broadway);  Across the Wide & Lonesome Prairie  and Mother Hicks  (NY /NJ Premiers); GODSPELL.  Jane joins the BergenPAC staff with a long history of theatre education excellence.  She has taught and directed across the state for:  Papermill Playhouse, Playwrights Theatre of NJ, The NJ School of Dramatic Arts, What Exit?/The Theatre Project, and Garage Theatre.   She has worked in film and commercials and is continually looking for her next performing project!  Jane is happy to be part of the BergenPAC family.

Katherine Mena

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Katherine Mena is a vocalist, composer, actor, and teacher from New York City. She trained in the 'Bel Canto' singing method at The Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Natalie Bodanya from The Metropolitan Opera Company. She has performed on stages internationally and locally, most notably in NYC with the famed La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club under the direction of Ellen Stewart. Performance highlights include The Venice Biennale, Rome's Teatro Palladium, Taiwan's Avante-Garde Arts Festival, South Korea's Seoul National University, Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival, and soloist at Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall with Amor Artis. Music compositions for the stage include Question of Solitude, an opera based on the James Bond legacy; S16: Luna Nera, an opera installation about child labor in Sicily's sulfur mines; and Love Cripple, an original dance piece that premiered at The Ellen Stewart Theatre; and 155 Through the Roof, a musical that premiered at Theater for the New City. She continues to perform as a member of The Great Jones Repertory Company. Katherine is very happy and fortunate to share her love of music and art with all the wonderful students at Bergen Performing Arts School.

Adam Sietz

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An Award winning writer/producer turned, Award winning comedian, turned Award winning actor, Adam Sietz has spent more than a quarter century producing and performing in the Entertainment Biz.  He won a special achievement Emmy award at the ripe old age of 21 years. He has written and produced nationally televised shows, been on Broadway 3X, Worked with Woody Allen 2X and Performed Stand-Up & Improvisational Comedy Internationally. He wrote his first play at only 7 and has written for television, corporate events, awards shows and coached CEO’s. As one of NYC’s top VO artist’s, he has been on the cast of successful shows ranging from  Chappelle’s Show, Celebrity Death Match  and the Sopranos to Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go and the Wonder Pets. He has won awards and signed many autographs. He has also changed many diapers, changed a few tires and washed many dishes. He has had the good fortune to LEARN, To EARN and now it is his time to RETURN. With this driving desire to give back, Adam began volunteering at local Nursing homes, teaching and training kids 7yrs. to 87yrs. This is why Adam is now taking his personal brand of Edu-tainment on the road to deliver leadership, value, confidence, humor, support, focus and most of all…Smiles!  

Rebecca Sonia

RebeccaSonia_HS.jpg Rebecca Sonia is an alumni of beyondDANCE at bergenPAC is a graduate of The University of the Arts with a BFA in Jazz/Theatre Dance and Minor in Musical Theatre. Regional: West Side Story (Rosalia), White Christmas (Rhoda), Mary Poppins (Katie Nanna). NYC Workshops: The Verdon Fosse Estate with Ann Reinking, Mary Setrakian's Showcase at The Triad Stage 72 (Soloist). Concert Performance: Peter Nero and the Philly POPS featuring Capathia Jenkins, Ashley Brown and Rachel York and The Academy of Music Gala featuring Sting. At the bergenPAC, Rebecca has performed for " Weird Al" Yankovic, opened for Tony Bennett, Betty Buckley and Stephanie Mills in past bergenPAC gala events and was on the team behind the PAC's productions of AIDA, Cats and Children of Eden.

Jeffrey Bryant

Jeffrey Bryant 150x175.jpgJeffrey A. Bryant was born in Harlem, NY. He was educated in the New York City school system and is a 2010 graduate of Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music. In 2013, Minister Bryant earned a certificate in Music Ministry and Fine Arts from Regent University, as well as a certificate in Urban Leadership in 2014; he is currently pursuing a degree in Christian Counseling.

Jeffrey started his music career at the early age of 7 years old when he was casted as an understudy for the role of young Simba in the Broadway production of “The Lion King.” He attended the Choir Academy of Harlem, where he was a part of the elite Boys Choir of Harlem under the baton of the late Dr. Walter Turnbull. In 2006, Jeffrey began studying with Pastor Chantel Wright and joined the internationally acclaimed Songs of Solomon Inspirational Ensemble, where he had the delightful pleasure of singing with some of the essential voices in Gospel, Classical, and R&B music today. Jeffrey has previously served on the stage of Carnegie Hall, being a part of major choral works such as Carmina Burana, La Pasion, and the Duke Ellington Sacred Mass. He continues to work with Carnegie Hall through the community music events.

As an educator with a background in performing arts, Jeffrey challenges his students to think outside the box. Jeffrey is an advocate for change in the tri-state area, understanding that the youth of today undergo many difficult situations; it is his desire to encourage and empower them to be the best they can be.

David Caldwell-Mason

David Caldwell 150x175.jpg David Caldwell-Mason began playing classical piano at the age of five under the direction of Hilda Shapiro. After discovering an affinity for jazz and improvised music in his teens, he received instruction from John Sauer and Dan Dobek. In addition to his growing presence on the jazz scene in upstate New York, he joined Larry Lewis' (of the Ohio Players) Solid Smoke.

After receiving his Associate of Arts degree from Simon's Rock College of Bard, he continued his education in the jazz program at William Paterson University, under the tutelage of Armen Donelian.

Over the course of a decade on the New York jazz scene, David has released two albums as a leader. He also appears on the North Carolina based Trachy/ Lacey Collective's debut offering "Lanky" and is featured on veteran tenor saxophonist Brian Patneaude's most recent release, "All Around Us." As a result of David's six year residency at Bethesda Baptist church in Jersey City, he has forged strong ties to the gospel scene in northern New Jersey and New York City and performs regularly at Baptist churches throughout the tri-state area.

David has performed with Darren Barret, Mark Guilianna, Tyshawn Sorey, Juris Teppich, Ari Hoenig, Linda Oh, and Gary Smulyan. He has performed at The Harvard Club, The UN, Tea Lounge, the Greenwich Village Bistro, and the Bitter End in New York, Duke University in North Carolina, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Charles Pointe in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Club Palm, Club Evans, and the Uiwang City Hall in Seoul, South Korea. 

Marilia Caputo

MariliaCaputo_150x175.pngBrazilian pianist Marilia Caputo has performed throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States both as soloist and as a collaborative pianist with violinists Koh-Gabriel Kameda, Daniel Guedes and Ignace Jang, the São Paulo String Quartet, with singers  Atalla-Ayan, Reginaldo Pinheiro and Juliana Gondek, and cellists Antonio Del Claro and Barbara Switalska. Caputo has performed at the Pepperdine University Festival (USA), Northern Chamber Music Festival (Brazil), Para International Chamber Music Festival (Brazil), Summit Festival (USA) and Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (USA) where she also coached. She has performed in New York at Weill Hall; in Moscow at Rachmaninoff Hall, Malie Sall, and Glinka Museum; in Salzburg at the Mozarteum, and in Rio de Janeiro at Cecilia Meireles Hall. Marilia was awarded the “Virtuose” scholarship by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, while studying with Boris Slutsky at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. She has also participated in Master Classes with Arminda Quintero, Reginald Stewart, Daniel Pollack, Vladimir Viardo, Oleg Maisenberg and Hans Graff, among others. Caputo is a DMA candidate at Rutgers University and studies with Prof. Paul Hoffmann and is currently the Chairperson of the Piano Department at Newark School of the Arts.

Nadine Herman

Nadine Herman 150x175.jpg Nadine Herman, received her B.M. from Temple University and her M.M. from The Juilliard School. She has performed throughout the US and Europe, including recitals at The Abbaye de Royaumont, Festival di Trieste and the BKA in Berlin. Ms. Herman has sung premiers of many prominent composers, including the great French composer Olivier Messiaen. She has performed under the auspices of the New York Philharmonic of Contemporary Music directed by the renowned conductor Pierre Boulez. Ms. Herman is proud to be a part of the Grammy Award winning recording of Utrenja, written by Penderecki and recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra. As a voice teacher and mentor many of Nadine's students have gone on to leading conservatories such as Juilliard, The Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin, and The New England Conservatory. She has also been highly praised by the New York Times, The New Yorker, Der Spiegel and many more. In 2014, Nadine opened The Nadine Herman School for Vocal Studies in NYC.

Photo Credit: Lee Snider

Sheikia "Purple Haze" Norris

Purple.jpgSheikia S. Norris, lyrically known as Purple Haze or Purple, was born in the birthplace of Hip Hop, The Bronx. Currently residing in Newark, New Jersey, Purple challenges audiences with a natural ease and a voice that inspires audience movement and positive thoughts with words. Enthusiasts of the art form appreciate her energy, her impeccable flow and a clever deliverance of truth. Purple has mastered her own rich style of spitting lyrics with both power and substance. There is a spontaneous combustion that happens when she dares you to discover self-expression with her! Purple aims to create unforgettable moments with the pen, mic, heart and mind...collectively, so all invited and all involved! Purple is just as engaging in the classroom as she is on her Sweet Sixteen mixtape series! As the lead artist for NJPAC’s “Hip Hop Intensive”, an alum of the U.S. State Dept.’s “Next Level Hip Hop Diplomacy Program” and recipient of “The Lady’s First Fund” , Purple is rapidly growing a reputation for being a lead contributor to Hip Hop education and cultural preservation. She is passionate about collectively bridging art, culture, health and education. She is honorably mentioned as an up and coming curator for Hip Hop art, education, culture and performance, Purple is a diversified talent poised for success in a host of arenas!

Tom Tarkazikis

TomTarkizisHS.jpgTom Tarkazikis started playing the Upright/Double Bass at the age of 12 for the Roy W. Brown Middle School Orchestra in Bergenfield when he was in the 6th grade. Tom taught himself the Bass Guitar and started his first band at the age of 13. Pursuing Music as he got older, he was the Bass Section Leader of his High School Orchestra, Bass guitarist in the Jazz Band and Pit Orchestra for musicals as well as teaching himself Guitar at age 14. After High School Tom continued performing and studying music at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Ma. with a focus in Music Education and Jazz Composition. Since Berklee, Tom has had over 50 private students, played countless shows with multiple bands in the New York City area opening for national acts and has finally found a home with the Bergen PAC’s Performing Arts School. 

Wendy Bain, Program Director

WendyBain-HS.jpgOne of the most beloved teachers in Bergen County, Wendy Bain, has been leading early childhood music classes since 2003. With a great passion for teaching children, and her love of music, she has brought her infectious enthusiasm to thousands of families in Bergen County.

She holds a B.S. in Marketing from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. She was trained by the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, New Jersey. She is a Nursery School teacher for two year olds. She was also the featured cover story in the Better Living section of The Record in September of 2007.

Wendy effortlessly commands the attention of a room full of toddlers and their parents/caregivers. She engages and connects with them in all types of musically driven activities. Everyone is happily playing, creating music, and learning about rhythms, movements and song.

 

Samantha Colon

SamanthaColon_HS.jpgSamantha Colon graduated from Anna Maria College in 2014 majoring in Music Therapy and minoring in Psychology. Her main instrument is voice and guitar. She also plays piano and ukulele. She has worked at various facilities and schools during her practicum/internship experiences and has completed 1200 hours of work in the music therapy field for her degree.  A service trip, during her senior year of college, to the Cayman Islands to share and play music using different techniques and interventions for children with disabilities was an inspiring and rewarding opportunity. Samantha has been performing since the age of five, and has since been in numerous musicals, acting in straight plays, teaching guitar lessons, writing her own songs and singing in talent shows. She is very enthusiastic about her new journey teaching classes at the BergenPAC- Performing Arts School. 

Renee Redding Jones

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Renee Redding-Jones, Executive Director of The Center for Life and Learning, Program Creator and Director, received her B.S. from Morgan State University as a Physical Education major with a minor in Dance.  Renee continued her studies in dance at Sarah Lawrence College where she received the degree of Master of Fine Arts and later studied at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies to become a Certified Movement Analyst.

 Renee has worked in academia for over 20 years in various capacities, most recently as an Assistant Arts Professor at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts in the Dance department.  She spent six years as Master Teaching Artist for NJPAC’s Arts Education division.  She has taught and performed all over the country and abroad and currently teaches movement for actors at The Atlantic Theater Company Acting School.

As a dancer, Renee was a featured performer in the companies of Ronald K. Brown and David Rousseve.  In 1995 she received a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for performance with Brown’s company, Evidence. 

According to Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Recognizing the need for a forum for parents of children with special needs to express the concerns and issues, 10 years ago Renee co-founded Special Parents of Teaneck (SPOT) a district-wide support and resource group for families and children with special needs and continues her work with the organization and the community-at-large. 

From her life as an artist she brings the spirit of collaboration and the merging of art, service and advocacy, not only to create The Center for Life and Learning, but to the Performing Arts School of Bergen PAC to create Limitless Arts, expanding her dedication to bring awareness to and opportunity for all, through the arts.

So Young Kim

SoYoungKim_HS.jpgSo Young Kim, graduated High School and College of Arts in Korea, and majored in Korean traditional dance.  She is the founder, creator, and director of the Missions Drum Team, Hansori.  Her teaching method mixes Eastern drum beats with Western sounds, to create one harmony which can communicate without saying words with another. Music is the easiest way to communicate with others and to spread the culture. Hansori constantly does volunteer works to spread the Eastern culture and religious beliefs.

So Young Park

So Young Park.jpgSoyoung Park is New York based jazz vocalist, pianist, composer and arranger. In 2007 she won the ‘Yoo Jae-Ha music competition, which was a very well-known singer songwriter competition in Korea. Then Soyoung moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music as she was awarded Asia tour Scholarship in 2008. At Berklee College of music, Soyoung majored in piano/voice performance and studied with amazing musicians such as Joanne Brackeen, Ray Santisi, Lisa Thorson, Daniella Schachter, Joey Blake, and Frank Carlberg. While in Berklee College of music, she had an opportunity to perform with Bobby McFerrin.

After graduating Berklee, Soyoung fisnished her Master’s degree Program in Jazz voice at Manhattan school of music. She studied with Theo Bleckmenn, Peter Eldridge, Darmon Meader, and Phil Markowitz. Besides her studies, Soyoung has been performing and recording very actively in America and Korea. She has been chosen for the finalist of Mid-Atlantic Jazz Voice competition. Currently Soyoung is writing, arranging, teaching, and performing across the country and Korea and continues to expand her musical career.

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The Performing Arts School

The Performing Arts School provides arts education to students age 3 months to 21 years throughout Northern New Jersey. With classes in all types of performing arts, outreach programs throughout the state, and programming for children with special needs, every donation helps create more opportunities for new artists.

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