Joann's School of Dance
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Our Teachers

“I am a dance teacher, thankful for the opportunity to pass on my passion for the art of dance.”
- Rhee Gold

Joann SchoenigJOANN SCHOENIG - DIRECTOR

Joann Schoenig, has been the owner/director of JSD for thirty years. She began dancing at the age of 3. Opening her own studio was a childhood dream. Growing up she taught and choreographed at local dance studios, recreation centers and elementary schools.

Miss Joann is certified and trained in all genres of dance. Certifications include: Dance Educators of America, National Association of Dance Teachers, Professional Dance Teachers Association and The Arts Council Co-Op. She continued her training after opening her studio at The Broadway Dance Center and Steps in New York City. She also has attended workshops and conventions with the top choreographers in the dance world. She feels one must always continue to grow with dance that is the beauty of the art. She gives her students the motivation and knowledge to reach their highest potential. Her award winning competition team speaks for itself. She has choreographed high score, overall and special judges choice awards for prestigious competitions at the state, regional, and national levels. She was awarded the Best Directors Award. She also has been on the other side of competition where she judged regional and national level competitors from all over the east coast.

Joann’s School of Dance has been a stepping-stone for many career and lifetime choices. Whether it be auditioning for school plays, performing in the American Ballet Reparatory, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, majoring in dance in college, opening their own dance studios, becoming Miss New Jersey, and winning second runner up in Miss America. This is what students from JSD have achieved and she couldn’t be more proud to call them her students. Students from JSD have experienced performing at The Apollo Theatre, Radio City, Boscov Thanksgiving Day Parade, World of Hip Hop Championship, Clutchfest and many local festivals, fundraisers, and charity events. Wherever you go you will meet someone who has graced the stage or trained at Joann’s School of Dance.

Over the past 30 years Miss Joann has met so many wonderful children that convey their love for dance some for just a hobby but many because they’ve been inspired by other students. Many JSD students share her passion and love for dance. Miss Joann says she can’t begin to express how that makes her feel.


Melissa BrownMELISSA BROWN

Melissa Brown developed a love for dance at an early age. She began dancing at Joann’s School of Dance at the age of five. Melissa is trained in all genres of dance including, ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and acrobatics.

Throughout her dance career she has participated in many dance workshops, various dance competitions, parades and other local performances. Melissa was a state and national dance champion and won numerous high score awards and was recognized in her excellence in acrobatics. Melissa has taken Master classes with Wade Robson, Brian Friedman, Frank Hatchett, and Rhapsody to name a few.

Melissa has now been teaching and choreographing for 18 years. She is a choreographer for JSD’s competition team and she has had a copious amount of dances win special awards at various dance competitions. It is Melissa’s goal to inspire her students to reach their highest level of potential by encouraging them to never give up and to always work hard.


Melissa BorelloMELISSA BORRELLO

Melissa started dancing at the age of 2 1/2 with Miss Joann. She has been trained in ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics, lyrical, pointe, and modern. Melissa started competing at age 5, and received many awards in regional and national dance competitions for solo and group routines throughout her years of competing in dance competitions. She also has taken part in workshops and classes with Frank Hatchett, Mia Michael, Brian Friedman, Wade Robson, and others. Melissa has danced in the Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade and taken part in the Rockette Experience.

Melissa graduated from the College of Saint Elizabeth in 2008 with a degree in Psychology and Education with a concentration in Special Education. She is currently teaching at ECLC in Chatham, a private special education school, working with students with severe disabilities between the ages of 11 - 14.

Melissa has been teaching students at Joann's school of dance for over 10 years. She loves working with her students and enjoys helping them learn to express themselves through the art of dance.

 

CHRISTINA CATONE

Christina began her dance training as a toddler in a local studio in Union County, She studied ballet, pointe, tap, musical theater and salsa but specializes in hip hop, jazz lyrical/contemporary. Christina was a competitive dancer throughout New Jersey in her early dance career. She won many awards for her performances at both regional and national competitions. Christina continues her training at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City and Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles. She has performed in many dance venues in New York and New Jersey including Six Flags Great Adventure, The Prudential Center, The State Theater and MetLife Stadium during the 2014 Super Bowl Halftime Show with Bruno Mars. Christina’s training has afforded her the opportunity to teach dancers from 2 ½ to adult in various styles. She has conducted workshops and intensive programs for studios such as The New Jersey School of Ballet. Christina is currently a member of the Barefoot Dancers, a semi pro dance team that performs for the Somerset Bears Major League Football Team.

 

 

VICTOR BERNARDO

Viktor started his dance training at the young age of five and hasn’t stopped since. A graduate of the “FAME” school, as a dance major he pursued his dance career through college to receive a B.F.A in performing arts. Professionally trained in all forms of dance, he has performed pieces by Jose Limone, Robert Battle, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey. His most recent show “Revolution: Sweat. Dance. Rock n’ roll” debuted at the Joyce theatre in NYC, followed by a tour around the country. Working closely with such names as; Savion Glover, Jared Grimes, Jason Samuels Smith and Mike Minery. His love for tap and love for teaching grew exponentially. 
He has performed on the TODAY show, Good Morning America, live at the Kennedy Center, MTV and three Ms. America pageants. Alongside his tap credits he has also won several awards for his Irish step dancing winning top honors at statewide Feis’s. He has been recognized at several competitions winning platinum awards for tap and lyrical choreography as well as modern/contemporary.

 

 

KYLIE SCHOENIG

Kylie began her dance journey at the age of 2.   She presently study’s Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and Acrobatics at JSD.  She has previously trained at The Joffrey Ballet, American Repertory Ballet School, The Broadway Workshop, 52nd St Theatre Project and Middlesex Performing Arts Academy.  She has performed in Graham Lustig’s Ballet The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty as well as World of Dance, Clutchfest, Nets Basketball Pre Show and several Festivals and Theme Parks.  She has competed in various dance competitions since the age of 5.  Kylie is majoring in Dance at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for a BFA in Dance. Her passion and love for dance is very evident.  She loves teaching the younger students at JSD.

 

 

 

BRIANNA CRUZ

Brianna began her dance journey at the age of 5 at Joanns School of Dance and fell in love right away. She trained in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, pointe and continues to train in contemporary and acrobatics at JSD. Her favorite styles of dance are acrobatics, contemporary, and jazz. She began competing with JSD at the age of 6 winning overalls and special awards for group dances. She started student teaching at the age of 15 and her passion for dance grows more and more everyday. Brianna has participated in many workshops in jazz, lyrical, and hip hop with Russell Ferguson. She has also performed in the Nets pre-show, local festivals, and theme parks. She loves working with the children and teens at JSD to watch them grow into beautiful dancers.

 

 

 

SAMANTHA CRUZ

Samantha's love for dance started at the age of 3 at Joann's School of Dance. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, acro, lyrical and contemporary. She started competing at 5 years old, winning awards and overalls for group routines. Samantha has done workshops in many styles of dance, including jazz, lyrical, and hip hop with Russell Ferguson. She has performed in the Nets Basketball Pre-Show, Six Flags Great Adventure, and local festivals. She started student teaching at the age of 13, with her passion growing each and everyday. In Samantha's opinion, student teaching is so much fun because you get to learn new things from the children while helping them grow and learn the art of dance. Samantha is continueing her education and love for children at Kean University, where she is studying education and also is a member of the Universities Dance Team.

 

 

ASHLEY DIAS

Ashley started her dance training at the age of 4 at Joann's School of Dance studying Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Acrobatics. Through out high school she student taught at JSD. She recently graduated from Jefferson Arts Academy where she was given a scholarship for dancer of the year. She is currently attending Union County College in pursuit of a teaching degree, aspiring dance teacher. She participated in many workshops, school shows, and many dance competitions. She excels in acrobatics and won many awards for it. She also won face of sophisticated productions for the 2016 tour. She wants to inspire children to reach their potential. She's a well rounded dancer that has a passion for all styles of dance.

 

 

 

JACQUALYN FREIRE

Jacqualyn is a graduate of Montclair State University where she completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Dance Performance and a Minor in Business. Miss Jackie has trained in all styles including Graham, Limon and Horton modern technique styles at the college level.
Miss Jackie trained in Elizabeth, NJ at Joann’s School Of Dance completing 17 years with the studio. Miss Jackie had also participated on the studio competition team in both groups and solos where she was recognized for her high score achievements.
Miss Jackie performed various works by Frederick Earl Mosley, Mark Morris, Kathleen Kelly and Jessie DiMauro under the Montclair State University Dance Repertory.
Miss Jackie was apart of the Diversity of Dance Non-Profit where she performed new works by Fredrick Earl Mosley at the Manhattan Movement Arts Center.
Miss Jackie also participated in the Hip Hop competition World Of Dance with the In Da Clutch Crew. She participated in multiple times in The Pulse Workshops. She took an intensive summer class at Mason Gross School of Performance Arts at Rutgers University and she has taken multiple classes at Broadway Dance Center in New York City.
Miss Jackie’s dream has always been to teach in a studio setting. She has been teaching since the age of 14, where her love for dance became stronger when she realized her love for teaching. Miss Jackie has taught from ages two to eighteen in various styles of dance to multiple levels of students. Miss Jackie is extremely happy to bring her knew found knowledge to the students of Joann’s School of Dance.

 

YARELIS LAFUENTE

Yarelis began dancing at Joann's School of Dance at the age of eight. She competed regionally and nationally for seven years where she received many awards for solo and group routines. She is trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, pointe, hip hop and tap. Yarelis was co-captain of the dance team for two years at Union Catholic Regional High School, while also being a student teacher at JSD. During those years, she had the privilege of taking part in many workshops such as: the Rockette Experience and The Pulse on Tour, which she did for several years where she danced with Chris Judd, Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, Robert Hoffman, among many others. Yarelis also attended the Princeton Ballet summer conservatory and the summer dance conservatory at Mason Gross School of the Arts. She then attended Wagner College, where she earned her Bachelors of Arts in Special Education, General Education, and Spanish. Yarelis has always had a passion for dance as well as helping others grow and is excited to combine the two worlds.

 

FENLEY LAMOTHE

Fenley, aka Aries was born in Elizabeth. He has been dancing for 5 years in the style of Popping/Animation. Animation is a sub-genre of Popping where the dancer morphs the style of popping into things one sees in cartoons, video games, comic books and one’s imagination. Aries trained with two local dancers named DA Hack and Static and is self-taught by watching videos of Androiid and Bluprint from YouTube. Aries is a high school graduate at Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy in Elizabeth, N.J. where he took 4 years of dance elective. Throughout his high school career, he has choreographed and performed in all school sponsored dance shows and assemblies as well as competing in many local dance battles and performing in many shows. He won Battlefest NJ in 2015, Temple II in 2016, was a semi-finalist in Dynasty Dance Tours in 2016, and solo contest winner for World of Dance Finals in 2017. He has choreographed and performed for Union County Teen Arts Festival & NJ State Teen Arts Festival (2016 & 2017) and performed at World of Dance Finals in Pasadena, California (2017). Aries received a full scholarship to attend the 2016 Summer Dance Intensive sponsored by 10 Hairy Legs in New York City. In addition to Animation, Aries is learning ballet and Modern/Contemporary dance with the help of his dance teacher Amanda Camp-Coln, which has helped develop his technique and choreography within Animation. He is grateful to be teaching at Joann’s School of Dance & allowing him this opportunity to share with other passionate dancers and teaching the community. Check out his YouTube channel

 

JACOB TAYLOR

Jacob received his formative training at Boulder Ballet School and in the summer programs of American Ballet Theater, the School of American Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Kaatsbaan, and Perry Mansfield. Mr. Taylor is a graduate of the Ballet Performance Program at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. At IU his repertoire included ballets by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, Dwight Rohden, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp. In addition to Ballet Performance Taylor studied dance pedagogy at IU and was commissioned to choreograph the Opera Cendrillon for the music department. His professional career includes working with such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Christopher Caines Dance, FJK Dance, Thomas Ortiz Dance, and Boulder Ballet.

 

 

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Joann's School of Dance  |  312 Rahway Ave.  |  Elizabeth, NJ 07202  |  (908) 289-2777  |  info@joannsschoolofdance.com