KATHY COSTA, artistic director, teacher, choreographer and performer, holds a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University. Ms. Costa has been teaching and choreographing for 25 years. She is also an early childhood specialist, which has given her the opportunity to work successfully with the very young. Kathy continues her dance studies in New York City to continually provide her students with top quality, cutting-edge material. Her eclectic background includes serious dance training in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap and Choreography which provides her students the opportunity to be versatile dancers. Kathy was the director of the Dance Program at the Montclair Cooperative School for 6 years where she taught preK-6th grade and choreographed for school productions.
Ms. Costa then went on to join the faculty of Montclair Kimberley Academy Upper School for 3 years where she taught dance and choreographed for school dance concerts. Her performing experience includes, The Other Dance Company, DownTown Dance Co., PM Dance & Video Works, Montclair State University Dance Co., and performances at Colorado College under the direction of Bill Evans & Co. Kathy has also performed independently in various New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey choreographer’s showcases. Kathy's training, energy, knowledge, enthusiasm, passion and love of teaching is evident in each and every student she comes into contact with. Kathy has been Artistic Director of DanceWorks & Company, a teen touring company for 21 years. Under her artistic direction, the company has performed throughout the world, from New York City to London, Barcelona, Spain, Milan & Verona Italy and has been recognized as an outstanding dance company. Kathy was thrilled to share her teaching expertise with 2 dance studios in Cape Town, South Africa in the Summer of 2014. Kathy continues to teach globally, during the Summer of 2015 Ms. Costa traveled to Beirut, Lebanon where she shared the love of dance education and expertise with the children at the Syrian Refugee Camps. She continues to explore the many possibilities of sharing Dance with all. Kathy also has 5 years of study in Anusara Yoga (providing an additional approach to body awareness and alignment, is certified in Life Coaching from The Life Coach Institute of Orange County with an area of expertise in working with adolescents thru young adults, serves on the Executive Board Member for Dance New Jersey, is on the Advisory Council for Dance at NJPAC- New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ and Appointed Ambassador for B.I.G. (Believe. Inspire. Grow), a women’s organization that provides professional training, inspirational speakers and an opportunity for women to excel in all areas of growth and development professionally and personally and a recent recipient of Del Keiffner Award 2016 presented by Performing Arts Educators.
VALERIE MAE BROWN is a native San Diegan who graduated from UC Irvine in 2008 and moved to New York in August 2009 to further her dance career. Valerie has performed with Fresno Ballet, San Diego Ballet, Cynthia Merrill, San Diego City Ballet, California Conservatory of Dance, Ballet Arte, Once Upon A Time, La Danserie, Metropolitan Repertory Ballet, Flower Girls, and Livid Rock Band. She has acted, danced, and provided choreography for many independent films and music videos. In March of 2011 she and Rebeccah Bogue co-founded Pink Pig Ballet. In October of 2011 she co-produced, directed, and choreographed the companies premier, The Little Humpbacked Pig. Since then she premiered Jack White and the 7 Sins (March, 2012); The Little Mermaid's Maid (November 2012), and "A Night of Wepetoire" (June, 2013), Cabaret for R&J (February, 2014), Romeo and Jewliet (June 2014), The Spirits of a Summer Day (April 2015), Sylvia ou la Nymphe de Diane (August 2016), and an annual Nutcracker "In a Nutshell". In December of 2013 she also premiered two new pieces which were featured at Lincoln Center during the Meet the Artist Series for Sasha Papernik. Valerie is sincerely honored to share her love of dance with the students of Dance Works.
NELL CONWAY started her dance journey with Kathy Costa at three years old. Since her first class, Nell's passion for the dance community and the DanceWorks philosophy has continued to grow and flourish. In addition to being a DanceWorks student and company member, Nell worked as a studio manager and teacher from 2001 - 2005. She also studied with Freespace Dance, The American Dance Festival, and other various companies in the tri-state area. After graduating from Montclair High School, Nell attended Virginia Commonwealth University as a dance major, learning from esteemed choreographers from all over the globe. Nell graduated with a degree in Arts Management with a focus in dance and events management Most recently, Nell shared her choreographic expertise with DanceWorks & Company in 2016 where she set a duet on the graduating seniors. She is looking forward to sharing her passion for choreography and teaching with the students at DanceWorks.
JEFFRY FOOTE is an actor, singer, and tap dancer. Jeffry has been performing for many years in the tri state area. Some of his credits include Shades Of Harlem, Dance Bojangles Dance, Riffin & Tappin, 42nd Street, and is a principal member of the NJ Tap Dance Ensemble. He has also performed in venues such as NJPAC, BergenPac, and Mayo Arts. He also teaches tap in Morris and Essex Counties, and has been teaching rhythm tap for 13 years. He has also appeared in short films, and has some various voice over projects as well.
NINA LORUSSO has been teaching Hip Hop for over almost 20 years to all ages, Pre-K to adult. She is a graduate of Montclair State University with a BFA in Dance. She has studied modern, jazz, ballet, tap, ballroom, African, and her first love Hip Hop. Nina received 2 summer scholarships to train at Duke University at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina were she was picked both summers to perform new works by international choreographers. She also has performed and trained in Tuscany, Italy with ProDanza as well as Broadway Dance Center, Peridance, and Steps in NYC. Nina has worked for NJPAC as a teaching artist, Dancing Classrooms in NYC, Newark Public Schools, Montclair Public Schools, Freespace summer intensive, and recreational and competition dance studios in the tri state area. Creativity, confidence, and the history of Hip Hop are just a few of the core components she focuses on as well as sharing her passion for dance. Nina is thrilled to be part of Dance Works family!
KAYLA MCKEOWN has been DanceWorks Studios Studio Manager and on staff since 2014. Kayla received her BA in Psychology from Montclair State University in 2018, and is currently continuing her education at MSU pursuing a Master’s Degree in School Counseling. Kayla studied dance at DanceWorks from the age of 8-18, and was an active member of DanceWorks & Company from 2008-2014, where she performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York as well as at the Summer Olympics in London, England in 2012. Ms. McKeown continued her dance education at MSU, where she danced as a non-major for four years during her undergraduate studies. Kayla was on faculty for our Summer Dance Camp staff from 2014-2016, and works as an assistant with all children’s birthday parties at DanceWorks Studios. She enjoys working closely with all of our students and families and looks forward to building ongoing relationships with our clientele.
EMMA ROSE PRESSMAN trained at Sarasota Ballet and graduated from The Harid Conservatory. Emma has danced professionally with Texas Ballet Theater, Connecticut Ballet, Verlezza Dance and JKing Dance Company. She earned a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University in 2016. She has received several awards, 2nd place in contemporary dance at the Orlando, Florida Youth America Grand Prix competition in 2007, and the Cento Amici Scholarship from Montclair State University in 2014 and 2015 and the Dean’s Scholar/Artist Award for the College of the Arts in 2016. Emma recently choreographed Carmina Burana for MSU in 2017 where she is an Adjunct Professor. She has been teaching ballet since 2011.
MELISSA WOLFE was born in Baltimore, Maryland and has been dancing ever since. Since she moved to New York in 1997, she has performed with many groups and organizations, including The Next Stage Project at City Center, NYC and in Maui, Hawaii, Jana Hicks choreographer, Arte Danza in Tropea, Italy, Jason Parsons choreographer, Je Suis Toutes Les Femmes at the Bank Street theater NYC, Brian Thomas (BT) choreographer, and P-Funk the Company in NYC, Beverly Brown choreographer. Melissa was both dancer and choreographer with Under Construction & Company in NYC, and was dancer, choreographer, and director of Maryland Movement Theater at the Baltimore Museum of Art. She also trained at various times with Karen Katrinic, Lynn Simonson, Max Stone, Ray Leaper, Beth Goheen, Irene Dowd, and Wes Veldink. Early in her New York days, the desire to keep her dancer's body healthy led Melissa to the study and practice of Pilates. She apprenticed at Broadway Pilates for four years before receiving full certification from the Physical Mind Institute in 2001. She continued advanced training with Irene Dowd, Ron Fletcher, Michele Larson, and Deborah Lessen, and in 2004 Melissa completed Ms. Lessen's advanced teacher program. In addition to her ongoing Pilates practice, Melissa has also been studying advanced musculoskeletal anatomy and neuromuscular therapies under Irene Dowd since 2004, and uses this specialized knowledge, combined with Pilates inspired techniques, to inform her teaching and choreography. She has filled many teaching roles through the years for many organizations in many locales, including choreographer/instructor at The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts in Baltimore, jazz and contemporary instructor at Broadway Dance Center NYC, assistant choreographer to Jason Parsons at the Pineapple Studio in London and the Paz Dance Theater in Seoul, South Korea, Pilates, anatomy, and conditioning instructor at NYC Dance Alliance, and contemporary dance, anatomy, and conditioning for dancers at ;pushing progress. Melissa also founded CAMP, Common Art Mutual Passion, an intensive exploratory summer camp and workshop for elite pre-professional dancers from across the US, Canada, and beyond. In addition to being CAMP director, she taught modern and contemporary classes as well as anatomy and conditioning for dancers.