KATHY COSTA-MCKEOWN, 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. Kathy's most recent accomplishments and certifications include the following, author, "How to Heal a Cracked Heal; Let's Google It," Pilates mat certification, and The Ellové Technique Certification. 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 22 years. Under her artistic direction, the company has performed throughout the world, from New York City to London, Barcelona, Spain, Milan, Verona, Italy, Athens, Greece (2021) 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 has been DanceWorks Production and Marketing manager for the past 2 years. She 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. She enjoys 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.
ZAKI MARSHALL hails from East Orange, NJ. He is a 2019 graduate from the University of The Arts where he received a full tuition scholarship towards earning his BFA. During his time there, he had the privilege of training under instructors associated with Philadanco and BalletX. As a freelance instructor, and emerging choreographer, creating works on local bases studios, creating dance films, also creating work for a precimum audience. He has trained with Dance Theater of Harlem, Alonzo King Lines Ballet and BalletX . Completed Philadanco Summer Training internship. Furthermore, Zaki was a company member of Eleone Dance Theater in South Philly from 2016- 2018. Zaki was the 2019 Recipient of the University of the Arts Academic Achievement for Service and leadership award.
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.
AMANDA PAPA is a dancer, choreographer, and dance educator with more than 20 years experience. Amanda received her BFA in Dance Performance from Montclair State University. She is also certified through Dance Educators of America and is a proud member of Dance NJ and NDEO. She began dancing at the age of 3, competing at age 8, and dancing professionally at 16. She was twice named an All-Star by the Universal Dance Association as a teenager, where she first performed internationally.
As an original company member, soloist and dance captain of The Dawn Lau Dance Company, Amanda performed throughout New York and New Jersey. She spent time studying, creating and performing her art in Italy, where she truly found her passion for and refined her skills as a choreographer.
Amanda has been on Faculty at over a dozen NJ Dance studios. She was an Adjunct Professor at Mercer County College for 7 years. She is a Guest Teacher at Montclair State University, Kean University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is currently on tour as a Judge and Master Teacher for Groove, Beyond the Stars, Breakout and DECAdance competitions. Amanda has expanded her love for dance into the Ballroom world, where she is currently training as a competitor in Smooth & Rhythm Ballroom Dance..
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.
QUINN SOUSA Quinn started out dancing in high school with the dance club, learning from the captain who was actually the student of his current teacher. After graduating Quinn connected with John “Comix” Barrella at a workshop and that summer joined his dance company. Quinn is now one of the veteran members of The Redef Movement and has experience in all street styles including breaking, popping, hip hop, and locking. Along with being a Dance Professional through Dance New Jersey he is a tri state area performer in places such as Philly, the 5 boroughs, and New Jersey. Through years of training with other teachers heavily rooted to the core of Hip Hop he has attained the foundation necessary to properly modernize these dance styles without losing its integrity or value. It was through this training that The Redef Movement was invited to perform for The New York City Breakers at their 20th reunion and at “Chaos” presented by TedX Asbury Park. While continuing to further his training he travels with The Redef Movement performing and hosting workshops at many different events. On top of that the company puts on an annual full-length show “Stupid Humans”.