Who We Are
Cleo Mack is an award winning choreographer and educator who is actively pursuing her Masters of Interdisciplinary Art with a focus on choreography and visual arts. Her work has been described as “a collision of quirky sophistication and unmeasured recklessness.” She has been commissioned by the Outlet Dance Project at Grounds for Sculpture, 10 Hairy Legs, Perpich School of the Arts, and Quad City Ballet. Ms. Mack has been honored to receive an Individual Artists Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in recognition of her high artistic merit and was selected by Dance Magazine as one of the “25 to Watch.” Cleo has enjoyed support from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and has also received space grants from The Field, DTW, and Lincoln Center.
Ms. Mack’s performance work has been presented at Joyce Soho, Dance Theater Workshop’s Fresh Tracks, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., WAX, P.S. 1 Moma, the Hungarian American Dance Festival in Hungary, and at NJPAC as part of Jersey Moves. 2016 marks the inception of Mack's newest project, Rock Dance Collective (RDC) is focused on creating interdisciplinary work in traditional and non-traditional environments.
Ms. Mack is the Director of Dance at the Middlesex County School of Performing Arts and co-owner of Washington Rock Dance. She has been a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and a teaching artist for the American Repertory Ballet Institute, DeSales University, Muhlenberg University and the University of Iowa. She was the recipient of the 2017 Hollins University Teaching Award.
Cleo is a professional costume designer and has created costumes for Alexandra Bellar, Pam Tanowitz, Meghan Frederick, Chein-Ying Wang, Randy James, Stephanie Batten Bland, Paul O’Campo, and Julia Ritter.
Kelli McGovern is a Doctoral student in the Ed.D. Dance Education program within the Dept. of Arts and Humanities at Columbia University’s Teachers College and a recipient of the Arnhold Fellowship Scholarship. She is a graduate of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with an Ed.M. in Dance Education from the Graduate School of Education and a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts. Kelli is a full time tenured dance educator at Bayonne High School (BHS) where she has created the dance arts curriculum in the district and the BHS Young Dancer Program, a community outreach program designed to offer dance technique training.
Kelli is an owner of Washington Rock Dance (WRD) along with her business partners and collaborators, Cleo Mack and Blair Ritchie. WRD is a private dance school founded in 2015 that is based on developmentally focused training designed to maximize the potential of each student. WRD creates a foundational support structure for its professional dance company, Rock Dance Collective (RDC), a non-profit company of which Kelli is a Dancer, Founder, and Executive Director. RDC has been commissioned by DanceNOW SteelStacks, DanceNOW Joe’s Pub, Rutgers Summer Stage, and CoLab Arts. RDC has self produced multiple evening length works in both nontraditional and traditional spaces to create pieces that respond to societal and environmental stimuli through an interdisciplinary collaborative process. As a performer Kelli has performed as a freelance artist with many choreographers at various venues and festivals throughout New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Boston.
Ms. McGovern has recently served on the review team of the new NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Standards to be released this year and has developed the Model Curriculum Dance Assessments to be used as a guide for dance programs in the state of New Jersey. She has been selected to present her educational philosophies at the National Dance Education Organization National Conferences in Arizona, Washington, D.C., and Miami, and at the NJAHPERD Conference. Kelli is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Blair Ritchie is a member of the Faculty of Mason Gross School of the Arts Dance Department at Rutgers University where she has taught Modern Technique, Improvisation I and II, Contact Improvisation, Dance Appreciation, Performance Skills, and Yoga for Dancers, for the past seven years. She sits on their Dance Technique Curriculum Committee and has created the curriculum for the Yoga for Dancers course. In collaboration with Rutgers University and Om Factory in New York City, she developed the first ever Rutgers/Om Factory 200hr. Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training.
Ms. Ritchie is an owner of Washington Rock Dance, a private dance training facility located in Warren, NJ. She is also a Founder, Managing Director, and Dancer for Rock Dance Collective, a professional dance company. Her company's educational and professional work has been presented at many conferences, performance venues, and universities throughout America.
Blair graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts. Throughout her career as a dancer, she has performed nationally and internationally as a member of multiple modern dance companies.
Blair is a registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and has completed her 500 hour teacher training with renowned yoga teachers Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeny at DIG Yoga. For the last decade, she has continued her education in alignment based Hatha yoga and the life affirming philosophy it brings with it. She has also taken extensive therapeutics training to learn the practical applications of yoga and hands-on adjustments for the chronically and acutely injured body.
Dani Fishman grew up in Marlboro, NJ and started dancing at the age of 5. She is mainly a contemporary dancer but has also trained in ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, and acrobatics. In 2017 she graduated from The Ohio State University with a BFA in dance and a minor in arts entrepreneurship. There she was trained by former Mark Morris and Merce Cunningham company dancers Susan Hadley, Daniel Roberts, and Karen Elliot. Her summer going into senior year she interned at Washington Rock Dance where she has now been working as a teacher for 3 years.
Aside from teaching, Dani has performed works by Andrew Turtletaub that appeared at the Joyce Theatre. She has also performed works by Susan Hadley and Michael Kelly Bruce that appeared at the Riffe Center Theatre in Columbus, OH. Dani has received a certificate for dance teacher training in Dance for PD (Parkinson's disease) from the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY and also has experience teaching dance to children with autism.
Emma Massarelli was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey. She started dancing at Ms. Huguette’s Broadway Dance and Theatrical Studios in Bayonne and continued her dance education at New Jersey Ballet in Livingston, New Jersey. As a member of New Jersey Ballet’s junior company, she performed in numerous productions of The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Don Quixote.
Emma holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, under the direction of Seán Curran and Giada Ferrone. During her time at NYU Tisch, she performed works by Crystal Pite, Sonya Tayeh, and Paul Taylor, and studied with artists such as David Dorfman, Judith Sanchez-Ruiz, Ayman Harper, and Johannes Wieland. She currently is a member of RyderDance, a contemporary dance company based in New York City, a ballet teacher at Washington Rock Dance in Warren, New Jersey, and has recently begun working with Showbiz National Talent as a backstage coordinator. Emma will begin Columbia University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program in the fall of 2020.
Maribella Miller is originally from Los Angeles, CA where she began dancing at the age of 3. She trained at Los Angeles Ballet Academy and was a member of the Los Angeles Youth Ballet Theater and Team Theatrics. Maribella graduated with her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and holds a Masters in Dance Education from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. She is a Pre-K through 12th grade certified dance educator currently teaching in the Franklin Township School District.
Maribella has taught dance in the New York City Public Schools, as well as in Public and Charter schools across New Jersey. She has performed at various venues around the US including the Joyce Theater in NYC, Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, Spreckles Theatre in San Diego CA, and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Maribella is also an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher.
Jordan Pratko is a graduate of the EdM in Dance Education program at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University. Jordan engaged in her part-time clinical field work at Elizabeth Avenue School and Sampson G. Smith Campus in Franklin Township, NJ. She completed her full-time student teaching at Bayonne High School in Bayonne, NJ. She directs the after school dance and yoga program at Explore Middle School in Jersey City, NJ and teaches a variety of dance styles to all ages at Washington Rock Dance in Warren, NJ.
Jordan was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and serves as the Graduate Chair of the National Dance Education Organization Student Organization at Mason Gross School of the Arts. While at Rutgers University, she has been awarded the Mastrobuono EdM Dance Education Excellence Award Scholarship, the Mastrobuono Distinguished EdM Dance Education Student Scholarship and the Nancy Higginson Dorr Award.
In May 2019, Jordan graduated summa cum laude with her B.F.A in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. While at Mason Gross, Jordan has performed the works of Ani Javian, John Evans, Cleo Mack and Blair Ritchie. Currently, Jordan performs with company 78moves and has appeared in various venues across New York and New Jersey. Her original choreography has been performed at the Loree Dance Theater and Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater in New Brunswick, NJ and the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York City. Jordan is a 200-Hour Registered Vinyasa Yoga Teacher through the Om Factory in New York City under the instruction of Blair Ritchie and Taryn Vander Hoop. Jordan is a native of Bayonne, NJ and attended High Tech High School in North Bergen, NJ.
Julia Shicatano is a graduate of the Ed.M in Dance Education at Rutgers University. She has completed her full-time student teaching internship at Middlesex County Vocational Technical High School alongside cooperating teacher Cleo Mack. In May 2019, Julia graduated magna cum laude with a B.F.A in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. While attending Mason Gross she had the pleasure to perform works by Chien-Ying Wang, John Evans, Blair Richie, Cleo Mack, and work with Martha Graham Dance Company members Miki Orihara and Nya Bowman. Julia has appeared in a Times Square commercial for Color Me Cosmetic, National T-Mobile commercial, and performed with 78moves Dance Company at various venues in New York and New Jersey. Julia was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and serves as the Co-Chair of the National Dance Education Organization Student Organization at Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Mandy Stallings is a Brooklyn-based dance artist, choreographer, and educator with seventeen years of professional experience in New York City. She received her BFA in Modern Dance Performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts and will receive her MFA in Choreography from Wilson College in May 2020.
Throughout her career, Mandy has performed the works of renowned choreographers such as Larry Keigwin, Nicole Wolcott, Pascal Rekoert, Neta Pulvermacher, Scott Rink, Gerri Houlihan, Grady Bowman, Lina Puodziukaite, Sean Sullivan, and Trish Casey, amongst others. From 2008-2016, Mandy performed almost exclusively with the prolific modern dance company, the Cleo Mack Dance Project. CMDP performed all over the trip-state area in venues such as New York City Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Joyce Soho, and George Street Theater. Mandy currently performs for and serves on the Board of Directors for Mack's newest creative endeavor, Rock Dance Collective, since its inception in 2016.
Mandy's choreography has been presented throughout New York City in prominent venues such as Capezio Peridance Center, Long Island University's Kumble Theater, Arts on Site, Judson Memorial Church, Dance Forum, Galapagos Art Space, HATCH, Studio A.I.R., SWEAT performance series, and the Cunningham Studio. In February 2020, she premiered her one-woman show, Domesticated:Housebroken, in Brooklyn.
Mandy is a certified and registered Ashtanga yoga instructor, a Reiki Master, and is currently a full time dance educator at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn. She is thrilled to teach jazz classes and workshops for the awesome students at Washington Rock Dance! Please visit Mandy at www.mandystallings.com.
Rachel Stanislawczyk is a May 2020 Ed.M. graduate in Dance Education with a K-12 teaching certification from Rutgers University. During her time at Rutgers, Rachel completed her full-time clinical internship at Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy in Elizabeth, NJ and served as a Part-Time-Lecturer of Ballet in the Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts. In addition to her studies, Rachel performs professionally with Rock Dance Collective: a company based in creating rich sensory experiences for audiences in non-traditional spaces. Rachel is a certified instructor of the Elemental Body Alignment System and teaching artist for American Repertory Ballet’s Dance Power Program, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Kaye-Lynn Dance Studio, and Washington Rock Dance.
Rachel is the Director and Founder of the Dance for Parkinson’s (PD) Program at American Repertory Ballet: a program for people diagnosed with PD and their caregivers. During her time as director, she has expanded the program to multiple locations throughout NJ and presented at numerous events including The Parkinson’s Foundation’s Moving Day NJ, Dr. Jill M. Giordano Farmer’s PD Education Conference, The American Parkinson’s Disease Association’s Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease Conference, and The Parkinson’s Alliance’s 5K Team Parkinson Run. In 2017, Rachel progressed from an intern to a lead teacher of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s (MMDG) Dance for PD® program and Pamela Quinn’s PD Movement Lab, where she continues to teach classes at MMDG, New York University, Juilliard and Ballet Academy East.
Rachel graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017. In the spring semester of her junior year, she was a student in the University of South Florida’s Dance in Paris Program, where she studied with various celebrated dance artists in Europe including Nathalie Pubellier, Wanjiru Kamuyu and Kevin Quinaou. She was awarded the EDM Dance Education Scholarship, the VCU Arts Dance and Choreography Outstanding Service Award, the VCU Academic Achievement Award and the VCU Arts Dean’s Renewable Scholarship. Rachel is a proud alum of The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School of the Arts, developed her foundational training at Princeton Ballet School, and sparked her passion for dance at Kaye Lynn Dance Studio.
Danella Vecchio is an alumna of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance. She has been the recipient of the Turner Prize Award for Choreography and has twice received a scholarship to the Nikolais/Louis Dance Theater Lab in New York City to study exclusively with Murray Louis. Danella has traveled the United States as well as Europe and South America performing in numerous festivals and venues, teaching Master Classes in Modern Dance, Partnering, Improvisation and Theater Technique. It was in Santiago, Chile that she received the honorable “Best Actress Award” for her performance in “The Shaft.” Danella has been humbled to receive many accolades throughout her dance career. Robert Johnson from The Star Ledger quoted…”Vecchio is a sensitive and sparkling performer.” Blake Weil, the NYC Curator for -No Proscenium; The guide to everything immersive - wrote about Danella’s performance in “Invited”, “..the highlight of the evening for me was the manic, over-enthusiastic party guest, who spent most of the evening attempting to force cake on everyone.”
Danella has worked with and performed for innumerable talented and diverse choreographers from various countries, throughout her 25-year professional dance career. She has worked with Cleo Mack since 1996, first with the Cleo Mack Dance Project and currently performs and serves on the Board of Directors with her new company, Rock Dance Collective. Danella has been the Dance Director at various schools throughout New Jersey and Southern California. She is the founder and artistic director of the Dance Out Loud Performing Arts Summer Camp. She has worked with the Irvine Arts Council in Southern California to help students in grades K-12, unleash their artistic talents and create a forum that allows them to showcase their work and artistry. Danella has concentrated on working with young children through a variety of movement approaches and techniques that she has developed for the past 20 years. She continues to advocate for quality Arts Education in all forms and capacities.
She has worked in special education classrooms for the past 6 years. She is a Special Olympics coach at Special Olympics New Jersey as well as working in the SONJ development department where she assists with coordinating corporate events and non-profit fundraising. Danella also serves on the Board of Directors for three New Jersey organizations; the Ben Franklin Swim Club, The Jersey Dive Academy and the Lawrence Intermediate School.
Becky Visintainer graduated from Rutgers University with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts and a Masters in Dance Education PK-12 from the Graduate School of Education. She spent a year abroad studying at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, UK. Becky has had the opportunity to perform works by many accomplished choreographers both at home and abroad. She is also a 200 hr certified Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance.
Becky is the full-time dance educator at North Plainfield High School. She is also a Part-Time Lecturer for Rutger's Graduate School of Education, instructing a course for the Dance Education Program. Currently she a company dancer for Rock Dance Collective and an active member of the National Dance Educators Organization and DanceNJ.