Miss Michelle: Michelle began her dance training as a pre-schooler, and continued throughout high school at the Geri Blyer School of Dance in Metuchen. She was accepted into the Arts High program for Modern Dance in 1995 and went on to participate in dance classes and performances at Montclair State University, Rutgers University, Newark Community School of the Arts and various festivals throughout the state. Michelle taught a variety of disciplines and directed plays at Miss Dawn's Studio of Dance from 2000-2010 before opening Strauss Performing Arts in 2010. Now in it's third season, the studio has grown tremendously and is very active in community events. Michelle is a certified member of the Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey, and continues to take master classes and professional development workshops in all areas of dance.
Miss Katie Patikowski: Katie is a graduate of Rider University with a B.A. in Fine Arts. As a dance major, Katie has studied under many master teachers and is knowledgeable in current styles of dance and teaching. She has taken master classes at the Princeton Ballet and New Jersey Ballet, and has worked as both a dance teacher and teacher's assistant throughout the years at Miss Doreen's Fabulous Feet in Metuchen, and Destined to Dance in Middlesex. Katie is teaching Contemporary Jazz and Intermediate Ballet.
Miss Katie Farley: Katie has been dancing for 24 years. She began her training with Dance Dimension studying ballet, tap, lyrical, jazz, hip hop, and pointe. She participated in many regional and national competitions, and at the age of 9 was crowned Miss Petite Dance with several other crowned titles to follow. After graduating high school in 2004, she attended Middlesex County College and continued her training in ballet, jazz, and modern dance. She became a member of the school's dance ensemble, and choreographed many pieces for performance. The ensemble also auditioned for the first season of America's Best Dance Crew on MTV. Katie graduated Middlesex with a liberal arts degree and received the Dean's award for excellence in dance. From there she attended Montclair State University where she majored in Fashion Studies and minored in Dance. She has a lot of experience choreographing children's plays for Appleby and Memorial Schools in Spotswood. Most recently she appeared in Plays in the Park's production of High School Musical. She loves to share her passion and talent with our dancers.
Miss Casandra Dent: Cassie started dancing at age 4 at Yvonnes School of Dance in edison. From there she went to Star Essence where she took a full range of classes and competed in various competitions. Cassie then came to Miss Dawn's in 2003 and found her home. She has been assisting in classes for the past three years, and began teaching when we transitioned to Strauss Performing Arts in 2010 with a specialty in lyrical and pre-school dance.
Miss Melissa Kraus: Melissa is currently a Senior working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Dance with a minor in Dance Therapy, at Georgian Court University. She is a member of the Colossus Dance Company, and attends open classes at Icon Dance Center, Broadway Dance Center, Alvin Ailey, and Princeton School of Ballet. She is a graduate of the School of Performing Arts at East Brunswick Vo-tech. Melissa is a certified Zumba instructor and her specialty is hip-hop. We are excited to have Melissa share her talents with our young dancers and their families.
Miss Kelly Farley: Kelly has been dancing for 22 years and began at Dance Dimension in North Brunswick. She has been in regional competitions since the age of 5. She won a title for her tap solo at the age of 13, and numerous awards for tap, jazz, and lyrical group numbers. Kelly is an MCC Alumni, who graduated in 2010 with a L.A. Education degree. She then transferred to Rowan University, graduating in 2013, with a dual major in Elementary Education and Liberal Arts: Mathematics & Geography. She has performed in nine MCCDE shows and had the honor of choreographing six of them. Kelly has been part of the dance company, Artistic Visions, for the past three years for which she has performed and choreographed. Kelly is really looking forward to being a member of the Strauss Performing Arts dance family, and will be teaching PSD this year.