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|2018 / Judges & Workshop Instructors|
Rhonda Austin began her dance training at Leclercq Ecole de Ballet and performed with the Crescent City Ballet Company in her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance from Florida State University where she was a performing member of Dance Repertory Theatre. Rhonda received a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from Temple University and was awarded a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Rhonda was “Artist in Residence” at Coker College and served as Artistic Director of the Coker College Dance Theater in Hartsville, South Carolina from 1995-1999. She has also served as faculty at Winthrop University, South Carolina Dance Theater, OSU-Mansfield, BalletMet Columbus, Otterbein University, Columbus Dance Theatre, Columbus Youth Ballet and Richland Academy of the Arts, amongst others. She is certified in the Pilates Method® through the PhysicalMind Institute and is a certified STOTT PILATES® reformer instructor. She has performed with Philip Grosser, Craig Gabrian, KAOS dance company, Phoenix Dance Company, Natalie Marrone & The Dance Cure and Meg Louise Dance Group. She currently teaches dance and Pilates classes.
Blake A. Balathunis is a professional dance educator, gymnastics coach, and Choreographer from Western Massachusetts. Blake has over 15 years of expert level technical dance & performing arts training in all styles from several dance studios within Western Massachusetts, as well as advanced gymnastics training from Chicopee Gymnastics. Blake has had the honor of touring all throughout the East Coast performing in over a dozen dance showcases and theatre productions. When Blake was fifteen he received the Triple Threat Award, presented by D.R.E.A.M. Studios, which allowed him to perform in the “The 3T” Dance and Preforming Arts production intensive in Montgomery, Alabama under the direction of film actress, Dr. Tonea Stewart . Blake has performed with many successful and talent choreographers such as Shelia Baker, David Bovat, and Alfred L. Dove. After high school, Blake received his degree in Dance Pedagogy from Greenfield College. Blake has also received extensive training from both the National Interscholastic Coaches Education Program and the American Sports Education Program.
While attending University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Hali received the Faculty Award for “Excellence in Dance”, was a founding member and soloist of the Xhale Dance Company and simultaneously received her certification in Nutrition for Optimal Health, Wellness and Sports through Stony Brook University. After graduation in May 2010 with a BFA in Jazz Dance Performance, she was honored to have the opportunity to dance for a year in Israel under the MASA Apprentice Program with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and upon returning to New York she worked with companies such as DeMa Dance Company, Leon Contemporary Dance Company, Amalgamate Dance Company, BEings Dance Company and performed different project works at the 2013 APAP Festival, 2012 NYC REVERBdance, The 2012 Young Choreographers Festival and as a dancer for recording artist Ja’Shayla at Gap Stores. Hali is currently a member of Michael Susten and Company and performed in the March 2014 premier of “Spring: Withstanding Winter and Bravely Surfacing, Reborn” as well as the November 2014 premier of “Fall: Heeding the Warning and Building Shelter to Surrender”. Hali is the Creator/Co-Owner of Mindful Practice Workshop: Conditioning and Wellness for the Competitive Dancer which was featured in the February 2015 edition of Dance Studio Life Magazine.
MRS. Robin Brandenburg – owns and operates a dance studio and has been teaching for over forty years. Robin attended The University of Cincinnati and graduated from Miami University and has an R.N. license. Robin is known for her award winning choreography and dynamic teaching style. She encourages the recreational as well as the professional level students. Her knowledge of dance has made her a popular figure and often recruited Consultant, Judge, and Master Teacher.
Kahlief “Lite Eyez” Bussie is from Willingboro, NJ. He initially found his love for dance at the age of 16 and is now trained in various styles of Hip-Hop, including but not limited too, Locking, Krump, Popping, Tutting, Commercial, Jersey Club, Waving, and more. He’s also appeared on national television with three appearances on BET’s “106 and Park, an appearance on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew highlight reel and MTV’s Spring Bling. He’s choreographed for various music videos and he is now currently teaching Hip-Hop at four different dance studios. In addition to That’s Entertainment workshops, he’s also apart of the That’s Entertainment Performing Arts Competition staff. He can be seen hyping up the kids during awards and dancing through the halls during competition.
Kathryn Carreras has been a judge with That’s Entertainment for 8 years. Starting dance at 3 years old, she has been training now for over 30 years and teaching for almost 19 years. She has trained not only on Long Island in some of the top dance studios, but also in NYC at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. As a competitor she has won numerous awards for all genres of dance and was awarded choreography awards both regionally and nationally. Kathryn has been seen performing in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Florida, cruise lines, as well as Channel 12 News. Being nominated and selected into the Who’s Who of American Teachers, Kathryn loves to share her passion of dance with all students. Kathryn holds an assistant dance director position on Long Island where students learn all aspects of dance and theater. Her students have been seen both on and off Broadway, cruise lines, and signed to top modeling agencies in America. Kathryn lives life with the motto: “Why walk when you can dance?”
Jayson Douglas is from Paterson, NJ where he began his training at Dance World Academy. He went on to further his training in New York City at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey. Jayson also attended Point Park University to study dance as his major, where he also attended summer programs at Dance Place, Orlando Ballet 2, and Boston Ballet; all on full scholarships. Jayson’s professional career began as a Trainee with North Carolina Dance Theatre, now known as Charlotte Ballet. Jayson then went on to dance for Lexington Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Ballet Nouveau Colorado and one of the top 25 to watch companies named in Dance Magazine, Company C Contemporary Ballet where he was featured in Twyla Tharp’s “Surfer in the Styx”. He has also performed around the world on cruise lines as a dancer and aerialist in Cirque afﬁliated themed shows. He is a resident choreographer with MidState Ballet, Sarah Berges Dance, and teaches masterclasses around the country as well as internationally. In 2014 he toured to Paris with Sarah Berges Dance and is currently going into his second year as a company member with Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre in Boston.
Joshua has been dancing since the late age of 15 years old. He was taken to “Bring A Friend” week at his home studio and started with no rhythm and two left feet. He was determined to improve his skills and found himself registered in every class possible. He grew up in the small suburb of Bensalem, Pennsylvania. By the time he was 21, he knew that he wanted to dance not only for fun, but also, as a professional. In 2008 Joshua auditioned for University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where he was accepted and rewarded with the Promising Artist Award. He is trained in all styles of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical, African and Acrobatics. While receiving his degree, he taught at several different studios in the Bucks County Area. He graduated from UArts in the Spring 2012 semester with his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance Education with a focus in jazz performance and a minor in creative writing. Since then, he has been teaching and setting choreography on many studios in the Tri-State area and continues to audition and take classes in NYC. He currently works for several dance competitions and helps judge, teach master classes and sets choreography on young dancers. On his free time, Josh is full-time Veterinarian Assistant at an animal hospital in the Bucks County Area. When not teaching he loves reading and spending time with his 4 cats and 2 dogs.
Nikki Gyftopoulos holds a BA in Public Relations and a Dance minor from Hofstra University. She has been training in dance for twenty years and is an active choreographer and instructor at various dance studios in the New England area. From her choreography and work, she has received a total of 15 Choreography Awards, including Choreographer of the Year 2016. In addition to teaching and choreographing, she has worked, and continues to work, with National Dance Competitions. Gyftopoulos started her classical dance training at a very young age and then later found her love for street and hip-hop dance after joining the hip-hop crew The Movement Specialists. Presently, Nikki is pursuing her MBA at Providence College, while continuing to dance, teach, and choreograph.
Jamie Kaplan has been a judge for 11 seasons and is glad to share her passion for dance with students. She has studied dance for almost 30 years and has worked as a teacher for over 15 years. As a competitor, she won numerous awards across all genres of dance. In college, Jamie led the Towson University Pom Squad to a national win and performed various pieces within the dance department, including The Nutcracker. She has studied dance across studios in New Jersey, as well as Steps on Broadway and Boston Ballet. Jamie holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and focuses on the treatment of eating disorder and body image concerns and works to promote awareness within the dance community.
Lorna Jaymes has been a dance educator for over 25 years and began her dance training at the age of three. Dance became her passion early on in life, and by the age of ten, she was spending a minimum of, twenty hours a week, taking classes at her local dance studio. Lorna has extensive training in Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary, Tap and Hip Hop. She has trained with professional teachers and the hottest choreographers throughout New England, New York City and Los Angeles, California. Aside from the many hours training at a competitive dance studio, she also attended a performing arts high school with a concentration in dance and majored in Theater /Fine Arts in College. It has been throughout this intense training where Lorna’s undeniable emotional Lyrical style has become her forte and a favorite of all of her students.
Originally from Racine, Wisconsin, Madelyn Mickelsen began studying dance at the age of six. She continued into professional dance training and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point obtaining two Bachelors of Art degrees in Dance and Arts Management. Madelyn has showcased and produced choreographed works in various performances, showcases, festivals, and for adjudication at the American College Dance Association. She has performed and been involved in a variety of shows and productions across the Midwest and has studied under dancers from; the Joffrey and Milwaukee Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street, and the Radio City Rockettes. Madelyn has relocated to New York City and has continued her career in performance arts.
Aleah began dancing at the age of two and has since expanded her dance horizons in various styles such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary/Lyrical, Musical Theater, and Hip-Hop . She was a competition dancer for many years at her home studio in Ambler, Pa. She graduated from West Chester University with a degree in Exercise Science and a Psychology minor, while at West Chester she was a member of the University Dance Company for which two of them she was an officer. Her senior year she received the Alumni Dance Chapter Choreography Award. She is currently a performer with the Sanbrooka Dance Company in Philadelphia, along with other independent professional choreography projects. She choreograph’s multiple traveling competition pieces throughout the year along with a yearly musical at Ancillae Assumpta Academy.
Cathleen has studied all forms of dance and has studied with such diverse groups and individuals as the NYBC, LI Ballet, Martha Graham, Phil Black, Forrest Bonshire, Finis Jung & Gwen Verdon. Cathleen has trained with world renowned teachers, Rosalie Keane, Pierre Dulaine & John Nyemchek. She now teaches Ballroom & is a certified teacher in ABT & is teaching Dancing Classrooms & Roll Call Wheelchair Dance. Cathleen makes it her personal goal to teach her students that dance and life is fun, to stay positive in all you do, and there is no such word as “can’t”.
Allison started her dance training at the age of 3 under the direction of Tina Vittorioso. She is currently the assistant director of a dance studio. She has held that position for the last 7 years. Allison has trained at Steps on Broadway in NYC, Rhode Island College and the National Dance Education Organization OPDI program. She has worked with some incredible teachers such as Danielle Bower, Lindsay Deneault, Stephanie Flackman, Kathleen Smith, Angelica Vessella, and many others. Allison received her first choreography award at age 18 and has continually been recognized for her creative choreography. For the last three years she has been teaching as a lyrical and technique teacher for three studios in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Allison is an active member of the National Dance Education Organization. She has also created and is the Director for Voltage Dance Company; a dance company for college age dancers who love to perform and want to continue their dancing careers. Through the NDEO she trained to teach and choreograph for special needs dancers. Teaching is her passion and she is excited to judge for That’s Entertainment this season!