Faculty 2019

2019 Faculty

Make sure to check back as we update the page with more of our faculty’s bios!


Dr. Yoav Kaddar has performed nationally and internationally as guest artist and has been a member of such modern dance companies as the Jose Limon Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers and Jacob’s Pillow’s Men Dancers. He has also danced with numerous independent NYC choreographers and has choreographs for dance and theater.

His teaching and choreography consist of both national and international appointments. His work has been performed nationally and abroad at such venues as the Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washington DC and in Ottawa Canada, Israel, Germany and Argentina. His tribute piece Standing Tall is part of the permanent archives at the National 9/11 Museum in New York City.

Dr. Kaddar presents workshops in dance education at national and international conferences. These have included presentations at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), the Association of Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), the Association for Theatre Movement Educators (ATME), The World Dance Alliance Conference in Vancouver BC, the International Conference for Arts and Humanities in Hawaii and at the Fashion Institute of New York in NYC to name a few.

Dr. Kaddar is the recipient of the Martha Hill Award for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Dance from the Juilliard School, is a recent Fulbright Scholar. He has been invited to serve on the New York Foundation of the Arts Choreography Panel, the National Society of Arts and Letters dance competition and the Pennsylvania Dance Masters scholarship auditions. He is a member of NDEO and serves on the board of directors of ACDA. Dr. Kaddar serves on the WVU Rhodes Scholar Selection Committee and was recently appointed as a member to the US Student Fulbright National Screening Committee. He currently serves as the Director of the Dance Program at West Virginia University. http://theatre.wvu.edu/faculty-staff/yoav-kaddar

http://theatre.wvu.edu/academics    http://theatre.wvu.edu/summerdance

Maureen Mansfield Kaddar, originally from New York, is currently a member of the dance faculty of West Virginia University.  She received her MFA in dance and choreography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and BFA from Adelphi University. She is a member of the National Dance Educator’s Association (NDEO), and the American College Dance Association (ACDA), serving for the second time as the ACDA annual conference coordinator at WVU in March 2020. She lived and danced in NYC for 15 years performing with several companies including the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Passionate about the power of building learning connections through movement, Maureen enjoys teaching Arts Integration as well. She choreographs for dance and theatre productions and is a certified yoga and AntiGravity Yoga® instructor.

Roberta Wong, from Davis, California, trained with Hanneke Lohse, Katie Heil, Jean Snyder and Marguerite Phares and attended summer programs of San Francisco Ballet, Marin Civic Ballet, Boston Ballet, Limon West and Mark Morris Dance Group. Other training has included Hubbard Street Adaptive Dance teacher training workshop with Kathryn Humphreys and Dance For Parkinsons with David Leventhal. She completed her bachelors of science in biology from Butler University.

First an apprentice with the Boston Ballet, her professional career included the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre (George Verdak, Dace Dindonis) and Dance Kaleidoscope (David Hochoy), Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s “Yuletide Celebration,” and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Show.

Her teaching has included Anderson University, Butler University, Indiana University, Dance For Parkinsons Bloomington and Indianapolis, the USA Diving National Training Center and pre- professional schools including Jordan College Academy of Dance, Indianapolis School of Ballet and Stage 1 Dance Academy. Guest teaching has included American College Dance Association, Dance West Virginia Fall Festival, Indiana Dance Festival, Lafayette Ballet Company and Mid-States Regional Dance Festival.

She was rehearsal director for Dance Kaleidoscope as well as Indiana University contemporary dance program presentations of Martha Graham’s “Panorama,” Ihsan Rustem’s “Long Story Short” and Roger C. Jeffrey’s “Be Still…Listen.”

She has served as a grant panelist for the Indiana Arts Commission, panelist for “Dancers Among Us,” a dance and disability event of Butler University ArtsFest 2015 and adjudicator at Prelude Awards and National Society of Arts and Letters.

Choreographic highlights include Indianapolis Ballet, Fonseca Theatre Company, Anderson University’s internationally-televised “Candles and Carols,” Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, Indy Convergence, the Emily Hunt benefit for spinal chord research, the Ronald McDonald House, “Beauty in Dark Times,” presented by the Center for Interfaith Cooperation in Indianapolis and “OLA!” for Eli Lilly and Company. Her choreography has been reviewed as “complex, layered, deeply emotional and physically demanding.”-Rita Kohn, NUVO. As a recipient Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist grants, she has trained under Charles Slender of FACT/SF Dance Lab and at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance.

Creative Renewal Fellowships from the Arts Council of Indianapolis included study at Limon Europe at ArtEz (Netherlands) under Ann Vachon, Alan Danielson and Roxane D’Orleans Juste.

She is grateful to be a new member of the International Dance Council, CID under UNESCO.

She wishes to thank David Hochoy for his inspiration, mentorship, and faith in her possibilities as an artist and teacher. She thanks all of her beautiful students for teaching her something new about life every day.


Sara Lavan is the founder of Local Motion Project where she serves as Executive and Co-Artistic Director. She co-creates, curates, and co-facilitates programming including: movement classes, continuing education, youth dance school, creative community workshops, and school residencies.

Sara received her BA from New York University, where she minored in dance education. She received her Pilates training at the Kane School of Core Integration. She has continuing education from Kinected Pilates Center, Balanced Body University, Franklin Method with Eric Franklin, BrainDance developed by Anne Green Gilbert, Pregnancy and Postpartum fitness with Debora Goodman, MSPT, arts integration from the University of Delaware, Language of Dance (LOD) from 92nd Street Y, dance integration from Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program,  and National Dance Education Organization (NDEO).

Sara has been published in Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, and Dance Studio Life. She has presented at NDEO conferences, is a faculty member with the Dance West Virginia Fall Festival, facilitator of professional development for Arena Stage, has served as commissioner with the Alexandria Arts Commission and is a presenter with the Kennedy Center’s CETA program at the REACH.

Previously, Sara studied and performed with Igal Perry and Deborah Damast  in NYC. She performed and choreographed with Choreographers Collaboration Project, Sarah Skaggs and Dance Exchange in the DC metro area. She also owned and operated Local Motion Studio in Alexandria, VA.

“I encourage my students to be their own movement investigators, knowing there is no ‘one way’ to do anything. All my work highlights the importance of movement quality, intention, and the understanding of the body as a tool for communication. My passion for movement and all of its wonder and benefits spills into every modality I teach.”

Kylie Murray is the Co-Artistic Director and Chief Operating Officer of Local Motion Project where she develops and facilitates continuing education workshops, collaborates on new adult work that blends theatre and dance to share compelling stories, and teaches pre-modern and creative dance in the youth dance school. She co-created Alexandria’s first public school dance integration program for which she develops curriculum, trains teaching artists and classroom teachers, and teaches students.

Kylie has presented at National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) National Conferences, has facilitated workshops for teaching artists and young performers at Arena Stage, is a faculty member for the Dance West Virginia Fall Festival, and is a presenter for the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program.

Previously, Kylie toured with Missoula Children’s Theatre, taught middle school theatre in Arizona and Virginia, and was a teaching artist with the Arena Stage. She received her BFA in Theatre Performance from Chapman University and her M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. Kylie completed the CETA Certificate of Study in 2016.

John Streit holds the position of Assistant Professor of Dance at Brenau University. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance with a Teaching and Choreography emphasis from the University of Arizona where he danced with the Arizona Repertory Ensemble and taught ballet, jazz, musical theatre and modern dance. Prior to his time at the U of A, John danced with the Georgia Ballet, was a Guest Artist with Atlanta Ballet in Michael Pink’s Romeo and Juliet and has been a guest artist throughout the Southeast. Mr. Streit has danced much of the classical repertoire including principal and soloist roles in Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, La Fille Mal Gardee, Paquita, and Cinderella among others.  Mr. Streit has also performed principal roles in a variety of musicals including Anything Goes, The Addams Family, Damn Yankees, and most recently CATS as Mr. Mistoffolees at the Cobb Energy Center.  Additionally, Mr. Streit coordinates and directs the Youth Performance Division at Gwinnett Ballet Theatre in Atlanta, GA.  John teaches all levels of ballet, modern, beginning jazz and musical theatre. Mr. Streit has successfully completed the Pre-Primary-Level 5 teaching certification at the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Mr. Streit is also a choreographer and has created several concert works including the ballet Se Faire Echarper which won the best choreography award at Access Broadway, Let it Be which finished 1st runner-up at the Panoply Choreographic Competition and most recently Wind, Sand and Stars which was chosen to be performed at the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association Convention in 2016 in Durham, NC.

John serves as a coach for students attending the Youth America Grand Prix where he has coached Top 12 and Top 24 finalists. He also serves as the director for the Brenau Summer Dance Intensive.

Mr. Streit is thrilled to be working with the students at Dance WV Festival this year!

Jennifer Nieusma
Pilates Instructor certified in 2004.
Belly dance instructor Hip Curve certified in April 2016.
CPR/AED/First Aid certification

I believe in the connection of all things and how they interact with each other. Meaning, “What you think, is what will happen, what you believe, you will make come true.” One of my favorite quotes is “Whether you think you can or can’t, either way you are right!” Followed quickly by the suggestion of eliminating the word can’t from your vocabulary.

Madia Cooper-Ashirifi, Liberian dance educator, West African and Social Dance Performing artist, choreographer, and scholar, received a Master of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography from The College at Brockport and a B.F.A. in Dance Education from Brenau University. Currently, she serves as Chair and Assistant Professor of Dance at Brenau University. As a Liberian-American, Madia shares her culture and knowledge of West African and social dances to all ages at various venues. She is a performer of the Ghanaian dance company Mawre African Dance and Drum, which travels throughout the Southeast performing and conducting residences. Madia’s other company credits include the Bill Evans Dance Company and Sankofa African Dance Ensemble. In addition, she has collaborated with various musicians, visual artists, and singers to produce multi-artistic works and performance art in the U.S. Her choreographic works and teaching credits include a variety of dance disciplines in genres of the African Diaspora, modern, afro-modern, West African, Afro-funk, and jazz.

Additional teaching and choreographic credits include the American College Dance Association, University of Alabama, Darton College, Middle Tennessee State University, Amherst College, Dean College, The University of the South, The Atlanta Ballet Centre of Dance Education, The Dancers’ Studio, Vanderbilt Summer Dance Intensive, New York Summer School of the Arts, and the Gainesville Ballet Summer Intensive Residency as well as others. In addition to teaching, she has had the opportunity to work and perform works of Kofi Mawuko, Robert Battle, Carolyn Adams, Donald McKayle, Cleo Parker Robinson, Dianne McIntyre, Chet Walker, Darwin Prioleau, Habib Iddrisu, Bill Evans, Larry Keigwin, Telly Fowler, and Sherry Zunker.

Will Roboski – The Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble, a student performance group led by String Band Director Emily Miller and Dance Director William Roboski, is dedicated to bringing live traditional music and dance to audiences in West Virginia and beyond. Composed entirely of students attending D&E, the group features an acoustic string band (fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin) and a team of dancers with a diverse range of expertise.

The group focuses on the intersections of different American vernacular forms and their roots, ranging from old-time music and flatfooting to jazz music and tap dance, to Irish sean nós dance, body percussion and numerous traditional American styles of harmony singing. The performances include a variety of regional dance styles, contemporary choreography, and a selection of traditional songs and tunes.

Nina Danilova came to the United States from Russia in 1991. After five years as a faculty member at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Washington, she joined the UNCSA School of Dance faculty in 1996, and has taught classes in Ballet, Technique, Pointe, Variations and Repertory.

She has also worked for Kirov Ballet Company in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and in Moscow Classical Ballet as a principal dancer and ballet mistress. In Poland, she worked for Polish National Ballet as a teacher and ballet mistress and in Italy, she was Artistic Director of Academy of professor P. Montallto.


Barbara Angeline is the Founder and Artistic Director of Hysterika Jazz Dance, a company that expands the legacy of jazz dance as a meaningful, historical, American art form. Choreography includes: Bob Fosse-inspired Tightrope; Josephine Baker-inspired, eat Crow; Mi Maschera (Mask Me), and Hot Miss Lil, a 1930s, vernacular/theatrical jazz work grounded in the story and music of Lil Hardin Armstrong. Hysterika Jazz Dance most recently performed “Doin’ My Jazz”, choreographed by Barbara, as part of the JCE Jazz Dance Project @ Salvatore Capezio Theatre in NYC.

Barbara is Associate Chair and Assistant Professor in the Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, where her teaching includes: Broadway Jazz, Jazz Dance Technique, History of Broadway Dance Online (author), Dance Studies and MFA Dance courses in Pedagogy and Research. She taught Choreography for Theater at Hofstra; was Faculty at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts; and guest ballet, jazz and musical theatre dance instructor at NYU and Lee Strasberg Institute.

Barbara’s performance experience includes: Broadway Backwards (soloist/dance captain), Radio City Christmas Spectacular (dance captain), Celebrating Black Excellence (Soloist, 2017), and Oakland Ballet Company (soloist). She has also danced for Woody Allen, Jerry Mitchell, Graciela Daniele, Bob Bartley, Bernadette Peters, and Aretha Franklin. For more information about Hysterika Jazz Dance and Barbara Angeline, go to: www.BarbaraAngeline.com 

Layna Lamons, a native of Virginia, received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance in 2014 from Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester. A love for choreography and instruction led her to Rhythm n’ Motion dance studio in Martinsburg, West Virginia, in 2015. Since then, Layna has taught Modern, along with whatever other genre director Kat Ward needs such as ballet, jazz, and Russian character. During her time at RnM, Layna’s choreography has been featured at the West Virginia State Dance Festival gala in 2018, as well as the Eastern Panhandle’s Dance Works Festival in 2018 and 2019. Layna has also had the pleasure of performing as a guest artist in various shows, including “Sleepy Hollow”, “Sleeping Beauty”, and “Peter Pan”. Outside the studio, Layna has performed with local artists at various venues around Winchester including the Children’s Discovery Museum and the Virginia State Arboretum.

During the day, Layna is a Behavior Specialist at a psychiatric residential treatment facility serving children with intellectual disabilities. She enjoys coffee, reading, and dabbles in functional fitness and power lifting.

Rebecca Klaft was born in Southern California and began her training in dance at age eight at the Pacific Coast Academy of Dance.  At eleven years old, she moved to North Carolina and continued her training primarily at the Academy of Dance and Fine Arts. She also studied at the Piedmont School of Music and Dance for three years.

After graduating high school in 2014, Rebecca chose to further her dance education at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).  Attending college, she had the opportunity to perform in such works as Shen Wei’s Behind Resonance, Larry Keigwin’s Kingdom, Robyn Mineko- Williams Go Lo, Trisha Brown’s Solo Olos, Martha Graham’s Panorama, Merce Cunningham’s Change of Address, Catherine Miller’s Mind Mapping, Ton Simons’ Measuring Blue, and various pieces by faculty Sean Sullivan, Brenda Daniels, and Patricia Casey. She also attended the New York Cunningham Summer Workshop in 2015, and was able to learn and perform Merce Cunningham’s CRWDSPCR.  At UNCSA, Rebecca trained in Cunningham technique under Brenda Daniels, Limon technique under Sean Sullivan, Countertechnique with Kira Blazek, and Graham technique under Maurizio Nardi.  She has also trained extensively with former Trisha Brown company members Abigail Yager and Ming-Lung Yang.

Rebecca graduated college with her BFA in dance in 2018. She then moved to New York City to continue her dancing. Since graduating, she attended Trisha Brown’s Summer Intensive in 2018 and 2019. She learned many different pieces and worked with Leah Morrison, Jamie Scott, Stuart Shugg, Marc Crousillat, and Lee Serle. Rebecca also went to a Countertechnique Workshop in August 2018, where she got to work with the creator Anouk Van Dijk. Rebecca has also been able to invest in many teaching opportunities at UNCSA’s Preparatory Program, Dance West Virginia’s Fall Festival, The Visual and Performing Arts Center, Centre Ballet, and The Academy of Dance Arts.

Rebecca is passionate about studying the many different techniques of modern dance, and has a particular interest in Trisha Brown’s work and Countertechnique. In her free time, she enjoys learning more about health and wellness, and spending time with her Chihuahua-Dachshund mix, Duck.

Jarek A. Stultz brings over 22 years of experience in training, performing and educating to his dance studio classroom. He has worked with over 50,000 kids across the United States and in 7 countries around the world teaching musical theater, ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop. He was an associate professor of dance at the University of Alaska and a performer for Disney Cruise Lines. Jarek now lives in LA with his beautiful wife, teaching and choreographing, and is ecstatic to be returning to Dance West Virginia.

Jennifer Meckley is a modern dance artist greatly inspired by the hip-hop culture. She aims to spread knowledge of street dance in academia and explores various approaches to presenting hip-hop on a concert stage by developing and delivering an authentic experience and abstracting movement. She obtained her BA in Dance from Slippery Rock University and MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University. Jennifer has taught dance as a dance professor at West Chester University, Cuyahoga Community College, and Northampton Community College. She currently teaches at Ball State University and actively pushes the boundaries of physicality through performance as a founding member of the modern dance company, Abby Z and the New Utility, directed and choreographed by the 2017 Juried Bessie Award winner Abby Zbikowski. Jennifer has performed with the company at well-known venues and dance festivals including The American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival., Judson Church Movement Research, Pittsburgh’s newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival., Philadelphia’s Inhale Performance Arts Series, NYC’s Abron’s Arts Center, and The Fusebox Festival in Austin TX.

Gretchen Hurd

Accompanist – Leah Lewis, Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and raised in the western part of the state,  started studying piano at 6 years of age. During high school, she studied at the Carnegie Mellon prep school for the arts and attended and worked at music camps in the tristate area. She moved to Charleston, West Virginia in 1972 after obtaining a Bachelor of Education degree in Music Education at West Virginia University. She followed that up with a master’s degree in theory and composition at Marshall University. While teaching for 36 years in Kanawha county schools, her students won 6 state championships at the middle school/ junior high level in show choir, played for multiple CLOG shows, accompanied the award winning CHS VIP’s, and the Kanawha County All county high school chorus. She obtained status as a National Board Professional certified teacher before retiring. She resides in Sissonville, West Virginia with her husband, dog, and cat. She has three daughters and 4 grandchildren.

Accompanist – Nathan Yoke has been playing and studying music for over 25 years. As a percussion major in college, he would provide accompaniment for dance classes as part of the Governor’s School for the Arts, which turned into many years of collaboration with West Virginia-based dance companies. Currently, Nathan teaches information technology and social studies at Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, WV and continues to play drums and percussion for local and regional bands and ensembles.