Lizz Picini moved to New York City just one week after graduating from Towson University with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance. After completing the Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester she began actively training and working at Broadway Dance Center while assisting various choreographers. She now has the privilege of teaching at Broadway Dance Center.
Lizz is represented by Clear Talent Group in New York City and is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association. She was recently seen playing Tess in Crazy For You and Gertie Cummings/Dance Captain in Oklahoma! both at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. She will be returning to Merry-Go-Round Playhouse this summer to serve as the Assistant Choreographer to Dir./Chor. Julie Tomaino, for the season’s opening show, Guys and Dolls. Lizz also served as the Associate Choreographer, while playing the role of Ruth, in Ogunquit Playhouse’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Other performing credits include Disney’s world premiere musical When You Wish at Tuacahn Amphitheatre, Beauty and the Beast and Sister Act also at Tuacahn Amphitheatre, On The Town at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, and West Side Story at Ogunquit Playhouse. She also had the honor of dancing with the Spangles Dance Company in the 86th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Lizz was selected to perform in the opening number of the 27th, 28th and 30th Annual Broadway Cares Easter Bonnet Competition at the Minskoff Theatre as well as the 27th and 28th Annual Broadway Cares Gypsy of the Year Competition at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Lizz has had the privilege of working with, training from and assisting some of the industry’s best including Richard J. Hinds, Al Blackstone, Parker Esse, Jeffry Denman, Josh Bergasse, Rommy Sandhu, Jim Cooney, Marc Kimmelman, Michael Mindlin, Nick Kenkel, and more.
Lizz is incredibly passionate about this industry and welcomes any and every opportunity to pour into others and help educate. Through teaching, Lizz develops and enhances her students’ dance skills as she provides valuable insight, clear instruction and solid encouragement to those genuinely following their dreams. While her classes are not auditions, the material she covers in class will separate her students from others at their auditions.
She is incredibly thankful to reside in brilliant New York City, living the dream!
Jersey girl Jessica Reis began her dance training at Kathryn Barnett School of Dance and New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble. While attending George Mason University to pursue a B.F.A. in Dance and Dance Education, Jessica had the opportunity to perform the works of Doug Varone, David Parsons, Mark Morris, Robert Battle, and Kate Skarpatowska. In 2012, Jessica moved to Brooklyn, NY where she performed with contemporary companies including Community Dance Project NYC. While in New York, she also taught dance at The School at Columbia and other local studios. In 2015, Jessica made the move to sunny California with her husband and cat. Since moving, she has performed and taught all over the Bay Area, most recently dancing with Kaneisee Collective in San Francisco. Jessica has loved pursuing dance and teaching on a different coast and is thrilled to be a part of Jersey Shore Dance Academy!
Jamie Howes is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of George Mason University. In 2011 Jamie graduated with a BFA in Dance and K-12 Dance Education endorsement. Throughout her four years at Mason, Jamie received numerous scholarships and awards including outstanding freshman of the year in 2008 and The Excellence in Academic Endeavors Award in 2011.
Upon graduation, Jamie moved to NYC, signed with premiere talent agency, BlocNYC and began her professional career. Jamie has worked with Nicholas Andre Dance, Marinspired; The Storytellers, Marquette Productions and has held leading roles in numerous shows with Dublin Worldwide and Spirit Productions including the international tour of Jersey Nights and a National tour of Hooray for Hollywood. Other credits include The Spirit of Christmas, Rock Around the Clock, Le Grande Cirque Adrenaline and Christmas on Ice. Jamie has danced for international recording artist, Chris Brown, and has made appearances on NBC’s TODAY Show, Smash, The Jenny McCarthy Show and TLC’s The Cake Boss. Most recently, Mrs. Howes just completed a sold-out, extended run of West Side Story at Signature Theatre. Mrs. Howes, along with her cast, received multiple Helen Hayes Awards Nominations including Best Musical and Best Ensemble.
Mrs. Howes is the director of dance at Charles J. Colgan High School for the Performing Arts where she is the sponsor of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Howes stays active in the professional dance community giving master classes to studios and conventions nationwide. From 2014-2015 Jamie Howes was on faculty at the George Mason University School of Dance teaching Ballet and Modern.
Jenny Hegarty is Rehearsal Director and a senior company member with Dance Now Miami. Her early training began at the Kathryn Barnett School of Dance in Red Bank, NJ, and then continued at the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble and the Harkness Youth Ballet, both under the direction of Nancy Turano. She received a BFA in Dance Performance from Marymount Manhattan College and throughout her training and career, has had the opportunity of working with and performing in works by Jose Limon, David Parsons, Stephen Petronio, Robert Battle, Doris Humphrey, Tandy Beal, Edward Stierle, Johannes Wieland, Eduardo Vilaro, Jason McDole and Kyle Amhed-Bukhari, along with being selected to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House in the Kirov Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty. Jenny has worked with multiple companies in New York, New Jersey, and Florida including DeXdance, Heritage Dance Project, Florida Grand Ballet, Gehring Dancetheatre and RIOULT. She has collaborated in local Miami projects including FashionPerForm (Art Basel), Miami Open Stage and the critically acclaimed Haunted Ballet in Coconut Grove. Some of her favorite theater and production credits include Chicago, On the Town (Stage Door), Cabaret, Cirque du Monde and Ballroom South Beach Style (Kevin Black Productions).
Jenny is modern faculty at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, and an artistic consultant/guest teacher at TAME Dance Academy in Florida. She also judges and is on staff with VIP Dance Competition and Dream Dance Challenge. Previously, Jenny was a rehearsal assistant at the Joffrey Ballet School's Contemporary Program in Los Angeles and worked as a dance facilitator among clients with varying levels of communicative and physical ability within the Arts Access program at the Matheny School and Hospital in Peapack, NJ.
Corey Bliss graduated cum laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, with a minor in communication & media studies and a full merit scholarship. A native of Red Bank, NJ, she trained with Nancy Turano at New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble (NJDTE) for eight years. Corey has had the honor of performing works by Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Sean Curran and Eduardo Vilaro, among others. She was a senior member of BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance for over six years, and apprenticed with Stephen Petronio Company and RIOULT. Corey is currently a dance facilitator at the Arts Access Program at Matheny Medical and Educational Center (a fine arts program for adults with medically complex disabilities), and also served as NJDTE's Company Manager and Marketing Associate for ten years.
Kara Menendez is a recent graduate from Marymount Manhattan College where she received her BFA degree in dance with a ballet concentration. Kara originally from Tinton Falls, began her dance training at the age of 3 at Kathryn Barnett School of Dance. When Kara was 9 she joined the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble (NJDTE), a pre-professional training school and performing company led by artistic director Nancy Turano. Kara studied with various ballet, modern and contemporary artists at NJDTE. Through NJDTE, Kara had the privilege of working with renowned New York City based choreographers such as Adam Baruch, Sidra Bell, Cherice Barton, Andrea Miller, Robert Battle, Eduardo Vilaro, Kate Skarpetowska and Loni Landon. Along with performing The Nutcracker for many years, NJDTE also gave Kara many performance opportunities at popular theaters/venues in New York City such as the Joyce Theatre. Kara has also had the opportunity to work under the instruction of Alexandra Wells as a private coach and current mentor. Kara has participated in numerous summer dance intensives such as the Movement Invention Project and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. She also spent two summers studying at the Vancouver Arts Umbrella in Canada. In 2012, Kara was awarded the State of New Jersey Governor's Award for Artistic Excellence and Leadership in Dance. In the summer of 2016 Kara was chosen alongside 19 other artists to participate and perform in "Project 4520 Time/Space" led by Pushing Progress faculty Calen Kurka, Chris Hale, Bryn Cohn and Mike Esperanza. Kara was also selected among many to participate in dance company Northwest Dance Project's "LAUNCH" program based in Portland Oregon in summer 2016 as well. Throughout her college career at Marymount, Kara had the privilege performing numerous works from prestigious choreographers such as Emery Lecrone, Paul Taylor, Alexandra Damiani, Norbert De la Cruz III, Darrell Moultrie, Breton Tyner-Bryan and Larry Keigwin. Kara is a chosen 2017 Springboard Danse Montreal participant.
Ashley is a current student at Pace University in the BFA Commercial Dance Program. Originally from New Jersey, Ashley trained at Dance Stop Dance Education Center under the direction of Gina Forcella. At Dance Stop Ashley was fortunate enough to work with artists such as Andy Pellick, Al Blackstone, Katie Drablos, Julie Shaulman, Jen Golonka, Susie Gorman, and so many more. Her training there opened opportunities for the summer intensive Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, as well as performance opportunities with Al Blackstone and Katie Drablos at the Joyce Theater in NYC. She was fortunate enough to be chosen out of hundreds of applicants as Dance Magazine’s 2015 Recipient for their college scholarship foundation during her senior year of high school. She was excited to share her story in Dance Magazine, and hopes to help dancers all around the world follow their passion.
Pace University has brought Ashley so much joy and provided her with learning experiences that she has been able to take with her. Under the direction of Rhonda Miller, Ashley has worked with choreographers such as Lauren Gaul, Jess Hendricks, Scott Jovovich, Alexandra Damiani, Jackie Ford, Dee Caspery, Aaron Parkhurst, and also many more. Now living in New York City she is living her dream. Ashley was casted as Snow Queen under the direction of Scott Jovovich in the Mid-Atlantic Dance Theater’s Production of The Nutcracker.
Ashley also worked alongside Thang Dao, director of Thang Dao Dance Company, as his assistant demonstrator for Jacob’s Pillow Dance at the Juilliard School, as well as his model for Lignes Dancewear. New York has also brought her the opportunity to work with the Radio City Rockettes, and she also intends to travel to LA to further her education in all areas of dance.
Ashley has developed a passion for choreography and has enjoyed her experiences teaching all ages. She is thrilled to be a part of the Jersey Shore Dance Academy and looks forward to sharing what she has learned with all of her students.
Michele Diegel is a graduate of Towson University and holds a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Education. She has trained in all areas of dance since a young age and continued her training with professionals such as Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell and Runqiao Du. Michele has performed original works from Alvin Ailey repertory restaged by Troy Powell; “La Bayadere,” choreographed by Marius Petipa restaged by Runqiao Du; original works by Runqiao DU, and also Vincent Thomas. Recently, Michele has been expanding her love for dance by instructing students at The Next Stage Dance and Drama Academy, along directing their dance company. Michele is also a dance teacher at Paul VI High School and coaches PVI Eaglette Dance Team.