Michelle Jones Wurtz
Pottstown Dance Theatre — Owner/Director
Melange Contemporary Dance — Artistic Director
PDT Repertory Ensemble — Artistic Director
ContempraDance Theatre — Assistant Director
Michelle holds a BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts as well as an MPA in Non-profit Management from Strayer University. She studied with Barbara Sandanato who was trained by George Balanchine; Judith Jamison, former lead dancer of the Alvin Ailey Company and Milton Myers who was also a lead dancer at Ailey and now serves as head of the Contemporary Division of the world famous Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Michelle began her professional career during her junior year when she started dancing for Group Motion.
Michelle studied pedagogy techniques at The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and later became a master instructor. In 2004 she was chosen to be the first American instructor invited to the International Dance Festival in Ladek Zdroj, Poland where she teaches more than any other instructor. She has been asked to teach at various festivals throughout Europe.
Michelle continues to direct Melange, the Pottstown Dance Theatre, and assistant direct Contempradance; and her students were invited by the American Alliance of Performing Arts Educators to perform in London during the 2012 Olympic Games where a representative of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (founded and partially funded by Sir Paul McCartney) saw her work and requested her instruction for summer of 2013.
Diane Alex-Brody - Instructor
Diane Alex-Brody began her training in her home state of Montana and later became a student of Phyllis Dersh Rudzitis (founder of Pottstown Dance Theatre). She later studied with John White of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. She has also taken master classes with Roy Kaiser (Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Ballet), Barbara Sandanato, and Ruth Adrien (of the Paul Taylor Dance Company). Diane is responsible for the important early fundamentals of the curriculum and is a member of the advisory staff of The Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory Ensemble.
Carol Hebert - Instructor
Carol Hebert graduated from the Hartford Conservatory of Music and Dance and received a BFA in Dance from the University of Massachusetts. She has taught at Hartford Conservatory, the School of the Hartford Ballet, and the New England Conservatory. As a member of the Deborah Carr Theatre Dance Ensemble, Ms. Hebert performed at the highly prestigious American Dance Festival in NC. She has studied with some of the most respected names in American tap dance including Brenda Buffalino and LaVaughn Robinson. Her students at the Pottstown studio enjoy her classes tremendously.
Kelsey Nieckoski - Instructor
Kelsey is an alumnus of the Pottstown Dance Theatre. She holds a BA from Widener University where she majored in Psychology, Pre-Physical Therapy and minored in Fine Arts with a concentration in Dance Performance. While at Widener, she studied under Jessica Warchal-King and became a member and president of the Widener Dance Company. Kelsey began dancing at the age of three at Ginny Lee Dance Studio. At the age of seven, she furthered her training at Pottstown Dance Theatre where she joined the intensive program focusing on Vaganova ballet technique as well as tap, jazz, modern, and irish dance forms. She studied in the Academy program under Michelle Jones Wurtz, and also privately under ballet masters Jerzy Golek, Phyllis Dersh Rudzitis , Andre Ustinov, and Elena Martinson. While a student at PDT, Kelsey had the opportunity to perform in London, England, during the 2012 Olympic Games. Kelsey studied at a variety of summer intensive ballet programs including, The Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Berks Ballet Theater, Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, Academy of International Ballet, and The Rock School Philadelphia. She also was a member of the Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Company. Performing with SVRDC for 11 years, Kelsey performed many corp, soloist, and eventually principal roles including, Clara, Dew Drop Fairy, and Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Lise in La Fille Mal Gardee, and Mina in Dracula. Kelsey recently graduated from Alvernia University with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She also performs professionally with Melange Contemporary Dance Company.
Alessandra Ondey- Instructor
Alessandra is an alumnus of Pottstown Dance Theatre. Currently a nursing student at Alvernia University, she continues to teach tap, beginner ballet, modern, and jazz dance at PDT, and has taught and choreographed at Steel River Playhouse's summer theater camps, the Pottstown Middle School and she was a choreographer for Steel River’s production of Annie, Jr. With the Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory Ensemble, she has performed at Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall. Alessandra's passion is tap dance, and she has participated in multiple master workshops with such notable performers as Germaine Salsberg, Karen Callaway Williams of "Riverdance, Robert Burden Jr., and Juilliard instructor Ray Hesselink. Alessandra was a member of the Lehigh Valley-based TTApp Company before taking a break to focus on completing her nursing degree.
Madison Eichert - Instructor
Madison is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She trained at Dancexpress and Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet in Narberth, PA. Madison started dancing at the age of 3, and was trained in multiple styles; Ballet is her favorite. She attended Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet' summer intensive for 6 years, and the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet’ summer intensive for 2 years. She graduated with a B.A. in Dance from Eastern University in May 2018. She has interned with Sharp Dance Company, and has been dancing with Melange Dance Company for two years. Madison has performed at the American College Dance Association festival at the University of Maryland in 2017 and West Chester University in 2018.
David Heller - Instructor
David Heller, aka Dr. Moose, was born in Manhattan, Kansas (The Little Apple). Since 1999, David has developed his skills in breaking, popping, tutting and liquid dance. “There are too many dance memories that are my ‘favorite,’ but if I really had to pick two, one would be the first time I saw someone breakdancing in front of me when I was 17 years old. The second would be earning my doctorate/PhD in dance from Temple University.”
Over the last 20 years, David has competed in multiple dance competitions throughout the United States. David has choreographed dozens of dance pieces that have been showcased in Hawaii, Norway, France, and Philadelphia. He earned his PhD in Dance at the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University in December, 2018. Currently, David teaches dance to undergraduate students at Temple, as well as studio classes and workshops in street dance styles throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.
“I believe that dance, in any form, is a deeply ingrained impulse we all possess. I found my passion through a desire to express myself. Dance is my life. Therefore, I teach what I love, and I love what I do.” --- David Heller (Dr. Moose)
Krysta Bernhardt - Instructor
Krysta began her dance training in upstate New York where she studied tap, jazz, ballet and contemporary dance with the Filippetti's Academy of Dance Arts and Vaganova method ballet with the Rafael Grigorian Ballet Theatre. In addition to dance she studied music and spent many years performing as a singer, actress and dancer in regional theaters. Her passion for the arts led her from New York to Philadelphia, where she graduated with honors from the University of the Arts with a BFA in Musical Theater. At UArts she added to her dance training with studies in musical theater, modern, and improv dance. Krysta has spent over 20 years working in the arts in the Philadelphia area and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her love of dance with the youngest students at PDT. She is especially excited to regularly don her "magical fanny pack" as Backstage Mom/dresser/helper at PDT Repertory Ensemble productions and end of the year demos.
Megan Schultz - Instructor
Megan Schultz is an alumnus of Pottstown Dance Theatre who went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Dance at Eastern University in May of 2017. While at Pottstown Dance Theatre she studied many genres of dance from Classical Ballet to Hip Hop and Irish Dance. Megan was also a member of Schuykill Valley Regional Dance Company where she performed lead roles in The Nutcracker, La Fille Mal Gardée, Jazzerella, and New World. While at this studio, Megan had the opportunity to travel with Pottstown Dance Theatre to London to perform at the 2012 Olympic Games. In 2013, Megan continued her studies at Eastern University and graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in Dance. In the spring of 2015, she was chosen to perform her co-choreographed piece, “Crusade”, at the American College Dance Association Festival at the University of West Virginia. Since graduation, Megan has become a member of Mélange Contemporary Dance Company, dancer, choreographer, and rehearsal assistant for Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory Ensemble and a teacher at Pottstown Dance Theatre. Megan has also had the opportunity to perform with Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory Ensemble at Carnegie Hall and as a guest artist in ContempraDANCE Ignites the Stage and Fires Up the Stage.
Nina Shenk - Instructor
Nina has studied various styles of dance since the age of 5 including ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, break dance, musical theatre and contemporary. At age 12 she began teaching as a teaching apprentice at PDT. Nina has performed in many productions with the Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Company and the Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory Ensemble and has been featured in the Nutcracker in Waltz of the Flowers, Flutes and as the Arabian soloist. She danced twice at Carnegie Hall as a part of the PAE World Dance Festival, and has taken part in the MDC THE EXPERIENCE hip-hop dance convention. Nina's passion is choreography. She has choreographed pieces of all styles and is working toward becoming a professional choreographer. She currently teaches at PDT and Morton's Dance Center in Lancaster, PA.
Sofia is a student in the Daniel Boone Area School District. She has studied dance for 12 years with PDT and has mastered many styles including Ballet, Tap, Irish and Graham Based Modern. She has performed with the PDT Repertory ensemble in several productions including The Nutcracker, New World, The Best of PDT, Haunted Dance Theatre and she was an apprentice student dancer in Melange's production of Beyond Genesis. Her roles have included Clara, Flutes, Sugarplum, Snow and Flowers in the Nutcracker and she performed the solo role of Lead Child European in New World. She has danced at Carnegie Hall, auditioned for and was accepted to Jr. County Chorus and is the recipient of the Reading Music Foundation Esprit de Corps scholarship. In addition to dance she sings, plays oboe, enjoys writing and drawing and plans to go on to become a Paleontologist.
Sofia Bischof - Apprentice Teacher
Emma Wenerowicz - Apprentice Teacher
Emma has been dancing at PDT since the age of 5 and has studied a variety of styles including ballet, tap, musical theatre and modern dance. She has been a part of many productions with the Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory Ensemble and was most recently featured as the Arabian Soloist in the Nutcracker. She has danced at both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in NYC.
Megan Groth - Apprentice Teacher
Megan is a Senior at Twin Valley High School and has studied many dance styles for the past 10 years, including ballet, pointe, Irish, African, modern, jazz, breakdance, and hip hop. She has danced in numerous productions with the Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory Ensemble and has previously been featured in both Waltz of the Flowers and as the Harlequin Doll soloist. She also has performed at Lincoln Center and twice at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Megan plans to study sports medicine to become a physical therapist so that she may help other dancers with their injuries.
Ashley Reicher - Apprentice Teacher
Ashley is a Senior at Pottsgrove High School and has studied dance with PDT since the age of 4. She’s taken a variety of styles including ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, musical theater. Ashley has performed in Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory productions since she was 7 years old and has been most recently featured in the Nutcracker as Clara, Sugar Plum and the Dew Drop Fairy along with solo roles in several other shows. She has performed at Lincoln Center and twice at Carnegie Hall in NYC.
Natalie Bischof - Office Manager
Natalie graduated from Juniata College with a degree in Ecology and while she has no formal dance training, she does the daily dance of the PDT office manager as she keeps and clarifies all the dance-related details, policies, and requirements at the studio. She is the provider of Band-Aids, extra hair ties and Bobbie pins, and she makes sure everyone gets to class on time. Natalie is the mender of hems, the steamer of tulle and the official tailor of the talented PDT dancers. She is the proud parent of two Pottstown Dance Theatre students, and is considered to be the ‘mom-away-from-mom’ by many others.
Jay Stolzenberg — Executive and Financial Advisor
Jay holds patents on numerous inventions used in varying industries. His knowledge of trademark, copyright, and patent law are invaluable when applying for grants, in kind donations, and gifts.