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.
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.
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.
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 is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Alvernia University. She is also performs professionally with Melange Contemporary Dance Company.
Nina Padilla - Instructor
Nina started her dance career at E-Dance Center and began training under Elijah Morton who has credits that include SYTYCD, America’s Got Talent, Jeremih and many others. She danced for the hip-hop performance team Under CONstruct from and followed them as they moved locations to Morton’s Dance Center and transitioned from a performance team to a competition team. Nina moved up from competition team to the senior hip-hop competition team, CONstruct, and danced on the team for 3 years. She competed at numerous east coast competitions and also competed at the national level where her team won four out of their five national titles. The competition teams moved to the international level where they placed 2nd two years in a row at the World Dance Championship through the Star Dance Alliance. In 2017, Nina was able to help the competition team place 1st at the World Dance Championship. Nina also competed with a senior hip-hop solo and became the 2017 national champion in her category and received multiple scholarships and awards at the national level. In addition to competing, Nina has taken many master classes and choreography workshops and has had the opportunity to teach jazz funk and hip-hop at Morton’s Dance Center. She has also been an assistant for Elijah Morton and Juan Rivera at multiple dance conventions, workshops, and master classes. Nina is currently a member of a dance company founded by Zoey Cruz and Enlin Qing called Urban Generation.
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.
Nina Shenk - Apprentice Teacher
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 ballet as an apprentice and she has also taught breakdancing. Nina has performed in many Pottstown Dance Theatre Repertory productions and has been featured in the Nutcracker in Waltz of the Flowers, Flutes and as the Arabian soloist. She has twice had the pleasure of dancing at Carnegie Hall. Nina's passion is choreography. She has choreographed pieces of all styles for the PDT Student Composition Concert and is working toward becoming a professional choreographer.
Lacey Krause- Apprentice Teacher
Lacey has been a student of dance for 15 years having studied Ballet, Irish, Pointe, African, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Graham, Modern, Hip-Hop and Breakdancing. She has performed featured roles in the PDT Repertory productions of "The Nutcracker" including the Moore, Arabian, the Nutcracker and she has danced both Snow and Flowers. She has had lead roles in "The Best of Pottstown Dance" and "New World" and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She has performed as an apprentice dancer with Melange Contemporary Dance company and will be traveling to Greece with PDT to perform in 2020. Lacey is planning to apply her dance training toward a career in physical therapy.
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.