Miss Courtney is an alumnus of St. Joseph’s University, received a masters degree from Immaculata University in 2003 and is a certified school psychologist specializing in child development and educational strategies. For over 18 years, Miss Courtney served as a professional educator at Paul VI High School, in addition to being appointed their Performing Arts Department Chairperson and Theatre Director and Choreographer. She has mentored countless students whose achievements are now seen performing on Broadway, The West End, The NFL and NBA and major network television and movie studios. In 2005, she initiated the resurrection of the Paul VI Dance Team. As the head coach of their Varsity and Competition Teams for over 15 years, Miss Courtney set and cultivated the team's standard of excellence, creating and maintaining the reputation of this award winning team. A former Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader and Head Coach of the St. Joseph's University Dance Team, Miss Courtney began her training at the Bowman School of Dance, later training at the University of the Arts, supplemented by an extensive choreography mentorship with Suzy Zucker. She has been performing and instructing for over 30 years, in addition to choreographing and directing over 50 productions for theatre companies and high schools such as Camden Catholic High School, The Broadway Theatre of Pitman, The Ritz Theatre, The Forrestburgh Playhouse in New York and The Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia. Miss Courtney has appeared on ESPN and was also featured on ESPN’s 2002 “The Year in Sports." Miss Courtney has won many awards for her choreography and direction and her work has been featured numerous times at the NJ Teen Arts Festival representing Camden County for Excellence in Musical Theatre and Drama. The Next Stage Dance Company, under her direction, has ranked first overall at many dance and talent competitions. Miss Courtney is proud to be the founder and artistic director of Project Dance, a dance festival celebrating the benefits of dance education in schools. In her most important role of being a parent herself, Miss Courtney truly understands and cherishes the honor of having the opportunity to pass on her passion for dance and its benefits to the children of our Next Stage Dance families.
Miss Courtney offers private lessons in dance and acting instruction and audition prep to students ages 10 to adult. She also sets choreography for competitions and performances.
Kenny “Clutch,” a beloved Project Dance choreographer, will be reuniting with Next Stage Dance as our Intermediate and Advanced Hip Hop teacher in Mt Laurel for our 2023-2024, bringing his talent and expertise to Next Stage! Kenny is a prominent figure in the world of hip-hop dance. A member of Face Da Phlave Entertainment, he founded his own company, Da Clutch Entertainment LLC, which gained recognition on the East Coast through dance competitions and TV appearances. Alongside his success in dance, he is a respected playwright, crafting theater pieces with powerful messages inspired by real-life experiences, tackling issues like drug and alcohol awareness, gang awareness and peer pressure. Committed to preserving hip-hop culture and discovering hidden talent, Kenny founded Clutchfest, an annual event honoring Hip-Hop dance Legends/Pioneers and Creators, and initiated the Battle For Your Life: Street Dance Competition. In 2015, he became the studio director of Millennium Dance Complex Philadelphia, a prestigious commercial dance studio with branches worldwide. The following year, he and his wife founded The Level Dance Complex, a top-ranking school in South Jersey for Hip-Hop Dance Education.
Ballet, Jazz, Pointe
Linnea began her dance education in her hometown, Newark, Delaware with Mid-Atlantic Ballet. Linnea graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree as a Dance Major from The University of the Arts in 2016, with honors and an Artist’s Merit Award Scholarship. She has had additional training in classical ballet as well as multiple styles of dance with: Central PA Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Ballet Austin, The Rock School for Dance Education, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, Secret Circus Philly: School for Contemporary Circus Arts, and was invited to dance with BalletX and Pennsylvania Ballet in 2015. Linnea joined has been dancing professionally with SHARP Dance Company of Philadelphia since 2013.
Jasmin is an Italian dancer and teacher. She began her path in dance through ballet following the academic program of the Royal Academy of Dance of London by obtaining her advanced degree in ballet. She subsequently obtained the National Diploma as a ballet teacher with the CSEN (Italian National Educational Sports Center). In 2019 she began a new academic path at the musical academy "MTS- Musical! The School" in Milan where she had the opportunity to refine not only other dance styles such as musical theater and jazz, but also other artistic disciplines such as singing and acting. In the same year she participated in The BLUEPRINT Summer Intensive (classical and contemporary dance circuit) with the Peridance Capezio Dance Center in New York. Finally, Jasmin is also an Aerialist specializing in Lyra Hoop and earned The National Diploma of aerial acrobatics instructor 1st lev. (Lyra, Silks, Trapeze, Hammock and Rope) with CSEN. Accustomed to being on stage since childhood, Jasmin has performed in many productions as a classical dancer. Credits include: "Swan Lake" , Sleeping Beauty”, "Don Quixote" with Style Dance Company and also for “Opera Studio Molise” productions like “Don Giovanni” and “Barbiere di Siviglia." In addition, Jasmin was a member of the ensemble for the film/ musical “Pippin” produced by “MTS Musical! The School " and in the ensemble for the musical" Hair "organized by" MTS Entertainment " with " Compagnia della Rancia ." She also starred as "Esmeralda" in the musical "Notre Dame de Paris" organized by the “Tre Torri” Association . In 2021, she joins DDWECO, the “Drum Dance Women Company” based in Milan.
Ryan grew up in South Jersey and started his dance training at the age of three, having trained in all styles. He spent many years as a student performing on countless competition stages before graduating in 2013. He attended Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and received a Bachelor's Degree in Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management in 2017. Tap has always been Ryan's true passion, and he feels so grateful to be an educator who shares his love of tap with younger generations. He always strives to challenge his students and watching them shine on the stage brings him so much joy. Ryan continues to stay updated in the industry, including being hand-selected for a closed professional tap workshop in NYC with tap icon Jared Grimes. He also received a full scholarship to DC Tap Fest from this workshop from world-renowned tap icons and creators of the Syncopated Ladies tap group, Chloe and Maud Arnold. Ryan is excited to join the Next Stage Family!
Company Director, Acro, Modern, Ballet
Wren is a transmasculine dance artist and educator from Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Wren has been trained in multiple styles of dance for 20+ years, including ballet, acrobatics, postmodern and contemporary dance. He received his BFA in Dance from Temple University and was awarded the “One Last Dance” Award for his dedication throughout his time at Boyer. As a teacher, his main goal is to make those that he interacts with feel supported and encouraged. By using Piaget’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, they approach every new student with an open mind and creative solutions that help young dancers achieve their goals of feeling comfortable and expressing themselves onstage. He finds importance in connection, and support, in learning the language of dance. Being trained by and performing with educators such as Diane Sharp, Timothy Early, and Dara Meredith, he has learned the importance of connection between peers within a classroom, strong foundational technique, and good classroom etiquette as well as a positive attitude towards others and themselves. When he is not teaching, they are working on freelance dance projects to promote inclusivity, positivity, and freedom within the dance and LGBTQ+ community, as well as performing with SHARP Dance Company in Philadelphia.
Lyrical , Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop
Maria DeFeo has been dancing since the age of three, studying at different schools in the South Jersey and Philadelphia areas before finding her home at Next Stage. She has trained in various dance styles and techniques including ballet, pointe, tap, hip hop, modern, and jazz. She graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High School in 2020 and spent a year training on the Saint Joesph’s University Dance Team before finding her way to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she currently studies dance with plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2025. Maria has studied under a variety of professional performers, including former members of Pennsylvania Ballet, Complexions Ballet, LINES ballet, and Philadanco!, as well as current Broadway performers. Maria is thrilled to be a part of the Next Stage Staff, and is looking forward to helping her students learn and grow in their love of dance.
Private Lesson Dance Team Coaching, Competition Solo Choreographer
Claire’s dance journey began at the age of three in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Hip Hop. She spent several years dancing competitively as a Next Stage dancer and as a member of the Paul VI High School Competition Dance Team under the direction of Miss Courtney. She attended the College of New Jersey where she earned her Masters degree in Elementary Special Education. She currently a first and third grade resource room teacher. She was a member of the College of New Jersey dance team for three years and competed in the UDA College Nationals in both Pom and Jazz. She is very excited to continue to be a part of the Next Stage staff and to help young dancers grow their love and passion for dance.
Tara trained and competed for The Adams Dance Academy and South Jersey Dance Center. Currently, she is pursuing a BA in Dance, a BS in Environmental Sciences, as well as a minor in Biology at Rowan University, where she is also part of Dance Extensions Contemporary Dance Company. Tara is the Vice President of Hoofers Club and is also a College Apprentice for The Lady Hoofer’s First Company. Some notable awards include winning 3rd place overall at Believe National Talent competition in 2021, in addition to receiving the 2022 Rita Hamilton Memorial Scholarship in Dance.
Early Childhood Dance
Natalie started dancing at a very young age training at various studios throughout South Jersey. In addition to dance, she participated in many theater productions and attended acting school in Philadelphia in her early years. She began teaching and choreographing for school and studio recital productions in her teenage years. She was a member of the Cherry Hill West Dance Team, earning multiple state and national championship titles. Natalie continued to pursue her love for dance on the basketball court as a member of the La Salle University Dance Team in college while earning her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. She was a member of the Philadelphia Rugby’s Vixen Dance Team in 2013. Natalie has an extensive history of teaching early childhood dance education for ballet/tap, as well as jazz and hip hop. Natalie is a full time Registered Dietitian Nutritionist when she is not dancing, and is also a busy mom of three. She is very excited to join the Next Stage family and can’t wait to share the joy of dance with young her students.
Andrea Mychaels is returning to Next Stage Dance for season 15! Miss Andrea has been immersed in the theatre and live production business as an educator, choreographer, vocalist and dancer for more than 20 years. She earned her MFA at Texas Woman’s University, Ed.M. in Dance Education at Rutgers University and B.A. in Dance at Stockton University. She has been an Adjunct Professor at several universities teaching Jazz, Tap, Modern and Ballet as well as directing and choreographing for Dance and Theater Department Productions.
Mychaels has performed throughout the country as a dancer, vocalist, and choreographer in places such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, New York and Branson. She has worked with Shawn T. (Hip-Hop Abs/Insanity), International Award winning Neo-Burlesque Troop "The Peek-A-Boo Revue" (as seen on America's Got Talent, season 5), the New Jersey Nets Dance Team, Kathy Sledge, Taylor Dayne, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and The Trammps, and was the Director and Choreographer for the Philadelphia Soul (AFL) Dance Team in 2011.
Mychaels is the recipient of three “Outstanding Choreography” awards for her Choreography at various East Coast Regional Theatres and ICCA, a National Acapella Competition. After being picked as a finalist in the 2012 Jazz Dance World Congress International Choreography Competition, she started her own dance company the Andrea Mychaels Dance Project in October, 2012. AMDP continues to be successful in providing performance opportunities for dancers and creating an entry point into the art of dance for a diverse population of youth through the company’s Educational and Community Outreach programming.
Early Childhood Dance
Kara started her dance training in South Jersey at age three. She continued her dance education through high school and continued to perform during and after college, currently performing for Collingswood Theatre Company. She is an alumna of the Paul VI high school dance program, where she performed in the musicals and was a member of the dance team, both under the direction of Courtney Daniels. Kara is an experienced preschool teacher and caregiver of young children. She is currently earning her Masters degree in early childhood education. She is honored to share her love of dance with our youngest Next Stage students.