the next stage dance &
drama academy


COURTNEY DANIELS (Artistic Director), 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. Since 2003, Ms. Daniels has been working as a full time teacher at Paul VI High School and serves as the Performing Arts Department Chairperson, the school musical director and is head coach of their award winning competition and varsity dance teams. A former Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader and Head Coach of the St. Joe’s University Dance Team, Courtney began her training at the Bowman School of Dance and then later studied at the University of the Arts. She has been performing and instructing for over 25 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 Forrestburgh Playhouse in New York and The Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia. Courtney has appeared on ESPN and was also featured on ESPN’s “The Year in Sports” in 2002. 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. Ms. Daniels’ dance team appeared at the 2011 and 2013 Orange Bowl in Miami and her dance company recently ranked first overall at Starbound, a national dance and talent competition. Ms. Daniels is proud to be the founder and artistic director of Project Dance, a dance festival celebrating the benefits of dance education in schools.

MICHELE DIEGEL (modern/jazz)
Michele 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 and is currently a member of the Project Dance staff. Miss Diegel currently is a full time dance teacher at Paul VI High School, coaches the Eaglettes Dance Team and is the assistant choreographer of the school musical. 


Colleen recently received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and a Bachelor of Exercise Science and at Towson University.  She first began dancing at the age of three under the instruction of Miss Kathy Henkel at the Kathy Henkel School of Dance in Sewell, NJ.  She started dancing in the Paul VI community as a freshman in high school, and soon after started training at the Next Stage Dance and Drama Academy in Barrington, NJ under the direction of Courtney Daniels.  In 2011, she restaged her original work “Sail” for the NextStage Dance Company.  She has also performed in a local South Jersey dance concert, Project Dance for the past nine years and choreographed for the concert from 2011 to 2014.  During her time at Towson, she studied with Vincent Thomas, Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Jaye Knutson, Runqiao Du, and Catherine Horta-Hayden.  She was a member of the Towson University Dance Company in Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 and had the opportunity to perform an original work by Christopher K. Morgan.

 This past year, Colleen served as treasurer for the National Honor Society of Dance and gained membership in the National Dance Education Organization.  In addition to her work in the dance field, she is completed an internship at the Joy Wellness Center at Shepherd’s Clinic in Baltimore and works as a physical therapy aide in Deptford, NJ.


Alexis began her dance training at the age of  four and later attended Paul VI High School, under the direction of Courtney Daniels,  where she participated in the reputable Project Dance program and was a valued member of the  Varsity and Competition Dance Teams. After graduating from PVI in 2013, Alexis attended Florida Atlantic University,  and was invited to be a member of their elite dance team for her four years there. During that time, her team earned the ranking of 8th for the national UDA title in Hip-Hop and  7th in in the nation for Team Performance at NDA. Alexis is currently a certified Kindergarten teacher and also is the Cheer/Dance Coach at a local elementary school. 


GABRIELLA YUDENICH (ballet/pointe)

Gabriella is a soloist with the Pennsylvania Ballet, is a native of southern New Jersey, Gabriella Yudenich began her dance training at the age of seven, with the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet. She also trained under the guidance of her mother, Barbara Sandonato, who was the first dancer hired to be a member of Pennsylvania Ballet in 1963. Ms. Yudenich attended the School of American Ballet under full scholarship for two years. She also completed summer sessions at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. She performed with Dances Patrelle in New York City, dancing soloist roles in the Yorkville Nutcracker. Ms. Yudenich performed with Pennsylvania Ballet in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew before becoming the first member of Pennsylvania Ballet II, the Joyce and Herbert Kean Trainee program. As a member of Pennsylvania Ballet II for two seasons, she performed in lecture demonstrations throughout the region, as well as in the Company’s full-length productions. She became an Apprentice in September 2003 and was promoted to the Corps de Ballet in September 2005. Ms. Yudenich has performed in many classical and contemporary ballets including Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Matthew Neenan’s Carmina Burana, and many pieces from the Balanchine repertoire. Her lead roles include Myrta in Giselle, Lilac Fairy and Precious Jewels pas de trios in The Sleeping Beauty. Ms. Yudenich was recently promoted to Soloist for the 2007-2008 Season. Ms. Yudenich is a true product of Pennsylvania Ballet history. Her mother, Barbara Sandonato, was a star member of Pennsylvania Ballet throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, and her father, the late Alexei Yudenich, was also a leading member of the Company during that time.


Adryan is a current member of Philadanco, began his dance training with Allyne Gartrell of Dallas Black Dance Theatre II in 2006. In May 2011, Adryan went on to receive his BFA in Modern Dance Performance with a Minor in Business from the University of Oklahoma under the direction of Derrick Minter and Austin Hartel. Adryan has had the opportunity to study with renowned artists and choreographers such as Alonzo King, Earl Mosley, Dudley Williams, Milton Myers, Troy Powell, and Mel Tomlinson. Adryan was a principal dancer in Fritz Ludin's world premiere ballet "Fractured Memories" as well as a featured soloist in Derrick Minter's tribute to Denise Jefferson. Adryan is a 2007 National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts winner in dance. He is also a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.


DuJuan is currently performing with the world renowed "Bad Boys of Dance,"  has appeared on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," and the 21 Pilots, "Holding On To You" video.  DJ began his training at the Fem Fatale Dance Studio in Oak Park, MI and the University of the Arts. Mr. Smart is well versed in ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap, hip-hop, African, salsa, contemporary, West Indian, ballroom and modern dance. He has toured in Germany, France and was mentored by Christopher Huggins in Italy. He has worked with Rita Mosley, Louis Johnson, Anthony Burrell, Scott Jovovich and Ron de Jesus and Arthur Mitchell, in addition to Nicole Burnette, Norma Fowler and Bruce Bradley.  

Some of his performance history includes Momix Dance Company, Junk and Eleone Dance Theater. He has received scholarships to train at Dance Theater of Harlem (NY), Edge Performing Arts Center (Hollywood, CA), The Ailey School (NY) and Tucson Ballet (AZ). Mr. Smart has participated in various competitions nationwide earning titles such as: 2006 ACT-SO national dance gold medalist, 2006 Urban Jamm well- rounded dancer of the year, 2007 Mr. Bravo dance winner, 2007 National Mr. Showbiz dance winner and 2007 NFAA jazz dance winner. He continues to study, perform, choreograph and teach around the world.

Andrea is a former coach of the Philadelphia Soul Dance Team. She found her passion when she began dancing at age 2.  Andrea has been teaching and choreographing for the past 20 years. She has performed both as a dancer and as a vocalist in Las Vegas and Branson, MO. She has worked with Kathy Sledge, Taylor Dayne, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and The Trammps. Andrea has choreographed for the New Jersey Nets Dance Team, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, “Dance is Life”, The Garden State Dance Festival and has won choreography awards for several theatrical productions. Andrea is also a dance educator at several area studios. Andrea encompasses all ranges of Modern, Jazz, funk and hip hop and turns it in to an aggressive style that is an energetic ride.


Erica is a graduate of The New School for Drama (Manhattan), Erica holds a MFA in Acting. During her time in New York, she studied acting, voice and speech, Alexander Technique, combat, dialects, classics and movement under the professional faculty at NSD as well as studying dance at the Broadway Dance Center. She earned her undergraduate degree in musical theatre and vocal performance from West Virginia Wesleyan where she studied modern dance, tap, ballet, pointe, and jazz. Growing up Erica was an active dancer, studying primarily at Anna Marie's Academy in Philadelphia and working as a member of the Elysian Dance Company of Philadelphia. She grew up knowing the importance of having strong fundamental basics and a love of movement. In 2004 Erica represented New Jersey at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City and on national television, receiving a non-finalist talent award. She continues to perform and study locally and regionally. Erica is currently performing for Disney Cruises. 

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