Tracy Cottrell began teaching dance classes at the age of 15, with a focus on preschool and acrobatics instruction. She taught classes at a local dance school for 6 years, while attending Morgantown High School and West Virginia University. After graduation from WVU with a degree in Business Administration, Tracy moved to Pittsburgh where she worked for KPMG Peat Marwick and became a Certified Public Accountant. While living in Pittsburgh, she taught tap and jazz at the Pittsburgh Dance Academy. Tracy returned to Morgantown in opened her own dance school, Tracy’s Dance Company, in 1993. She operated her own studio for 6 years, teaching all genres and age levels. She sold her dance school in 1999, and became a 4th grade teacher at Easton Elementary in Morgantown. Tracy is now the Assistant Principal at Eastwood Elementary School. This is her third year teaching at Morgantown Dance. She has 4 children, ages 14, 19, 24, and 28. She enjoys weight lifting, running, hiking, kayaking, dance fitness classes, and traveling.
Cambrie Decker is so excited to return for her fourth year of teaching at MDS! Cambrie has been dancing in the genres of jazz, contemporary, tap, theatre, modern, and ballet since age 5 and is currently studying Dance and Business at West Virginia University. She has performed in numerous productions for both dance and musical theatre, with some of her favorite roles being the Snow Queen in The Snow Queen, the Sugar Rum Cherry in The Jazz Nutcracker, the Magic Carpet in Aladdin for WVPT, and Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde. Cambrie’s love for choreography sparked after winning MBC’s Young Choreographer’s Initiative in 2017. Her favorite piece to date, “The Smallest Light,” was inspired by cancer fighter Neva Grace Knight and won Mohigan Idol 2018. She recently choreographed Morgantown Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors (2021) and is looking forward to choreographing The Music Man in fall 2021. Sharing the art of dance and creating alongside the incredible students at MDS is such a joy for Cambrie, and she is excited to continue.
Tyler is native to the wild and wonderful hills of West Virginia. He received his BA in Dance from West Virginia University, where he extended his training in ballet, modern, jazz, and contemporary techniques. While at WVU, Tyler has danced in main stage productions as well as performed at the American College Dance Association Mid-Atlantic South Conference, West Virginia Dance Festival and abroad in Guatemala. Additionally, in 2019, his choreography was chosen to represent WVU at the West Virginia Dance Festival. In his studies, he trained with such professionals as Yoav Kaddar, General McArthur Hambrick and Maureen Mansfield-Kaddar, and has worked with guest artists such as Lawrence Jackson and Doug Varone. Tyler has attended multiple intensives studying modern technique with Doug Varone in New York. Tyler has taught for the past 5 years at Steppin’ Out School of Dance in LaVale MD as well as Morgantown Dance Studio in WV.
Miranda Gaensbauer is a native of Morgantown, WV. She began dancing at the age of 3 and has been fortunate to train with teachers such as Robyn Naugle, Erin Alvarado, and Terrill Mitchell growing up. While in college and graduate school, she continued her training largely with Angela Dennis as a member of Alchemy Dance Project while also taking classes with Yoav Kaddar and Renee Nicholson through the West Virginia University Dance Program. After graduating from West Virginia University with a masters degree in aerospace engineering in 2015, she has been working at the NASA Independent Validation and Verification facility in Fairmont, WV. She enjoys teaching in her spare time and is very excited to be teaching at Morgantown Dance Studio this year!
Andrea Gilreath has been active in the WV dance community for the past 36 years; as both teacher and performer. She returns to MDS as faculty having instructed young dancers for the past 12 years at various studios in Morgantown. She is certified in multiple disciplines and leans heavily on her experience and enthusiasm for dance to inspire the youngest dancers to reach far beyond their potential. Andrea was an original member of Alchemy Dance Project modern dance company and Morgantown Ballet Company in Morgantown, WV dancing the past decade in countless ballets; including the lead as “Aurora” in Ashley Manzo’s 2011 modern dance reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty ballet. She continues to study ballet, modern, jazz and contemporary dance styles. When not in the classroom, she can be found performing with Tinkered Dance; a collective inspired by life in Appalachia.
Madison Hoke is from Fairmont, West Virginia. She is an alumnus of The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. In San Francisco, she participated in work by choreographer Yuri Zhukov, from the San Francisco Ballet.
From 2013-2015, Madison was a member of Ensemble Batsheva under the direction of Ohad Naharin. During this time, she also created two pieces Batsheva Ensemble Creations.
After her time in Batsheva, from 2015-2019, Madison worked with Roy Assaf Dance Company, and Eyal Dadon of SOL Dance Company. She has had the opportunity to perform and teach work from all three companies, both in Israel and around the world. Madison has had the pleasure to work as rehearsal assistant and re-stage works of Roy Assaf and SOL Dance Company. She participated in many freelance projects, including Ohad Naharin’s BOLERO with dancer Natsasa Navotna, works by Ido Gidron, and choreographers Guy Shomroni and Yaniv Abraham.
Madison is also a certified Gaga teacher. She has taught Gaga in Israel, Russia, America, and China, as part of The New Beijing Dance Festvial. Her most recent creation, ‘Not,’ premiered in February 2020, performed by the students of West Virginia University. At present, Madison continues to teach, as well as, create work of her own.
Mr. Holt began dancing at the school of the Hartford Ballet. At sixteen, Mr. Holt was offered an apprenticeship with the Hartford Ballet Company where he performed soloist roles in !The Nutcracker” and began learning the Balanchine repertoire. His professional training includes The Dance Theatre of Harlem School, the School of American Ballet and the School of the San Francisco Ballet, all of which he attended as a scholarship and stipend student.
Mr. Holt”s professional career includes the San Francisco Ballet, the Richmond Ballet, the State Ballet of Missouri (now Kansas City Ballet), Ballet Met in Columbus Ohio and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Mr. Holt joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in1990 and was featured in works such as Choo San Ghoos!#”In the Glow of the Night,” “Beginnings” and “Configurations,” as well as the Balanchine works !La Sonnombula”, Balanchines “Nutcracker” and !Allegro Brilliante”, and contemporary ballets including Sir Kenneth McMillan”s !Elite Syncopations”, Lynne Taylor- Corbetts “Gottschalk”, Lisa de Riberes “The Mighty Casey”, and Alvin Ailey’s “The River”. While a member of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Mr. Holt taught ballet classes throughout the greater Pittsburgh area at such schools as the Laurel Ballet, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Ballet Baroque, Rodgers School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. He was on staff for two years at Point Park University and
was ballet master for five years at the Western Pennsylvania Performing Arts Company in Vandergrift, PA. Mr. Holt became the Artistic Director of the La Roche College Dance Department in January 2001 until May 2010. In June of 2010 Mr. Holt returned as Principal Ballet Instructor for Sandra Lynn School of Dance. During this time, from June
2010 to May 2013, Mr. Holt also served as ballet instructor for the Father Ryan Arts Center under the centers director Ms. Pat Moran, and program co-ordinator Ms. Staycee Pearl. From May 2014 to June 2017, Mr. Holt was the Director of Curriculum and Ballet Master for Impact Dance Center, which was a new pre-professional dance center headed by
colleague Cherie Cox Habian in Monroeville, PA. Currently, Mr. Holt is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Mid-Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Company, which he founded with colleague Miriam Scigliano in April of 2008. Mr. Holt
returned to Point Park University in 2013 as an adjunct ballet and pas de deux instructor. Mr. Holt worked as a guest choreographer for Seton Hill University Department of Theatre and Dance starting in 2015 and was hired as an adjunct ballet technique instructor and choreographer in the spring of 2017. Mr. Holt is principal ballet instructor for Pennsylvania Academy of Dance in Sewickley PA. Mr. Holt recently taught as a guest ballet instructor for
Morgantown Dance over the summer of 2020! Mr. Holt is a member of the United Steel Workers Union Chapter 1088 and is currently the Union Steward for the part time dance faculty of Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts.
Courtney Kline began her journey at Morgantown Dance Studio in 2006. Since then, Courtney has performed in many productions including Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, The Snow Queen, and many more. Additionally, she has been a part of the Foundations’ program since 2015 when becoming a student assistant. During this time, Courtney assisted with ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and acro.This will be her first year as a Foundations’ teacher and she will be teaching ballet. Courtney is a freshman at WVU and is studying Human Nutrition and Foods in hopes of becoming a Sports’ Nutritionist. Aside from dancing, Courtney enjoys golfing and skiing in her free time.
Mollie Mock Kaufman, originally from West Virginia, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts in ballet and jazz. Upon graduation Mollie moved to Chicago and trained on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio: Home of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and as a summer apprentice with River North Dance Chicago. Mollie then went on to spend five seasons with Thodos Dance Chicago where she had the opportunity to tour nationally and internationally, was a master teacher for the company, and had two of her collaborative works, “Reflect” and “Exurgence” become part of the company’s repertoire. During her time at Thodos she had the privilege of performing works by Founder and Artistic Director, Melissa Thodos, Bob Fosse, Ann Reinking, Ron De Jesus, Lucas Crandall, Lar Lubivach, Brock Clawson, among many others.. While in Chicago, Mollie also worked with Kai Harding Productions, doing film work that has premiered at Film Festivals all over the nation. Mollie performed on Holland America Cruise Line through Stiletto Entertainment. She has taught extensively at studios in the Chicagoland area, Pittsburgh, and throughout the state of WV, along with teaching master classes on the intermediate, collegiate, and pre-professional levels. She has been on faculty at Point Park University’s International Summer Dance and Dance Masters of Pennsylvania, Chapter 10. She is currently a master teacher for the convention, AMBITION, and an adjudicator World Class Talent Experience.
Ashley Marie Manzo began her dance training at Monica’s School of Dance in Fairmont, WV. Her family moved to Illinois where she studied with various studios and danced/competed High School Dance Teams. Ashley went on to be a graduate of Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville with a Bachelors of Sciences Degree in Theatre & Dance. During her 4 years at SIUE, Ashley participated in faculty shows, student productions, danced in rep by the MidAmerica Dance Company and was President of the University Dance Organization. She found her true passion in college, which was choreographing. Ashley received the FOTAD Scholarship and Provost Fine Arts Scholarship… her choreography “Whisper to a Scream” was chosen for the Faculty Choreographers Award and was presented at the American College Dance Festival. In school, Ashley studied a variety of dance forms including Graham, Horton, Release, contact improv and Laban. While at MDS, Ashley has choreographed for several shows including: The Nutcracker, Snow Queen, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, and directed her original works of A Sleeping Beauty and Romeo & Juliet. in 2014 her choreography performed by Jack Thompson “An Ode to the Human Transformation” rewarded Jack with the Jerry Rose Scholarship at the WV State Dance Festival. Ashley is also a FitTour Certified Modern Pilates Teacher and teaches Pilates/Core classes around the Morgantown area. She also created Marie Manzo Photography specializing in photographing dance. Apart from dance Ashley is an AST Certified Surgical Technologist and a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant at Regional Eye Associates. Ashley resides in Morgantown with her husband Beau and son Oliver.
Hunter began dancing at the age of 3 in a variety of genres before specializing in Irish Dance. Hunter competitively Irish danced for 6 years at the Quinn School of Irish Dance in Kalamazoo, Michigan where she competed across the country, winning many titles and advancing to the Open Championship level. She danced there until she came to West Virginia University in 2014 and tried out for the WVU Irish Dance Team. She was part of the team for 2 years before she became the team captain. While at WVU, she studied abroad in Ireland at University College Cork, where she worked very closely with professional Irish dancer Margaret McCarthy. There she had the honor of performing at many locations across Ireland, including Blarney Castle and for Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla at an Irish-British relations dinner in Dublin. Hunter graduated from West Virginia University in 2021 with Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Business Administration degrees. When she is not teaching, Hunter works as a pharmacist in the Morgantown area. This will be Hunter’s 5thyear teaching Irish Dance at Morgantown Dance Studio.
Marcy Bowers Mossburg is a cum laude graduate of Point Park University where she was a Golden Key scholarship student. She has a BA in dance with a concentration in Ballet. She was a five-year dance faculty member at West Virginia University, where she also served as the Artistic Director and Principle Choreographer for the WVU Ballet Ensemble and Director of the children’s preparatory program. Marcy spent four years teaching at the Russell School of Ballet in Chantilly, VA. While in Virginia she choreographed for the Fairfax Ballet. She has been a guest choreographer and taught master classes throughout WV. A former member of the Morgantown Dance Studio faculty, she currently resides in Bridgeport, WV where she teaches for the Annabel Timms School of Ballet.
Laurel Plitnik, a sophomore at Frostburg State University, first came to MDS when she was six weeks old being held in her mother Desiree Witt’s arms, and had been dancing and doing productions since. Her dance training has primarily come from Morgantown Dance Studio, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Louisville Ballet. Laurel was a member of the Morgantown Ballet Company for four years before she started focusing on her loves of musical theatre and plant science. Laurel has participated in numerous ballets and musicals, including Cinderella (as Cinderella), Snow White (as Bashful), Peter Pan (as Tiger Lily and Nana), The Little Mermaid (as Ariel), Thoroughly Modern Millie (as Millie), Elf Jr. (assistant director and choreographer), and more Nutcracker’s (and roles in them) than she can count! Alongside teaching ballet and private lessons, Laurel also teaches piano and voice lessons to people of all ages. Her favorite part about teaching is when she can spark a dedicated and effortful attitude in all of her students.
Ashley Schifano has trained at Mindy’s School of Dance, AW Dance Company, West Virginia University, and Broadway Dance Center. Ashley has won numerous awards through dancing and choreographing. She is currently the head coach for the Westwood Middle School majorettes. Locally, Ashley was a majorette and varsity cheerleader in both middle school and high school. Ashley earned her B.A. in Dance from WVU in 2018. During her time at WVU she completed two different internships with Disney World in Orlando, Florida. While in Orlando, Ashley trained at Spotlight Dance Center. Ashley has also trained with the Radio City Rockettes for five years. In 2021, Ashley earned her Master’s in Elementary Education, at WVU.
Deborah Liberatore West is a graduate of WVU with an undergraduate degree in Physical Education and Masters Degree in Special Education. She is a member of Dance Masters of America – certified by tests (written and oral) to teach dance. She has attended many dance conferences/conventions with instruction from many professionals including: Charles Kelley and the late Danny Hoctor. She is a former dance instructor for Virginia Chittum at the Virginia School of Dance and has taught tumbling through the Monongalia County Community Schools. She is the former dance instructor/sponser for the Steppin’ Stallions – a dance group at South Middle School. She is also a tap instructor for the “Motown Strutters” – a senior tap dance group.
As resident Director for Community Productions and Artistic Director at Northern West Virginia Dance Council, choreographer Desiree Witt has set Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, The Snow Queen, The Nutcracker, The Jazz Nutcracker, and The Wizard of Oz as ballets in and around the Tri-State area. With over 32 years of teaching experience, Ms. Witt holds a B.S. in Music Education and an M. Ed. in Dance Education from Frostburg State University.
Starting her own musical theatre camp entitled Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance Musical Theatre Workshop, Witt has worked extensively performing, directing, choreographing, producing, and/or music directing over 100 productions in various forms from choral music, musicals, ballets, plays, to variety shows. She most recently produced, directed, and choreographed “Songs for a New World” for Allegany High School and music directed and choreographed “Camelot” for The Embassy Theatre, both in Cumberland, Maryland.
She was an honored Poetry Out Loud judge for the Maryland State Arts Council in 2021, past Vice-President of the Cumberland Choral Society, a member of MENC and MMEA, and holds a Maryland State Teaching certificate for Music K-12. She has had certification in Vaganova Levels I-VI through John White, Irina Kolpakova, and the late Jurgen Schneider. Ms. Witt supplemented her training at Ballet Theatre of Annapolis, Point Park University, and with Madame Darvash in New York City.
Ms. Witt’s ballet students have been placed in prestigious schools and companies such as The Joffrey Ballet, School of American Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (Schenley Park), Point Park University, North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School.
In her home studio she trains dancers for the future of the dance world and has even choreographed for a previous title holder of Miss West Virginia for The Miss America Pageant.