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Staff & Faculty

Diane Matthews, Director

 

Diane began her dance training at the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, where she was awarded a full scholarship studying Ballet, Modern Jazz, Tap and Gymnastics for 10 years. She continued her education at West Chester University and the Philadelphia College of the Arts. Her professional background includes being one of the original members of Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) and a featured soloist with the Philadelphia Civic Ballet Company. Ms. Diane has been a dance instructor throughout the area for more than 30 years. During the past few years, in addition to directing West Chester Dance Works, our resident dance company, Diane has been teaching, performing and choreographing for various schools and organizations including West Chester University. She continues to broaden her dance spectrums by participating in various workshops and symposiums including Vaganova and dance medicine.

 

Candace Matthews-Bass, Assistant Artistic Director

Candace Matthews-Bass trained at the Diane  Matthews School of Dance Arts for 16 years, studying ballet, tap, jazz and tumbling. While at Drexel University, Candace was captain of Drexel’s first Dance Team and a member/choreographer with the Drexel University Dance Ensemble. She graduated with a BS in Psychology and went on to complete her MA at Eastern University.  Candace has danced professionally with Body Language Modern Dance Company, Freedom Theatre and West Chester Dance Works as both a corps and principle dancer for over 20 years. Additional performing includes freelance projects and contracted performances at colleges and sports venues throughout metropolitan Philadelphia. “Ms. Candi” is entering her 20th year as director of West Chester Dance Works’ dance team “DM Dance Machine” and serves as the Artistic Coordinator and choreographer for “Expressions of Praise”, the inter-generational dance ministry of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown. Candace has taught jazz and hip hop at DMSODA for over 20 years!

 

Melissa Threadgill, Head Teacher 

Melissa trained 14 years with the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts studying ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and hip-hop.  Through training under the guidance of Ms. Diane, Melissa began to experience the joy of teaching dance at the studio.  She was also the Artistic Director of the Pioneer Dance Company of Conestoga High School.  Melissa continued her studies at Virginia Commonwealth University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  While at VCU she expanded her training in improvisation, ballet, modern and contact improvisation.  She has previously been a member of West Chester Dance Works Signature Company, DM Dance Machine and Training Company.  West Chester Dance Works is additionally pleased to have Melissa as the West Chester Dance Works Junior Performers’ program director and Head Teacher at DMSODA leading our pre-elementary program.

 

Shareese Asparagus

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Shareese is a 2015 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Gerontology.  She is a West Chester native with strong ties to Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts. She joined the studio in 1996 and throughout the years participated in almost all of the various disciplines therein; ballet, jazz, tap, modern and hip hop.  Shareese was a member of the Junior Performers, DM Dance Machine and Signature/Training Company of the West Chester Dance Works. Among her highlights is as a performer in Rachel Harris; a featured story of a runaway slave, choreographed by Diane Matthews. Dance arts saturated home and church life as she formed a dynamic duo with her sister Aja, dubbed the “Asparagus Sisters”.  In addition  she danced in community based groups known as Joyful Praise, Diamond Girls and projects developed by herself and colleagues.  Miss Asparagus has been a summer assistant and instructor of Diane Matthews students. Dance has had a significant impact in her life, changing it, molding it, while also allowing her to share this passion with the world.

Christina Brown

Christina has been a dancer since the age of 11. She has been trained in ballet, tap, jazz, modern and hip hop. Ms. Christina has taught dance for over 25 years throughout Philadelphia, Baltimore and their surrounding suburbs. Additionally, her love of dance led her to operate her own studio for five years! After completing a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, Christina now works as a second grade school teacher in the Philadelphia School District continuing her love and education of children. Throughout her teaching career, Ms. Christina has developed recitals and productions for dance studios, schools, summer camps and after school programs. Ms. Christina is back with the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts after a recent return to the Greater Philadelphia Area.

Kelly Butterworth-Dhamo

A Long Island native, Kelly graduated from Adelphi University where she studied dance and psychology. She continued to earn her M.A. in Childhood Education with the Advanced Certificate in Special Education. Kelly has been teaching ballet, tap, modern dance, contemporary, and dance composition at various schools for 15 years, and obtained her New York State Dance Teaching Certification in 2014. Kelly was a dance educator at her alma mater, Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts (LIHSA), where she worked with gifted and talented students interested in pursuing a career in the arts, as well as coordinated a collaborative program that brought dance to students with special needs. Since 2011, Kelly has had the privilege of dancing professionally with companies including Patricia Kenny Dance Collection, Dance Householder, H.T. Chen and Dancers, and Jamal Jackson Dance Company. Having the opportunity to tour both nationally and internationally has made Kelly a better dancer, teacher, and person. This is Kelly’s fourth year as a teacher with DMSODA and West Chester Dance Works.

 

Rebecca Cupples (bio coming soon)

Alyssa (Konza) Novak

Alyssa has been dancing since she was three years old and ballet has been a major part of her life for over 25 years. She was trained in the Vaganova method of ballet at the Dance Center in West Chester, PA and performed in several shows throughout the West Chester area with their Brandywine Ballet Company of which she was a member for 7 years. Alyssa went on to graduate from Penn State University with her Bachelors of Architecture in 2010. While at Penn State she continued to dance, perform and teach ballet as a member of Vole, Penn State’s student run ballet club. Since returning to West Chester, Alyssa has taken classes at Koresh in Philadelphia and has now found a home at Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts. Alyssa believes good dance training is a valuable experience that has a positive impact on all aspects of life, and she is excited to pass along her passion to her students.

 

Elizabeth (Lyle) Malchon

Liz has been educating students in dance and choreographing for more then a decade. She currently teaches at a number of dance studios around the Philadelphia area. During the summers Liz has taught dance as the head teacher at North Penn YMCA’s summer camp. Liz has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Eastern University. She has performed in and choreographed for many of Eastern’s dance concerts; her pieces included A Part of My SoulUnfaltering Drive!Paresthesias, Beautiful Human and What Remains?. Liz had the opportunity to perform in pieces by Eastern University’s professors such as Stephen Welsh’s Under the Microscope in 2009 at the Community Education Center in Philadelphia, and Dr. Karen Clemente’s Return Again in 2007 at Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance State Convention. Liz has danced on the Redefined hip-hop dance team at Eastern, and has also attended the American College Dance Festival Association in 2009, 2010, and performed in 2011. Liz is a former company member and choreographer for the modern dance company MM2. Her piece for MM2, Post-Emergence, was performed at the 2010 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and Philly Fringe Preview Show. After college she started ECdanceCohesion where her choreography was accepted and performed at the Koresh Artist Showcase, InHale Performance Series, ETC Performance Series, Jam 4 Jess Benefit Dance Concert, SpringUP Dance Festival, Cabaret Nights with the Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange, and Artistry Unfolded. Liz has taught guest master classes around the Philadelphia area and at In Motion Dance Company and Moravian College. She has had the opportunity to judge for That’s Entertainment Performing Arts Competition, as well as choreograph for dance competition teams where her pieces have won a number of special awards and choreography awards. Liz takes great pride in passing on her knowledge and passion of dance to her students to inspire them to discover their own voice in the dance world.

Adrianna “Nikki” Matthews

Nikki has a long-standing training and performing background. She is a former student of the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts where is studied Jazz, Ballet, Modern and Hip Hop dance styles. She began teaching as a high school student specializing in our youngest dancers ages 3.5-6 years old. Nikki  has trained and performed with West Chester Dance Works’ Junior Performers, Dance Team, Signature/Training Company and Annointed Too (liturgical dance group) where Nikki was a youth leader and choreographer. Nikki is a junior at Penn State University majoring in Social Work with minors in criminology and sociology. Nikki is additionally the choreographer and director of Annointed Too with West Chester Dance Works.

 

Cassandra Rompala

Cassandra has been dancing for 18 years, with most of her training at the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts. Over the years, she has worked in the styles of ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, liturgical, hip hop, breakdance, house, and improvisation.  In addition to training at the studio, she has previously been a member of West Chester Dance Works’ Junior Performers, DM Dance Machine, Signature/Training Company, and Annointed Too. Cassandra graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2019, where she studied Psychology and Dance. In her spare time, she sat on the Board of Directors for the Pitt Dance Ensemble, and acted as Vice President of Pitt’s Hip Hop Dance Crew, “Controlled Chaos”. Additionally, she continued to develop her choreographic voice, and contributed multiple pieces for concerts of both organizations. Cassandra also worked as a Dance Department teaching assistant, and lead instructor for the Pitt Kids’ Saturday morning program, where she developed and executed movement-based lesson plans for both college-aged and 3-4 year old students. Cassandra is excited to be back at her second home, and to be working with the next generation of DMSODA students.

 

 

 

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Alyssa Konsza

Alyssa has been dancing since she was three years old and ballet has been a major part of her life for AK headshotover 25 years. She was trained in the Vaganova method of ballet at the Dance Center in West Chester, PA and performed throughout the West Chester area with the Brandywine Ballet Company of which she was a member for 7 years. Alyssa went on to graduate from Penn State University with her Bachelors of Architecture in 2010. While at Penn State she continued to dance, perform and teach ballet as a member of Vole, Penn State’s student run ballet club. Since returning to West Chester, Alyssa has taken classes at Koresh in Philadelphia and has now found a home at Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts. Alyssa believes good dance training is a valuable experience that has a positive impact on all aspects of life, and she is excited to pass along her passion to her students.

Elizabeth Lyleliz headshot

Liz has been educating students in dance and choreographing for more then a decade. She currently teaches at studios throughout the Philadelphia area including, head teacher of North Penn YMCA’s summer camp. Liz has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Eastern University where she performed in and choreographed for many of Eastern’s dance concerts; her pieces included A Part of My SoulUnfaltering Drive!Paresthesias, Beautiful Human and What Remains?. Liz performed in pieces by Eastern professors such as Stephen Welsh’s Under the Microscope in 2009 and Dr. Karen Clemente’s Return Again in 2007 at Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance State Convention.  Liz is a  former company member/choreographer of modern dance company, MM2. Her piece for MM2, Post-Emergence, was performed at the 2010 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and Philly Fringe Preview Show. Liz.s choreography showcased at the Koresh Artist Showcase, InHale Performance Series, ETC Performance Series, Jam 4 Jess Benefit Dance Concert, SpringUP Dance Festival, Cabaret Nights (Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange), and Artistry Unfolded. Liz has taught master classes around the Philadelphia area, at In Motion Dance Company, and Moravian College and has judged for That’s Entertainment Performing Arts Competition. Liz loves to instill a passion for dance in all of her students!

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Angela Masci

Angela Masci has trained with Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts since 1997. Over the years she hasangie taken various styles of dance including tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet and was on dance team right before graduating high school. In college, she took broadway style tap, as well. She returned to the studio two years ago after graduating college in 2014. She attended Neumann University, and West Chester University where she completed her bachelors degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. Angie always had a love for tap dancing ever since she first took classes with Miss. Bettie at 7 years old. She also took tap classes with Miss. Diane and trained with Miss. Tiffany for over 11 years. This is Miss Angie’s first year teaching tap at Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts and she is excited to show her students how amazing and exciting tap dancing truly is!

 

Jamal Matthews

Jamal is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School where he studied ballet, tap, jazz, and modern dance. Inspired with a passion for hip-hop that began early, Jamal has trained with some of the hottest hip-hop artists of today including Smart Mark (I am Phresh), the Les Twins (Beyonce’s back-up dancers), and Knucklehead from Street Kingdom, an Los Angeles based krump crew. Jamal currently performs with I’AM PHRESH , (hip-hop company of talented young local hip-hop dancers), Excalibur and Balance Dance Company. Jamal’s experience with Excalibur includes performances in the tri-state area particularly those for Sixers’ games and at the University of Delaware.Jamal is a well-rounded and versatile dancer who specializes in many styles of hip-hop dance. Jamal believes that every student has the potential to excel in at least one aspect of hip-hop dance. His goal is to bring each dancer’s strengths into every number. A creative and innovative choreographer, Jamal encourages his students while inspiring them with his enthusiasm and dedication. His teaching style includes lyrical hip-hop, popping & locking, old school, and krump. We are excited to have Jamal return to the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts for the upcoming year.

 

Alice Mount

1625539_901450313227125_2036391210839131525_n[2]Alice has been dancing since the age of four. She trained at B*Dazzled Dance Studios in York, PA under Priscilla Hoffman. At B*Dazzled Alice not only trained in dance but also on the administrative side of running a dance team and studio. Since moving to Philadelphia in 2011, Alice has continued her dance training by dancing and choreographing for InMotion Dance Team at Temple University and also served as their co-captain for two years and captain for one year. She graduated from Temple University in December 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Education. Alice continues to take dance classes at Koresh and Millennium in Philadelphia, along with attending various workshops and conventions. She is certified by Dance Teacher Magazine from the 14th, 15th, and 16th Annual Teachers Workshop hosted by The Pulse on Tour in NYC! Alice has been teaching dance for over ten years in York, PA and in Philadelphia. She currently teaches Hip Hop, Jazz, and Predance at Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts, Jazz and Hip Hop at Ovations Academy of Dance in Northeast Philadelphia, and coaches Adrenaline Rush Competition Dance Team in York, PA.

 

Kathleen Padgett

Kathleen Padgett graduated cum laude from Columbia International Kathleen headshotUniversity with her Bachelors of Science in Education. She trained in ballet, jazz, pointe, and tap at the former LeRoux School of Dance in Conshohocken, PA. Kathleen has 12 years experience teaching dance, as well as 2 years experience teaching 3rd grade. She has enjoyed choreographing pieces for various events for several organizations. Her passion for dance continues as she regularly participates in a local dance group and teaches at Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts.

 

Kristen Wilson

Motivator. Administrator. Creator. Dancer. Blogger. Kristen makes people’s kristenwilsonheadshotdreams become a reality. A former professional dancer, she’s danced nationally and taught in eight states to thousands of children and adults, including those with special needs. Her award winning choreography moves the audience to a place of awakening. She’s also performed lead roles in the plays: The Piano Lesson, Flyin’ West and has written several plays and productions. With a passion to see people’s dreams come alive, she markets, arranges, administers, and brings to life visions and plans in a practical way. Kristen is also a writer, blogging for mommy blogging websites as well as her own own blog (She Writes Him.) 

 

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