DANCE FACULTY

Jessica Lombardi

Jessica Lombardi brings years of performance experience to the classroom with professional credits that include Graziella in the European Tour of West Side Story, Anytime Annie in 42nd Street, Mitzi and Dance Captain in Crazy for You, and Texas in Cabaret. Other favorites include:  La Cage Aux Folles, Damn Yankees, Grease, and Little Women. Off Broadway, Jessica appeared in Marcus is Walking, Cotton Girls, The Brothers Menaechmus, Lives of the Great Waitresses, Spooktacular 2000, and The Great Debate.  She also danced the original choreography for PBS’s special of A Chorus Line with the Naples Philharmonic.  She choreographed and directed a mainstage production of Chicago for Otterbein College as well as dance sequences for Snow White and the 7 Dwarves for Cleveland Signstage.  She received her B.F.A. in Acting from Otterbein College.  In addition to teaching at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, Jessica runs the Dance and Musical Theatre Program for the Township of New Providence, choreographs and directs musicals for the New Providence Recreation Department and offers private “Broadway Intensive” lessons to local children who are pursuing professional audition experiences.

Nia Jackson

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Nia Imani Jackson was born and raised in New Jersey. She is a graduate of the Academy for Performing Arts in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, where she had the opportunity to work with many choreographers and teachers.  Nia was a member of the Freespace Dance Junior Company and The Well Performance Project. In 2013 Nia continued her dance training at Rutgers University where she studied dance and education. She received her BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts in May of 2017 and will be receiving her Master’s in Dance Education in 2018. Nia has worked with many choreographers such as Carolyn Dorfman, Brian Brooks, Sidra Bell, Camille A. Brown and more.

Along with working with various choreographers, she has also won multiple awards for her own choreography. Nia is one of the newest members of the hip-hop company, The Wannabes. Nia’s most recent performance with The Wannabes included performing at the World Of Dance Live show with contestants from the television show. In addition to performing, Nia is also a Yoga instructor. She completed her 200 hour Yoga teacher training through the Om Factory Yoga Center in NY.

Alyssa DiNapoli

Alyssa DiNapoli is a graduate of Montclair State University where she earned two Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Flute Performance with a minor in dance. She also holds a Master of Music degree from Rutgers University (MLIS). Ms. DiNapoli combines her training in ballet, jazz, tap, and modern styles along with her education, performance, and library experience to present original programs focused on movement, music, and literacy in libraries and schools. She currently teaches 3rd-8th grade vocal and general music and performs in professional and community theater, dance, and music productions. Ms. DiNapoli is a long time volunteer with the Montclair State University Preparatory Center for the Arts and maintains a private flute studio.

Kendall Klas

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Kendall Klas is a graduate of James Madison University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a minor in Dance. Additionally, Kendall holds a Master of Science degree in Social Work from Fordham University and is a licensed clinical social worker. Kendall danced competitively with Summit School of Dance and began choreography work in 2009. She has worked with Porch Light Productions in Glen Rock, NJ and choreographed multiple musicals in the Glen Rock and Millburn school districts. In 2012, Kendall was nominated for Best Choreography with the Metropolitan High School Theater Awards for her work in Grease at Glen Rock High School. As a dance educator and choreographer, Kendall believes in fostering confidence, improving self-esteem, and increasing understanding of movement and music through dance technique.

Lisa Kosak

Lisa Kosak, an alumna of WMC’s Musical Theatre Arts Department, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Centenary College. She has appeared with Theatre Next Door, Centenary Stage Company, and Infused Quirk Productions. She has participated in dance and acting workshops with Moe-tion Dance, Nimbus Dance Works Company and Parallel Exit. She served as junior and senior counselor for WMC’s Musical Theatre Arts camp from 2009-2013. Ms. Kosak will be teaching Pathways to Dance and Pathways to Musical Theatre, as well as serving as intern for the Musical Theatre Arts Company class.

Haley Yacos

Haley Yacos is a dance educator and choreographer who teaches in studios and public schools throughout New Jersey. She graduated from Montclair State University (MSU) with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Minor in dance. While at MSU, Ms. Yacos performed repertory work and trained in ballet, modern, jazz, and choreography. She had the privilege of teaching dance as part of Wharton’s El Sistema-inspired program, the Paterson Music Project, during the 2015-2016 school year. She has taught as part of Wharton’s musical theater summer camps for over 5 year and her choreography has been performed at Dumbo Dance Festival (Brooklyn) and Danceworks (Montclair). In addition to Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, Haley works one-on-one with students with special needs at Sawtelle Learning Center in Montclair. As a teacher she believes encouraging and challenging students to become empowered, aware, and joyful dancers.