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INSTRUCTORS

Classes at January's are led by a gifted group of professionals dedicated to working closely with students and to broadening their creative horizons. Our instructors bring a wide range of perspectives and talents to the studio, and are passionate about what they do.

January Wolfe

Artistic & Managing Director, Academy of Arts at January's, 1986-present

Director, Choreographer, and Writer, JADCO Contemporary Dance Company, 1991-present

Artistic DirectorJanuary's at Chase Park, 2003-present

Artistic and Founding Director, Mid-Atlantic Dance Initiative and Performance Lab, 2020-present

January is known throughout West Virginia as the creative energy and spirit behind the Academy of Arts at January's and JADCO Contemporary Dance Company. January's Academy of Dance opened to students in the fall of 1986 in a rental building on the West Side of Charleston. By 1988, the school was growing, and January was hiring additional teachers as well as renovating the rental space to accommodate more dancers. Over the next few decades, January would employ more than 100 teachers and work with thousands of young people. In 2003, she bought the 9,000-square-foot historic Freeland Furniture Building on Tennessee Avenue, and began an enormous renovation to make the 1920s-era building the new home for what is now the Academy of Arts at January's.

In 1995, January formed JADCO Contemporary Dance, a dance company that would perform original works addressing the interests of and issues faced by young people. Also during the 90's, many Charlestonians came to know January as the Founding Director and face of two of the most successful children's arts camps in the state - Camp William at the University of Charleston and the Charleston Stage Company Summer Arts Camp at West Virginia State College. Under her leadership, the Charleston Stage Company Summer Arts Camp was recognized as an Outstanding Arts Organization in West Virginia.

January's latest arts endeavor has been to start a regional dance festival. Her idea was simple: bring as many college professors, master teachers, professional dancers, and guest artists as possible together to create a healthy environment where everyone can learn from one another and grow as artists. In its first two years, the Mid-Atlantic Dance Initiative ("MADI") has collaborated with 185 young dancers and, with help from the City of Charleston and the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, has awarded almost $28,000 in cash awards and summer scholarships to young dancers aged 9 to 21.

January is also the author of four children's books, titled Meeting VioletCapturedFinding Boots, and Second Sara. In 2016, Second Sara was chosen as a juried artist book at Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia. Each of the four books has also been fully adapted for the stage and performed live. Three of the books have an original score accompanying the story and all four have companion lesson plans and teacher guides for use in schools.  Feel the Rain, also written by January, was performed in 2019 to an audience of almost 4,000 school children, JADCO's largest audience to date.

For 36 years, January has worked diligently to promote the importance of the arts in the lives of children. She is devoted to enhancing and broadening children's awareness of how they can benefit from being directly involved in the arts and how they can make the world around them a more accepting, nurturing, and wonderful place - one where we can all live, work, and succeed in all we dream to do and all we dream to be.
Dorothea Hereford
Co-Director, JADCO Contemporary Dance Company
Ballet, Pointe
Dorothea has studied dance at the University of Kansas, and Oregon. She attended Lane Community College's dance program in Eugene, Oregon on scholarship where she was a teaching assistant for ballet. She has attended all major dance conventions, teachers seminars with Dance Educators, David Howard, Robert Christopher, Vaganova, Florida Dance Festival, Gus Giodano, Jazz Workshop & World Jazz Congress and Lea Darwin's Jazz Intensive for teachers. Dorothea has taken classes with the Kansas City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Eugene Ballet and spent summer vacations in New York City taking classes at ABT, Luigis, Phil Black's, Don Fornsworth's, Ronnie DeMarco's, David Howard's to name a few. In Charleston, she has studied with Helen Cox Schrader, Andre Van Damme and Nina Denton.
Stacy Holliday Mitchem
Tap
Stacy began her dance experience at the age of three under the instruction of January Wolfe.  At the age of thirteen she became an assistant to January and then joined the teaching staff at seventeen.  Though her passion if for tap, Stacy has taught various styles of dance to all ages in the past.  She has taken classes around the country under several of the industry’s top tap dance instructors, like Mike Minery, Mark Goodman, Lisa Hopkins, Ted Levy, and Barbara Duffy.  Her students have been accepted to the selective summer intensive program at New York Stage Original’s Tap Kids for three years running.

Stacy and her husband Rob currently reside in Charleston with their daughter Addison and their son Alex.  Stacy is excited to be returning to January’s for this coming dance season and will be teaching advanced tap.

 

Brianna Hickman
Children's Programs
Ballet, Modern, Adult Ballet and Contemporary
Brianna Hickman is a Charleston, WV-based dance educator and choreographer. She teaches at the Academy of Arts at January’s, with Capital High School’s Dance Company, and at In the Spotlight School of Creative Dance. Brianna is also the proprietor of ABC Dance, a dance education organization bringing creative movement classes to children of all ages at their schools and daycares. She trained at Oglebay Institute School of Dance, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, and West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she completed a minor in dance, a bachelor’s in arts administration, and a master’s in business administration. She danced the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and the Jaguar in The Rainforest with Virginia Civic Ballet. She also performed with Allegro Dance Company and JADCO Contemporary Dance Company. She participated in summer intensives with American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Austin, as well as numerous festivals including West Virginia Dance Festival and American College Dance Festival.
Kelly Reese
Managing Director, January's at Chase Park
Director of JADE - January's Academy Dance Ensemble
Administrative Director, Mid-Atlantic Dance Initiative and Performance Lab
Jazz, Modern, Tap, Ballet, Children's Programs
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Kelly began dancing at the age of three, training with different studios in the area including January's and performing with the Charleston Light Opera Guild.  At Poca High School, she continued her love of performing by being a part of the Show Choir, the Marching Band's Color Guard, and the Dance Team. Kelly graduated from WV Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Dance and Musical Theatre minors. In college, she was part of the Theatre Department, Dance Company, and Dance Team, in which she held the Captain position her senior year. 

 

Kelly has been a teacher at January's for over 13 years, with experience in all levels and disciplines of dance. She has directed and choreographed multiple dance shows including Alice in Wonderland, Polar Express, Peter Pan, and Friend Like Me. Kelly is also a 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and continues her dance education through teacher trainings, festivals, and her membership with Dance WV.

Haven Cottle
Hip-Hop, Jazz, Children's Programs
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Haven Cottle grew up dancing at Images of Dance Studio in Lewisburg, West Virginia. She has trained at multiple studios across the United States including the Dawn Meyer School of Dance in Ohio, the Pacific Dance Center in California, and the Broadway Dance Center in New York. She has trained extensively, competed, and performed in all styles of dance, including Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Acrobatics, and various styles of Ballroom. Haven graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, WV, where she was a member of the dance team. Upon graduation she became the Marshall University Dance Team coach for the following three years. She judges for multiple competitions, including the On Point Dance Competition, On Stage America, and StarQuest international. She currently teaches at several studios in the state and travels the East Coast teaching master classes and workshops.
Lacy Hughes
Hip-Hop, Lyrical

Lacy has an Associate's Degree in Applied Science and an American Sign Language certification. She has staged work for the WV Bollywood Benefit Show, Children's Theater of Charleston, George Washington High School's Flag Corps Team, The Boy's and Girls Club, Danse Elan's Summer Arts Camp, WV Culture Center's Arts Camp, and for churches and daycares around Charleston. Lacy has performed professionally with Trielement Dance and Synergy, was a company member for JADCO Contemporary Dance Company and performed with Charleston's FestivALL, Star Systems National Talent Competition, Dance USA, and DTI (Dance Troupe Incorporated). Lacy currently teaches recreational programs at January's including Hip Hop, Lyrical, and Children's Programs. 

Ashley Olson
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Ashley started dancing at the age of ten in Rexburg, Idaho, where she grew up. She was a part of competitive teams from ages of 14 to 18, and during these early years of dance, she developed a love for choreography and decided to pursue dance education as a career. Ashley received her Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. During her years at UVU, she performed with a variety of groups, including Synergy Dance Company, and took part it many technique and choreography classes.

 

At UVU, Ashley was able to work with many talented professors and professional choreographers. She had the chance to expand her knowledge of dance technique in hip hop, jazz, ballet, ballroom, modern, and contemporary. She began teaching in dance studios in Utah, and later moved to Iowa, teaching there for four years. Ashley has taught and choreographed competition groups for five years, and has received many 1st place awards, along with many judge's choice awards, including a choreography award. She has also attended dance conventions in the midwest where she learned from professional choreographers. Ashley recently moved to Charleston, and is excited to spread her knowledge here. She loves helping others build their passion and technique in the art of dance!  

Kayleb "Kay" Jones
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Kayleb “Kay” Jones is a 20-year-old Dancer/choreographer based out of Charleston, WV. He has been studying since the age of 10, training in modern, ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary. As a young dancer, he started in the dance scene as a competition dancer, competing with solos winning many regional and national titles, in West Virginia, Ohio and the region. His biggest achievement as a young dancer was being awarded “ Mr. V. I. P.” In Sandusky, Ohio. 

Mr. Jones currently is a freelance hip hop/ Jazz-funk choreographer for many studios throughout the state as well as continuing to perform with local pop and R&B artists. Kayleb continues to train as a dancer and choreographer traveling to New York and LA studying with renowned choreographers in the commercial and hip hop scene. Choreographers such as Will “ Willdabeast” Adams, Hollywood, Anthony Thomas, Janelle Janestra and Dana Foglia, all of whom have worked with such artists as Janet Jackson, Usher and Beyonce.

Kathi Curtis
Ballet, Pointe, Variations
Children's Programs
Kathi is a lifelong dance educator and choreographer as well as an experienced television writer and director.  She began her serious study of dance at the Atlantic Foundation for the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where she was chosen to participate in the highly selective Professional Training Program directed by Ruth Petrinovich. As a teen, Kathi joined Illinois’ semi-professional Springfield Ballet Company. There she performed soloist and principal roles in Nutcracker, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty and Orpheus and Eurydice. Kathi was awarded scholarships to study ballet in premier schools such as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Interlochen Center for the Arts. While Kathi has taught and choreographed since she was 17, she also pursued a secondary career in television production. She is an award winning voice-over artist and producer/writer/director. These careers combined have given her 30 plus years of experience teaching and training performers for dance performances, television productions and musicals. While living in Northern California, she founded and directed the pre-professional dance company, Diablo Dance Theatre. Her students received the highest honors and special recognitions at regional dance competitions. Several of her students have gone on to become dance majors in college and professional performers and dance educators themselves. Musicals that she recently directed and choreographed have broken records with sold out performances and received critical acclaim from local media. These productions won numerous awards and nominations from the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild. She has been enriched as an educator by teaching in prestigious dance schools in Illinois, California and Rhode Island. She is thrilled to share her love and passion for dance education with the students at the Academy of Arts at January’s. Kathi holds a B. S. in Communication with a Dance Minor from Millikin University and an M.A. in Media Studies with an emphasis in film from Northern Illinois University.
Christina Johnson
Modern, Contemporary, Hip-Hop
Christina Lavinia Johnson, born in Baltimore MD, received her BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. During her studies, she had the pleasure of performing in works by Nathan Trice, Reggie Wilson, William Forsyth, Christian Von Howard, Scott Putman and many more. In the summer of 2014 she was able to work closely with Terence Marling, director of Hubbard Street 2, and Meredith Dincolo at Hubbard Street Chicago Dance Intensive. Since receiving first place in Season 1 of RVA Has Talent in 2013, she has been inspired to create works mixing all artistic disciplines to explain biblical teaching that unite the world. In her junior and senior year at VCU, she took Children Pedagogy courses as well as a Teaching Methods course giving her a deeper desire to want to teach after graduation. With much excitement to help the new generation, Christina continues to push her technique and ability to enhance the growth of all ages while sharing the passion of dance with others. 
Katie Jo Fulks
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Katie Jo Fulks is a performer, choreographer, arts administrator, and researcher originally from Huntington, West Virginia. She currently dances with the West Virginia Dance Company. A graduate of Elon University, she holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a BA in Arts Administration. Katie has performed works by Gerri Houlihan, Donald Laney, Christal Brown, Toneta Akers-Toler, ShaLeigh Comerford, Casey Avaunt, Jen Guy Metcalf, and in Elon musical theater’s production of 42nd Street. She performed with Theatre West Virginia in 2021 and returned in 2022 as dance captain. As an arts administrator, she focuses on event management, marketing, social media management, and grant writing. Her research focuses on Soviet Union ballets and the use of ballet choreography as political propaganda. Website: katiejofulks.com
Shelby Nelson Burcham
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Shelby Nelson Burcham is a dance artist and educator born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. While earning her BFA at The University of the Arts under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield, she worked with artists such as Helen Simoneau, Andrea Miller/Gallim Dance, Bobbi Jene Smith, Netta Yerushalmy, Sidra Bell, Paul Matteson, Jesse Zaritt, and Katie Swords. Shelby has performed at The Performa 19 Biennial, ISSUE Project Room, Center for Performance Research, Fertile Ground, and FEAST: A Performance Series. Notably, she was featured in the film 'Aviva,' directed by Boaz Yakin and choreographed by Bobbi Jene Smith. She currently shares her time choreographing and teaching between Marshall University and other local youth companies, with a focus on making the performing arts more accessible for Appalachians.
Joshua Sweeney
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Joshua Sweeny received his BA at Point Park University. He trained at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Joshua danced for six seasons with Bodiograpahy Contemporary Ballet and was a guest artist with several companies including Attack Theatre and the Eglevsky Ballet. Mr. Sweeny received his MFA in film and digital technology at Chatham University. He provides event photography and videography services and is an independent filmmaker.
Jesse Tidquist
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Jesse Tidquist started her dance training at the age of four at the Academy of Arts at January’s, and danced there for over 10 years. Afterward, she danced with the Charleston Ballet, performing soloist roles. She joined the Ballet Theatre of Maryland from 2009-2011, performing soloist roles in ballets by Dianna Quatto and William Christiansen. She continued her training in Philadelphia under Christopher Fleming and his company BalletFleming, performing in ballets such as Janis and Joe, Gaspar: A Pirate Fantasy, and Tapas. 

Jesse taught ballet and pointe classes, staged ballets, and performed at Burklyn Ballet Theatre every summer from 2010-2019. While there, she performed many principal roles in classical ballets staged by Helen Starr (Louisville Ballet), Arthur Leeth (Boston Ballet), and Thom Clower (Ballet Ensemble of Texas), as well as soloist roles in contemporary works choreographed by Sarah Tallman (Wonderbound) and Maria Konrad-Reach (master teacher/judge for Youth America Grand Prix, Director of Nashville Ballet 2). 

She danced with New York State Ballet from 2017-2020, performing as Mina in Dracula, the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and soloist roles in ballets such as Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Gershwin & Gatsby, and Dancing with Duke Ellington. She has recently returned to Charleston to help continue furthering the arts in her community, coaching and teaching many gifted students. 
Robert Royce
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Mr. Royce began his ballet training at Greensboro Ballet in Greensboro, NC at the age of ten. He continued to study at the North Carolina School of the Arts under numerous teachers, including Gyula Pandi, Mellissa Hayden, and Duncan Noble. During the summers away from NCSA, Mr. Royce attended summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, and School of American Ballet. At the age of sixteen, Robert moved to New York to study under Richard Rapp and Stanley Williams at School of American Ballet.

Mr. Royce danced professionally for Cincinnati Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Ballet Theater of Maryland, and the newly formed BalletFleming. During his career Robert has performed principal and soloist roles in Nutcracker, Serenade, Dracula, Spring Waters Pas de Deux, Tommy, along with many others.

Mr. Royce has served as Ballet Master and a staff teacher for Alabama Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, BalletFleming, and Burklyn Ballet Theatre. Robert has been training and coaching professional and student dancers for the past 20 years and has worked on many classical ballets including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and Graduation Ball. He has students who are currently dancing for a number of professional companies across the country. As a choreographer, Robert has received the 2001 Viewer's Choice Award in the Scotsman for his Cinderella at the Edinburg Fringe Festival and a four-star review for The Little Mermaid in 2011, both with Burklyn Ballet Theater. 

Mr. Royce has many ballets that he has created for numerous companies. These ballets include Carmina Burana, Dracula, and Marriage of Figaro -- to mention a few. 
Kara M. Duncan
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Kara Duncan is a Radford University graduate with degrees in elementary education and dance.  Kara has taught ballet, tap, jazz, Broadway dance, and children’s movement locally for over 20 years. She studied dance under Nina Denton-Pasinetti, artistic director of Ballet and Musical Dance Theatre Arts and the Appalachian Youth Jazz Ballet Company.  She credits her love, passion, and inspiration for dance and dance instruction to Miss Denton. Kara has performed in numerous musicals with the Charleston Light Opera Guild, including Grease, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, Company, and The Music Man. She is currently a second grade teacher at Kanawha City Elementary School and has two wonderful sons -- Ryan, 22, and Bradley, 20. 
Candice Bunch
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Candice is a dancer, teacher, actor, choreographer from the Ashland, Kentucky area. She has been immersed in the arts - namely dance - since she was a 2-year-old. She danced locally in the Ashland and Huntington areas through her school-age years. She also spent over 20 years on stage in various roles performing and choreographing musical theatre productions.

Candice has more than 20 years experience teaching ballet, contemporary, and musical theatre in the Lexington, Ashland, and Huntington areas. She has also spent 9 years in the public and Montessori schools teaching art, music, and general studies to elementary grades K-6.
Nash Dawson
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Nash Dawson is originally from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he began dancing at the age of 16 with Jaclyn Trepanowski at Turning Pointe School of Ballet. Nash holds a BA in Dance as well as a BFA in Musical Theatre from West Virginia University. While in school, Nash performed works by Paul Taylor, Doug Varone, and Maureen Mansfield Kaddar. Following graduation, Nash joined the West Virginia Dance Company under the direction of Toneta Akers-Toler and is currently in his second season with the company.

Rotating Instructors

Leah Copley Summers
Director, Teays Valley Mini Troupe
Ballet, Pointe, Children's Programs
Leah Copley Summers has taught ballet for the past 24 years.  Leah studied with Dr. Mary Marcuzzi, along with many others as she attended pre-professional programs.  Leah graduated Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education at Marshall University in 1991.  After receiving her degree, Leah began her career as a ballet teacher, choreographer, and artistic director, with the River Cities Dance Company.  She served as director for thirteen years working with both Marshall University and Shawnee State University to provide arts to the area community.  Leah also worked as adjunct faculty at Marshall University and served on the faculty of the WV Governor’s School for the Arts during her time in the Tri-State area.   After moving to Cary, North Carolina Leah continued her career with the Cary Ballet Conservatory for 8 years where she worked as full-time faculty creating original story ballets and concert pieces.  Moving to Lexington, KY Leah worked with the Bluegrass Youth Ballet and later became the founding director of the LDF Ballet Academy.  Leah’s greatest achievement has been the success of her students.  Leah’s students have gone on to study at prestigious arts school and continued on to careers as professional dancers, teachers and choreographers.  Leah is now happy to be joining the staff of Academy of Arts at January’s.
Jamie Roumayah
Jamie is the Director of Danse Élan, a professional dance education company.  She began her career in dance education in 1988 and received her ballet, tap, and jazz certification in 1992 through Dance Masters of America.  She was a studio owner in Michigan from 1997 to 2003 when she moved to Charleston, West Virginia.  Jamie is a teacher of ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe, hip hop, musical theater, tumbling, and various specialty classes.  

 

Jamie co-directed and choreographed the original ballet, “Thistledowne Faeries,” from 2004 to 2009 for JADCO Contemporary Dance Company and is currently working on another original ballet, “Chasing Butterflies.” She is currently on the judging staff for Reaction Danceforce (RDF) Competitions and has judged for Premier Dance Competitions and Pageants and Dance Masters of the Blue Grass.  She is also the Director for Charleston Stage Company’s Summer Arts Camp at West Virginia State University.  Her students have received awards and scholarships to various universities, conventions, and schools of arts all over the country.  Many of her students are furthering their dance careers as professional performers and dance teachers.  Jamie has choreographed events for the Livonia Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and was awarded a choreography award for the pointe work entitled “Chaplin-A Tribute to Charlie Chaplin.”  She is also the Director of “Dance Attack! Workshops” and conducting workshops nationally.

Jamie Roumayah currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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