Cristen Pennello
 
is a full-time Dance instructor at Union City High School, where aside from teaching, she runs an after school dance company, coaches the dance team, and choreographs the musicals. Cristen was the head dance instructor at Mercer County Performing Arts High School for three years, and was also an adjunct at Middelsex County College for four years. She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Montclair State University, as well as her Masters of Art Degree in Dance Education from New York University. Cristen has performed with various companies within the tri-state area, as well as in Montescuidaio, and Castiglioncello, Italy, and she is proudly one of the founding members of moe-tion dance theater. She is so grateful for her moe-tion family, as well as the love and support of her family and wonderful husband.

Photo by Maureen Glennon

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Rachel Brown holds a BFA in Dance and a BFA in Acting from Montclair State U.  She is a proud founding member and rehearsal director for moe-tion.  Her life as an actor, dancer, choreographer, and educator keeps her busy.  Rachel’s choreography has been presented in NYC, schools throughout NJ, and professional theaters throughout NJ and NH.  She is adjunct dance faculty at MSU and Kean U. as well as a faculty member/judge for Groove National Dance Competition. She is also on staff with Broadway Artists Alliance in NYC working alongside Broadway artists and Tony Award Winners. As always, for Grandma, who loved to watch her dance...  On 9.23.16, Rachel became Mrs. Behrens and now her heart dances every day! You and me...we're in a club now.

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Elly Mandarakas is a founding member of Moe-tion Dance Theater.  Elly holds a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University, Level III certification with Dance Educators of America and is certified with Pilates Association International.  Elly has performed with the NJ Ballet Company, Albano Ballet, Montclair State University Repertory, Freespace Dance, Giada Ferrone, Maxine Steinman, Mare Nostrum Elements and continues her performing career with NYC based companies Alternative Arts Association and Salma Allam.  Elly continues to study and demonstrates weekly for NYC's great Ballet Teacher, Graciela Kozak.  Some memorable recent performances include Hannah Rolfes’s PottyTime, Giada Ferron’s A Contemporary Nuttcracker, Drawing Democracies at Pratt University Brooklyn, NY and Salma Allam's Lost Goddesses at Studio 80 Sculpture Grounds Lyme, Conn. 

Bryan Matland is a graduate of Montclair State University where he earned a BFA degree in Acting while completing minors in both Dance and Musical Theatre.  Other training includes 18 years of Tae Kwon Do, and 3 years of gymnastics. Post college credits include: Freespace Dance, June 2002 - January 2004, September 2006 - present; moe-tion dance theater, 2008 - present; Norwegian Cruise Lines (dancer) February - October 2004; My One and Only (ensemble), national tour, February - April 2005; Six Flag’s Great Adventure, The Spirit of the Tiger (dancer), May - October 2005; The Giver (Asher), National Theater for Arts and Education, January - May 2006. Bryan would like to thank all his family and friends for their continued love and support!

Rachel Miranda is a founding company member of moe-tion dance theater. She is a graduate from Rutgers University and holds a Masters of Education in Dance Education. Prior to this, Rachel graduated summa cum laude from Montclair State University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Arts in English Education.  While at MSU, she performed works by Jose Limon, Alwin Nikolais, Alexandra Beller and Lonne Morreton.  She is currently the dance educator and program director at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, NJ where she implemented and grew the dance program over the past eleven years. She teaches Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary and Musical Theatre Dance. Rachel's choreography credits include: Rent: School Edition, The Secret Garden, Legally Blonde, Annie, Robber Bridegroom, Bye, Bye Birdie,The Addams Family, Urinetown, Little Shop of Horrors, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Fiddler on the Roof. She is a certified instructor for Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, which is a certification program designed to make dance accessible for students with special needs.  Rachel has a deep interest in the benefits of an integrated dance education for today’s 21st century learner, young dance artists and students with special needs. Rachel is also certified in Pilates through STOTT Pilates and teaches at various studios throughout New Jersey. Rachel would like to thank her family, her husband, Chris, and her daughter, Gabriella, for their continued love and support.

Cristen Pennello received a B.F.A. in Dance from Montclair State University and her M.A. degree in Dance Education from New York University.  While at MSU, she received extensive training in Ballet, Modern and Choreography and she performed works by Alwin Nikolais, Pat Graney, Freespace Dance Company, and Nicole Smith.  She has performed with various professional dance companies, such as NYC Hip Hop Company From the Ground Up, and is a founding and current member of moe-tion dance theater, where she has learned so much about the process from her incredible director, Maureen Glennon.  She is the co-Artistic Director of Solo Danza, a modern company she founded in 2013 with her friend and colleague Amanda Papa.  Cristen spent a summer studying, creating, and performing in Montescuidao and Castiglioncello, Italy.  She was a guest choreographer and has also taught as an Adjunct for a number of years at Middlesex County College.  C risten was the Head Dance Instructor at Mercer County Performing Arts High School from 2006-2009, and since 2009 she has run the dance program at Union City High School where she has also choreographed a number of musicals, including The Wiz, Pippin, West Side Story, Urinetown, In The Heights, & Xanadu.  In the spring of 2013, Cristen created the very first New Jersey High School Dance Festival for NJ High School Dance Programs. This has become an annual state festival, and for her work with the festival, she was presented with the very first Jeté Award, given by Dance NJ in June of 2013.  She is so grateful for her moe-tion family, as well as the love and support of her family, and wonderful husband and twins, Sofia & Anthony.

Danielle Ramon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University.  During her time at VCU she performed works choreographed by Daniel Gwirtzman, Scott Putman, and many of her peers as well as showcasing her own work.  While studying to complete her degree, outside of VCU Ramon performed as a company member with rva dance collective under artistic directors, Jess Burgess and Danica Kalemdaroglu.   Currently, Ramon is a company member with moe-tion dance theater and teaches at Dance Exposure II.  Ramon is also a certified Pilates instructor. 

Alexandra Williamson is a graduate of Montclair State University, holding a BFA in Dance and Minor in Musical Theater. She is the recipient of the Dance and Theater Department's Service Award.  Alexandra performs with Jennifer Chin, Darrah Carr Dance, moe-tion dance theater, and DiMauro Dance Company.  She has toured nationally and has danced on the TODAY Show and Good Morning America.   Alexandra teaches Horton technique at The Performing Arts School at Bergen PAC, Steffi Nossen, the Joffrey School, the School at Steps, and Steps on Broadway.  She also teaches at Hofstra University and Union County College. Alexandra is Pilates certified and teaches throughout New York and New Jersey.   Instagram: @alexandra_dances

Photography by Anthony Johnson/Narratography, Love Imagery, Chris Santarella, Rich Schaars, Yi/Chun Wu

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