Meet our team!
FOUNDER & OWNER
Nicole Swope founded Centre Dance in 1991. She has been the owner and director ever since. (She is pictured here with some of her original company members).
Nicole began her dance training with Deborah Anthony at the Allegheny Ballet Company where she studied ballet, tap and jazz. Later she began teaching there and at other studios in the surrounding areas. After high school, she went on to attend Penn State University to major in journalism and minor in business. All the while, she continued to teach dance on the side. Upon earning her degree, she realized teaching the art of dance was her true passion, therefore, she decided to open the studio we have today.
Nicole engages the community by choreographing the opening/closing number for Centre County’s Outstanding Young Woman Program for over twenty years and by finding many charity performing opportunities for her dancers. She collaborated with Fuse Productions to co-produce and lead choreograph 'A Chorus Line' in 2014. Nicole is a certified member of Dance Masters of America, and this past summer, she completed the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Teachers Workshop. She travels with her competition team, AVID Dance Productions, where she learns from the top teachers in the country most weekends in the spring. All of these experiences culminate in continuing dance education to constantly improve her teaching and direction of Centre Dance.
Julie Berardi is the Owner and Artistic Director of Synergy Dance, as well as the Head Coach of the Penn State Lionettes Dance Team. Julie assisted with national's choreography for the Lionettes from 2011-2015 until August of 2015 when she was hired as the first ever coach for the program. Julie started dancing at a young age and received a highly technical and ballet-centered training at Oxford Center for Dance (PA) under the direction of Dina Gazzero and at Mid-Atlantic Ballet Company (DE) under the direction of Sara Taylor Neal. Julie is also trained in jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, tap, pom, kick and hip-hop. In 2001, along with the Blue Lake International Ballet Ensemble, Julie toured Europe starring in an original piece by Jefferson Baum and was chosen to perform the pas de duex from Don Quixote. Since graduating from Penn State where she earned a B.A. in Public Relations/Advertising, Julie was able to turn her passion for dance into a career in choreography and coaching for dance teams and studios across the country. She has choreographed for over 50 dance teams and studios over the past 8 years and earned multiple titles, top 5 finishes and choreography awards. Julie is the Owner/Artistic Director at Synergy Dance, a choreography company that specializes in competition choreography for high school, college teams and studios. It gives Julie great joy to work with dancers, helping them to reach their full potential and experience success!
John Daulby began his dance training when he was 11 and graduated from Centre Dance in 2008. After graduating high school, John attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2012. After completing his BFA in Dance Performance, John was on full-time faculty at the Grier School in Tyrone, Pa. In 2015, John moved to Tucson, AZ where he began his MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography. After completing his degree in 2017, John free lance taught around Pennylvania nd was on faculty at Centre Dance. Over 9 summers, John is the Head of Performing Arts at Independent Lake Camp, an elite summer camp held in Orson, Pennsylvania. Currently, John is the Tour Administrator for DanceMakers, Inc.
Breann Darkins is a sophmore at Penn State University studying Kinesiology and Health Policy Administration. Breann (from Ypsilanti, Michigan) has been trained in several genres of dance including jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, pointe’, african hit, step, and acrobatics over the course of 15 years (since age 4). She grew up dancing at LaShelle’s School of Dance located in Detroit, MI where she was a tap teacher for 4 years, was awarded the “Excellence in Dance” scholarship and earned a jazz intensive scholarship to The Edge Studios - Hollywood, CA in 2011. She also served as her high school dance captain/ theatre dance executive. Breann has performed for many productions including The Nutcracker and Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit. She has also participated in multiple summer intensives with NYC dance companies including Paridance, Capezio Center, Steps on Broadway, and The Ailey School. Breann now dances for Urban Dance Troupe, also titled “Penn State’s Best Dance Crew” and is very excited to join the Centre Dance energy!
Briel began taking ballet at the age of three and has been dancing ever since. After graduating from high school and Out of His Mind Dance in Johnstown, she went on to study Modern dance and choreography at Temple University. One of her works was selected for the American College Dance Festival Association where further selection placed the work in the regional Gala concert. After completing her B.F.A., Briel co-founded BodyFields, a multidisciplinary performance collective based in Philadelphia. Bodyfields performed regularly throughout the region including Festivals such as The Philadelphia Fringe and Akimbo. She went on to collaborate and perform with another dance group, Spiral Cracks, in Ithaca, New York while teaching and choreographing at Cortland Performing Arts Institute for The Nutcracker, recitals and dance competitions. Throughout all of this Briel continually studied yoga, which she began in college, and in 2017 she decided to take her study of movement one step further by traveling to India where she completed her 200 hour Yoga Teaching Certificate. She is currently working on her second yoga certification. Briel loves teaching movement, dance and yoga, to individuals from all walks of life, all ages and all levels. She is grateful to have landed here at Centre Dance and is looking forward to the year to come!
Amanda Ferrara trained at Centre Dance for fifteen years and competed with AVID Dance Productions for eight years. She earned a BS in psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was a member of the Pitt Dance Ensemble (PDE). With PDE, she was cast in numerous pieces and choreographed five production pieces and two small ensemble routines.
Briana is a first year law student at Penn State Law, and recent University of Central Florida grad. She is trained in styles such as tap, jazz, hip hop & Latin ballroom, and competed numerous years at a south Florida studio, as well as on her high school dance team. Briana's performances include Disney's Christmas Special, Miami Salsa Congress, Orlando Fashion Week, and the many other opportunities Knights and Damsels Dance Company provided for her during her time at UCF. Her recent choreography has been seen at UCF's Annual Dance Concert, Knights and Damsels Annual Showcase, as well as Central Florida's Dancing for Diabetes. Briana is very excited to bring her passion for dance to Centre Dance this year!
Ashley Helsel began her ballet training at the age of four. She attended the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania. Ashley attended Suzanne Farrell’s Summer Intensives in New York and Washington, DC from 2011-2013, as well as the 2013-2016 Ballet Magnificat! Summer Dance Intensives. Ashley studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the founding artistic director, Marcia Dale Weary from 2014-2016. While at CPYB, she performed in classical and neo-classical ballets such as Hansel and Gretel, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Coppelia, George Balanchine’s Emeralds, Ramonda variations, Western Symphony, and Serenade. During this time, she studied under Rafael Grigorian, Nicholas Ade, Amanda Edge, Alan Hineline, Darla Hoover, Daniel Ulbricht, Matthew Powell, Jonathan Stafford, and more. Ashley joined the Ballet Magnificat! Trainee Company in 2016 and toured through East Asia and Guam with the Events Company. She was promoted to Student Apprentice with the Alpha Company in August 2017 and to Company Artist in August 2018. Ashley has traveled with the Alpha Company to South Africa, Israel, and throughout the United States.
Vicki began dancing at the age of 5, studying acrobatics, ballet, tap, and jazz at the Wrayette School of Dance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Later, she studied at the Bill Bailey Studio of Dance and at Rosalene Kenneth’s Professional Dance Studio where she received a dance scholarship, competed, choreographed and taught acrobatics, tap and ballet. She served as the North Hills School District mascot for four years before graduating and attending the University of Pittsburgh where she competed on the women’s gymnastics team before earning her B.S. in Biology and Secondary Education. While pursuing her master’s degree at Penn State, Vicki taught and performed with the Penn State International Dance Ensemble. She now dances regularly with the Susquehanna Folk Music Society and continues to choreograph and teach various forms of dance in the State College area.
Michelle is currently a junior at Penn State studying Recreation, Park and Tourism Management. She began dancing at Centre Dance at the age of three and competed with AVID Dance Productions for nine years until she graduated high school. Michelle has loved growing up at Centre Dance and has a passion for sharing her love of dance with students today.
TARA & RON KAUFFMAN
Tara and Ron Kauffman live in State College with their three daughters Riley, Callie, and Fallyn. Tara was one of the original Centre Dance competition dancers and Ron is grateful that Centre Dance has given him the opportunity to share his passion for music and Hip Hop dancing. Tara and Ron teach at Gray's Woods Elementary School.
Katelyn Moss grew up dancing at The Dance Club in Orem, Utah, where she trained extensively in jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, ballroom and tap. During her time there she was awarded numerous scholarships and national titles through NYCDA, Nuvo, and The Pulse. At age seventeen, Katelyn became the youngest member of Odyssey Dance Theatre, a professional company based out of Salt Lake City. During her time with Odyssey, she performed the works of Mia Michaels, Dee Caspary, Travis Wall, Justin Giles, Jason Parsons, and Mandy Moore on stages across the country as well as in Germany, Turkey, and Switzerland. She currently travels with and assists Joey Dowling at NYCDA, and is excited to be a faculty member at Centre Dance.
TIFFANY GLAB MYERS
Tiffany Glab Myers studied various styles of dance at Centre Dance in State College, PA and the Institute of Performing Arts for Youth in Fairfax, VA since the age of six and was a member of the competitive team at both schools. Tiffany has been teaching at Centre Dance for many years and teaches a variety of classes including choreographing for the Avid Dance Productions competition teams. While attending Penn State as an undergraduate, Tiffany was a member of Orchesis Dance Company, an audition-based performing jazz/contemporary team, and choreographed several pieces for the members of Orchesis. She then returned to Penn State to pursue a master's of education and is currently an elementary school counselor in the State College School District in addition to teaching dance. Tiffany enjoys remaining a part of the dance world through teaching, attending competitions and shows, and experiencing the growth of her students and their passion for and enjoyment of dance.
Hope began dancing at 4 years old at Centre Dance. At 9 years old Hope joined Centre Dance's competition team, AVID Dance Productions. She has won many different scholarships at the many different competitions during the year that AVID attends. Hope is a senior in high school and plans to attend PSU in 2020. She loves to teach, choreograph, and perform all styles of dance!
Patrick has trained in a variety of styles at the Broadway Dance Center & the Alvin Ailey School in New York City. He danced for Bev Brown at the Alvin Ailey Theatre & holds the title of 2011’s Metro New Jersey’s Best Male Dancer. During the summer of 2012, he choreographed and toured for Anamaria Ferentz, a Romanian pop singer.
Megan Reese is a senior at Penn State studying Economics with a minor in Labor and Employment relations. She grew up dancing with Nicole and AVID Dance Productions and graduated from State High in 2016. She trained for over 15 years with Nicole Swope, and took classes from dancers like Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Tom Alexander, and many many more. Megan is thrilled to be a part of the Centre Dance faculty this year and is enthusiastic about sharing her love for the art with kids of all ages.
Ian Schmoke, from Altoona, Pennsylvania, began dancing at the age of 8 at Pauline Baker Rodgers School of Dance where he trained for 8 years in all styles of dance. He especially enjoys contemporary and ballet. In high school he furthered his training with the Allegheny Ballet Company and the Abby Lee Dance Company. Ian attended several conventions every year and got to learn from world- renowned choreographers like Travis Wall and Liz Imperio, where he won national scholarships to training programs all across the country. Shortly after Ian graduated high school in 2015, he booked his first professional contract as a dancer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. In 2016 after he finished his contract for Royal Caribbean, and began teaching at the Blair Dance Academy. Ian is currently attending Penn State studying kinesiology, and plans to move to New York in the near future to pursue his dream of dancing on Broadway.
Jessica Schulze is a current PhD student in chemistry at Penn State. She began her dance training at the age of 3 at Local Motion Dance Studio in South Jordan, Utah under the direction of Diane Hawker. During high school, Jessica became part of the Bingham High School Dance Team as well as continuing training at Local Motion Dance Studio. During her senior year, she began training at The Vibe in Lindon, Utah. At The Vibe, Jessica got the opportunity to perform in Vegas and in professional shows with Lindsey Arnold, Whitney Carson, Tanisha Belnap, Twitch, and more. She then went on to become a part of the Gettysburg Dance Team and was elected as a primary choreographer. Jessica later moved back to Utah and taught at Black Diamond Dance Studio in South Jordan, Utah. At Black Diamond, Jessica was the assistant director and was in charge of the top competition teams as well as many rec performing teams. Jessica has always loved to dance and she hopes to always keep it a part of her life by sharing her passion with others.
Kayley Swope began dancing at the age of 3 at Centre Dance. She participated in The Nutcracker and annual spring recital every year until high school graduation, and at 10 years old, Kayley joined Centre Dance’s Avid Dance Productions competition team. After graduating from high school, she began studying at Juniata College and joined Fluidity Dance Company, led by Jocelyn Hrzic, for one year. She teaches a variety of styles of dance at Centre Dance and other studios in central Pennsylvania. Kayley graduated in May 2015 as a premedical student from Juniata College where she was the treasurer and a choreographer for the Juniata College Dance Ensemble and a co-captain of the Juniata College Kickline Dance Team. Kayley recently graduated from Penn State College of Medicine in 2019 and is currently completing her residency at St. Margaret UMPC in Pittsburgh. She continues to teach for us in her free time.
Bayla Thompson is a current second year student at Penn State studying Neuropsychology. Her hometown is Atlanta, Georgia where she studied dance at a performing arts school. Under the academy she studied with Alvin Ailey apprentice, Lonnie Davis for her modern and jazz training. Additionally, she studied ballet with Noel Dupuis, an alumnus from the School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet Academy, Miami Conservatory and Martha Mahr School of Ballet. She has participated in a number of dance competitions both regionally ranked and nationally ranked. Bayla has done apprenticeships for modern companies and workshops around the Atlanta area, including the Project 7 Contemporary Dance Company. Bayla enjoys dancing and find a strong intrinsic love for what she does. She strives to push and encourage students and other dancers to be the absolute best they can be for themselves. In doing this, Bayla has also taken classes in Dance Composition, which is the study of teaching and cultivating the creative process behind choreographing. With this as her fundamental backbone to her motivations, Bayla holds strong beliefs to creative movement and fostering the love her students have for the art of dance.
Jill Wess has studied dance at Centre Dance since she was five years old and was a member of Avid Dance Productions for several years. She had a featured role in Fuse and Centre Dance's production of "A Chorus Line" in August 2014. She is a 2014 graduate of State College Area High School and recently graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Accounting in 2019. She was a member of Whiplash Dance Team at Penn State.
Andrea Young is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Arts with a concentration in Dance. Miss Young is also a graduate of Smeal College of Business where she received her Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain and Information Systems. During her time at Penn State, Andrea received Penn State’s Most Valuable Dancer and the Outstanding Senior Award. She also had her choreography adjudicated at American College Dance Festival Association. Since graduating, Miss Young has worked at The Grier School for 6 years in Tyrone, PA where she has taught all forms and levels. Teaching and performing all over the world is a dream of hers where she has been blessed to already start that dream. Andrea has traveled to Suriname, South America and Monterrery, Mexico in pursuit of that dream. Andrea was a proud founding member of Fluidity Dance Company under the direction of Jocelyn Hrzic and worked with August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble first as an apprentice and then as a guest dancer. Andrea has had the privilege of dancing in the works of the very talented Pascal Rioult, Jason McDole, Jon Lehrer, Kiesha Lalama, Kyle Abraham, Antonio Brown, Terence Greene, Maria Caruso, Christopher Huggins and Sidra Bell. She has performed at Chicago’s Jazz Dance World Congress, Pittsburgh's Jazz Dance World Festival, California’s Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival, and NYC’s Project Live in association with Project Dance to name a few. Andrea also enjoys working the behind the scenes and has done so as Managing Director of August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble. Miss Young is currently working as LehrerDance's Touring Manager for A&J Agency. She is excited to work with Centre Dance's talent this year!