Instructor Bios

Owner/Director

Lisa Joy Davis  was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, receiving her early training at the prestigious Ballet Western Reserve.  Although classical ballet holds a special place in her heart, Lisa has extensive training and professional performance experience in nearly all disciplines of dance.  During her 18 years at HRPAC, Ms Albright has choreographed, staged, and directed numerous full-length ballet productions, including classics such as Swan Lake, Coppellia, La Fille Mal Gardee, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, as well as original works including Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, and Beauty and the Beast. Lisa is an active and award winning choreographer who prides herself on her ability to connect with students and families individually, while passing on the disciplined tradition of the dance arts.  With over 20 years of teaching experience, her students have been accepted into prestigious college and professional programs including American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey, New York University, SLK Ballet School, SUNY Purchase, Pointe Park, Fordham University, The Ohio State University, and Oklahoma City University School of American Dance and Arts Management, to name a few.  Her students have danced professionally across the globe, on cruise ships, on Broadway, and in countless professional companies.  Many have gone on to become dance instructors or studio owners themselves.  Lisa prides herself on instilling passion, work ethic, dedication, pride, and self-confidence in her students.

Faculty

Julianne Cerreta,is a Hudson River Performing Arts Center alumni and is excited to be returning as a teacher! She holds a bachelors degree in Dance from Goucher College and is a certified ballet instructor by the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. Julianne has a well rounded dance education and has trained in an array of genres including but not limited to: ballet, jazz, pointe, musical theatre, tap, west african diaspora, and several modern techniques including Horton, Graham, Bartenieff, and Cunningham. She has been accepted into summer programs such as AAB, Joffrey, and in 2017 attended the ABT Collegiate Summer Intensive. Julianne has studied, performed, and choreographed in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and London, England. During her undergraduate degree she worked with several choreographers including Nicole Haskins, Rick Southerland, and Iquail Shaheed. She also served on the board of the Goucher Musical Theatre Organization and was a Dance Mentor for the Department of Dance. In the last several years Julianne has been an active dance and performing arts educator in both New York and Baltimore. In 2019 she was also employed by the Boston Ballet School as a Residential Counselor for their summer dance intensive. Julianne has a large passion for choreography and has created numerous works for both the stage and film. Some of her concert works include: an original evening length contemporary ballet, several ballet and contemporary pieces presented at Goucher College and the University of Roehampton, and pointe and contemporary pieces for HRPAC company members. Julianne also has a strong musical theatre background and has choreographed full length musicals such as Heathers: The Musical and Little Women the Broadway Musical for the Goucher College Center of Dance, Music, and Theatre. Additionally, she has choreographed and directed original numbers from musicals such as Chicago, Fosse, Mamma Mia!, and Bandstand. She is looking forward to sharing her passion with the students at HRPAC!

Rachel Hamdan, a native of Fishkill, NY, is thrilled to “come home” to HRPAC where she trained with current director, Lisa Davis, from the time it opened in 2002 until graduating high school in 2009.  During her time in the Hudson River Youth Ballet, Rachel performed in 4 full-length ballets, most notably as “Lise” in La Fille Mal Guarde and “Odile” in Swan Lake.  In 2007, she attended the Vassar College summer modern dance intensive and performed in works by Ellis Wood and Pascal Rioult.  After graduating, Rachel went on to earn bachelors degrees in both Dance and Psychology from Stockton University in Galloway, NJ.  She attended the American College Dance Association Conferences from 2010-2013 with Stockton’s Dance Company, and performed in the 2012 Northeast Regional Gala.  Rachel completed a ballet pedagogy course at Cygnus Creative Arts in Egg Harbor, NJ and performed with their adult company.  Rachel worked for the Stockton Performing Arts Center for several years, before returning to New York where she began working in Early Childhood Education and discovered her passion working with young children.  Now she is returning to her roots to teach Tutu and Tumble, Tapping Toes, Jazz/Tap, Lyrical, and Ballet.

Catherine Stabe has been dancing since she was 3 years old.  She has studied at Hudson River Performing Arts Center from 2006 until graduating from our program during the pandemic of 2020.  Catherine is attending Rutgers University for her BFA in Dance with a minor in business.  She will be attending Rutgers’ 5 year program so she can receive her teaching certification.  Catherine also enjoys going into NYC and taking classes at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway.  She has studied a variety of dance including classical and contemporary ballet, pointe, jazz and Fosse jazz, flamenco, tap and rhythm tap, modern, lyrical, street/commercial jazz and hip hop.  Catherine has been accepted into numerous summer dance programs including the NYC Joffrey Experience taught by Mia Michaels, Joffrey Ballet in New York, Joffrey West LA, Joffrey Miami, Joffrey Southwest Dallas, Joffrey NYC Character and World Dance Program, Joffrey Florence, Italy, and American Academy of Ballet (all on scholarship).  She was also accepted to The Rock School and Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory for their summer program, as well as their full year high school program.  Catherine attended the American Academy of Ballet 2015 Summer Intensive where she received Gold Award for AAB Performance Awards level 8.  In the summer of 2018, Catherine attended Broadway Dance Center’s Summer Intensive.  Catherine enjoys choreographing her own pieces as well as group pieces.  She has choreographed pointe pieces for Edwin Fion and his nonprofit organization Move and Dream, as well as choreographing all of the pieces for the classes she teaches.  Catherine has also choreographed a Broadway jazz piece for HRPAC’s Repertory Company.  Catherine is a very popular and loved teacher here at Hudson River Performing Arts Center.  She is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with others.

Amber Wirthmann Mann, a Hudson Valley native, began her dance training at the age of four, studying multiple forms of movement including modern technique, ballet, tap, traditional folk dance, Irish step, and Appalachian clog dancing.  She has danced professionally with The Vanaver Caravan for over 20 years, performing in prestigious theaters such as The Bardavon Opera House, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space on Broadway, Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, MA, The Rudolstadt Tanz and Folk Festival in Germany, and The Egg in Albany.  Amber has served as Instructor and Director for The Vanaver Dance Institute, bringing her passion for dance to children of all ages.  She has had the honor of being a Teaching Artistic in the Arts and Education programs for Rondout Valley, Beacon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and New York City School Districts.  Amber has been an Artist-in-Residence for the Vassar Summer Institute for the Gifted, teaching modern dance technique and dance history.  Furthering her dance education, she has attended the summer dance intensive at Manchester Dance in Vermont, tap classes during the New York City Tap Festival, ballet and jazz under the direction of the late Elizabeth Gottleib Geyer, former member of the New York City Ballet, and modern technique and ballet with Yoav Kaddar at SUNY New Paltz.  Amber has worked closely with the late Jane Sherman of the Denishawn Company to recreate “Legend of the Peacock” (solo dance choreographed by Ruth St. Denis in 1914), and proudly holds the bestowed title of Jane’s “Granddaughter in Dance”.  Amber has developed her unique percussive and modern dance technique, and love for choreography working with and learning from her mentors including Livia Vanaver, Nina Jirka, Sandy Silva, Amy Fenton-Shine, and Joel Hanna.  Amber is looking forward to bringing her love of tap to our dance family!

Past Faculty

Michele Ribble  Born and raised by showbiz parents, Michele is an award winning choreographer, master instructor, producer, and emcee, who has spent a lifetime sharing her vast knowledge of dance across America in the disciplines of classical and contemporary ballet, classical and street jazz, theater dance, rhythm tap, and all styles of tap.  She has choreographed for both stage and screen including:  assistant choreographer for the film “Beetlejuice,” HBO, Miramax, Circuit Productions, Hanna-Barbera, MTV, Kor Films, and several off-Broadway shows.  Michele has danced as a guest artist with the Kirov Leningrad Ballet, as a member of the NYC Classical Jazz Dance Company–Ronn Forella and the Second Century Dancers, as a featured soloist with the American Tap Dance Foundation, and is known as tap dance partner to Charles Goddert and the late Harold Cromer.  In demand worldwide for her choreography and unique teaching skills, Michele is constantly on the move sharing her talents anywhere dancers are eager to learn.  Her choreography has been enjoyed on such prestigious stages as Jacob’s Pillow, Symphony Space NYC, the Joyce Theater, the Duke on 42nd Street Theater on Broadway, the Rainbow Room, the MGM Grand and Harrah’s Casino’s Reno/Tahoe, and Norwegian Cruise Ships just to mention a few.  Michele was on the summer staff at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center as an instructor and choreographer for the Extreme Ballet Pre-Professional Intensive Summer Ballet Program under the direction of Martine Van Hamel, she was the former Artistic Director of The New York Dance Center NYC, and instructor and dance educator for Edwin Fion’s New York Dance Residency for Hip-Hop Kids, Master Instructor for Omega Institute Summer Arts Intensives, and adjudicator and adjunct professor of dance at SUNY New Paltz College as well as guest artist for master classes at Vassar, Bard, and Dutchess Community Colleges, NADAA (National Association of Dancers and Affiliated Arts) and CSA (Community School of the Arts) in Marion, Indiana.  Michele has been an adjudicator for Starbound, Olympic Miss, Step Up 2 Dance, Legacy Dance Champions, NADAA, Backstage Performing Arts, Celebration Talent, and Cathy Roe’s Ultimate.  Michele is the creator of the New York City Tap Festival Youth and Pre-Professional Programs as well as writer/director/choreographer and emcee for the Tap Youth/Tap Future Concerts for Tap City Festivals 2000-2010.  She is a former columnist for the International Tap Association and is currently a faculty member and dance education adviser to the American Tap Dance Foundation and a guest instructor for Steps on Broadway.  She has a 13 year affiliation with the National Association of Dance and Affiliated Arts, a 15 year affiliation with the American Academy of Ballet, a 29 year affiliation with the American Tap Dance Foundation and a lifelong affiliation with members of the Royal Academy of Dance.  She has studied Dance Injury Prevention with Anuschka Roes (Head of Teacher Training for Canada’s National Ballet School), with Dean Vollick at American Academy of Ballet and participated in Dance Injuries:  Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention webinars at Johns Hopkins Medicine with presenter Raj Deu, MD.  There have been featured articles on Ms Ribble in Dance Studio Life, Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher, Dance Teacher Now, Dance and Dancer Magazines, The International Tap Association Newsletter, The New York Times, and The New Jersey Star Ledger.  We were thrilled to have had Michele Ribble join our faculty to teach tap classes.  In loving memory of June “Michele” Ribble.

Kathleen McAree  A consummate dance professional, Kathleen McAree is well-versed in a number of genres, including ballet, jazz, musical theater, modern, and lyrical.   She has toured both nationally and internationally with such well known companies as The Jette Performance Company, The Mantis Project, Kelly Drummond, and The Jennifer Krease Dance Ensemble.  She has also appeared in movies such as Carlitos Way and The Stepford Wives, and was a featured dancer in MTV London’s Speedracer video.  Ms. McAree holds a BFA from Montclair State University with a concentration in Dance.  She is a certified teacher of ballet by The American Ballet Theater (ABT) through their National Training Curriculum.  Kathleen is also a member of The New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, and Dance (NYS APHERD) and has been a Dance Conference Presenter for the organization.  For 13 years, Kathleen taught in the Dance Department for CUNY at Queensborough Commuity College and had the privilege of working with such esteemed choreographers as Robert Battle, the current Artistic Director of The Alvin Ailey Dance Company.  In addition to her collegiate position, Kathleen has taught at such reknown studios as Steps on Broadway, Central Park Dance, The Ridgewood Conservatory, Dance Plus, and DDA Dance ACademy.  She also served as the master class series director for The Elan Awards, which honored such amazing choreographers as Susan Stroman and Robert Marshall.  Ms McAree joins the faculty at HRPAC to teach Musical Theatre Dance and jazz classes.

Kristen Polgreen has been dancing since she was three years old. She has studied at Broadway Dance Center and excels in hip hop. Kristen started teaching in 2007 and developed a great passion for it.  She is the current assistant director of a dance school in Carmel, where she teaches and choreographs most of the classes including ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop.  As the artictic director of their dance companies, her responsibilities include choreographing advanced routines to be performed at various venues.  Kristen has run various dance programs including being the Dance Director at the Town of Pawling Summer Camp, hip hop classes at the Pawling Recreation Center, and a 4 week Dance Camp in Carmel.  Aside from her teaching and choreography skills, Kristen’s greatest asset is the close relationships she easily builds with her students and parents alike.  Miss Kristen teaches all ages and levels and is thrilled to be part of the HRPAC family, teaching hip hop and lyrical.

Additional Faculty

Meridith Cullen is a Dutchess County native and a proud member of Actors Equity Association (AEA).  She earned her BA degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Wagner College and has been directing and teaching Voice and Acting for over 15 years.  A member of NATS, she is proud to say her past students are currently performing professionally in the business and attending college for Musical Theatre.  She served as Director of the Vocal Company at John Leggio’s Center For The Performing Arts while living in Florida and also ran Acting and Voice classes there, as well.  Meridith taught and directed throughout Dutchess County before moving to Florida, and is beyond thrilled to be back at HRPAC with Lisa, where she began in 2003.  As a professional Singer/Actress, she had the honor of taking center stage as a soloist at Carnegie Hall.  You may have also previously seen her on a poster in NYC for the Off-Broadway smash hit, “My Big Gay Italian Wedding,” where she played “Maria.”  Meridith has performed throughout Manhattan and regionally in such theatres as:  St. Lukes, Carnegie Hall, LaMamma, Actors Playhouse, Theatre Four, Jose Quintero Theatre (NYC), Westchester Broadway Dinner Theatre, Yorktown Stage (Westchester), and The Sharon Playhouse (CT.), to name a few.  Favorite roles include:  Maria in “My Big Gay Italian Wedding”, Jan in “Grease”< Antonia in “Man of LaMancha”, and Housewife in “Working” with Ken Jennings.

Hannah Bartush is a Hudson River Performing Arts Center alumni, having trained with the school from its opening 17 years ago.  After being taught from a young age by current owner Lisa Joy Davis, Hannah is thrilled to be passing on her knowledge to a new generation of students at HRPAC.  Hannah has attended world-renowned summer intensive programs with ABT and Joffrey Ballet School.  In addition to performing in numerous HRPAC full length ballets, most notably as the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” and Aurora in “The Sleeping Beauty,” Hannah has performed in New Paltz Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker.”