Meet the Faculty
Jill A Brighton, Director
Children's and Adult Ballet, Children's and Adult Modern, Children's Musical Theatre Dance,
Children's PreTap, Children's Ensemble, Fraser Street Dancers
Jill has been director of CPDW since 1994. A native of State College, Jill graduated with highest honors from Penn State in 1991 and joined the CPDW faculty in 1990. A versatile teacher, Jill is the also the artistic director of the Fraser Street Dancers and the Children's Ensemble. She is a rostered artist with the PA Council on the Arts and maintains a presence in arts in education with the Galaxy Arts in Education Program of CIU 10. Jill enjoys working with diverse populations, including children with special needs and senior citizens.
Jill danced professionally with Happendance (Lansing, MI), Great Wave Dance Ensemble (New York, NY), and Pennsylvania Dance Theatre (State College, PA). In New York, she was a scholarship student and manager at Steps Studio. At Penn State, Jill performed with the Contemporary Dance Company and toured Israel with the Dance Collective. Jill is a practitioner and instructor of Yoga and Pilates, and enjoys working as a choreographer for a wide variety of musical theatre venues.
Children's and Adult Tap
Christina began teaching at CPDW in 2014, and is currently a Lecturer and Mental Health Counselor in the Psychology Department at Penn State. Originally from Gainesville, FL, she trained primarily at the Nina Cameron Dancenter there. During her college years, she served as the president of the MIT dance troupe, co-producing and choreographing their work. Though trained in a variety of techniques, her specialty and favorite is tap. She has trained with teachers all over the world, including Nancy Newell (Washington, DC), Diane Davisson (Los Angeles, CA), and Yuval Beck (Tel Aviv, Israel). Christina completed a tap teacher training course with Hillary-Marie and is a Certified Level I iTap Teacher.
Children's Jazz and Lyrical
Erin has been teaching at CPDW since 2017. She received her early dance training on Long Island and continued studying dance in New York City and Boston. As an undergraduate at Harvard, Erin choreographed for Mainly Jazz Dance Company and served as the artistic director of TAPS, the on-campus tap dance collective. After college, she spent a number of years as a choreographer for regional theater groups on Long Island while continuing to dance in New York City, honing her passions for choreography, teaching, and performance. Erin is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at PSU. She enjoys finding opportunities to combine her great loves of dance, classical mythology, and ancient languages.
Emma was first trained in ballet, tap, and jazz at Scripps Performing Arts Academy in San Diego, CA. In High School she trained at Virginia Beach Ballet Academy in VA. Emma attended summer intensive programs with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Kansas City Ballet in addition to performing in an annual Nutcracker and spring ballet. She attended Indiana University (IU) and obtained bachelor degrees in physics and astrophysics while continuing her dance training with the ballet faculty at the IU Jacobs School of Music where she assisted with many of the classes, and the tap faculty in the IU Musical Theatre department. Emma is now pursuing a PhD in physics at Penn State while continuing to focus on her love of dance as a faculty member at CPDW.
Children's Jazz and Hip Hop
Originally from California, Haylei graduated from Sweet Briar College in 2020 with a BFA in Dance and Theatre, specializing in lighting design for dance. As a student there Haylei co-choreographed and performed a new work at a dance teacher conference in Adelaide, Australia. Throughout their time at Sweet Briar, Haylei taught and assisted youth dance classes, and subsequently taught a wide variety of dance styles to a children of all ages at the Alta Loma Dance Academy. Haylei has studied jazz, hip hop, and modern/contemporary technique, and most recently Scottish Highland dance, participating in competitions whenever they can.
Adult Jazz and Lyrical
Children's and Adult Hip hop
Ruth is a graduate of Sweet Briar College where she earned a BFA in dance. Ruth has studied many different genres, including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, modern, and Scottish Highland - her favorite. She is a regular competitor in Scottish Highland, traveling regionally, nationally, and internationally. Ruth is a recent transplant to State College, previously living and teaching in Spotsylvania, VA. She plans to continue her studies with an MFA in dance in the near future.
Children's Creative Movement and PreBallet
Children's Advanced Ballet, PrePointe, Pointe
Karen studied with the Pennsylvania Ballet, International Ballet Theater, and Hartford Ballet before performing professionally with the Pennsylvania Dance Theatre until 2002. She graduated cum laude from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford with a degree in children's dance. Before joining the CPDW faculty in 2002, Karen taught at the School of the Hartford Ballet, in the Hartford Public School System, the school of the Pennsylvania Dance Theatre, and with Galaxy (CIU 10). Karen is also a LMT and is the owner of A Caring Touch: Massage Therapy and NittanyWeddings.com.