Meet the Faculty

Jill Brighton

Jill A Brighton, Director

Children's and Adult Ballet, Children's and Adult Modern, Children's Musical Theatre Dance,

Children's PreTap and Beginning Tap, 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.


Lydia Baranoski

Adult Ballet

Lydia began her dance training near her hometown of Harrisburg, PA, where she studied many different forms of dance.  She graduated from PSU with a degree in Music Education.  Lydia is a member of the Allied Motion Dance Company, and teaches community fitness, dance, and music classes throughout the State College area.  Also involved in the performing marching arts community, she toured the US with the DCI Drum Corps, The Blue Knights, and currently works with the Reading Drum and Bugle Corps.  Lydia is very excited to be a part of the faculty at CPDW where she can continue her love of teaching and dance! 


Christina Ford

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).   


Erin Hanses

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.


Ruth Packard

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.  


John Michael Rosenblum

Children's and Adult Tap

John Michael, a student at CPDW since he was six years old, and a Teaching Assistant for several years, is proud to join the faculty.

A native of State College and recent graduate of the Delta Program, he has been active in the local performing arts community as an actor, singer, and dancer for 14 years. John Michael has won several Isaac Awards, the scholastic equivalent of Tony Awards, for musical theatre dance performance. He also served as a choreographer for the State High Thespians. He is trained in ballet, modern, jazz, lyrical, and musical theatre dance, but tap is his specialty.  He is planning to pursue  theatre and dance in college.


Karen Stoner

Children's Creative and PreBallet

Children's Advanced Ballet, 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