Meet the Judges

Andrea Mychaels, EdM, MFA

Competition judge - Andrea Mychaels

Andrea Mychaels has been immersed in theatre and dance as an educator, choreographer, filmmaker and performer for more than 25 years. As a choreographer, she worked with Shawn T. (Hip-Hop Abs/Insanity), International Award winning Neo-Burlesque Troop "The Peek-A-Boo Revue" (America's Got Talent, season 5), the New Jersey Nets Dance Team and was the Director for the Philadelphia Soul (AFL) Dance Team in 2011.

As a vocalist, Andrea has worked with such musical artists as Kathy Sledge, Taylor Dayne, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and The Trammps. She is the recipient of three “Outstanding Choreography” awards for her work at various East Coast Regional Theatres and ICCA, and was a finalist in the Jazz Dance World Congress International Choreography Competition.

She earned her MFA in Dance at Texas Woman’s University where she was awarded an academic scholarship and Graduate Teaching Assistantship, her Ed.M. in Dance Education at Rutgers University and B.A. in Dance at Stockton University where she was an Adjunct Professor in the Dance Department, teaching Jazz, Tap, Modern and Ballet as well as directing and choreographing for Dance and Theater Department Productions.

In October 2012, Mychaels founded her dance company the Andrea Mychaels Dance Project (AMDP), which continues to be successful in providing performance opportunities for dancers and creating an entry point into the art of dance for a diverse population of youth through the company’s Educational and Community Outreach programming. (Andrea Mychaels Dance Project).

Felicia Rembert

Dance judge - Felicia Rembert

Felicia, grew up as a competitive dancer for over two decades and has trained at studios including Broadway Dance Center, STEPS on Broadway, and Alvin Ailey, She received scholarships to attend University of the Arts (Philadelphia), Rutgers University, and Point Park University.

Felicia was a member of the nationally ranked Rutgers University dance team for three years. She has modeled for Dance Spirit magazine, Bodywrappers, and the Dance Teacher Summit fashion show. She appeared on TV shows including The Apprentice, The Rachel Ray Show, Aeropostle commercial, American Gladiator, and many nationally televised news specials.

In 2008, Felicia appeared on MTV’s Season 2 of America’s Best Dance Crew. Following she became a member of the NJ Ironmen and New Jersey Devil Dance Team and was part of the New Jersey Devils Dancers for six years. In 2013, Felicia appeared in the Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger” music video. She also has trained with many choreographers such as, Geo Hubela, Dave Scott, Shelia Barker, Talia Favia, Sonya Tayeh, and Tabitha & Napoleon.

Felicia can also be found backstage or judging for High Demand dance competition and Break The Floor productions. 

 

 

Evan Ruggiero

Dance competition judge - Evan Ruggiero

Evan Ruggiero began dancing at the age of five in his hometown studio and by age ten, he was accepted into the famed New Jersey Tap Ensemble.

Upon entering his sophomore year at Montclair State University while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, Evan was suddenly diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer of the right leg. Enduring nine surgeries in a six-month period in an effort to save the leg, the cancer returned more aggressively than the original diagnosis. He was faced with the ultimate decision of amputation in order to stop the cancer and save his life, as well as undergoing chemotherapy for sixteen months. Eighteen months after the amputation, and only two days after receiving his “peg-leg”, Evan was tapping again.

In 2018 he received a Drama Desk Nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, a Chita Rivera Award Nomination for Best Dancer in a Musical, and was awarded a Clive Barnes Award in Theatre for his portrayal of Tom Jones in NYC’s off-broadway hit “Bastard Jones.” This past year he was seen performing at Carnegie Hall and at the 90th Oscars.

Evan has performed for many notable individuals such as Ellen Degeneres, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden, Egypt’s sixth and current president, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and most recently performed alongside two-time Grammy winning artist, Jason Mraz.

 

 

Phillip Solomon

Dance competition judge - Phillip Solomon

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Phillip Solomon has had dancing and performing ingrained in him from a very young age. The son of two musicians, Phillip has utilized his natural talent and ability to devote himself to his craft and the art of performance, choreographing for studios and colleges throughout the tri-state area.

As a singer, dancer, and actor, Phil has performed in productions of RENT, In the Heights, The Wild Party, and Altar Boyz, in addition to being featured on the TODAY show and National campaigns on MTV.

Dedicated to helping young performers reach their full potential, he has been recognized on both the regional and national level for his choreography in the genres of hip hop, street jazz, and musical theatre.

 

 

 

 

Shane Kesneck

Dance competition judge - Shane Kesneck

Pittsburgh based dancer and choreographer who specializes in the fundamentals of hip hop and, not limited to, specific skills such as popping, body control and waving. In addition to teaching, setting choreography, and judging dance competitions throughout the country, Shane is a regular instructor at the Millennium Dance Complex Pittsburgh, Abby Lee Dance Company, and Level Up Studios. His choreography has been featured in the Pittsburgh choreography showcase, Ascendance, as well as Texture Contemporary Ballet Company’s “WIP” showcase. Previously, Shane toured as a backup dancer for T-Pain on his Revolver Tour and was seen as a featured dancer in the music video, for the feature film “Step Up 3D”, “This Instant” by female trio Sophia Fresh featuring T-pain.

Recently, he finished directing, choreographing, and dancing in the official music video for major music producer Kairos Audio music label owner and DJ, Jantsen, for the song "Afterglow" which was released on his new EP titled Post Human. Other dance music video credits include brand promotion for Hip Hop Mindset Co.'s summer 2017 clothing line release campaign and Culture Unlimited Clothing promotion.

Shane enjoys studying people’s learning curves, teaching methods, and different aspects of psychology to become a better teacher. Music production, music editing, and video editing are well rounded hobbies. He has a passion for traveling to teach workshops, conventions, guest classes, and private training to bring his knowledge and passion for dance to studios that want to further their students education in the genre of hip hop!

 

 

 

 

Andrea Kron

Dance competition judge - Andrea Kron

A graduate of the Ailey School in New York City and a Stage Directors and Choreographers Associate Member. Andrea's specialties include in ballet, Lester Horton modern technique, Theatre dance, audition technique as well as injury prevention and Anatomy programs. Teaching credits include Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, Marymount Manhattan College, Pace University, Rutgers University, Montclair State University as well as many dance centers and festivals throughout the East Coast. Performing credits include "Hercules on Broadway" at the New Amsterdam theater, Radio City Music Hall, regional theater, nutcrackers playing the role of Arabian is a guest Artist as well as movie and print work experience.

 

 

 

 

Melissa West

Dance competition judge - AJ Mannion

Melissa West has over 20 years of dance training in tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet, lyrical, contemporary and modern styles. She was apart of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble for six years and performed with the company at numerous theatres including, Lincoln Center, in a tribute to Duke Ellington. She has danced for Disney, Kmart, the New York Knicks and Liberty at Madison Square Garden, and has appeared dancing on the Queen Latifah television talk show. Melissa is also the assistant director of Nick DiNicolangelo’s Hands Down Tap Project, a tap company bringing together elite tappers from all over the U.S.

Melissa assists classes across the nation at Adrenaline Dance Convention and is one of the youngest faculty members at Syncopate Tap Intensive working among some of the industries top teachers and choreographers. She continues to teach all styles of dance and choreographs high scoring competitive routines throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. She has also studied dance throughout college and now has a BA dance minor degree from Montclair State University. With a BA in psychology, focus on elementary education, and teaching certification for grades K-6, she is well rounded in her teaching styles.

Melissa hopes to make a positive impact on the dance world and share her passion of the arts with others.

 

 

 

 

AJ Mannion

Dance competition judge - AJ Mannion

AJ has 10 years of experience teaching dance, and is widely known for his compassionate and energetic teaching style, visually stimulating choreography, and anatomically precise technique. He takes his deep knowledge in the healing arts - (being a currently working Reiki Master, a full-time Master's Degree student of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and having previously worked as a licensed Massage Therapist) - and dance to create classes that help dancers bring finesse to their technique, voice to their inner creative spirit, and calm self-awareness to their physical, emotional, and mental faculties.

AJ has taught classes and workshops for students and teachers alike all over the Tri-State area, for dancers of all skill levels ages 5-70. He received his BFA in Dance from Montclair State University and has extensive experience in yoga, acrobatics and contortion. AJ also works as a professional visual artist selling angelically-inspired artwork. More information on all AJ's professional offerings can be found on his website.

 

Amanda Papa

Dance competition judge - Amanda Papa

Amanda Papa is a dancer, choreographer, and dance educator with more than 20 years experience. She began dancing at the age of 3, competing at age 8, and dancing professionally at 16. She was twice named an All-Star by the Universal Dance Association as a teenager, where she first performed internationally. Amanda received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Montclair State University.

As an original company member, soloist and dance captain of The Dawn Lau Dance Company, Amanda performed throughout New York and New Jersey. She spent time studying, creating and performing her art in Italy, where she truly found her passion for and refined her skills as a choreographer. Since then Amanda’s achievements include the creation of more than 600 original pieces and she's been certified through Dance Educators of America and is a proud member of Dance NJ and NDEO. Her choreography has been recognized by Paper Mill’s Rising Star Awards. Some of Amanda's favorite choreographic credits include: "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "Rent," "Oklahoma!," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," "The Drowsy Chaperone," "High School Musical" and "Camp Rock."

In 2012, Amanda fulfilled her lifelong dream of owning her own dance company, co-founding Solo Danza, where she is currently the artistic director. In addition, Amanda is teaching all genres of dance at several studios and Universities through out NJ. This past year she has expanded her love for dance into The Ballroom world, where she is currently training as a competitor in Smooth Ballroom Dance.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" ~ Eleanor Roosevelt