Kate DeRosia, Owner, Ballet Teacher
Kate Frizzell-DeRosia started her dance training at the age of 7 with Paula Lannon formerly with the New York City Ballet. She spent many summers at Svetlova’s, a summer program directed by Marina Svetlova formerly from The Ballet Russe and the New York City Opera Ballet. She was a competitive gymnast during her childhood at SkiLan Gymnastics. During high school she studied with Angela Whitehill, formerly from the Canadian International Ballet, at Burklyn Ballet Theater. Kate graduated from Norwich University with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a double concentration in Dance and Psychology. Later, Kate pursued classes in business and accounting and also does bookkeeping through her business DeRosia Business Services.
Kate spent the last 30 years working with, and learning from Susan Hagan at the Dance Factory in Springfield, VT. She has also taught classes at Green Mountain Weight Control in Ludlow, VT, Vermont Academy in Saxtons River VT, and Main Street Arts in Saxtons River VT. She has taught at local schools during the school year and at Springfield and Chester’s recreational summer programs. Kate has also danced with The Black River Dance Theater under the direction of Susan Hagan and the NewVerMaine Dance Company under the direction of Arthur Hall.
Kate’s philosophy is that dance should be available to everyone and that it should be a positive fun learning environment. She says that, “Dance has been the greatest gift for myself and I have always been grateful for the opportunity to share it with children and adults.”
Ashley Hensel-Browning, Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Hip Hop Teacher
Ashley Hensel-Browning works as a dance educator, community artist, and choreographer. She has received multiple grants for her work in public schools and community sites and is a Juried Teaching Artist on the Vermont Arts Council Teaching Roster. Ashley received her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her B.A. from Hampshire College where she designed her own concentration in Dance Education and Community Development through the Arts. Recent projects have included a teacher training and residencies incorporating math in movement, choreography residencies throughout Vermont, library programs that integrate literature and movement, and work with youth in restorative justice programs. Past projects have included work at Boston Ballet's CityDance, dance in correctional facilities, family dance classes, and teaching dance summer programs.
Ashley is an established choreographer who works seasonally with the Opera Theatre of Weston. Most recently she choreographed The Secret Garden, Noye's Fludde, The Magic Flute, The Little Prince, Die Fledermaus and directed Hansel and Gretel, The Happy Prince, and The Child and the Magic. Her work has been presented at Harvard University, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College and as part of the Green Mountain Festival Series. Performances include works by Trisha Brown, Agnes DeMille, Elizabeth Bergman, Amie Dowling, Jim Coleman, and Terese Freedman in venues such the International Festival of Art and Ideas, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, MA, and MassMOCA. She regularly choreographs for local schools and community events in Vermont.
Ashley's dance career began at the Dance Factory and she is incredibly grateful for her professional home to be centered there now. She also coaches the Springfield High School Dance Team and her musings about dance, community, and parenthood can be found at Dance with Ashley.
Dana Blake, Ballet, Tap, Creative Movement Teacher
Dana began her dance training at age five. Four years later she was accepted into The School of The Pennsylvania Ballet. Here she had the privilege to be trained by one of George Balanchine's original ballerinas, Yvonne Patterson. Dana increased her studies by attending summer intensives and was soon promoted into the pre professional program at the school. While dancing in the advanced levels she was honored to be trained by American Ballet Theatre's former Principal ballerina Lupe Serrano. Dana was chosen to perform alongside The Pennsylvania Ballet Company in professional productions under the direction of Barbara Weisberger and Benjamin Harkarvy.
An injury sustained while dancing prevented Dana from continuing her professional training but she never lost her love for dance. Today she enjoys sharing her experience and passion for dance with others.
Gretchen Abendschein, Jazz Teacher
Gretchen grew up in Annapolis, MD, where she began taking ballet classes at age four. By the time she was ten, Gretchen was studying jazz, tap, modern and acrobatics as well as ballet. In the late 1970's, she attended college for three years at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus, where she majored in visual and performing arts. Gretchen later received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Keene State College after moving to New England in 1980. Before receiving her degree from Keene State College, Gretchen studied ballet and jazz with Vicki & Pepe DeChiazza at Dartmouth College from 1980-83. In 1985 Gretchen met Susan Hagan and began a longtime association with The Dance Factory. Gretchen attended Jacob's Pillow in 1988 where she studied Horton Jazz Technique with Judith Jamison, former principal dancer and director of Alvin Ailey Dance Company. In the early 1990's Gretchen performed with Arthur Hall's tri-state dance company, NewVerMaine.
Gretchen’s teaching credits include Main Street Arts, Vermont Academy, Putney School, Moving Company Dance Center, and the Dance Factory. A partial list of performing experience includes the Dance Factory annual spring recitals, NewVerMaine Dance Company, Black River Dance Theater and Weston Playhouse productions including A Chorus Line, Chicago, and 42nd Street.