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Our Dance Teachers

The Dance Factory proudly retains the most experienced and dedicated faculty in the greater area. Our highly trained dance and yoga teachers have years of experience keeping students engaged, motivated, and injury-free, while imparting a love of dance and movement. We work together as a team to create a fun, supportive, and inclusive community that keeps students coming back year after year.

Kate DeRosia

Kate DeRosia

Owner, Ballet, Yoga, and Jazz Teacher

“Dance has been the greatest gift for myself, and I have always been grateful for the opportunity to share it with children and adults.”


Kate Frizzell-DeRosia started her dance training at the age of 7 with Paula Lannon, formerly of New York City Ballet. She spent many summers at Svetlova’s, a summer program directed by Marina Svetlova (The Ballet Russe, New York City Opera Ballet). Kate was also a competitive gymnast, training at SkiLan Gymnastics. During high school Kate studied with Angela Whitehill (Canadian International Ballet) at Burklyn Ballet Theater. 

Kate graduated from Norwich University with a BA in Liberal Arts with a double concentration in Dance and Psychology. She later pursued classes in business and accounting, and launched a bookkeeping business, DeRosia Business Services.

In 1984, Kate began teaching ballet and creative movement at the Dance Factory. She has taught at Vermont Academy and Main Street Arts in Saxtons River, VT, and at many district school summer programs. In 2015, she assumed ownership of the Dance Factory. 

Kate has danced with 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.

Ashley Hensel-Browning

Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Hip Hop Teacher

"The Dance Factory is one of the most welcoming dance communities I've ever been a part of and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to witness all of our students evolve through their love of dance."

Ashley Hensel-Browning works as a dance educator, teaching 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. Along with teaching at the Dance Factory, Ashley works with the Community Engagement Lab to both lead professional development for classroom teachers and teaching artists as well as school and community projects designed to use creative engagement to build collective agency. She also works with Inclusive Arts Vermont where she uses the arts to empower youth and adults with disabilities.

Ashley Hensel-Browning

Ashley is an established choreographer and is the co-founder and co-director of Avant Vermont Dance with Suzanne Stern. Most recently she has worked on the SEASONS project, an exploration of place through site-specific choreography and community art projects, as well as Thumbelina, an original story ballet set Vermont composer Evan Premo's musical setting. She was a resident choreographer and director with the Opera Theatre of Weston for many years. Personal 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. She thoroughly enjoys choreographing and directing the Dance Factory's annual production of The Nutcracker.

Ashley's dance career began at the Dance Factory and she is incredibly grateful for her professional home to be centered there now. 

Dana Blake

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.

Suzanne Stern

Ballet Teacher

“There is space for every type of dancer at the Dance Factory. You won’t know how rare that is until you take class elsewhere.” 

Suzanne began her ballet training at the Dance Factory at age 7. At age 11, she was accepted a year early to Burklyn Ballet Theater’s preprofessional program; at 13 she was offered enrollment at the prestigious Walnut Hill School in Massachusetts. As a teenager she studied modern and African dance, and performed with Black River Dance Theater, RED Ink Dance, and Arthur Hall's NewVerMaine Dance Company. She continued her ballet training at New York University, New Dance Group, and Peridance Capezio Center in New York City.

Suzanne Stern

In 2023 Suzanne co-founded Avant Vermont Dance with Ashley Hensel-Browning in an effort to increase accessible dance events and performance opportunities in Southeastern Vermont. She works with theater and community groups as a choreographer and dance coach. She continues to perform and particularly enjoys dancing en pointe (in toe shoes).


Suzanne is also an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, composer, and music producer who has worked with Grammy-winning recording engineers and nurtured up-and-coming artists.


Susan Hagan

Jazz Teacher

Susan Hagan started the Dance Factory in 1984. She holds a Master’s degree in choreography from UCLA, was a professor on the faculties of University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point and Amherst College, and was the resident choreographer for the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company in nearby Weston, Vermont for thirty years. 

James Parent

Yoga Teacher

James Parent is a certified yoga instructor with a background in psychology, plant-based living, and an array of spiritual disciplines and practices.


His classes focus on delving deep within oneself by utilizing compassion, acceptance, and understanding to foster a synergistic union between one's physical and mental body and their underlying spiritual nature. It centers and grounds while opening space for exploration. It mirrors opposites to highlight their inseparable connection.


James strives to live in harmony with all life and teaches through a judgment-free lens. His day-to day-experiences involve writing fiction, creating art and music, and enjoying time in nature through skiing, disc-golf, and hiking.

James Parent
Jessie DeRosia

Jessie DeRosia

Hip Hop, Yoga, Aerial Yoga, Acrodance Teacher

Jessie began her dance training at the Dance Factory at the age of 2. She has now been dancing for over 30 years. She first began her dance training in Ballet which quickly expanded to include Jazz, Hip-Hop and Pointe. Jessie also practiced gymnastics for many years and assisted and taught at several gymnastics and dance programs in the area. In high school, she was part of the Vermont State Champion dance team. Jessie has been practicing yoga for almost 10 years and in 2019/2020 she completed her RYT-200 yoga instructor certification. Jessie is passionate and excited to share her love of yoga and its physical and mental benefits with our Dance Factory students.

Jessie has completed several courses in child and human growth & development, child psychology, and anatomy and physiology which she enjoys incorporating into her teaching. She is thrilled to share her love of movement with others. She believes that physical movement should be fun and accessible for everyone!

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