About Nutcracker Twist 2016



Dance Companies

Dance Attire


About the Dance Department:



The Yocum Institute dance program offers training in many styles of dance for all ages and levels of experience. Students will have many performance opportunities. Dancers will develop a positive body image, self-confidence and creativity in a nurturing, educational environment.

All dance classes are ongoing. Ongoing classes (from September to June) are billed equally in 4 session installments based on the actual number of classes or lessons for the year. Each of our dance faculty holds a degree in dance as well as background clearances. For information on our talented instructors, please scroll down.

The Dance Department classes are structured to provide pre-professional training while offering the greatest value to each family. More advanced classes combine technique and pointe to maximize the dancer’s experience in the studio. For younger students, exploration and introduction classes are offered.

Please refer to Calendar for closings and holidays.

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To view and register for Mini Session 2017 classes, please click HERE or view and print a printer-friendly version of the catalog HERE.


Dance Companies:

Starting January 2018

DE01 Yocum Dance Company     (Ages 12+)
Designed to allow students from any dance studio to experience a
formal pre-professional dance company. The Yocum Dance Company begins with sessions focusing on a structured ballet or modern warm-up and then choreography rehearsal. Performance opportunities will be available at the Institute and in the community.  Two-hour sessions meet every Saturday except holidays.
Requirement: Students must be taking at least 2 dance classes per week.
Audition is required.
Sat. 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
$60 per session ($120 per 1/2 year) for Institute dancers
$75 per session ($150 per 1/2 year) for non-Institute dancers

DE02 Yocum Jr. Dance Company     (Ages 8-11)
Designed to allow students from any dance studio to experience a formal pre-professional dance company. The Yocum Jr. Dance Company begins with classes focusing on a structured ballet or modern warm-up and then choreography rehearsal. This is intended to prepare students for the Yocum Dance Company. Hour and a half sessions meet every Saturday except holidays.
Requirement: Students must be taking at least 1 dance class per week. Audition is required.
Sat. 9:00 – 10:30 AM
$45 per session ($90 per 1/2 year) for Institute dancers
$50 per session ($100 per 1/2 year) for non-Institute dancers

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Dance Attire:

– White t-shirt, black dance pants/tights

Hip Hop
– Hip hop shoes or new sneakers reserved specifically for class
– Black converse sneakers for recital
– No jeans, comfortable clothes

– No shoes needed
– Leotard
– No tights (footless tights acceptable)

– Pink ballet shoes with elastic strap; NO slippers please
– Leotard (solid color, black preferred for beginning ballet classes)
– Pink tights

– Black jazz shoes preferred, black ballet shoes or barefoot permitted
– Leotard (any color)
– Tights (black preferred)

– Black tap shoes
– Leotard (any color)

– Leotard (any color)
– Footless tights, black preferred

Adult Classes
– Leotard
– Tights preferred

Yocum Dance Companies
– Pink ballet shoes
– Black leotard
– Pink or black tights
– Hair in bun

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Ann Burkot is a 2011 Kutztown University graduate with her BA in Dance Production and Management, and already received her Dance Certificate. At Kutztown, Ann was on the Lenhart Dance Company for two years, as both a dancer and choreographer. The company worked with professional choreographers, such as Karen Fuhrman, of Grounded Aerial and Roger Prince of the Ailey School. Ann demonstrated college level ballet classes and a yoga class for Prof. Joyce Campbell. Ann has choreographed for high school productions including, Seussical for Central Catholic High School (2009), and My Fair Lady for Holy Name (2011)

Nina Balistrere  began her dance training with Berks Ballet Theatre, where she later became ballet mistress, guest dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She received her BA in dance from Goucher College. There she received the Phi Beta Kappa award for her choreography which was selected at the American College Dance Festival for national recognition in Tempe, AZ. Her choreography has been performed at several Regional Dance America festivals where she has reached Gala status. Nina has been on the faculty at Wilson College and Alvernia University where she taught ballet, jazz, and modern. Currently, she is on the staff at the Institute teaching ballet, pointe, and modern. Nina is also the Director of the Yocum Dance Company. Beginning this summer, Nina has taken on the role as Director of Dance with Karen as her assistant. Her love for choreography is immense but her greatest love is her family; her husband, Tony, and their two daughters, Natalie and Nicole.

Karen Houck is a graduate of Wilkes University with a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in Dance. She was the recipient of the 2007 Wilkes University Dance Award. Karen danced with Ballet Northeast under the direction of Kristin Degnan dancing various soloist and lead roles in ballets including the Nutcracker, Coppelia, Giselle, The Firebird, Les Slyphides and Etudes. She also trained with the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, formerly the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley, under the direction of Oleg Briansky and Mirelle Briane. She has also studied with Barbara Weisberger; founder of Pennsylvania Ballet, Margaret Tracy, and Harlan Bengel. She has been with the Institute for six years teaching traditional ballet and various summer camps. Karen was also on the 2012 summer faculty and current guest faculty for Viktor Yeliohin’s International Ballet Academy and Lancaster Ballet Company. Karen also holds her PA Certification as a K-6 elementary educator and is a RTII Specialist at Cumru Elementary School. Karen completed her Masters of Education in Reading at Kutztown University and completed principal’s certification through Alvernia University. She enjoys spending time with her son, Connor. 

Kristina Dennis graduated from Cedar Crest College in 2007 with a B.A. in Dance. She was a member of the Cedar Crest College Dance Company, performing in the modern, ballet, tap and jazz ensembles. She also performed in five student companies as well as having her own. Kristina was a founder and the president of the CCC chapter of Nu Delta Alpha (a dance education honors society). She has taught dance to all ages in a variety of styles, since the age of 16. She also choreographed a musical at Raub Middle School in Allentown, PA. Her routines were performed and honored at Cedar Crest College and she continues to earn overall high scores and choreography awards at dance competitions! Since her college graduation, Kristina has stayed busy teaching and choreographing at an established dance studio in a suburb of Philadelphia.

Holly (Allwein) James ( Former Dance Director 2000 – 2011) – has been teaching here at the Yocum Institute since 1999 where she began her dance training with Charee Noble, of Pennsylvania Ballet. Holly is a member of the original Berks Ballet Theatre where she was a soloist, guest artist, ballet mistress and teacher. Her roles include: Sugar Plum in their first Nutcracker production; Snow Queen, and Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. She has an extensive background as a performing ballerina, dancer and instructor in ballet, modern and jazz dance. She started her BFA in Dance / Ballet at Point Park University in Pittsburgh and completed her degree at The University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music in 1983 and pursued her MA Dance there as well. She has trained with numerous teachers including: David Howard, Melissa Hayden, Luigi, James Truitte, Nicholas Petrov, Gus Giordano, Oleg Sabline, Joe Lanteri, Maryland Ballet, among many others. Holly’s accomplishments include: DMA 1985 Chapter 25 Contestant for Miss Dance of America where she finished in the top ten finalists; performing semi-professionally with The American Dance Ensemble ( Pittsburgh, PA) and professionally with The Cincinnati Opera Ballet ( AGMA Union). Holly holds her PA certification as a Special Education Paraeducator and facilitates inclusion in the arts whenever possible.

Megan Maslar (Ballet Instructor) is a 2011 graduate of West Chester University with a BA in Communication Studies and a Minor in Dance. She was a performer, choreographer, and soloist of WCU Dance Company and WCU Dance Team. Megan began her dance training at 3 with the Berks Ballet Theatre. Her main concentration in dance was in ballet where she performed as a company member & soloist at Regional Dance America and in many productions such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Tin Soldier, just to name a few. At 16 Megan was granted a full scholarship to attend Governor School for the Arts, majoring in ballet. Megan is a Retail Merchandiser at Bills Khakis by day, and ballet instructor by night.

Laura Gaydos began her training in Maryland at Cecil Dance Center and went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Upon graduation in 2005 Laura performed with “Simply the Best”‘ a traveling Tina Turner revue starring Suzette Dorsey. In 2011 she toured internationally with Sesame Street Live as Zoe in “Elmo’s Super Heroes.” Laura has served as dance faculty at Camden Country College in Blackwood, New Jersey and dance team coach at Alvernia University. She has taught at numerous studios and her students have gone on to dance for the 76ers, Sesame Place, Philly Soul and the prestigious Rock School for Dance Education. Laura has a genuine love for performing and teaching, and believes that versatility is the key to success as an artist. She is excited to be teaching at the Yocum Institute for her second year!

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