The faculty at the Dance Masters of America Student Honors Intensive Program (SHIP) is selected by the National Advisory Committee who goes to great lengths to find not only good teachers but more importantly faculty members who are willing to share the enormous amount of knowledge and talent they have with those in attendance. The Dance Masters of America SHIP is a learning experience unsurpassed by any other similar program. Its unique focus on technique, teaching skills, and a nurturing of camaraderie among fellow attendees makes this a week no teacher can afford to miss. This program is highly recommended for advanced student in pursuit of a possible career in dance.
The faculty for our Student Honors Intensive Program includes those Artists and Master Teachers who specialize in Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Musical Theatre, Children’s Work, Modern, Lyrical, Acrobatics, Choreography, and other related subjects.
The Dance Masters of America Student Honors Intensive Program is also supported by a dedicated team of dance education professionals working behind the scenes in establishing a strong foundation in the program’s curriculum, providing administrative support in moving the week along smoothly, answering students' questions and providing help, and making the week a pleasant and learning experience for all. As such, they are continuously improving the SHIP in the best interests of the organization and hopefully our future dancers and member.
Rich Ashworth began dancing early in life at the Legein Dance Academy of Performing Arts, as well as conventions and workshops around New England. After receiving a BFA in dance from the University at Buffalo, Richard apprenticed the Lehrerdance Company also performing as a guest principle for Configurations Dance Theatre and Pick of the Crop Dance Company. While in Buffalo he also performed and battled as a member of the DFC and The Future Crews. Richard then moved to Chicago to join the ranks of Chicago Tap Theatre and Chicago Dance Crash. He is a frequent faculty member of Dance Masters of Americas National Convention, Teachers Training Program, and Chapter Conventions, as well as teaching internationally in Mexico, Spain, and France.
CREHAN, TRESSA GORMAN
Tressa Gorman Crehan has been on the dance faculty at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, for over 30 years where she was a recipient of the prestigious Milton Plesur Excellence in Teaching Award. She is a member of the National Dance Education, American College Dance Association and the New York Dance Education Association, and has proudly served on the Board of Directors of the latter two. Tressa’s specialty lies in dance education, choreography and the creative process, and she has international and national recognition for her work. Her choreography credits range from concert dance to theatrical productions to computer generated choreography. Tressa has been awarded numerous grants for her research in dance technology and choreographic process.
Barb Denny is the owner and director of Barb Denny’s Studio of Dance Arts in Lancaster, New York. She has been a convention faculty member for many of the major dance organizations and is well known as an adjudicator in both Canada and the United States. Barb is a member of Dance Masters of America where she is a core faculty member of Teacher Training School and the Student Honors Intensive Program. Barb’s students are working in NYC and LA in various projects including the touring company of Will Rogers Follies, VMA Awards, Nickelodeon, and Disney as well as America’s Best Dance Crew on MTV and Dancing With the Stars. Many of her students have competed successfully both locally and nationally while many others have chosen the teaching profession. As a dancer, she won the title of Miss Dance of Western New York and was a member of AM Dance in Concert under the direction of Beverly Fletcher and Tom Ralabate. Barb was inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame in 1999. She is well known for her unusual choreography and for her dedication and inspiration to her many students. Barb Denny is the owner and director of Barb Denny’s Studio of Dance Arts in Lancaster, New York. She has been a convention faculty member for many of the major dance organizations and is well known as an adjudicator in both Canada and the United States. Barb is a member of Dance Masters of America where she is a core faculty member of Teacher Training School and the Student Honors Intensive Program. Barb’s students are working in NYC and LA in various projects including the touring company of Will Rogers Follies, VMA Awards, Nickelodeon, and Disney as well as America’s Best Dance Crew on MTV and Dancing With the Stars. Many of her students have competed successfully both locally and nationally while many others have chosen the teaching profession. As a dancer, she won the title of Miss Dance of Western New York and was a member of AM Dance in Concert under the direction of Beverly Fletcher and Tom Ralabate. Barb was inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame in 1999. She is well known for her unusual choreography and for her dedication and inspiration to her many students.
Shelley Hain has earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and holds a Master of Arts in Humanities from the University of Houston at Clear Lake City, Texas. Currently Ms. Hain is on the faculty at SUNY at Buffalo in the Theatre and Dance Department instructing classes in Jazz, Contemporary Modern technique and Creative Movement as well as the Health and Physical Education Department at Niagara County Community College. Shelley Hain is also proud to be on faculty for the Dance Masters of America Teacher Training School and SHIP program and conducting classes for the American College Dance Festival. Besides her teaching responsibilities, Shelley has shared her dance knowledge with countless elementary and high school students as a teaching artist with the Western New York Institute for the Arts in Education. Shelley Hain's most recent choreography can be seen in Zodiaque Dance Company, SUNY at Buffalo . Other companies crediting her work are Buffalo Ballet Theatre, Dance Designs, Buffalo Dance Festival as well as musicals for the Alleyway Theatre, Buffalo Jewish Center, Elmwood Franklin School, Mount St. Joseph 's Academy, In Good Company and Shakespeare in the Park. Shelley has performed with Floorplay Contemporary Dance Theatre, Nouvelle Dance Ensemble, Zodiaque Dance Company, and Dance Collective, Texas. Ms. Hain has also performed locally while studying with David deMarie, Tom Ralabate, Eugenia Smith, Geraldine Hoffman, and at Dance Masters of America conventions throughout the United States. Throughout her professional career, Shelley Hain has had the pleasure of choreographing, performing, judging and adjudicating for many creative artists and dance companies locally and internationally.
Michael Lambert is from Buffalo, NY, where he received his BA in Dance and Visual Communication from the University at Buffalo. Michael currently teaches at Walh Performing Arts Studios in Buffalo, NY. He has taught Master Classes and judged for many organizations including Interdanza in Monterrey, Mexico, Rhythm Dance in Canada, Starpower, Indiana State Dance Championships, and several Chapters of Dance Masters of America in addition to the Student Honors Intensive Program (S.H.I.P.), Teachers Training School (T.T.S), and DMA National Conventions. His performance credits include: Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Seas, Walt Disney World, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise lines, and alongside Olympic Gold Medalists in the “Azure” Underwater Shows at the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas. He was invited to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage series and at the Jazz Dance World Congress. He has appeared on “Live! With Regis and Kathy Lee” and performed at a special event in Miami featuring Faith Hill. Michael was also the model for the male dancer icons that decorate Disney’s Pop Century Resort in Orlando, Fl.
Tracy Navarro was born and raised in Western New York and holds a B.F.A in dance performance from the University at Buffalo. While attending U.B. was crowned Miss Dance of WNY. Professionally she has danced with Gus Giordano’s Jazz Dance Chicago (2nd company) where she studied with and performed the choreography of Gus and Nan Giordano, Randy Duncan, Harrison McEldowney and Mia Michaels to name a few. She was also a member of the faculty at Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Center where she choreographed and taught the Giordano technique. Tracy was also in the Las Vegas Company of “Footloose” the musical at the Rio casino. Most recently she was seen on the National tour of “Chicago” the musical where she played several roles and also served as dance captain. Presently, Tracy is teaching, adjudicating and choreographing throughout the world. She is faculty for Dance Masters of America’s Teacher’s Training School on both the East and West Coasts, as well as Mexico. She has won numerous awards for her choreography including the American Dance Awards Diamond and Solo Choreography Awards. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the University at Buffalo, teaching classes and providing choreography for majors in Musical Theater and Dance, and recently began her own pre-professional dance company Infinity Dance Project, Inc.
Michele Ralabate holds a B.S. in Physical Education and Sports Management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is certified in STOTT Pilates® both in the mat and reformer systems. A former elite level gymnast, she has received numerous titles for both high school and college gymnastics including: New York Empire State Games participating in the 1984 Olympic Trials, New York State High School State Champion, and Super 7 Athlete of the Week sponsored by WKBW, TV, Western, New York. In 1994, she was all-around national champion winning her pro-status for the International Federation of Body Building and winning her first pro debut in body building. In 1996, she began competing at the professional level in Pro-Fitness. Michele’s activities in dance extend to producing and choreography for the World Power Lifting Organization with featured performances at Hard Rock Live, and The Peabody Hotel in Florida. Michele is in the Guinness Book of World 2000 Record holding the youngest and shortest title to step on stage at the Ms. Olympia Contest. Today, she is a sought-out personal trainer and exercise science educator. Michele presented Pilates classes for the National Teachers’ Training School and Student Honors Intensive Program (SHIP) hosted by Dance Masters of America at University at Buffalo in July 2010 and 2011.
Tom Ralabate, is Professor and Chair in the Department of Theatre & Dance at University at Buffalo, where he also serves as the artistic director of Zodiaque Dance Company. A former United States Latin Ballroom Dance Champion, he was the American representative with his sister Kip, to the World Latin Dance Championships. He is currently the National Chair of Education Strategy for DMA and was awarded the 2009 DMA Member of the Year. Previously, DMA honored him with the prestigious Ivy Hall Foundation Award, first awarded to Gene Kelly. DMA has established an educational scholarship in the name of Thomas Ralabate. In 2006, he received a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities; and in 2007, he was honored in New York City by Dance Teacher Magazine, at their annual summer conference, for distinguishing himself as an outstanding educator in higher education and advocate for dance.