Good Samaritan Dance Academy
Training children, teens and adults in ballet, expressive movement, character, pointe, hip hop, folk and modern dance since 1983. We emphasize using art and life in worship before the Creator.
We would love to have you or your children join us for a range of different styles of dance. Look at our classes page to get an idea of the range of dance that is offered. We always welcome new dancers, from our congregation or the wider neighborhood, and look forward to nurturing each one as a growing performer in the context of a faith based and loving community.
We have two full concerts a year and dancers are invited to participate in offering dance in worship at Good Samaritan from time to time. In recent years, we've also enjoyed taking a group to perform in Times Square, New York City.
Email is the best way get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org You could also phone (610) 644-4040 x773
Good Samaritan Dance alumni have been accepted and earned dance degrees at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Eastern University, Lancaster Bible College Musical Theater Department and YWAM School of Dance Ministries, plus others who continued dance studies and ballroom dance competition during college years. Our former dancers have performed with Sight and Sound Theater, Servant Stage, Roger Lee Dance Company, People's Light, SALT, contemporary companies in Moscow and Apex Dance Company. A talented, artistic and creative bunch, you might find GSDA alumni working in photography and art galleries, raising families, in youth ministry, marketing and law firms, administrators at non-profits, leaders at museums, managing teams at corporations, writing academic books, or accompanying classes at the Boston Ballet.
Teachers & Choreographers:
Kayla Benson began dancing at Good Samaritan at the age of seven. Her training includes ballet, hip-hop, musical theater, contemporary and modern. She has danced in studios in New York City and as part of a missions trip to Zambia, Africa. Miss Kayla loves children and has been teaching for about ten years. When she's not in a dance studio you might find Kayla behind a camera or eating Swedish Fish!
Angela Commiskey moves to music everywhere and finds dance to be her greatest expression of worship. She began training and dancing at the Church of the Good Samaritan with Gwen Prestwood in 1997. Her other studies in dance have been with Valerie Henry, and Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo soloist, Edmund Novak, as well as at Koresh Dance, West Chester University and other West Chester area studios. Favorite forms of dance are hip-hop, modern, soul line dancing, and swing; she also enjoys ballet, tap, and ballroom. Angela has taught ballet, modern and hip-hop classes, as well as created many costumes for GSDA. She holds a Masters of Public Administration and is thankful to work in the nonprofit sector when not dancing.
Elrena Evans has been dancing at the Church of the Good Samaritan since 1990. In addition to classical ballet, she has studied modern, jazz, tap, and various styles of folk including Israeli, Scottish, and African. As a teenager she trained and toured with Valerie Henry, and then continued her dance studies while at Bucknell University and Penn State. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and when not dancing or mothering her five children, can be found writing for publications like Christianity Today and Books & Culture or working on her next book.
Heather King began dancing in 2005, studying has studied ballet, pointe and modern, and served as an assistant teacher last school year. Her favorite thing about dance is how it brings people together, even if they've never dance together before. Miss Heather particularly enjoys the improv portion of modern class.
Lily Mancini enjoys ballet, pointe and modern. She enjoyed the GSDA trip to Project Dance in New York City this past April. When we were updating the website she was on a mission trip to Malawi, so you'll have to check with her directly for fun facts about her life.
Catherine Momjian has been dancing at GSDA since 2007. She has a passion for dance and teaching. She desires that each of her students learn how to use their bodies to praise the Lord through dance. She has been trained in ballet, modern, pointe, Russian, and hip hop. Catherine is a student at the Honors College at Eastern University.
Kate Morgan is a natural teacher and is much beloved by our tiniest of dancers. You are equally likely to find her in a rugby match or decorating a cake!
Anna Pizzuto-Pomaco has been dancing at Good Samaritan for two years. She began dance at the age of three and has trained in ballet, pointe, and modern. She has also participated in several Christian, ballet-based productions. Anna is excited to share her passion for dance with her students and loves watching them blossom throughout the year. Her desire is for them to grow in their skills as they learn to worship the Lord through dance.
Gwen Prestwood, Director Emeritus Gwen trained in the Cecchetti style of Classical Ballet. She has studied under Jeanne Hansberry, James Kenny, and Andrew Pap, Mikhael Murnane, Pam Smith, Randall Bane, Karen Seran and Yvonne Peters, and is a former member of the Devon Festival Ballet. She has danced at Good Samaritan since 1985, first as assistant director; and as director 1996-2018. As assistant to founding director, Valerie Henry, she was exposed to such diverse dance styles as Modern, Folk, Character, Lyrical and Mime. Throughout her career, Gwen has been privileged to dance with Steve Fry and Alyosha Ryabinov, to teach at various Christian dance conferences and workshops, and to reset and stage Valerie’s innovative choreography for Handel’s “Messiah”. In her earlier career she served as art instructor at Delaware County Christian School. In addition to directing the dance choir, Gwen leads a worship band team and is an avid gardener.
Melody Stanert hails from West Chester, and holds her BA in Dance Pedagogy from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Ms. Stanert the Artistic Director of Glorify Performing Arts, a dance company based in West Chester, PA. She has a passion for teaching and choreography, and has showcased her work throughout Southeastern PA and Southern FL. Melody trained under numerous instructors including Edmond Novak (Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo), and Eileen Houghton-Hebron (American Ballet Theater); she holds a certification as a Progressing Ballet Technique teacher, and is also an ABT® Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 5. She believes it is important for her students to pursue excellence as they offer their gift of dance to the Lord. Melody started dancing at GSDA in 1997, and has been teaching here since 2008.
Karen Watkins, Director has been dancing at GSDA since 1991. She trained extensively with Valerie Henry, and has also studied at West Chester University, Paul Klocke Dance, American Academy of Ballet, and Master Classes under Elbert Watson, Cynthia Gregory, Pam Smith, Randall Bane and the At Marah Dance Company. In addition to studying folk, character, lyrical, pointe, ballet and modern, she has choreographed and performed in community theater productions, musical theater camps, taught student drama classes, and taught dance at other churches and non-profit organizations, including currently the dance instructor at Claritas Classical Academy. When not teaching dance you might find Mrs. Watkins cooking, camping or homeschooling her three children.
In addition, we have been blessed with Assistant Teachers who demonstrate enthusiastically loving Jesus with their dance.