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Teaching Faculty

Alexandra Bonesho-HeadShot.jpg
Leanna Smith Gendron
Headshot 17.jpg
April Hovelson
Midori Nonaka
Julie Blondina
Melissa Stern Headshot.jpg


Alexandra Bonesho-NYC Credits: THE BLACKOUT (The Anthropologists), SPIT (Nylon Fusion Theatre Company), THE GOOD LIFE (Xavier Theatre Company), SWINGTIME CANTEEN (Cherry Lane), Young Company (Titan Theatre Company). Regional Credits (selected): SPRING AWAKENING,  CAMINO REAL, GREY GARDENS, LEND ME A TENOR. Proud member of AEA.

Alexandra has taught various acting and dance classes throughout the Midwest and NYC. She has worked as a choreographer and guest artist for educational shows and programs. Alexandra also helps students on the Autism Spectrum take their next steps as artists and individuals through musical theatre, dance, and acting classes. Her training includes classroom strategies, sensory awareness, social stories, and how to best communicate with the various ranges of the spectrum including work with non-verbal students. As a teacher, Alexandra encourages risk-taking, empowerment from mistakes and hardships, and incorporating song, dance, memory tools, and life skills to create an environment that translates into confidence on and off the stage.


Choreographer and Youth Dance Instructor Gentry Isaiah George founded ZEST Collective November 02, 2013. Former Dance Artist for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Ailey II, George graduated from the Juilliard School in 2012. Gentry is an Associate Artist at New York Live Arts, and currently teaches Ballet and Composition at Dance Project of Washington Heights, and USDAN Summer Camp for the Arts.

Gentry has created work on The Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA and has choreographed two ballets on the Peter London Global Dance Company. George has presented work throughout New York City, New Jersey, and Florida. In New York City, ZEST has performed at SummerStage, Dixon Place, HarlemStage Gatehouse Theater, Ulster Performing Arts Center, The Wassaic Project, Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning, Whitebox Art Center, Madiba Harlem, Fort Tryon Park, Marcus Garvey Park, and the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood


Leeanna Smith made her Broadway debut performing in Lincoln Center Theater's production of CONTACT, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman.  She later joined the show's tour, performing in the Canadian premier and in cities across the US.  She has served as the associate choreographer of eight productions of CONTACT, including the premiers in Hungary, South Korea and Poland. She also performed in Oklahoma! (Dallas Summer Musicals) and spent four years as a Radio City Rockette in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  Television credits include Live from Lincoln Center (Cast of CONTACT, PBS), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC).  Leeanna earned a BFA in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX where she studied and performed works by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Ann Reinking and Paul Taylor.



Luz M. Iturbe began her formal ballet training at the age of 8 at Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina in Puerto Rico. She continued her studies in Ballet San Juan for 8 years where she received a full scholarship and was  apprenticed to the company. In 2010 she was part of the corps de ballet of Balleteatro Nacional de Puerto Rico. In 2013, after earning a college degree in Marketing and a certification in Entrepreneurship at the University of Puerto Rico, she decided to follow her passion and travel to New York to attend the Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Intensive Program. She afterwards joined the DTH school’s Professional Training Program. Currently, she  is a freelance professional dancer and dance teacher in New York. Luz has danced with Brooklyn Ballet, Ballet for Young Audiences, R.Evolución Latina, Pajarillo Pintao, among others and has been sharing her passion for dance and movement to kids as a dance teacher in the city.



April Hovelson has been on a lifelong journey of dance learning since the age of 3. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop  with such greats as Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Luam, LaVaughn Robinson, Ted Levy, Chloe Arnold, Jermaine Brown, Shane Sparks, Dave Scott, Mia Michaels, Cris Judd, Wade Robson, Nick Florez, Brian Friedman, and countless others. At age 15, she became the lead instructor of Spring Into Motion School of Dance in Wisconsin. April was also the creator and director of SIM Dance Companies. April and her company won many top awards including recognition for her choreography and music.

April currently resides in New York City where she has continued to study and teach while raising her 3 year old son. Since her move in 2011, she has assisted in the children's program at Tap City, New York City's finest tap festival, and taught creative ballet, beginning tap and teen hip hop at the YWHA of Washington Heights. It is her mantra that “technique does not make a dancer great, it is their passion," and hopes that all students young and old find a little time to dance their hearts out!


Midori Nonaka is originally from Fukuoka, Japan. She trained and performed with Ikuko Watanabe Ballet Studio. At the age of 19, she moved to New York City and trained with Peridance Capezio Center, Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory, Jennifer Muller/The Works on scholarship, and as a dancer and an assistant of Nina Buisson. In 2014,  Midori has participated in Northwest Dance Project's LAUNCH:9 where she performed works choreographed by Lesley Telford and Eric Handman. Midori has also had the opportunity to dance for Audio-technica Commercial (Day O productions, LA). Midori is currently working with Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and ZEST Collective.

Throughout her career, she has been able to perform works by choreographers such as Igal Perry, Jae Man Joo, Dwight Rhoden, Charlotta Öfverholm and Gentry George.


Julie Blondina has studied many forms of dance all across the country, from NYC to LA and everywhere in between. She has trained with LaRoque Bay Dance Company, Alvin Ailey, The Greensboro Ballet, and Bailamos. She has also taught classes all across the US. She has been a guest instructor and choreographer at Public School Repertory Company in New York City, as well as a dance instructor at the Harlem YMCA. She has been a guest choreographer at Birmingham University and The Berubian Theater Company in L.A. She has also taught classes at Millennium Dance Complex. Her passion for movement and the human body go beyond dance. She has a passion for people. 


Melissa Stern preformed as a Radio City Rockette for 8 years in New York City, Detroit, St. Louis and Columbus. As a Rockette, Melissa performed in the Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, national TV spots and can be seen on the 75th Radio City Christmas Spectacular DVD. Additionally, she spent many years traveling and performing as a dancer in numerous musicals. Musicals include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Sweet Charity, and La Cage Aux Folles (Gateway Playhouse), Crazy For you (Assistant Choreographer and Dance captain, Ogunquit Playhouse), The Producers (Westchester Broadway Dinner Theater), 42nd Street and Carousel (Reagle Theater) and the National Tour of Will Rogers Follies (Dance Captain). Melissa has trained as a teaching artist with National Dance Institute and she has a BA in Creative Writing and Education from CUNY Hunter College.


Ann Cooley is a New York City based director and choreographer with an extensive background in multiple disciplines of dance and theatre arts. As a seasoned practitioner, story teller and teacher Ann loves sharing her passion for dance, her knowledge of the business and her ability to motivate the best in performers thru generosity and fun. Before moving into more creative leadership: Ann performed in countless musicals and productions world wide while spending over a decade as Radio City Rockette, choreographer and line captain for the iconic troupe.  Check out Ann’s full bio and current projects at -  As a member of the Washington Heights community Ann is super excited to join Dance Project of Washington Heights for Theatre Dance on Tuesdays at 10:30 - see you in class!