academy instructors photoTara VanRoy

Executive Director and Choreographer

Tara has a dance history extending over 30 years, she has been classically trained in the arts of ballet, tap, jazz, and modern throughout New York State. Her recognitions are on a county, state, and national level through various competitions and organizations such as United States Tournament of Dance, and New York State Talent, ShowStoppers, Headliners. Tara has taught dance in Binghamton, Rochester, and Catskill, New York. She has developed dance programs for schools, community centers, dance studios, cheerleading squads, and day care facilities. In the Hudson Valley, Tara has been employed by non-for profit agencies and a school district as an advocate, educator, counselor and behavioral specialist. Miss Tara has also been a member of the Arts council for 15 years and has been a featured instructor and Co-Director for the SPROUTS summer arts program. Miss Tara continues her dance education through intensive weekends with NADAA and has completed her third year in the national certification track through Dance Master’s of America Teacher Training School at The University of Buffalo and has completed testing with Dance Educator’s of America and is now a member. With a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, there is an emphasis for self development in all of her programs.

Erika Russo

Instructor and Choreographer

Miss Erika started dancing at the age of 4. She has been classically trained in ballet, tap, and jazz at Merritt Dance Center in Schenectady,NY. Miss Erika continued her dance education at the University of Albany in somatic movement, body-mind centering and contact improvisation. She then studied with  NYU Steinhardt’s dance education program expanding herself as a modern dancer and teacher. She is also the choreographer for the Catskill High School Musical, Starmites and Annie. Miss Erika has completed her fourth year in becoming nationally certified through Dance Master’s of America Teacher Training School at The University of Buffalo.  Miss Erika also pursued a Master’s of Science program for Arts Administration through Drexel University.  She has taught  for the SPROUTS summer program, she is now a Co-Director of the program beginning in 2017.  Miss Erika has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Albany. She has been an instructor at PPDAA for over 12 years.

Alison Phoenixalison-pheonix

Director of Cauterskill Youth Ballet, Instructor and Choreographer

Born and raised in Coxsackie, NY, Alison Phoenix began her dance career training locally. Her growing love of ballet brought her to The School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet. Here Alison performed seven separate roles before entering college.  As an apprentice with ABB performed Paula Weber’s “Carmen Burana” and Mary Margaret Gioannone-Talmi’s world premiere of “Light of the Water”.

Miss Alison earned a BA in Dance with concentrations in Performance and Pedagogy at Mercyhurst College in Erie , Pa. Alison is proud to have gained knowledge from notable individuals and groups including Tauna Hunter, Michael Gleason, Christine Hay, Mark Santilliano, Vivi Flindt of the Royal Danish Ballet, Dance Alloy, and Pilobolous.

Miss Alison is once again a principal dancer for Albany Berkshire Ballet. We are proud to have her with us for over 10 years!




James Polo

Hip Hop