Karen Kroninger Knerr (Artistic Director)
…since 2007, holds a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School where she trained in Graham, Taylor, and Limon techniques. She was a principal dancer with the Albany Berkshire Ballet, where she performed lead roles in Cinderella and Coppélia, as well as performing Girl At Mirror for the opening of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. In addition, Karen was a member of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company. She has worked with and performed works by Dennis Nahat, Laura Dean, Frances Patrelli and Bill T. Jones. Karen holds an Intermediate Certification in Labanotation and is an ABT Certified Teacher, having completed intensive training in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum, a high-quality artistic training that is combined with the basics of dancer health and child development. Recently, Karen received her certification to teach Progressing Ballet Technique.
She has developed the outreach program, “Discover Dance”, for the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley. Karen teaches students from beginner level to advanced level for BGLV and has choreographed various works including Youth programs for the Allentown Symphony. Email her directly email@example.com
Carol Jolley Sarik (Instructor)
… received her early training at Princeton Ballet under founder Audrey Estey. A graduate of the Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts, she received her teacher training from the Royal Ballet School in London, England. Carol then owned and operated her own school in Jamesburg, New Jersey for seventeen years. While teaching, Ms. Sarik also danced professionally as a soloist with the Shore Ballet Company, performing such roles as Swanhilda in Coppélia and the lead role in Cinderella. She danced with the Carolyn Dorfman Company in its early years. She continues to attend teacher training as well as injury prevention seminars. Miss Carolyn is certified to teach Progressing Ballet Technique.
Julio Alegria (Instructor – Ballet)
Julio Alegria is a passionate dance and ballet teacher and mentor to young professional dancers. His positive and “happy” attitude toward dance and life and his work ethic reflect on stage in both his own performances and in those of the students he instructs. Mr. Alegria joined Ballet Theatre of Scranton as a Faculty Member and Ballet Instructor in September 2020 and also is Founder and Artistic and Executive Director of NEPA Ballet in the Poconos.
Julio was born and raised in Mexico City and received his training from the National Arts Center and the Centro de Educacion Artistico Frida Kahlo. Upon moving to the United States, he entered the Joffrey Ballet School’s training program on scholarship and has also studied at the Boston Ballet School, The Banff Center for the Arts in Canada, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet Academy East, and Ballet Austin. Among the famed instructors Mr. Alegria has studied with are Gelsey Kirkland, Eleanor D’Antuono, Cheryl Yeager, Darla Hoover, Nadege Hottier, Karina Elver, Elizabeth Walker, Eva Evdokimova, David Howard, Fabrice Herrault, Peter Frame, and Richard Bowman.
Julio has danced for companies and choreographers in Mexico, Canada, Europe, and the United States, including Dance Theater of Harlem, Alabama Ballet, Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Gelsey Kirkland Studio Company, Eglevsky Ballet, Atlantic City Ballet, Merce Cunningham Trust, Ardentia, Bronx Opera Company, and Compañia Nacional de Danza (Mexico City). Previously, Mr. Alegria taught ballet at the Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center and the Brighter Choice Community School in Brooklyn.
Kaitlyn Fritz (Instructor – Ballet)
“I believed I could, so I did.” That’s a philosophy of life that has served Kaitlyn Fritz well in her academic, business and dance careers. She received much of her early dance training at the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley and the Arts Academy Charter School for the Arts, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This was supplemented by training at New York’s Joffrey Ballet School, The Rock School of Dance, in Philadelphia, and Burklyn Ballet in Johnson, Vermont. Over the years, Kaitlyn has performed in numerous ballet productions with these dance groups, and in Pensacola, Florida, as well.
The discipline and creativity Kaitlyn learned in Dance have also been applied to other fields of endeavor. Her interest in film and broadcasting led her to study at Bethlehem’s PBS Media Academy and Penn State media film camp, and she later earned a Walt Disney Marketing externship. While in college, Kaitlyn worked as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and established a children’s dance program. In 2021, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, Cum laude, from Moravian College.
Natalie Hedrick (Instructor – Ballet)
Natalie Hedrick grew up in the Lehigh Valley and has been studying ballet for over 18 years. She started her initial dance training with Miss Tanya in Nazareth, and later studied ballet at The Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the artistic direction of Karen Knerr. At age 13, Natalie was invited to attend the pre-professional division at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet, with American Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Frano De Vita. There, she had the opportunity to perform with American Ballet Theatre in Alexi Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, as well as in multiple productions with the company at The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. In 2015, Natalie moved to Boston to train at Boston Ballet School in their pre-professional program, and the following year was promoted to the trainee program under the direction of Margaret Tracey. In 2017 Natalie was accepted into Indiana University’s The Jacobs School of Music ballet department. While at Indiana University she was chosen to perform principal and soloist roles in works by George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, and Twyla Tharp. She also choreographed in various showcases and taught regularly for the Jacobs Academy Pre-College Program. Natalie earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Ballet in 2020.
Meghan McCutcheon (Instructor – Ballet)
…began her dance training at Twin Rivers Dance Academy in 1997, under the direction of Kathryn Stout. She continued her passion for dance at Radford University, where she earned a BFA in Dance with a Ballet Concentration. While at Radford, Meghan studied the Vaganova Syllabus under the guidance of Inessa Plekhanova, along with modern dance techniques from Danah Bella, Margaret Devaney, Deborah McLaughlin, and Bob Boross. Meghan performed in several ballet selections, including Snow and Arabian in The Nutcracker, the Pas de Quatre in La Bayadere, Don Quixote, and Paquita. Meghan also established her love of choreography and her work showcased in student productions.
In the fall of 2012, Meghan returned to Easton. She continued teaching ballet under the guidelines of the Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus as an instructor for Twin Rivers Dance Academy Summer Dance Intensives. Following, she became a permanent instructor, actively contributing to the story ballet choreography. Meghan’s choreography premiered at the Easton Riverside Arts Festival, Lehigh Valley Dance Exposure Showcase, Ten Tiny Dances and for Twin Rivers Dance Academy productions. Meghan is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique.
Adriane Orcutt-Fraser (Instructor – Ballet)
Hailing from a family of teachers, Adriane Orcutt-Fraser is as passionate about the Art of Teaching as she is about the Art of Dance. Having grown in a family where education was a way of life, as well as being a homeschooling parent, Adriane knows first-hand about the need to balance strict with fun and structure with creativity. Caring about her students’ health, well-being, and artistic development is essential to Adriane’s teaching style and choreographic goals.
Adriane began her ballet training at Budzynski Studios/Dance Theater of PA. She studied Ballet, Pointe, and Ukrainian Folk dance and was able to perform demi-soloist and soloist roles alongside professional dancers. Adriane was accepted into the school of Philadanco, where she received training in Graham and Horton modern technique from Milton Myers and Pat Thomas, and continued her training in ballet and pointe. Adriane was a scholarship student at BalletMet and Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensives where she studied with Melinda Baker and Francesca Corkle, among others. As a high senior, Adriane was accepted on scholarship into the BFA dance program of De Sales University. She studied and performed with university Seniors and received college credit for her dance courses. Adriane was also invited to train and rehearse with Danco II, Philadanco’s Second Company and she was involved in a youth performance group that toured and performed in West Africa.
After high school, Adriane attended Fordham University. While studying for an academic degree in Philosophy/History, and because a dual major in dance was not an option at the university at that time, Adriane studied dance in the Alvin Ailey/Fordham BFA program by audition as a non-major. She was privileged to receive training in ballet, pointe, modern and jazz and perform works from world renowned teachers and choreographers, including Celia Marino, Denise Vale, Ana Marie Forsythe and Carl Paris. Adriane has taught Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Contemporay/Lyrical and Folk Dance in New York, Long Island, and Pennsylvania. She enjoys teaching students of all ages, from toddlers to adults, and is passionate about instilling the love of dance and artistic expression to all dancers, whether recreational students or professionally bound. Miss Adriane is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique.
Arielle Ridley (Instructor – Jazz)
Arielle Ridley developed a passion for teaching dance at age 14 while a student at Miss Autumn’s Dance Class, in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. She began teaching there and helped to develop the curriculum—everything from ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary dance, musical theater and hip hop–and has been working steadily ever since to deepen her knowledge of the art and her commitment to producing fine young dancers.
After completing high school, Arielle graduated with honors and a B.F.A. in Dance Theatre from AMDA College of the Performing Arts, New York and Los Angeles. While she studied almost every form of dance, Arielle’s primary focus there was Contemporary and Jazz. After graduation, she gained performing experience with companies such as Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers, JWCK Dance Lab, Dance Kerr and Dancers, and several other theater projects. Arielle also explored the world of film and television when a student at AMDA LA and AMDA NY.
“I teach with love, kindness, but with enough discipline to encourage children and teenagers to grow. I try to connect with every student as best I can, so that no one feels unseen, unheard, or unimportant,” she says. Arielle Ridley’s interests aren’t limited to dance, however. She enjoys film editing, choreography, creative writing, and is a published YA author.
Guest teachers include:
Each year, nearly 4,000 area students thrill to the beauty of ballet and live orchestral music during The Nutcracker for Students arts education progr...