Hershey School of Dance began as a tap dancing school in 1977 and has expanded to include dancing instruction in a wide range of genres including jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, hip hop, contemporary, modern and theater dance.
Our mission at Hershey School of Dance and Arts is to give students a solid dance education, while nurturing their creativity, self-expression, and confidence. It is our goal to inspire our students to make a commitment to their dance education by striving to do their personal best. We foster an environment where students are encouraged to be respectful of the studio, their peers, their artform and themselves.
Our team of experienced dance instructors provides a supportive environment that nurtures the individual student allowing them to grow and learn skills they will carry into the rest of their lives. In addition, our instructors create a strong sense of community promoting collaboration, encouragement, teamwork, and friendships that last a lifetime. Our students find that dance helps them release stress, build confidence and have fun, as they discover their own connection with the artistry of dance.
Dance classes run year-round. Each class builds specific skills in preparation for our annual recital that includes every student, regardless of skill level, providing each student with a moment to shine.
In 2021, ownership and operation of the Hershey School of Dance transferred to a new entity owned and operated by four longtime teachers; Jessica Block, Emily Drobnock, Hollis Healy and Jennifer Owsley. Under the new leadership, Hershey School of Dance will continue to provide exceptional dance and performance education, and initiate new endeavors to serve the community and its beloved dance family.
Tap & Movement Magic
Jenn begins her 26th year teaching at HSD. She started tapping at age 5 at Hershey School of Dance with Paulette Viviano, the school's founder. She went on to study under Kelly Strange, and continued dancing through college, where she earned her degree in elementary education. Jenn enjoys visiting NYC several times a year to take classes and keep building her dance foundation.
I'm going to tap until I can't: I'll be so old all I can do is walk out from the wings to stage center. But I'll be there.
- Gregory Hines
Jazz & Theatre Dance
Hollis started her teaching career 33 years ago in upstate New York at her hometown studio. She has been teaching at HSD for 19 years and is thrilled to call Hershey School of Dance & Arts home. Hollis loves creating through connection and community.
She empowers her students to explore who they are as a dancer, as an artist, and as a human being.
You dance love, and you dance joy, and you dance dreams.
Ballet, Pointe, Jazz,
Jess began her training at Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, formerly Cumberland Dance Company. Working for Carnival Cruise Lines, Jess performed as a Dancer, Dance Captain, and Supervisor for 13 years. Jess has been teaching dance for the past 14 years at HSDA, and can’t imagine dance not being part of her life. She is honored to foster that love in other dancers too.
Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.
- Martha Graham
Emily began dancing at HSD under founder, Paulette Viviano. She remembers a sequined Mrs. V sweetly encouraging each student in the class to shine. In 2012, she had the immense privilege to begin teaching at HSD. Emily loves making magic with students and staff at Hershey School of Dance & Arts and is excited to watch each student shine.
Dance expresses joy better than anything else.
Hip Hop, Zumba
Kristen was a choreographer for cheerleading competitions throughout high school and after studying hip hop, tap and jazz for 5 years and serving as a dance assistant at HSD, she became a member of the hip hop staff in 2003. She is also 12 years certified as a ZUMBA instructor. Kristen begins her 21st year teaching at HSD and is extremely excited to “break it down” and dance with all of her students.
If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you.
- Fred Devito
Kimberly studied classical ballet, tap, choreography, jazz and musical theater in Fairfield County Connecticut. She had the privilege of training under teachers from the New York City ballet and the Rockettes. Before leaving high school, Kim began teaching ballet and tap. Kim continue dancing through college and graduate school. Kim joined the HSD staff in 2018 and is thrilled to continue to teach dance and encourage dancers of all ages.
To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.
- Agnes DeMille
Contemporary/Lyrical Fusion, Hip Hop
Ashton has studied and taught dance for more than 15 years. She has a Bachelor's in Exercise Science with an emphasis in health and nutrition. She uses her knowledge of exercise to explain and teach proper dance technique. She has a passion for not only the expression of dance but the technical part. Ashton has taught all styles of dance but finds the most joy by bringing positivity, self-confidence, and discipline in the dance studio.
You can start late, look different, be uncertain, and still succeed
- Misty Copeland
Tap & Street Jazz
Caty grew up dancing at Hershey School of Dance, where she enjoyed taking all styles. She furthered her dance education at Temple University in Philadelphia where she had the joy of dancing, teaching, and exploring her choreographic voice. She earned her BFA in Dance in 2020. Her collegiate studies focused on ballet, modern, and African dance, and she was also part of an all-styles dance team that focused on hip hop. Caty found her way home to HSDA in 2021, where she now shares her passion for dance in teaching tap and street jazz. Her mission is to empower her students through the art of movement – fostering self-expression, confidence, and artistic growth.
There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.
Mia danced at Hershey School of Dance for 13 years and cannot wait to continue teaching and sharing her excitement for dance with her students at HSDA. She has previously taught Greek folk dancing and assisted at Hershey School of Dance for 5 years. She most enjoys hip hop and dancing to a good beat.
Forget your troubles and dance.
- Bob Marley
Ballet, Technique Enhancement
Faith has been dancing since the age of 3, receiving most of her training at HSD and Messiah University. In college, she continued to take dance classes and perform through the dance department, as well as teach classes and serve as the prayer chaplain for Acclamation Dance Ministry. Faith loves dance for its opportunities in strength-building, character development, and the creation of beauty. She hopes to nurture these in the classroom & share joy through the arts!
A fine work of art - music, dance, painting, story - has the power to silence the chatter in the mind and lift us to another place.
- Robert McKee
Contemporary/Lyrical Fusion, Leaps & Turns, Hip Hop
Meg is a multi-award-winning choreographer originally from Fremont, California. Her choreography credits include, the Hershey Theatre Apollo Awards, Gretna Theatre, American University Dance Team, Miss Teen Pennsylvania’s Talent Routine, SmartCEO’s Future 50 events in Philadelphia and The Capitale in NYC, Penn State AFF Fashion Show, PECAN Inc's Celebration of Children, and many other performances. She was the head coach for a successful competition dance team for 8 years, winning top industry and apogee awards. Meg has devoted her career of 15+ years to helping dancers grow into the best performers they can be, while creating challenging curriculum to enrich their technique. She is the Co-Founder of Thrive Dance, a traveling company that brings masterclasses and competition choreography to studios and dance teams.
Dance is the hidden language
of the soul.
- Martha Graham
Cole Nissley is a Hummelstown Native and dancer of almost 10 years. Beginning his training in High School, he studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Musical theatre. After graduating, he attended Shippensburg University where he minored in theatre and performing arts. While at Shippensburg, Cole joined the Chambersburg Ballet Theatre where he has been for the last 8 years, under the direction of Lavinia Reid. Cole has studied under Robert Steele, Jacob Taylor (NYCB) and Lester Gonzalez (Cuban National) to name a few. Some of his most notable performances include; Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Bluebird, Snow King, Prince in the Rose Adagio and the Second Gentleman’s solo in Pas de Six.
Good dancers understand their own corrections, great dancers understand everyone else’s.
Jason Wang is from Memphis, TN. He graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Kinesiology, and is currently finishing his Master’s degree in Public Health. As a dancer, Jason started from a freestyle background at Penn State with Raw Aesthetic Movements (aka RAM Squad). He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
– Bruce Lee
Ballet & Movement Magic
Jaden danced at Hershey School of Dance for the majority of her dance career. She studied various different styles of dance, her favorites being contemporary and ballet. She furthered her dance career on the In-Motion Dance Troupe during her time at Shippensburg University. Jaden cannot wait to spread her love for dance with the students at HSDA.
Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion,
Hannah started dancing at HSD at the age of 5. She studied a variety of dances, but always took a special interest in tap. This will be her first year teaching at HSDA. Hannah is currently attending Messiah University earning a degree in Health and Physical Education. Hannah loves engaging with children and helping them learn new skills, she also does this as a swim coach.
While I dance I can not judge, I can not hate, I can not separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. This is why I dance.
- Hans Bos
Sara danced at Hershey School of Dance for 12 years and is so excited to be teaching and sharing her love of dance with her students. She served as an assistant in dance classes for 4 years at HSD. Sara studied many styles of dance while at HSD but always enjoyed hip hop the most. Sara is currently at Harrisburg Area Community College where she is pursing a career in Biology.
I love dance, it’s my first love. - Jennifer Lopez
Movement Meditation & Adult Combo
Cierra started dancing at the tender age of 3 at Harrisburg Academy of Dance. Continuing her studies at Capital Area School for the Arts, she then received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, where she was awarded the Rose Vernick Choreography Award from Temple University in 2020. Following, she has had the privilege to perform at the Kennedy Center, Judson Memorial Church, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Harrisburg Fringe Festival, and Brooklyn Museum. And has worked with esteemed artists such as Sidra Bell, Dara Meredith, Andre Zachary, Krystal Butler, Kun-Yang Lin, Merian Soto, Wen-Chung Lin, and MICHIYAYA Dance. As a dancer, choreographer, teacher, yogi, and arts administrator, she is inspired by movement in all its facets. Cierra aims to facilitate space for all dancers to explore their light!
Dance is a vehicle to navigate personal rituals and translate the exquisite rawness of being alive.
Private Ballet Coach
Ashley Layng completed her ballet training at the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) under the instruction and syllabus of Marcia Dale Weary. During her summers, Ashley studied under the world-renowned ballerina, Suzanne Farrell. Ashley danced professionally with Ballet Magnificat and traveled nationally and internationally, including South Korea, China, Guam, South Africa, and Israel. Professionally, Ashley attended Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s teacher workshop in 2020, learning Marcia Dale Weary’s complete and renowned teaching syllabus. Ashley has taught classes, workshops and masterclasses in various studios across the country and globe. She specializes in private coaching as she believes in the impact and importance of one-on-one personalized training.
Ashley is elated to have the opportunity to teach the students at Hershey School of Dance & Arts!
I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.
- George Balanchine