Rochester Dance Theatre

Our Team

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  Founder/Director/Instructor | Erika Ruegemer   Erika Ruegemer is a trained dancer from the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She began dancing at age 5. Erika received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. After graduating pursued her passion for professional dance with ARENA Dances, Inc. (Minneapolis, Minnesota), gloATL (Atlanta, Georgia), PUSH Physical Theatre, FuturPointe Dance and Flower City Ballet (Rochester, New York). Erika began working with Wayne Blatt & Flower City Ballet (FCB) in 2011. In late 2016, she inherited the position as Artistic Director of FCB and merged it with her existing company which is now Rochester Dance Theatre. She is a director, choreographer, teacher, and most of all, a performer at heart. Ms. Ruegemer is excited for the journey ahead.

Founder/Director/Instructor | Erika Ruegemer

Erika Ruegemer is a trained dancer from the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She began dancing at age 5. Erika received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. After graduating pursued her passion for professional dance with ARENA Dances, Inc. (Minneapolis, Minnesota), gloATL (Atlanta, Georgia), PUSH Physical Theatre, FuturPointe Dance and Flower City Ballet (Rochester, New York). Erika began working with Wayne Blatt & Flower City Ballet (FCB) in 2011. In late 2016, she inherited the position as Artistic Director of FCB and merged it with her existing company which is now Rochester Dance Theatre. She is a director, choreographer, teacher, and most of all, a performer at heart. Ms. Ruegemer is excited for the journey ahead.

  Rehearsal Director/Instructor | Stephanie Kovac   Ms. Kovac began dancing at age 4 at various competition studios in Rochester, New York. She came to study ballet and pointe under Wayne Blatt in 2008, performing various roles in the annual productions of "The Nutcracker". Stephanie has also studied ballet and modern at UNC Charlotte and performed on tour with Kim Jones Dance Company. She enjoys taking all types of dance workshops and classes. Stephanie joined our teaching staff in 2017 and is excited to be able to share the love of classical ballet with dancers of all ages.

Rehearsal Director/Instructor | Stephanie Kovac

Ms. Kovac began dancing at age 4 at various competition studios in Rochester, New York. She came to study ballet and pointe under Wayne Blatt in 2008, performing various roles in the annual productions of "The Nutcracker". Stephanie has also studied ballet and modern at UNC Charlotte and performed on tour with Kim Jones Dance Company. She enjoys taking all types of dance workshops and classes. Stephanie joined our teaching staff in 2017 and is excited to be able to share the love of classical ballet with dancers of all ages.

  Instructor | Joanna Rodriguez   Joanna Rodriguez was trained in Naperville, Illinois by Ricardo and Regina Moyano of DanceWest Ballet. She performed a variety of classical and contemporary roles with DanceWest Ballet Company, an Honor Company of Regional Dance America. She then attended Hope College in Holland, MI, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography. While at Hope, Joanna was awarded the Distinguished Artist Award and the Florence Cavanaugh award for exceptional achievement in dance. From 2006-2015, Joanna resided in West Michigan, where she taught ballet and contemporary dance and choreographed in collaboration with local artists, poets, and musicians. She also served as the Advisor of the Sacred Dance Ministry at Hope College, and was involved in dance ministry at local churches. As a teacher and dancer, Joanna is passionate about proper alignment, core strength, attention to detail, and artistry. She lives in Greece with her husband Steven, who is a pastor, and three children.

Instructor | Joanna Rodriguez

Joanna Rodriguez was trained in Naperville, Illinois by Ricardo and Regina Moyano of DanceWest Ballet. She performed a variety of classical and contemporary roles with DanceWest Ballet Company, an Honor Company of Regional Dance America. She then attended Hope College in Holland, MI, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography. While at Hope, Joanna was awarded the Distinguished Artist Award and the Florence Cavanaugh award for exceptional achievement in dance. From 2006-2015, Joanna resided in West Michigan, where she taught ballet and contemporary dance and choreographed in collaboration with local artists, poets, and musicians. She also served as the Advisor of the Sacred Dance Ministry at Hope College, and was involved in dance ministry at local churches. As a teacher and dancer, Joanna is passionate about proper alignment, core strength, attention to detail, and artistry. She lives in Greece with her husband Steven, who is a pastor, and three children.

 
  Instructor | Hilary Jablonski    Hilary Jablonski  (formerly Ricigliano) began her dance training at the age of three under the professional direction of Mary Kay Touris. Over the years, her passion for classical ballet continued to grow and afforded her several opportunities to learn and develop as a dancer and person. She participated in several intensive programs with New York City Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and is a 3-time competitor at the Youth America Grand Prix Competition. Hilary trained and directed with the late Wayne Blatt at Flower City Ballet from 2004-2016. Following her dance career, she went on to pursue her education. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2012 with a B.S in Health and Exercise Science and in 2015 completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Nazareth College. She is currently an orthopedic physical therapist at a local hospital. Hilary is excited to share her knowledge of body and dance with Rochester Dance Theatre!

Instructor | Hilary Jablonski

Hilary Jablonski (formerly Ricigliano) began her dance training at the age of three under the professional direction of Mary Kay Touris. Over the years, her passion for classical ballet continued to grow and afforded her several opportunities to learn and develop as a dancer and person. She participated in several intensive programs with New York City Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and is a 3-time competitor at the Youth America Grand Prix Competition. Hilary trained and directed with the late Wayne Blatt at Flower City Ballet from 2004-2016. Following her dance career, she went on to pursue her education. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2012 with a B.S in Health and Exercise Science and in 2015 completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Nazareth College. She is currently an orthopedic physical therapist at a local hospital. Hilary is excited to share her knowledge of body and dance with Rochester Dance Theatre!

  Artist Initiative Member | Rork Maiellano    Rork Maiellano  is a native of Pavilion, New York. He enjoys experiencing connections in life through many different mediums. Rork has been an essential part of Rochester Dance Theatre since the beginning. He supports the directors and students behind the scenes by creating costumes, concepts, and keeping things positive.

Artist Initiative Member | Rork Maiellano

Rork Maiellano is a native of Pavilion, New York. He enjoys experiencing connections in life through many different mediums. Rork has been an essential part of Rochester Dance Theatre since the beginning. He supports the directors and students behind the scenes by creating costumes, concepts, and keeping things positive.

  Artist Initiative Member | Elaine Smolock   Elaine began dancing at age 3, learning classical ballet, tap and jazz under the direction of Miss Pauline Rogers at the Ruth Barnes School of dance in Altoona, PA where she grew up. Elaine obtained her BS in Biology at King’s College, MS in Applied Health and Physiology at Salisbury University, and PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology at Drexel University’s College of Medicine before moving to Rochester, where she currently resides and works at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She began dancing and working as an instructor at Flower City Ballet with Mr. Wayne Blatt in 2011. She now assists Artistic Director, Erika Ruegemer, at Rochester Dance Theatre (RDT). Elaine has danced in several performances with RDT as a company member. In her free time Elaine coaches youth lacrosse and basketball in Brighton, NY.

Artist Initiative Member | Elaine Smolock

Elaine began dancing at age 3, learning classical ballet, tap and jazz under the direction of Miss Pauline Rogers at the Ruth Barnes School of dance in Altoona, PA where she grew up. Elaine obtained her BS in Biology at King’s College, MS in Applied Health and Physiology at Salisbury University, and PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology at Drexel University’s College of Medicine before moving to Rochester, where she currently resides and works at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She began dancing and working as an instructor at Flower City Ballet with Mr. Wayne Blatt in 2011. She now assists Artistic Director, Erika Ruegemer, at Rochester Dance Theatre (RDT). Elaine has danced in several performances with RDT as a company member. In her free time Elaine coaches youth lacrosse and basketball in Brighton, NY.