Faculty & Accompanists

Rutgers Summer Dance Conservatory faculty from summer 2017 are listed below.  Updates will be made during the spring of 2018.  

Barbara Bashaw-1Dr. Barbara Bashaw (Summer Dance Program Director) is full-time faculty in the Mason Gross Dance Department and the Graduate School of Education where she serves as Graduate Director of Dance Education and Dance Teacher Certification during the academic year.

Dr. Bashaw is PK–12 certified in dance in NY and NJ, founded The Bridge for Dance Studio on Broadway in Manhattan and has worked in numerous NYC public schools as a teaching artist with arts organizations such as ArtsConnection, 92Y School Partners, and The Creative Arts Laboratory before founding the dance program at PS 295 The Studio School of Arts and Culture in Brooklyn, NY.

Her work as a leading dance educator is regularly highlighted in Dance Teacher magazine including a feature in in the March 2003 issue. She has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences. Prior to working at Rutgers, Bashaw served on the faculty of New York University where she was the recipient of the 2009 Teaching Excellence Award. Bashaw is also on the faculty of the Dance Education Laboratory and currently serves as one of eight experts nationally on the National Core Arts Standards Dance task force.  An active member of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), Bashaw serves on the editorial board for the Dance Education in Practice journal, consults for the Dance Entry Level Teacher Assessment Project and is the 2003 recipient of the NDEO Emerging Visionary award. She is an Executive Board Member of Dance New Jersey.

Dr. Bashaw double-majored earning a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Arts for Children and in Dance Performance at SUNY College at Brockport, Summa Cum Laude. She earned Certification as a Laban Movement Analyst (CMA) at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in NYC, as well as an M.A. in Dance Education and an Ed.D., Doctorate of Education in Art Education at Columbia University, Teachers College and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from SUNY College at Brockport.

Maeve Dougal Headshot

Maeve Dougal (Assistant Summer Program Director, Ballet Technique) holds an M.A. in Dance Education/ABT Ballet Pedagogy from New York University and a B.F.A. in Dance with a Ballet Emphasis from Utah Valley University. She received her early ballet training at The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre under Damara Bennett and danced with Utah Regional Ballet under Jacqueline P. Colledge and Heather Gray. Dougal is an ABT® Affiliate Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 and Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Ms. Dougal is the director of the American Ballet Theatre Certified School of Ballet at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

She is also on faculty at the Huntington Center for Performing Arts and previously served on faculty for The Bridge for Dance in Manhattan and ABT’s DanceBermuda Summer Intensive. In addition to teaching, Dougal recently held a position as executive assistant for Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). She has completed administrative internships with The George Balanchine Trust and the New York Choreographic Institute at New York City Ballet, and with American Ballet Theatre’s second company, ABT II.


Sherry Alban (Ballet) has been a member of the Dance Department and taught ballet at Mason Gross School of the Arts for the past 35 years. She also has a long-standing affiliation with the Princeton Ballet as a performer, choreographer, rehearsal director, and faculty member, and was honored as their 2011 recipient of the Audrée Estey Award for Excellence in Dance Education. Alban is the children’s ballet mistress for both the Washington Ballet’s annual Nutcracker as well as the American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker.

A recipient of the New Jersey State Council of the Arts’ Choreography Fellowship, she has had her work performed by Princeton Ballet II, Roanoke Ballet Theatre, DancePlus at Rutgers, and New England Opera, and has been resident choreographer since 1998 for New Jersey Youth Theatre’s main-stage productions at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Ailey Theater in New York. Alban has also served as director and choreographer for Plays in the Park in Edison, NJ and the opera program at Mason Gross School of the Arts.


Mesia Austin, DMA (Accompanist) earned her Doctorate of Music Performance from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts.  She is a freelance musician with experiences in Orchestral Percussion, Jazz, Latin and Popular Percussion styles and select Afro Cuban Percussion styles. She is also a dance accompanist and plays for modern styles with specific training in Horton Technique. She began studying music seriously in Atlanta, GA where she received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University respectively.

Dr. Austin’s performance experience include playing with groups such as Atlanta Orchestra, Georgia Symphony Orchestra,and Hollywood Concert Orchestra. She has also performed percussion in Latin/Jazz/Funk and R&B settings with artists such as Bill Hart and The Jaxx Band.  She has done studio work with Royal Flush at Stankonia Studios. Dr. Austin also performed solo marimba as a guest performer for the Tyler Perry Studios. She has recently participated and performed in the Zeltsman Marimba Festival and has alo performed at PASIC. Currently she gives clinics and master classes in the area of general percussion percussion for band directors, world percussion and marching percussion.

simone headshot

Simone Baechle (Contemporary Technique and Improvisation & Choreography) recently received her Ed.M. in Dance Education from Rutgers University, earning a 4.0 GPA and the Graduate School of Education’s Nancy Higginson Dorr Award for Excellence in Student Teaching. At Rutgers, Ms. Baechle instructs the Ballet I and Modern I courses in the Dance Department and completed educational fieldwork at High Tech High School (North Bergen, NJ), Union County Vocational/Technical High School (Scotch Plains, NJ), and PS3 (New York City, NY).

Before matriculating at Rutgers, Ms. Baechle enjoyed a career as a performer and teacher of dance throughout the Midwest with companies such as MADCO, Chicago Dance Crash, and Mordine & Company Dance Theater. Ms. Baechle also holds a B.A. cum laude from Northwestern University with majors in Dance and English (Departmental Honors). In Fall 2016, Ms. Baechle will begin a full-time position teaching dance at two Brooklyn middle schools as part of the New York City Department of Education’s Arts Matter initiative.

Olivia Mode Cater

Olivia Mode Cater (Repertory) graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A. in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts and is also a graduate of the Ed.M. in Dance Education program with a PK-12 Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. She was awarded a Nancy Higginson Door Award from the Graduate School of Education and is a 2012 New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher awardee. She has performed the works of Urban Bush Women, Mark Morris, Doug Elkins, Randy James, Julia Ritter, Jeff Friedman, Paulette Sears, and John Evans.

Cater serves on the part-time faculty of the Dance Department, supervising graduate student teaching interns and instructing the Teaching as an Artist course.

Along with performing, Cater is an experienced teacher of students of all ages and is a choreographer with eight years of experience.  She teaches modern, jazz, hip-hop, ballet, tap, and lyrical.  Cater has also choreographed works in all these genres as well as full musicals. She is fluent in Spanish and French.  Cater hails from Cranford, NJ.


Doug Elkins (Contemporary Technique, Improvisation/Choreography, and Repertory) is a 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Creative Arts Fellow and a two-time New York Dance and Performance (BESSIE) Award-winning choreographer. He began his dance career as a b-boy, touring the world with break-dance groups New York Dance Express and Magnificent Force, among others. He has taught and choreographed extensively in the United States and Europe and has created original work for Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, Flying Karamazov Brothers, Maggio Danza, Pennsylvania Ballet, Union Dance, CanDoCo of London,  a number of university dance companies, and the renowned Mini and Maxi of Holland.

Elkins is a full-time professor in the Dance Department. Prior to Rutgers he instructed courses at NYU, Manhattanville and various other colleges. He has also worked full-time as a K-12 dance educator in the Julia Richmond Performing Arts High School in New York City and his is tenure at the Beacon High School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is the subject of Where the Dance Is, a short film by Marta Renzi. He holds an M.F.A. from Hollins University.


Randy James (Contemporary Technique, Improvisation & Choreography, Repertory) is a choreographer, receiving commissions from dance companies, colleges, and universities across the nation. The New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Department of State honored him with the 1994–95 Choreography Fellowship in recognition of his artistic excellence and named him a “Distinguished Teaching Artist.” James began his training at Rutgers University as a dance and theater major. His performance background includes summer stock, dinner theater, regional ballet companies, and nightclub revues. He has also performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet at Lincoln Center in Aida and was a principal dancer with Dan Wagoner and Dancers for eight years. He is on the full-time faculty of the Dance Department. He is a founding board member of Dance New Jersey.

Since 1993, James has served as the artistic director of Randy James Dance Works, a modern dance company known for its emotionally evocative work. He also founded the all-male dance troupe,      10 Hairy Legs.

Paul C Ocampo Headshot

Paul Ocampo (Ballet & Repertory) received his MFA degree from The Ohio State University in 2003. He choreographed and performed with the Ballet Philippines from 1984-1990 and with Singapore Dance Theatre from 1990-1999. With BP & SDT, he performed extensively and participated in numerous International Festivals. He was awarded the Shell-NAC Young Artist Award and is a recipient of scholarships from National Arts Council (Singapore), Lee Foundation, and Howell Dance Fund. A keen learner of different languages, he has received a Labanotation Teacher Certification.

Paul has worked with many illustrious choreographers including: Susan Hadley, Victoria Uris, Bebe Miller, Douglas Nielsen, Joe Alegado, Zvi Gotheiner, Graham Lustig, Jean Paul Commelin, Leigh Warren, Norman Walker, Gener Caringal, Agnes Locsin, Edna Vida, Denisa Reyes, the late Anthony Then, Goh Soo Khim, and many more. Ocampo was an Associate Professor with the Dance Department at Southern Utah University and taught modern dance, ballet, principles of choreography, dance appreciation courses, folk & cultural forms and movement for actors. In 2007, he was awarded the Utah Arts Council Individual Artist Project Grant to present Bridging Bridges. He has also been invited as a guest artist with Repertory Dance Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah, National Taiwan University of Arts, Beijing Normal University, College of Saint Benilde in the Philippines and De Sales University in Pennsylvania. His works has been presented in Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Utah, Montana, New Jersey and most recently in 92Y in New York City. Paul teaches in the Dance Department at Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey.


Hollie Palmisano (Athletic Trainer, Dancer Wellness) received her bachelor of science in physical education with concentrations in athletic training and exercise physiology from William Paterson University in 2004. Prior to Rutgers she worked in corporate fitness and for Body Tech Fitness as the director of the Personal Training Program and the AdvantEDGESports Performance School.

Palmisano works as the athletic trainer for the Rutgers Health Center under the supervision of and in direct consultation with the sports medicine physicians. Her primary responsibilities include prevention of athletic injuries, the maintenance of the health and well-being of dancers in the Mason Gross Dance Department, and the recuperation and rehabilitation of dance students following illness, injury, or surgery.

Palmisano’s certifications include: National Athletic Training Association Certification (NATA); Certified ACSM Wellness Coach; Functional Movement Screening Certified; AAAI Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Management Consultant; Certified Health and Physicial Education Teacher; American Red Cross CPR/AED Professional Instructor Certified; Jiu JitsuBlue Belt (2nd Place 2007 NAGA Worlds Championships); Nominated into Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executive and Professional Women; Nominated into Marquis Who’s Who in Medicine and Health Care in America.


Aaron Ramos (Repertory) graduated with High Academic Honors from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University in 2007 with a B.F.A. in Dance. While at Mason Gross, Ramos worked with choreographers Julia Ritter, John Evans, Christian von Howard, and Randy James. He was a member of the touring dance company, University DanceWorks for two years and performed in a work by choreographer Bill T. Jones. Upon graduating, Ramos performed with Meg Hebert Dance, Randy James DanceWorks, Julia Ritter Performance Group, John Evans and Dancers, and The Von Howard Project.

Ramos serves on the part-time faculty in the Dance Department, teaching Modern Technique and mentoring dance education practicum students. He  serves as a Board Member for Dance New Jersey and is currently a PK-12 certified dance teacher at Franklin Middle School.


Cassie Roberts Rossi (Ballet, Improvisation & Choreography, Repertory) holds an Ed.M. in Dance Education from Rutgers University and a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was awarded the Katherine K. Herberger Scholarship, the Outstanding Performer Award and was a member of Phi Eta Sigma, National Honor Society, ASU Chapter. Cassie has been teaching dance at Passaic County Technical Institute, a Career and Technical Education high school in Wayne, NJ, since 2008. She is a Director of the Dance Ensemble and also choreographed the school musical for seven years, receiving a Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography from the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2013. She served as a Pilot Teacher for the Stronge Teacher Effectiveness Performance Evaluation System and was a part of the NJDOE Model Curriculum in Dance Education Assessment Committee. She has presented at the National Dance Education Organization Conference and was funded by Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Graduate School of Education to present at the 2015 Dance and the Child International (daCi) Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Cassie currently serves as a board member for Dance New Jersey. She has been teaching jazz at the New Jersey School of Ballet since 2011. She is a certified Pilates Mat Instructor (Balanced Body) and Barre Instructor and teaches at Work It Out in Hoboken, NJ.

Chien-Ying Wang Headshot 2014

Chien-Ying Wang (Contemporary and Ballet Technique, Improvisation & Choreography) is a full-time faculty member in the Dance Department. She hails from Taiwan. She received her M.F.A. in dance from the Ohio State University, her B.F.A. from Northern Illinois University, and her A.A. from National Taiwan Academy of Arts. She was a soloist with Repertory Dance Theatre in Utah from 2002 to 2007. Before coming to the United States, Wang danced professionally with Taipei Ballet Company and Joy Dance Company. Wang was awarded the University Fellowship at the Ohio State University, and in 2006 she was a recipient of the Project Support Grant from Salt Lake City Arts Council to present Bridging Bridges, an evening dance concert. In 2013, Wang was nominated as an outstanding alumna of National Taiwan University of Arts for her significant contribution in dance.

Wang is a certified Labanotation teacher and has taught both ballet and modern dance at the Ohio State University, American College Dance Festival, and National Taiwan University of Arts. Wang was a faculty member at Southern Utah University, where she taught modern dance, classical ballet, dance repertory, interactive composition, dance and technology, sound for dance, and dance ensemble.