Faculty & Staff


Maeve Dougal Headshot

Maeve Dougal, Director – Summer Dance Programs

Maeve Dougal is the Director of the Mason Gross School of the Arts Extension Division’s ABT® Certified School of Ballet, Director of the Rutgers Summer Dance Programs, and a Part-Time Lecturer in the Dance Department at Rutgers University. She holds a M.A. in Dance Education with a concentration in ABT® Ballet Pedagogy from New York University and a B.F.A. in Dance with a Ballet Emphasis from Utah Valley University. Maeve received her early ballet training at The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre in Portland, OR and at Columbia Dance in Vancouver, WA. She danced with Utah Regional Ballet under the direction of Jacqueline P. Colledge and Heather Gray. Maeve attended the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics from 1998 – 2003. Ms. Dougal is an ABT® Fellowship Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 and Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She has taught on faculty at the Harlem School of the Arts, Princeton Ballet School, the Huntington Center for Performing Arts, The Bridge for Dance in New York City, and ABT®’s Dance Bermuda Summer Program.

Njelama DacasAssistant Director, Rutgers Summer Dance Conservatory

Njelama Dacas is a 2017 EdM in Dance Education graduate as well as a 2015 graduate of Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.  She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and is one for the Dance Educators at Glenfield Middle School in Montclair, New Jersey.  Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, she spent her junior year of undergrad studying abroad at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, United Kingdom. During her time abroad she was privileged enough to travel to over five different countries and perform in the Trinity Laban Theatre.  Also during her Undergraduate years she has served as Head Counselor, movement and workshop instructor at the Rutgers Pre College Summer Dance Program. During her studies she has gained experience in Dance pedagogy, Dance technique, Dance history, choreographic and improvisational skills, and kinesiology. She has been privileged enough to perform works by Keith Thompson, David Parker (The Bang Group), Kendra Portier, Marina Collard, and Summation Dance.

Kelli McGovern, Associate Director, Rutgers Summer Dance Lab

Kelli McGovern is a Doctoral student in the Ed.D. Dance Education program within the Dept. of Arts and Humanities at Columbia University’s Teachers College and a recipient of the Arnhold Fellowship Scholarship. She is a graduate of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with an Ed.M. in Dance Education from the Graduate School of Education and a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts. Kelli is a full time tenured dance educator at the Academy of Fine Arts and Academics at Bayonne High School (BHS) where she has created the dance arts curriculum in the district and the BHS Young Dancer Program, a community outreach program designed to offer dance technique training to children with limited access to dance classes.

Kelli is an owner of Washington Rock Dance (WRD) along with her business partners and collaborators, Cleo Mack and Blair Ritchie. WRD is a private dance school founded in 2015 that is based on developmentally focused training designed to maximize the potential of each student. WRD creates a foundational support structure for the professional dance company, Rock Dance Collective (RDC), a non-profit company of which Kelli is a professional Dancer, Founder, and Executive Director. RDC is represented by Pentacle and has most recently been commissioned by Rutgers Summer Stage, DanceNOW SteelStacks and Joe’s Pub, and CoLab Arts. RDC has self produced multiple evening length works in both nontraditional and traditional spaces to create pieces that respond to societal and environmental stimuli through an interdisciplinary collaborative process.

Ms. McGovern has served on panels to develop the Model Curriculum Dance Assessments to be used as the guide for all dance programs in the state of New Jersey and to facilitate workshops for CTE Arts Assessments and implementation of the new NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Standards. She has been selected to present her educational philosophies at the National Dance Education Organization National Conferences in Arizona and Washington, D.C. and at the NJAHPERD Conference. Kelli is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Kelli’s intended area of specialization for her doctorate will be in the track of Leadership and Policy. She is interested in developing research on how to further advocate and market dance in education to districts, administrations, and communities and to find what obstacles are in the way of making dance an indispensable fixture in every student’s education.

Nava Behnam Shabahang – Assistant to the Director, Rutgers Young Dancer Summer Programs

Nava Behnam Shabahang is pursuing a Masters of Dance Education at Rutgers University. Originally from Tehran, Iran, she immigrated to North America when she was five years old. She began her formal dance training at eight years old in the Royal Academy of Ballet and continued training in Vagonava and Classical Ballet. She has also trained in western modern, jazz, contact improvisation and gaga. In 2013 Nava earned a B.A. in Dance and a Minor in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has enjoyed working in preschools in the Montessori and Reggio-Inspired approaches for the past couple of years, which greatly inspired her passion for education. Nava is looking forward to being an intern at the ABT® Certified School of Ballet at Rutgers University for the 2018-2019 year.


Brittany Engel-Adams
Rutgers Summer Dance Conservatory Session II – Contemporary, Improvisation, Repertory is a dancer, performing artist, teacher, and choreographer based in New York. In 2007 she attended the Alvin Ailey School and was the recipient of the Oprah Winfrey Fellowship. From 2007–2009 she performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during their New York City Season, and later toured nationally and internationally with Ailey II. Engel-Adams was invited by Ohad Naharin to study Gaga in Tel Aviv with the Batsheva Dance Company. The Gaga language is an integral part in Engel-Adams’ work and research as a performing artist and dance educator. Brittany has performed across disciplines for projects including Sleep no more, danaka dance, Naomi Goldberg Haas, Dance the yard and Company sbb. She is featured in the film “Chiraq” directed by Spike Lee, and is a co-star in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”

She has been on faculty at Brooklyn Ballet, Joffrey Ballet school, and Steps on Broadway.
Her choreography has been presented at Symphony Space, Kumble Theater and PS 261.
Brittany is currently dancing with Netta Yerushalmy and Donna Uchizono Company. She
serves as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University.

Peggy Petteway (Ballet Technique) is a part time lecturer in the dance department at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She holds a BFA from Florida State University, graduating magna cum laude. Born in Orlando, she began her ballet training at the School of Performing Arts and continued through the apprentice program of Southern Ballet Theatre (currently Orlando Ballet) under the direction of Barbara Riggins. Petteway danced principal roles in a wide range of classical and contemporary ballets with Bay Ballet Theatre, Southern Ballet Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Chautauqua Dance Company, and Pennsylvania Ballet prior to joining American Repertory Ballet (ARB) under the artistic direction of Graham Lustig in 1999. From 2010 until her retirement in 2014 she danced for Lustig Dance Theatre, one of 10 professionals. Petteway has been a member of the teaching faculties of Southern Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Rock School, ARB’s Princeton Ballet School, and Lustig Dance Theatre. In addition, Petteway has been a guest at universities and ballet academic throughout the US. She has served as a visiting ballet mistress and repetiteur, trusted by choreographers to instill their vision and stage their work on professional dancers and students. Petteway has served as school principal for Lustig Dance Theatre since her retirement from dancing August 2014.

Dancer Wellness

HollieHollie 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.