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Copyright © 2011 Pennsylvania Performing Arts Center

Our Teachers

Bobbie Jo Gildner – Owner/Artistic Director/Teacher

Miss Bobbie Jo has been dancing for 35+ years, she received her teaching certification from The Jay Dash School of Dance in Cherry Hill NJ in 1989. Miss Bobbie Jo has performed in Disney, Universal Studios, Great Adventure and many other local events. She was a Cheerleader/Dancer for the Allentown Jets Basketball team, and was the inaugural Dance Director/Choreographer for the Lehigh Valley Lady Outlawz Arena football dance team. Miss Bobbie Jo was the 1st director of the dance competition/showcase for SportsFest. She coached cheerleading for 16 years at Dieruff High School. Miss Bobbie Jo loves to share her passion of dance with her students to help them grow their love of dance and become more confident. She is married and with 4 children & 2 grandchildren

Stacy Gabel - Vocal, Piano, Guitar & Muscial Teacher

Miss Stacy has been teaching at PPAC since it first opened it's doors.  She is a graduate of Parkland HS, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (NYC), and Kutztown University.  She holds certifications in musical yheater and music as well as a BS in TV/Radio Production. She spent many years working full time in NYC and Los Angeles in children's television while performing in TV, film and stage productions and coaching kids and teens with their own auditions and competitions.  Miss Stacy continues to perform and direct locally in theater and TV commercials, is a member of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and sings/plays guitar and keyboards in a few local music groups/bands.  Miss Stacy is very passionate about teaching and enjoys watching the kids at PPAC grow and learn to be confident, professional performers.

Kate Mercado - Teacher

Miss Kate studied dance at Miss Jeanne's School of Dance Arts for 12 years. She continued her dance education at Arizona State University where she joined the dance company Axe. She has traveled all over the US and Canada dancing Afro Brazilian Custom Dances; Specializing in Samba and African Dance. She has taught Samba, African Dance, and Zumba in Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona for 5 years. She returned to PA in 2012 and is a Kindergarten Teacher. She has been teaching at PPAC for 5 years.

Brittney Riccardi- Teacher

Miss Brittney began her dance training at 3 years old and today has training in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, acro, contemporary, African, improvisation, and hip hop. As a former elite member of the Centre Stage Dance Co., she competed in many competitions and performed at events such as the Boscov’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia and the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington D.C.  Throughout her high school career, much of her choreography had been showcased in Young Choreographers in Concert, Dance Soup, and many other community events. She was also part of a select group who attended several master classes and performed at the Regional High School Dance Festival in Norfolk, VA. In 2008, she was awarded a full scholarship to the Muhlenberg College Performing Arts Summer Intensive, studying dance and musical theater. Miss Brittney graduated from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts as a dance major in 2009. After high school, she continued her training with an internship at Pennsylvania Youth Theatre as well as choreographing and performing in the Northampton Area Community College dance ensemble. Miss Brittney was a Soloist and Company Member of the Monarch Dance Company from 2009-2011 where she performed regularly in Philadelphia as well as the Lehigh Valley at EDC, Sportsfest, First Friday, Musikfest and many other events. Today, Miss Brittney is a company member of Lehigh Valley Dancers Screendance Company where she is regularly featured (since 2015) with some videos reaching 400,000+ views!  Miss Brittney believes that dance should be fun and expressive yet also educational, and she has experience teaching all ages and abilities! Miss Brittney has taught at the Pennsylvania Performing Arts Center since 2013 and has been sharing her love of dance in teaching children throughout the Lehigh Valley for almost 10 years. She continues her training by frequenting master classes and conventions in New York City and the Lehigh Valley with various artists such as Paul Taylor 2 Company, Natalya Strait, Ginger Cox, Nathalie Marrable, and many more in all styles. Brittney is happily married to her husband Matthew with their son Mikah and cats X-Ray and Bernie. She would like to thank her friends and family for always supporting her dance dreams.

Paige Marie Updegrove -Teacher

Miss Paige is a Schuylkill County based dance instructor who developed a passion for dance at the young age of 2. Dancing for over 22 years, she has had the opportunity to study under great instructors during her time at DeSales University, as well as working with dance on camera, and performing in various shows, as well. She lives to perform and has had the honor of dancing at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the American Cancer Society telethon. She
doesn't limit herself to just one genre, you will always find her teaching any style of dance having the time of her life.
Paige is a certified dance instructor from the National Dance Institute in New York City under their intense curriculum. She has been a professional instructor for 6 years now and continues to educate herself by constantly training and keeping a healthy lifestyle As a teacher, Paige not only challenges her students, but creates a positive atmosphere where they are able to develop their art and leave each class with a smile on their face feeling accomplished. She believes in all of her students being kind to others not just in the studio, but outside as well. Dance is a place to grow, learn, make friends, and most importantly have fun!