Marsha McEwan – Owner/Director
For the last 20 years, Miss Marsha has considered it pure joy to be surrounded by children and immersed with them in the wonderful world of the performing arts. Whether it be whirling twirling with the wee ones in their very first dance classes or directing fully staged versions of such plays as “Annie” “Little Mermaid, Miss Marsha’s joy is complete in the world of children. A former actress, with a B.A in Theatre/Drama from Indiana University, Miss Marsha stumbled upon discovered a love for teaching while living in Moscow, Russia and helping fill a void in a private school’s theatre program there. Her own daughter began preschool dance classes in Moscow as well, and Miss Marsha spent hours watching how one particular Russian woman taught preschool dance, flitting about like a happy little bird, enchanting the children with her lively energy and delightful spirit. And so it was, 5000 miles away and 20 years ago that the essence of PureJoy! Performing Arts was planted in Miss Marsha’a heart. Today, she has taught hundred’s of preschoolers and elementary age children saying, “With every single class I discover anew, the magic of the performing arts through the natural talent and innate creativity of our students.
The proof is in what happy parents such as these have to say, “I cannot believe all that you were able to pull out of our girls at your dance camp in just one week. They all want to come back for classes in the Fall…! My daughter had a blast this school year and can’t wait to get back to class! Thank you for your amazing talent, endless patience and inspiring charm energy.”
For the last 8 years, James has been dancing and teaching professionally. However, he has been dancing & training his entire life, as his mother is a professional dancer as well and former studio owner.
To the dance floor, James brings:
Hip Hop & Breakdance including popping, hits, robotics, waving, animation, tutting, breaking, locking, krump and hat tricks!
He is highly sought after sometimes teaching up to 20 classes a week with over 300 students and bringing countless winning acts to Competition. Aside from his evident talent as a dancer, he is a gifted teacher known for his high energy, joyous spirit and sincere care for his students.
James says, “I am so proud of each and every one of my students, seeing every one of them grow and most importantly having fun! I can’t wait to pass it along to all you at PJ!PA as well!”
PureJoy! Performing Arts is VERY excited to welcome Courtenay to our teaching Staff!
Her kind, soothing presence and her ability to raise up polished young dancers is a great gift to our studio. Take a peek at her class work in the video below! Courtenay is a classically trained dancer, singer and choreographer based in NYC. Originally from Los Angeles California, she was a trainee and company member at Pasadena Dance Theatre before graduating from the University of California Irvine with a B.A. in Dance. She specializes in Ballet, Jazz, and Musical Theater, and has performed with top theaters across the country including Sacramento Music Circus and Theater of the Stars. She has also performed with Disney, Universal Studios and at sea with Holland America and can be seen dancing on television in various commercials as well as Industrials. Courtenay loves passing on the joy of dance to her students, with a focus on Technique in a positive, confidence-building environment.
Jessica Viola graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2008 with her BFA in Dance and BA in Accounting. Jessica most recently performed in Hainan, China where she back-up danced for artist Renee Cole. She also toured nationally with 50 Shades the Musical Parody. Jessica has appeared in numerous music videos including Lady Gaga’s “Marry the Night”, The Gaslight Athem’s “Rollin and Tumblin“, and Justin Timberlake’s “Not a Bad Thing.” She has been in commercials for Macy’s and Timex, and was cast as a hip-hop dancer in the movie “While We’re Young.” Jessica also finds such joy in teaching dance. She has taught a variety of styles over the years including Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary and Ballet and taught a Bollywood master class at the Julliard School. She has choreographed for several corporate events and has set award-winning choreography across the Tri-State area. She continues to take classes and expand in her own dance development and impart her many years of ongoing experience to the students at PureJoy!
Jeri Kansas started dancing professionally at the age of 19 on the world renowned stage at Radio City Music Hall as a Rockette. Her first Broadway show, “Sugar Babies” starred Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney. Good fortune then struck again when Gower Champion cast Ms Kansas in the Tony A ward Winning Best Musical, 42nd Street, where she danced for 8 years. Jeri has choreographed Brigadoon, Sweet Charity, Anything Goes and currently this summer Billy Elliot. Her experience as a dance studio owner for 11 years and a seasoned teacher and performer make all of us at PureJoy! feel very fortunate to add Jeri to our beloved Staff. Our students have said about Jeri, “I love her soothing and positive energy and easy to follow teaching“. Our parents say, “I was taken by Jeri’s warmth, enthusiasm, and skill as a teacher.”
Kelly Bojos started her dance training at the age of five years old at Rising Stars Dance Studio in Queens, NY, where she has been teaching children and teens ballet, tap, and jazz since 2010. Kelly is a professional model signed to STATE Management and has worked with many well-known brands in print, commercial and showroom. She attended The Fashion Institute of Technology, where she graduated with a BA in Advertising and Marketing Communications. She is also a graduate of the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts. Kelly studied Ballet, Martha Graham, and Horton technique under the guidance of Deborah Zall, Elisa King, and Cassandra Phifer, among others. Her professional experience includes performances choreographed by Deborah Zall, Catherine Brikké, Gregory Sinacori, Ellenore Scott, and William Isaac. Kelly has also trained with numerous summer intensives including Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company and Young Dancemakers Company. Kelly has won various choreography awards at both regional and national competitions. On her free time, she volunteers for her alma mater, St. Mary Gate of Heaven Academy, by choreographing the annual school musical. She has choreographed pieces for Shrek The Musical JR., Big The Musical, The Lion King JR., and more. Finally, Kelly takes such pride and joy when it comes to her students. Her biggest goal when it comes to teaching goes beyond technique, but to be able to help mold and inspire her students to always go after their dreams and to give them the reassurance and confidence that they can, in fact, do anything they put their mind to!
Jahad Shawe is returning to PureJoy! this Fall for his fourth season with us. He keeps coming back to teach our boys because our parents keep sending us emails like these about him…!
“[My son] has communicated that he can’t wait to connect with Jahad again. He truly enjoys his time with Jahad and his response to me regarding potential changes in the class makeup was, “I don’t care mom as long as I’m still with Jahad. We think Jahad is a great asset to your team and hope he never moves on or is recruited by another studio!“
“We are new to the program and as a teacher myself, Jahad made [my son] and the other boys feel important, appreciated and joyful. Which to me, at my son’s age, far exceeds technicality at this point in the game. I enjoyed watching Jahad’s approach and appreciated his teaching style.“
“Jahad is a wonderful role model for the boys and an unbelievable dancer. The boys were amazing this year and they loved going to class every week.”
Jahad is known in our studio for his amazing spirit, attitude and energy that he brings to every class he teachers. He gives 100% to his students in every class and leaves no child behind. The boys that take his classes love and respect and literally come running into the studio each week to find him and get their class started. Our parents look forward to catching glimpses of Jahad himself dancing. He is truly an amazing dancer, exhibiting unbelievable natural talent and 100% self taught!