On Tour: Blog

#PAETakesNYC: Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall 2017

Mackenzie Jacob : January 17, 2017 9:28 pm : Blog

It was a crisp NYC morning, as tens of dance and choir groups unloaded at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, well-prepared to give the performances of a lifetime. Each group was quickly escorted to their respective dressing rooms, and dress rehearsals began.  Both run throughs went smoothly, and rather than the typical backstage chaos, everyone stayed calm and somewhat relaxed.

At Lincoln Center, even the youngest dancers, starting at four or five years old, acted professional. The backstage crew was humbled to watch two youngsters’ jaws drop as they looked out on the 2,700 seat audience. For many the sheer size of David Geffen Hall would be terrifying; however, these dancers fought through their nerves gracefully. Usually dancing on New York City’s finest stages is a once in a lifetime experience, but Performing Arts Educators is so grateful to provide young artists with this opportunity annually. We also want to acknowledge the well oiled machine that is the Lincoln Center staff. They welcomed our groups with open arms and were a key component of our production’s success.

By 2pm both shows were in full swing. Carnegie Hall felt electric as the gorgeous choral voices echoed through the hall. Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper began the show with a beautiful song, which he sang a capella.  Each choir also brought their own flare to the production, which made for a dynamic show. The singers’ enthusiasm was contagious; they truly appreciated what it means to perform at Carnegie Hall, one of the most famous venues in the world. Many performers may be intimidated by this prestigious venue, but not these singers. They were up for the challenge and all sounded so cohesive, especially in the breathtaking finale, musically directed by Peggy Dettwiler of Mansfield University.

Overall, PAE cannot express how thankful we are to everyone who made this MLK weekend a success. 2 shows, 2 venues, 1 PAE staff, 1 date and 1 time. Our shows went on without a hitch and we owe it all to our great partners.

Remember to use the hashtag #PAEtakesNYC to see any social media posts about our NYC takeover!
Hope to see you all next year!

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Barcelona Summer Stage 2016: Day 1

Mackenzie Jacob : July 27, 2016 9:10 pm : Blog

This morning began with constant chaos at the airport, per usual. After the dancers arrived, jet lagged and sleepy, they hopped on the tour buses and took a look around the city. Each bus had their own tour guide who pointed out special monuments and hot spots. PAE organized this tour in order to acclamate the groups to the area before they begin adventuring. Once each bus arrived at the beautiful Catalonia Plaza Hotel, they were given their room keys, Great Days packets, and a free night. Many took advantage of the time for a quick power nap before dinner, which of course isn’t until 9 pm in Spain. This open time allowed dancers and their families to take a look around the city or perhaps the more popular option, visit the rooftop pool, bar, and restaurant. Overall, today started out quite hectic with missing luggage and delayed flights, however it ended in true Spanish fashion, on a calm, relaxing note. We are so excited for the action-packed week ahead!

Weather: Hot, sunny, and clear. 86°

Dance Groups On Board: Joppa Dance Company, Lillian Dean Dancers, DanceWorks, Step By Step, and Diamond Elite New Castle Dancers

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Bus ride view of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya down the street from our hotel!

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Rooftop view of Barcelona from our hotel!

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Bus ride from El Prat Airport

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View of Montjuïc Communications Tower from our Bus Tour

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Photo op!

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Welcome dancers!


Step By Step REALLY experiencing all the art that Barcelona has to offer!


Gorgeous view on the way back from El Prat Airport to Barcelona


DanceWorks about to head out for their 1st night on the town!

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Great stop on the tour!

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Family photos!

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Mother and daughter taking in the Spanish beauty!

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Always a great picture background here!



Mackenzie Jacob : July 24, 2016 4:47 pm : Blog

As the PAE staff eagerly awaits the arrival of our groups this Wednesday, we explored the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain. We adventured through the streets near our hotel and found cute stops that we must show our dancers when they land. Everyday is jam packed with places to go and things to see, so we headed to the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña. This museum looked like a castle and had a perfect panoramic view of the city. With so much to offer, Barcelona is the perfect site for our dancers! Combining both historic and new world streets, Barcelona is home to everything. Our last stop of the day was to the roof top pool at our hotel, Catalonia Plaza Hotel, located right in the epicenter of Spanish life. The pool overlooks all of Barcelona and is open everyday during our stay! We can’t wait to share this wonderful place with our groups! See you soon!



View from Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña overlooking the Olympics Center


Half way up the stairs at Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña


Gorgeous perspective of Barcelona.

SUMMER 2016, Barcelona Edition

Mackenzie Jacob : April 11, 2016 7:50 pm : Blog

This year as part of PAE’s Summer Stages, we are visiting Barcelona, Spain. Alongside dance studios such as Joppa Dance, Danceworks, Pottstown Dance Theatre, and more, PAE will be posting daily travel diaries. This summer will include many new, exciting features, including social media takeovers and weekly photo challenges. Keep up with your favorite dancers as they leap through the Mediterranean! Check out the blog daily for exclusive back-stage content!




From Florida to New York for Carnegie Hall

performing : January 12, 2016 10:36 pm : Blog

Members of Performing Arts Educators production team have hit the road traveling from Orlando, Florida to NYC for Performing Arts Educators 10th Anniversary Celebration at Carnegie Hall. Saturday, January 16th will be a special day for many as over 400 performers come together under the direction of their teachers,, directors and mentors , combined with over 2400 in the audience there to show their support for these performers in honor and dedication to their love of song and dance. Check back often for photos and highlights leading up to our 10th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday!

Mickey Statue of Liberty

2016 Del Kieffner Award Nominee Announced

performing : August 8, 2015 12:35 am : Blog

The American Alliance of Performing Arts Educators is pleased to announce that it has awarded The Del Kieffner Award to Kathie Kececi for 2016. The Del Keiffner Award is an annual award given by PAE to recognize a director who represents those attributes desirable in all youth performing arts directors whether it be of instrumental, choral or dance groups.

The Del Kieffner Award honors a devoted music director, Del Kieffner of Orlando, Florida, who stands a representative for the multitudes and generations of performing arts teachers who each in his or her own way have selflessly taught and nurtured succeeding generations of young student performers.

Performing Arts Educators is pleased to present The Del Kieffner award to Kathie Kececi for her work among the students of In Motion: at Dorothy Del Guercio School of Dance in Mendham, NJ, as a mentor, friend, teacher and choreographer as well as for your support of those underlying values which unite all performing arts teachers.

The award will be presented to Kathie Kececi at Performing Arts Educators 10th Anniversary Celebration at Carnegie Hall on January 16, 2016.

Paris Disneyland 2015 a BIG Success

performing : August 3, 2015 10:25 am : Blog


Each summer Performing Arts Educators chooses one International location to host their Summer Stages Production. This year Paris, France was chosen as the city and Paris Disneyland the venue. Over 100 people traveled to take part in this production and tour with approximately 55 students from various groups attending the Disney Performing Arts Workshop followed by a production on stage in Paris Disneyland. Included in the tour and in addition to the production were 3 day passes to Disneyland, full tour of Paris Disney, a masterclass ballet class workshop with Frederik Lazzarelli and a live pianist, 6 nights in a Disney property with free shuttles to Disneyland Park and Disneyland Village as well as free breakfasts. In addition, a cruise on the River Seine and time at many famous Paris landmarks such as, but not limited to: Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Montemarte and the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montemarte, the beautiful shopping and restaurant district of Le Marais, the Arc de Triomphe, and more.

Given the positive responses received and requests for a repeat of this opportunity, Performing Arts Educators is pleased to announce it will be hosting Summer Stages 2016 in Paris, France in addition to our 2016 International Dance Festival in Barcelona, Spain. From their a circuit of Disney trips will begin with Paris being the first, then Tokyo, Orlando, and Shanghai.

For more information on future Disney opportunities, please contact Sylvia@performingartseducators.org.


Dance Director from Pottstown, PA returns to International Dance Festival

performing : July 20, 2015 1:03 am : Blog

 Pottstown Dance Theatre Director Returns to International Dance Festival

Michelle Jones Wurtz, director of the Pottstown Dance Theatre, returned to Ladek Zdroj, Poland to teach at the 17th annual International Dance Festival. Michelle was the first American teacher invited to work at the Festival and this was her 12th time to teach there. Over the years, Ms. Wurtz has taught American Jazz, American Contemporary Dance, Ailey Style Modern Dance, Tap Dance, Broadway Jazz, and African Dance. This year she taught American Jazz, Broadway Jazz, and African Dance. She performed there for numerous events and toured Poland with ContempraDANCE Theatre in 2006; and in 2010, Michelle’s professional company, Melange Contemporary Dance, was a headlining group at the Festival. It is one of the highlights of this director’s summer annually, and she plans on continuing for many years!

Performing Arts Educators is excited that Michelle and the dancers at Pottstown Dance Theatre will be a part of our 10th Anniversary Celebration at Carnegie Hall on January 16, 2016.

MichelleMichelle Wurtz, pictured here in center, surrounded by American Jazz students in Poland

.Michelle 2Michelle Wurtz, shown here performing in “The Feeling Begins’, which was part of a photography exhibit from former festivals that opened this years festival.

Performing Arts Educators 10th Anniversary Celebration at Carnegie Hall in 2016

performing : July 8, 2015 12:00 am : Blog

2014 Carengie FinaleOn January 16, 2016, Performing Arts Educators will be producing it’s 10th Anniversary Celebration at Carnegie Hall in New York City. We are pleased to announce that the production has been entirely booked with groups being represented from15 different schools and studios coming together from as far as South Carolina.

The production will be an anniversary celebration highlighting select groups from the past 10 years with an amazing collaboration of both song and dance ending the celebration. Groups were invited based on their experience and history of performing with PAE.  All groups with the exception of one have performed in shows in the past 10 years. It is sure to be a celebration of dance, song, and the arts.

If you’re interested in attending our 10th Anniversary Celebration, please contact Sylvia@performingartseducators.org and request to be added to the ticket distribution list. Further, if you’d like to see your school or studio participate in our show in 2017, please let us know.




On Tour to Barcelona with PAE

performing : June 15, 2015 11:01 pm : Blog

First there was Sydney. Then there was London. Last summer it was Edinburgh. This summer it’s Paris.


For the next five days I’m going to introduce you to some of the highlights of this beautiful city. Follow me along this guided ‘online’ adventure sure to excite all the senses.

Join me in an imaginary stroll through Barri Gotic,, aka ‘ The Gothic Quarter ‘.
The beautiful neighbourhood known as the Gothic Quarter is so called because it used to be the Roman village and thus has some remnants of its glorious past. These days because of the constant modernization it is easy to spot an ancient building right next to one built in the 90s. It is this mix of old and new that brings people from all over the world to stay in the Gothic Quarter.

The narrow, winding streets create quite a labyrinth and means that it may take a while to get your bearings. I recommend that you should always look up and around you or you may miss some of the best best.

The Gothic quarter has many peaceful squares (plaças) where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings. However one of the main attractions, right in the heart of the district is the huge Cathedral which has a stunning courtyard full of plants and oddly, geese.
You will be spoiled with choices of restaurants and bars, especially around Plaça Reial which is always full day and night.

Shopping is also amazing in the Gothic Quarter, from the more commercial area of Calle Portal de L’Angel to all the little boutiques on Calle Avinyo. Make sure you walk around to experience all you can, the Gothic Quarter is perfect for that afternoon stroll.

There are metro stops on both sides of the Gothic Quarter, there are 3 on Las Ramblas which runs up one side of the area, and on the other is Jaume 1. However you are in the centre of the city and many of the city’s attractions are a walk away.
At the top of Las Ramblas is Plaça Catalunya from where you can go onto Passeig de Gràcia if your shopping tastes are slightly more designer orientated, or if you want to see Gaudí’s buildings.

The Barri Gòtic area is the first choice for many visitors to Barcelona. It is the cultural hub of the city and suitable for any type of traveller.


Final Countdown to Summer Stages 2015

performing : June 12, 2015 2:24 pm : Blog


In just over one month over one hundred performers and their supporters will be joining members of the PAE team for their first productions at Disneyland….PARIS DISNEYLAND!!! Music and performance are a fundamental part of the Disney heritage and have been bringing our ‘world’ to life since Walt Disney opened Disneyland® in 1955!

The 6 night trip includes 3 day park passes, Disney performing arts workshops, Disney performance time, a master ballet class with live pianist, cruise down the river seign , lunch under the Eiffel tower and much much more. Hotel accommodations are on the Disney property.

Each Disney workshop session is facilitated by a Disney ‘professional’ lasts approximately 90 minutes. Key learnings covered include:

  • Performance skills
  • Effective preparation techniques
  • Professionalism
  • Self-confidence
  • Diversity of styles
  • Teamwork
  • Disney Magic!

Check back here for more information on this trip as it approaches. Pictures of highlights from the trip will be posted from Paris.

For more information on being a part of the Paris Disney experience again in 2016, Barcelona Summer Stages 2016, Tokyo Disney in 2017 or any of our other productions, please contact Sylvia@performingartseducators.org

Montage Dance

Pictured above, performers and staff from Montage Theatre of Dance during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Tiffany Jefferson, choreographer, pictured second from left, will be bringing members of her studio to our Summer Stages in 2017.



Serving their Community and spreading their love of the performing arts

performing : June 11, 2015 11:03 pm : Blog



Performing Arts Educators, on occasion likes to highlight studios, schools, directors, owners, students and teachers for special deeds done in their community or schools.  For this reason we would like to share information and gratitude to Dance Innovations located in Chatham, NJ and its Artistic Director, Susan McCutcheon Coutts.  Dance Innovations is known in their community and the communities surrounding theirs for their excellence in the arts as well as innovative training and service to those less fortunate in their community.  Under the artistic direction of Susan McCutcheon Coutts the studios philosophy is carried out so that the passion of dance reaches all areas of their community.

Recently Dance Innovations visited ECLC of New Jersey and performed for, and with, the children and adults who attend the school.  ECLC stands for offering ‘Education, Careers and Lifelong Learning’ to children with special needs including autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

PAE would like to congratulate the students at Dance Innovations and applaud Susan for the ways she serves in her Community and around.   For more information on this studio and the Artistic Director visit www.danceinnovations.org



TUTU THIN, A Guide to Dancing without an Eating Disorder

performing : June 9, 2015 12:54 pm : Blog

Tututhin cover


Former choreographer, dancer, and studio owner, Dawn Smith-Theodore tackles the topic of eating disorders in the dance world in a way that has not been handled to date. She helps dance teachers, parents and dancers understand how an eating disorder can take over and how to prevent the kind of thinking and behavior that will lead to a serious problem.


Visit www.tututhin.com to learn more and purchase.



Edinburgh – Performers on Day 1 – Perfect Weather

performing : August 11, 2014 5:17 pm : Blog, International Venues, Scotland

We were blessed with PERFECT weather for day 1 and while our audience soaked up the rays, our performers brought their best to Edinburgh.  It’s common knowledge that Edinburgh Fringe shows have an average of 5 audience members, but we saw an estimated 500+ attendees.  Our performances were interspersed with Scottish musical groups as part of this Scottish American Invitational Festival and the crowd loved it.  Check out some of our highlights below and take to the streets with us after the performance.

Joppa backstage.

Joppa backstage.

Ross Theatre in Princes Park.

Ross Theatre in Princes Park.

Picturesque Edinburgh Castle.

Picturesque Edinburgh Castle.

Fans await Step it Up.

Fans await Step it Up.

Step It Up soars.

Step It Up soars.

Joppa wows us.

Joppa wows us.

Our youngest audience member.

Our youngest audience member.

Step It Up is fierce!

Step It Up is fierce!

Joppa in red!

Joppa in red!

One last kiss as the dancers leave the stage.

One last kiss as the dancers leave the stage.

House of Hope performs.

House of Hope performs.

Joppa watches the afternoon performances with Sylvia.

Joppa watches the afternoon performances with Sylvia.

The sun shines over Edinburgh Castle.

The sun shines over Edinburgh Castle.

Joppa makes a party wherever they dance.

Joppa makes a party wherever they dance.


Montage premiere of The Help.

Montage premiere of The Help.

Montage waiting in the wings.

Montage waiting in the wings.

Performing Arts Educators - Montage 2 Performing Arts Educators - Montage 3

Hearing of Kennedy's Assassination.

Hearing of Kennedy’s Assassination.

Performing Arts Educators - Montage 4 Performing Arts Educators - Montage 5

Feis Rois

Feis Rois

Performing Arts Educators - Audience

Fringe Edinburgh street scene.

Fringe Edinburgh street scene.

Fringe Performers

Fringe Performers

Fringe Show Bills

Fringe Show Bills

Fringe Street musicians.

Fringe street musicians.

Sunshine in Edinburgh – Performance Day 1

performing : August 10, 2014 8:16 am : Blog, International Venues, Scotland

Our first performance day was a success with large crowds and sunshine!  PAE performers dazzled the Scots and international visitors with their dance moves and costumes.  Check out some photos of our venue at Ross Theatre in Princes Park in the midst of Edinburgh during the Fringe.  More to come…

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First day in Edinburgh- smiles, smiles and more smiles

performing : August 9, 2014 10:29 pm : Blog, International Venues, Scotland

Our first day in Edinburgh brought lots of sunshine and smiles….then lots of rain and smiles. Our girls (and the handful of boys) and their families still made the best of it even taking the opportunity to stay dry while on a ride on the ferris wheel overlooking Edinburgh. Groups were given a full day to explore the Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile, Princes Garden and Ross Theatre and all that Edinburgh has to offer. Follow up in our next post for pics from performance day! You won’t want to miss out.

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