Strauss Performing Arts

Welcome to Strauss Performing Arts! We offer a variety of classes from tiny tots to teens, and have many exciting programs to keep your children singing, dancing, acting, and entertained! Located conveniently on the Metuchen/Edison border, our goal is to provide quality dance and theater instruction from professionally trained staff, in an environment both positive and encouraging. Your children will be given the opportunity to participate in community events throughout the year, and attend workshops across NY and NJ. Registration is currently being accepted for classes.  Our Theater Program is very popular--register early. Inquire about our Dance Team and Special Needs programs!

Our Staff: 


Miss Michelle Strauss:  Michelle began her dance training as a pre-schooler, and continued throughout high school at the Geri Blyer School of Dance in Metuchen.  She was accepted into the Arts High program for Modern Dance in 1995 and went on to participate in dance classes and performances at Montclair State University, Rutgers University, Newark Community School of the Arts and various festivals throughout the state. Michelle taught a variety of disciplines and directed plays at Miss Dawn's Studio of Dance from 2000-2010 before opening Strauss Performing Arts in 2010.  Now in it's eighth season, the studio has grown tremendously and is very active in community events.  Michelle is a certified ballet instructor of the Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey, and continues to take master classes and professional development workshops in all areas of dance.



Miss Kristy Alexander has been dancing for over 18 years. She is a recent graduate of Rider University, having obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and in Dance. Through Rider University’s dance program, Kristy trained with Princeton Ballet School and American Repertory Ballet Company, among others. She was also the president, a choreographer, and a performer for Rider Dance Ensemble. Kristy is also a third grade teacher at Millstone River School. 



Miss Dawn Stelzle: Miss Dawn has been dancing for 35 years, beginning her training at age 3.  During her career she has studied and taught all genres of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe and acrobatics.  Dawn has experience teaching all levels and styles of dance to students aging 2-18.  She is certified under Christopher National Dance Teacher Seminars, directed by Robert Sean Christopher, who worked under dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey.  Dawn has also studied Acrobatics under Charles Kelly, a master Acrobatics instructor.  Miss Dawn is a licensed cosmetologist with vast experience in stage performance make-up artistry.  She is also a professionally trained vocalist who auditioned for Season 11 of American Idol, and was one of 123 contestants to survive two rounds of auditions out of 7000!  Miss Dawn is excited to share her love of Acro with the students at Strauss Performing Arts. 



Miss Casandra Dent: Cassie started dancing at age 4 at Yvonnes School of Dance in edison. From there she went to Star Essence where she took a full range of classes and participated in various competitions. Cassie then came to Miss Dawn's in 2003 and found her home.  She had been assisting in classes for three years, and began teaching when we transitioned to Strauss Performing Arts in 2010.  Miss Cassie continues to train by taking various workshops and master classes. 


Miss Catherine Satterthwaite:  Catherine began her dance training at Miss Ruth's School of Dance in Fords where she focused on ballet, jazz, pointe and lyrical.  She taught ballet, lyrical, jazz and tap at Miss Dawn's Studio of Dance for 10 years, where she also directed plays for 'Kids in Production'.  She performed in both Cabaret and Jekyl and Hyde for Plays in the Park, and danced in two seasons of Dance in the Park.
Her resume also includes performances in the Westfield Community Players production of "Jerry's Girls", and dancing at the halftime show of the Florida Citrus Bowl.  Catherine next
taught ballet, jazz and lyrical at Dance Factor in Fords for three years, where she was also head of their Dance Team. 

Miss Jennifer Azzara:  Jen is a BFA Graduate from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.  She is a certified dance instructor through Dance Educators of America, and has trained with both the Joffrey Ballet and New Jersey Ballet.  She has taught all ages of tap, ballet, jazz, musical theater, lyrical, modern, pointe and choreography.  Jennifer also works for the Metuchen Board of Education, and is a certified CPR/AED lifeguard.  She will be teaching Saturdays from 10-12.


Miss Jackie Raviola:  Jackie has been dancing for 24 years. She began dancing at Linda Jandoli’s Dance Studio in Monroe, and then continued her studies at The Dance Carousel in Spotswood where she took a full range of classes and participated in various competitions and performances. Jackie is a graduate of Montclair State University where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and minored in Dance. Jackie has been teaching at The Dance Carousel for the past 9 years. She loves to watch the students progress and build confidence as they work towards learning new material and choreography! Jackie continues to take master classes and professional development workshops in all areas of dance.