Our Faculty

Suzanne Hock Vandergrift Suzanne Hock Vandergrift Founder and Artistic Director

Suzanne Hock Vandergrift is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1996 she received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with secondary studies in vocal performance and dance. Not only is Suzanne an experienced teacher – having taught music, dance, gymnastics and theatre arts at other artistic institutions in NC for the past 15 years, she also has a extensive performance background in musical theatre as a dancer, singer, actress and accompanist. Suzanne has taught both MUSIKGARTEN© and Orff Scheulwerk©, and is currently completing the Dalcroze Eurhythmics Certification at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Other specialized classes include the Zena Rommett Floor Barre© and the Lynn Simonson Jazz Technique©, also taught by our school director, Suzanne Vandergrift, who is certified in these methods practiced by professional dancers worldwide.

In August 2003, Suzanne partnered with Harald Petrini and David Tolbert from Pleasant Ridge Christian Fellowship in their vision to develop and grow a community Fine Arts Program that celebrated God through the arts. In September 2008, at the closing of Pleasant Ridge Fine Arts Academy, Suzanne, along with a dynamic community of teachers, ventured out to continue their vision at Greensboro Performing Arts. God has been incredibly faithful to their vision and the academy now has grown to over 250 students involved in Music, Dance & Theatre Classes, led by the giftings of our five dance instructors and five music teachers.

"God gave rhythm, experienced in the simple, steady pulse of a heartbeat, which inherently draws people to music and movement like nothing else can. Everyone can dance and it is my passion to create an atmosphere in which children and adults, boys and girls can freely learn to express themselves and worship through movement and dance."

Emily Adams Emily Adams Director of Classical Ballet and Pointe

Emily Adams has dedicated a lifetime to the performance, choreography, and pedagogy of classical ballet. A BFA Ballet undergraduate of the N.C. School of the Arts and a MFA Drama & Theatre Graduate from the University of Hawaii, Emily pursued her New York professional training with master teachers Igor Schwezoff, Igor Youskevitch, Leon Danilien, Benjamin Harkarvy & Margaret Craske. She performed nationally with the New York Ballet Repertory Company, performing as a soloist in Jose Limon's La Malinche, Anne Sokolow's Ballade, Raymonda, Swan Lake & Napoli, other professional credits include the New York Chamber Dance Ensemble, Hawaii Dance Theatre, John Davidson's mid-Atlantic tour of Oklahoma and the Duo Ridels Dance & Comedy Team. She has been on the dance facilities of Radford College, New York State University, and the University of NC at Greensboro.

Emily has produced choreography for the Chapel Hill Ballet, the Greensboro Ballet, Busch Garden Dancers, N.C. Shakespeare Festival, and UNCG's productions of Pippin, Pirates of Penzance, Oklahoma, and Camelot. Emily's contribution to the local & state dance community have been through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the N.C. Arts Council, and the United Arts Council of Greensboro to product the Greensboro Ballet Festival in the 1980's. Prior to joining the Greensboro Performing Arts, she directed the Ballet Arts Studio in Greensboro for nineteen years.

Carla Crotts-Massa Carla Crotts-Massa Director of Triad Tap Company

Carla Crotts-Massa grew up dancing throughout NC and the US. Her educational background includes a BS in Biology from High Point University and graduate coursework in Physical Therapy from Winston-Salem University. Carla began her dance career at the age of 2 at her father's disco club in Winston Salem, NC. She then continued to study ballet, tap, and jazz, lyrical, pointe, and hip-hop under the direction of Sheryl Patton at Dance Connection in Greensboro, NC from 1986 – 2006. Her studies also include ballet and modern at the Center for Advancement Studies at Southwest Guilford High School and the High Point University's dance team. She has also taken classes with master choreographers Frank Hatchett, Dan Karaty, Laurie Johnson and Liz Imperio just to name a few.

She worked with Jared Grimes for many years and competed in numerous dance competitions including Showstoppers, Star Systems, and Marvona. Carla has taught dance to all ages, from age 3 to adult, and coached many dance and cheerleading teams. Carla has an extensive performance background and has attended conventions including the Paula Abdul's Company Dance, and the Tremaine Dance Company.

Terri B. Rooks Terri B. Rooks Ballet Instructor

Terri B. Rooks began her classical ballet training at the Virginia Ballet Company under the instruction of Tatiana Rousseau—a pupil of Madame Olga Preobrajenska, and a principal of Paris’ Le Theatre des Champs Elysees—and Oleg Tupine—a principal and sensation of the Ballet Russe. Broadening this training at summer intensive programs at the School of American Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet School, she went on to study and perform at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, BFA, under Joseph Levinoff and Emily Adams. While at the University(cum laude), she was a soloist and choreographer. For more than 25 years, Terri has traveled extensively across the country as a judge for Showstopper: American Dance Championships, the first dance competition for young dancers in the United States. Her considerable ballet technique knowledge has served her well, as she has judged with professionals from Broadway stages, Hollywood, and national and international ballet companies.

Terri has taught and choreographed as a guest artist at various dance schools in North Carolina. All the while, Terri has worked as an editor for publications such as Delta Air Lines’ Sky magazine, US Airways Magazine, AAA Traveler, and Conversations, the publication for Wells Fargo’s wealth investors. Her articles about dance, the arts and culture have been enjoyed by international readers. Terri lives in High Point, North Carolina with her husband of 32 years. She has three grown children who do not dance, so she loves to celebrate the performances and accomplishments of dancers everywhere.

Jaclyn Michelle Surso Jaclyn Michelle Surso Musical Arts Director, Voice Instructor

Jaclyn Michelle Surso recently finished her Professional Artist Certificate fellowship with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem. While being an A.J. Fletcher fellow, she recently performed the role of Magda in Menotti’s The Consul as well as Rosalinda in J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. In her first year as a fellow she sang the role of Sandrina in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. During this performance, “Jaclyn Surso lacked nothing in vocal power and agility, conveying Violante/Sandrina’s emotional turmoil,” (William Thomas Walker of CVNC). She also gave a very successful performance of Antonia in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann during her time at Fletcher. The summer of 2014 held exciting plans for Jaclyn as she traveled first to Spain to help advertise the post graduate degree music programs at UNCSA by giving concerts. Following this, she spent the rest of the summer in Italy at Renata Scotto’s summer program, Music Academy International. Here she made her Italian debut singing the Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. During the summer of 2013, Jaclyn was in San Francisco singing with the Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute. She performed the role of Miss Jessel in Turn of the Screw by Britten, as well as scenes from Don Giovanni as Donna Elvira, Otello as Desdemona and Der Rosenkavalier as Die Marschallin. Jaclyn received her Bachelors and Masters in music performance at The Cleveland Institute of Music and is currently a student of Dr. Marilyn Taylor.

Abigail Ray Davidson Abigail Ray Davidson Director of GPA Dance Companies

Abigail Ray Davidson is a dancer, teacher and choreographer originally from Burlington, NC. A recent graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, under the direction of Susan Jaffe, Abigail graduated with a BFA in Dance with a concentration in Contemporary. She has had the pleasure of performing original works by Patricia Casey, Brenda Daniels, and Juel D. Lane, worked in collaboration with Wayne McGregor Random Dance Company and has performed works by Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp. She has studied the techniques of Cunningham, Limón, Graham, Release, Horton, Cecchetti, ABT syllabus and Vaganova. Abigail has also taken various hip-hop, swing, broadway and jazz classes over the years. She began teaching in the UNCSA Preparatory Program in 2015 and became permanent faculty in 2016. Abigail has choreographed new works at Arts Evangelica in High Point NC, Arts Alive Fine Arts Studio and Burlington Dance Center in Burlington, NC.

Cassie Shintay Cassie Shintay Director of Theatre Arts, GPA

Cassie Shintay has been a member for the GPA family for over 8 years. She has her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a minor in Dance from Greensboro College, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Before college, Cassie was always among some stage in Raleigh, either performing in a musical or with her dance team.  She found a passion for clogging at her local studio and served as her team captain for multiple years. After 8 years, she decided to put up the clogging shoes and devote her life to the theatre. Cassie has performed in many musicals and plays with roles ranging from Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors to Izzy in Rabbit Hole.

Cassie has also served as a key team member for multiple theatre conventions including the North Carolina Theatre Conference and the South East Theatre Conference. Along with her school experience she has toured the Mid-West with Prairie Fire Children's Theatre and spent a summer in Olympia, Washington choreographing for 600 theatre students.

Kaitlyn Moss Kaitlyn Moss Musical Theater Instructor & Director

Kaitlyn Moss is a graduate of Greensboro College, class of 2013. She has a B.A. in Theatre with an Acting Emphasis. She also completed minors in Music and Dance. For several years, she was an intern at The Green Room's Summer Shakespeare Theatre Institute in her hometown of Newton, NC. There she helped teach condensed versions of Shakespeare's works, culminating at a performance at the end of the week. Kaitlyn also completed an internship at Theatre West Virginia in 2011. Recently, she performed in the regional premier of "O Guru, Guru, Guru or why I don't want to go to yoga class with you." The show was originally produced at the Humana Festival for New American Plays. She is currently working with the Musical Theatre classes at GPA.

Rex Griffin Rex Griffin Violin and Guitar Instructor

Rex Griffin is a native of Greensboro and has been teaching guitar and violin for over 25 years. Rex studied with guitarist Greg Hyslop and trumpeter Al Neese for many years. He has lead a gypsy jazz band, the Hot Club of North Carolina, for 30 years and has played with greats like Babik Reinhardt (Django Reinhardt's son) and Frank Vignola to name a few. He is now teaching in conjuntion with GPA. For more information on guitar and violin lessons, contact Rex Griffin at 336.312.1730, email griffinrex7@gmail.com or register online for a consultation.

Jordyn Burton Piano Instructor

Jordyn Burton has been studying piano actively since the age of 5 and has made music performance a central part of her life for as long as she can remember. Growing up, Jordyn was active in various choirs, dance and theater while furthering her education in piano with private lessons and local competitions. Jordyn is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Piano Performance at University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the instruction of Dr. Dmitri Shteinberg as a recipient of the Shteinberg Studio Assistantship. In the past, she has studied with Dr. Yin Zheng, Dr. Sonia Vlahcevic, Dr. Charles Staples and David Ehrman. She has also performed in masterclasses led by world-renowned concert pianist Orion Weiss, Juilliard School alumnus Jon Kimura Parker, and Gilles Vonsattel, respected performer and member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Jordyn has several years of teaching experience in Richmond, Virginia, and was the Vice President of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Collegiate Chapter of the Music Teacher’s National Association. She also received the Richmond Music Teacher’s Association Collegiate Scholarship Award in 2016. While attending Virginia Commonwealth University, she had the pleasure of being Dr. Yin Zheng’s assistant for the Global Summer Institute of Music for several years. Through this institute she witnessed the techniques of various international pedagogues and performers as well as formed relationships with high-class faculty from all over the world. Jordyn’s training thus far has developed a passion for performing as well as music theory and she strives to convey the importance of both to her students. She believes that performing and education go hand in hand with clear communication at the heart of both. Jordyn feels that music is an incredible blessing in her life and she would not be the person she is today without it. She loves teaching students of all ages and levels in the hopes that they might also experience the joy a love of music can bring.

Cassie Jessica Bryant Cassie Jessica Bryant Theater Instructor

Cassie Jessica (CJ) Bryant, discovered a love of performance at a young age, and decided to go to school to study Theatre. She graduated with honors from Berea College where some of her favorite roles were Catherine in Proof, Alcyone in Metamorphoses, Buckingham in Richard III, and Mollie in The Mousetrap. She went on to intern in the wardrobe department at Merry-Go-Round Theatre in Auburn, New York, and toured with AD Players Theatre in Houston, Texas. She continued to work both onstage and backstage in various productions. Some of her favorite professional performances are The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Victorian Christmas, and 15 Minute Hamlet. After taking a step back from the fast paced world of acting to raise a family, CJ discovered an unexpected love of teaching! She spent the next 6 years teaching theatre with various groups. These classes included acting, monologues, theatre makeup, and stage combat. During that time, she directed students in many shows including The Jungle Book, Pass It On Christmas, The Hero Squad, Sleepy Hollow, and Rutherford Wolf. She has since joined GPA full time to work with the growing drama program!

Michael Job Michael Job Ballet Instructor

Michael Job brings over 25 years of professional experience as a dancer, ballet teacher and choreographer to the Greensboro area. Michael was a Principal Dancer with the Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and the Dallas Ballet. Michael also danced with the Hubbard Street Dance Company, The Dutch National Ballet, Houston Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. As Principal Dancer, Michael performed a diverse classical and contemporary repertoire including principal roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Les Sylphides, La Sylphide, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Raymonda, Le Sacre Du Pretemps, Etudes, Napoli, Concerto Barocco, Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux, Square Dance, Scotch Symphony, Allegro Brilliante, Pas De Dix, Bourree Fantasque, La Sonambula, etc. Following his performing career, Michael served as a faculty instructor at The Juilliard School, STEPS on Broadway, The Washington School of Ballet, and Southwest Ballet Center. Michael also served as Ballet Master of The Dayton Ballet as well as Director of The Dayton Ballet School and Dayton Ballet II. As a guest instructor and choreographer, Michael taught and staged classics and original works for the University of Oklahoma, Wright State University, The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Southwest Ballet Center, University of Northern Colorado, University of Southwest Louisiana, The David Taylor Dance Company and the Syracuse University Summer Dance Intensive. Michael owes his career and his enduring love for ballet to his teachers, Joan Kunsch, Bill Martin Viscount, Ann Burton, Joyce Cuoco, Nicolas Petrov, Frederick Franklin, Edward Caton, James Clouser, Nicolas and Ann Polajenko, Ben Stevenson, Rudi Van Dantzig, Robert Joffrey, Maria Grande, Sally Bliss, Finis Jhung, George Skibine, Marjorie Tallchief, Maria Tallchief, Robert Barnett, Larry Long, Anna Marie Holmes, Bruce Marks and Benjamin Harkarvy.

Maria-Elena Surprenant Maria-Elena Surprenant Ballet Instructor

Maria-Elena Surprenant is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and has danced for over twenty years. She studied dance at Charlotte School of Ballet, and has trained and performed with the Charlotte City Ballet. Maria-Elena received her B.A. in Dance from UNCG, and is certified in American Ballet Theatre’s National Teaching Curriculum pre-primary-level 3. Mrs. Surprenant is the choreographer for the Greensboro Christmas Spectacular at Lawndale Baptist Church, and enjoys working as an arts administrator, freelance artist, teacher, and choreographer. Maria-Elena is a part of the Advisory Group for Dance at the Van Dyke, which is in association with Dance Project and ArtsGreensboro. She received her Masters in Entrepreneurship from WCU, and is happily married to her husband Matthew.

Amanda Diorio Amanda Diorio Jazz and Modern Instructor

Amanda Diorio is a dance educator at Elon University and Greensboro College. She was raised in suburban Boston studying movement, music, and theater. She holds an M.F.A. in Choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a B.F.A. in Dance from Temple University. She has taught, performed and choreographed dance extensively in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Florida and the Carolinas at universities, studios, schools and community centers. She currently instructs at several colleges and studios in the triad while living in Greensboro with her young daughter.