Dance Instructors

LaGrone, Niki (Belly Dance): Nikki has been instructing Belly Dance at Penn Rec since 2009. With a B.A. from the University of California in French, Theatre, Dance, and Performance studies she loves sharing the passion she has for the Middle Eastern Dance. Nikki also works for Ya’lla, Penn’s Middle Eastern Dance and Drum Troupe so be sure to check them out as well.


Turner, JO (Ballet): Graduate of Penn’s neighbor school, Drexel University, JO is currently involved in teaching intermediate Ballet class. However, you can sometimes find her instructing Beginner Ballet, Modern, and Jazz dance classes as well. Back in 2000, she even taught dance at the Beijing Dance Academy in Beijing, China. When JO isn’t dancing or teaching she enjoys collecting books, shooting foul shots, and crochet.


Gadson, Virgil (Hip-Hop): Over the years, Virgil has danced in NFL commercials, TV shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 8 top 30, MTV‘s Americas Best Dance Crew, and various music videos. He is an avid student and instructor of Hip Hop dance as he thoroughly incorporates himself into all aspects of the art form. Ranging from outreach programs in South Philadelphia to the University of the Arts in Center City to classrooms in Bermuda, Virgil has instructed children and adults of all ages and is very involved in his community as well as dance communities abroad. Virgil attended University of the Arts and became a graduate of their dance program in 2008. It was at UArts that he was able to integrate other dance forms into his education such as Modern, Jazz, Ballet and Tap. Though Hip Hop continues to be his main focus, Virgil encourages all of his students to learn and experience all dance styles as well as their history in order to help them grow and meet their potential in life and dance.


Veliskova, Jana (Latin, Social): Although Jana has been dancing ballet since she was five; she began her competitive Latin and Ballroom dance training at her alma mater Cornell University. Since then, she has attended numerous competitions around the Northeast as well as organized several collegiate and amateur events. She has been the president of the competitive team at Cornell and has been coached by top ranking coaches including Karina Smirnoff and Maks Chmerkovskiy, of Dancing with the Stars fame. She has competed successfully in the pre-champ Open Latin division and is currently training with her dance partner Vichet Ou for the championship division. She has been teaching Latin and Ballroom since 2005 and has taught numerous classes for PennRec since 2009.