ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP & FACULTY
FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT TO ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Nikki Heckstall started her dance experience at the young age of 3 at the Bernice Johnson’s Cultural Arts Center in Queens, NY. The school’s alumni have birthed great artist such as Broadway choreographer Camille Brown, Actor Ben Vereen and Michael Jackson’s choreographer, Michael Peters. Nikki started taking classes in Tap, Ballet and Interpretive dance. She had shown such passion and became such an assiduous dancer they placed her in a pre-professional level class at the age of 6 years old. Nikki continued to study dance throughout her childhood years.
At the age of 9 years old, Nikki had auditioned and was chosen to take part of a children’s dance company based in Queens, Ny, named KECDE! (Kerri Edge Children’s Dance Ensemble). They performed many Alvin Ailey inspired numbers and performed throughout the Tri-State area. While participating in the company Nikki was able to perform in major dance competitions. One being Dance America in Orlando, receiving a chance to perform an African routine at Epcot Center as well as performing in Las Vegas, Nevada. While performing with KECDE! she was able to Travel to Amsterdam, Holland to perform for a dance festival. Nikki also attended KECDE!’s home studio Edge School of the Arts (ESOTA) where she was taught by teachers Bakari Wilder, Roger C. Jeffrey, and Brandon Ellis to name a few.
Nikki Heckstall attended High school at The Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan, where she was a dance major. At P.P.A.S. she took all dance classes for 4 years at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. There she would study Tap, Ballet, Jazz, and Graham and Horton technique. She would learn under great artist such as Earl Mosley, Derrick Minter, Ninoska M’bewe Escobar, and Joan Peters. While attending High School Heckstall decided to audition for Harlem School of the Arts Pre-professional company “Renaissance II”, a company for aspiring dance professionals. Nikki received a full scholarship to attend and was placed in the company, under the guidance of now Rod Rogers Dance Company director, Kim Grier. At the Harlem School of the Arts, she learned under the guidance of Dimitri Povolotsky, Imani Faye.
Nikki also participated in an African dance company, Ballet International Africans. Heckstall performed with Ballet International Africans dance from the age of 12 until adulthood. The company performed African dances, jazz performances and contemporary dance pieces created sometimes by Nikki Heckstall herself. The company had given her the opportunity to travel to Florence and Rome, Italy to perform for the La Farfalla Festival, right after graduating High School in 2002. Nikki has also performed with Forces of Nature Dance Company as well as becoming a junior performer with the Na Ne Chen Dance Company.
Nikki then changed her dance career styles by auditioning and dancing back up for music artist. Her first back up dance gig was the Hip Hop and R&B artist Ashanti. Nikki not only toured with Ashanti but became her choreographer’s, Brice Vick’s assistant choreographer. She worked with Brice on many different choreography projects with artist such as Montana Tucker in Miami and developing artist as well at various dance conferences. Heckstall then decided to take her career one step further by becoming a backup dancer for artist including Lil Mama, Chris Brown, Mr. Cheeks and Bow wow etc.
Nikki began teaching dance classes when she was 17 years old and has been teaching for years since. She has taught children as young as three and has worked with dancers as old as 50. Nikki has taught and choreographed for many dance studios and for various artist. Heckstall has taught at studios in the New York City area as well as Long Island. Some studios she has taught at were TDH Cultural Arts Center Edge School of the Arts, Backstage Studio Dance, The Dance Hut. Nikki Heckstall has also worked in arts in education programs in the New York City Area with Companies like Jamel Gain’s Creative Outlet.
Originally from Central Florida, Deirdre trained for many years at the Orlando Ballet School where she performed with the professional company in The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Giselle, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Sleeping Beauty. She also spent a year as a company dancer with Empire Dance Studio, competing in award-winning numbers at local and national competitions.
As a college student, she spent four years performing with the Notre Dame Dance Company and completed courses in ballet and dance composition. Known for teaching high-energy classes, Deirdre was a guest-teacher in her hometown, taught technique for the Notre Dame Ballet Club, and assisted with many young dancer classes in Orlando. She also served as assistant choreographer for her high school’s production of The Sound of Music.
Deirdre is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College and is currently pursuing a MA in Theology at the University of Notre Dame while living and working in the Diocese of Scranton. She is very excited to join the Civic Dance Centre this year!
Contemporary, Jazz, & Tap
Kathi-Jo received her BA in dance from Adelphi University under the direction of Norman Walker. She studied in New York City with such legends as Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Luigi and Phil Black. Her professional dance career includes the Broadway and National Touring companies of My Fair Lady, Cabaret and Follies. She has enjoyed a varied and colorful teaching career and has seen many of her students enjoy successful Broadway careers of their own. Coming out of retirement, Kathi is pleased to join Civic Ballet this season to see what else she still has to offer.
Megan Frable has been teaching dance at the Scranton Civic Dance Centre since 2012. Megan began dancing at the age of four and over the years has studied tap and jazz extensively at Stars of Tomorrow in Forty Fort, PA, Linda Sipple Dance Center in Luzerne, PA, and Linn McDonald School of Dance in Scranton, PA. In 2004, she performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as an all-star cheerleader/dancer.
Megan also continued dancing at Susquehanna University in tap, jazz, and modern courses and she was a member of the SU Dance Corps for four years. She had the pleasure of teaching her peers tap and jazz from 2005-2009, performing in many dance-related workshops and activities around campus, and serving as the SUDC Vice-President in her senior year.
Megan earned a BA in English/Secondary Education from Susquehanna University in 2009 and has earned two Master’s degrees in Education from Wilkes University. She is an English teacher at Wallenpaupack Area High School in Hawley, PA.
Catherine has been with the Civic Dance Centre since 2016. Prior to joining the staff, Catherine was trained locally since age 4 and has been teaching and choreographing for 18 years. She has taken master classes in tap, jazz and modern at Steps on Broadway and the Broadway Dance Center and master ballet classes with Catherine Kingsley of the Royal Ballet. She trained in contemporary dance with the Philadelphia Dance Company and with Kristin Degnan of Ballet Northeast while studying at Wilkes University.
(Civic Dance Centre)
Natalie Micknick is a Class Assistant with Civic Dance Centre, the official school of Scranton Civic Ballet Company. She began her dance education with the school at age three. Natalie is currently a dancer with The Company, joining in 2019, where she has performed Principal roles including Clara and Tea in Helen Gaus’ The Nutcracker, along with being an original cast member of Serenade for Strings. She has taken master classes with Barbara Weisberger, founder of the Pennsylvania Ballet and Barbara Sandonato, former Principal Dancer of Pennsylvania Ballet and National Ballet of Canada.