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New Dance Programs Steeped In Tradition

Educating the Dancers of Today – Inspiring the Artists of Tomorrow

Our world’s heritage has always been preserved through art and passed down through education. FTC-Middletown’s Dance Department upholds this cultural legacy by training students in Classical Ballet and Classical Chinese dance. We cultivate individual artistry while instilling students with the knowledge and skill to become professional performers, educators, and creators.


Known for its poise and technical precision, Classical Ballet is the foundation underlying many art forms. We preserve traditional conservatory-styled training and concert dance performance with the systematic training of the Vaganova School and the American School of Ballet.


Classical Chinese dance is an ancient art form which stems from the rich and vibrant culture of China. Originating from martial arts forms and imperial court dances, it is one of the most intricate and comprehensive dance forms in the world. Dance students receive training in fundamentals, special techniques, and classical Chinese dance bearing.


Currently, Fei Tian College Middletown offers two dance programs:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance
BFA in Dance

A BFA in Dance enables graduates to work in various careers related to dance. Upon completing the program, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate and explain the correct execution of dance movements in Classical Ballet and/or Classical Chinese Dance.
  • Exhibit a professional work ethic to rehearse and perform expressively in front of a live audience.
  • Explain and contextualize key concepts from dance-based pedagogy, kinesiology, aesthetics, psychology, arts administration, and dance history/cultural studies through discussions, essays, exams, and presentations.
  • Practically apply knowledge from dance academic courses by completing projects and/or professional internships.
  • Use choreographic tools to create original dance works and defend their artistic choices.
  • Present informed and nuanced critiques of dance performances and topics in dance theory and research.
MFA in Dance

A MFA in Dance provides students with a deeper understanding of the art form. It qualifies graduates for careers in higher education, as well as jobs in performance, choreography, or research.

Upon completing the program, graduates will :

  • Demonstrate technical proficiency and artistry in classical ballet or classical Chinese dance, for pursuing professional careers in performance, choreography, pedagogy, or administration. (Artistry)
  • Develop the ability to create original choreographic works, both independently and in collaboration with others, as well as to conduct research in dance. (Creation and Research)
  • Demonstrate requisite knowledge and skills for teaching and explaining dance in its cultural, historical, and aesthetic contexts through both verbal and written languages, to audiences of diverse backgrounds. (Knowledge and Communication)

All students are exposed to both Classical Ballet and Classical Chinese dance, with focused training on one selected dance form, including its fundamentals, technique, and repertoire.

In addition to studio courses, the program offers a comprehensive curriculum of dance theory courses. Students are provided with a broad scope of dance-related fields including:

  • Pedagogy
  • Choreography
  • Kinesiology
  • Dance History
  • Arts Administration

This allows our students to graduate equipped with essential knowledge of a variety of dance  professions.


Every year, our students have multiple opportunities to perform classic repertoire as well as original choreography. While partnering with other schools and dance companies within the region, students perform at events that provide them with hands-on experience in performance, choreography, and stagecraft.


The dance programs are taught by seasoned performers, choreographers, and educators from prestigious schools and companies. Our dance faculty has decades of experience, dedication, and passion to help students reach the top of their artistry.


Yung Yung Tsuai
Professor, Chair

Yung Yung Tsuai Lerner was born in China and grew up in Taiwan. She came to New York under a personal scholarship from the Modern Dance Icon, Martha Graham, in 1970. Since then, she has worked with Martha Graham, Pearl Lang, Daniel Nagrin, Susan Stroman, and other choreographers. 

She founded the Yung Yung Tsuai Dance Company and the Byrdcliffe Performing Arts Organization in 1979. Her company has toured throughout the USA, Spain, Italy, Taiwan and Japan during the 80’s and 90’s.

In the past three decades she has appeared on Broadway musicals, such as Miss Saigon, The King and I, and Sayonara. She has worked as an actress, a dancer and a choreographer with regional theaters such as the Pan Asian Theater Rep., Yangtze Repertory Theater, La Mama Theater, Bank Street Theater, Naked Feet, and the Papermill Playhouse among others. She was a rehearsal director for the Cloud Gate Dance Company in Taiwan and Pearl Lang and dancers in New York in the early 90’s. 

Since 1981, she has taught extensively at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, NYU, George Washington University, SUNY Purchase, Long Island University, Fei Tian Academy and other colleges and schools. 


Alison Chen
Instructor in Classical Chinese Dance

Alison Chen is currently in the Graduate Program at Fei Tian College (main campus), researching to obtain her MFA in Classical Chinese Dance. She graduated cum laude from Fei Tian College (main campus) in 2016, where she received her BFA. Since then, she has taught classical Chinese dance at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts (Middletown), Northern Academy of the Arts, and Fei Tian College Middletown.

She was a principal dancer with Shen Yun Performing Arts, and performed in several world tours. Ms. Chen has also received multiple awards from NTDTV’s International Classical Chinese Dance Competition, including 1st place in the Junior Female Division (2010), 2nd place in the Junior Female Division (2008, 2009, and 2012), and 3rd place in the Adult Female Division (2014).


Melissa Padham-Maass
Associate Professor in Classical Ballet

Melissa Padham-Maass received her early dance training at the Dancer’s Studio in Warwick, NY under the direction of Lucinda Henry. Melissa holds a BFA with honors from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College (SUNY) and an MSc in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

Melissa graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a MFA in Dance in May 2014. Melissa has been performing professionally both in NYC and around the country with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre since 2005 and Darrah Carr Dance since 2006. Melissa has had the opportunity to perform at many renowned venues including The Apollo, The New Victory Theater, Jacob’s Pillow, Central Park Summer Stage, The Duke on 42nd St, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Riverside Church, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Skirball Center, 92nd St Y, The Today Show, Celebrate Brooklyn and Aaron Davis Hall.

Ms. Padham-Maass is the Artistic Director of the Warwick Summer Arts Festival and The Warwick Center for Performing Arts and has co-directed Eros Movement Company, Brooklyn Contemporary Ballet Collective, Artisan Dance Company of Sugar Loaf, NY, and the Identically Different Dance Festival. She has presented work at various venues including Dixon Place, Center for Performance Research, Triskelion Arts, Tisch School of the Arts, WAX works, Built on Stilts Festival in Martha’s Vineyard, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Brooklyn Actors Fund and 60×60 Dance at the Winter Garden Theater. Melissa has been on faculty or a guest teacher at Joffrey Ballet School, The Dancer’s Studio in Warwick, NY, Connecticut Dance Center, Conservatory of Dance in Wilton CT, Harlem Children’s Zone, Kinderdance NYC and Brooklyn, Gallatin School at NYU, Scarsdale Ballet, Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF), SUNY Purchase and the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Academy. Melissa is currently an adjunct professor and the resident choreographer at SUNY Rockland.


Vladimir Roje
Adjunct Associate Professor in Classical Ballet

Vladimir Roje began his ballet training at the National School of Choreography in Sofia, Bulgaria. He received his BS and MS in Pedagogy and Choreography at the Ballet Faculty of the State Academy of Music and Arts, Sofia. He is a bronze medalist and laureate from the 14th Varna International Ballet Competition in 1990. 

Since his graduation, Mr. Roje has performed as a Principal Dancer with National Companies in Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, as well as the Carolina Ballet (NC), the New Jersey Ballet Company and the Albany Berkshire Ballet. Throughout his extensive dance career, Mr. Roje has held the leading roles in many classical ballets, such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, La Bayadere, La Sylphide, Napoli, Don Quixote, La Fille Mal Gardee, Coppelia, Esmeralda, Sylvia, Cinderella, Paquita, La Vivandiere and The Nutcracker.

As a Principal Dancer, Mr. Roje has had the opportunity to work with numerous world acclaimed ballet masters and choreographers such as Yuri Grigorovich (Bolshoi Ballet), Irina Kolpakova (ABT, Marinsky Ballet), Alexander Grant (Covent Garden, UK), Dinna Bjørn (Danish Royal Ballet, Denmark) and more.

Mr. Roje worked as a ballet teacher at the Ballet School at the Opera House Graz (Austria), the School of the New Jersey Ballet Company, and the Stowe Dance Academy (Vermont). Currently, Mr. Roje is on the faculty of Fei Tian College-Middletown (NY).


Our goal is to ensure our graduates obtain the physical and mental discipline and stamina required to become professionals in the dance field. Whether it be preparing students for auditions with dance companies, internships with academic institutions, or networking opportunities through performance, we enable our graduates to embark on a career in dance.


$2,000 Scholarship for Hudson Valley students, click here for more details.