Our Staff

KIA ELLIS BARLOW is the CEO and Creative Director of Ellis Dance Studios and brings over 20 years of experience to her school. She built her foundation and received extensive training at the Broadway Dance Center. Kia studied theatre and dance at Montclair State University, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. A choreographer of extraordinary talent, Kia has performed with the Taylor Dance Company in New York.

She is well known for her children’s work. Kia has choreographed numerous shows: Fame, The Wizard of Oz, The Nutcracker, Dance Collage, and many other pieces her students performed at NJPAC and various charitable organizations. Eight of her former students were accepted at three different ballet schools and two performing arts high schools to further their dance career. Her students share her intense energy level and her love for the art of dance.

Kia has proficient skills and experience with Classical Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Creative Movement, Acting, Stretch/Floor Barre, Hip Hop, Personal Training and Aerobic Instruction. Kia is very active at her church in Nutley Abundant Life Worship Center where she is involved in dance ministry and is also the Youth Director. Her loving ability of expression makes dance and the arts fun for the students; while at the same time develops the children to their fullest potential.

SVETLANA FERDINANDOVA, MA, PGD,  is the Ballet Director of Ellis Dance Studios. A pedagogue with an extensive background, education and experience as a Professional Ballerina, Soloist, Principal Dancer, Training Mistress, Teacher and Ballet Mistress throughout the United States and Europe.

Her education spans from Professional Ballet School, Varna, Bulgaria, three years at College of Music and Dance, Ballet Faculty, four years – State Music Academy, Ballet Faculty. All her teachers were Bulgarian (Sofia) and Russian (Moscow and St. Petersburg).

Vaganova/Russian Method
One fact Ms. Ferdinandova is very proud of is that her last teacher was Prof. Irina Trofimova (Ballet Methodist in Vaganova Ballet Academy, Russia),  pupil of Damme A. Vaganova herself – Vaganova Method creator.

Ms. Ferdinandova has more than 28 years of teaching experience, more than 20 as choreographer and 15 as Ballet Mistress, staging Ballets/ variations and dances from “Nutcracker”, Paquita”, “Swan Lake”, Raymonda, “Fairy Doll”, “Sylvia”, etc…

She attended more than 20 International Professional Ballet Seminars as a Dancer and a Teacher in Varna, Bulgaria, where in 1964 was established the First International ballet competition for Professional Classical Ballet Dancers, where she participated also in its organization. She is proud that its founder Mr. Jordanov was her first Ballet Teacher. Ms. Ferdinandova is also a Proficient Piano Player, and Fluent in Bulgarian, Russian, English, German, and uses French.

Monica began a classical dance education in Texas, where she went on to perform as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. She then traveled the world with the USO and Holland America Cruise lines, performing a variety of styles from musical theatre to ballroom to Bollywood, and choreographed and performed in music videos and concerts. She then studied modern dance and pedagogy at CUNY Hunter College in Manhattan, earning her Bachelor’s degree in dance. With a passion for so many disciplines of dance, Monica choreographs and teaches all ages and styles, and loves to encourage and empower through artistic expression!

Originally from Arizona, Reagan began her dance training in Phoenix where she was offered a scholarship to study with Ballet Arizona. She continued her studies in France with a temporary contract with 3e étage in 2008. Upon returning to North America, Reagan performed a brief circuit with Cirque du Soleil and earned roles with a number of companies around the country, Center Dance Ensemble, Les Amis du Ballet, Phoenix Ballet, among others. After stepping away from dancing professionally because of a severe injury, Reagan continues to choreograph for performers around the New York area. She has recently returned to teaching after taking several years for collegiate pursuits and to establish a career in International Relations.