Our Team

Our Talented Team

The CNJ Ballet Theatre is a dance school that offers a wide variety of classes in a friendly, positive and fun environment for ages 2 1/2 to adult. The theatre is also home to the CNJ Ballet Theatre's Pre-Professional program. The Pre-Professional program is for the serious dancer that wishes to gain a strong foundation in classical/contemporary ballet as well as other dance forms.

The CNJ Ballet Theatre is located in Beautiful Bordentown, NJ and is an academy that focuses on the traditional ballet idiom. The school is near Chesterfield, Hamilton, Hamilton Square, Trenton, Princeton, New Egypt, Yardville, Florence and Columbus, NJ. The CNJ Ballet Theatre offers a wide variety of dance classes for ages 2 1/2 and up. Feel free to call and/or visit the studio at 609.424.3192. We look forward to providing the community the very best in dance instruction and performance.

Alisha Cardenas

Artistic Director

Alisha Cardenas originally hails from Atlanta, GA. Her training includes the Georgia Ballet, The Bravo Dance Centre and The Kennesaw School of Dance. Cardenas was accepted and attended the Cobb County School of Performing Arts majoring in Dance and minoring in Drama/Theatre. After high school, she was accepted to the University of Georgia's performance company The UGA Ballet Ensemble. While attending The University of GA, she danced the role of Myrtha and Demi-Soloist from the romantic ballet Giselle, was a member of the Corps de Ballet and danced many of the companies repertory pieces. Past mentors include, Marina Levasheva from the Georgia Ballet and Bravo Dance Centre, Janet Robertson and Joan Buttram from the University of Georgia and Mary and Karen Rau from The Kennesaw School of Dance. Cardenas also attended the Second City and The Improv Olympic in Chicago, where she performed, produced and choreographed numerous shows in the Chicago area. Students that she has trained have gone on to programs such as The American Ballet Theatre (ABT), Joffery Ballet NYC, The Rock School for Dance Education, The Rockettes Summer Intensive, American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), Towson University Dance Major program, Kennesaw State University Dance Major Program, Stockton University Dance Major Program, The Bolshoi Summer Intensive. Her students have also received high scores and praise at the Philadelphia Youth America Grand Prix, including Top 12. She is excited that her dream of becoming a director and owner of a school that stresses the fundamentals of ballet is coming true, and looks forward to meeting and training all her wonderful students.

Stephanie Maher

Beg contempoary, Beg Tap, Adult Ballet and Ballet 1

Stephanie Maher trained at Stewart Johnson Dance Academy for 15 years. Stephanie's background includes ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, choreography, and improvisation. After high school, Stephanie went to mercer county community college to major in dance with a minor in liberal arts. She studied there for 3 years and performed and choreographed in their dance showcases. Stephanie still performs and choreographs for the mercer dance ensemble showcases as an alumni. Stephanie then transferred and graduated from Stockton university with a bachelor's degree in dance studio operations. While at stockton university, Stephanie was in the dance company and danced on the stockton alstarz dance team. As a dance teacher, she is excited to be a part of the cnjbt family!

James Chianese

Musical Theater Director, Instructor and Vocal Coach

A native to Florence, NJ and a former student of Alisha Cardenas, James co-directed musical theatre camps for Rising Stars Summer programs and completed directing his 3rd musical at CNJBT. He is currently a music major at Rowan. He has directed shows such as The Little Mermaid, Willy Wonka and Frozen. He has performed leading roles in such shows as Hairspray, The Little Mermaid, Rent, High School Musical 2 and The Addams Family.

Ali Jans



Ali has been training in ballet and other dance forms for almost twenty years. She grew up a military kid, stationed in the U.S. and abroad, presenting opportunities to work with many world-renowned instructors and choreographers. She trained for three years in Italy at the feeder school to Teatro alla Scala in Milan. While in Europe she performed The Nutcracker with the Croatian National Ballet and Don Quixote with the State Ballet of Georgia (Europe). Some of her favorite performed roles were Sugar Plum Fairy and Dewdrop in The Nutcracker and Cinderella in Once Upon A Ballet, all with the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre. Ali spent two years attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City as a dance major where she worked with a variety of choreographers including Nilas Martins and Cleo Parker Robinson. She is currently earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management. Ali is thrilled to be a part of the CNJBT family and is excited to teach the next generation of students.

Emma Landis

Pre Ballet and Adult Ballet

Emma started her dance career at the School of Dance in South Jersey where she trained in ballet, jazz, modern, and tap. She then joined the Central NJ Ballet Theater her senior year of high school. Here she has performed in the Nutcracker as the arch angel, a waltz of the flowers demi soloist, a snow flake demi soloist, and a part of the spanish corps de ballet, as well as the corps de ballet in Sleeping Beauty. She is currently double majoring in Psychology and Dance Performance at Rider University. Here she performs in the Rider Dance Ensemble every semester and in the dance departments spring showcase. She is also taking various classes at the Princeton Ballet School for her major along with her other dance classes on campus. She is very grateful and excited to be teaching so many wonderful students here at the CNJBT!

Erin Ryan

Erin Ryan is a performance artist and instructor based in Central New Jersey. From early age through high school, they trained in a variety of styles but focused in ballet, jazz, modern, and contemporary/ contemporary ballet. Previous to university, Erin studied at Central New Jersey Ballet Theatre where they starred as Nikya in La Bayadere, Swanhilda in Coppélia, Cinderella in Cinderella, Dew Drop Fairy and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Giselle in Giselle. Erin attended intensive training with The Rock School in Philadelphia, and trained with incredible dancers like Cynthia Gregory and Risa Kaplowitz at Princeton Dance and Theatre. They completed a BA in English and a Dance minor at Kennesaw State University in 2021. They performed with the KSU Dance company for two seasons, working close with professors and peers alike. Erin found a true passion for dance and literary theory and wishes to continue to study American literature. They are so excited to teach at CNJBT and hopes to create a space in which everybody may feel free to move and express themselves.

Gillian Worek

Gillian Worek is currently a company artist with Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater in Holmdel, New Jersey. She also spent two seasons as an apprentice with the Sarasota Ballet under the direction of Iain Webb, where she performed works choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Peter Wright, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Ricardo Graziano. Gillian grew up in New Jersey training with Meg McMenamin at Country Roads Dance Academy and with Julie Caprio at Ballet Technique. She is a graduate of Indiana University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Ballet and an Outside Field in Psychology. There she performed in Michael Vernon's The Nutcracker, Jerome Robbins' Fanfare, and Mark Morris' Sandpaper Ballet, as well as various ballets choreographed by George Balanchine. Amongst pursuing a professional career, she has nine years of teaching experience ranging in ages 3 to adult; which includes classes in creative movement, ballet, pointe, and repertoire.