Explore Movement Dance Company

Explore Movement Dance Company (​XMDC​) is a Junior Invitational Dance Company created by choreographers and instructors Jackie Walsh and Janine Barna.


We provide a professional environment for young dancers looking to build their movement vocabulary and immerse themselves in the future of dance. Explore Movement Dance Company is a unique opportunity for dancers to continue their technical education and focus their passion towards creation and performance. Together we are looking forward to combining our years of intensive training, professional achievements, award-winning choreography and teaching experience to inspire our dancers to be expressive, creative, and to foster their love of dance. It is our goal to be committed and invested in each member of the Company so they can continue to improve and thrive. The core principles of ​XMDC​ are forward-thinking, creativity, competitive spirit, support, camaraderie among Company members, fun, trust and most importantly a passion for dance. We will grow together as a company for many years to come... this is only the beginning and we can’t wait to share our passion with you!

Janine Barna

Artistic Director

Janine was exposed to dance when she was only three years old.  As she grew older and truly began to identify her love for the art at the age of twelve she auditioned for a small elite dance company where she trained, performed and competed under the direction of Ashle Dawson from Fox's hit show "So You Think You Can Dance". Through this outlet, she advanced her training in Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical and was introduced to latin cultural dancing. At the age of sixteen Janine was chosen to assist Nick Gonzalez owner of "NRG Dance Convention" in Tap and Hip Hop. After graduating high school Janine continued to audition and perform; performances include: "Showtime at The Apollo", "Americas Next Best Dance Crew","Americas Got Talent","NYC International Salsa Congress", six consecutive seasons of "Dead Mans Party" at Six Flags Great Adventure and was chosen to be apart of the Olympic Team in Hip Hop to compete in Germany. She is currently pursuing a comprehensive background in traditional and Latin Ballroom technique. Janine is hoping to inspire her students to not be afraid to push the boundaries of dance and to always pursue their dreams.


Jackie Walsh

Artistic Director

Jackie began her dance training at age three with Stagelite Centre of Performing Arts in Pequannock, New Jersey. There she studied ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, and contemporary and started competing at the regional and national levels by age six. Jackie went on to study at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She graduated in 2012 with honors, receiving a B.A. in Dance and Theatre. While at Muhlenberg, Jackie had the opportunity to study under Karen Dearborn, Charles O. Anderson, and Corrie Franz-Cowart, while performing in many faculty and student concerts. She also had the pleasure of choreographing several modern and ballet pieces of her own for the student concerts and was a member of the Copasetic Rhythm tap group. In the summer of 2011 Jackie worked as an intern at Dance Place in Washington, D.C. with Carla Perlo and Deborah Riley. She continues her education and performance in New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Jackie has worked for the past seven years in the Westfield area as an instructor, competition team director, and studio office manager. During that time she has been awarded for her choreography and instruction. She wants to continue to share her passion for dance and the arts with all of her students as the co-creator of Explore Movement Dance Company.


Guest Artists


Madeline Flaherty

Madeline Flaherty is a recent graduate of Muhlenberg College, where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Dance and International Studies. Growing up, Madeline trained at Center for Dance Education in Clark, NJ, during the school year and spent summers attending intensives at New Jersey School of Ballet, The Rock School and SynthesisDANCE. While at Muhlenberg College, Madeline took classes in Ballet, Pointe, Modern and Jazz, training under Karen Dearborn, Megan Flynn, Heidi Cruz Austin and Randall Anthony Smith. She performed in a number of both student and faculty created works, namely Heidi Cruz-Austin, Randall Anthonly Smith and Corrie Franz Cowart. Madeline is currently attending NYU for a Masters in Public Administration.

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Erika Sant'Ambrogio

Erika started her dance career at the age of 2 at Broadway Flair Dance Co. in Union, NJ. At the age of 6 she joined the competition team and competed in multiple genres. She was not fond of ballet until she fell in love with lyrical/contemporary. It was at the age of 8 that she competed with her first ballet solo and received high scores bringing her to nationals where she placed 1st. With this newfound love for ballet, she joined the New Jersey School of Ballet in Livingston, NJ where her ballet skills flourished while still training in multiple genres including, tap, contemporary, jazz, character and modern. She danced at both schools for 2 years before joining NJB full time.  She also became an All-Star Player with The Paper Mill Theatre School and started vocal training at Calderone School of Music, both located in Millburn, NJ. At the age of 13 Erika decided to seriously focus on her ballet career attending summer intensives including Eglevsky Ballet and Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet. She started performing with the NJB Company in their productions in 1999 including Hansel & Gretel, Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella and The Nutcracker.  Erika joined the NJB Junior Company in 2003 and travelled with the NJB Company for their many performances, specifically their

Nutcracker seasons every year from 2000 – 2007. She gained her first soloist role with NJB in Hansel & Gretel in 2001 performing as the Fox in a pas de deux and then the coveted role of Clara in The Nutcracker in 2004. During this time, Erika was chosen to dance the duet role of the Manu girl with The Kirov Ballet from Russia at The Metropolitan Opera House in the summer of 2002 while The Kirov was touring over seas. She was also chosen to dance as a soloist and with the Junior Company in The NJ Youth Dance Competition in 2006 and 2007 placing in 1st. After graduating from Mount Saint Dominic Academy in 2007, Erika continued to dance at Muhlenberg College double majoring in Dance studying modern, ballet and jazz, and Neuroscience, finishing with a Bachelor of Science. It was here she performed in Moving Stories, the fall showcase, Master Choreographers, the winter showcase and Dance Emerge, the spring showcase.  She also danced with their Hip-Hop team MINT as a club sport. During her college tour she had the honor of performing for Kobe Bryant during his gym dedication at Lower Merion High School in 2010. She then went on to obtain her Masters at SHU and now works as a Physician Assistant in Emergency Medicine. Erika enjoys teaching and coaching students on the principles of ballet and educating them on how these techniques create a strong foundation for all genres of dance.