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Our Faculty

    Deana Gentile (Academy Owner)

    A competitive dancer for over 32 years, Deana is an award winning choreographer and has been instructing dance and fitness classes for many years all throughout Bergen, Passaic, and Morris county. Deana, teaches over 30 classes/week at her Academy in Paramus and at multiple locations with her mobile school.   She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, with an emphasis in jazz dance, from one of the top dance programs in the United States and England, the School of Dance at the University of Arizona. There she studied with such greats as Susan Quinn, Amy Ernst, and Sam Watson. Deana continues her studies at the Dance Teacher Summit and at Broadway Dance Center in NYC. She has performed as a backup dancer for the world renowned singer Sarah Brightman (Phantom of the Opera) which aired on NBC and performed along side of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Olympic Medalist, Sasha Cohen. Deana has had the honor of working with such notable actors as Drew Barrymore and Britney Murphy.
    Deana is also a certified Pilates instructor. She continues her education through Balanced Body University where she takes workshops on the pilates reformer and other apparatus. She has studied with Ron Fletcher, protege and longtime student of Joseph Pilates. Deana uses kinesiology to properly train and prevent injury to each individual. Her passion, love for children, dance experience, and pilates knowledge gives her the ideal combination to inspire and motivate her classes.

        Kathleen McAree

        Kathleen McAree is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Montclair State University with a BFA in Fine and Performing Arts. Kathleen has toured nationally and internationally with companies such as Jette Performance Company, The Mantis Project, and Jennifer Krease Dance Works. She has over 15 years experience teaching children thru adult levels, and is certified in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. Ms. McAree has also taught for CUNY, the City University of New York, for 12 years. Kathleen has appeared in movies such as “Carlito’s Way,” “The Stepford Wives” as well as several music videos. She is very excited to bring her knowledge and creative energy to our studio and wonderful new space here at DDAdance!

            Taryn Wennersten

            Ms. Taryn has been teaching acrobatics & dance classes for the past 17 years. She grew up competing in the world of both dance and gymnastics, training in NJ, NY & CA. She later went on to become Captain of the 1st place National Rutgers University Dance Team and the Head Coach of the renowned Bishop Ahr High School Gymnastics Team.

            Ms. Taryn feels most at home in the studio teaching children acrobatics & dance. Her engaging teaching style emphasizes a strong work ethic as she pushes the students to achieve their goals in a fun & positive way. Ms. Taryn hopes to pass on her passion, strength & determination to all her students. She is also the proud mother of four children, in which her 2 daughters have been competing in the world of gymnastics & dance for the past 6 years.

            Ms. Taryn feels blessed to be joining the DDA Team surrounded by the young talented stars of tomorrow!

                Maria Piedad

                Maria Piedad is a choreographer and a teacher graduated from the National Ballet School of Cuba, from the NYU/American Ballet Theatre® M.A. in ballet pedagogy and from the Tisch School of the Arts M.A. program in Performance Studies. With an artistic career of 22 years in Ecuador, Cuba and USA she also teaches character, historical, jazz and contemporary. A member of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO since 2009 and of the National Dance Education Association NDEO since 2014, Maria Piedad is also an ABT® Fellow and Affiliate Teacher who is certified to instruct the ABT® National Training Curriculum from pre-primary through level 7 and partnering, having successfully presented students to examinations.

                Besides her work at DDA Dance Academy, she is ballet and jazz faculty at Brooklyn Ballet, ballet mistress and répétiteur for the Classical School of Ballet LI and dance instructor for the Outreach Program at Ballet Hispanico. She serves as pedagogic adviser and choreographer for “Danzas” Ballet School in Ecuador since 1999. She worked for ABT® as a teaching assistant at JKO School children’s division and as a counselor for their Summer Intensive; she was also an adjunct faculty for the CUNY’s College Now Program. Maria Piedad was the artistic director and choreographer of ProDanza-Ecuador, Commercial Dance Company (2001-12); K-12 dance educator for the German and American Schools in Quito (2003-12). Rehearsal director for the National Ballet of Ecuador (2004-08) and classical repertoire teacher for the Ballet School “Alejo Carpentier” in Havana (1999-2000).

                Her choreographies have been performed in Ecuador, El Salvador, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and USA. She staged the Jaime Pinto’s complete ballets Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, The Three Musketeers and The Taming of the Shrew for the National Ballet of Ecuador where she was also a dancer starting in 1996.

                    Tweetie (TweetBoogie)

                    Always representing The South Bronx, TweetBoogie is devoted to the street styles of hip-hop. As she continues to travel all over the world teaching in different countries such as Japan, Poland, Switzerland,China, Taiwan, Korea, Russia,The Philippines, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Australia and South Africa to name a few.  Her passion has lead her to work with top artists like Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Mary J Blige, Shakira, Kanye West & Nicki Minaj and the iconic Miss Janet Jackson in her amazing “Made For Now” video.  Most recently, Tweetie choreographed for 50 Cent at Madison Square Garden for the POWER Premier of Season 6 of STARZ.

                    Tweet and her business partner Michele Byrd McPhee, newly launched their new production team called “TooBirdsProductions”. They were hired to choreograph the opening number for WE DAY.  An educational program for children sponsored by the United Nations.

                    The multi talented was also the host of MTV’s “Dances From Tha Hood” On Demand. Some of her biggest clients were teaching Gail and Oprah a few of the latest hip-hop moves as a guest choreographer on The OPRAH Show. As the Ambassador of the Ladies of Hip Hop Festival TweetBoogie believes in helping Ladies of all ages and sizes across the world to come together and celebrate street dance culture thru music & dance one Ladie at a time. You can find TweetBoogie currently teaching at The Ailey Extention, Broadway Dance Center and EXPG NY Studios.

                        Erin Sheets

                        Originally from Staunton Virginia, moved to NYC to pursue a career in dance at the young age of 18. Classically trained, she has a knack for incorporating different dance genres into her hip hop choreography. Erin has trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Hip Hop all over the U.S. making her a well rounded choreographer and teacher. She has performed for Nike, Adidas, Pepsi, R&B artist Lee Charm, MTV, Reggaeton artist Tyna Q, Bloch, Angel Felicianl’s “The Movement” and much more. She recently danced in the promos for the hit TV show “Americas Best Dance Crew” with Randy Jackson as we as the new Step Up 3D.

                            Lauren Cozza

                            Lauren Cozza, has a BFA in musical theater from the University of the Arts.   Her favorite professional theater credits include Sweet Charity, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Wonderful Life, Copacabana, Evita, and West Side Story.  Lauren also performed at Radio City Music Hall, with Neil Young on his Greendale tour. On television she appeared on All My Children from 2006-2009 as a ‘Fusion’ office intern.  Lauren has also danced for the NBA’s 76ers and the NETS dance teams. She is also a regular staff member for Step Up 2 Dance national dance tour.  Lauren loves teaching all styles of dance and yoga to tots through teens, and pass along her love of the performing arts.

                                Jade MacFarlane

                                Jade has been trained in many dance styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop and musical theatre. She has taught ages 2 1/2 through teen at dance studios, fine arts events,  churches, elementary schools and camps. Prior to teaching Jade danced professionally for Hershey Park -PA, Moranz Entertainment at the Charleston Music Hall in South Carolina and onboard Norwegian Cruise Line with Jean Ann Ryan Productions and NCL Productions. She was a featured dancer at the American Music Theatre of Pennsylvania. Jade loves bringing joy, fun and encouragement to children through sharing her love for dance!  She is also an Advanced im=x Pilates instructor.

                                    Catherine Borrone

                                    Catherine is a New York City based Ballet Educator and Choreographer, on faculty with several private studios in the area. She has been an educator since 2008 and specializes in Classical Ballet, Pointe/Variations, and Contemporary Ballet. Catherine travels as a guest teaching artist and has brought her innovative classes and choreography to all ages throughout New York City, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California (Los Angeles and San Diego), Hawaii, and Bermuda.
                                    In 2018, Catherine continued her pedagogy education at the renowned Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s Teacher Workshop, led by Founding Artistic Director Marcia Dale Weary and Associate Artistic Director Darla Hoover. Catherine’s students have been accepted into prestigious summer intensives, performing arts high schools, and have won awards for outstanding technique.
                                    Catherine was classically trained in New Hampshire under the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus completing pre-primary through intermediate examinations. Presented by Mignon Furman, Catherine received Silver and Gold with Distinction medals from the American Academy of Dance Performance Awards. She continued her training under the Vaganova syllabus with Mary McCarthy, as well as Walnut Hill, Boston Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She was a scholarship recipient under the direction of Peggy Lyman, to attend The Hartt School and holds a BFA in Dance Performance. Catherine has danced professionally with several companies including Adams Company Dance (CT), Eastern Connecticut Ballet (CT), Neville Dance Theatre (NYC), Exit12 Dance Company (NYC), and The Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company (NYC). Catherine has also appeared in magazines, music videos and tv/film internationally; The New York Times, PRADA, Yosi Horikawa, Great Performances PBS, Vice Magazine Mexico City, and Photo Dot South Korea.

                                        Jackie Walsh

                                        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 wants to share her passion for dance and the arts with all of her students.

                                            Carey Colacurcio

                                            Carey has been with DDA since the studio opened serving as both an instructor and front office staff.  At the age of 2 1/2, she began creative movement and tumbling classes and then trained in tap, ballet, acro, lyrical, hip hop, jazz modern and pointe through age 18.  In 2013, in pursuit of her teaching goal she graduated from Broadway Dance Center’s training program in NYC.  Carey has also trained with Freespace Dance Company and continued on to their junior company.  Carey also serves as head choreographer and assistant director for Maywood Avenue Schools drama and recreation department programs since 2011.  Carey thrives on passing her passion of love for the performing arts to DDA students of all ages.

                                             

                                                Jessica Asgar

                                                Jessica Asgar has studied dance for more than thirty years including ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip-hop, contemporary, as well as tumbling/acrobatics.  She owned and operated her own dance studio for 14 years starting at the young age of 17.  At her studio, Jessica was the primary dance instructor for students ranging from age 2 to adult in multiple disciplines of dance. Jessica has competed and performed at various local and national dance competitions and events including Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the NJ Devils.  At the conclusion of her dance performance career, she also discovered a love for fitness.  Jessica currently holds a personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).  Dance and fitness has given Jessica the opportunity to share her passion for a fun and healthy lifestyle.

                                                    Paolo Penala

                                                    Paolo “Slice” Penala is a Brooklyn based professional dancer and choreographer originally hailing from Washington, DC.  He began his dance career in college dancing under the mentorship of industry legend Lyle Beniga and performing competitively for Major Definition out of Baltimore, Maryland, with whom he served as choreographer and Executive Director. He continued his dance career choreographing and dancing for professional company Culture Shock, DC after graduating with a degree in economics and music at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He has had the opportunity throughout his career to train with some of the top choreographers in the industry in commercial and foundational hip-hop dance.
                                                    He has served as the creative director, choreographer, and movement coach for up and coming R&B singers Jessalyn Gore, and David Correy of America’s Got Talent and pop singer Alus. Other credits include performing at BeautyCon with Mac Daddyy, Carnival Choreographer’s Ball, the Nickelodeon Halo Awards, and the world famous SOB’s, opening for Big Sean, touring with Sarah Geronimo’s “In Motion” U.S. Tour and multiple appearances on Good Morning America. He can also be seen in commercials for Adidas, BIRA 91, and Nano App.
                                                    He has been teaching dance passionately since 2008 at various studios around the east coast and this has led him to work alongside the DEA and Amazon to teach dance to at risk youth around the country.

                                                    Paolo’s style is a mix of his experience in commercial dance with his training in various street foundation styles which include New Jack Swing, Breakin, and House. His goals for his classes are to grow his students ability and confidence in street styles while teaching them the correct and right way using freestyle foundations applied to choreography.

                                                     

                                                        Robert McBay

                                                        COMING SOON!

                                                         

                                                            Raymond “Spex” Abbiw

                                                            Raymond “Spex” Abbiw’s career took off and he appeared in music videos with such artists as Mariah Carey, Joe, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and more.

                                                            Spex also toured internationally in Japan and France. He made his off-broadway debut in the 2002 Full Circle Productions’ production, Soular Power’d at New York’s New Victory theater.  He continues as a member of the Full Circle Dance Company touring throughout the U.S. and abroad including the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

                                                            Spex is currently part owner with founder Brian “Footwork” Green  of the House Dance Conference.  A monthly event providing a platform for entertainment, dance and education.

                                                            Spex continues to teach and perform nationally and internationally and is most happy about haiving his dream come true.

                                                                Kailene Laga

                                                                Kailene Laga has been dancing for over 20 years. She has a strong background in both studio training as well as dance team. She has taught jazz and hip hop ages 3-18 for over 6 years. She is currently the Head Coach of the Montclair State University Dance Team. In her first year of coaching, she choreographed and lead the team to a Division III National Championship. She is also the Head Choreographer and recruiter for The Macy’s Great American Marching Band,  who performs in Herald Square every year at The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.   In the past, Kailene has taken master classes with Mia Michaels, Brian Freedman and Luam and continues to take classes at studios like Broadway Dance Center to continue pushing her dance ability and knowledge. Throughout her dance team years, both high school and college she has received various titles and awards. Her senior year on Pascack Valley Regional Dance Team she led her team as captain to a National Championship. She was elected an All American Dancer and Top Gun Turner for National Dance Alliance. She later went on to become a member of the Ramapo College Dance Team were she received a collegiate National Title for Division III. She has choreographed and worked with several teams throughout Bergen, Monmouth and Passaic County. Kailene has always had a passion for dance and loves being able to share that passion with students every day and is so excited to continue doing so with the DDA family!

                                                                    Jennifer Cichino

                                                                    Jennifer has been dancing since the young age of 3. She entered the competitive world when she was just 9 years old. Since then she has gained numerous national titles and placed top 5 in various solo performances. Some of these top awards were gained at Beyond the Stars, Starbound, Nexstar, Revolution Talent, and the World Dance Championships regional and national competitions. She has studied all genres of dance throughout her career including jazz, contemporary, ballet, acro, tap, pom, and hip hop. She was the captain of her varsity high school dance team at Paramus Catholic and went on to become apart of the Montclair State Dance Team. Through her career on the team, she has gained a collegiate National Title for Division III at the National Dance Alliance (NDA) Collegiate Championships in Daytona, Florida. Jennifer holds a captain’s position on the team’s Executive Board. She currently studies at Montclair State University as a Business major with a concentration in Management. Jennifer is eager to continue to share her love for dance with her students at DDA while instilling drive and passion into each and everyone of them.  

                                                                        Mollie Priest

                                                                        Mollie studied many forms of dance throughout her life, including Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Afro-Caribbean, and Musical Theater. Mollie graduated with a BA in Dance from SUNY Potsdam in 2012. She has worked with artists such as Gallim Dance, Bridgeman/Packer Dance, John Lehrer, Futurpointe, and Carlos Jones. Mollie found her love of working with children when she volunteered for R.Evolucion Latina at their Dare To Go Beyond Performing Arts Camp in 2011 and 2012. After college Mollie also found her passion for fitness, studying yoga and becoming a certified Barre instructor. After teaching for four years, she stepped away to focus on a different career path. In 2018 she returned to her true passion of dance, yoga, and fitness. Her classes are about being positive, having fun, learning something new, and coming out feeling better than when you started!

                                                                            Ariana Acosta

                                                                            Ariana Acosta has been dancing for 19 years and competitively for five years.   As a senior in high school, Ariana self-choreographed her senior solo placing top 10 and winning special judges awards as well as earning competition scholarships. Ariana started teaching/choreographing at 18 years old, where she won regional, national and world championships. In 2016, Ariana won a choreography award for her junior elite team and many more special judges awards. At 17, Ariana was a main dancer in the Cleopatra Clubs “Ride the Night” music video. In 2017, she was a part of Jacqulyn Buglisis’ “Table of Silence Project”, a tribute to those fallen during the 9/11 attack. In the fall of 2018, Ariana was invited to perform a contemporary piece at “Voices of Dance” in NYC as guest company member with Emotions Physical Theatre.  Ariana continues to teach and choreograph for classes involving, tap, ballet, hiphop and jazz and continues to  take regular classes at Broadway Dance Center in NYC.  Ariana graduated as a Psychology major with a focus on Dance/Creative Movement Therapy.  Her focus is to help others positively express their feelings through dance.

                                                                             

                                                                                Ariana A’Costa, Mollie Priest, Jennifer Cichino, Vanessa Vasquez, Vanja Zaninovic

                                                                                    Carey Colacurcio, Denice D’Alessio, Nikole Lange, Mollie Priest

                                                                                    Office Staff