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Our Faculty

    Deana Gentile (Academy Owner)

    Deana is an award winning choreographer and has been instructing dance and fitness classes for almost 20 years throughout Bergen, Passaic, and Morris county. Deana used to teach 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.

        Matt Wiercinski

        Matt Wiercinski grew up in Totowa NJ. He has performed across the world in Theater, Television and Film. His favorite credits are Anastasia on Broadway, West Side Story International Tour and working on set with Henry Danger (Nickelodeon)

            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!

                Erica Ratkovicz

                Erica Ratkovicz  is an alumna company member of The Rochester City Ballet. She began her principal training at an early age with The Timothy Draper Center for Dance Education. She has performed numerous soloist and corps de ballet roles along with Joffrey Ensemble, Boston Ballet, Hartford Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet. She was a soloist in both a promotional film aired on Oprah and an unreleased film choreographed by Alex Tressor.  Recipient of Platinum Medal awards as well as High Point and Overall competition scores from New York Dance Champions, Rochester Invitational, Rising Star, New York Dance Olympics, Star Power, North American Dance Experience and Starbound. Her modeling photos have been seen in Dance Teacher, Pointe Magazine, book covers, Discount Dance Supply, and Art Stone the Competitor.
                Erica is currently an instructor at Broadway Dance Center Children & Teen Program, Broadway Dance Center and New Haven Ballet. As an instructor, she has been presented with Choreographer Awards from Nexstar, Beyond the Stars, Groove and Headliners and Entertainment Awards from Groove, Headliners, and Beyond the Stars Nationals.

                    Erin Mallon

                    Company Director

                    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.

                                Courtney Jordan

                                New York native Courtney Jordan is a soloist member of the Eglevsky Ballet Company, where she also serves as Régisseur/Répétiteur. She earned a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College, under the direction of Katie Langan, performing works by Christopher D’Amboise (as a soloist), Murray Louis, and Anthony Ferro, among others. Ms Jordan has performed and instructed throughout the country, and has appeared on film and television in Valentine with Leslie Browne, Starz channel’s Flesh and Bone, and Jeopardy! (seriously). She has danced by special request with The American Chamber Orchestra and Trinity Dance Company (for which she also choreographs). Ms. Jordan currently teaches throughout the tri-state area, drawing on her extensive knowledge of Human Anatomy and Kinesiology to focus on solid technique and musicality. Her students have attended The School of American Ballet, Marymount Manhattan College, Boston Conservatory, and Fordham/Ailey, as well as summer programs with SAB, ABT, Complexions, and Kaatsbaan. In 2014, she was a contestant on Jeopardy. She taught Alex Trebek the ballet positions, and he LOVED her shoes.

                                    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.

                                        Jonathan Manuel Peña

                                        Jonathan Manuel Peña who is popularly known as Shwing; is a young dancer who started his performance career in the rough and competitive yards of Greek life. He has won numerous step and stroll competitions and later on continued his passion for performing arts by pursuing dance. He has been dancing professionally as a commercial Hip Hop and Reggaeton dancer for 4 years and has toured with renowned choreographer J Romeo 2 times in both Miami and the Tristate Area. He is also a brand ambassador/Athlete for New York based Urban Dance League and has opened up for Urban Latin sensation Nicky Jam and has performed for El Duo Perfecto. Koryn Hawthorne, Elle Winter, Jingle Ball 2019 and more. “Shwing” has performed on major televised programming like Telemundo and several music videos and is currently choreographing within the Urban Latin Reggaeton industry and teaching in the tristate area.

                                            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.


                                                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.


                                                    Robert McBay

                                                    COMING SOON!


                                                        Gabrielle Mayer

                                                        Gabby has been a part of DDA since 2009. She is a graduate of BCC with a Degree in Musical Theatre Arts and the founder of the Thespian Alumni Association. She was in over 20 theatre productions including “Cabaret”, “Rent”, “Shakespeare As You Like It” as Ceilia, “Legally Blonde”, “The King and I” as Eliza, “Beauty & the Beast” and “A Fosse Tribute” Director, Producer, Choreographer, and Performer. When she was not performing in stage productions, she choreographed over 15 musicals for local theatre companies and high school productions. Gabby enjoys bringing her passion, excitement, and love of dance to the tiniest dancers. Her greatest joy is watching her students grow and continue to dance through life.

                                                            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.

                                                                Sarah Jean Kaye-Hinderhofer

                                                                Originally from Freehold, NJ, Sarah Jean Kaye has hung 40 feet in the air upside down, danced around the world, and performed for/opened for Bon Jovi, the Dali Lama, Ice T, and John Legend. In an industry like the performing arts, versatility matters and has blessed Sarah with a diverse career.
                                                                Spending 7 years on and off with Celebrity Cruises Line, Sarah helped to open several ships as an inaugural cast member, rehearsal swing, and Aerial Captain and later moved into a behind the scenes position as a Rehearsal Director and Aerial Boot Camp Trainer.
                                                                On land, she has toured the US as a company manager & dance captain, performed in countless award ceremonies, industrials, & grand openings, worked as a Trampoline artist in an ad campaign for Hotel Tonight, and danced in numerous casino productions & burlesque shows around the country. Off Broadway credits include Coco & The Vanity Vixens and Broadway Bares.
                                                                Aerial performance apparatuses include group, duo, and/or solo work on hoop/lyra, bungee, dance trapeze, Spanish web/chandelier spinning, harness, cloud swing, silks, cubit, dodecahedron, diamond, moon, and statue body balancing.
                                                                As a teacher, Sarah’s belief is to always be a forever student, continuing her education with certifications from Progressing Ballet Technique, Acrobatic Arts, Sugarfoot Physical Therapy dance training, and Long + Lean Pilates.

                                                                    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 a part of the Montclair State Dance Team. Through her career on the team, she has gained two collegiate National Titles for Division III at the National Dance Alliance (NDA) Collegiate Championships in Daytona, Florida. She also held a captain’s position on the team’s Executive Board throughout her time on the team. She graduated from Montclair State University with a Bachelor’s degree in business management and a minor in public health.  Jennifer is eager to continue to share her love for dance with her students at DDA while instilling confidence and joy 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

                                                                                    Audrey Hannah

                                                                                    Audrey was born and raised in Bentonville, Arkansas who grew up training and competing in ballet, jazz, tap, musical theatre, and lyrical. She has a degree in Early Childhood Development and pursued a professional semester at Broadway Dance Center in 2017. Before making her way to Jersey City.  She taught dance and choreographed for 7 years in her hometown and moved to North Carolina where she taught and choreographed for 3 years. Audrey has Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) training and was a member of UnTapped Professional Tap Company and non-profit organization. With a passion for working with children Audrey loves working on the fundamentals of dance with all ages and enjoys  encouraging and supporting them along the way. In pursuit of all that she loves, Audrey believes in a strong work ethic, versatility, and fun atmosphere.

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

                                                                                        Office Staff