FACULTY

KARA TESTA (OWNER) began her dance training at the age of four in the Philadelphia area. She grew up studying Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Modern, Tap, Hip Hop, Gymnastics, Ballroom and Theatre. Throughout her years of training she actively participated in dance competitions where she received numerous scholarships. In 2004 Kara was "one of thirty" dancers chosen in Pennsylvania to attend (PGSA) Governor's School of the Arts on a jazz scholarship. She went on to study as a dance major at the prestigious SUNY Purchase conservatory, known for their rigorous and competitive program. Kara joined ASH Contemporary Dance Company in 2005 where she performed many original works by Braham Logan Crane (of Artists Simply Human) and a piece set by Mia Michaels. She has performed in many events including Marian Anderson awards ceremony honoring Gregory Peck, Annenberg Theatre, City Center, Tangerine Bowl halftime show ESPN, Lincoln Center, Joyce Theatre, 6 ABC Boscov’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Sunoco Welcome America 4th of July Parade, Republican National Convention, Fringe Festival, and Penns Landing concert featuring BaHa men. Most recently, Kara had the opportunity to be cast as an extra in the movie Transformers 2 and Limitless. 

MAKENZIE CRANE is a third generation dancer and master teacher, and is proud to keep the tradition of a family of dancers alive into the 21st century. Makenzie trained at her mother’s dance studio in Pennsylvania as well as North Carolina School of the Arts, Interlochen Arts Center in Michigan, Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, River North Chicago and Broadway Dance Center in New York City, where she was on full scholarship. Performance credits include: Jammin’ Gold Dancer, Tap Team II, ASH Contemporary Dance, DRA’s Remember Project, “The Best of…” and Broadway Dance Center’s Performance Outlets. While living in New York, Makenzie served as a sound technician and lighting designer for various performances throughout the city.   She has also been on the staff and crew of a national dance convention.  Makenzie has taught and choreographed for numerous schools and companies including the children’s program at Broadway Dance Center, NYC.  Many of Makenzie’s students have gone on to pursue careers in dance including becoming members of professional dance companies, being awarded college dance scholarships, attending Pa. Governor’s School for the Arts, and winning regional and national dance competitions.  She is also proud to have former students teaching and directing their own dance companies, and making their mark on Broadway, in Las Vegas shows, and cruise ships.  Makenzie holds a degree in Health and Physical Education from West Chester University.

JODY HAGGERTY began her training at the age of three in Philadelphia studying ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, musical theater, hip hop, lyrical, acrobatics and ballroom and participated in the Teacher Training Course at her home studio receiving the Choreography Award for her class. At the age of 5 she started traveling to train in New York City and various other cities participating in dance conventions for many years and was part of the group chosen to represent Pennsylvania in the first Young Americans Dance Festival. She has produced, choreographed and danced performances for Philadelphia venues and events including Shampoo Night Club and City of Hope. Jody also became involved in theater, performing roles such as Connie in A Chorus Lineand Louise in Carousel, and choreographing many productions including Oliver, Sound of Music, Annieand Brigadoon. She has recently worked at Media Theater, choreographing for the summer camp and directing/choreographing their production of Hansel & Gretel. She is currently serving as Resident Choreographer for Merion Mercy Music Theater were she has choreographed many shows including 42nd Street, Phantom of the Opera, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Crazy For You, West Side Storyand Beauty and the Beastfor which they received the 2006 Cappie award for Best Song at the Greater Philadelphia Critics and Awards Program for their performance of Be Our Guest.

OLIVIA MAILEY started dancing at the age of nine, training at numerous studios throughout the Philadelphia area. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical/contemporary/modern, musical theater, and hip hop. While training at her home studio, Olivia participated in many dance competitions and conventions where she received numerous titles and scholarships. She was given the opportunity to assist Brandon Bryant and Sasha Forde from So You Think You Can Dance as well as be the choreography assistant for Hollywood Dance Shoot. Performances and parades include the 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, QVC Old Fashion West Chester Christmas Parade, and the 6ABC Philadelphia 4th of July Parade. Olivia was accepted into Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester in NYC for two months, which culminated with a performance at the infamous Alvin Ailey Theater. She performed with Nickerson Rossi Dance with works by Boston Ballet principal dancer, John Lam and Vertical Shadows Dance Company director, Stephen Agisilaou. Most recently, she was the featured dancer in River Pier’s “Who I Am” music video and was awarded the choreography award by the West Chester University Alumni Chapter. She is now currently a company dancer for Project Moshen, a female jazz company based out of Philadelphia. Olivia also holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from West Chester University.

 

LISA FRIES grew up in northern New Jersey and began her serious ballet training at the School of American Ballet in New York. She studied under many gifted teachers including Alexandra Danilova, Suki Schorer, Stanley Williams and Melissa Hayden to name a few. At the age of fifteen, she was chosen to dance the Vivaldi Pas de Deux for a Workshop performance and her peers became notables in the ballet world such as Darci Kistler, Jock Soto, Jeff Edwards and Louise Nadeau. She has been teaching for almost 30 years in the Philadelphia area and has been involved in many productions of various ballets for different companies and schools. From teaching and coaching to setting choreography, what she loves to do the most is pass on the tradition of the highest levels of ballet training to all of her students.

JILL DALY began her dance training in Bucks County, PA, at the age of three. Growing up, she studied tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, and pointe. As a competitive dancer, she won many awards and honors, and she was also a talented student choreographer beginning at age 15. In college, Jill was a member of the prestigious Towson University Dance Team and later became a part of the Moravian College Dance Company. In addition, she had the privilege of studying with such talented tap dancers as Mike Minery, Anthony Morigerato, Ayodele Casel, Mike Schulster, Gil Stroming, Jason Samuels Smith, Barbara Duffy, and more. As a tap choreographer, Jill has been working professionally in the Philadelphia area for ten years, and her work continues to win the highest of honors at both regional and national competitions. She received her Masters of Education from Holy Family University in 2012, and she works as a high-school English teacher in Montgomery County. Jill loves sharing her passion for tap dance with her students, and she continues her training by participating in tap conventions across the country. 

CAITLIN CANTRELL, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, started her dance training at the Edna Lee Dance Studio, under the direction of Miss Mary Moran and Mrs. Ashley Canterna-Hardy. She continued her training at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where she graduated with honors and received a BFA in Dance Education, with a focus in Ballet. While in school, Caitlin danced for Xhale Dance Company and performed throughout the Pennsylvania and New York areas. After graduation, Caitlin moved to New York, where she dance professionally with Abarukas Contemporary Dance Company and Michael Susten & Company. She had the opportunity to perform at APAP, Manhattan Movement Arts, La Mama, Jacobs Pillow and many other fantastic festivals and venues. Since then Caitlin has been certified through The Ballet Method in Vaganova training. Caitlin is fortunate to be teaching all over the PA and NJ areas, predominantly teaching ballet. She hopes to provide her students with the technique and knowledge base to grow not only in ballet, but in all forms of dance. 

LAURYNN PAYNE is from West Chester, PA and has danced for 10 years in various styles such as; Hip-Hop, Contemporary, and Jazz. Laurynn attended High School at Bayard Rustin High School, where she was on the dance team for 3 years and was named captain her senior year. In 2013, Laurynn was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers Teen Dream Team where she performed at various games, and events. From there she joined the Philly Phresh Crew, ran by Dana Smith Tavares, a former 76ers dancer. After being on the team for 3 years, she was named the first ever captain of the organization. Along with her Sixers background, she has backup danced for numerous artists from Radio Disney such as; Jordan Fisher, DJ Kool, Betty Who, and more. Currently, Laurynn is a Junior at Drexel University earning her bachelor’s in Hospitality Management with a minor in Sports Marketing. While juggling school she also teaches at various dance studios around the tri-state area such as; Monarch School of Dance (NJ), On Edge Movement (PA), and Dance Arts Conservatory (PA). She is also one of the Coaches at Garnet Valley High School. Due to Laurynn’s determination and professionalism she was hired by Dana Smith Tavares to be a choreographer for Philly Phresh Crew. She has choreographed dances for several of their performances which include; Sixers Games, Wings Games, and a Walt Disney World performance. In order to continue her training and deep passion for dance, she continues to train in L.A and Philadelphia, with some of the best dance choreographers.

RYAN MICHAEL TUERK holds a Master of Fine Arts from Temple University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts. Ryan has been granted certification in the Vaganova methodology in classical ballet. Born just outside of Philadelphia Pa, Ryan began his early dance training at the age of 17 at a small local studio in Quakertown Pa.  First as a martial artist and later as an acrobat Ryan discovered his true passion for dance and movement and committed himself to pursuing a career in the field of dance as a performer, a teacher, and choreographer.  After realizing his calling as a dance artist, Ryan went on to pursue a degree in dance at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia Pa.  Upon graduation Ryan was hired by several cruise lines including Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruise Lines.  While living in Fort Lauderdale Fl, Ryan performed the role of Doody in the musical "GREASE."  Ryan's classical performance repertoire includes "The Flower Festival of Genzzano,"" Grand Pas Classique," and the "Blue Bird" variation from "The Sleeping Beauty."  He has performed works by choreographers such as Brian Sanders, Roni Koresh, Roberta Mathes and Dr. Laura Katz-Rizzo.  Ryan is on faculty at The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet where he instructs adults and pre-professional students.  In addition to technique classes Ryan has choreographed contemporary work for students at the academy who have entered the Youth American Grand Prix competition.  At Montgomery County Community College Ryan instructs various movement based and academic courses in the college's dance department.  He has helped the department to develop and include new course work and curriculum in Jazz Dance Studies.  Ryan continues to make appearances at several local Universities and teaches at privately-owned studios in the Philadelphia area.  Since 2011 Ryan has been a visiting guest artist for Dissonance Dance Theatre in Washington D.C., creating three original choreographic works for the company "RAPTURE,"" SCARS ON MY MEMORY," and "THE 13TH HOUR." Ryan also instructs students for NGOMA Center for Dance's summer DANCELAB at the University of Maryland.  In 2013 Ryan was accepted into Temple University's Boyer School of Music and Dance's graduate program.  While pursuing his MFA Ryan focused his research on understanding heteronormativity in dance performance, gender norms and embodied expression, body politics, and challenging hegemonic cultural assumptions of male bodies.  The result of Ryan's research was his master's thesis "Deciphering: He, Choreographing Contemporary Masculinities."  In the fall of 2017 Ryan joined forces with the Philadelphia Circus School and CIRCADIUM School of Contemporary Circus to develop the first ever fully accredited circus program in America. Ryan has produced over 20 original choreographic works that have been performed across Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. Currently, Ryan has been working on developing PURSUE THE CRAFT INTENSIVES, a training program that visits schools to bring in some of the industry's top working professionals to assist schools in offering the highest caliber of dance education for students and teachers alike. Currently Ryan is on faculty at Temple University’s Musical Theater Department and tours nationally with Starbound National Talent Competition. As a choreographer Ryan has been recognized for his unique choreographic style.  His choreography manifests as a sinewy combination of classical line blended with soft and fluid movement trajectories with a jazz influence.  His movement becomes an emotionally palpable dialogue between classical technique and contemporary dance that is rooted in the human condition. Ryan believes the position of a teacher is awarded through an unyielding commitment to excellence; he notes that success achieved by students in any field of study requires a high level of capacity and dedication from their teachers. 

DAN “SKI” SEVITSKI was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Ski realized his passion for dance at a young age when he stumbled upon the hip hop culture while creating and producing his own music.  He began his career in dance at the age of 15 where he earned himself a position in the hip hop company, IAmPhresh/Academy of Phresh under “Smart Mark” and Shanika Boston. His team won several awards at World of Dance and Prelude. Ski has been teaching since 2012, as well as traveling and performing at events such as South by Southwest in Austin Texas and V103 BMI showcase in Atlanta Georgia. He stays connected with the LA and New York dancers by hosting workshops and bringing in well known choreographers to give his students increased knowledge of hip hop culture. His classes range from beginner to advanced with students of all ages. Ski has had the privilege to teach at the College of the Canyon in LA and The Jona Show in NYC and Millennium. In class he likes to cover topics such as musicality, dynamics and body control while focusing on authentic and current Hip Hop styles.

Beth 

MEHGAN JARVIE holds a BFA in Dance performance with a concentration in ballet.  She is also currently working on her MFA through Temple in Dance Education. Ms. Jarvie was the Director of Dance at Renaissance Academy for 12 years. In 2013 Ms. Jarvie was named Teacher of the Year at Renaissance Academy.  During this time her dance program and teaching was featured in Dance Teacher Magazine (December 2010). She was also awarded the Kennedy Center for Performance Arts Excellence in Arts Education award for Dance 2010 (National Award). 2008 Ms. Jarvie was awarded the Pennsylvania Excellence in Dance Education Award from Gov. Ed. Rendell.

The National Endowment of the Arts also awarded Ms. Jarvie a grant to produce her original storybook ballet for Renaissance Academy.

For the past 20 years Mehgan has also been teaching in the studio setting.  She has held the title of Competition Team Director, Program Coordinator, Choreographer and Faculty Member.  She loves each and every position she has held. Her choreography has won numerous titles and special awards. However, her dedication to proper technique and approach to instruction is what she builds her reputation on. Ms. Jarvie currently teaches for several studios in the Chester and Montgomery counties.  She instructs tiny tots to pre-professional level dancers in Ballet, Pointe, Tap and Lyrical. She also choreographs for competition teams and performance ensembles, as well as "The Nutcracker."

GEORGETTE KORIZIS has been dancing professionally since age 15, when she first appeared on the television show So You Think You Can Dance in Greece. She performed in multiple live shows and was one of the top 12 dancers. While living in Greece she also performed on numerous daily television shows and modeled for Greek magazines. Georgette has trained at Marymount Manhattan College where she majored in dance with a concentration on choreography. Georgette has also trained with: East Coast Movement, Performing Arts Academy, The Joffrey Ballet, Icon Dance Complex, Broadway Dance Center, La Luna Dance, Top Hat Dance Studio, The Rock School, and numerous intensive workshops. Georgette’s most recent dance job is dancing behind singer/songwriter, Richard Walters, during his “Regretless” tour. Georgette can also be found in the movie “Dark Horse” where she appears in a dance scene. Georgette has been teaching and choreographing dance for the past 11 years, while continuing to train herself. Georgette also holds a Bachelors degree in Business Management with a minor in Geographical Information Systems which she achieved at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and she currently works as a Project Coordinator for Facebook. 

MADISON BARKER has been dancing since the age of three around the Philadelphia area. She made the decision to train more vigorously in all areas of dance when she made the switch to On Edge Movement for her high school career.  She competed with OEM's competitive company for four years.  The past two summers, Madi has headed the performing arts summer camp, where she has taught dance and basic acting skills.  Madi had the pleasure of performing with the tap group called “Footwerx” for two years where they had the honor of performing at the Wilma Theater. Madison danced  numerous times in the 6ABC Thanksgiving Day Parade, 6ABC Philadelphia 4th of July Parades and QVC West Chester Christmas Parade.  Madi has a passion for working with children as she has worked at Stepping Stone Education Center for the past four years. She recently graduated from Eastern University with a Bachelors in middle level education.