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Our Story

Previously Carlisle Ballet, Carlisle Dance was purchased in 2012 by Kristen Gazza. Kristen always hoped of one day opening her own studio. When she stumbled upon the listing for "Carlisle Ballet" she took a leap of faith from Corporate America to running her own business.

Kristen is a proud member of Dance Masters of America (DMA). DMA is a professional, certified membership organization of artists and educators committed to the elevation of the art of dance and to provide innovative artistic experiences for the advancement of dance worldwide. She is also a member of the Dance Studio Owners Association, always looking for ways to grow and enhance the studio for each and every dancer.

Our Approach

Carlisle Dance offers a supportive dance environment that promotes proper training and technique. Younger children are introduced to dance in a positive and pleasant environment. More advanced students are given expert and supportive training in all styles of dance.

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Meet the Team

Each of our faculty members has a different background and style to bring to our studio.  While their backgrounds may be different, they all have one thing in common: the love of dance. Our highly trained staff is dedicated to supporting the development of all children. Our teachers and support staff use proven methodologies and a highly effective curriculum to help children grow academically, socially, and physically. We regularly participate in professional development in order to improve our skills and offer a better learning experience for the children.

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Kristen Gazza

Director

Kristen bought Carlisle Dance, previously Carlisle Ballet, in 2012. In 2012, Kristen became a member of Dance Masters of America. Since starting Carlisle Dance, she has received many choreography awards, including the the Entertainment award for her dance 'Legally Blonde' in 2019. Kristen attended The Pennsylvania State University and received her degree in Supply Chain and Information Systems. During her time at Penn State, she was a member of the Penn State Lionettes Dance Team and competed as part of their competition team.  She also choreographed many kicklines that were seen on the football field and basketball court. Also during this time, she choreographed dances for the Centre Dance competition team. Kristen started dancing when she was six at Centre Dance in State College, Pennsylvania.

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Jennifer Leshniowsky

Ballet, Tap, Pointe

Jennifer has taught dance locally for the past 14 years. After attending Dance Masters of America Teacher Training School, she was granted certification by examination in ballet, tap and jazz. She attended the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet teacher workshop in 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University in Political Science with a French minor. Teaching dance is a second career for Jennifer, and she brings her skill in communications, process consulting and training to her lesson planning and program development at the dance studio. Jennifer also is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) through Yoga Alliance. Jennifer’s teaching style approaches dance as art, combining classic tradition and technique with inspiration to experience joy and self-expression.

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Elaine Seckar

Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Improv

Elaine began dancing when she was 16, taking classes in Ballet, Modern, and Jazz/Hip Hop.  While attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Elaine danced with the IUP Dance Theater Company for 3 years and had the opportunity to join many guest artist residencies.  While completing her undergraduate education, she assisted her hometown studio’s owner and instructor, Mary Strong. After the experience of aiding in her classes, Elaine returned as a guest choreographer. Elaine was a Professional Ballroom Instructor for Aurther Murray Studios for 5 years. Most recently, she trained with Martha Eddy, Tricia Gomez, and Barbara Mahler studying hip hop for children with disabilities, Laban Movement Analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Body Mind Centering, and Klien/Barre Technique.

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Megan Fedeli

Tap

Megan is a Kindergarten teacher at the Kindergarten Academy in Mechanicsburg, PA. She has been teaching dance for 8 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University in Elementary Education. While at Penn State, Megan was a member of the Whiplash Dance Team, a hip hop club. Megan grew up dancing in State College, PA, at Centre Dance, and participated in their competition program.   Her favorite styles to choreograph and perform are tap and hip hop. She loves working with the younger students and watching their love for dance grow!

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Paige Snyder

Ballet, Tap, Jazz

Paige teaches third grade at Northside Elementary School in Mechanicsburg, PA. Paige holds a Bachelors Degree from West Chester University in Early Childhood and Special Education. She began dancing at age 3 at Studio 91 in Mechanicsburg and is excited to be joining the staff at Carlisle Dance! Her favorite style of dance is tap. Paige is eager to meet all of her dancers and watch their love of dance grow throughout the year!

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Crystal Kerns

Adult Tap & Ballet

Crystal began her formal dance training at the Marcia Dale School of Dance, now the Central PA Youth Ballet.  She has studied dance at various local studios as well as studios throughout the world.  Crystal has taught tap, ballet, jazzercise, exercise and Broadway dance for many years at local schools, Parks and Recreation Depts, YWCA, and Carlisle Army War College. She is well known in the area for her choreography work with community theatres.

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Corey Fake

Jazz, Lyrical, Tap

Corey is a Paralegal in Franklin County, PA. She has been dancing for 15 years and teaching for 6 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in History and Paralegal Studies and Master’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University in Public History. Corey grew up at Mar Le Nie Dance Studios in Chambersburg, PA. In college, she was the President of the Performing Dance Portmanteau at Kutztown University where she taught Tap and Jazz classes and choreographed. After she graduated from Kutztown, Corey returned to Mar Le Nie and taught sporadically and was their production manager for 7 years. Her favorite styles of dance are Tap, Jazz, and Lyrical.

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Emily Slevin

Jazz, Lyrical, Jazz Funk, Company Coach

Emily is an interdisciplinary dancer, instructor, competition coach, and choreographer with 18 years of dance training specializing in contemporary. She is the assistant competition coach for the Elite Company as well as the head coach for the new Junior Company program. As the Lyrical Team Captain at DePaul University, her choreography was performed in theatres across Chicago. She has taken master classes from industry professionals in cities such as L.A., Las Vegas, & London and continues her dance training as a company member & choreographer at The New Cumberland School of Ballet. This season, in addition to her weekly instruction & coaching at studios in Pennsylvania, Emily will be touring across the country with Starpower National Dance Competition as well as teaching her own master classes in North America & Europe. It is her goal to drive her students to cultivate strength, confidence, & passion within themselves, both inside & outside of the studio.

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Motique Doporsyk

Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical

Motique was born and raised in Carlisle PA and has been dancing for 19 years. She was an assistant instructor for three years at the Walnut Bottom School of Dance and an independent instructor four years.  She also competed with the Walnut Bottom School of Dance's Company Dance Team for 3 years. At the age of 12, she began studying Ballet and Modern at CPYB and was asked to be an assistant instructor. She has a beautiful daughter Alliya and a handsome son Amante. She is very excited to share her knowledge and passion for dance with each of her students.

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Ella Hosie

Ballet

Ella is a senior at Cumberland Valley High School. She has been dancing at Carlisle Dance for seven years and a part of the Elite Dance Company competition team for five years. She studies jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical and more! She loves working with kids and sharing her passion for dance. After high school, she hopes to continue teaching and dancing, wherever that may take her!

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Alexis Nikoloff

Strength and Conditioning

Music and movement have always been a part of Alexa’s life from dance as a child and teen and fitness as an adult. Alexa’s first fitness certification came in 2012 when she decided to merge the two worlds with Zumba. From there, the certifications have grown to include AFAA Group Exercise, Les Mills Bodypump, LM Bodycombat, Les Mills Core, LM Grit and LM Sprint and she is working on a personal training certification. Her hope for every class is that you walk away feeling a little better about yourself than when you started. Reach for excellence!

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Brian Frazier

Hip Hop

After studying martial arts for 9 years, Brian Frazier, aka ‘Blaze’, took a break from martial arts to explore an interest in dance. He never looked back again. Brian became enamored by the BBOY culture in Harrisburg, PA. With limited resources for classes, Brian spent hours every day studying on YouTube until he was noticed by Jason Reed and soon after, E. Moncell Durden. Both took him under their wing and introduced to the Hood Lockers who further molded him into the dancer he is today. Through his perseverance he has had the opportunity to be a Jacob's Pillow alumnae. He was also a member of Hood Nation, Lakaï Dance Theatre (under the tutelage of McKersin Previlus). AfroFunk, and Rennie Harris.

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Shannon Donnelly

Choreographer

Shannon is a Senior at Penn State University. She is a member of the Orchesis Dance Company which can be seen performing throughout campus. Before transferring from Penn State Altoona, Shannon was a member of the Penn State Altoona Dance Team.  She has been dancing 15 years and has been a class assistant for the past 8 years. While dancing at Carlisle Dance, she was also a member of their Elite Dance Company. She has trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, and modern.

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Grace Winton

Choreographer

Grace is a recently graduated from Catholic University. At Catholic University, Grace was a member of the nationally-ranked Catholic University Dance Team.  She has been dancing for over 16 years.  She has trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, and modern.  She was also a part of the Elite Dance Company team at Carlisle Dance. While competing with Carlisle Dance, Grace's solo won Highest Overall Lyrical Routine at the Talent Explosion competition.  She loves teaching dance and watching girls grow a love for the art of dance.

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Gabby Schock

Office Assistant

Gabby completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Lock Haven University with a minor in dance, studying under Professor Jayme Host. While at LHU, she was a member of Dance Consort, a multi-genre dance organization. She started at Carlisle Dance in 2018. In addition to the studio, she also works for Mechanicsburg Area School District in the Special Education Department.

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Pierce Pennington

Choreographer

Pierce will be a Junior this Fall at Sam Houston State University. She is pursing a BFA in Dance and Pedagogy as a Dance major and furthering her experience in media and communication as a Mass Communications minor. She has set choreographic works for studios in GA, TX, and PA. She has won multiple choreography awards. She also has participated in works by choreographers such as Joshua Manculich and Adele Nickel. She has done an extensive amount of intensives and training across the country, with choreographers who set works in L.A. and New York. Pierce loves to choreograph and teach, and is very passionate about her love for dance. She likes to focus on bringing out that same passion in her students, fellow dancers, and any audience as well.

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Melitta Parzyszek

Choreography & Contemporary

Melitta Parzyszek is a freelance artist and a recent graduate from Slippery Rock University. While there, she earned her BFA concentrating in performance and choreography. Her work has been seen at the Come Together Dance Festival in Philadelphia and Ascendance Choreography Showcase in Pittsburgh. Melitta has had the opportunity to perform and produce her own choreography for numerous concerts held at Slippery Rock University. Melitta also received a scholarship to take part in Cat Cogliandro’s Makin’ Moves workshop where she explored the fundamentals of choreography. Melitta has collaborated with many other artists and continues to broaden her education by participating in master classes, workshops, and intensives around the world.

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MIA KILKEARY

Jazz

Bio coming soon!

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