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.


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.


Kristen Gazza


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.


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.

elaine headshot

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.


Megan Fedeli


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!


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!


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.


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.

DSC03059 2 2

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.


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.


Olivia Shields

Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical

Olivia has 17 years of dance training. With a studio background, she transitioned to competitive dance teams with AthElite Dance and the Cumberland Valley Dance Team. Olivia has competed in Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, and Pom. She has additional experience with Musical Theater, Kickline,Tap, and Acrobatics. Olivia holds a Bachelor's Degree from Messiah University in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing. While attending school, she performed with their dance core, GIVIM. She is excited to cultivate confidence, technique, and passion among the dancers.


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!


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.

Screen Shot 2021-05-17 at 8.19.03 PM

Pierce Pennington


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.

melitta heashot

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.


Kate leshniowsky

Jazz, Lyrical

Kate Leshniowsky has studied dance for 14 years, including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap and lyrical. As a member of our Elite Dance Company for 8 years, Kate has won numerous awards and judges' praise for both her performance and choreography. After being a teaching assistant for 5 years, she enjoys teaching lyrical and jazz to the novice dancers at Carlisle Dance and in the community for the past 2 years. Kate will be a 2023 graduate of Carlisle High School, where she is a member of Student Council and National Honor Society, and represents CHS at Junior Leadership Cumberland.

Register for a free trial class

Come meet our faculty! Schedule your free trial class today!