SamanthaMelo

Samantha Melo (Owner)
Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, Contemporary, Jazz, & Mommy & Me

Born in New York, Samantha began her training at the age of 5 with Roya Curie, former Prima Ballerina of the Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo. After Curie’s passing, Samantha continued her studies with Peter and Lisa Newman of New York City Ballet and Valerie Feit of Alvin Ailey. Throughout her childhood, Samantha was accepted and attended many summer intensives such as the Joffrey School of Ballet, Alvin Ailey and the American Academy of Ballet. In 2002, she was accepted to and attended the University of Hartford’s Hartt Division on scholarship under the direction of Peggy Lyman. In 2004, Samantha was again awarded another scholarship to attend Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts where she received her bachelor’s degree in dance performance and dance pedagogy in 2006.
Upon graduation, Samantha became a faculty member for both Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Youth Ballet and began her professional dancing career with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet. However, her dancing quickly took her out to Los Angeles, California where she danced principle roles with companies such as California Contemporary Ballet, Creations Dance Theatre and Louise Reichlin & Dancers. Samantha was also chosen to represent both Trio and Bloch talent agencies where she booked many jobs in the entertainment industry. As for teaching, Samantha taught at many prestigious studios throughout Los Angeles as well as for the LA Unified School District. In 2011 she opened her own studio, The Pennsylvania Academy of Dance and accumulated over 200 students within the first year. Today, Samantha resides back in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys where she is currently opening up another studio location!

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Kim Anderson (Manager)
Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Mommy &  Me, Modern, & Tap

Kimberly Anderson is from Centerville, Ohio. She began her training at the South Dayton School of Dance and spent summers training at the Boston Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the American Dance Festival and attended the Craft of Choreography Conference on scholarship. She went on to graduate with honors (earning her BFA in dance) from Point Park University in 2009. After spending one season with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s second company, she was selected for the first company where she danced professionally for five seasons and performed works by Ronen Koresh, Donald Byrd, Ulysses Dove, Talley Beatty, Ray Mercer and countless other renowned choreographers.

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Girard Holt
Ballet

Mr. Holt began dancing at the school of the Hartford Ballet.  At sixteen, Mr. Holt was offered an apprenticeship with the Hartford Ballet Company where he performed soloist roles in “The Nutcracker” and began learning the Balanchine repertoire.  His professional training includes The Dance Theatre of Harlem School, the School of American Ballet and the School of the San Francisco Ballet, all of which he attended as a scholarship and stipend student.
Mr. Holt’s professional career includes the San Francisco Ballet, the Richmond Ballet, the State Ballet of Missouri (now Kansas City Ballet), Ballet Met in Columbus Ohio and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  Mr. Holt joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 1990 and was featured in works such as Choo San Ghoos’ “In the Glow of the Night,” “Beginnings” and  “Configurations,” as well as the Balanchine works “La Sonnombula”, Balanchines “Nutcracker” and “Allegro Brilliante”, and contemporary ballets including Sir Kenneth McMillan’s “Elite Syncopations”, Lynne Taylor- Corbetts “Gottschalk”, Lisa de Riberes “The Mighty Casey”, and Alvin Ailey’s “The River”.
While a member of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Mr. Holt taught ballet classes throughout the greater Pittsburgh area at such schools as the Laurel Ballet, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Ballet Baroque, Rodgers School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts.  He was on staff for two years at Point Park University and was ballet master for five years at the Western Pennsylvania Performing Arts Company in Vandergrift, Pa.  Mr. Holt became the Artistic Director of the La Roche College Dance Department in January 2001 until May 2010.  In June of 2010 Mr. Holt returned as Principal Ballet Instructor for Sandra Lynn School of Dance.  During this time, from June 2010 to May 2013, Mr. Holt also served as ballet instructor for the Father Ryan Arts Center under the centers director Ms. Pat Moran, and program co-ordinator Ms. Staycee Pearl.

Currently, Mr. Holt is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Mid-Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Company, which he founded with colleague Miriam Scigliano in April of 2008. In May 2014, Mr. Holt became the Director of Curriculum and Ballet Master for Impact Dance Center, a new pre-professional dance center headed by colleague Cherie Cox Habian.  Mr. Holt is also an adjunct ballet instructor at Point Park University.

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Shane Kesneck
Hip-Hop

Shane grew up dancing on the stages across the East Coast.  He has competed in many competitions and has been nationally ranked as one of the best hip hop dancers in the country, getting nominated twice to represent the United States in the World Hip Hop Competition located in Germany. Since finishing up a tour with recording artist T-Pain, as one of his back up dancers in cities such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, Shane is also credited with a feature dancer role in the Sophia Fresh Music Video “This Instant.” He has now come into the spotlight the last few years as one of the most innovative and creative hip hop dancers and choreographers on the scene today. He serves as one of the most diverse teachers traveling across the country teaching workshops and choreographing for dancers in the industry and in the competition world. He is one of the most sought out Hip Hop choreographers with his unique, authentic and intricate style.  He has worked with many dance studios, choreographing award winning dances featured in competitions and performances all over the country. Shane has also worked with under privileged kids who have not been able to afford dance classes, sharing his passion and love of dance to young children everywhere

Erin

Erin Kleinman
Ballet

Erin began dancing at the age of 3. Dancing ballet throughout her elementary and middle school years, when her family moved to Chicago she joined Von Heidecke’s School of Chicago Festival Ballet. This school provided her with opportunities to tour with a company performing The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Firebird, and many other full length classical ballets. While attending Hope College in Holland MI, Erin majored in Communication and Dance. The program at Hope exposed Erin to a variety of dance forms and provided opportunities to dance and perform with guest artists such as Jon Lehrer. After college Erin spent time dancing in Chicago and then teaching at a dance studio in Nashville TN. After completing her PhD at The Ohio State University in Communication she landed here in the Pittsburgh area. Erin has experience teaching dance to 2 year olds all the way through adults in a variety of disciplines for over 20 years and loves being in the studio.

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Kerra Alexander
Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary, & Modern

Kerra Alexander graduated in 2007 from Point Park University with a BA in dance, ballet and modern concentration.  Miss Alexander has been teaching for more than a decade.  Her focus is to inspire and build passion in her students alongside a strong technical basis. Miss Alexander trained with many renowned instructors during her years as a student and believes that dance is a vibrant art form that can express all aspects of the human spirit as a voice for positive change and growth.  She is currently a company member for Shana Simmons Dance and performs in other project based work around the city.  She also teaches master classes, judges for competitions, and choreographs for musicals.

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Kayla Hollinger
Tap, Jazz

Kayla Hollinger joins us from the Greater Pittsburgh area where she began her training at a young age and has pursued the art of dance in both professional performance and pedagogy platforms. Her experience in various dance companies in the Pittsburgh region, as well as in San Jose California include Pittsburgh CLO and sjDANCEco. Kayla’s passion however, is teaching at the studio where she is certified in Module’s 1, 2, and 3 from the Acrobatic Arts/Tumbling Certification Program from Ottawa Canada and the Woodward Tumblers of America Gymnastics spotting program in Centre County PA., as well as Sugarfoot Therapy injury prevention for dancers and gymnasts. Kayla has also expanded her teaching training by completing The PULSE with Broadway Center teacher excellence program (2015 NYNY) as well as completion of the dance teacher SUMMIT instructor training in Toronto Canada (2016).  She became certified in Dance Masters in 2013 and is currently in training for Dance Educators of America. She is on staff for INTRIGUE Dance Convention/Competition, Rising Star Talent and Legacy Dance where she judges regional and national dance competitions. Kayla has received several accolades in the Pittsburgh area including the Gene Kelly Award for best Choreography in 2010.  Along with teaching at top elite dance studios from all over Kayla joins us also as director for performing arts at Obama Charter school and at Sarah Heinz House with their Dance NOW program for inner city students in Pittsburgh.

JoshuaSweeny

Joshua Sweeny
Ballet, Contemporary, Modern, & Jazz

A graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts, Joshua began his rigorous dance training as a teenager. He trained for several years at the renowned Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary and Laszlo Berdo and while at Point Park he trained in Paris under the direction of Wayne Byars. A successful ballet dancer, Joshua has been a company member with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet for the last four seasons and is in the process of finishing his MFA in Film and Digital Media at Chatham University. Joshua is not only a certified Yoga and Pilates instructor, but also a freelance photographer who is about to release his very own documentary, Same Difference due out later this year.