Vanessa Berry – Artistic Director/Instructor
A Jersey Shore native, Vanessa Berry has taught dance since she was 16. Her education includes a degree in dance education from New York University, multiple fitness certifications, and extensive training in the Lotte Berke method. Performing credits include stage and television.
Before she became the proud owner of Kick Fitness and Dance she taught at some of the best studios in NY and Colorado including Equinox, New York Sports Club, Lotte Berke Method, Dance West, and the Boulder Arts Festival. As a choreographer and dance teacher, Vanessa has received many accolades including Top Studio, Best Choreography, Most Entertaining, and multiple first place awards. Her classes offer strong classic dance technique in a fun and caring environment. Her students learn confidence, grace, stage presence, and coordination while developing a love for dance in all its styles.
Kaitlyn Kurkemelis “Miss Katie” – Theater Program Director, Instructor
Dancing since the age of three, Kaitlyn’s training started at The Kathy Kull Dance Center then continued on under the direction of Janet Layden, creator of Allegro Dance Academy. Her recent training credits include Broadway Dance Center, Dance Masters of America, Dance Alliance, and Steps on Broadway. Kaitlyn has performed in numerous musicals and staged performances, many of which have been under the production team, Cabaret For Life. Immediately after high school, Kaitlyn set off to NYC to pursue a career in Broadway. She was represented under Renata English, Barry Kolker, and various casting agencies. During these years, Kaitlyn starting substituting for Miss Vanessa.
She fell in love with the Kick Dance Studio and the little town of Fair Haven, NJ. Over the past six years she has gone from teaching one class per week to teaching over 20 classes per week. Kaitlyn teaches all ages Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Musical Theatre. Her classes are high energy and tons of fun while focusing on technique and performance skills.
Miss Katie is grateful for the love she has found at the Kick Dance Studios. Sharing her passion for performing is the greatest gift and she is looking forward to what the future has in store!
Kyla Heinz – Tap Crew Director/Instructor
Deidra Wyckoff- Hip Hop Director/Instructor
Deidra began training as a dancer when she was nine years old, beginning as a young and talented Jazz student. After graduating from Brookdale Community College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts, she pursued her career as a professional dance instructor at seven different dance academies. Her career highlights include performing and training at Monsters of Hip Hop for eight consecutive years, performing at Disney World’s Magic Music Days and training with legendary dance instructors, such as Geo Hubela, Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo (Nappy Tabs), and Rhapsody James among many other world renown choreographers.
Deidra has also excelled as a hip-hop dancer for infamous dance crews, including ‘In Da Clutch’ crew, which appeared on “America’s Best Dance Crew.” She even had the pleasure to train with the amazingly talented Rockettes. Deidra is currently under the instruction of Parris Goebel and Nick Demoura to expand on her styles of Hip Hop and choreography. At the current time, Deidra’s position remains as a lead instructor teaching young students several different genres of dance and technique from Ballet to Ballroom to Hip Hop. Through this role, she has incorporated being a mentor to young children while encouraging them to learn the art of dance and helping them pursue their passion. Deidra recently received her Acrobatics Arts certification with a perfect score.
Courtney Gelmetti – Ballet Instructor
Courtney Gelmetti is a graduate of Rider University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance with minors in General Business Studies and Sales Management. Her training started at a very young age under the watchful eye of her mother, Patricia Schumacher. Over the years, Courtney studied intensely in ballet, pointe, partnering, jazz, contemporary, musical theater & lyrical. Her teachers have included Nancy Bielski, Douglas Martin, Mary Barton, Erika Mero, Micheal Mindlin and Geoffrey Doig-Marx. She performed nationally with some of her favorite venues being The Forum in LA, The Oracle in Oakland, and The Orleans in Las Vegas. Over the past four seasons, she can be seen performing with Introspective Movement Project under the direction of Sonia James Pennington. As a frequent judge for On Point National Dance Competition and Imagine Dance Challenge, she can help her students stay current in the ever-changing competition world.
Michelle Tolson has been dancing since the age of 10 and choreographing since the age of 15. Her students hold many regional and national titles in both dance competitions and pageants including Regional Dancer of the Year for American Dance Awards, World Talent Winner for International Sunshine Girl, and World Showstopper. Former students have gone on to appear in regional and national tours, So You Think You Can Dance and on Broadway in Memphis, Chaplin, Mama Mia, West Side Story, Pippin and Rock of Ages.
Michelle received the Young Choreographer of the Year Award from American Dance Awards in 1998. She is also a pageant coach and choreographer, and has had many students compete in the Miss New Hampshire and Miss Massachusetts Programs for the Miss America Organization. She judged the Miss New York program in 2014, helping to choose Kira Kazantsev, who went on to become Miss America. She has been the Judges Chair for the Miss New York Program since 2015.
Michelle held the title of Miss New Hampshire 1996 and competed at the Miss America Pageant that fall. Her picture and shoe can be seen in the Miss America Hall of Fame in Atlantic City. She was the choreographer and producer for the New Hampshire’s Distinguished Young Woman Program for seven years, a scholarship program for senior’s in high school and is a former Junior Miss for New Hampshire.
Her performance credits include being a Radio City Rockette for six years, where she performed in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular as well as on the Today Show, the Isaac Mizrahi Show, and in the Macy’s Day Parade. She also performed in Tap Girls, 42nd Street and numerous television, video and print works.
For five years she was a Professor at Wagner College on Staten Island, NY, where she choreographed Cabaret for the main stage and implemented the Tap program. She has been a guest artist at Georgian Court University where she worked with the dance club and was the dance advisor/coach for the Neptune High School dance team and the choreographer for the musicals. Her dance team was chosen out of 90 teams in the NY/NJ/CT area to compete on the new MSG Varsity Talent Show. While at Neptune she choreographed A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Guys and Dolls. She was also the dance team coach and choreographer at Immaculate Conception High School and brought her team to three state championships wins. She continues to teach at dance studios throughout New York and New Jersey, and works as a Master Teacher throughout the country. Michelle is the Head of Dance at Camp Vega in Kents Hill, Maine, considered the number one all girls’ camp in the country. Michelle also tours the country as a guest teacher, adjudicator and director for various dance competitions. She was a director for Dancers Inc. for five years and now works as a judge for three competitions throughout the country. She has been judging for seventeen years and enjoys teaching new talent every weekend.
Wendy is originally from Long Island. She began her classical Ballet training in NYC with Andre Eglevsky, Robert Joffrey and has continued her study of Ballet with Finis Jhung. In her teens, she studied modern dance at the Martha Graham School and traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, South and Central America performing as a soloist with Larry Richardson, Yuriko, Pearl Lang and was on the staff of the New School in New York City.
Ms. Wendy currently teaches in several professional dance studios in the tri-state area. She was a dance instructor at the Performing Arts High School in Middlesex County. In addition to her teaching commitments, Wendy travels to many cities in the U.S. Judging Dance Competitions both at Regional and National levels. She also conducts Intensives, Workshops and Master Classes in Ballet, Pre-Pointe, Pointe and Modern.
As an accomplished ballet/modern dancer and teacher, Miss Wendy is committed to giving back. “I teach from my heart, I want to give my students everything I know”. She is intensely passionate about dance and totally devoted to her students. She has instructed students of all ages. She has choreographed many award-winning pieces in both classical and modern dance. Many of her students have been very successful in the dance industry.
Broadway/National Tours: Cinderella, Pippin (Lewis/understudy Pippin), Mary Poppins. Off-Broadway: Silence! The Musical, Lucky Guy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Encores!). International: Mary Poppins (Vienna). Film/TV: “Smash,” Lovestruck The Musical, “Late Show with David Letterman.” Point Park University grad
Lesley Anne Mealor
Originally from Marietta, GA, I grew up dancing under the instruction of my mother, Brenda Mealor, at The Dancers Studio. I then went on to study at Oklahoma City University and earned a degree in Dance Performance. My career has taken me around the world with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and across North America with tours of “Sweet Charity” and “The Music Man”. I am currently based in New York City and eager for the next opportunity to present itself.
In addition to performing, I am inspired by teaching young dancers across the country that what they bring to the table is enough, and telling the story is more important than any trick you can do. Adjudicating dance competitions allows me to stay connected to the studio industry while still pursuing my career as a performer. If I’m not in a show, you can usually find me behind the judge’s table.
Monique Powers – Acro Instructor
Monique started her long journey through dance, gymnastics, and competitive cheerleading at only the age of 6. She started out dancing different styles such as jazz, tap, hip-hop, and even break dancing. After a few years of dancing, she found her love for gymnastics, where she competed at Rebound gymnastics for four years. Her step-mother was a coach for the Colonia Patriots pop-warner cheerleading team, which also led her step-mother to help create the competitive all-star cheerleading team, NJ Heat all-stars. Seeing that cheerleading offered a mix of dance, gymnastics, and new challenges, Monique found her passion in cheerleading. She competed at Jersey Devils all-star competitive cheerleading for six years working her way to the highest level team. During her cheerleading career, she competed at worlds as the point flyer where her team received 7th place in the world. She also received the award for “coaches choice” and “cheerleader of the year”. It came time to end her career in cheerleading due to college, but she knew in her heart she could not fully leave something she was passionate about for so many years. So now, Monique spreads her passion as an instructor for tumbling & gymnastics, and also choreographs competitive acrobatic dances.
In Loving Memory
Laura Donlon was an award-winning dancer and gymnast throughout high school and a Cheerleader Flyer in College. She began teaching at an early age, while still in high school, and became one of the youngest Varsity Coaches in the State when she took over the Head Coaching Position at Sayreville War Memorial High School. In her ten years at Sayreville, she took the program to a much publicized undefeated season and brought the program to a third-place ranking in the state. Laura was selected as Coach of Year twice during her tenure as Head Coach. Laura’s background in both gymnastics and dance has afforded her the opportunity to provide award-winning choreography in ballet, jazz, musical theatre and acro for the youngest of dancers to senior company performers and elite level gymnasts. Laura has served as the Artistic Director and Assistant Studio Director for several NJ dance Studios. Presently, Laura ‘s daughter Kelsey is carrying on her mom’s legacy and teaching her classes on Saturday mornings.