Vic Adebusola
Vic AdebusolaAfter-School Youth Commercial Dance Director, Hip Hop Faculty

Victor Adebusola serves as the Commercial Dance Director for MSA, leading the organization’s after school hip-hop and contemporary dance programs. Vic originally joined MSA in 2018 as a hip-hop faculty member in the commercial dance program. Vic has danced, taught, and choreographed for several studios, schools, and organizations in the DC-metropolitan area. He graduated from the University of Maryland and is currently pursuing an arts management degree at George Mason University. Vic also served as an adjunct instructor in George Mason University’s dance department. He was the artistic director of Culture Shock Dance Troupe, captain of Capital Funk DC, and established Project VictorAde, which debuted in 2017. Vic has performed and taught in Los Angeles, San Diego, Ottawa, Canada, and New York through these opportunities. He continues to spread his knowledge and love for dance to all communities and people who share his passion and strives to bring awareness of the talent of the DMV-dance community to broader audiences.

Charlie Abel
Charlie AbelBallet Faculty

Charlie Abel has been performing in ballet, opera, musical & dramatic theater for more than three decades. A former high-school wrestler and semi-pro baseball player, Charlie fell in love with ballet in his home state of Louisiana where he performed with the Louisiana Ballet. Since then Mr. Abel has performed with the Yugoslav National Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, and the Baltimore Ballet. Locally Charlie has appeared at Ford’s Theater, Folger Theater, The Kennedy Center and in three Helen Hayes nominated productions at The Keegan Theatre in Washington, DC. Mr. Abel has taught classical and theater dance at Dance Institute of Washington, Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts, Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland, and Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts. Currently Charlie is teaching at Metropolitan School of the Arts and for the last fifteen years at University of Maryland in Baltimore County.

Matt Bassett
Matt BassettAcademy Theatre Department Chair, Acting Faculty

Matt Bassett has served as Theater Department Chair of the Academy at MSA since 2013, creating the school’s acting curriculum and teaching classes including Fundamentals of Acting, Script Analysis, Scene Study, Shakespeare Monologues and Scenes, Classical Styles, as well as coaching and advising MSA students and alum. Since 2018, Bassett also serves as Artistic Director of The Hub Theatre, an award-winning professional theatre company in Northern Virginia. Bassett’s DC-area directing work has garnered multiple Helen Hayes Award nominations for direction and outstanding production and includes area and world premieres for The Hub (including 2017’s area premiere of The Happiest Place on Earth, followed by its Denver, CO premiere in Spring 2019 at The Aurora Fox Arts Center), Arts on the Horizon (multiple world premieres and HHA nominations for Outstanding Production for Young Audiences), Imagination Stage, The Logan Festival of Solo Performance, and Flying V Theatre, as well as educational direction for a number of universities and companies. Locally, Bassett has performed at The Hub, Ford’s Theatre, Washington Stage Guild, Bay Theatre, Bassett’s work as a playwright/creator has been seen at Columbus Children’s Theatre, Flying V Theatre and Arts on the Horizon (including work created with Tia Shearer). In addition to MSA, Bassett has also taught on the faculties of Montgomery College, the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts and Imagination Stage. Training: MFA in Acting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Matt lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his family.

Marion Blasch
Marion BlaschMetrobarre and Yoga Faculty

Marion teaches Metrobarre, a full body workout that involves smaller movement and light weights to enhance and strengthen core and stabilizer muscles. She also teaches Yoga, which involves physical strength, stretch, and balance, to include the mental aspect of training the mind to focus and relax. Marion believes in each person’s potential and strives to guide them to find their inner strength. She was a lead cyclist on the University of California Berkeley Women’s cycling team. In her home town of San Diego, she taught spin aerobics in exclusive studios, and later, to the military at the Naval Base, Millington, TN. Marion holds an MBA from the University of Memphis and held a career in investment marketing. She is an avid swimmer and prior master’s coach. Marion is dedicated to her family and enjoys instructing barre and yoga. Marion is certified by Metropolitan School of the Arts and Yogafit (RTT200).  She strives to maintain a high level of fitness and nutritional health while inspiring others to do so as well!

Kasey Borden
Kasey BordenAdmin Assistant to Co-Exec/Studio Director

Kasey began volunteering with MSA in 2002 when her daughters started taking beginner dance classes. She did every volunteer job from room mom to helping organize shows. Eventually she was hired as Production Manager and held that job for many years. Kasey left briefly in 2018 to pursue other interests but is now back part-time as a member of the MSA Administrative Team.

Jessica Braxton
Jessica BraxtonBallet Faculty
Howard Breitbart
Howard BreitbartPiano & Voice Faculty

Howard Breitbart (musical director, arranger, pianist)…A native of Miami,FL,Howard received his music degree in piano performance from The University of Maryland in College Park. He has become a much in demand musician for many theaters and productions throughout the DC area. He toured with the political satire troupe “The Capitol Steps” for 27 years Now he is performing with a new group, The Reflecting Fools. Howard accompanied vocalist/actor Norm Lewis at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre and vocalist Susan Derry at Feinstein’s 54 Below in NYC. Howard’s favorite shows that he has musically directed include “Closer Than Ever” at Metro Stage, Alexandria, VA. “Carolyn Or Change” at Studio Theatre, Washington, DC; “Broadway Christmas Carol” at Metro Stage, “Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre, “Broadway Holiday” at Classic Theatre Of Maryland, “Most Happy Fellow” at Palm Beach Dramaworks, Palm Beach, FL. and numerous cabarets at Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA. Recently, Howard accompanied productions of “Beauty & The Beast” at Stone Ridge School, Bethesda, MD and “Into The Woods” at Fairfax High School.

Mia Brice
Mia BriceContemporary, Jazz, & Modern Faculty

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Mia Brice began her dance journey at the age of three at the Edge School of the Arts in Queens, NY. She went on to continue her training at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art & Performing Arts, where she had the opportunity to be taught by renowned dancers and choreographers. After graduation, Mia attended the School of Dance at George Mason University and graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. During her time at the School of Dance, she had the ability to perform in various student choreography pieces and guest artist pieces, which include Soon Ho Park, Doug Varone, Lar Lubovitch, and Nacho Duato. She has choreographed three pieces at the School of Dance, all of which were premiered on the Harris Theater stage on George Mason’s campus. Her latest piece, “Pieces,” was selected to be performed at American College Dance Association and then was later selected to be performed at the national conference in Long Beach, California. She is currently a dancer with Afro-Feet, a collective of dancers who combine tap and African Gumboot dance.

Colleen Buck
Colleen BuckMSA Mini Camp Director, Early Childhood Faculty

Colleen Buck is a native of the Washington, DC area and enjoyed dancing in local musical theater productions as a teenager. As a student at Boston University, she had the opportunity to begin formal dance training, studying tap, ballet, and jazz.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Colleen worked as a technical writer for a northern Virginia engineering firm and continued her education at the University of Maryland, where she received a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering. An engineer and technical writer by day, she was always a dancer at heart, teaching aerobics and taking dance classes in the evening. With the birth of her son in 2002, Colleen opted for a career change, embracing her passion for teaching dance to young children. Since then she has pursued a true vocation, bringing the joy of dance and movement to her students, while still trying to grow as a dancer by taking classes weekly. Her philosophy was best summed up in a letter from one of her young dancers, “Thank you for teaching me to love dance.”

Silvia Burstein-Hendi
Silvia Burstein-HendiBallet Faculty

Silvia Burstein-Hendi was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she concurrently trained in two separate dance schools and obtained two professional Dance diplomas. The first diploma, a Dance Teacher degree from the National School of Dance. The second one, Professional Dancer from the Institute of the Teatro Colon. In 1986, Silvia immigrated to Canada where she danced and taught professionally in Montreal at the Ballet Classique de Montreal, and in Ottawa at Le Groupe Dance Lab among many others. After moving to the United States in 1999, she kept dancing, performing and teaching, while being a full time mom raising a family. She really loves being a mom, a dancer and a Dance teacher! As a dancer she still loves training and the experience of performing in front of an audience (even more now as an adult!) As a teacher, with almost 40 years of experience, she enjoys being a student continually educating herself, taking numerous classes and workshops, and exploring new pedagogies for teaching the new generations of dancers/artists.

Cameron Cardillo-Brooks
Cameron Cardillo-BrooksAfter-School Youth Early Childhood Director, Early Childhood Faculty

A Metropolitan School of the Arts studio alum, Cameron Cardillo Brooks began teaching Early Childhood dance at MSA in 2012. Today, she is the Director of the Early Childhood Dance Department, the Assistant Artistic Director for studio productions, and teaches the classes in which she grew up assisting! Cameron graduated with a Business Degree from George Mason University (and a minor in Events Management). After graduating, she pursued a career in Learning Consulting for the Federal Government. She has since found challenging and rewarding work leading Operations Management for a small business. Teaching dance has always been a priority for Cameron and she’s been fortunate to find opportunities that balance and support both of her careers. In her free time, Cameron finds ways to keep active and creative. You will find Cameron dropping into Monday Jazz, Wednesday Yoga, and sketching set, prop, and costume designs (on graph paper, of course!). Not only is she crafty, you can also find her using power tools to tackle home improvement projects. Since 2004, MSA has been a second home for her. Cameron is so grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community – the family – in which she grew up.

Shu-Chen Cuff
Shu-Chen CuffBallet Faculty

Shu-Chen Cuff, Founder/Artistic Director of Gin Dance Company was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where she established a well-rounded background in dance with training in Ballet, Modern, Chinese Opera movements, and various Chinese folk dances. In 1994, she immigrated to United States to continue her training and pursue her dance journey in U.S. In 1998, Shu-Chen received a B.F.A. from the University of Florida’s New World School of the Arts. Following college, she performed numerous classical and contemporary works while dancing with Miami Ballet and Nevada Ballet Theater. After relocating to the Washington, DC in 2002, Shu-Chen worked with Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company and has left her footprints around the world, touring to Asia, Latin and Central America, and Europe. Shu-Chen also has been a guest performer and choreographer with BalletNova Center for Dance, the Metropolitan School of the Arts and Skye Ballet Center. Shu-Chen has a great passion to pass on her knowledge, experience, and her love of dance to young aspiring dancers. In this regard, she has taught at Ashburn Academy of Dance and Russell School of Ballet, and has been a guest instructor at numerous dance schools throughout Taiwan.

Emily Dimaggio
Emily DimaggioContemporary, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Tap Faculty

Emily DiMaggio is a versatile performing artist, having studied many styles of dancing and acting since the age of three. She received her BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts. In recognition of her style, dedication, and talent Emily was awarded the Promising Young Artist Scholarship when accepted to the University and the Elizabeth Ann Pulaski Scholarship as a rising senior, which is only awarded to one student per year. She graduated with honors in May 2017. Shortly after she graduated, Emily was signed to I.T.S. Model and Talent Management. Emily has attended intensive programs and taken several classes in New York and Los Angeles, including the Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester and Millennium Dance Complex, in which she was lucky enough to take from and build personal relationships with well-known teachers and choreographers. She also assisted Dee Caspery at the Pulse on Tour Nationals in New York City. She has performed in numerous local musicals and dance productions in Northern Virginia and Philadelphia. Emily currently teaches multiple disciplines of dance at Metropolitan School of the Arts, including jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and tap. She has choreographed dances for large ensembles and pre-professional companies at MSA, as well as solos for students seeking to gain admission to performing arts programs at prestigious colleges and universities. Additionally, Emily’s choreography has been used successfully by students looking to get into rigorous dance intensives and conservatory programs, and in competitions for scholarships and cash awards. Emily feels very fortunate to share her passion with young aspiring artists, and works to be a positive influence on the overall growth and development of her students. Emily continues to further herself as a dancer, model, and all-around performer.

Carrie Dodson
Carrie DodsonAdmin, Props/Sets, Warehouse
Jacqueline Doherty
Jacqueline DohertyMetropolitan Youth Ballet Artistic Director, Artistic Director of The Nutcracker, Ballet Faculty

Jackie Doherty trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Contemporary at the pre-professional dance program of Bush Davis School, UK and was awarded a full scholarship to complete her senior year at London Studio Center in London, England. Jackie began her professional career dancing with The Israel Ballet dancing full length ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet and Coppélia. She had the privilege of dancing in George Balanchine’s Four Temperaments and Symphony in C and works by director Berta Yampolsky. She appreciates her additional experience under the direction of ballet master Nikolai de Lusignan. Jackie performed on numerous European tours with The Israel Ballet, Cwmni Ballet Gwent, Classical Production and Opera North and appeared in many charitable galas in the UK. Jackie’s career in teaching started when she arrived in America in 2000. She teaches ballet to children from age 10 through adults. She has attended the American Academy of Dance Teachers Training Course and is also a certified teacher with the American Ballet Theater. She currently acts as Director of Ballet Performance and at Metropolitan Fine Arts Center and is the Artistic Director of the Metropolitan Youth Ballet Company and its annual production of The Nutcracker.

Marissa Dyer
Marissa DyerPiano & Voice Faculty

Soprano Marissa Dyer is an enthusiastic teacher dedicated to building community and connection through music education and performance. Marissa’s studio is an imaginative space for students to explore their unique artistry and musical craft. She loves working with people of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds, supporting every student in achieving their goals. Marissa is a firm believer in student led learning and that every student deserves lessons crafted to their needs, interests, and personalities. A diverse singer, Marissa performs a variety of styles including opera, oratorio, musical theater, jazz, and choral works. Favorite past roles include Barbarina in Boston Opera Collaborative’s Marriage of Figaro, Monica from The Medium with Old Town Actors Studio, and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls with Idaho State Opera Theater. Marissa holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Idaho State University and a Master of Opera from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. When she isn’t busy teaching and singing, Marissa enjoys cooking, crafting, walking her pup Quincy and snuggling her cat Oliver.

Caroline Frankil-Warren
Caroline Frankil-WarrenBallet Faculty
Aimee Gervacio
Aimee GervacioActing & Music Theatre Faculty

Aimee has been teaching music theater and acting at MSA since 2018, bringing over 20 years of training in dance and experience in music theater. She is a proud Virginia Tech alumna with a B.A. in English (2010) and will complete her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction at GMU in 2022. After over 11 years of working as a technical writer and business analyst, Aimee has made the switch to teaching full-time working as a secondary English teacher for FCPS. She continues to be passionate about dance and musical theater, and is dedicated to working with students to encourage and support their artistic talents and aspirations.

Heather Gifford
Heather GiffordAcademy Music Department Chair, Voice Faculty

Heather began working at MSA in 2013 as part of the voice faculty and became The Academy music department chair in 2019.  Education: Bachelor Degree in Music Industry, with a Vocal Performance concentration from James Madison University.  Professional Performance: Harrah’s Las Vegas: Legends in Concert; Tropicana, Atlantic City: Havana After Dark; Holland America Cruise Line; Keegan Theater DC: Chicago (Annie/Velma us); LTA: Legally Blonde (Brooke Wyndam). Entertainment and Event Management: Venetian/Palazzo and Planet Hollywood Resorts in Las Vegas; Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor MD.  Music Director for ACCT: Seussical the Musical & Guys and Dolls. Heather is honored to be able to share her love for the performing arts and encourage the next generation of performers.

Sara Hart
Sara HartExecutive Director, Director Musical Theatre, Jazz, & Tap Faculty

Sara graduated from New York University with a Bachelors in Music and continued her career in NYC for several years. She is a proud member of Actors Equity and last performed at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, where she was the assistant director as well as a member of the ensemble in High Button Shoes. Other regional performing credits include: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (assistant director, dance captain, Martha) at Goodspeed, The Wizard of Oz (assistant dir., dance capt., and Ensemble at North Carolina Theatre, and Mame (Ensemble) at Northshore Music Theatre. Sara has also built a career as a regional director/choreographer. Credits include How to Succeed in Business w/o Really Trying (assistant director) at Goodspeed, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (assistant dir./choreographer) at Dallas Theatre Center and Cape Playhouse, Pirates of Penzance and Barber of Seville and Carousel (assistant dir./chor.) at Virginia Opera, and Off Broadway’s Great American Trailerpark Musical workshop (assistant chor.) in NYC. Sara served as assistant choreographer for Ringley Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth in 2006. She has many years of experience teaching all styles of dance in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, and New York, and returned to her alma mater to teach and choreograph mainstage productions (110 in the Shade and The Merry Widow). Sara is the Co-Executive Director at Metropolitan School of the Arts where she has directed and choreographed the following shows: Wizard of Oz, Annie, Beauty & the Beast, Grease, Hook, Mirror Mirror, Footloose, Toy Story, Alice in Wonderland, Enchanted, Wonka, Wreck It!, The Metropolitan World Tour, and The Royal Revue. She has been the Artistic Director for iMpulse jazz company, MSA’s non-profit youth pre-professional jazz company based in Northern Virginia since 2008. Her students have been accepted to some of the top performing arts schools in the U.S. to include: Boston Conservatory, Chapman University, Elon, Pace University, Point Park University, New York University, Roosevelt Univesity, Shenandoah Conservatory, University of Michigan, & more. Many students are now performing on Broadway, traveling with National Tours, and training with top companies. She is proud to be a part of the MSA community!

John Henderson
John HendersonMusic Faculty

John Henderson is an organist, pianist, and composer based in the DMV. His background includes sacred music, musical theatre, chamber music, and art song. His compositions have been performed at venues including the Washington International Piano Series, the International Double Reed Society Convention, the Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival, and Pope Francis’s Meeting with the Bishops of the United States at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. He currently serves as organist and music director at Saint Bernadette Catholic Church in Silver Spring, MD, and as staff pianist for the musical theatre division of the Catholic University of America’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art.

Naomi Hill
Naomi HillContemporary, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Tap Faculty

Naomi Hill began dancing at Metropolitan School of the Arts when she was 5 years old and trained in a variety of styles including jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, and contemporary. She performed annually in MSA’s Spring Production and Nutcracker, and as a company member with iMpulse and Motion X Dance DC. After graduating high school, she attended Chapman University in California where she continued her dance training both in and out of school. She served as president of the Chapman University Tap Ensemble and appeared in the short film In A Beat. Naomi has also attended summer programs including the Commercial Dance Intensive where she trained with professionals from around the country and performed in music videos for emerging artists. Naomi was thrilled to return to MSA after graduating with her Bachelors in Political Science in the Fall of 2021, and currently teaches Jazz, Hip Hop and Tap.

Louise Hislop
Louise HislopDirector of Operations & Administration
Jenn Hopkins
Jenn HopkinsAcademy Musical Theatre Dance Chair Musical Theatre & Jazz Faculty

After many years working in New York she is happy to call the DC theatre community her home. There she has been fortunate to work with several companies including, Folger Shakespeare, Constellation, Rorschach, Taffety Punk, Longacre Lea, and Keegan. In addition to performing, she has been an educator both in the US and abroad; teaching Shakespeare and Musical Theatre courses in England and France. She currently serves as the Head of the Musical Theatre Dance Department at Metropolitan School of the Arts in Alexandria, VA. Her direction and choreography credits include 6 summers with Festival 56 in Illinois where she has choreographed Cabaret, The Full Monty, Gypsy, The Addams Family, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Mary Poppins. She also directed their productions of As You Like It, The Drowsy Chaperone, Sweet Charity, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello. For Providence College in Rhode Island she has choreographed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Bat Boy, and Something Rotten. In DC, when theatre returns, she is slated to choreograph Hedwig and the Angry Inch for Keegan Theatre, The Nance for 1st Stage, and also direct The Theory of Relativity for George Washington University. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Webster Conservatory and an MFA in Classical Acting from George Washington University and Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting.

Roger Jeffrey
Roger JeffreyAcademy Dance Department Director, Academy Career Advisor for Company Dancers, Ballet Faculty

Roger C. Jeffrey was born and raised in New York City where he began his training at Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center in Jamaica, Queens. A graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts, he received his B.F.A. from The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy. Mr. Jeffrey has performed in the companies of Bernice Johnson, Kevin Iega Jeff, Obediah Wright, Earl Mosley, Zvi Gotheiner, Twyla Tharp, Lar Lubovitch, Metropolitan Opera Ballet and with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project. He has also worked with Dudley Williams, Eleo Pomare, Otis Sallid, Debbie Allen, Danny Tidwell, Ayodele Casel, D’bi. Young, Rasta Thomas, Sean Curran, Doug Varone, Richard Move and Mark Dendy. Mr. Jeffrey is a New York based freelance choreographer/director. Inspired by his mentor Kevin Iega Jeff, he began to explore his artistic potential as both an instructor and choreographer at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, Edge School of the Arts, South Shore Dance Alliance, The Ailey School, The Joffrey School, The Joffrey Concert Group, The Juilliard School, Peridance Center, American Ballet Theatre/Make a Ballet Program, Studio Harmonic, Elisa King and Dancers, CityDance Ensemble, Camille Brown and Dancers, Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance, Dario Varcaro Dance Project, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Verb Ballets, Collage Dance Collective, Philadanco!, BalletX, New York Hip-Hop Festival, Ballet Arabesque company and La Companyia to name a few. Mr. Jeffrey has choreographed and or directed various theatrical productions including Death of the Diva featuring Amanda Seales, The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely featuring Ngozi Paul, Blood Claat featuring D’bi. Young, Gemini Rising and Da Kink in my Hair featuring Angie Stone, Melanie Fiona and Terri Vaughn to name a few. He is also the artistic consultant for Rasta Thomas and associate artistic director of Dawn Branch Works. In 1997, Mr. Jeffrey founded Subtle Changes, Inc., a nonprofit artist collective committed to the presentation, development, and exposure of the arts. The company has presented work for Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Central Park SummerStage Harlem, E- Moves/Aaron Davis Hall, Judson Church, P.S. 122, DanceNow Festival, Theatre of the Riverside Church, JoyceSoho, Back Yard Dance Project, Bric and Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out among others.

Kim Jones
Kim JonesProduction Manager
Meredith Jones
Meredith JonesBallet Faculty

Meredith received her early training from Sandra Balestracci at Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts in Williamsburg, VA. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet at the University of Utah. While a student, Meredith performed with Carolina Ballet as well as performing nationally and internationally at collegiate conventions and competitions. Meredith holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Arizona. She has performed in classical repertoire along with works by George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Jessica Lang, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Alexei Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon. She is a DanceAbility certified instructor and has performed with DanceAbility International in Lisbon, Portugal. She volunteers with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute leading lecture series on various subjects like dance history, sociology, diversity and accessibility in the community. Along with teaching at MSA, Meredith is a Pilates instructor and coaches competitive ice dancers in the Junior and Senior International Grand Prix ice dance circuit.

Nick King
Nick KingAssistant to the Facilities Manager, Administrative Assistant
Roxanne King
Roxanne KingdynaMYTE Artistic Director, Tap Faculty

Roxanne “Roxy” King is a tap dancer, teacher, student and tap company director based in Washington D.C. Roxy was a dance student at Metropolitan School of the Arts, where she also taught tap. She is a member of the first graduating class of the MSA Academy. Roxy is currently the Artistic Director of DynaMYTE, the junior company of Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble (MYTE). As a member of MYTE she had the opportunity to travel the country taking classes and performing at tap festivals. With the company Roxy has taught in Brazil at Tap In Rio, and The Tap Show festivals. Just this year she also taught master classes at the 9th annual D.C Tap Festival. As a student Roxy has just completed her freshman year at Montgomery College in Rockville Maryland. Just this past summer Roxy had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2017 Jacob’s Pillow Tap Program run by Michelle Dorrance, and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards along with 24 other participants.

Lucia Lanave
Lucia LanaveMusical Theatre, Piano, & Voice Faculty

Lucia LaNave has music directed and played piano for many of the top theaters in DC, including the Kennedy Center, Constellation Theatre Company, Nextstop Theatre Company, Creative Cauldron, and GALA Hispanic Theater. Recent credits: “‘The Hello Girls,’ ‘Urinetown’” (Music Director, The Theatre Lab); “Lucky Stiff” (Music Director, Nextstop Theatre Company); “The Christmas Angel” (Music Director, Creative Cauldron); “Little Shop of Horrors” (Assistant Music Director, Constellation Theatre Company); “Inside My Head” (Music Director, The REACH at the Kennedy Center). She has had the pleasure of working with Broadway talents, including accompanying Lisa Howard (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) in concert. She also teaches voice and piano for both Metropolitan Studio of the Arts and Blue Feather Music, and accompanies for the musical theatre program at American University. She is a judge for the Virginia High School League (VHSL) One-Act Theatre Competition.

Alicia Landry
Alicia LandryReceptionist
Melanie Latrash
Melanie LatrashAdult Dance and Fitness Director

Melanie is the Director for the MSA Adult Fitness and Dance Program and has been sharing her love of movement for over three decades. Her interest in fitness started while attending the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida where she received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a minor in Exercise Science in 1987. She earned her national certifications for Group Fitness Instruction in 1986 and Personal Training in 1998 through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.  She earned her Registered Teacher Training Certification (RYT, 200 hours) through Yogafit International and has been teaching yoga since 1999. She married Naval Aviator, Fred Latrash, in May 1992 and has had the opportunity as a military spouse to teach in many locations throughout the United States including Florida, California, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia. Melanie and Fred have three grown children including Brianna, Andrew and Annie Laurie. Melanie has managed and directed many health and wellness programs across the country during her career but her greatest accomplishment to date has been growing the MSA Adult Fitness and Dance program since 2002 offering Yoga, Barre, Pilates, Ballet and Tap with 10 incredible instructors on staff! When she’s not teaching and inspiring people to move, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, entertaining and traveling.

Wendy Levy
Wendy LevyAcademy Academic Director

A native of the Washington Metro area, Wendy Levy is the Academic Director with 7 years of experience at The Academy. With a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from George Washington University and over 10 years experience working with young people, helping students to gain understanding and reach mastery is a priority and a passion. Building relationships with students to better meet individual needs and using all the tools available are of paramount importance and central to her instructional philosophy.

Anne Elisabeth MacKnight
Anne Elisabeth MacKnightMetrobarre Faculty

Anne-Elisabeth MacKnight is a fitness enthusiast who loves sharing routines and health tips with those around her. Originally from Alexandria, Anne-Elisabeth works as a full-time middle school teacher at a local elementary school. She is a certified group fitness instructor, specifically focusing on barre, pilates, and circuit-training based classes, as well as a recently certified health coach. When she’s not working out she loves spending time with her family, walking her fur baby, and baking. Anne-Elisabeth’s goal is to make fitness fun and accessible for everyone and she loves serving her community through MSA classes.

Chelsea Shocknesse
Chelsea ShocknesseAfter-School Youth Jazz and Tap Director (Levels 1-4) , Co-Director of The Metropolitan Follies, Jazz & Tap Faculty

Chelsea “Ms. Chelsea” Marcelin has been a part of the MSA (formerly MFAC) family since she first moved to Virginia at the age of 16. She grew up in Massachusetts, where she began dancing at the age of 5, so dance has always been a large part of her life! She spent 10 years competing in dance competitions and dance workshops with her dance studio, CCS Dance Academy, in Holden, MA. After moving to Virginia, she started as a student at MSA in 2009, where she participated in Frosty Follies, the 2009 spring production Annie (Ms. Hannigan) and the 2010 production of Beauty and the Beast (Mrs. Potts). Though her time as a student at MSA was short, she was thrilled to return in 2015 as a faculty member. She is now the Director of Tap and Jazz at MSA for levels 1-4 and loves teaching both tap and jazz and keeping dance a large part of her life. She is extremely passionate about both dance and dance education! Chelsea graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a Bachelor Degree in psychology and in 2015 with a Masters Degree in Elementary Education. She is currently a 5th grade teacher in Arlington Virginia at a Spanish Immersion school. Outside of dancing, she loves football (Go Patriots!), reading, board games, enjoying time at the beach, and spending time with friends and family!

Rosie Matthews
Rosie MatthewsBallet, Contemporary, Early Childhood, & Jazz Faculty

Rosie grew up in northern Virginia where she trained in all styles of dance at MSA through high school and participated in The Nutcracker, Frosty Follies and iMpulse. From there, she went on to Pace University in NYC, where she received a BFA in Commercial Dance with a concentration in Dance Pedagogy. Rosie has trained with world renowned choreographers and teachers like Mandy Moore, Rhonda Miller, Alexandra Damiani and Chloe Arnold. She is also a 200 hr RYT certified yoga instructor and continues to supplement her training with anatomy and physiology education whenever possible. As a performer, Rosie has worked in many commercial and industrial settings such as TV shows Rise and Dickinson, under Tony award winning choreographers and in music videos for artists Diana Degarmo and Sarah Small. Rosie also appeared in the documentary Fosse: Recreated, learning rep. directly from Bob Fosse’s assistant choreographer, Kathryn Doby. Some of her favorite performances include “Charleston” from Billion Dollar Baby and a wedding proposal flash mob in central park. Rosie currently teaches jazz, ballet and yoga at MSA, as well as private dance lessons. Additionally, she is the private music lesson coordinator and studio communications person for MSA. As a teacher, Rosie believes in providing her students with a positive environment while reinforcing technique with anatomical context. After spending 6 years away from MSA, she is thrilled to be back and contributing to the community that has supported her for over a decade!

Val McNamara
Val McNamaraDirector of Billings & HR

Valerie’s journey with MSA began in 2000 when her daughter started her dance classes, and Valerie became a parent volunteer. Building sets and props, as well as being stage manager for Follies, Nutcracker and Spring Productions were her volunteer activities. After retiring from her full time job in 2009, Valerie was hired onto the MSA Administrative Team. She is so grateful to be working for such a fabulous organization.

Michelle Michaels
Michelle MichaelsTap Faculty

Michelle Michaels is a tap dancer with over 25 years of experience who has been a part of the DMV-area tap community since 1999. Tap dance continues to be her outlet for fun, creativity, and making music outside the office. Michelle’s teaching credits include beginning through advanced levels at various performing arts and dance education schools in the DC, MD, and VA area. Michelle continues to be both a performer and a student. She has performed with several of the DMV-area tap groups in her tap career, and currently you can catch her with Sundays on Tap, an adult tap company based in northern Virginia. She also continues to expand her knowledge in tap technique, history, music theory, and composition, passing it on to her own students. Though she studied most under Heidi Schultz, Michelle has pursued opportunities and intensives with Dianne Walker, Heather Cornell, Hillary-Marie, and several other master tappers. Michelle’s performance credits include the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Pops, and Lincoln Center with the NY Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, she has performed in various local forums including TAPS Alive!, the DC Tap Festival, the Annual Holiday SpecTAPular, Small Plates, Glen Echo Carousel Day, and One Love Manassas. Michelle is a graduate of American University with a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and a Masters Degree in Economics.

Matt Nall
Matt NallAfter-School Private Music Lesson Director, Facilities Manager, Music Theatre & Voice Faculty

Matt Nall is originally from Dallas Texas. He received his Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University and his Masters of Arts from New York University. In New York, he was a professional actor and appeared regionally as Gaston in Beauty in the Beast, Curly in Oklahoma, and Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol as well as others. In 2006 Matt accepted the position as Baritone Vocalist in the United States Army Chorus. For sixteen years he has performed all over the country and for various dignitaries and ambassadors, as well as every living President. Matt has been the Music Director for Metropolitan Fine Arts Center for 14 years. He really loves his boss here at MSA.

Julie Navarrette
Julie NavarretteMusical Theatre, Piano, & Voice Faculty

Julie has been teaching private voice and piano lessons at MSA since 2006. She also assists Ms. Sara and Ms. Aimee with music for Musical Theater 1-4 classes. Julie began teaching voice and piano at the Linda Young Music Studio in college. After graduating from the University of North Alabama, she taught in the private music lesson program at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia. She has also taught Kindermusik and Music Together for children. She has served in many different roles at MSA, such as working for the Metropolitan Performing Arts Theater, teaching the Junior Music class for the Homeschool Program, and as the piano teacher for the Academy.

Jarrett Nicolay
Jarrett NicolayDrums, Guitar, Piano, Voice Faculty

Jarrett is a Founding / Current Member of Washington DC Bands Virginia Coalition / Astra Via / My New Mixtape. He is also the owner of Mixtape Studios in Alexandria VA. Jarrett has had music featured in recent films such as “Blue Ruin” and the Sundance award winning “I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore”.

Jarrett Nicolay
Mixtape Studios
New song “Paid Too Much” out now!
Mixtape Studios LLC

Kirsten Noetzel
Kirsten NoetzelHomeschool Director After-School Youth Acting Director, Acting Faculty

Kirsten Noetzel works regionally as a Director and Teaching Artist. She serves as the Studio Acting Director at MSA as well as the Artistic Director for the MetroImprov company. Kirsten learned to teach at the Tony award-winning Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN in their Theatre Arts Training school. Regionally, she has directed for The Theatre Lab (As You Like It, The Magic Hour, Just Outside of Town, Ordinary Magic), Imagination Stage (Bye Bye Birdie, Unlabeled, The Pencil is Mightier, O Wonder, Aladdin), Montgomery College (The BURN), Metropolitan School of the Arts (4 A.M., Peter Pan, The Tempest, Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and The Hub Theatre (Emerging Writer’s Festival). Kirsten has been invited to speak about educational theatre at conferences sponsored by DC Collaborative and The Kennedy Center. In addition to MSA, she also serves on the faculties of Wolf Trap, Arts on the Horizon, Imagination Stage, and The Theatre Lab. Kirsten received her B.A. from Wheaton College and is an M.A. candidate in Theatre at the University of Houston.

Tom Pederson
Tom PedersonPost Graduate/Gap Year Director

Thomas Pedersen, Director Gap Year/Post Grad program at the Academy, has pursued a finely integrated career as a singer, conductor, producer and teacher and has been seen in Mame, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Hello Dolly, Oklahoma, Carousel, The Pirates of Penzance, and She Loves Me with numerous stock, regional, and national companies. In 1982, he made his operatic debut with the Michigan Opera Theater, and in a ten-year span sang with the Detroit Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Toledo Opera, The June Opera Festival and The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. He has been a soloist with conductors Maurice Abravanel, Leonard Bernstein, Antal Dorati and Robert Shaw. As Artistic Director of Theatre Ten Ten, New York’s oldest off-Broadway theatre, he produced and music directed over 20 shows, and has been Music Director at the Long Beach Civic Light Opera, The Library Theater in Warren, Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan Opera Theater. He has been praised by Bruce Feld of the Los Angeles Times for his “zesty and innovative conducting” for Man of La Mancha and the Washington Post for his “expert and stylishly conducted” performances of The Music Man. Mr Pedresen has been Musical Supervisor/ Conductor for such stars as Barbara Eden, Shari Lewis, Gary Sandy, David Canary, John McCook, Rebecca Luker, Jana Robbins , Mel Tills and Pam Tillis. Most recently he has been on the creative teams for Kleptocracy, Jubilee and Newsies at Arena Stage. Last fall Mr. Pedersen was Conductor for the Alliance for New Music-Theatre of Vanek Unleashed in the Dupont Underground. He recently retired as Head of the Music Theatre Division at The Catholic University of America, and is the Director of Music at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Kensington, Maryland.

Claire Percoco
Claire PercocoAfter-School Youth Jazz Director (Levels 5-10) , Co-Director of The Metropolitan Follies, Early Childhood & Jazz Faculty

Claire Percoco has had connections to Metropolitan School of the Arts since 2000, when she began training there at the age of 9, under Founder Melissa Dobbs’ direction. During her 8 years of training at MSA, Claire participated in numerous productions including The Metropolitan Follies, The Nutcracker, and each end of year Spring Production. Claire’s favorite roles to perform while a student at MSA were Raggedy Ann in The Metropolitan Follies and Jane in the 2006 Spring Production of Tarzan. In addition to her studio training, Claire has been a member of several pre-professional and professional dance/cheer teams. She danced for 4 years on the nationally ranked West Springfield High School Dance Team, ultimately serving as Co-captain for 2 years. She spent 4 years on Radford University’s nationally ranked dance team and served for 3 years as Captain. During the 2014-2015 NFL season Claire was selected as a member for the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders where she spent time on the sidelines at FedEx Field entertaining the DMV community. Other notable dance experiences include her performance in the New Year’s Day Parade in Paris as a member of the All-American Dance Team in 2009 and being selected as an All-American Collegiate Dancer in 2012. Claire has also choreographed for several local high school dance teams. After exploring the professional dance world, Claire returned to MSA in 2015 as an administrative team member and dance teacher. In her administrative roles, Claire supported the after school childcare program MetroClub, the MSA Music Program, the MSA Homeschool Program, and directors of numerous productions with costumes and other organizational needs. As a studio teacher, Claire has taught Jazz, Tap, Early Childhood Ballet, Contemporary, and Hip Hop. Currently, Claire serves as the Department Director for the Upper-Level Jazz classes at MSA. In this role she hopes to bring a holistic lens to the ways in which students are supported and encouraged throughout their dance journeys at MSA, and she hopes to explore additional training opportunities for all students to reach their fullest potentials inside and outside of the studio. In 2020 Claire received her Master’s in Elementary Education and is currently a 4th grade teacher at a local Title I elementary school. Following the 2021-2022 school year, Claire was selected as Best New Teacher at her base school where her portfolio went on to be reviewed at the Regional level. In her school classroom, and with her dance students, Claire provides energetic opportunities for students to authentically engage in learning experiences, both independently and with peers. Claire is excited to continue her journey at MSA for years to come, hoping to give back to the same dance community that has always given her so much.

Charles Renato
Charles RenatoMetropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble Artistic Director, Youth and Adult Tap Teacher (Levels 5-10) , Social Media & Branding Manager, Tap Faculty

Charles Renato was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He began tap dancing at the age of 6 years old in Sao Jose dos Campos. At 14yo he began teaching tap dance that lead to him win awards all over Brazil. He has won awards for Best Dancer at the Joinville Dance Festival and the TV Globo challenge show (2009 & 2010). In 2008 Charles joined the cast of “Sinatra Blue Eyes” the musical in Lisbon, Portugal. Renato was also a member of the “KS Tap Company” which is responsible for bringing together highly sought after teachers from all over Brazil to perform. Mr. Renato international career has taken him to perform and teach in Croatia, Ukraine, Italy, Greece, UK, Netherlands, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, Chile and Argentina. Charles Renato was also invited to produce and create a section in one of the most prestigious event in Brazil called Carnaval. Since then he has been nominated for best choreographer of Desterro festival and Festidança in Brazil that has lead up to him teaching in America. Since he moved to the United States Mr. Renato has been working with Apt 33 directed by Emmy Award Nominee Chloe Arnold and performed with Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance. Renato has also been directing the tap program for youth and Adults at Metropolitan School of the Arts in Virginia. He also directed Apt 33’s new video “I’m not afraid” choreographed by Chloe Arnold. He’s former faculty at Broadway Dance Center and Steps On Broadway. At the moment Charles is an Artist Resident at American Tap Dance Foundation and Tap faculty at 24 Seven Dance Convention

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Lesley Shearer
Lesley ShearerBallet Conservatory/RAD Director, After-School Youth Ballet Director, Ballet Faculty

Born in Scotland, Lesley trained at London College of Dance and Drama and the Royal Academy of Dance, London. She also holds a Masters in Teaching (Dance) from University of Surrey majoring in Educational Leadership and Collaborative Learning and a B.Phil (Hons) from Durham University in Ballet and Contextual Studies, majoring in child development and pedagogy. Lesley has taught ballet all around the world. She spent 20 years in Dubai, UAE where she was Owner and Artistic Director of one of the largest dance schools in the country. She has lectured in pedagogy at Dance for All, Edinburgh, UK, and has also held an adjunct professorial role of Teaching Supervisor for the Bachelor of Dance Education degree of the Royal Academy and the University of Surrey. Appointed to the Board of Tutors of the Royal Academy of Dance in 1998 and the Board of Examiners in 2002, Lesley travels all around the world teaching and assessing ballet students and teachers. She became Director of the Ballet program at MSA in 2008, Director of the Conservatory Program in 2009. She is committed to developing all the programs at MSA to make it the school of choice for all serious ballet students in the metropolitan Washington DC area.

Lauren Sterlacci
Lauren SterlacciAdministrative Assistant
Allie Strehle
Allie StrehleJazz & Tap Faculty

Allie grew up in Minnesota where she trained for 15 years in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, and hip hop. She danced at Summit Dance Shoppe, competing in national dance competitions and conventions. She was also a member of the Keane Sense of Rhythm Youth Tap Ensemble for 10 years. She has attended tap festivals around the country starting at age 8, including the Twin Cities Tap Festival, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, DC Tap Festival, Tap2You, and Rhythm In Fusion Festival, where has taken class from world-renowned teachers. In 2013, she was invited to dance at the Juba Tap Show at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. under the choreography of Michelle Dorrance. She began teaching tap and jazz in 2015 at various studios in Minnesota, and continued to teach from 2015-2019 in Texas. Allie began teaching at MSA in 2021 and is thrilled to be part of the MSA family! Allie graduated from Texas Christian University in 2019 with a B.S. in Political Science, and from the University of Virginia in 2021 with a Master of Public Policy. She currently works for the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow.

Breanna Swetland
Breanna SwetlandAcademy Administration, Early Childhood Faculty

Breanna Swetland began working at MSA (then MFAC) in 2005. She teaches a variety of Early Childhood classes as well as works administratively for the Academy division. She holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Dance and English) from Berry College and a MA in English from George Mason. Breanna taught English at Northern Virginia Community College where she piloted a new Developmental English program and presented at an international conference in South Africa before deciding to follow her passion for the performing arts.

Samantha Warren DeMocker
Samantha Warren DeMockerEarly Childhood, Jazz, Music Theater, & Tap Faculty

Samantha began dancing at 5 but due to stage fright, participated in other sports and classes until joining MFAC (now MSA) in 2005. She trained under Melissa Dobbs as an assistant teacher and MFAC/MSA faculty as a serious student. During her college summer breaks, she taught her own summer intensives. She holds a BA in Theatre Performance from LSU (Geaux Tigers) and moved back to the area in 2018 to pursue her MS in Exercise, Performance & Health Promotion (May 2020, GMU). Some of her favorite credits include Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, NCIS: New Orleans, Popeyes Commercials, Super Bowl XLVI, shows with iMpulse and Frosty Follies (Santa’s Spectacular) in Downtown Disney, as well as Wizard of Oz & Grease. Samantha has a wide experience in theater and film/tv acting, dance and exercise science (CPT, GFI, FNS & WMS, future CSCS & CISSN), she is excited to be back with her studio family and to share her knowledge! Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with her!