Charlie Abel
Charlie AbelBallet

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.

Danya Armstrong
Danya ArmstrongDance Teacher

Danya Armstrong, originally from Canada, has trained in New York, Los Angeles,Toronto, London, and Germany. After performing in Germany for over three and a half years in mega musicals such as Mamma Mia, 42nd Street, and The Buddy Holly Show, Danya made her way to the USA! Other stage credits span Patty Simcox in Grease, 42nd Street (Moscow, Russia), Oklahoma, Brigadoon, A Christmas Carol, The Chairmaker, Anne of Green Gables and Nonsense II. She has 25 years of professional stage experience and over 25 years teaching experience. Her choreography credits include Tosca, Slap That Base, and assistant choreographer in the motion pictures Superstar and Global Heresy. She has worked with such stars as: Molly Shannon, Alicia Silverstone, Peter O’Toole, and the Backstreet Boys. She also had the opportunity to assist Tyce Diorio as he was working on So You Think You Can Dance. Since arriving in the USA she has received awards for her choreography, and has been acknowledged for her dance education techniques. While residing in Hamburg, Germany, Danya taught the Advanced level of Jazz and Tap at the top European Musical College, The Joop Van Den Ende Academy, which is run by one of the largest musical producing companies in the world, Stage Entertainment. From 2008-2011 she was a judge on the competition tour VIP Dance, where she travelled across the USA. She has been on faculty with MSA for 11 years and now also teaches in The Academy.

Colleen Buck
Colleen BuckEarly Childhood Dance

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.”

Cameron Cardillo-Brooks
Cameron Cardillo-BrooksEarly Childhood Dance

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

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 DimaggioDance Teacher

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.

Jacqueline Doherty
Jacqueline DohertyBallet

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.

Stephanie Dorrycott
Stephanie DorrycottDance

Stephanie Dorrycott is a passionate dancer, educator, and choreographer, serving also as the Artistic Director of Motion X Dance DC. She was integrated in dance from an early age, training extensively at The Center for Ballet Arts, a former member of Regional Dance America. Stephanie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Shenandoah University in 2009 receiving the Excellence in Choreography Award upon graduation. She performed professionally for 5 years as a freelance artist before realizing her truest passion lied in choreography. Stephanie’s choreography has been seen on various dance groups including Metropolitan Youth Ballet, Dancin’ Unlimited Jazz Company, The Ballet Arts Ensemble of Fairfax, iMpulse Metropolitan Youth Jazz Dance Company and for dancers competing in the Youth American Grand Prix competitions. Choreographic accolades include the Monticello Award through Regional Dance America and choreographic commissions from Shenandoah University, Joy of Motion Dance Center, and Georgetown University. Her professional company, Motion X Dance DC, has been presented along the East Coast in many venues including the Atlas Performing Arts Center, The Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center, The Grace Street Theater in Richmond, VA, and The Charlotte Ballet Theater in Charlotte, NC. Most recently the company performed her 2018 work, Turning Point, at the 36th Annual Choreographer’s Showcase at the University of Maryland and made an appearance at the 2019 Kennedy Center REACH Opening Festival. Stephanie is currently teaching jazz and contemporary at Metropolitan and has been a part of the MSA family since 2011.

Sara Hart
Sara HartDance

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, and Wreck It!. 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.

Jenn Hopkins
Jenn HopkinsDance Teacher

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 JeffreyBallet and Modern

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.

Roxanne King
Roxanne KingTap

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.

Chelsea MarcelinDance

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 MatthewsDance Teacher

Rosie grew up in northern Virginia where she trained at MSA through high school. From there, she went on to Pace University in NYC, where she received a BFA in Commercial Dance with a concentration in Dance Pedagogy. As a dancer, she has worked in various 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. As a dance and yoga teacher, Rosie brings her performance background and anatomy training together to help students become confident and technical in a positive environment.

Michelle Michaels
Michelle MichaelsTap

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.

Chris Munar
Chris MunarDance Teacher

Chris Munar started dancing in 2008 in the DMV area Between the years 2008-2014 he was a part of various crews and dance organizations including: Ajnin Precizion, Major Definition, Tito BoyScouts, Baltimore Dance Crews Project, KODACHROME VA/NC, Culture Shock DC, UpperClassMen, Raw Element Dance Company, and Capitol Movement. In 2015 Chris has been focused on sharing his knowledge by teaching and training the younger generation in various dance studios. His choreographed hip-hop routines have placed (category and overalls) and have been awarded titles such as: the Entertainment Award (Bravo), the Industry Award (StarQuest), the Odyssey Award (StarQuest), the Choreography Award (Revolution), the Chuckie Award (Starpower), and has most recently placed 1st overall in Region 6 with his advanced group G-Crew (ages 15-19) for “Humble” under the Starpower Alliance Power Rankings in 2018. His journeys have taken him to teach and perform at places such as DC, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Utah, California, and Canada. Throughout these many events, Chris has also been privileged to judge prestigious dance competitions such as Prelude Carolinas, Prelude DMV, and Prelude Championships held in Philadelphia. He was also awarded a scholarship at the Monsters Dance Convention held in DC as well as won the ClubStylez freestyle battle in 2015 and also taught at the Showbiz Xtreme dance convention in Maryland the same year. He has performed at well-known events such as the East Coast Dance Competition (DMV), Culture Shock International Showcase (DC/Los Angeles/Canada), and World of Dance (New York/New Jersey). Chris hopes to share what he has learned from many great dancers, mentors, and friends. But above all, Chris prays to share God through his dancing. His ultimate goal is to travel the world, meet new people, and continue to inspire and be inspired through the universal language of dance.

Kirsten Noetzel
Kirsten NoetzelTheater Teacher

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.

Claire Percoco
Claire PercocoDance Teacher

Claire Percoco is a product of Metropolitan School of the Arts. Joining MSA (formerly MFAC) at age 8, she studied under Melissa Dobbs and other MSA faculty until the age of 17. While at MSA Claire participated in 9 years of Frosty Follies and was cast in 9 Spring Productions – notably as Raggedy Anne and Jane in 2006’s “Tarzan”. In addition to her studio training, Claire has been a member of several pre-professional, as well as 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. Most recently, Claire has been selected as a member for the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. She spent the 2014-2015 year on the sidelines at FedEx field cheering on the Redskins and entertaining fans! Other notable 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 experiencing in leading as well as teaching choreography and technique in the areas of Jazz, Contemporary, Pom, and Hip Hop. As part of the administrative team at MSA she provides management and support for the home school program, the music program, and main stage productions.

Charles Renato
Charles RenatoTap

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 NYC Mr. Renato has been working with Apt 33 directed by Chloe Arnold and performed with Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance.

Renato has also been directing the tap program 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 part of the faculty at Broadway Dance Center and Steps On Broadway. At the moment Charles is an Artist Resident at American Tap Dance Foundation.

Check more info on www.charlesrenato.com

Lesley Shearer
Lesley ShearerBallet

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.

Breanna Swetland
Breanna SwetlandEarly Childhood Dance

Breanna Swetland holds a B.A. in Dance and English from Berry College, and a M.A. in English from George Mason University. She began teaching early childhood dance at MFAC (then MSA) in 2006. She also taught English at Northern Virginia Community College where she piloted a new Developmental English program and presented at an international conference in South Africa. When the Academy at MSA opened in Fall 2013, Breanna transitioned to working academically and administratively for that program in addition to teaching early childhood dance classes at the studio.

Nathalie 'Nat' Villacrusis
Nathalie 'Nat' VillacrusisHip-Hop

Nathalie “Nat” Villacrusis received her early years of dance training in Maryland in Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Flamenco. She continued her studies in dance at the University of Maryland College Park and joined UMCP’s hip-hop team DYNAMIC. Finding her strength in this genre of dance, Nat later became a member of Culture Shock DC (CSDC) in 2005 and from 2007 to 2016 was Artistic Director for their youth troupe, Future Shock DC. Nat has gone on to direct troupes at both national and international showcases and competitions. She is currently teaching at Savage Dance Company and is the Commercial Dance Department director for Metropolitan Academy for the Arts. Nat was also a proud member of DMV’s all female dance crew KickRocks, and co-founder of their youth crews, The Pebbles and Little Rocks. In addition to her dance career, Nat is a graduate of The University of Maryland R.H.S School of Business and proud employee of the US Army. She hopes to continue her passion for teaching and sharing the joy and opportunities dance has brought to her life with young dancers who will shape the future of dance.

Raph Villacrusis
Raph VillacrusisHip-Hop

Raphael Villacrusis, known as “Mr.V”, is a trumpet player, as well as a bboy (breakdancer). His education of music and dance furthered when he was in college at James Madison University, where he received his minor in music production, and was president of the bboy club of JMU for two consecutive terms. In addition to his minor in music production, Raphael majored in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, and minored in Elementary education, as well as World Religions. He received his Masters of Arts in Teaching in 2010. Raphael was a company dancer and freestyle dancer with CulutreShock DC from 2012-2016. He also was the artistic director of the FutureShock DC youth freestyle team from 2013-2016 and assistant director for the FutureShock DC youth dance troupe. Currently Raphael is the Resource Teacher for the Gifted at Arlington Science Focus School in Arlington, Virginia. His main goal when teaching dance is for students to listen to music; he is there to facilitate the conversation between dancer and the music, encouraging patience and creativity.

Samantha Warren
Samantha WarrenDance Teacher

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!