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Lisa Zola - De Libero | Director
Lisa has been dancing since the age of seven. She started her dance training at The Ballet Studio
under the direction of her mom, Beverly Zola. While taking weekly classes at The Ballet Studio,
Lisa attended master dance classes and workshops in New York City, while also attending classes
at Princeton Ballet. As well as a love for dance, she also played sports throughout her elementary,
middle, and high school years. Lisa attended The College of New Jersey where she received a
Bachelors degree in psychology, with a minor in journalism. During her years at TCNJ, she wrote
a fitness and nutrition column for The Signal, the college newspaper. She then attended Rider
University where she received a graduate teaching degree in elementary education. As the
owner/director of The Ballet Studio, Lisa is presently responsible for the management
of the dancing school and is a volunteer with the Trenton Cat Rescue group.
Sherri Lynn DiStefano | Competition Director, Instructor, and Choreographer
Sherri began dancing at The Ballet Studio at the age of three under the direction of Beverly Zola,
owner and former ballerina with the Thomas Cannon Ballet Company. She attended Rutgers University
where she graduated with a BA in Sociology and was certified as an elementary school teacher. During
college she pursued her love of dance as captain of the nationally ranked RU dance team and as a
Universal Dance Association instructor. After graduation, she was honored to become part
of the TBS staff and work alongside her mentor, friend, and director, Miss Lisa.
Sherri’s passion for dance and teaching continue as she heads the competition program at the studio
and works as a fourth grade teacher at Errickson School in Freehold. She is forever grateful to teach
at the studio where she grew up and to be part of an amazing staff which she considers family.
Amber Brovak | Instructor and Choreographer
Amber began dancing at the age of 3, under the direction of Beverly Zola, at The Ballet Studio.
She has also danced with her high school dance team as well as attended recreational dance classes
in NY & NJ. Amber enjoys teaching, choreographing, and interacting with the students while they learn.
She currently teaches ballet, jazz and pointe. She graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in
Chemical Engineering, with minors in Economics and Psychology. Amber currently works for Nestle USA, where she is the NA HSE & Sustainability Manager.
Cara Jorgesen | Competition Assistant Director, Instructor, and Choreographer
Cara has been dancing since the age of three. She started participating in dance competitions at the
age of eight to the age of eighteen. She received an associates degree in the Arts from Mercer County
Community College where she studied dance. She was a part of the Mercer Dance Ensemble for two years.
She recently transferred to Richard Stockton College where she plans on recieving a Bachelors in Dance
with a concentration in Pre Movement Therapy. She is also a member of the dance team for Stockton.
She plans on receiving her Masters and becoming a Dance Therapist. This is her third year teaching jazz
and hip hop at TBS and she loves every minute of it!
Erika Houseworth | Instructor and Chroeographer
Erika began dancing at the age of 3 under the direction of Ms. Irene Parker. She continued her enjoyment of dance at the Dance Shop under Ms. Joyce Smilek for 12 years. At the Dance Shop Erika participated in tap, jazz, lyrical and ballet she also took part in competitions. After Erika finished high school she began taking classes and teaching with Ms. Lisa at the Ballet Studio. She also participated in competitions. During the same time Erika attended MCCC and graduated from Rowan University with a BA in History. While at Rowan University Erika launch the Rowan Dance Team. They performed at home football and basketball games as well as school functions. She currently is employed by the State of NJ as a Senior Police Officer with the Department of Human Services. She still continues to enjoy her love for dance by instructing and choreographing for students performing solos, duets, and trios.
Amanda Ruzich | Instructor and Choreographer
Amanda began dancing at The Ballet Studio when she was five years old. She started with foundations in
ballet technique and eventually moved on to jazz, lyrical and pointe. In addition to these classes,
Amanda joined the competitive dancers at The Ballet Studio until graduating from high school in 2006.
Upon graduation, she became a Ballet Studio staff member. Amanda is currently a junior at The College of
New Jersey where she is pursuing a double major in Special Education and Math, Science, Technology and a
double minor in Psychology and Communication Disorders. While academics hold the highest regard, Amanda
also finds time to dance on TCNJ's Dance Team. The dance team attends camp every summer, performs at home
football and basketball games, as well as other campus events, holds an annual fundraiser Dancers for
Cancer, and competes every January at the Universal Dance Association's College Dance Team Nationals in
Walt Disney World. Amanda currently teaches advanced level hip-hop at The Ballet Studio.
Alicia Riley | Instructor and Choreographer, Preschool Program Director
Alicia began dancing at the age of 4, under the direction of Irene Parker in Trenton, New Jersey.
As her love of dance grew stronger, she attended classes at The Dance Shop in Hamilton Square for
11 years where she study tap, ballet, and jazz. She was also a member of the Competition Team who
won many awards in both tap and jazz. She has also taken classes and workshops in New Jersey and
New York. After High School Graduation she began assisting at The Ballet Studio in the Competition
and PreSchool Programs. She attended Mercer County Community College and Georgian Court College
in Lakewood, NJ, where she studied Special Education. She has taught the in the PreSchool program
for the past 19 years and has been Director of the PreSchool Program for the past 2 years. She
also teaches Ballet and Jazz in the intermediate classes. The Ballet Studio is her second home
and all present, past and future students are her Kids!
Tara Toporek | Director of Customer Service, Instructor, and Choreographer
Miss Tara has been a part of The Ballet Studio since the age of three. She has been taking
classes at TBS for twenty seven years. Her mother, and two sisters have also been students at TBS.
Tara began as an assistant instructor and then became an instructor working primarily with pre-schoolers
to students in 5th grade. Tara has attended numerous classes at Princeton Ballet. She has also attended
dance teacher Intensive workshops in New York City and the Meadowlands. Tara is a graduate of The Art
Institute of Philadelphia where she received high honors status. Tara feels that The Ballet Studio and
dance have been a big part of who she is today.
Jaime Maerz | Instructor and Choreographer
Jaime began dancing at the Ballet Studio at the age of 3, under the direction of Beverly Zola. She continued dancing
until entering college, where she received her BA from Rutgers University. Shortly thereafter, Jaime spent some time
living down south, working as an Educational Director, while always holding on to her love of dance and taking dance
classes every chance she had. Jaime has since made her way back "home" and was welcomed back to The Ballet Studio,
where her passion for dance first began. She is also the owner of Petite Treats by Jaime Christine, a chocolate specialty
company, although dancing will always be her first love. "Working with young dancers is such a joy, and I am thrilled to
be back and part of the TBS family, doing what I love and seeing that same joy radiate on the dance floor through our dancers!"
Brenda Siracusa | Instructor and Choreographer
Brenda began dancing as a child at the Howley Sisters School of Dance. At the age of eleven she started dancing at The Ballet Studio, with the beloved Miss Beverly Zola as her teacher and mentor. Brenda also danced at Princeton Ballet during their summer program. In the early 1980s she began teaching at the studio. Over the twenty-five plus years of teaching, Brenda has taught all levels of dance and age groups, starting with the pre-schoolers to the advanced adults. Ballet continues to be her passion. During her â€śretirementâ€ť from teaching, she has been a substitute instructor when needed. Since childhood Brenda has had a love for musical theater. She has performed in many musicals, such as The Music Man, Hello Dolly, Brigadoon, Lilâ€™ Abner, and Destry Rides Again, to name a few. Outside the studio, Brenda has been an elementary school teacher for more than twenty-five years, teaching everything from kindergarten to fifth grade. Recently she completed her graduate studies at her alma mater, TCNJ, to become certified in English as a Second Language. Last year she left the general education classroom to become an ESL teacher. Her greatest accomplishment is her family, especially her children Robert, William, and Emilia. Also, it brings Brenda great joy to see her love of dance continue in her daughter.
Courtney Anthes | Instructor and Choreographer
Courtney began her dancing career at the age of three at the Hamilton YMCA. At five years old,
she started at The Ballet Studio with Miss Lisa as her teacher, and loved it. During her years at
TBS, Courtney was on the competitive team from the age of eight to eighteen, winning many awards
and competing in nationals. After graduating high school, Courtney attended Rider University and
graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2016 with her degree in Elementary Education, Psychology, and a
minor in Special Education. She currently teaches elementary and special education. Courtney has
loved dancing since a very young age, and was excited to return to The Ballet Studio as an
instructor in 2016. She is thrilled to be back doing what she loves as an instructor and
co-choreographer for the competition team.
Melissa De Lorenzo | Instructor and Choreographer
Melissa's passion for dancing and the arts runs deep within her soul. She began dancing
at the age of 4 under the direction of Lisa Zola-Delibero and Sherri Distefano and
branched out from there. Some of Melissa's most note-able recognitions include;
creating a fully produced album as the vocalist in Kickin' Daisies which allowed
her to perform her songs in historic landmarks such as CBGB in NYC, being featured
in a music video aired on MTVU, landing a small part in an episode for Style Networks
Glam Fairy, winning the Best Costume award at Nexstar Nationals in Virginia Beach,
2009 (she created 76 costumes for The Ballet Studio's musical production of CATS),
and was a professional dancer in the Elvis spectacular, Burn'n Love on the beautiful
island of Maui, Hawaii. In addition to teaching the Technique Classes at TBS, Melissa
continues her own dance education with Julie Caprio and takes trips into NYC for
classes when she can. You can find her teaching Pure Barre classes at Pure Barre
Princeton, dance cardio classes at Zephyr Yoga New Egypt & RWJ Hamilton, and
running her 81 year old family business DeLorenzo's Pizza. If she's not doing any
of the above, she's probably at home working on her sewing machine, creating beautiful
ballet skirts for her Etsy shop!
Ashlee Martel | Instructor and Choreographer
Ashlee began her dancing career at the age of 3 at The Ballet Studio. She refused to switch dancing schools when moving to Pennsylvania in the third grade. She taught alongside of Mrs. Tara and Miss Stacy for many years. She was also on the Competition Team for 5 years. After high school, Ashlee attended Millersville University where she graduated in May 2017 with a BSE-Social Studies Education Degree for 7th-12th grade students. She is very excited to be back home at The Ballet Studio to continue her career as a choreographer. Ashlee fully believes and lives the moto, "Dancing with your feet is one thing, but dancing with your heart is another."
Olivia Miranda | Instructor/Choreographer
Originally from Robbinsville, NJ, Olivia grew up dancing at local studio Ballet Technique under the direction of Julie A. Caprio, performing classical ballet works. Pursuing a double major in English and Dance, Olivia attended the Ailey School in the fall of 2014. While at the Ailey School, Olivia worked with choreographers such as Tom Gold, Jaclyn Buglisi, and Breton Tyner-Bryan as well as performed works by Alvin Ailey including excerpts from Night Creature and Revelations. In June of 2017, Olivia performed in the Alvin Ailey Spirit Gala at Lincoln Center, debuting choreography by Tracy Inman, Robert Battle, and Ari Mayzick. During fall of her junior year, Olivia accepted a contract with Ballet Hispanico's second company (BHdos) under the direction of Nicholas Villeneuve and Johan Rivera. At Ballet Hispanico, Olivia learned and performed repertory by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Eduardo Vilaro, Pedro Ruiz, and Talley Beatty, performing at the Apollo Theater. She has attended summer intensives at BalletX, American Ballet Theater, and Koltun Ballet Theater to name a few. While in New York, Olivia also pursued her passion for fitness, teaching cardio-based rowing classes downtown at Current Fitness. Olivia graduated from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program May 2018, and she is currently freelancing with professional dance companies in New York City.
Caitlin Kazanski | Intern
Caitlin started dancing at The Ballet Studio when she was three years old. Since then, she has graduated
from Robbinsville High School and is now taking classes at Mercer County Community College. After completing
her associates degree in Dance-Fine Arts, she plans to being my second major to become a Physical Therapist Assistant.
The past two years she has been in five performances at Mercer, taken classes with multiple dance companies,
and continued to perform in the annual recitals at TBS. Caitlin is so grateful for her years at the studio and
can't wait to become an official staff member in the future!
Luke Profy | Guest Instructor
Currently, Luke is receiving a Minor in Dance from the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of Susan Gillis-Kruman,
Jessica Marino, and Jil Stifel. He has grown up dancing since he was 7 years old. Luke primarily studied dance at Dance Arts of
Yardley in Lower Makefield, PA for 11 years with Andrea Bontoni, Jaime Santoro, Christina Castro, Melissa Profy, and Sakie
Hachiya. While at Dance Arts of Yardley, Luke was a Senior Company Captain of the competition teams and was tasked with
rehearsing and the cleaning of the various competition dances for the various ages and levels. While at Dance Arts, he was
given the unique opportunity to student choreograph, under the advisement of Andrea Bontoni, for various ages and levels
of the competition students. Luke started choreographing when he was thirteen and his choreography has won numerous top overall
awards and special judges awards at various regional dance competitions and at nationals. Luke still sets pieces of choreography
for competitions during winter break, as well as, choreograph for the dance productions, musicals, and concerts at the University
of Pittsburgh. With regards to teaching and instruction, Luke completed a two-year teaching training program that included observational
learning and feedback instruction from numerous instructors at Dance Arts of Yardley. He also has studied proper dance pedagogy under
Susan Gillis-Kruman at Pitt. Luke has experience teaching children ages 5-18 in ballet, jazz, jazz funk, hip-hop, musical theater,
contemporary/lyrical and modern. Some other class options that Luke teaches include improv classes, jumps and turns, and
A special thank you to the founder of The Ballet Studio, BEVERLY ZOLA, for making this opportunity possible.
We thank our former staff members and invite you to read their biographies as well. To do so, Click Here.