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.

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.

Nina Marchesani | Instructor

Nina began dancing at The Ballet Studio at the age of 3. She began competing with TBS at age 5 and was part of the Philadelphia 76ers Pre-Pro team. Her dance career continued through high school and college. She attended the Pennsylvania State University, where she received a BS in Mathematics, minors in Dance and Italian, and choreographed for Whiplash Dance Team. She currently works as a Middle School Math Teacher at Trenton Catholic Academy. She has recently been accepted to Rider University to pursue a Graduate degree in Education. Nina is truly grateful to be given the opportunity to teach at the studio where she first fell in love with dance.

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!

Melissa DeLorenzo | 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!

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 retirement 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, Lil' 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.

Michaela Mabin | Intern

Michaela began dancing at The Ballet Studio at the young age of four years old. She always enjoyed performing and took every opportunity to become the center of attention, so her mom thought enrolling her in dance would be a good idea. Michaela continued to dance throughout high school, and was casted in several plays and musicals at her school's theatre program. Her favorite role she has performed thus far was Cha-Cha in Grease. Dance has always been a form of therapy for Michaela and has helped her through the good times and the bad. The Ballet Studio will always be Michaela's second home, and she is so grateful for all the friendships and memories she has made. Some of her favorite memories include dancing with her sister and best friends. She also cherishes having Ms. Lisa as a dance teacher, and her always reminding her students how beautiful they are inside and out. Michaela is so excited to be helping out again this year, and looks forward to making more amazing memories!

Anne Johnson | Instructor

Anne Johnson trained in classical ballet at Ballet Technique in Hamilton, NJ under Julie Caprio. After high school she attended Butler University in Indianapolis, IN where she graduated in 2016 with a BFA in Dance Performance. While at Butler she performed soloist and corps roles in full-length ballets such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty as well as modern and contemporary works. Her summers have been spent at numerous intensives such as Complexions Contemporary Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Currently Anne is a second company member at American Repertory Ballet.

Kristin Ranke-Brown | Instructor and Choreographer

Kristin was born and raised in New Jersey and has been studying dance since the age of 3. From a very early age she knew that performing was ultimately what she wanted to do. With the help and support of her family, Kristin was able to study many genres of dance to really hone in on her skills. Her love of dance brought her to study at DeSales University, earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Dance with a minor in management. She was given the opportunity to work with wonderful artists from throughout the tri-state area; Tim Cowart, Kristin Fieseler, Tara Madsen-Robbins, Trinette Singleton and Lynne Mariani. Kristin has also had the opportunity to perform works by Trinette Singleton, Charles Weidman (restaged by Janet Towner), Sydney Skybetter (Skybetter and Associates) Alwin Nikolais (restaged by Alberto Del Saz), Rennie Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement), Caroline Copeland, and Kristin Fieseler (Annex Dance Company). Kristin's training has giving her the opportunity to work and perform in New York City. Kristin studied closely with Sheila Barker, Ginger Cox, Finis Jhung, Jamie Salmon, and Tracie Stanfield. She was an assistant for the Radio City Rockette Experience and performed Tensile Involvement as part of "Sharing the Legacy" at Hunter College in NYC in honor of Alwin Nikolais. Some of Kristin's favorite theatre credits include Camelot (asst. choreographer), Guys and Dolls (Ensemble-Hot Box Girl), You Can't Take it With You (choreographer), and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Ensemble- Pearl Lady.) Kristin has had the opportunity to travel the world performing on Holland America Cruise Lines. Upon her return she had the pleasure of working with Director Paul Chau and choreographer Wendy Seyb on her first SAG film, "Life of an Actress." Following that adventure she moved across the country to Las Vegas to perform in Donn Arden's Jubilee! at Bally's Hotel. While in Las Vegas Kristin had the opportunity to be a model for the Paul Mitchell "Caper" Beauty Fashion Show and JVA Inc. After returning to New York City the opportunity presented itself to work with the Make Up For Ever Academy as a body art model, a performer for Tryon Entertainment, and began performing in her first Off Broadway show, "Linda Miller's Legendary Ladies of Music" at The Triad Theatre. Kristin currently resides in the Lehigh Valley with her husband and is pursing her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Dance Movement Therapy at Lesley University.

Stacy Danka | Instructor and Choreographer

Stacy Ann Danka has been teaching pre-k dance for many years. She attended The Ballet Studio as a student for 15 years. Miss Stacy attended Rutgers University and Graduated from Mason Gross School of Arts with a bachelors degree in music education. She also holds a masters degree from Rutgers in infant and child develpoement. Stacy works in Hamilton Township schools their special education pre-k department. Stacy is a church cantor and performs throughout NJ with many different community theatre groups while also teaching private voice lessons. Stacy feels truly blest to be part of the TBS family.

Victoria Mosca | Instructor and Choreographer

Victoria started dancing at The Ballet Studio at the age of 5. Her first classes were with Miss Lisa. When she got to be in the third grade, she started competition dance with Miss Sherri and loved it. She continued to dance competitively under the supervision of Miss Sherri and Miss Shelly and didn't stop until the age of 17 when she graduated high school. Once she turned 11, Victoria began pointe under the instruction of Miss Penny and later Miss Amber. Victoria loves pointe and ballet - its her favorite type of dance to watch, choreograph, and to dance. She is the beginner, intermediate, and advanced pointe instructor at The Ballet Studio. Victoria also teaches Ballet and Jazz combination classes at TBS. She has taken numerous workshops with professional instructors including Mr. Thomas Hanner, a guest professional instructor. Teaching dance isn’t a job to Victoria, it’s her passion. She loves the dancers, parents, and fellow instructors at The Ballet Studio. Victoria graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012 from Rider University with a BA in Elementary Education, Psychology, and a minor in Special Education. Victoria worked for the Bordentown Regional School District as a Teacher of Students with Disabilities for two years. She is currently the Practice Manager at The Eye Care Center of Bordentown.

Kaitlyn Kehoe | Instructor and Choreographer

Kaitlyn received a B.A. in dance from George Mason University. She performs every year with the Mercer Dance Ensemble and has a passion in all styles of dance from ballet to ballroom. Kaitlyn has been dancing since the age 5 and teaching since 2008. "My first job when I was 14 was a party motivator for Cutting Edge Entertainment and My most recent job was a wedding specialist for Arthur Murray, I believe dance should always be a mix of professionalism and fun and I'm excited to share my experiences with the students this year!"

Shelly Danese | Instructor and Choreographer

Shelly joined the Ballet Studio when she was 8 years old. Her first classes in ballet and jazz were with Miss Lisa. It was not long before Shelly joined the competition program with Miss Sherri competing in regional competitions until graduating from high school and then becoming part of the Ballet Studio staff. Shelly attended The College of New Jersey where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business. The dance background and skills she acquired as a student at the Ballet Studio earned her a spot on the college's dance team. As a member of the team, Shelly performed at football and basketball games in addition to other campus events, attended workshops and camps with other local college teams, and competed on a national level at the UDA College Dance Team Nationals in Orlando, FL. She served as captain of the team her senior year. Shelly teaches advanced level classes at the Ballet Studio and is a part of the TBS Competiton Program. She currently works for the State Department of Treasury.

Corinne Hughes | College Intern Instructor and Choreographer

Corinne started her love of dance at the age of 3 and moved on to competing with dance from the age of 5 through high school graduation. She has recently graduated from Middlesex County College with her Associates in Dance and is continuing to get her BA in dance as well. While at Middlesex, Corinne participated in both performing and choreographing with the Middlesex Dance Ensemble for the past three years. Corinne is very excited to bring her passion and love of dance to her students at TBS.

Alyssa Robbins | Instructor and Choreographer

Alyssa has been dancing since the age of four. Throughout her years of dance she has competed in many regional and national competitions. She has trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern/contemporary. Her love for dance continued to follow her into college where she attended Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Mason Gross School of the Arts. She graduated in May of 2010 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts (Dance) degree. Alyssa is looking forward to sharing her love for dance with her students.