PSPA ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER
Akasha Alvarez was born and raised right here in Bucks County. She tends to call PSPA her home as she grew up attending the school as a dancer since she was 5 years old. She soon found that dance was not only a passion of hers, but also her life calling when she started teaching and choreographing. Akasha graduated from West Chester University with a degree in Elementary Education and Dance. During her time at West Chester, Akasha was a key member of the University Dance Company and choreographed for the company four times. Her choreography was selected and presented at the regional conferences for the American College Dance Association (ACDA). Akasha has been the company choreographer for The Pennsylvania School of Performing Arts Company for over 8 years now. Akasha has performed at the Philadelphia Fringe Fest, with Ballet Magnificat, and been involved with ComeUnity's collaboration with Lustig Dance Theatre. She has also studied ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern, pointe, lyrical, theater dance, and tap since she was able to walk. When Akasha is not at the studio, she is a first grade teacher at a local school district in Bucks County. Akasha has been teaching children dance for over 12 years and has studied under the direction of PSPA Founder, Mrs. Lee for over 19 years.
STUDIO MANAGER & MUSIC DIRECTOR
Kyle Duke is a music director, teacher, vocalist and pianist from Bucks County, PA. In addition to serving as music director for productions throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Kyle is also an accomplished educator and private music instructor. After attending West Chester University, Kyle graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in Music Education, with a focus in Vocal Pedagogy. He has taught in all levels of the K-12 school system in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and operates a voice and piano studio where he teaches and collaborates with students of all ages and musical backgrounds. Kyle frequently works with the Bucks County Playhouse as Music Director of the BCP Youth Company and has had the opportunity to collaborate with many Broadway caliber directors, choreographers, and performers. Some of Kyle’s favorite productions he has worked on include Godspell (2012 Revision), and James and the Giant Peach, the Bucks County Playhouse’s adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Kyle is thrilled to be joining The Pennsylvania School of the Performing Arts as Studio Manager and Music Director. He will be overseeing the expansion of PSPA as it begins to create a music program to accompany its already thriving dance program. Kyle can’t wait to meet all of the PSPA family!
Ann Corrao is from Westchester, New York. She has spent the years since her graduation developing her teaching philosophy and practice as well as performing in New York City and Philadelphia. She began her dance journey studying ballet with Fronda Sobel, Simon Kasantsev, and Diana White, the former soloist of the New York City Ballet. She then received her BA in Dance from Muhlenberg College, concentrating in education and choreography. Ms. Corrao was greatly influenced by her professors, Karen Dearborn, Teresa Van Denend Sorge, and Megan Flynn, to utilize her knowledge of creative movement pedagogy, somatic techniques, and knowledge of anatomy to create a unique ballet experience for her students. She has recently worked as an educator and choreographer for Standing Ovation Studios and dances for the Megan Flynn Dance Company in Philadelphia. Ms. Corrao has taught Creative Movement, Ballet, Pointe, and Modern dance for all levels in Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut, as well as transitioning to virtual classes through Zoom. She has performed in works by Heidi Cruz-Austen, Jessica Lang, Trinette Singleton, Jeffrey Peterson, and Amanda Selwyn Dance Theater. She has also presented work at the American College Dance Association Festival and the International Dance Festival presented by Nickerson-Rossi Dance. Ann is thrilled to be continuing her dance graduate studies at the University of the Arts this summer, while teaching and performing in Philadelphia. She hopes to be a catalyst for her students and fellow emerging artists through her explorations, shared experiences, and joy of movement.
Kara Jonsson (Assistant Director) is an Artistic Administrator, Director, and Entrepreneur. Most recently she founded heARTwork by Kara Shea Jonsson: An online program for the career and personal development of performing artists. Her theatrical and administrative work includes; Assistant Director for the Off Broadway production of Assistants the Musical, Marketing and Community Engagement Associate for the Passage Theatre Company, Director of I and You: A Workshop Production, Company Manager at The Forestburgh Playhouse, and Instructor for the Trenton PEERS Youth Program. Kara is a graduate of Westminster College of the Arts at Rider University and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. karajonsson.com @karasheajo
MODERN JAZZ, BALLET, BROADWAY STARS
Kat Sullivan was born and raised in Bucks County and her passion for dance began at a very young age. Kat joined PSPA as a full-time company member in 2008, performing at the Philadelphia Fringe Fest and at ComeUnity in collaboration with Lustig Dance Theatre. She has attended multiple master classes in New York City, including, but not limited to, Steps on Broadway and the Rockette Summer Intensive. Under the direction of Terri Garcia-Lee, Kat soon found a love for film in addition to dance. She can't wait to meet the new members of the PSPA family!
MUSICAL THEATER, TAP
Lester Holmes has had a memorable and successful career as a dancer/singer/actor/acrobat on and off-Broadway tours, in national tours and in theaters up and down the East Coast. He has performed on television, in nightclubs, in regional and dinner theaters, and has tumbled at the Met. In addition to his performance credits, Lester has been teaching ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics, and musical theater for decades. He has taught at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway and has, through the years, taught numerous master classes throughout the U.S. He had the pleasure of teaching and choreographing in Florence, Italy for three years, Lester once had his own studio and he taught dance at the Peabody Prep, Goucher College and Towson University for almost 2 decades. He is now actively teaching and choreographing in Bucks County and is thrilled to continue collaborating with artistic director Akasha Alvarez at the renowned Pennsylvania School of the Performing Arts.
Magge received her training at Olga Kresin’s Ballet School in Philadelphia, Pa. Under Ms. Kresin (Odessa Ballet Theater) and Lev Assoulyak (Perm Ballet Theater), Magge participated in international competitions such as the Barcelona International Dance Competition where she was awarded first prize in the pas de deux category and Prima De Roma where she was a finalist. After graduating from high school, Magge became a member of the Mystic Ballet Company where she premiered works by Brian Enos, Sergei Vanaev, and Gregory King. In 2012, she premiered Gabrielle Lamb’s Marooned at Jacob’s Pillow. In 2015, Magge moved to Rome, Italy to finish her BFA in Art History through Temple University. Her final performance was as a guest artist with the Compania Ballet de Nicaragua where she performed Act 1 pas de deux from Manon. Magge is currently the ballet director at The Rock School for Dance Education West.
Mayah Henriques’ passion for dance began at the age of 3 years old and has been growing stronger and stronger ever since! She grew up studying various forms of dance including hip hop, ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, acro, musical theater, contemporary, lyrical at her home studio of Bucks County Dance Center. It wasn’t long before Mayah was exposed to a variety of unique studios, teachers, styles and opportunities that taught her about different class structures and educational methods that emphasized the importance of individuality and expression in dance. Mayah was selected for a prestigious mentorship program in NYC in 2019 led by professional dancer Casie (Tynee) Goshow, where she was pushed to retain choreography and enhance musicality and personality. Mayah is also a member of IAmPhresh Dance Company, where she is constantly learning exciting new choreography and styles. In her free time, Mayah continues to immerse herself in the art of dance, attending every convention, open class and master class that she can. Mayah motivates, energizes, and instills passion into her students. She believes that dance is about not only ability, but also the dedication, passion and fulfillment it inspires.
MODERN JAZZ, BALLET, CONDITIONING
Moira Esposito is a founding member of Terri Garcia-Lee’s Pennsylvania School of the Performing Arts (PSPA) and is proud to see all of its amazing success for the past 25+ years. PSPA was her home away from home as she studied dance under the mentorship of Ms. Lee and all the incredible teachers that helped cultivate her love for dance and theatre. Moira graduated from West Chester University with a BA in Theater Arts: Technical Production and a minor in Dance. While she attended WCU, she was a prominent member of the dance program there serving in various positions of the dance company and choreographing for her peers along the way. Upon graduating, she spent many years as a full-time dance instructor in the surrounding West Chester area, teaching an array of styles to kids of all ages. Moira is now a proud mom to a wonderful daughter, Maeve, and is thrilled to have her second generation PSPA dancer a part of this amazing studio.
WHITNEY KIMBALL LONG
Whitney is a New York City based Film and TV Actor. She is known for her work on Madam Secretary (CBS), Elementary (CBS), Limitless (CBS), and The Detour (TBS). Her years spent in the Theatre (NYC and Philadelphia) led her to the feature film Completely Normal, where Whitney co starred alongside Geneva Carr, playing the role of her sister. Most recently she can be seen recurring on the TV series Big Dogs (Amazon), and on Netflix, as Rebecca Wilks in the feature film A New York Christmas Wedding (produced by and starring Chris Noth). She recently wrapped the pilot episode of Nightbirds, playing the role of detective Linda Lupino, opposite Aida Turturro and the feature film The Noel Diary opposite Justin Hartley to be released on Netflix, November 2021. Whitney is a graduate of The University of the Arts and The British American Drama Academy and holds a BFA in Acting.
FOUNDER OF THE PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL OF THE PERFORMING ARTS
Mrs. Lee hails from NYC and is a proud member of all three professional unions: Broadway Actors Equity AEA -Screen Actors Guild - AFTRA. Her students have been cast on Broadway, National Broadway tours, NYC Rockettes, SAG Movies, National TV Series, Broadway Shows on the largest Royal Caribbean tours, and national television.
Lee has lived in Bucks County for over twenty-six years, inspiring her students to reach a new understanding and mastery of musicality in the arts and also reach their personal goals through the use of dance theater education. Many of her students are now living their dream performing on Broadway, in the Rockettes, film, national television, and many national and international tours. Lee founded PSPA with a mission to inspire in young people a lasting passion and appreciation for theater, dance, and music through artistic excellence, exhilarating performances, touching choreography, and dominant lifetime educational programs.
After graduating from the prestigious University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Lee moved to NYC with a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet and The Gregory Hines - Frank Hattacht Dance studios next to The David Letterman studios on Broadway, now known as the famous " Broadway Dance Center"! Lee made her Broadway debut with The Three Musketeers - with Ed Dixon, Chuck Wagner, Liz Calloway - Mark Bramble - directed by Joe Layton & Tom O'Horgan. From there, she continued to perform in many professional productions including The Big Broadcast of 1944 with Harry James and his Orchestra, the revival of West Side Story with Jerome Robbins - Tommy Abbott Directors with Rex Smith & Luis Perez. Stops in Lee’s extensive professional career in Broadway, film, and TV commercials have allowed her to travel the world and perform with many great dance legends including Bob Fosse, Pat Birch (Grease), Lester Wilson, (Solid Gold) Billy Wilson, (The Sands Copa Girls) Michael Peters (Michael Jackson's Thriller), Judy Kaye, Eartha Kitt, and many others. Additional training throughout her career included the Neighborhood Playhouse Acting (Misner technique) and at Carnegie Hall in NYC. She also trained with Scholarships from The San Francisco Ballet, The Minnesota Ballet, The Pennsylvania Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Steps, and The Broadway Dance Center.