Deborah has been dancing since she could stand (her grandmother will tell you how she would hold herself up as a baby, using the coffee table for balance, and bounce in time with whatever music was playing) She has yet to find a style of dance that she doesn’t like and can often be found surfing Youtube for hours looking up new moves.
Since she never seems to get enough dancing, becoming a dance fitness instructor seemed like a natural path. After completing her group exercise certification in 2008, she become licensed to teach Zumba®, Urban Striptease, mat Pilates, step aerobics and target kickboxing. She also teaches aqua dance, cardio bellydance, hip-hop, sculpt and boot camp.
For Deborah, the best part of running this company is the chance to promote her favorite activity as an exciting, accessible form of exercise. Her classes are designed to feel like a dance party – at least, a sweaty, gym-clothes party.
In addition to Philly Dance Fitness, Deborah teaches wedding dance lessons through sister company Ballroom Bliss and works part-time as a journalist. In 2012, Philadelphia Magazine honored her as one of 16 “Health Heroes.” Her dance and fitness programs have also been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Metro Philly, Be Well Philly, the South Philly Review and a variety of local television stations.
Growing up, Angela spent most of her free time singing, acting and dancing. She cross-trained in jazz, tap, musical theater, lyrical and ballet at her hometown dance studio before pursuing a bachelors degree in theater from DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa. In college she also studied other forms of dance, including modern/contemporary, and joined the DSU dance team, where her love of hip-hop began.
After graduating, Angela performed in professional musicals and plays throughout Philadelphia. In the process, she discovered that her true passion was teaching the arts, especially dance. Over the past decade, she has choreographed and taught tap, hip-hop, jazz, musical theatre and other dance styles to children and adults at various studios, productions, workshops and camps.
Her love for dance and movement is the most freeing part of her life. She cannot imagine a single day without it, and it just so happens to be the most fun way to work out as well!
Trained in ballet, modern, jazz and musical theater, Besiana doesn’t discriminate when it comes to dancing. Her love of dance began in her native Albania. After moving to the United States, she performed with various Boston-based dance companies while studying theater arts. She also worked as head choreographer and dancer for a theatrical rock band.
She became licensed to teach Zumba in May 2012 and has been sharing her passion for dance fitness ever since. Besiana believes that it is easy to make a long-lasting lifestyle change when fitness is fun!
Beverly, owner and director of Major Moment Studio, began dancing at the age of 3. She has studied classical ballet and jazz through much of her life. A former member of the Philadelphia Civic Ballet corps de ballet, Beverly was introduced to the world of modeling at a fashion event featuring ballet dancers as backdrops for the fashion show. Since that night, Beverly became choreographer and lead model for a major fashion show production company and over the last 20 years has done hundreds of fashion shows in the tri-state area.
Today, she shares a partnership in Major Moment Productions, a fashion show production company, as choreographer, assistant producer and lead model. Beverly has also taught modeling, creative movement and dance to children and adults of all ages. Recently, she became involved in Next Level Teen and AB FAB GIRLS, where she helps teenagers build confidence and poise.
Bonnie Cannon has been dancing salsa and West Coast swing for more than eight years. Aside from social dancing, she’s competed in West Coast Swing and performed salsa. Originally from Oklahoma, Bonnie moved to the Northeast in 2008 and currently studies theater at Temple University. Dubbed the “dance machine” for the boundless energy that keeps her on the dance floor for hours, Bonnie loves sharing her passion for dance with others.
Emily has been practicing yoga for eight years and apprenticed with Valerie Rushmere before beginning to teach on her own. Drawing from Iyengar and Ashtanga styles, her classes challenge students to push their physical boundaries, whether they’re new to yoga or have been practicing for years. An avid runner, soccer player and snowboarder, Emily has also created a unique yoga program designed to help winter sports enthusiasts build lower body strength and avoid injury. Outside of teaching, Emily works in marketing.
After 20 years of competitive tap, ballet, modern and jazz, Erin fell in love with Bokwa – a fast-paced dance fitness program that combines sign language, South African war dance, Capoeira and kickboxing. She started doing Bokwa in 2011 with creator Brian Mavi and became certified to teach others how to “sweat the alphabet and dance the digits” in October 2012.
Outside of teaching Bokwa classes as often as possible, Erin works full time as a primary therapist for drug and alcohol treatment. She holds a master’s degree in clinical and counseling psychology, specializing in addiction treatment.
Philadelphia native Jaime Molyneux has been teaching Zumba® since 2009. After graduating from Temple University, she joined the campus study abroad office as an associate director. While working, she also returned to the classroom, completing a masters in business administration in December 2011. She recently left her alma mater to become the Director of International Risk Management at the University of Pennsylvania.
Outside of work and dancing, you can find Jaime traveling or training for her next marathon.
Kathy began studying ballet, tap and jazz at age 10, taking classes at her aunt’s dance studio in Marcus Hook, PA. She moved into community musical theater as a teenager. Inspired by the professional choreographers she’d worked with, she began choreographing and coaching students involved in her former summer theater program. Not ready to give up dancing herself, she found another outlet for her creative expression in fitness. Since becoming a certified group fitness instructor 12 years ago, she’s taught a diverse array of dance fitness classes throughout the tri-state area. She’ll surprise you with new themes every week in her Impact Jazz classes, from classic Broadway to Madonna and beyond.
Lael has more than seven years of experience teaching aerobics and eight years teaching Caribbean/hip hop dancing. But her interest in fitness began long before that. At age 7, she begged her mom for a weight bench and dumbbells for Christmas, while all her friends asked for “Baby Alive” and G.I. Joe dolls. Throughout her adolescent years, Lael participated in numerous physical activities including track, volleyball, field hockey, basketball and dance. In 2009, she represented Bally Total Fitness at the Oaks fitness expo as an elite fitness member.
Coming from a dancing family, it was only natural that Lael also developed a love for dance. She has been a member of numerous dance, step and drill teams. She first began teaching aerobics and Caribbean/Hip Hop style dancing as a sophomore at Briarcliffe College.
Looking for new fitness trends, Lael came across Zumba®. It was the best blend of fitness and dance she’d seen. She became a licensed Zumba® instructor in spring 2011 and is currently working on additional fitness certifications.
From her early childhood roots in the Central African Republic, dancing became synonymous to walking for Lehla. There and in the United States, she developed her passion for music and movement by participating in band, choir and international dance ensembles. She attended her first Zumba® class in 2009 and was hooked right away. After becoming licensed to teach in spring 2011, she went on to obtain a primary group exercise instructor certification from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America as well as specialty Zumba® programs including Toning, Sentao and Gold. Her goal is to create a safe, effective and fun workout that draws upon musical styles from around the world. From wherever their starting point may be, Lehla encourages participants to push themselves mentally, spiritually, and physically, with as much smiling as possible. When Lehla’s not letting loose in Zumba®, she teaches middle school and studies Brazilian samba and Japanese taiko drumming.
Maya has been teaching dance for 19 years and group fitness for nearly a decade. With roots in hip-hop, she became licensed to teach Zumba in March 2007, before the fitness trend exploded into the multi-faceted global operation that it is today. Maya enjoys sharing her love of dance and fitness with diverse groups of people.
Suzanne discovered NIA while living in Charlottesville, Va. She spent five years as a student before becoming licensed to teach herself. She’s been sharing the practice here in Philadelphia for almost four years, using NIA to help keep her body healthy and her mind clear of negative thinking. Her goal in teaching NIA is to help others find the joy of movement in their mind, bodies and spirits. In addition to NIA, Suzanne enjoys living in Center City with her husband, visiting with her two grown sons, walking, reading, travelling and watching the occasional reality TV show.
Timaree loves teaching, fitness and helping students love their lives more and more. While earning a doctorate in human sexuality, Timaree began working as a fitness instructor, gradually expanding her repertoire to include Pilates, kickboxing, Flirty Girl Fitness, Zumba®, Spinning and various modalities of sculpting, circuit training and hi-lo cardio. Her raison d’etre is leading people towards enjoyable workouts that make them feel stronger, sexier and happier.
Veronica has been dancing since the ripe age of 6. In addition to eight years of training in classical ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance, she often accompanied her mom to Jazzercize, step and other aerobics classes as a child.
She continued taking dance classes at the University of Minnesota while working toward her bachelor’s degree in cello performance. Outside of her music studies, she was an active member of her university ballroom club. When she wasn’t out dancing salsa, Argentine tango or classic ballroom, she trained for local Judo competitions. She served as president of her college Judo club for two years, where she earned her sankyu (second degree brown belt).
With her longtime interest in Latin dance and fitness, becoming a Zumba instructor was a natural progression. She’s been teaching since fall 2011, first in Minnesota before moving here to pursue a master’s degree in string pedagogy at Temple University. In addition to dance, she has experience teaching yoga and circuit-format fitness classes. She enjoys staying active outdoors by running, skating, skiing, and rock and ice climbing.
Seth is the technical and logistical mastermind behind Philly Dance Fitness. From website editing to stripper pole installation, Seth makes this company run smoothly and efficiently. Most recently, he designed a web application to manage class attendance. He can hardly contain his joy at becoming the unofficial company chauffeur or occasionally being coerced into guest teaching. Would he be in this role if not for his wife’s incessant need to dance? Probably not. But at least he has another job managing a team of web developers at xfinitytv.com to maintain his sanity – and get advice on his PDF applications.