Dancers in the Spotlight

Meet some of the members of our “tribe” — the students and teachers who make up our little community and inspire us to dance harder every single day.

Come join us! We welcome anyone and everyone to our “dance family.”


“I appreciate dancing in-person in ways that I hadn’t before.”

– Christine Olivas

“There’s motivation all around us if we just look for it.”

– Bridgette Shannon

Juliana Roth

“Staying active and learning new physical skills just makes me feel happy and centered.”

– Juliana Roth

Andrea Corbi Fein

“My recovery process was six months of headaches and anguish about why my brain tumor happened. I used it as an opportunity to rebuild better, stronger and healthier than before.”

– Andrea Corbi Fein

Kirwei Lo

“It’s amazing how much of a workout you can get in without realizing it!”

– Kirwei Lo

Niki Shaffer

“It’s a really tricky cancer to treat.”

– Niki Shaffer, explaining why she joined up with friend and fellow PDF Member Amanda Congar to fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Rebecca Salus

“About a week after the shooting I went home and experienced some of the devastation firsthand. I saw it. I felt it. I visited the school, and I can’t even explain how awful it was.”

– Rebecca Salus

Danielle Gray

“If there’s ever a week I don’t make it out to a single dance class, I feel tired and down.”

– Danielle Gray

Danielle Harrsch

“In 2009 I was diagnosed with MS, and in 2010, I was rendered completely paralyzed on my left side. Going back to dancing was so scary, because I didn’t know how my body would react.”

– Danielle Harrsch

Joan Heider

“Never has anything been more indicative of the problem of the patriarchy than the negative connotation around the word feminism. I try to do a #feministpostoftheday on Facebook to show people I’m proud to be a feminist.”

– Joan Heider

Whitney Powell

“Every time I felt like I didn’t have the energy to go, I forced myself because I would think, ‘What if someone beats me by just one class?’”

– Whitney Powell

Jo-Ann Braverman

“Seeing that I can make it through a class and stick with it could inspire others that they certainly can do so, too.”

– Jo-Ann Braverman

Agin Thomas

“Being one of the few male students at Philly Dance Fitness doesn’t faze me.”

– Agin Thomas

Christina Smith

“It took a family crisis for me to see what I had to offer in service to the impoverished children I had met in Guatemala, and that was the gift of music and dance.”

– Christina Smith

Michelle Last

“We’re cheering for each other when we’ve gotten a step or figured out that combo, and it’s really cool.”

– Michelle Last

Deanna Herrington

“I volunteer for Let Me Run because the organization uses the power of running and lively group activities to equip boys with tools to lead to a balanced and fulfilling life.”

– Deanna Herrington


Marianna Hunter

“I found my passion for dancing later in life — it’s never too late to start!” – Marianna Hunter, Zumba

Beverly Holskin

“The best part is seeing students’ sense of accomplishment at doing something they never thought they could, especially for those who always had doing pointe work on their bucket list.”

– Beverly Holskin, Ballet, JazzTech & BalletEXTREME

Ricky Evans

“I want students to walk away with knowledge so they can dance for themselves the same way someone would want to learn a language and be able to hold a conversation on their own.”

– Ricky Evans, Hip Hop

Lee-Ann Barber

“Teaching dance has made me a better communicator, and not afraid to stand up in front of people or introduce myself.”

– Lee-Ann Barber, Jazz, Tap

Jody Thigpen

“My goal is for students of all fitness and dance levels to feel strong and powerful by the end of class. I also want them to feel that they’ve worked it out, both in cardio and attitude.”

— Jody Thigpen, Hip-Hop & Jazz

Timaree Schmit

“Originally, I was a hip-hop dancer before getting into burlesque and go-go. It’s a long story involving a whipped cream bikini dance contest and a now-closed lesbian bar. The rest is history.”

– Timaree Schmit, Dance Party Boot Camp & Cardio Pop

Teena Varghese (and Deeksha Seth), BollyX (Bollywood fitness)

“At the end, when we all dance together, everyone feels like, ‘Alright, we can do this; we got this.’”

— Teena Varghese (and Deeksha Seth), BollyX (Bollywood fitness)

Michelle Krichilsky

“I love that I can combine all kinds of music genres and fitness moves to create something different each time I teach.”

– Michelle Krichilsky, Dance Party Bootcamp & Cardio Pop

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