Deborah Hirsch – President, Choreographer and Instructor
Deborah, a self-proclaimed dance addict, founded Philly Dance Fitness in early 2010 with the help of her husband and business partner, Seth Weiner. 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, target kickboxing and Piloxing. She also teaches aqua dance, cardio bellydance, hip-hop, sculpt and boot camp, and is a certified personal trainer.
For Deborah, running this company is a way to promote her favorite activity as an exciting, accessible form of exercise. She still can’t get over the amazing community that’s come together through Philly Dance Fitness and the devoted students who endlessly inspire her to work harder.
In addition to Philly Dance Fitness, Deborah teaches wedding dance lessons through sister company Ballroom Bliss. Before immersing herself in the fitness world, she spent a decade reporting and editing at various newspapers, and occasionally still does a little freelance journalism. 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.
Antima Marandola – Bollywood & Bollywood Tech Instructor
Antima started her training in various styles of Indian classical dance at the age of 5. In college, she was a choreographer for her Indian classical dance and Bhangra teams. Upon graduation, she started teaching and performing with Nritya Creations Academy of Dance, a premiere dance school and performing arts center in New Jersey. With Nritya, she performed at major venues like the NJPAC and the NJ State Theater. She has also performed with Bollywood stars at the Atlantic City Convention Center. By day Antima is an attorney in Philadelphia, but she continues to teach and perform throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Beverly Holskin – Ballet, JazzTech & BalletEXTREME Instructor
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 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.
Brooke Blair – House Party Fitness® Instructor
Nothing makes Brooke feel more alive than teaching dance fitness. She’s worked in the fitness industry for many years as a certified group exercise instructor and personal trainer. In recent years, she created her own program called House Party Fitness, which combines hip-hop dance with strength and conditioning drills. In just a short time, “HPF” has taken off in several states with many instructors spreading the funk. Outside of fitness, Brooke is a mom and a full-time school teacher.
Jaime Molyneux – Zumba® Instructor
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 currently works as 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.
Lee-Ann Doncevic – Jazz Cardio Fusion, Barre Fit and Tap Tonic Instructor
Inspired by her grandmother, who trained and danced professionally in New York City, Lee-Ann’s love for dance began at a young age. Lee-Ann grew up dancing with a competitive show-troupe at Gracie’s Guys and Gals Dance Studio in Southern Maryland. There she trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and modern dance. She has been teaching dance to children for over 10 years. She has also taught Zumba and is currently studying Yoga with a Registered Yoga Teacher training program. Lee-Ann earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Maryland, where she was able to focus on her own choreographic development. She has performed in various dance concerts, such as Maryland Dance Ensemble and Maryland Choreographer’s Showcase, and danced professionally for the NBA’s Washington Wizards dance team for three seasons. She also danced with Momentum Dance Theatre, a modern dance company in Washington, DC. Lee-Ann moved to Philadelphia in 2013 and recently earned her Master’s degree in business.
Lehla Olson – Zumba®, African Dance Revolution and POUNDFitness Instructor
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 Sethuraman – Fierce FUNk Hip-Hop and Zumba® Instructor
Maya has been teaching dance for 20 years and group fitness for more than 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.
Timaree has been teaching dance for almost 10 years and performs as a dancer professionally throughout the city, including her weekly burlesque show Full Front Street. With a PhD in Human Sexuality from Widener University, Timaree also works as a sexuality educator. She is now adjunct faculty at Widener, as well as West Chester University and Community College of Philadelphia.
She is also a regular contributor to Philly Weekly with her column “Timaree’s Body” and the sex and relationships expert for Philly.com. She aims to empower every student to have a positive, loving, fun relationship with their own body.
Sherrilyn Billger – Cardio Bellydance, Tap Technique and Dance Party Boot Camp Instructor
Sherrilyn doesn’t even remember her first couple years of dance classes, but the recital photos reveal that she started tap and jazz a long, long time ago. In college she added modern and Broadway to the mix. A few years after that, she took up bellydance. Sherrilyn has studied with many of the top teachers in their genres, and that varied background led her to become a professional fusion dancer. She has been on stages in Europe, Canada and across the U.S. Recent performances include Bellyqueen’s Journey Along the Silk Road, as well as solo and duet work throughout the Northeast. She is a core member of PURE Philadelphia and Philly Follies.
Sherrilyn started teaching dance in 2005 when she opened her own studio in Bloomington, Ill. In 2013, she relocated to Philadelphia and eagerly jumped into the thriving dance community here. She thoroughly enjoys blending dance and fitness, providing a fun and high-energy workout. Aiwa!
Trina Lyons – Cardio Pop, Dance Party Boot Camp and Hip-Hop Instructor
Trina has been in the fitness industry for more than a decade, drawing on her background in dance and music. She is certified in Body Works Plus Abs, kickboxing, cycle, Aqua Fit, circuit boot camp and Senior Fit. She has toured through Italy, Switzerland, London and Brazil while choreographing and dancing as an “Ikette” for the late Ike Turner. She was also featured in “The Ike Turner Revue,” a documentary about the singer’s life. Before moving to Philadelphia, she served as the artistic director of Afta Shock San Diego, a 25 and up theatrical hip-hop dance troupe, from May 2009 – June 2013.
Michelle Krichilsky – Cardio Pop and Dance Party Boot Camp Instructor
Michelle has been dancing since before she could walk. Starting at a very early age with ballet and jazz classes, Michelle’s interests quickly shifted to performing. In an effort to get into tip-top shape for the Tough Mudder in 2012, Michelle started going to group fitness classes at her local gym, hoping to increase her cardio endurance. One day, the hip-hop instructor did not show up, and Michelle found herself teaching her very first class. Fast forward a year, and she was teaching dance and kickboxing at the very same gym! Now certified in both group exercise (AAAI) and House Party Fitness, Michelle is ecstatic to bring her unique sense of style to Philly Dance Fitness. Some other favorite fitness activities include hiking, snowboarding, biking and swimming. In addition to her love for dance and fitness, you can catch Michelle singing at your favorite local Philly bar or enjoying live music at a nearby festival.
Kayla Babicki – Ballet Basics, Jazz & Contemporary Instructor
Kayla has been dancing to “The Nutcracker” in her parents’ living room since before she could walk and started formal training at age 3. Although originally focusing just on ballet, she went on to study modern, contemporary, tap, jazz and hip hop when she joined a successful competitive dance troupe for Kicks Academy of Dance, which cross-trains dancers in all disciplines. She has studied with various choreographers you may recognize from the show “So You Think You Can Dance,” such as Travis Wall and Sonya Tayeh. Although she has spent much of her time on stage, her favorite experience was having the opportunity to dance in Walt Disney World parks. Kayla has been teaching dance to children for 7 years and her choreography has been featured in the regional competitive dance circuit. She is excited for the opportunity to share her love of expression through movement with students at Philly Dance Fitness!
Kira Stein – East Coast Swing & Ballroom Instructor
Kira is a social dance instructor for Philly Dance Fitness and a private dance instructor for its sister company, Ballroom Bliss. In her private lessons she teaches Waltz, Foxtrot, American Tango, Rumba, Salsa, East Coast Swing, Cha Cha, Bachata and Blues. In other parts of the city, you’ll find Kira coaching the UPenn Swing dancing team and volunteer teaching for the nonprofit Philadelphia Lindy and Blues. She has been a guest dance instructor at events in San Francisco (hip-hop, fusion), Denver (blues), New York (blues), Poughkeepsie (all ballroom styles), Wilmington (lindy hop, tango, blues), Lancaster (fusion), and Montreal QC (blues). In the rest of her life, this Vassar grad is a real estate developer, a sexuality educator, a sex and intimacy coach, a film festival coordinator and the president of her own nonprofit.
Sydney Schatz – Zumba Instructor
Sydney began teaching Zumba in Syracuse, New York, before moving to Philadelphia in 2014. She received a degree in Inclusive Elementary and Special Education from Syracuse University and now works as a first-grade teacher in Camden, New Jersey. Sydney has been teaching Zumba for two years and loves to share her passion for fun fitness with others.
Emily Tara Sabalbaro – Power Stretch & Sculpt Instructor
Emily Tara has been practicing yoga since 2004, hooked by the feeling of surrender that she finds on her mat. She began teaching in 2011, after a push from her instructor, and completed her 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification with formal training in mantra-based meditation. She’s since added over 40 hours of training in trauma-sensitive and post-natal instruction and recently traveled to Nepal to expand her practice.
Emily received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from American University, graduating magna cum laude. Drawn by her mantra of “Relentless Forward Motion,” she left her marketing career to pursue yoga and meditation full-time. She believes that the human body and mind are meant to be pushed to their capacity, and she enjoys inspiring students to enact measurable changes that amount to huge accomplishments, both on and off the mat.
In class, she aims to foster a supportive, all-levels environment where students feel confident. Her training in soccer and CrossFit supports an interdisciplinary approach to instruction that combines strength training and functional mobility movements, along with mindfulness and gratefulness practices.
Kyle Henry – Zumba Instructor
From late elementary school all the way up to high school, Kyle struggled with being overweight. It wasn’t until his second semester in college that he decided to do what was best for him and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Kyle saw drastic results within a few months and, with encouragement from friends and family, took on the role of vice president of the campus Health and Wellness club. At the same time, Kyle experienced his first Zumba class and instantly fell in love. After seeing that he could actually keep the beat, he decided to become a licensed instructor in April 2013. Since that moment, Kyle hasn’t been happier to say “I’m off to work!”
Gabby Bill – Director of Marketing
When Gabby was 4 years old, her mom enrolled her in dance classes in an attempt at containing her boundless energy, which she just couldn’t handle on her own. For 12 years, Gabby lived at the studio, training in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and pointe, not letting severe scoliosis (and the resulting surgery to correct it) stop her from expressing her love of movement. After transitioning her love of dance to a love of theater, Gabby performed as an actor, singer and dancer in local, regional and state performances, her favorite of which was starring as the lead role of Peggy Sawyer in the tap musical “42nd Street.” As an adult, Gabby studied journalism at the University of Florida, received her Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and went on to work in corporate marketing roles at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and Capital One for eight years. In fall 2015, Gabby decided to strike out on her own as an entrepreneur and now runs her own career coaching and marketing consulting practice, while also maintaining her 6-day-a-week workout regimen and saving lots of time to cuddle her chihuahuas, Bailey and Bella. For marketing, partnership and publicity related questions, feel free to contact her at email@example.com.
Lael Leach – Zumba and Dance Party Boot Camp Instructor
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 7, she begged her mom for a weight bench and dumbbells for Christmas, and throughout her adolescent years, 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’s been a member of numerous dance, step and drill teams and first began teaching aerobics and dance as a sophomore at Briarcliffe College. Looking for new fitness trends, Lael came across Zumba® and became a licensed instructor in 2011.
Seth Weiner – Chief Operating Officer
Seth is the technical and logistical mastermind behind Philly Dance Fitness. From website editing to stripper pole installation to developing class management software, Seth makes this company run smoothly and efficiently. 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 as a director of software engineering at Comcast to maintain his sanity – and get advice on his PDF applications.