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MEET OUR FACULTY AND STAFF

     The Next Step School of Dance, formerly Nancy Carole School of Dance, faculty members are certified dance educators with numerous years of teaching and national tour experience. Faculty members continually study by attending conventions and workshops so they may bring the latest trends in dance to their students. Several are or have been members of the award-winning "The Next Step Dance Company". They also take pride in the accomplishments of their students who perform for local benefits, take top honors in local competitions, and even moved on to the Broadway stage! They are also equally as proud of their recreational dancers who perform on the stage for the very first time, or just get the step they've been working on for weeks, or the ones who show the love of dance- just by dancing!!!

Bonnie Walker

Owner/Artistic Director

Miss Bonnie is the Owner and Artistic Director of The Next Step School of Dance. Miss Bonnie achieved her teaching certification from Dance Educators of America in NYC and studied with the New Jersey School of Ballet. After 12 years as Nancy Carole’s business partner, Miss Bonnie, took complete reigns of the business in December of 2009. Wanting to put more ballet into her student’s repertoire she began the Ballet Ensemble in 2010. They are a performing and competitive group of talented ballet students. In 2014, Miss Bonnie began the Praise Team, this group of dancers donate their tuition to local organizations each month. With her faculty & staff, Miss Bonnie continues to bring the same quality dance training to local student’s that has been offered for 45 years.  She is a member of More Than Just Great Dancing an affiliation of studio owners who provide their students with quality dance curriculum, appropriate costumes and music. Miss Bonnie is also a  current member of DEA and  ADTNJ, a New Jersey based Association of Dance Teachers. Come dance with us, join us in class and stay for community!!!

Julie Padinha 

Office Manager/Enrollment Coordinator / Teacher

Miss Julie has been a member of the studio family for over 20 years. She was a student at Nancy Carole School of Dance for 15 years and was part of the award winning N.C. Dance Company for 10 years. Besides taking classes with some fantastic choreographers, she was a high school dance major, as well as a dancer in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and has volunteered at the WHAT Co. Educational Program in Kearny. She is a graduate from from William Paterson University where she graduated with a BS in Business Administration and aspires to have a career in dance education and open her own studio. While at the studio Miss Julie is the Office Manager/Enrollment Coordinator, as well as the Spirit Director and is responsible for the Social Media outreach. She also is a teacher who loves working with students in all levels, from Dance Academy, Teen and Company Classes, as well as the Boys Only Classes. 

Tracey Sowa

Teacher

Crystal Mann

Assistant Director/ Assistant Company Director/Teacher

Miss Crystal is originally from Maryland and started her dance career at the age of 7. While in Maryland, Miss Crystal attended a performing arts high school majoring in dance and had the opportunity to dance with Ballet Nova, Dance Institute of Washington, and Dance Theater of Harlem. As a senior in high school, Miss Crystal was awarded the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Award in dance. During her college years, Crystal appeared in many theater/dance productions and also became a member of the Washington Wizards Dance Team. During her tenure on the Washington Wizards Dance Team, Miss Crystal was selected to be a part of the first ever NBA All-Star dance team in Las Vegas and worked with famed choreographer, Laurie Ann Gibson.  After graduating college, Miss Crystal signed with BLOC, a talent agency that represents dancers and choreographers and moved to the NYC area. Through her agent, Miss Crystal danced and performed for many recording artist and appeared in various television shows, videos, commercials and print ads.  Miss Crystal was also a member of the New York Jets Cheerleading team commonly known as the Flight Crew for the 2010/2011 season. Currently, Miss Crystal is entering her 10th year teaching at The Next Step School of Dance where she is the Assistant Director of the school and the Dance Company. 

Michelle Ortega

Pre-School Coordinator/Teacher

Miss Michelle has been teaching at the next step school of dance for over 12 
years.   Miss Michelle comes from a broad range of dance disciplines. She has competed in competitions all over the country. Michelle studied dance from all the finest teachers in New York City at Broadway Dance Center. She attended Bergen Community College majoring in theater/ dance and was also dance club president. Michelle specializes in hiphop, jazz, children's dance programs, adult fitness and choreographs for The Next Step Dance Company. Miss Michelle is also the head of our PreSchool Program and Curriculum. She is certified in acrobatic arts, aerobics, and has trained all over new york and New Jersey.  Michelle loves to dance and teach all ages how to dance too.

Katarina Barbosa

Pre-School Coordinator/ Teacher/Assistants Program Director

Miss Tracey was one of our dancers for 13 years, and an original member of our award winning dance company.  Her favorite part of the “dance experience” was always in the classroom, both as a student and as a teacher.  With a background in professional church ministry, Miss Tracey is excited to help coordinate the Praise Team, where students have the opportunity to give back through their passion for dance and The Lord.  Miss Tracey also coordinates the Class Assistants Program and our costume distribution.  

Kayla Huegel

Birthday Party Coordinator/Teacher

Miss Kayla has been a member of the studio for 17 years and was part of the award winning N.C. Dance Company for 8 years. While in the N.C. Dance Company, she performed in Walt Disney World, Six Flags and at many charity events and parades. Miss Kayla received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science in 2015, and has recently received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Sacred Heart University. While at the studio, Miss Kayla teaches company classes, dance academy classes, and our Dancing Birthday Parties. Miss Kayla looks forward to sharing her love of dance with each one of her students this year!

Kelly Huegel

Teacher

Miss Kelly has been a member of the dance studio for 18 years.  She was a member of the award winning N.C. Dance Company, now the Next Step Dance Company for many years.  Miss Kelly danced in Walt Disney World, 6 Flags, and many other events! Miss Kelly attends Montclair State University where she will be receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Speech Pathology and Audiology in January 2018! Miss Kelly is looking forward to working with many children in our recreational program this year! 

Kathie Cockcroft

Front Desk Staff

Miss Kathie joined our front desk staff 6 years ago. She has three daughters who have all danced so she is very familiar with the life of a dancer! Miss Kathie loves to sew and make crafts in her "spare time"!

Jake Corcoran

Teacher

Jake Corcoran originally hails from Marblehead, MA where he grew up dancing at his mothers studio A Dancers Dream. He then trained at the University of Northern Colorado, graduating with a BA in musical theatre with a dance minor. He spent the past year on the first national tour of Suzan Stroman's "Bullets Over Broadway" as Mitchell Sabine.  He is now based in New York, continuing to perform and create. His current project "FALL" is a dance video series produced by co-founded team Foundation Hall Productions. Other credits include "Spring Awakening" (choreographer), "Altar Boyz" (choreographer/swing), "Once in a Lifetime" (choreographer, porter), "SWING!" (Associate choreographer, dance captain), and original productions "11/142" and "Airglow" (co-choreographer). Jake is currently teaching private lessons and for the NSSD Dance Company! 

Miss Katarina was a student at Nancy Carole School of Dance for 15 years and was part of the award winning NC Dance Company. She also traveled with Dance Olympus as a VIP and studied with choreographers from around the country.  Miss Katarina has also had her certification in Acrobatic Arts since August 2015. She is also one of our Pre-School curriculum Director. Miss Katarina has been a part of your dance family for 19 years. She is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with each and every one of her students this year!

Caitlin Walker

Teacher

Miss Caitlin is so excited to begin the new season of dance! This year will be her 20th year with the Next Step School of Dance. She was part of the award winning Next Step Dance Company (Formerly Nancy Carole Dance Company) for many years. In high school, she started assistant teaching classes. After assistant teaching, she became a student teacher for her Senior Year of High School. After graduating high school, she became a teacher. She is entering her Senior Year of college at Montclair State University where she studies Family Science and Human Development. She is expected to graduate in May of 2018!!Miss Caitlin works with the dance academy classes, specialty classes, and company classes. She can not wait to meet all her new students this year!

Rachel McFadden

Accounts Manager

Miss Rachel is one of our front desk secretaries. She is a long-time employee of The Next Step School of Dance. She is also one of our former dancers and an original member of the N.C Dance Co. Miss Rachel teaches ballet, tap and jazz to children and teens with special needs through the Special Angels program, and she often fills in as a substitute dance instructor here at The Next Step School of Dance. Fun Fact: born on the 4th of July.

Christine DiBrita

Teacher

Christine DiBrita is a returning member to the Next Step School of Dance. She has danced with the Competition Team ever since it was still known as the Nancy Carole School of Dance Company. In 2014, Christine was a student teacher at the Next Step and grew a passion for teaching dance. She took this passion and attended Rider University, studying Dance and Elementary Education. In May of 2018, Christine graduated Rider University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance and Elementary Education and decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Dance Education at New York University. She has trained with exceptional teachers and companies such as Randy James and the 10 Hairy Legs, Cheryl Whitney, Jennifer Gladney, Geoffrey Doig-Marx, and more. She has worked as a substitute teacher at the Princeton Ballet School, teaching early childhood and elementary ballet classes. In addition, Christine is also a member of the NDEO, also known as the National Dance Education Organization. Christine is very excited to be back at the Next Step School of Dance. She is excited to meet her new students and have fun dancing with them!

Ian Saunders

Teacher

Mr. Ian, while new to teaching, is not new to all boys classes as he grew up and studied at his dance studio where there were more than 100 boys enrolled.  He has danced jazz, tap, ballet, and technique classes geared towards male dancing from incredible teachers.  Professionally, he has danced regionally in Chicago, Connecticut, Kansas City, and Ogunquit, Maine as well as danced on the First National Tourt of Bullets Over Broadway where he danced in the all men tapping show stopper “T’aint Nobody’s Bizness.”  While jazz is his forte, he has a passion for hip-hop, tap, and ballet that he learned from many master classes and conventions from some of the top in the industry including Dana Wilson (Justin Timberlake dancer/NYCDA), Alphonse Poullin (Multiple Ballet Companies/Former Juilliard Faculty), Tara Foy (Nevada Ballet Theatre), Scott Jovovich (Multiple broadway credits/NYCDA), Mike Shulster (Revolution/NYCDA), and Travis Wall (So You Think You Can Dance/NYCDA).