MEET OUR FACULTY AND STAFF

The Next Step School of Dance faculty members are certified dance educators with numerous years of teaching,certification, 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. Our staff takes 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, and, of course the students who get great joy out of dancing!

Here are some of the Programs our teachers have completed certifications from: 

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Julie Schirm 
Artistic Director/Owner

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Miss Julie is the Artistic Director/Owner of The Next Step School since January 2022. Miss Julie has been a member of the studio family for over 26 years, starting at the age of 2.5 under the direction of previous owners Bonnie Walker and Nancy Carole.  While a student at the studio, she was a member of the Award Winning N. C. Dance Company,  an assistant teacher and participated as a dancer in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Camp Broadway, as well as participated in musicals throughout her school and community theatre programs.  Miss Julie was the Office Manager/Enrollment Coordinator for many years at the studio before taking on her new role. She can also be found in the classroom with students in all levels, as well as our Hip Hop and Musical Theatre Classes. She received her NJ High School Dance Completion Certificate from High Tech High School, as well as graduated with a BS in Business Administration from William Paterson University in 2015. She has received certificate completions from MTJGD Teacher Programs, as well as Lisa Howell Stretch & Flexibility Courses. Miss Julie is excited to share her love and passion of dance with each and every student, and continue to strive to grow into the best teacher and leader she can be!

Crystal Mann

Assistant Director/ 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 has been teaching for over 10 years at The Next Step School of Dance where she is the Assistant Director of the school and the Dance Company Director. Miss Crystal has a true passion for education and the arts and hopes to inspire her students to be more than just great dancers 

Bonnie Walker
Administrative Manager

Miss Bonnie is the former 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. In 2014, Miss Bonnie began the Praise Team, this group of dancers donate their tuition to local organizations each month and focus on the many gifts and talents that they have been given. With her faculty & staff, Miss Bonnie continues to bring the same quality dance training to local student’s that has been offered for 47 years.  In 2015, Miss Bonnie became 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. MTJGD, “We don’t teach kids to make great dancers,we teach dance to make great kids”, Misty Lown, founder. Miss Bonnie is also a  current member of DEA , ADTNJ, a New Jersey based Association of Dance Teachers, and NJBIA (New Jersey Business & Industry Association). Come dance with us, join us in class and stay for community!!! Miss Bonnie will be retiring in June 2022. 

Christine DiBrita

Teacher

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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 has just received her Master's Degree in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt. 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!

Katarina Barbosa

Pre-School Coordinator/ Teacher/Assistants Program Director

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 our Pre-School curriculum Director. Miss Katarina has been a part of your dance family for over 19 years. She is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with each and every one of her students this year!

Mallory Nolting

Teacher

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Mallory began dancing at the age of two and soon began performing with her studio's competition team. Growing up, not only did she dance in the competition circuit but also performed with Camp Broadway in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NJPAC's Summer Conservatory, Random Farms Kids Theatre and The Broadway Workshop. She continued her training by attending Marymount Manhattan College, receiving a Bachelor of the Arts in Dance, concentrating in Teaching Dance Arts. She also studied at Broadway Dance Center in their Summer Professional Semester and attended the Goodspeed Opera House Musical Theatre Dance Intensive. Soon after college Mallory began her professional career in performance, teaching, and choreography. Mallory has taught many master classes and workshops around the country while she was on tour. Her favorite performance credits include; 42nd Street National Tour, Swing The Musical! on Norwegian Cruise Line, Holiday Inn at Papermill Playhouse and most recently the first national tour of Bandstand!

Mikaela Papasodero 
Teacher

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Mikaela Papasodero is from Middleboro, MA. She received her training from The Gold School under the direction of Rennie Gold. While at The Gold School she was a member of Project Moves Dance Company and had the opportunity to work with artists such as Tyce Diorio, Teddy Forance, and many more. Mikaela graduated Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance Performance from The Hartt School at The University of Hartford in 2019. She has had the pleasure to perform works by Shannon Gillen, Paul Taylor, Jose Limon, Manuel Vignouelle, Bryan Arias, Martha Graham, Katie Stevenson-Nollet, Debra Collins-Ryder, Ralph Perkins, and Stephen Pier. Mikaela has had the pleasure of teaching the Music and Movement class at PCC in 2017. She was the Dance teacher for Boston Children's Theater summer program in 2019. She was also an instructor for Sparkidz (an Organization offering dance classes to children with special needs).