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Samantha Melo

Owner / Director

      Born and raised in New York, Samantha began her training at the age of five with Roya Curie, former prima ballerina of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. After Curie’s passing, Samantha continued her studies with Peter and Lisa Newman of New York City Ballet and Valerie Feit of Alvin Ailey. Throughout her childhood Samantha was accepted to and attended many schools such as the Joffrey Ballet School, Alvin Ailey and the American Academy of Ballet. In 2002, Samantha attended the University of Hartford’s Hartt Conservatory on scholarship. In 2004, she was awarded a scholarship to attend Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Performance and Dance Pedagogy in 2006. Upon Graduation, Samantha became a faculty member for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Youth Ballet and began her professional dancing career.  After moving to Los Angeles, she danced principal roles with companies such as California Contemporary Ballet, Creations Dance Theatre, Media City Ballet, and Louise Reichlan’s Los Angeles Choreographers and Dancers. She was represented by both Trio and Bloch talent agencies where she booked many jobs in the entertainment business. As for teaching, Samantha taught for many different prestigious studios throughout Los Angeles as well as for the LA Unified School District. In 2011, Samantha returned to Pittsburgh where she opened The Pennsylvania Academy of Dance and accumulated over 200 students just within the first year. In 2016, she opened up a second location in Pittsburgh to expand her business which continues to grow and expand. Today, Samantha holds the prestigious title of the Dean of the Early Bird program at Debbie Allen Dance Academy and is the founder and owner of The Dance Conservatory of Los Angeles. 


Kimberly Anderson

Studio Manager

Kimberly Anderson is from Centerville, Ohio. She began her training at the South Dayton School of Dance and spent summers training at the Boston Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the American Dance Festival and attended the Craft of Choreography Conference on scholarship. She went on to graduate with honors (earning her BFA in dance) from Point Park University in 2009. After spending one season with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company's second company, she was selected for the first company where she danced professionally for five seasons and had the honor of touring the world performing works by Ronen Koresh, Donald Byrd, Ulysses Dove, Talley Beatty, Ray Mercer and countless other renowned choreographers.  She also spent time as a guest artist with Robert Priore in Washington, DC from 2012-2015. She has taught at Point Park University for both their International Summer Dance Program and been on faculty year round. She’s been manager of the Pennsylvania Academy of Dance since 2015 where she enjoys teaching all styles to ages 16 months to adult. Kimberly has set many works on the advanced group and along with Miss Samantha, created a new staging of The Nutcracker in 2017 that has grown every year since. Most recently, she has set a new piece on South Dayton Dance Theatre to be adjudicated for Regional Dance America. 


Rachel D'Amico

Ballet, Tap, Jazz

​A native of Youngstown, New York.  Her love for dance began at a very young age.  Her parents enrolled her in dance classes at the age of three.  Rachel’s love for dance continued to grow throughout her years of hard work and dedication at her studio.  She was enrolled in a competitive dance school, where she participated in several dance competitions around western New York and Niagara Falls, Canada.  Rachel continued her dance education in college and had the privilege of participating in amazing internships.  In 2005, she traveled to Chennai, India for six weeks studying classical Indian dance.  The following summer, Rachel worked at Walt Disney World in Florida as a seasonal cast member, where she danced in several parades and shows.  She graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2008 with a BA in Dance and minor in Theater. From February 2009 to January 2012, Rachel was a company member of MillerDance.  She performed in several shows, including Drum Talk, I Look at You and See Myself, Confluence at African Arts in the Park and Out of Rubble.  During this time, she also began her teaching career at Janet Hays and Company.  She gained experience teaching students ranging from ages 2 to 18 in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Lyrical, Hip Hop, and Gymnastics.  She also choreographed several pieces for local and national dance competitions.  Her works received Sophisticated Platinums, Platinums, and High Gold awards.  From fall 2011 to summer 2012, Rachel taught Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, and Hip Hop at Scriva’s Dance Studio, along with choreographing solo competition dances.  Rachel is ecstatic to begin her new adventure with Dynamic Dance Academy, where she can continue to share her love and knowledge of dance. 


Emma Brannen

Ballet, Mommy & Me

Emma grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh where she began her dance training at the age of 3. She grew up with ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, tap, character, and flamenco. Ballet has always been her favorite! Throughout high school Emma attended summer programs at BalletMet and Point Park University. She also competed in the Youth American Grand Prix. She has performed in numerous musicals since the age of 7 and loved to act! Performing in classical ballets has always been a big part of her school years. Some favorite roles include Clara and The Sugar Plum (The Nutcracker), Odalisque (Le Corsaire), Carabosse (Sleeping Beauty), Fairy Godmother and Step Sister (Cinderella). 

Emma found her love and passion for teaching at 15 when she would substitute teach at West Point Ballet. Since then she has continued to grow and learn as an instructor. She wants every dancer to find fulfillment and the love that dance can bring. Emma is looking forward to the upcoming season and is very excited to begin her next chapter in life with Pennsylvania Academy of Dance!


Gerard Holt


​Mr. Holt began dancing at the school of the Hartford Ballet.  At sixteen, Mr. Holt was offered an apprenticeship with the Hartford Ballet Company where he performed soloist roles in “The Nutcracker” and began learning the Balanchine repertoire.  His professional training includes The Dance Theatre of Harlem School, the School of American Ballet and the School of the San Francisco Ballet, all of which he attended as a scholarship and stipend student.

Mr. Holt’s professional career includes the San Francisco Ballet, the Richmond Ballet, the State Ballet of Missouri (now Kansas City Ballet), Ballet Met in Columbus Ohio and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  Mr. Holt joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 1990 and was featured in works such as Choo San Ghoos’ “In the Glow of the Night,” “Beginnings” and  “Configurations,” as well as the Balanchine works “La Sonnombula”, Balanchines "Nutcracker" and “Allegro Brilliante”, and contemporary ballets including Sir Kenneth McMillan’s “Elite Syncopations", Lynne Taylor- Corbetts "Gottschalk", Lisa de Riberes "The Mighty Casey", and Alvin Ailey's "The River".

While a member of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Mr. Holt taught ballet classes throughout the greater Pittsburgh area at such schools as the Laurel Ballet, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Ballet Baroque, Rodgers School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts.  He was on staff for two years at Point Park University and was ballet master for five years at the Western Pennsylvania Performing Arts Company in Vandergrift, Pa.  Mr. Holt became the Artistic Director of the La Roche College Dance Department in January 2001 until May 2010.  In June of 2010 Mr. Holt returned as Principal Ballet Instructor for Sandra Lynn School of Dance.  During this time, from June 2010 to May 2013, Mr. Holt also served as ballet instructor for the Father Ryan Arts Center under the centers director Ms. Pat Moran, and program co-ordinator Ms. Staycee Pearl.

Currently, Mr. Holt is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Mid-Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Company, which he founded with colleague Miriam Scigliano in April of 2008. In May 2014, Mr. Holt became the Director of Curriculum and Ballet Master for Impact Dance Center, a new pre-professional dance center headed by colleague Cherie Cox Habian.  Mr. Holt is also an adjunct ballet instructor at Point Park University.


Katie Shurman

Ballet, Musical Theater, Acting, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz

Katie Schurman grew up in Sewickley, Pa and began her dance training at Carol Leone and The Sewickley School of Performing Arts. Katie went on to attend Point Park University where she received her B.A in dance in 2010. She has since worked with The Mid- Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Company and Continuum Dance Theater and continues to work in numerous movies, commercials and music videos. 

Katie has been teaching for over a decade in the genres of ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary and musical theater and is excited to spread her love of performing with her students at the Pennsylvania Academy of Dance! 


Katie Montefiori

Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz, Modern

Katie Montefiori began her dance training in Erie, Pennsylvania at Marguerite’s Academy of Dance and graduated from Mercyhurst Preparatory High School at the master level within the dance program. She continued her dance training at Seton Hill University, receiving a Bachelors degree in Dance Pedagogy. She performed as a soloist for university faculty pieces and guest artists, including Kenneth Nickel, Gerard Holt, Attack Theatre, and Spilling Ink, a Classical Indian Dance Company. Katie has performed at the Historic Mazur Theatre in New York City, along with the Erie Festival of Dance at Mercyhurst University and the Baltimore Dance Invitational.  Also, traveling to Montreal, Canada, Katie performed alongside principal dancers in “The Nutcracker” with the Eddy Touissant Ballet Company. She set choreography for the Seton Hill University Musical Theatre Workshop course, where she served as lead choreographer. As a way to give back to the community, Katie was a student instructor for Seton Hill’s Exceptional Needs dance class, where she worked with children with Autism and Down Syndrome. Currently, Katie continues her dance career teaching at local Pittsburgh studios and working on occasional projects with the Mid-Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Company under the direction of Gerard Holt. 


Kyle Sangil


Bio coming soon!

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