Debra Contarino-Steele is the owner and director of Dance Images Dance & Music Center. She started her training at the age of 10, progressed to the competitive team and went onto assist in children's classes. From there, she was "hooked" on teaching children the art, and more importantly, the love of dance! Debra has studied with renown teachers all over the country and the lessons learned from these amazing talents have been beneficial in and out of the dance class. The work ethic and creativity is what keeps Dance Images Dance & Music Center growing and progressing every year. She takes pride in the talented role models that she brings her students and will always put the students first. Debra is a member of the Dance Teachers' Club of Boston, Inc and the American Society (DTCB) as well as the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association (IDEA). On top of leading her staff and managing different departments, such as recreational dance, competitive dance, preschool programs and music programs, she is the proud parent of two grown children; Erika Steele Almquist, a talented dancer/choreographer, has followed in her mother's footsteps and runs Dance Images West Dance & Music Center in Kennewick, WA and Corey Steele is a caring educator at the Arlington School in Lawrence, as well as a football coach at Andover High School.
Lisa Sanchez has been on staff at Dance Images Dance & Music Center since 1989. She is a graduate of the Dance Teachers' Club of Boston, Inc and the American Society (DTCB), where she was the recipient of the New Image Scholarship and the Elsa Kemp award for teaching aptitude. Lisa has been a guest teacher at the Walnut Hill summer dance program and the Dance Collective Intergenerational Summer Outreach Company, which she also co-directed. She is on staff at The Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, performing with ACE Entertainment and teaching for Boston Youth Moves. Whether teaching future dancers “as old as two and a half or as young as eighty,” she strives for her classes to move with energy, imagination and strong technique.
Kourtney Suliveras has been on staff at Dance Images Dance & Music Center since 1999. Kourtney started her training at the studio and quickly progressed to our talented competitive team at an early age where she won many awards both regionally and nationally. She started assisting in her teens and has become a very beloved instructor/choreographer of both our recreational and competitive programs. Kourtney has always had an amazing work ethic, a incredible love for dance and an innovative and fun teaching style. In 2013, Kourtney graduated from Merrimack College with her Bachelor of Science, Sports Medicine.
Melissa DiGiuseppe started her dance training at 5 years old at Melanie's Center for Dance Arts in Plaistow. She also trained at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Vermont as well as, L.A. Dance in Sandown, NH. Melissa performed as a backup dancer for Kaya Jones (Pussycat Dolls) and is finishing up her Associate's Degree in Dance from Dean College. We welcome Melissa to our dance family!
Tammy Ivers-Aspell is certified by “test to teach” and is a member of Dance Masters of New England Ch#5, a member of the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston, Inc with the American Society and is a graduate of their three year teacher training program. Her students are now recipients of numerous scholarships to this teacher training program.
Tammy has travelled all over and has studied with specialists in the field of dance such as Sam Fiorello, Marcus Alford of Gus Giordano, Sharon DiCrosta, David Howard, Charles Kelley, & Joe Lanteri just to name a few. She was a member of the Harborside Players Stock theater production of Cabaret. A member of the Boston Youth Theater in “Inner City Energy” – reviewed by Joyce Kulhawick as “fresh and fabulous.” She is the first winner of the East Boston Chamber of Commerce Theater Arts Scholarship and also winner of ‘Sr. Miss Tap Award’ in America’s Jr Miss Dance.
Ms Tammy was crowned Miss Merrimack Valley and competed in the Miss Massachusetts Scholarship Pageant ( a preliminary to Miss America ). She was also crowned America’s Cover Miss State Talent Winner 1992 and A.T.T. Massachusetts Miss. 1991. She was 4th runner up in the “MRS.” Massachusetts pageant. Tammy was the chairperson and organizer of the 1993 Merrimack Valley Young Woman of the Year Scholarship Program.
Tammy auditioned and was videoed for Star Search with Ed McMahon and was a dancer in Nova Star’s production When Death Comes Quickly. She was principal dancer in Dance Designs at UMass Boston and member of their theater group. She was also selected as choreographer for “A Soldier’s Tale” with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Under her tutelage her students are currently performing professionally in NYC and on the West Coast, have become independent dance instructors , Nutcracker performers, scholarship recipients for numerous dance conventions, have performed down Main Street in Walt Disney World , FL as well as Premiere Theater in Hollywood studios, and on the
Tomorrowland theater stage. They have performed at nursing homes, fundraising for muscular dystrophy, food pantries, talent & fashion shows, high school and college dance team shows and the competition teams have received both regional and national level status.
Bethany Hill has studied with the Boston Ballet School, New England School of Dance and
Concord Dance Academy. She has a Certificate in Dance Education from Northern
Essex College and is a welcome and fun addition to the Dance Images Dance & Music Center faculty.
Katie Proulx is a graduate of the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, recently returned to her home state of NH where she happily teaches dance at multiple NH and MA schools. With over 20 years of formal dance training, including classical ballet, jazz and musical theater styles, Katie’s classes are technically challenging, artistically inventive, and always inspiring. Just off two years of tour and residence contracts with Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and Great Lakes Theatre, Katie brings a range of professional theatrical experience to her students. Prior to tour Katie had been involved with numerous theater organizations here on the East Coast including the her role as the Mute in The Fantasticks at the Winnipesauke Playhouse for which she earned Best Supporting Actress in a musical at the New Hampshire Theatre awards. She has also choreographed musicals across the state including: Cabaret, Crazy For You, 42nd Street, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast and The Music Man. Previously and while in NYC, Katie created the lead role in the theatrical production, Wet: Shakespeare, and was an original company member of the Roschman Dance Company.
Donna Miceli received her training at Boston Ballet, Gus Giordano Dance Center in Chicago, and the New York City studios of Luigi and Alvin Ailey. In addition to founding the Donna Miceli Dance Ensemble and the Youth Dance Company, Ms. Miceli has instructed at Boston School of Ballet, Gus Giordano Dance Center, Jeanette Neill Dance Studio and Lowell Arts Magnet School. She has been a Master Teacher for the Dance Teachers Clubs of Boston and Maine, Dance Masters of America and Tanzwerkstatt Internationale in Bonn, Germany. The recipient of numerous awards for her performances and choreography, Ms. Miceli has choreographed for MRT and professional companies. She was a finalist in the International Choreography Competitive Event at Jazz Dance World Congress 2000 and 2003 where she received Honorable Mention awards for her work. Ms. Miceli is certified by the Dance Teachers Club of Boston and Dance Masters of America and serves as adjudicator at competitions. We are honored to have Donna join our staff!
Xavier Robbins is a break dance/hip hop instructor and has studied under dancer, actor, performer, singer, instructor, and choreographer, Jeff Jean-Phillipe. Xavier not only has a great hip hop style, he is great at helping students to understand true hip hop technique. He has taught break dancing at Planet Dance & Fitness, Eloquence Dance Center and the Greater Lowell Family YMCA and brings his positive spirit to Dance Images Dance & Music Center.
Kai Holmes was New Hampshire born and raised. While in High School, Kai was training extensively in Ballet, Pointe, Floor Barre, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Acrobatics, Musical Theatre, and Ballroom while attending conventions and competitions around the U.S. After she graduated as a N.H Scholar from High School Kai moved out to Los Angeles where she trained at the world renowned Millennium Dance Complex with the best of the best. Within her first year of living out there Kai went on the “Big Bad Bang” tour in China as a backup dancer, worked in Chris Brown's “Grass Ain’t Greener” music video, was the platform for the campaign “Because I’m A Woman,” was an atmosphere dancer at the Iheart Studios Premiere party for “Bad Moms,” and performed in multiple Choreographers Carnival pieces for Paulette Azizian, Carey Ysais, and Lydia Sweets.
Andrew Sentongo started dancing in high school when he was 17 years old. He started his own dance crew called "New Life Dance Crew". Andrew has been teaching, for the last 8 years, at various studios in and around the Boston area. Andrew's classes are fun-filled and packed with his true hip hop style!
Claudia Combs is a licensed Music Education Specialist with 15-plus years of professional teaching and directing experience in all venues including school classrooms, private and studio music lessons, musical theater productions, children's choir/chorus and show choir productions. She has been a valued staff member since 2009.
The National Association for Music Education (MENC);
New Hampshire Music Educators Association (NHMEA); Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA);
North American Music Teachers Association (NAMTA).
She holds two undergraduate degrees:
Bachelor of Music in Music Studies/Music Teaching from UMass Lowell, Lowell, MA;
Bachelor of Science in Journalism, English, and Political Science from Suffolk University, Boston, MA.
Teaching experience includes 15-plus years teaching classroom General Music Education; private music lessons instructing every instrument from piano and basic percussion, to wind, brass, strings (violin, cello, and guitar), and voice (children's choir/chorus and show choir).
Other Professional experience includes directing a multitude of children's musical theater productions, and show choir performances.
Claudia's Teaching Philosophy:
Offer all music students a "full Music Education" experience, and instilling an enthusiastic love for the joy of music within the hearts of all who take music lessons and/or music education classes with her. Every lesson is adapted to fit the individual learning styles of her students, because not all children/adults learn, understand, and absorb musical concepts the same way. Lessons not only include playing and performance basics, but also introduce music theory, music history, technique tips, and humorous stories that help bring the music/composer/historical background to life!
Derek Tanch has been on staff since 2015 and is a working music teacher and classically trained pianist of 16 years. He attended UMass Lowell, where he attained his bachelor's degree in music education in 2013. He is currently a grad student at the same university working towards his master's degree. Derek specializes, mainly, in private lessons but also does a bit of classroom teaching. He teaches students of all ages, ranging from early beginners, to much older, more advanced players. One major aspect to his approach is that he will always prioritize his students' musical, as well as personal, interests above his own. Example: If they want to learn classical, we do classical. If they'd to like learn rock music, we do rock music. If they want to learn jazz, we do jazz. If they'd like to learn video game music... you get the picture. He believes that any genre can work as an effective outlet for music learning, skill building, and shaping oneself into a more well-rounded musician. Derek believes that even new pop music (with a few obvious exceptions, i.e. Nicki Minaj... good lord...) can have worlds to offer in terms of important and overriding concepts that we take away from and then later apply to many other musical endeavors. He also emphasizes music theory in his lessons; also one of his absolute favorite things to geek out about. Derek wouldn't mind becoming a college music theory teacher one day.
Lenny Cavallaro, an accomplished pianist, was a top prizewinner in the J.S. Bach International Competition for Pianists and subsequently played that composer’s Six Partitas to the highest critical acclaim in Carnegie Recital Hall. A true “Renaissance man,” he is additionally a man of letters. He served for nine years as music critic for the New Haven Register and has recently edited and revised Paganini’s Fire, a novel based on the life of that legendary violinist, by Ann Abelson. [That work was released in November, 2011, by Stay Thirsty Press.] Cavallaro has several other works to his credit, including a novel and a one-act play. In addition, he is a therapist, maintaining a practice in Arlington, Massachusetts (cf. FourLevelHealing.com).
Cavallaro earned his Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree from West Virginia University, and has served on the music faculty of several colleges. Lenny joined dance Images Dance & Music Center in 2016.