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.
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.
An alumnus of Southern NH Dance Theater, Valerie continued her training with Oklahoma City Ballet and Burklyn Ballet Theatre. She has performed with FreeFall Contemporary Dance Company and Saving Grace Dance Ensemble. Valerie has also worked with such notable instructors as Lynn Cote, Robert Mills, Jacob Sparso, Thom Clower, Ashley Walton, Donn Edwards, Benjamin Briones, Jeremy Collins, Lori Mello, Arthur Leeth, John Gardner and Peter Pawlyshyn. Her performing credits include The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Giselle to name a few.
Donna Miceli (Guest Artist)
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!
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!
Alicia grew up dancing at the Donna Miceli Dance Center where she trained in all styles and began her assistant career. She has received the top regional scholarships from conventions like The Pulse, West Coast Dance Explosion, NYCDA, Jump, and many others throughout the country training under top choreographers featured on SYTYCD. She was a member of the Divison 1 Hofstra University Dance Team, earning herself two National Championship titles as well as her minor in Dance. She was also a member of the 2016 USA Dance Team competing at the ICU World Competition and earning a World Championship title. She was most recently cast as an ensemble dancer in the production of Grease at the Palace Theatre. Today she continues to train and assist while also teaching at studios throughout the MA and NH area. She is thrilled to be a part of the Dance Images Dance & Music family and can’t wait to share her love and knowledge of dance to these talented students!
Courtney was a student at Dance Images Dance & Music Center for fourteen years. Over the years, she was a member of the Dance Images Dance & Music Center Competitive team. Courtney also assisted dance classes until she moved on to teaching her own preschool classes. Throughout her college years, she worked at a dance studio in Shirley, Massachusetts, where she taught many styles of dance to students that ranged from three to eighteen years of age. She graduated from Fitchburg State with a Bachelor's Degree in Education and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Special Education. Courtney is currently working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the second through fourth grades at an Elementary School in Lowell, Massachusetts. With her background, knowledge, passion and dedication for dance, the Rhythm Works Integrative Dance society has intensified her devotion to the special needs community and we are excited for her to be a part of this beautiful journey!
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.
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.