Jacqueline DiCanio

Owner, Director & Teacher

Born and raised on Long Island, Jacqueline DiCanio is the owner and Artistic Director of Prestige Performing Arts, conveniently located in the hamlet of East Northport. After completing 16 years of dance training both in Manhattan and on Long Island, she continued to train and teach the art of dance in three different studios while completing her Bachelor's degree in Accounting/Business. After weighing her options and career goals she was able to quickly achieve her childhood dream of opening a dance studio enabling her to share her love of dance with kids of all ages.

 

Beginning her own training at age 3, Jackie began to compete in the dance world by age 6, performing in many senior numbers and senior choreography at a young age. She trained in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, musical theater, contemporary and hip hop. At 8 she already made the cut to dance professionally as a NY Knick’s City Kid, and as a Lil’ Torch for the NY Liberty. Jackie trained in Manhattan under the direction of Heather VanArdsdel, and performed at Madison Square Garden for 3 years. During those years she also performed on various programs such as WB11, Good Day NY, Fox and Friends, PIX Morning News, and the MSG Network. She performed live at the nationally broadcast NBA All Star Game in Houston Texas in 2006. In 2007 she danced in a music video shoot with 50 Cent for "I Get Money," and later danced in The Bee Movie music video that same year. Jacqueline also performed on the Island as a background dancer for Al Calderon, (X-Factor finalist in 2013). In 2017 Jacqueline had the opportunity to tour China as captain of a professional USA Dance Team for China Hoops.

 

Continuing to take various workshops and master classes throughout the years in Hip Hop, this genre has become Jacqueline’s passion. She had years of training from Long Island's Jordan Viscomi (of Ian Eastwood’s Young Lions on The World of Dance 2017 ), Megz Alfonso, (2015 So you Think You Can Dance finalist), and California’s Chris Jones, (You Got Served). She has also performed the choreography of Chicago’s Gil Mata, and California’s Nick Zborowski, (Adrenaline). During her years choreographing for various competition teams on the Island, Jacqueline has been the recipient of outstanding choreography awards. She was quickly sought out to teach in 5 different studios before the age of 20 after LI directors got to know her.

 

Currently, Jackie’s goal is to share in the same amazing journey that she had growing up in the dance world. She has learned many life lessons that have continued to be an inspiration to her own success over the years. Hard work, perseverance, time management, diligence, dedication and loyalty has helped her through many of life’s challenges and will be lessons needed for any child in today’s society. Dance allowed her to experience the importance of being a part of something larger than herself. Most rewarding, performing allowed Jackie to experience the energy and excitement of being center stage while becoming one with her body and the music. It has always been her dream to share this feeling with her students. Over the years her dance teams have fostered lifelong bonds through mentors, teammates, “dance moms” and students. Jackie has always said that keeping dance in her life was the best part of life. She is continually inspired and is in constant pursuit to share these same possibilities with the next generation of performers.

  Joseph Mato

  Teacher

 Joseph was born and raised on Long Island, New York. He first stepped foot into the dance world at the age of four, training in all styles of dance from Ballet to Hip Hop. Joe’s first professional gig was as a Knicks City Kid and ‘lil Torch performing at Madison Square Garden during New York Knicks and Liberty games for three years. He performed with the KCK on the Today Show, and had the opportunity to dance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade for Sesame Street. His music videos were performances for Kidz Bop #16 “Fire Burnin" and Drew Jacobs “Got Me Like Whoa." He also was a background dancer for Mariah Carey and Eddie Money performances.

 

Joseph has earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Pace Universitiy’s Commercial Dance Program. Pace has given him the opportunity to work with well known choreographers, such as Rhonda Miller, Scott Jovovitch, Jess Hendricks, Dee Caspery, Mandy Moore, Martha Nichols, Paul McGill, and Luam. Joe had the opportunity to train with the best of the best during an LA Intensive program learning to perform and choreograph for film. Joe is signed with the well known Bloc Talent Agency. He recently danced in the Jonas Brother's "Only Human" music video and was in a Macy’s Web Commercial for Alfani Suits. He was also involved in the print Catalog for Nike’s NFL ’47 Brand clothes line. Joe has also earned his certification in Stage Combat, under the training of Fight Master Michael Chin.

 

Joseph has an amazingly outgoing personality that has shined on stage in lead roles of High School plays such as “The Producers” and “Hair Spray.” He has also worked with children of all ages as a head counselor for Longwood Summer Recreational Camp for over 8 years. He has taught at several dance studios on Long Island, as well as Hunter College, and is more than ready to make his mark with choreography and instruction. Joseph is now studying at Hunter College to receive his Master’s in Dance Education.

Mandi Kovalevich

Teacher

Mandi Kovalevich was born and raised in Islip Terrace N.Y. She started dancing at the age of 3 and hasn't stopped since! She attended BOCES for the Performing Arts in high school, as well as being captain of the East Islip Kickline team. Training and teaching most of her life at David Sanders Dance Dynamics, Mandi came to understand the significance in each style of dance. She has experience training and teaching in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, acrobatics, theater, musical theater, kickline, and pre-school classes. While Mandi has been doing each style of dance, she found her passion when her tap shoes hit the floor! 

     

Mandi has also dedicated herself to teaching children with special needs. As a special needs instructor for over 10 years, Mandi believes, and has proven, that disabilities are actually unique abilities! Each child can and will shine!

     

Mandi’s goal is to help each student find their own passion and bring it to the stage. As an award-winning tap teacher, Mandi proves that she brings her love, experience, and passion for the art of dance into every class.

Nancy Schmidt

Teacher

Nancy is the former Owner, Artistic Director & Dance Teacher of Spotlight Dance Academy in Stony Brook, NY (2001-2015). She previously owned Dance Ten Unlimited, Inc. Astoria, NY (1985-1992).

 

In 1995 Nancy joined the professional teaching staff with the Joan Marie Stroud School of Dance also of Stony Brook. In addition to teaching she held the position as Company Manager for the Joan Marie Stroud Dance Company (1998-2001). In June of 2001 she purchased the Joan Marie Stroud School of Dance & in June of 2004 she renamed the school Spotlight Dance Academy.

 

Throughout 1995-2000, Nancy had worked for Frank Ohman School of Ballet (tap/jazz program); Northeast Dance Academy & North Shore Studio of Dance; She was the choreographer for Rocky Point High School’s 1998’s “My Fair Lady,” 1999’s “Guys & Dolls,” & 2000’s “Carousel.”

She started dancing at age 3 & she continued throughout her years in Tap & Jazz. Starting at age 7 she was with The Jack School of Dance in Valley Stream, NY. She became a “Jack Young Girl” at the age of 10, the youngest to perform at various community & special events on Long Island. She started teaching at age 19 for the Downs School of Music & Dance in Valley Stream, NY in Tap & Jazz. She trained professionally at the Downs School of Music & Dance in Ballet under the direction of Miss Darrell Coates & Miss Sandra Arlia and in Manhattan under the direction of David Howard/Ballet; Luigi at Luigi’s Jazz Centre & Joseph Pugliese/Jazz.

Known by her former students as “Miss Nancy” she looks forward to sharing her passion & knowledge of dance. Her goals for the next generation of dancers is for them to be enriched, enlightened & to have their spirits lifted through dance!

 

With 35+ years of teaching experience Nancy is thrilled to be returning to dance at Prestige Performing Arts under the Ownership & Artistic Direction of Jacqueline DiCanio.

Marissa Mato

Teacher

Born and raised on Long Island, Marissa has always had a passion for dance, choreography, and art. Since the age of seven, Marissa has been a competitive dancer for TJE Dance Force in Holbrook. Marissa is trained in jazz, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, and musical theatre. In her high school days, Marissa was a Varsity Arrowette for Sachem North High School. She has taught for various dance studios and also coached one of Sachem’s middle school dance teams for two years. Marissa has worked professionally for Kidz Bop, performing in a music video for Fire Burning in 2009.

    Further pursuing her love for art and helping others, Marissa finished her Bachelors of Science in Art Therpay at LIU Post and is currently working towards her Masters Degree in Art Education at Adelphi University. Marissa is extremely excited to work for the amazing Jacqueline DiCanio at Prestige Performing Arts!

Shannon Booth

Teacher

Shannon is a mother of two beautiful children who has been dancing, working and sharing her love for dance since she was a little girl. She has studied all styles of dance including ballet/pointe, tap, jazz, musical theater,  lyrical, contemporary and acro. Shannon grew up on her dance school's competition team where she competed all across the East Coast sweeping the competition scene and continued on through her college years dancing and performing.  For the last 15 years, she has been teaching  all styles of dance to kids of all ages at several studios across the Island. In addition, she has spent the last five years working for Legacy Dance Companionship as a back stage manager. She has had the privilege of working with three different dance companies over the years and has choreographed quite a few national award  winning numbers. Shannon performed in the Jamming with the Jets half time show and danced many years in the Easter Parade during her  college years.  She also worked and performed with a traveling adult tap company in 2015. She loves to share her passion and love for dance with children. She loves watching them grow and guides them to follow their dreams. "There is nothing like loving your job and being surrounded by people who share your same talents. I'm so happy and excited to start another journey here with Prestige Performing Arts and look forward to this upcoming year!! NOW....a 5678......dance :)"

Keri Wirth

Music Teacher

Keri is a self-taught musician. She has been singing and writing songs from the time she was 10 years old.  She graduated from Cornell University 1996. There she studied Pre-Med, played four years of Division 1 soccer, and sang the national anthem at sporting events. Unfortunately, when she graduated Cornell, she was disheartened.  She was either going to spend the rest of her life with cadavers in hospitals or sing “hello my baby, hello my darling,” on Broadway. Neither choice was inspiring. she wanted to make a difference both scientifically and creatively. She was determined to find a way to bring these two sides of myself together.

 

Keri moved to Manhattan and went to NYU Physical Therapy school during the day and sang her own songs in clubs at night. She graduated from PT school and completed a dance music CD in 2006 called Becoming. At this point, music became my life. A developmental deal with Sony records and other music labels were on the horizon. She absolutely loved writing and recording but performing was a difficult task. Her severe stage fright was holding her back from musical success. She had to learn to relax in front of an audience so she decided the best way to do that was to practice in front of children.

 

In, 2007, Keri began her music education for children in NYC through a course called Music Together. Her fears were suffocated and she was rejuvenated by the response the kids had to her. Everything felt natural. She finally felt calm had found her calling. She began to write music that would appeal to both children and adults. After completing her training, she was offered to own her own Music Together franchise in Greenwich Village. She declined because she wanted to write and teach her own music.  She began to write her own curriculum.  Two years later, Me and You Music by Keri Wirth debuted on the Lower East Side. There must have been a need for a music class that was more contemporary because within three weeks, catapulted from 7 mommies to 20!!

 

In 2010, Keri was hired through Winthrop University Hospital to teach Me and You Music by Keri Wirth at Destination Maternity. She then became the music teacher at Greentrees School and Camp in Syosset for 4 years. Now, she has weekly classes at Prestige Performing Arts. Birthday parties and concerts have also become a popular part of her routine. She is proud to say, she has finally found what she is supposed to be doing. The belief to do what you love and love what you do is possible.  She hopes her passion is contagious.

Laura Simmons

Teacher

Laura Simmons started Gymnastics at the age of four and then became a competitive all-around gymnast at Gold Medal Gymnastics Huntington for the next ten years. She went on to serve as the captain of Commack Middle School Gymnastics team. Laura has been teaching Gymnastics for the past 13 years and specializing in Acro for the past five years. She has also been teaching competition Acro for the past three years.

 

Laura has a Bachelors of Science from LIU Post with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a strong enthusiasm for both fitness and Nutrition. When she isn't at the dance studio she pursues a career  as a Nutritionist/Nutrition Educator for Cornell University teaching all ages from Pre-k to Senior Citizens and everyone in between. Laura has a strong passion for coaching and encouraging students to reach their goals and full potential.

 

Laura is so grateful and excited to be a part of Prestige Performing Arts' family and to continue to do what she loves most.

Fran Ferriso

Zumba Instructor

Fran is a nationally certified fitness instructor (AFAA) with 20 years of teaching group fitness classes.  She has led classes in Step, Strength, Kickboxing, and Pilates since 1998.

     

In October of 2003, Fran became certified to lead Zumba classes.  She was among the first 100 worldwide and the first in Suffolk County! That is her and the creator of Zumba, Beto Perez, at her certification in Miami! Since then, she has received her training and certification in Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold and most recently, Aqua Zumba !

     

Fran sticks to the Original Formula when creating her classes: 

70% Latin Rhythms and 30% other international (including American) rhythms. 

   

"I felt then, and still feel, that Zumba and its many expressions, is my passion!"

 

So, "join the party !" -- no dance experience needed - just love to dance !   

© 2018 Prestige Performing Arts.

All Rights Reserved.

295B Larkfield Road East Northport, NY 11731

prestigeperformingartsny@gmail.com 

Tel 631-651-8878

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