At The Dance Academy, we place a strong emphasis on the quality of dance education as well as personal growth. We know you’ll gain confidence, poise, and a strong work ethic by dedicating yourself to dance and we do everything we can to shape that ethos.
Our dance teachers pride themselves on their dedication to teaching and meeting the various needs of each student. Whether it be a preschool student building the confidence to try tap class, a middle school student wanting to audition for the school play, or a high school student with dreams of becoming a member of a college dance team or even a professional career on Broadway we can provide the dance education that will help your child achieve his or her goals.
Each faculty member has been personally selected by the artistic director, Ms. Donnajean Kline. These highly trained educators are not only accomplished dancers, but also have the exceptional ability to communicate their skills to our students and truly understand their impact on all of the student’s ethical, moral, emotional and mental development.
Donnajean is the artistic director and creator of The Dance Academy in Holland, Pa. She had a vision from an early age and was determined to open a dance school that could become a second home to all students. “My goal was and still is to offer high quality dance education that enables students to discover themselves, establish self-confidence, and a positive sense of self-esteem,” states Donnajean.
Miss Donnajean was enrolled in dance class at the age of three to help her overcome her extreme shyness. As a young dancer she studied with Isobel Stewart-Johnson and then in New York City with Charles Kelly and various other master teachers. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple University College of HPERD, was honored to receive the Outstanding Senior Award and was named to the Who’s Who list in American Colleges and Universities.
In 1987, Donnajean and her husband Ramo, along with the support of their parents opened The Dance Academy. A dream that started at the age of eight, became a reality. With the constant love and support of family over the years they have been able to nurture and develop The Dance Academy into the multifaceted school that it is today.
Donnajean has obtained her Dance Masters of America certification. And over the years, has received numerous such as, The Diamond Award for choreography multiple times through the years; the Class Act Award for age appropriate material representing the studio and good showmanship from TDA students; and the Living Legacy Award of distinction, 2014.
She has been recognized for contributions to community service and believes that it is extremely important to give back to the community and to teach the children to give as early as possible.
Donnajean strives each day to offer a level of dance education and curriculum that is designed to enable each student to attain the goals they set for themselves whether that be weekly enjoyment, a community theater company, a college dance team or a professional performer gracing the stage of Radio City Music Hall, Broadway or perhaps performing around the world on tour.
Donnajean considers it a privilege each day to unlock the studio door and share her knowledge and love of dance with the students and their families. In her words, “someone once told me that ‘to teach is to touch a life forever.’ To have the opportunity to make a positive impact on our future generations is of great importance to me.”
Miss Ashton grew up studying tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical and acro for 23 years at The Dance Academy; and furthered her craft at the Broadway Dance Center, New York City Dance Alliance and West Coast Dance Explosion. She then went onto Hofstra University and performed with Dance Works, the university dance company for four years. Miss Ashton graduated magna cum laude with honors from Hofstra University and then found her way back to The Dance Academy as an instructor. You can also find Miss Ashton choreographing musicals for the Neshaminy School District and local Newtown community organizations.
Miss Ashton’s love of dance has led her to teaching and choreographing because dance teaches personal discipline not only in the studio, but in life. In her kind hearted, supportive and persistent manner; helping students from the age of three to eighteen; she works with each child to help them grow to be confident, accomplished and sophisticated dancers.
Miss Nicole began dancing at The Dance Academy at the young age of three. Before she knew it, 15 years had been spent at The Dance Academy taking classes in jazz, lyrical, ballet and tap. Miss Nicole’s love of dance was so strong that she spent countless hours at the studio as a member of the dance team and attended many competitions and workshops.
Miss Nicole is a graduate from the University of Delaware and was a member of the Sesame Street Live tour in the United States and abroad for five years. She’s found her way back to The Dance Academy as her true passion is dance; especially tap. “I love mentoring and working with the students; seeing them develop and refine their skills and grow into young adults is very gratifying,” says Miss Nicole and “I am fortunate to be part of the TDA family.”
Riiko Kitayama was born in Japan, began ballet at age three, and at fourteen left Japan to study at Quinte Ballet School of Canada. Since graduating in 2008, Riiko has performed with Columbus Dance Theater, Columbia Classical Ballet, Nashville Ballet 2, Mystic Ballet, and Roxey Ballet. She joined Zest Collective in 2015. In 2014 she was a guest soloist with the ADMAN Chamber Orchestra in Japan. Her performance with ADMAN was written in the leading national newspaper in Japan, the Japan Daily News. In 2015 Riiko was interviewed by the newspaper the New York Times during the production of Roxey Ballet’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In 2017, she performed with Roxey Ballet as Cupid in Carmina Burana with Princeton Pro Musica at Princeton University. In the same year, she performed with Zest Collective entertaining at the Danone Nations Cup World Final. Her ballet photos taken by photographer Juan C. Irizarry was chosen from the Broadway Dance Magazine. Riiko performed as a soloist as Snow Queen, Dewdrop, and Clara in The Nutcracker, Princess Florine in Sleeping Beauty, and Pas de Trois in Swan Lake. Riiko is ABT certified on all levels. Riiko joins TDA as one of our ballet teachers this season and will be teaching multiple levels of ballet technique.
Miss Alyssa danced at The Dance Academy from the age of three to 18 years old. She took ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and lyrical and loved her dance classes. She graduated from Council Rock North in 2014 and went onto Penn State University and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in business. At Penn State, Miss Alyssa, was a member of the dance team where she was the captain for two years and a choreographer.
Today you can find Miss Alyssa back at the TDA studio sharing her love of dance with young TDA dancers. “When I danced at the TDA, I loved the community of parents, students, and teachers! I especially loved going to competitions and conventions, getting to spend time with my friends and learn something new at the same time!” says Miss Alyssa. Now as a teacher, “I now love the full-circle moments, getting to teach things that I learned from my teachers in the same place 10+ years ago…and see my students’ excitement when they nail a new step or one they’ve been working on for a while” says Miss Alyssa.
The Dance Academy has been an integral part of Maddy’s life for as long as she can remember. Beginning her career at the age of 3, Maddy studied jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, hiphop, and pointe during her 15 years as a student, however her passion has always been for tap. She spent many weekends competing up and down the East Coast with TDA since the age of 6, attended various nation-wide conventions such as NYCDA and West Coast Dance Explosion, and went on to win a National Title as a tap soloist. After graduating from Nazareth Academy, she went on to pursue a degree in Business Intelligence & Analytics from Saint Joseph’s University. Since graduating this past May, Maddy has begun to pursue a career in the Pharmaceutical industry as an Analyst, while also continuing her education part-time at Saint Joe’s for a Master’s in Business Intelligence degree.
The confidence and joy she has brought to her educational and professional career is rooted in her foundation built by her teammates and mentors from The Dance Academy, and she is honored to be joining the faculty this upcoming season. “Tap, like all great artforms, is something that requires discipline, focus, but most importantly passion, and that is what I am most excited to bring to the studio. As a student, I was always taught that the greatest achievements were never the ones that came easy, but rather the ones that were earned, and I cannot wait to get started!”
Valeen has taught dance for over 14 years. She enjoys teaching dance of all styles – including hip-hop, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and ballet. She attended and graduated from the University of the Arts with a BFA in Dance Education. Her love of dance and theater come through in her teaching each and every class. Miss Valeen brings her professional dance and theatre experience into the studio to help motivate, excite and educate her students.
In addition to teaching dance, Valeen has toured professionally and appeared in a variety of dance videos, theater productions and performed for various dance companies. Some of her accolades include Sesame Street Live east coast tour, The Water Dance artists Chris Porter and Pitbull; Chicago, Cats, and Sweet Charity (off-Broadway).