Gotta Dance is proud to have a faculty of dance industry professionals who are very passionate about the art of dance. Caring and engaging, the staff is dedicated to helping each child progress through their training and reach their highest potential.
Karrie Garber has over thirty-five years of study in dance, including jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, lyrical, line dance, musical theatre and Zumba. She has been teaching dance for over twenty-five years and has held entertainment positions at "Walt Disney World Resorts" and "Premiere Cruise Lines". She is a former member of "Stillpoint Dance Company" in Haverhill, MA and a former member of "Push Factor Dance Company".
Karrie lives her life's passion as the founder/owner of "Gotta Dance" Dance Studios and teaches hundreds of students per week in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire area. She has an Associate’s Degree in Dance from Northern Essex Community College where she also instructed dance classes, and attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the field of Psychology and Physical Education.
Other accomplishments include choreographing for the Concord Players' production of "Chicago," "West Side Story," "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", for Concord Middle School's productions of "Grease Jr.," "Willy Wonka Jr.," "Bye Bye Birdie" and for UMASS/Lowell's production of "Godspell". She also performed in the musical "The Wiz" for the Merrimack Valley Players. She spends much of her time choreographing and preparing the Gotta Dance competition team for their upcoming season.
"Dance is important to me because it's a powerful freedom of self expression! It's the purest form of who you are from deep within. It is strength, balance and passion at its finest. Dance is an inner growth and journey that few people get to experience. I am one of the lucky ones!"
Katrina Rotondi has been dancing for over twenty years and is experienced in Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Modern, Lyrical, Line Dancing and Musical Theater. She is also certified in Zumba and Zumba Gold. Katrina has been teaching for over ten years at Gotta Dance as well as several senior centers and recreation departments in the area.
She has a Bachelor's degree in Theater Arts with a concentration in Dance from Franklin Pierce College. Her other accomplishments include an on-stage appearance in the Concord Players productions of "West Side Story" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". She has also choreographed for the Carlisle Middle School productions of "Into the Woods" and "Bye Bye Birdie," and the Lexington Players production of "Spring Awakening".
When she isn't dancing (which is hardly ever), Katrina enjoys spending time with her husky, Duncan.
"I'm not sure if the happier I am, the more I dance, or the more I dance, the happier I am. Either way, I'll be dancing! Life will always throw obstacles and curves along the way. And no matter what happens, know that when you step onto that dance floor and stage everything will be just fine. Never stop doing what makes you happy!"
Heather Dinsmore began dancing over 35 years and has been dancing as a student of Gotta Dance since 2006. With encouragement from family and friends, she has begun a new career - teaching her love of dance to the youngest of dancers. She also teaches a cardio class and line dancing at the Billerica Senior Center.
Heather is a Billerica native and took dance classes at Dance Unlimited, Patti Nichol’s Dance Center, and Donna Miceli Dance Center studying jazz, ballet, tap, and modern. She is a graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where she holds a BA in Human Development and a minor in Dance. In college, she was a founding member of Co-Motion Dance Theater, spent a Winter Term studying theater in London, performed as Adriana in Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors," and performed in the dance ensemble in productions of "A Chorus Line" and "Grease."
Heather worked for many years as a Recreation Director at a retirement community and was certified as a Therapeutic Recreation Assistant. She has taken classes towards a Dance Education Certificate through Northern Essex Community College and continues to take classes in the area. In her spare time, she volunteers with her kid’s activities and teaches line dance and cardio classes at the Billerica Senior Center. She is the wife of a Billerica Firefighter and proud mother to Kelly, Joseph, and Ryan, all alumni of Gotta Dance.
"Dance is part of who I am. It is my way of communicating without words. Of bringing others along a journey with me through movement and motion. To be able to share the art of dance with our youngest dancers is a privilege that I don't take for granted. The dancers I teach fill my cup to overflowing and I am forever grateful for the opportunity."
Jay Newlon was originally a BFA candidate in acting at the University of Tennessee at the Clarence Brown Equity Theatre. He soon transferred his energies to dance and studied under such luminaries as Eric Hawkins, Murray Louis, Nanette Charless and Hector Zaraspe in New York. He was an apprentice with the International Ballet of Caracas, a scholarship student with the Boston Ballet and performed in Boston with Jassin (Jeanette Neil), the Danny Sloan Dance Company, Bay State Ballet and the Opera Company of Boston.
After a long hiatus, his recent engagements include performances with the Boston Dance Company, the Academy of Ballet Arts and soloist with Northern Ballet Theatre and Melrose Youth Ballet. Jay’s recent accomplishments include many performances with the Concord Players.
Cassandra Floor started her dance career in musical theater. While she attended Fitchburg State College, she was the choreographer for Lowell High School’s competing Show Choir as well as numerous local community theater productions. She also instructed lyrical classes for the FSC Dance Club and choreographed and performed in FSC’s productions of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Zorba!"" She graduated from Fitchburg State College with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and a double major in Theater. She served as choreography adjudicator for the Mill City Show Choir Festival from 2008-2010. Currently, she is a first-grade teacher in Lowell Public Schools and shares her love of dance with her students by incorporating movement into their daily routine.
Cassandra has been an instructor and choreographer at Gotta Dance for over 15 years. She teaches many styles, but she adores lyrical, contemporary, and tap. She enjoys working with serious dancers who want to grow their technique and is proud being a choreographer for the Gotta Dance Competition Team. Cassandra shares her love for dance with her daughter, Sophia.
"Unlike most dancers who start as a child, I hadn’t devoted myself to dance until my late teen years. I still love it every time I step onto a stage as much as the very first time I performed. The older I get, the more I appreciate the opportunity to call myself a dancer and an artist! Dance is a chance for me to share the creative ideas I have and see them come to fruition. I hope I keep dancing and sharing that love as long as I am able because it’s a gift I give myself!"
Jessica Dearbeck has her Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Music from Mercyhurst College. She has several years of dance training in Musical Theater, Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop. Over the past six years, she has held the title of Director/Choreographer for High Schools and Community Theaters in the following shows: "Into the Woods," "The Wedding Singer," "The Pajama Game," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Grease," "Follies," "Bye Bye Birdie," "State Fair," "Anything Goes," "School House Rock" and "Oklahoma." Jessica has also appeared in many performances as lead roles and head dancer.
Jessica lives her passion as a dance choreographer and instructor in the Merrimack Valley area. She relocated from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts where her husband holds the title of Theater Director at Billerica Memorial High School. At home, Jessica enjoys the company of her 2 dogs.
"I've been dancing since I was 3 years old. I am so grateful that I have found ways to keep it in my life, no matter the changes and twists and turns. Whether dancing or teaching others, it is incredible to see the positive impact dance can have on you. Dance is my passion, my escape, and my first love and for those reasons and so many more, I'll keep dancing as long as I'm able."
Dorothea (Thea) Vaporis has studied ballet, pointe, jazz, and modern in the Greater Boston area for over twenty years. Thea received Vaganova style ballet through her mentor, Judith Koeckhoven. She has performed roles in many local performances including "The Nutcracker Suite," "Coppéila," and "Gisele." Thea's love for ballet led her to become a published dance model. Local photographer Ella Prints published prints of Thea as Odette and Odile from "Swan Lake."
Thea furthered her knowledge of dance through the dance education program at Middlesex Community College. Thea continues learning about dance education through certifications, weekly classes, and workshops. Thea currently works as an esthetician and make-up artist, while working on her BA in History and Art History.
"Being a dancer has taught me some of life's most valuable lessons. Dance has taught me that hard work pays off, to let go, and to be patient with yourself. I have always loved that dances makes you constantly grow, you can never be absolutely perfect and there's something wonderful about that."
Brianna Hogan has been a student at Gotta Dance since the age of 3, when she fell in love with dance. She has been dancing for 15 years and continues her dance education with Karrie Mason and the Gotta Dance staff as well as working with renowned instructors and choreographers attending master classes and conventions throughout New England. Brianna has experience in jazz, hip hop, ballet, pointe, lyrical and contemporary. She has been involved with the Gotta Dance Competition and Dance Teams for the past 9 years and has performed in over 100 events.
Brianna attends Rivier University pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. After completion, she plans to get her Master degree in nursing and work as a nurse practitioner, while continuing to teach and share her love of dance with her students. Brianna has been assisting classes for many years and loves working with the younger students at Gotta Dance. She is very excited to continue teaching classes in the fall.
"Dance is so important to me because it's helped shaped me into the person I am today. Dance has taught me hard work, dedication, teamwork, confidence, discipline, passion, time management, self-expression and so much more. It allows me to get lost in the music and escape into a happy place."
Elizabeth L'Heureux has been dancing since she was a year and a half old and is now going on 20+ years of dancing and 8+ years of teaching. First doing recreational dance then joining an elite team to pursue a more challenging form of dance and competing in it as well. She was the lead dancer in her high school's musical in 2009 and 2010 as well as singing in the school choir. After graduating, Elizabeth was given the opportunity to choreograph for the dance team she was a part of growing up and began expanding her dance career there as well. She has won several convention scholarships at West Coast Dance Explosions, NYCDA, and Fire and Ice talent. She has also won outstanding choreography awards for large and small groups, as well as several top scoring soloist awards with her choreography.
Elizabeth has been featured in "The Visionary" a college film, G-Stars "Night Away" music video, the Kevin James movie, "Here Comes the Boom" and is a former dancer for Karina Rae and the Shooting Stars. She is always eager to learn the newest dance trends coming out and still continues furthering her dance education today.
"Dance is important to me because it has been the one constant in my life. It has given me the confidence as a woman and taught me so many life lessons. I have gained my best friends through dance, my career through dance, and my love for children. I would not be the person I am today without dance. Dance is, and will always be, my life and way to express myself!"
Alyssa Murnane was a student at Gotta Dance for 10 years. In addition to Karrie Stang Mason and the Gotta Dance staff, she has worked with several well-known instructors and choreographers and attended master classes and conventions throughout New England. Alyssa has experience in acrobatics, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, and pointe. She is a long-time member of the Gotta Dance performance and competition teams and has achieved many awards over the years for her hard work and dedication. Alyssa has shared her talent and love for dance with the community, by performing at places such as nursing homes, senior centers, fairs and more.
Alyssa taught lessons at the Lowell YMCA and was substitute teaching and choreographing at Gotta Dance. She was also part of the teacher training program at Gotta Dance. She loves working with children who share the same passion and is very excited to be part of the Gotta Dance faculty.
"Dance is very important to my life as it allows to me put my emotions into movement. If I'm ever in a bad mood, dancing takes my mind right off it and brings me happiness. I am so lucky to have dance in my life, as it has also brought me life-long friends."
Hannah Jeffers has been a student at Gotta Dance for 13 years. Along with her years of training from Karrie Garber and the Gotta Dance staff she has attended many master classes and conventions taught by many instructors and choreographers. Hannah has experience in pointe, ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, lyrical, contemporary, acro, and musical theatre. She is a member of the performance and competition teams and has received many awards and achievements throughout her years of performing and competing.
Along with dancing, Hannah has been a part many of Billerica Memorial High School's musicals such as "Playing Favorites 2 & 3," "Sweeney Todd," and "Annie" for which she was Assistant Dance Captain. Hannah has performed at local shows with our dance teams including senior centers, nursing homes and fairs. She has also been an assistant for four years in Acro, Jazz and Lyrical classes. For about five years, Hannah has been choreographing at a local summer camp that focuses on acting, singing, and dancing. This past year she has started substituting and teaching classes at Gotta Dance.
Hannah loves dancing and working with all our students who share the same passion and determination that she has for dance. She is beyond excited to be part of the Gotta Dance staff after being a student for so long.
"Dancing has always been a passion of mine. When I first started at six years old, I knew it was something I wanted to keep doing for the rest of my life. Because of dance, I have a passion to perform and tell a story to those watching. Dance has always been a safe space for me. If I am having a bad day, I go to the studio and have all my friends and instructors there that help me forget I was having a bad day in the first place. I am thankful for dance for giving me amazing friends, memories, and a second home."
Katie Alexander has 15 years of experience in tumbling and over 30 years experience in various forms of dance including tap, jazz, ballet, clogging, ballroom, swing, and Irish. She is certified as an Instructor through USA Gymnastics and has taught classes in tap, ballroom, and swing through KSA Dance and community recreation programs.
Katie has choreographed many theatrical productions, including: "The Producers" (Concord Players), "Spamalot" (Concord Players), "Into the Woods" (Flyleaf), "Oliver" (Spotlight Players), "Fiddler on the Roof" (Windham), "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (Colonial Chorus), "West Side Story" (Woodland), "High School Musical" (Carlisle), and "Anything Goes" (SLOC). She has also performed in many other productions.
Katie has degrees in Psychology and Accounting, and spends her days taking care of her two young daughters.
Jamie Johnson has been dancing for over 20 years. She found her passion for dance once she started taking classes at Gotta Dance over 14 years ago. Jamie has also been a a substitute teacher for many classes throughout the studio over the past several years. She has participated in various dance conventions and was on the competition team for approximately five years. One of her favorite styles of dance is Jazz but she definitely enjoys all forms of dance.
Jamie is very passionate and hardworking when it comes to her work and dance. She has been a preschool teacher for 7 years and has such a big heart for small children and seeing them grow and smile. Jamie is beyond excited to be part of the Gotta Dance family.
Jamie attends Grand Canyon University where she is earning her Bachelors degree in Early Education. Once she finishes her degree she plans on working in the public school system and furthering her education and knowledge.