meet our team
staffDesiree.jpg

owner, lead choreographer

Desiree Catania

Desiree has been dancing since age seven and started teaching at the age of 16. Her dance training includes ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern, lyrical and contemporary at the South Philadelphia School of Dance, Performance Center, Cathie Collins School of Dance and West Chester University. During her time as a dance student, Desiree competed in various competitions throughout the area including StarPower, StarQuest, and I Love Dance. She was a member of West Chester University’s Contemporary Dance Company and Dance Production Workshop. She even had the opportunity to perform in Disney World! Desiree is currently a member of the West Chester Alumnae Chapter and still participates in shows. She has a true passion for dance and enjoys watching her students grow into strong and confident dancers. 

 

West Chester University

B.A., Professional Studies

Minor, Dance Performance

Minor, Elementary Education

Christie Lawler

lead choreographer

Christie grew up in Delaware County studying multiple styles of dance at various dance studios throughout the area. Christie’s focus as a young dance student was jazz and hip hop. While in college, she found a new love for both modern and contemporary styles. She minored in Dance Performance at West Chester University where she was able to refine her art as part of the University Dance Company for which she served as secretary and choreographer. Christie participated in and had choreography adjudicated at the American College Dance Festivals. She feels blessed that she has been able to share her passion for dance as a teacher for the past 15 + years. As classmates, Christie and Desiree had no idea that their paths would cross again and that teaching together would become a reality!
 

West Chester University

B.A., Psychology

Minor, Dance Performance

M.Ed., Secondary School Counseling

lead choreographer

Lauren Thomas

Lauren started dancing when she was three years old. She has trained in many styles of dance, including jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet & lyrical at Barbara Ann's School of Dancing. She continued her passion for dance at West Chester University where she participated in the University Dance Company. During this time, she grew as a dancer learning various techniques in modern and contemporary dance. She has taken master classes throughout her career in the Philadelphia and New York area which has broaden her dance experience. She absolutely loves teaching and her ultimate goal is for all students to grow and improve throughout the year. Lauren enjoys working with children and strives to offer a positive and encouraging teaching environment. She looks forward to sharing the joy of dance with all her students each year! 
 

West Chester University

B.A., Professional Studies

Minor, Dance Performance

Minor, Nutrition

Taylor Sparks

lead choreographer

A native of Norfolk, VA, Taylor Sparks is a 2018 Graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography. Taylor graduated from Booker T. Washington High School where she was a member of the Academy for the Arts. She also graduated from the local magnet school, Governor's School for the Arts where she was a Dance major. Taylor has performed in works choreographed by José Límon, Donald Lunsford, Todd Rosenlieb, Dr. Gaynell Sherrod, Autumn Proctor-Wadell, Dawn Marie Bazemore and many more. Sparks is currently in the process of obtaining her Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling at Drexel University. She is also training in Philadelphia, PA, where she is a member of Philadanco II Apprentice Company.

Virginia Commonwealth University

B.F.A Dance and Choreography

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Nikki Kirkland

lead choreographer

Nikki has been dancing since age 3, and started assistant teaching in 8th grade. She became a lead teacher in 11th grade, choreographing her own  recital routines in her fun, fresh style. 

University of Delaware

B.S., Elementary Education

Leslie Bechtel

administrative assistant/front desk

After a short lived dance career in ballet at age 5, Leslie found herself picking up dance once again in her thirties as her daughter became more invested in dance at the studio. Leslie marched on tour in DCI with The Crossmen Drum and Bugle corps as a cymbal player in '97 and '98. She is a talented instrumentalist, clarinet being her first. Leslie's energy is contagious and she is always ready to greet our dance families with a cheerful welcome and smile. When not at the studio, you can find Leslie curled up with a good book; author Ruth Ware is her favorite! 

Kristin Cortese

Penn State University

B.A., Psychology

Immaculata University

M.A., Counseling Psychology, School Cert. K-12

owner/front desk

Kristin would have never guessed in her adult life she would be able to name and demonstrate ballet positions, know what tap dust is, or be able to identify a sickled foot. What a beautiful adventure it has been and continues to be! When not doing odd jobs around the studio, Kristin enjoys her day job as a school counselor. Additionally, she will soon be a Licensed Professional Counselor! What she loves most about the studio (aside from adult hip hop of course)? - Watching the shoulders of our dancers lower from their ears the moment they walk in; it is a place they can leave the stress of their day behind, embrace their dance family and truly feel at home. 

 

LAUREN THOMAS

Choreographer / Instructor

Address

446 Lancaster Ave, Malvern, PA 19355, USA

Contact

Follow

(484) 328-3297

©2018 BY DESIREE CATANIA DANCE CENTER.