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Faculty

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Karen Rich

Owner & Instructor

A graduate of the University of the Arts with a B.F.A. in Dance, Miss Karen has performed extensively throughout her career. These performances include many Atlantic City Casinos, the Famous Palumbo’s in Philadelphia, performing in a TV commercial for Power 99, and gracing the field of the Vet as an Eagles Cheerleader. One of her most memorable experiences was performing at the World Trade Center. With more than thirty years of teaching experience, she will be teaching children’s work, tap/jazz combo classes and Jazz classes. Miss Karen also enjoys assisting in the direction of the Competition teams and takes pride in their award winning routines! In addition to teaching, Karen is excited to be entering her 28th year as artistic director. Throughout her years as Director, Miss Karen is proud of the many studio awards Accent has received. These include, outstanding technique, choreography, entertainment and overall high scores!

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Jaclyn Du Chateau

Instructor

Native Pennsylvanian, Jaclyn Du Chateau received her dance training here at Accent, as well as the Lehigh Valley Performing Arts High School. She graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Performance from Columbia College, Chicago. Her degree allowed her to cover numerous genres of dance. Her choreography has been seen on the Columbia stage during Student Performance nights as well as past recitals for Accent. In addition to teaching, Jaclyn has a passion for photography and she offers dance movement sessions throughout the year. Jaclyn has a photography business called Jaclyn Du Chateau Photography. Jaclyn is also a Barre3 Lehigh Valley instructor, and is thrilled to be on staff at Accent, returning for her 9th season as an instructor!

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Stephanie Lesavoy

Instructor

Miss Stephanie returns for her 5th year on our Accent staff after serving as a 7 year veteran and 4 year captain of the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading squad from 2009- 2016. Prior to her time cheering on her favorite team in the NFL, Stephanie graduated from Drexel University with her Bachelors of Science Degree in Design and Merchandising and a minor in both Business and Dance. While at Drexel, Stephanie was a 4 year member and captain of Drexel’s Division 1 Dance Team and a member of the Drexel Dance Ensemble. After earning her undergraduate degree Stephanie then went on to attend Philadelphia University where she earned her MBA and had the opportunity to study abroad in India. Stephanie currently works full-time as a Senior Project Manager for Lehigh Valley Health Network. Stephanie has been trained in the areas of tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, modern, lyrical, and theatre and is very excited to bring her passion for dance back into the studio as a member of the Accent teaching staff.

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Julia Ramirez

Instructor

Julia Ramirez is an emerging artist currently based in Jersey City, NJ. She is a 2023 graduate from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University with her  Master’s degree (Ed.M.) in Dance Education and a 2022 graduate of Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts and was awarded the Margery J. Turner Choreography Award for a work of exceptional undergraduate student group choreography. Throughout 2023, she completed a residency at Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY and presented her newest work, Kinematic Indeterminacy. She was also a guest artist at Riverside Elementary School In Motion’s After School Program in Princeton, New Jersey. She is currently the Media and Artistic Assistant of David Dorfman Dance and since 2020 has worked diligently as a member of their administrative team, a rehearsal assistant, a guest teacher, and a production assistant. In the summer of 2022, she co-created and taught at LEAP in New Haven, Connecticut alongside Nik Owens. For the 2023-2024 season she is a dance educator at Lehigh Valley Charter High School of the Arts in Bethlehem, PA, Washington Rock Dance in Warren, New Jersey, and Accent School of Dance, Allentown, PA.

 

Since graduating from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Julia’s work has been featured in the 2023 92 NY Future Dance Festival, International Washington Dance Festival, Kun-Yang Lin’s Performance Series, the Koresh Artist Showcase, 92Y Emerging Choreographers Festival, Women's Day Dance Festival, Uptown Rising Performance Series, and Rutgers University. In addition to collaborating with fellow interdisciplinary artists, she has performed on stage and in  films for various artists in the NYC, NJ, and PA area. She has performed at venues such as Dixon Place, Ten Tiny Dances, Muhlenberg College and Point Park University.

Julia completed her student teaching internship at Middlesex Vocational High School under the supervision of Cleo Mack. Together, they co-directed and choreographed Flux States in December of 2022 performed at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. She has had the opportunity to work with Babs Case as a guest artist in implementing The Dancing Alphabet in K-5 public schools in Jackson, Wyoming in 2021.

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Rachael Toonder

Instructor

Miss Rachael grew up dancing in the Lehigh Valley, competing in regional and national dance competitions. She is a graduate of Temple University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts. During her time at Temple, Miss Rachael was a Division 1 cheerleader, and competed at the UCA National Cheer Championships in Orlando, FL. Upon Graduation, Miss Rachael returned to the Lehigh Valley to begin her teaching career and is currently working full-time in College Admissions. 

 

Miss Rachael continues her dance education with various professional dance organizations. She has earned her Dance Masters of America teacher training certification in Jazz and Ballet Instruction. Miss Rachael’s choreography has received many high awards and honors, including top scores and specialty recognition. Some notable highlights include New York City Dance Alliance Critics Choice, Top Choreography at True Dance & Dancers Inc., National Invitations, Studio Choreography and Technique awards, just to name a few. 

 

This year, Miss Rachael will be teaching Lyrical, Ballet, Pointe, Pre-Pointe and Dance Conditioning. She is also  choreographing for our competition Senior Jazz, Junior Lyrical, Senior/ Teen Production, and various solos and duos. Miss Rachael is very excited to be entering her 18th season at Accent!

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Dawn Blanco

Instructor

Miss Dawn has been teaching at Accent School of Dance for 20 years and is grateful to be able to be a part of the Accent Family for so long. Miss Dawn is the director of the Studio Dance Academy and a dance teacher at William Allen High School in Allentown, PA. She also serves as the Assistant Director and Choreographer for the high school’s musical productions. She began her dance training at age 7 and grew up as a competitive dancer in various genres and styles. Blanco attended Temple University and Kutztown University. She holds a K–12 teaching certification in the state of Pennsylvania and a Dance Masters of America Certification in Ballet, Jazz and Modern Instruction. Miss Dawn has an expansive background teaching at studios, colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania. She has also spent several years as the director of a large dance studio in downtown Allentown. Miss Dawn has dedicated much of her career to teaching and inspiring students in underserved communities. Because of the impact she has had, Blanco was a guest on The Queen Latifah Show and had a feature story on PBS. She has won several awards in recognition of her creative choreography, choreographing for nationally competitive dance ensembles, soloists and high school dance teams. Many of her former students have gone on to dance professionally on Broadway, The VMA Awards, NY Fashion Week, and Cruise lines and some are teaching at distinguished studios and universities, including Millennium Dance Complex in Vegas. Blanco’s passion in life is inspiring students and paving a path for them to pursue their dreams.

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Lauren Horan

Instructor - DanceAbility

Lauren graduated from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences with a Master’s of Occupational Therapy Degree, following a Bachelor of Exercise Science degree and a minor in Adapted Physical Activities, completed at West Chester University. Lauren is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist working with children to promote optimal engagement in everyday activities. She is also an Adaptive and Inclusive trainer through the Adaptive Training Academy. She has experience working with children of all ages and abilities, while creating meaningful opportunities and helping individuals discover their potential.

Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, Lauren began dancing at the age of 3. She is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, hiphop, Irish tap, and contemporary. You can catch Miss Lauren running DanceAbility classes for those who want to learn to dance and move their bodies, with additional support.  DanceAbility is a unique dance program inclusive for children with developmental delays and disabilities. This fun and energetic class is designed to provide children, of all ages and abilities, the opportunity to explore dance and move in a safe and adaptive environment, using a multi-sensory approach. A combination of props, such as hoops, feathers, parachute, and scarves may be used to help encourage imagination and aid in the development of motor, sensory, coordination and self expression skills.

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Maddy Lysek

Guest Teacher & Choreographer

Maddy Lysek began dancing at the age of 3, right here at Accent! Maddy graduated from Penn State University in 2020 with a degree in public relations and Spanish. During her time at Penn State, she performed with both the Whiplash Hip Hop Dance Team and Orchesis Dance company. The highlight of her college dance experience was performing in front of 15,000 as a part of the Penn State Dance Marathon. Maddy has trained in the areas of tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, and lyrical. She is also a Barre3 Berwyn instructor and is looking forward to her 2nd season as a member of the Accent teaching staff! This year Miss Maddy is looking forward to sharing her love of performing by choreographing the Mini and Junior Production dance. You can also catch her subbing and teaching various guest classes throughout the year. 

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Erika Rich

Instructor

Miss Erika grew up at Accent learning from her Mom, Miss Karen! She is excited to be back at the studio taking the next step as an instructor! She is a 2015 graduate of DeSales University with B.A. in Dance. While at DeSales, she had the opportunity to perform in both student and faculty concerts. Erika was also chosen three times to participate in the American College Dance Festival in Wisconsin, NY & Georgia! Erika was a dancer in the Screen Dance Film Festival and has also appeared in films for the Television and Film Department at DeSales. The past two summers she was fortunate enough to study at the Trinity Laban Dance Conservatory in London, England. While there, she interned at MWW, a public relations firm. She has taken classes in LA and NYC, and enjoys furthering her education every chance she gets! This season, Miss Erika is thrilled to choreograph for the Senior Dance Ensemble!

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Brenna Zimpfer

Instructor

Miss Brenna is excited to be entering her eighth season at Accent. Miss Brenna earned her Bachelor’s Degrees in Dance and Communications from Cedar Crest College. While in college, she studied Tap, Jazz, Ballet, and Modern. She was a member of both the Cedar Crest College Dance Company and The Monarch Dance Company. Miss Brenna also performed in several Musical Productions at Cedar Crest including the role of Velma Kelly in Chicago the Musical and Violet Newstead in 9 to 5! After college, Miss Brenna decided to pursue a career in Higher Education Sales working in Admissions and Recruitment. She also earned her Master's Degree in Higher Education and is a certified Life Coach. In her free time, Miss Brenna enjoys taking yoga classes and spending time with her husband and their fur baby. Miss Brenna's passion for dance is fulfilled every week by teaching tap to all of the amazing students at Accent. She is so grateful to have this opportunity and to be part of the Accent Family. This year, Miss Brenna is looking forward to continuing to share her love for tap dance with Accent dancers and the Tap Ensemble teams.

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Stacey Carpency

Instructor

Miss Stacey started her dance training at age four at Accent! She graduated in 2016 from Bucknell University with a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Culture, Media, and Leisure Studies and a minor in Dance. During her time at Bucknell, she was an active member of the Theatre & Dance Department, participating in dance productions as a dancer and choreographer as well as assisting in lighting design. She had the opportunity to perform in student and faculty choreographed pieces. She was also selected to perform in guest artist pieces choreographed by artists such as Salim "Slam" Gauwloos, C. Kemal Nance, Tara Madsen Robbins, Nick Ross, and Marie Canal. She was also a member of the Bison Girls Dance Team, where she performed at half-time at the men’s home basketball games and other events on campus. Miss Stacey was also selected to represent Bucknell at the American College Dance Festival at Brockport, NY. In addition to dancing in college, she enjoyed spreading her love of dance through the local community by teaching at a dance studio in her college town, where she taught a variety of classes as well as choreographed for their competition teams. She also participated in local arts outreach events for middle and high school students as a demonstrator for her dance professors. In addition to teaching at Accent, she has been choreographing for the Allentown Central Catholic High School Dance Team for the last 10 years. When she’s not teaching or choreographing, Miss Stacey works in the Office of Admissions at Muhlenberg College as an Associate Director of Admissions. She enjoys continuing her dance education by taking classes in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. She is so excited to be entering her eighth season at Accent!

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Lea Lassandro

Instructor

Miss Lea began dancing at Accent at the age of 3. She is now returning to Accent as an instructor for her 9th season! She is excited to be leading the Acrobatic and Irish programs. She will also be teaching Hippity Gym! She is excited to make the classes a fun and an enjoyable environment for all! Lea attended LCCC with a concentration in early childhood education. She is also a past dancer and choreographer for Dorney Park and a past competitive choreographer for Pocono Academy of Dance.

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Alyssa Meder

Assistant Teacher

Alyssa started dance and acrobatics when she was 3 years old, and continued to dance for 15 years. She has danced competitively for 7 years. After graduating high school, she created her own business called 'ZenVacations' as she became a certified Independent Travel Agent. She is so excited to be assisting acrobatics along side of Miss Lea to make this season a great one! This will be her 2nd year assisting at Accent and she couldn't be more excited!

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Brittany Saraceno

Instructor

Miss Brittany grew up as a part of the Accent Family, and was a student of Miss Karen’s since the age of three! In 2007 she became a proud faculty member! She is a 2009 graduate of Temple University with a B.F.A. in Dance. While at Temple, she performed for many students and faculty members in and around, the Philadelphia area. Miss Brittany was the former coach for the Parkland Middle School Dance Team, a choreographer for both the PHS Varsity and JV Dance Teams and recently choreographed a piece for the William Allen Dance Academy. Miss Brittany furthers her education through various classes, workshops and conventions. She is certified through Dance Master’s of America to teach Jazz and Modern. Her choreography has been recognized both regionally and nationally! Most recently she began a new adventure with Judging dance competitions! As a 2023 Recipient of the Georgia Deane Memorial Scholarship, she is thrilled to be teaching Pre-School Combo classes, Pom, Hip-Hop, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary and choreographing for our competition teams.

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