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Cassandra Barckett

Cassandra Barckett(Dance Instructor) is thrilled to be teaching at theatre next door and dance life academy and to be working with Melissa. She is a graduate from William Paterson University with a BA in Communications with an Emphasis on Theatre and Comedy. She is a performer and dancer and has been in many shows in New Jersey and in New York City. Some of her credits include Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cinderella, Our Town, Nunsense, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, Gypsy, Fame, Wizard of Oz, and Footloose (which is where she met Melissa). She has choreographed many shows as well We Will Rock You jr., Shrek, and Rent. She loves teaching dance because it makes her feel happy. To be able to teach the next generation of dance not only to inspire them, but making an impact of children’s lives. She absolutely loves everything She does. A quote that She lives by is, “She believed she could so she did” by Kathy Weller. Live, Love, and Learn.


Alissa Dorey

Alissa Dorey  (Dance Instructor) is currently a student at Hanover Park High School. In school, she performed in various productions including Annie as Tessie, Legally Blonde as Margot, and Aladdin as the Genie!  Alissa has also helped direct various shows such as Cinderella, Aladdin, and Into the Woods. Furthermore, Shes been a part of many Theatre Next Door & Dance Life Academy’s productions such as The Little Mermaid where she played Sebastian, the Wizard of Oz where she played Dorothy, and Peter Pan as Wendy. Other shows she was in include Footloose, High school Musical, and Glee.

    Alissa has been dancing for 14 years. 12 of those years were at Dance Life Academy and she is so excited to be passing down all the skills she learned  from the amazing teachers there to the equally as amazing students she is lucky enough to meet every year! When Alissa was 9 she started doing competitive dancing. She has won many awards and loves going back to the competitions every year to see her students compete like she once did.  In addition to dancing Alissa also sang for many years competitively. She recently got to take a masterclass with a singer from the Broadway show Hamilton. 

Beside singing and dancing Alissa participates in and coaches competitive cheerleading. She has been cheerleading for 11 years and has been coaching for 5 years. In 2015 and in 2018 Alissa was lucky enough to be a cheerleader in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

    Alissa fell in love with the art of singing, acting, and dancing at a young age and hopes to help her students feel the same way!

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Laura Grace

Laura is a classically trained singer of 20 years. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from William Paterson University with a Vocal Performance degree in 2005, received her New Jersey Music Teacher's Certification in 2012.  Laura completed her Masters Degree in Teaching December of 2015.  Her research included in-depth focus on the adolescent changing voice.  Laura gained expertise and further understanding of the physical and emotional aspects of young singers (males and females) going through vocal change, and applies that knowledge in the studio.  She has traveled and performed around the world in countries including Italy, Tanzania, and Switzerland. She has trained with Juilliard professors including Mr. Daniel Ferro, Mr. Robert Kopelson, and Bruno Rigacci in the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program in Chianti, Italy. Laura has also trained with professionals in a performance-based music program for emerging artists called Opera Works, run by Ann Baltz in Los Angeles, California. She currently enjoys teaching students in piano and all areas of the voice and loves to perform all musical genres.

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Victoria Strata

Victoria Strata is a New Jersey native and has been dancing since the age of three. She is a Summa cum laude graduate from Montclair State University in May of 2019, where she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in dance in just 3 years. She has performed in MainStage works by Jessie DiMauro, Christian Von Howard, Nancy Lushington, Kathleen Kelly, Earl Mosley, Abby Zbikowski, and Maxine Steinman. Strata has also studied with other renowned artists and choreographers at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Intensive in Los Angeles, California, at VIM VIGOR’s Intensive in Summit, New Jersey, and at the Movement Invention Project in Manhattan, New York. After graduating, she had the wonderful opportunity to train with the Limón Dance Company as a part of their professional training program under the director of Kathryn Alter and Collin Conner. She performed restaged works of Limón’s masterpieces such as A Choreographic Offering, and Psalm. Victoria was given a scholarship to attend the program, and after a short time of training, I was invited to participate in company class with the Limón Company dancers weekly. Victoria has most recently been hired as a dancer and collaborator for the artist Reza Farkhondeh.

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