Meet Our Instructors
Each of our DFJ teachers have years of experience and expertise.
Owner and Artistic Director
Kimberly graduated from the Performing Arts program at Howell High School and is a 2006 scholarship graduate of Point Park University (Conservatory for the Performing Arts) with a BFA in Dance Pedegogy. She has studied ballet with Peter Merz, Jay Kirk and Susan Stowe; Jazz and contemporary dance with Ron Tassone, Douglas Bentz and Pearlann Porter. While at Point Park, she was also the Captain of the university soccer team which has allowed her the opportunity to incorporate some of her athletisism into her dance training. She has performed professionally with the Sebastian Sextet Dance Company, based out of Montclair, NJ and The Pillow Project based out of Pittsburgh, PA. She became the owner of DFJ in 2007 and has been spreading her passion of dancing to students ever since!
Dance Teacher and Director of Movement Art Project (MAP)
Jessica Totaro is a 2010 graduate from Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance from Mason School of the Arts where she studied Modern, Ballet, Improvisation and Choreography. While in school she worked with guest artists Mark Morris. Sam Pots, Stuart Loungeway, Wallie Wolfgruber, and Molly Poerstel. She studied under professors Randy James, Reagan Wood, John Evans, Sherrie Alban, Paulette Sears, Kimani Fowlin, Jeff Friedman and Christian Von Howard.
Jessica’s goal as an instructor is to not dictate but to guide her students into finding their individuality through the form of movement. With her strong background in Modern, Improvisation and Choreography she believes that the connection and combination of learned technique with learned improvisational movement is a formula for a well rounded, individual dancer. She believes that the most successful dancers and artists are those who can share real dance experiences with their students. Jessica encourages her students to work hard, be kind, seek out the real world of dance and challenge themselves everyday inside and outside the studio.
Dance Teacher and Director A Step Above Dance Company
The 2018-2019 dance season marks Emily’s 20th year with DFJ, journeying from student to apprentice to teacher and now director of A Step Above Dance Company. While still a student at Dance For Joy Emily was awarded a scholarship to attend Point Park International Summer Dance in 2011 and 2012. She also attended The Joffrey Summer intensive in 2010 and given a Leadership award by The Pulse on Tour dance convention in 2009.
Emily attended Georgian Court University where she majored in Dance and carried a minor in Holistic Health on a full Artistic and Academic scholarship. While at GCU she had the chance to work with artists such as Silvana Cardell (Cardell Dance Theater), Steve Vaughn (Parsons Dance), Amanda Lennox (Koresh Dance Company), Brian Sanders (JUNK), Rennie Harris (RHAW), and Sidra Bell (SBDNY). Upon graduating Cum Laude in 2016, Emily was awarded Most Accomplished Dancer and given an Honorable Mention for her choreography.
Emily’s teaching approach comes from her cross-training in pilates and the belief that everyone deserves to dance. In her classes her students are taught to work from an anatomically correct place which allows each of her students to be pushed safely, and at their own pace, respecting the journey of themselves and their peers.
When she is out of the studio, Emily continues to train and audition and enjoys bringing new material to her students and studio family.
Dance Teacher and Co-Company Director A Step Above Dance Company
Dana Ingram graduated from Point Park University with a BFA in Dance with a jazz concentration as well as a minor in Art History in 2005. Prior to college, Dana studied with such notable educators as Mike Minery, Shelia Barker, Wade Robson and Frank Hatchett. She had the opportunity to perform works by famous choreographers including Robert Battle, Bill T. Jones and Doug Bentz.
For the past six years, Dana has been teaching and choreographing at numerous studios and colleges. She has worked with a number of children and adolescents ranging in age from three to eighteen, teaching the fundamentals of dance and creative movement expression. Recently, Dana was Assistant Choreographer for the Broadway cast of The Lion King in a piece for Defying Inequality; A Broadway Benefit. Dana continues to dance, choreograph and educate the youth of the dance community.
An advocate of the arts, Colleen continues to influence lives with the creativity and artistry of dance education in the public and private realm. Colleen completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, as well as pioneered an entirely new education program for the state of New Jersey while studying at Montclair State University. The Dance Education Bachelors program created at MSU, including a Standard Teaching Certificate K-12, will help to change and improve the education many students receive about the arts in the public school system. While teaching dance full-time at the public and performing arts high school level, Colleen has also heightened her professional resume as well. She looks forward to her career as she continues to pursue her passion as a dancer and educator.
Kathleen Pearlberg joined the DFJ teaching staff in September of 2013 and has been a wonderful addition to our DFJ family! Ms. Kathy was a former dancer with the NJ Ballet Company and is a certified personal trainer (ACSM) and group exercise instructor. She danced professionally for 15 years and has 30 years of teaching experience. She is excited to share her passion and knowledge of dance to all her students at DFJ.
Unique Kids Program, Ballet, Lyrical
Miss Laraine has been an instructor for over 10 years who prides herself on teaching proper technique to children of all ages ranging from 2 years to 18 years. She loves sharing her passion for Ballet & Graham technique with older students and grooming them in the arts. She also enjoys working with young children in ballet helping them to recognize a strong posture and body awareness through creative dancing. For the last 3 years, Laraine has had the great privilege of instructing children with various disabilities such as autism, selective mutism, and Down Syndrom. It is her passion to share her love of dance by training all levels of students in the arts.
Miss Laraine attended The Fiorello la Guardia High School of Performing Arts in New York City and then went on and trained in-depth at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City for 5 years under the direction of Dorothy Lister. She has also studied with famous choreographer Tyce Diorio from “So You Think You Can Dance”. She has established a Special Needs Dance Team and has taken them to competitions and local performances. She developed creative dance programs that are integrative and inclusive for children with disabilities and has been recognized in The Coast Star newspaper for excellence and dedication for these programs.
Hip Hop Teacher
Jennifer Hine is from a large town in New Jersey and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the dance industry. Jennifer, along with her twin sister Jessica, began dancing at the age of three and was training in all styles of dance by the age of seven at her home dance studio along with multiple dance conventions. Throughout the years, she found a deeper connection to the styles of contemporary and jazz funk and started training in aerial silks.
For three years, Jennifer had the opportunity to assist her dance teachers at her home dance studio. This is where Jennifer found her love for guiding and helping the younger generations find their passions and strive to succeed. She hopes to be able to inspire others to follow their dreams and push to achieve their goals.
Aside from dance, Jennifer has a strong interest in health and fitness and hopes to look further into that in the near future. She hopes to help others realize the individual beauty each person has within them and she wants to push them to remain healthy and confident.
Hip Hop Teacher
Jessica Hine was born and raised in a large town in New Jersey. She has been studying tap and ballet since the age of 3 and started studying all styles of dance at the age of 7 where she began to discover her love for hip hop, jazz funk, and contemporary. She studied at Standing Ovation School of Dance where she was a competitive dancer and also an assistant teacher. There, she learned responsibility and dedication.
In high school, Jessica was accepted into a 4 year performing arts program, FPAC. In this program she got to study from many working artists on Broadway and she began taking acting classes. She was also a dancer in Patee Sarasins music video, “Civil War Mix.” Jessica hopes to inspire other dancers to never give up on their dreams and to always remain confident in themselves.
Modern and Ballet Teacher
Megan Theobald of Wall, New Jersey, began her training at Dance For Joy at the age of 2. Megan received a Bachelors in Arts in Dance with a teaching certification in K-12 Dance Education from Montclair State University in 2021. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude, she was awarded the Dance Education Award and nominated for the NJ Distinguished Clinical Intern Award. While at Montclair, she has performed works by Ohad Naharin, Ellenore Scott, Mark Harootian, Nancy Lushington, Kathleen Kelley, Maxine Steinman, and Jessica DiMauro Marks. As a freelance dancer, she has performed with Muhammad Moves and Artists. Megan’s choreography has been presented at Montclair State’s 2019 Dance College, P.O.V. Senior Project and Dance UP at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Megan looks forward to returning to Dance For Joy as a teacher where she hopes to share her passion and love for dance with her DFJ family.