Lawrence Edwards

Lawrence has been studying the art of dance since the age of 8. He graduated from Red Bank Regional Performing Arts Dance program in 1999. Directly after graduating high school, Lawrence stepped into the professional world of dance. He traveled the country performing and dancing for companies such as Paramount Pictures, Disney Productions & MTV, later returning to the Tri-State area joining a professional modern dance company (Bass River Dance Project). 

          Following several years of dancing professionally, he returned to school to pursue a degree in dance on an arts scholarship awarded by the faculty of Rutgers and Mason Gross School of the Arts. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2005 (MGSA) with a BFA in dance, being distinguished as the first male to complete the BFA dance program in over a decade. Throughout his college career, he maintained a name for himself in the professional field. He became a choreographer and performer for MTV, Madison Square Gardens’ New York Knicks and New York Liberty basketball half time shows, as well as dancing with the New York based modern dance company (Randy James Dance Works). After graduating he continued to tour and teach all over the country. Lawrence has been a master teacher across the nation to several major colleges, as well as a guest teacher at the National High School Dance Festival and American College Dance Festival. He has performed back up dance for artist such as Jessica Simpson, Blaque, Donna Summers and Crystal Waters. 

         Lawrence has his New Jersey State certification to teach dance in public schools . He is currently the head dance advisor and dance team coach for Shore Regional High School and an adjunct professor at Monmouth University. 

Staff Members


Donna Battaglia

  Donna is a graduate of Monmouth University with a degree in Speech and Theater. She has been teaching dance for over 25 years and trained under master dance teachers across the country . Her choreography has been seen at the Premier Theater Company, Eatontown Playhouse, Oh! Pear Theater Company, Toms River High School East, Point Pleasant Boro High School, Brick Memorial High School, Monmouth Regional High School, and Christian Brothers Academy. She had the distinct honor of choreographing the original musical Vivianna for Eatontown Playhouse, which was critically praised when performed in New York City. Donna is also an accomplished actress and singer, and has performed memorable roles with the Premier Theater Company and Strand Theatre Projects, including Charity in Sweet Charity, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Estelle in The Full Monty, Sheila in A Chorus Line, Texas in Cabaret, and Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. Donna has been a faculty member of MDA since 1993


Maurice Chestnut

One of tap's brightest young stars, Maurice Chestnut is an original member of the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble. His extensive list of credits includes his appearance at Carnegie Hall and throughout Europe with the Geri Allen trio as a featured soloist, and his performances in productions with Savion Glover such as Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk, Improvography, Classical Savion, Tappin' Into Monk, Invitation to the Dancer and on "ABC-TV's Dancing With The Stars." At the turn of the 21st century, the Newark Star Ledger's arts reviewers named Maurice "one of the twenty New Jersey faces to watch for in the new century."

          Straight from Newark, New Jersey, Maurice Chestnut introduces tap as an instrument. Maurice takes from his classical rhythm tap training and infuses hip-hop, funk and soul. Maurice Chestnut began dancing at the age of 5, under the direction of Mr. Alfred Gallman. At the age of 9 Maurice joined his first professional dance company; New Jersey Tap Ensemble. Under the direction of Ms. Deborah Mitchell with NJTE. He is currently principle dancer and choreography with the ensemble. Maurice brings us the soul which can only be inspired from the Hoofing greats, watching him dance is like walking through Harlem in the 1940's. Maurice has performed at many prestigious events such as; The Apollo Theater, where he was crowned Top Dog performer, Carnegie Hall yearly Jazz Festival, as well as the Playboy Jazz Festival. He was also featured on Sally Jesse Raphael's "My Kid's a Star. At the age of fourteen Maurice was named one of New Jerseys artists to watch in the "New Millennium". He was also a gold medalist in the NAACP's Act-So competition and was featured on the TV special. He has also had the opportunity to be on tour in the Tony award winning Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk, with Savion Glover. Maurice is working with Savion again, currently touring with his Improvographgy tour. His off- Broadway credits include Shades of Harlem, The Wiz, as well as Bubbling Brown Sugar, directed by illustrious George Faison at Atlanta's Fox Theater, where he played the role of Bumpy Johnson. Mr. Chestnut is now fusing tap as a live instrument in a band, he is touring with a show entitled "Can I Hit That".


Kristi Bean

 Kristi was an original Movement Dance Academy student and company member. Her dance training extends to the Broadway Dance Center, Steps, Rutgers University and the New Dance Group. Kristi has traveled all over the country teaching and performing for numerous artist and dance companies. She has performed for the Universal Dance Association and was a member of the Rutgers National Championship Dance Team in 1998. She has worked with the NBA, Disney Productions and HBO.  Kristi is a current member of the actor’s equity association. Kristi was the assistant teacher to Sheila Barker for the Manhattan Dance Project. Kristi has been a faculty member with MDA since 2001.


Cara France

    Cara France grew up in New Jersey where she began dancing at a young age.  As a competitive dancer, Cara honed a passion for dance, which continued throughout her studies at the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A modern performance major, Cara studied with Brian Sanders, Zane Booker, Kim Bears-Bailey and Curt Haworth, as well as performed both in and out of school.  Following graduation, Cara danced for the Walt Disney World Company in Orlando, Florida, in multiple parades and shows throughout the Magic Kingdom. Additionally, she was a dancer for Hardrive Productions in an industrial for the Food Network, as well as a company member of the Yow Dance Company.  Returning north, Cara began teaching and choreographing for numerous dance studios and high school dance departments, winning several awards and recognitions. In addition to her teachings and a knack for physical fitness, Cara became certified in the Pure Barre technique, instructing for Pure Barre Red Bank studio.  Cara is currently a judge for Nexstar National Talent Competition .


Melissa Galano

Melissa, was born and raised in Shrewsbury, New Jersey and began her dance training at the age of 3. She attended Red Bank Regional HS as a Dance Major. She graduated from Towson University with a BFA in Dance Performance and a BS in Mass Communication. Melissa also became a certified Yoga instructor in 2014. 

Melissa is currently performing as a company member with the NYC-based contemporary dance company, Spark Movement Collective. She has also done Marketing for dancewear brand Jo+Jax where she works with NYCDA faculty member Joey Dowling. Melissa has trained with incredible artists including Runqiao Du, Chelsea Koenig-Foster, Linda-Deimage4155 Melissa Galano nise Fisher-Harrell, Evelyn Gardell, Ashley Tuttle and many others. She has trained at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and at Mark Morris Dance Center. Melissa is currently teaching, choreographing and performing in numerous places in New Jersey and New York City. She loves sharing her passion for movement with others!


Sarah Goodhue

Sarah graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Dance Performance. Sarah spent a season as a Soulmate for the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team. She has spent four years dancing with the Interweave Dance Theatre, a dance company at Colorado University. She has done numerous projects with Sheila Barker, Jessica Hendricks and Ronen Koresh. She has been assisting choreographer, Dee Caspary on the WorldStride Heritage halftime performances for the college bowl games for the past two years. Sarah recently just performed with Mickey Avalon at the Highline Ballroom and Webster Hall, in New York City. She is currently teaching and choreographing at numerous places in California, Bermuda and performing arts high schools in the New Jersey area.


Elaenee Nowell

Elaenee began her dance training at the age of five, and has since then, studied a wide range of styles and techniques. Elaenee was trained in the Royal Academy of Dance Arts syllabus under Jennifer James Church.  She also studied with Charles Nicoll, Yvonne Lamb Scudiery, Bridget Trochiano, Victoria Hall, Peter Anastos, Valerie Taylor and Daniel Catanach.  Elaenee continued her studies at The Rock School in Philadelphia, PA with Bojan and Stephanie Spassoff, Gloria Govrin, Jeffrey Gribler, Natasha Bar and Eva Szabo to name a few.  Performance credits include : The Nutcracker, Petrouchka and Romeo and Juliet with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Aida with the Philadelphia Opera Company, and The Nutcracker, Peter Rabbit and other Tales, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the Company of Dance Arts, as well as the New York Jazz Choreography Project and various productions in the tri-state area.  In addition, Elaenee has choreographed for the Company of Dance Arts production of  Celebrate Dance, as well as served as rehearsal assistant and children's ballet mistress for several productions.  Elaenee has been teaching since 1999 and a faculty member at Movement Dance Academy since 2007. Elaenee has been on staff with the Count Basie Education program since 2008. Elaenee has received her Pilates certification from the Kane School of Core Integration in NYC and is a certified FLX Conditioner Specialist. 


Suzanne O'Reilly

Suzanne graduated from Rutger University with a BFA in Dance. She has trained all over the country with master teachers and choreographers, and been teaching dance for over 25 years. Suzanne has been a staff member at Movement for over 20 years.



Jaime Stanley

 Jaime Stanley's love of dance started at a very young age. She grew up training in all styles of dance, moving onto competing in regional and national dance competitions. She attended Red Bank Regional's performing arts program throughout high school, which gave her opportunities to train with many professionals. Following high school, she attended Brookdale Community College while commuting into New York City to further her dance experience. In 2000 she started teaching at local dance studios.  In 2004 she started Stage of Dreams Dance competition with her childhood friend Lawrence Edwards. Following that she took some time off to start her family and was happy to join the Movement Dance Academy staff in 2011.  Jaime received her dance teaching certification through the Dance Educators Of America Program. 


Kristina Spaeth


Kristina began her dance training at the age of 4. Kristina began her early ballet training (RAD Syllabus ) at the Academy of Dance Arts  under the direction of Jennifer Church.  Kristina also had the pleasure of studying with Victoria Hall, Peter Anastos, Daniel Catanach, Charles Nicoll and Yvonne Lamb Scudiery. Kristina preformed with The Company of Dance Arts including A Midsummers Night’s Dream, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Romeo & Juliet, Peter Rabbit and other tails, La Traviates La Aida, Sleeping Beauty and The Wizard of Oz. She also continued her training at summer intensives including Royal Academy of Dance, The Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Studio Maestro, The Harid Conservatory and Boston Ballet. In 2005 Kristina graduated from University of the Arts in Philadelphia getting her BFA in Dance Education. She has been teaching and continuing her dance education since. 


Shawn Scott

Shawn started his dance training in 2007 at Movement Dance Academy at the age of ten. He Started with hip hop and then later branched off to train in other styles: ballet, tap and contemporary. Shawn was a member of the Movement dance team for 6 years, competing all over the east coast. After graduating Shawn became a member of The Beat Club Crew in 2015, giving him the opportunity to work along side distinguished members Ariana Crowder from SYTYCD. Currently Shawn dances with Project D Dance, LLC based out of Edgewater, NJ.  Project D has performed and competed at the professional level all over the country, traveling to Boston, San Diego and LA to name a few.


Dana Wiener

Dana “Lioness” Wiener is a New York City based creative. She has been passionate about dance all her life, beginning training in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop, & Tap at Movement Dance Academy. At fourteen, she was accepted by The Joffrey Ballet School’s Jazz & Contemporary Trainee program, moving to New York the following year to pursue her dream. 

At seventeen, she was accepted into the Dana Foglia Dance Mentorship Program in Los Angeles, after which she returned to The Joffrey.  Dana was a member of Kelly Peter’s renowned hip hop crew Generation X from 2015-2017. She has also worked with Lauren Cox, Emily Bufferd, Charles Smith, Joanna Numata, Miguel Zarate, & Brian Henry “Hallow Dreamz” to name a few. Along with dancing, Dana worked as Assistant Production Manager in The Current Sessions VI, Issue 

Currently, Dana is involved in a number of groups & projects around New York City working as a freelance dancer & choreographer. 

She has been a rotating member of Lauren Cox’s philanthropy based dance company Humans Collective since 2014. Dana recently placed 2nd place at the Boston Red Bull Regional Dance Your Style Competition and advanced to the National Competition in Las Vegas Nevada.