TEACHERS & STAFF
Owner & Director
Joanne has been sharing her love and passion for teaching dance for 34 years. Under the direction of Debi Hanley, she started her career as one of the youngest members to perform all around New England and continued her training in the Boston area under various dance masters and artists. Her choreography has won many awards and recognition in the competitive circuit, and her alumni have went on to become professional dancers, choreographers and inspiring dance and yoga instructors out in the community. In addition to dance, Joanne has an extensive fitness and nutrition background as a nationally certified fitness leader, nutrition counselor, and personal trainer through the AFAA certification program and certified Hatha Yoga instructor. She combines her passion of the arts, connection, and authenticity in all her classes with her students and with her dance family to provide the wholesome atmosphere that is, Planet Dance.
Company Choreographer, Studio Assistant
Kelly has been dancing and performing in the Greater Boston area for over 23 years. She began her training at the age of 2 with the Donna Miceli Dance Center and continued with Planet Dance in 2005. In addition to being a Planet Dance Alumni, she has studied Dance Education at Lowell High School and Northern Essex. She is a former member of the LHS Dance Ensemble, The Boston Tap Co, Drumatix, and recently had the opportunity to teach for the LHS Dance Program. Kelly's choreography has received many outstanding awards, overall high scores, and special judges awards at various regional competitions. She works tirelessly behind the scenes at the studio and also in her classes to challenge each of her students to strive to their fullest potential.
Ballet & Pointe
Janet has been an innovative instructor of dance for over 40 years in the Merrimack Valley area. She owned and operated the Janet Gilday School of Dance in Dracut, MA for 17 years. She has shared exquisite ballet and pointe training with hundreds of students who have gone on to perform professionally as well as become wonderful choreographers and teachers. She attended Boston Conservatory as a dance major and continued to develop her own technique with some of the best in Boston. Miss Janet's most influential peers are Wayne Stuart of the Royal Academy of Ballet in England and her very own beloved instructor Miss Shirley Terrill of Lowell. Janet continues to share and enjoy the ballet experience with today's young dancers and is a major part of the Planet Dance family.
Vattana has been teaching dance for 10 years. He has taught at various dance studios in MA and specializes in texture, musicality, and grooves. He has trained with and directed The Movement (2010-2013) and Inner Mission (2014-2018). He has also trained under The Expressive Movement (2014-2015) and Mill Advised (2017). Vattana is a major player in the Lowell dance community. He has hosted various workshops in MA as well as trained dancers who have gone on to establish thier own teams, and college clubs. He hosts an annual dance convention called Eat, Sleep, Dance, Repeat (est. 2015) for the soul purpose of creating space for beginners and experienced movers. Along with dance, Vattana has become very passionate about health. He brings his passion for wellness and optional performance into his classes and likes to describe his classes as Holistic Dance Training. Vattana's classes are always inspiring, creative and refreshing.
Amanda has been with the Planet Dance family since it's conception in 2005. She has been dancing for over 15 years and still loves to perform with her alumni dance family. Amanda instills the love of dance and movement in our students at an early age. Her classes are always engaging, fun and inspiring. Miss Amanda works full-time at a busy daycare in the age groups of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and is also certified CPR/First Aid. She is currently enrolled at Middlesex College pursuing her degree in Education.
Cat has had a passion for dance and performing her whole life. From the age of 3, she studied extensively under Bryan Steele and Judith Koeckhoven. She continued her dance education as a member of the UMass Lowell dance team during her college years, as well as attended workshops, intensives, and conventions such as the Pulse, Excel in Motion, and New York City Dance Alliance. Cat was an Elite Dancer for Excel in Motion convention and danced alongside and assisted choreographers such as Eleanor Scott and Adé Chiké Torbert. Through her years as a competitive dancer and choreographer, she has come to view the dance studio as a sacred space full of learning opportunities, not only for her students, but also for herself. Cat seeks to inspire, challenge, and push each student to their fullest potential.
Tony has over 10 years of gymnastics and parkour training. He has taught for a variety of gymnastics and dance schools in New England. He has competed on American Ninja Warrior, and is a current member of the Celtics Dunk team. Tony's purpose is to spread knowledge and awareness through his unstoppable work ethic, so that those who wish to push themselves and their bodies to their fullest potential, can do so in a safe and supported environment. Tony brings his magic of patience, knowledge and experience to every class, for every student, from beginner to advanced.
Rosie began dancing at the age of two at a local studio and continued her training under Donna Miceli for over 20 years. She was a past member and soloist with Ms. Miceli’s Youth Dance Company as well as a teacher and company director at DMDC. Rosie graduated from Bridgewater State College in 2007 where she was a member of the Dance Ensemble and a founding member of the Bridgewater State Dance Team. In 2009, Rosie became the Director of the Lowell High School Dance Program allowing her to work with dancers from a variety of backgrounds and skill levels. Since Rosie began teaching at LHS, the program has grown from 50 students to over 350. She also served as the dance ensemble director for 12 years. When she’s not dancing, Rosie’s two boys and new baby girl keep her and her husband very busy!
Aysha began her dance journey at the age of 2 with Dancing Center Unlimited. Over the past 16 years and counting, she continues to expand her dance experience as a competition team member here at Planet Dance, a former member of the Chelmsford High School Dance Team, as well as current member of DanceVersity. Her fun and energetic hip hop choreography has won numerous awards and recognitions over the past year. Aysha has also won various awards for her clean, and crisp sounds in her tap routines. She has been teaching at Planet Dance for the past 3 years and loves to share her knowledge and passion for dance with her students.
Alexis started her dance training in 2007 at the age of 3 here at Planet Dance. She is part of our senior competitive team and recently joined our teaching staff. She is currently a student at Lowell Catholic High School and has been on the dance team for the past 3 years, as well as a performance member of DanceVersity since 2017. Alexis has outstanding work ethic and is extremely driven. She loves working with her teammates and especially her students, and considers Planet Dance studio as her second family.
Justin credits two companies for his rebirth as a human and artist: Strive For Change Lifestyle and The Expressive Movement. He has been representing and dancing with SFC's “Inner Mission” and EM for five years of his dance career and Mill Advised for two years. He also performed and choreographed in EM’s 2018 Tour, “Within A Dancers’ Mind” and 2019 Tour, "Let's Talk About It". Justin has been teaching and performing in a variety of areas from New England, New York, Canada and Barcelona, Spain. He has been a back-up dancer for artists like Jeffrey Eli Miller, Michael Constantino, Inas Alawam, Connor Street and Ryan Duby. In addition to his dance career, Justin’s interests have expanded to acting, modeling, fitness, music, and gymnastics. In his own words, "My education is from life itself and my career choice is to become the best version of me." Justin is ready for the challenges and growth that life has in store for him.
Hip Hop & Breaking
Xavier began his teaching career with the Lowell YMCA Dance Program in 2014. Since then he has been teaching and inspiring young boys in his classes at Planet Dance, and joined Boston's largest dance crew; Phunk Phenomenon. Xavier has performed in the Celtic's halftime show on various occasions, and has been featured in the Disney original movie "Godmothered". He has also been featured on national television commercials. Xavier is currently persuing his many talents of modeling, acting, painting and performing, all while making a positive impact on the world by sharing his many gifts with us.
Marissa recently graduated summa cum laude from Salve Regina University in 2019 with her B.S. in accounting and minors in dance and business administration. She is now pursuing her master’s degree in Business Administration. While at Salve, she was a member of the preprofessional company, Extensions Dance Company, where she has had the opportunity to work with choreographers from all over the country and continued her training in ballet, jazz, modern, and hip hop. She was also the Business Manager and choreographer of SRU Dance Club. Her choreography has been presented in Boston, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Besides dance, fitness is one of her biggest passions. She is a certified Barre instructor. Currently, she is the Operations Manager of a professional dance company in Boston, Pantos Project Dance.
Rec. Company Choreographer
Savannah is a recent honors graduate of Lowell High School. She started dancing at the age of 11 with us at Planet Dance, quickly moved her way onto our competition team and is now co-teaching our junior recreational performance team. She will be attending Hofstra University next fall to study Business and Dance. She is also a member of the Lowell High School Dance Ensemble, and DanceVersity. Savannah has previously taught dance education for the Lowell Salvation Army and has helped her students advance in regional competitions. Savannah has amazing work ethic and loves sharing her passion and creativity with her students and teammates!
Jessica began dancing at the age of 3 at Walker's Gymnastics and Dance, and joined our PD family at the age of 10. She is a current member of our senior competition team has been teaching for Planet Dance for the past year. Jessi is also involved in many external dance and performance groups such as Mill Advised, DanceVersity, The Expressive Movement and Innermission. Jessi hopes to inspire and teach her students and teammates to be the best versions of themselves and always remain true to who they are.
Mommy & Me
Kristen is a former student of Planet Dance with many years of experience as a competitive dancer. She continued her dance training in college at Sacred Heart University as a dancer and student choreographer for the University’s Dance Ensemble. After graduating college, she became certified and began teaching as a Pure Barre instructor. Currently, Kristen is a second year student enrolled in the Masters of Occupational Therapy program at the University of New Hampshire.
Hip Hop & Lyrical
Mae, a Planet Dance Alum, has over 17 years of dance experience. She is a former PD comp team member and was a member of the Chelmsford High School dance team She currently attends Merrimack College and studies Health Science. She continues her love of dance as a member of the Merrimack College Dance team where she performs at half time shows, and cheers on the sports teams on the sidelines during games.
Justine has been dancing for over 20 years and teaching for 8. Justine has always had a passion for dancing and performing since she began at the age of two. She grew up training at Broadway Dance Academy under Cindy Conley. At the age of twelve she began assistant teaching, and by the age of sixteen she was teaching classes of her own. She continued her dance training in New York City at Broadway Dance Center in the Professional Semester program. There she trained under artists such as Shirlene Quigley, Dorit Koppel, Emily Greenwell, and more. Although her time in New York was invaluable, she has since moved back home to teach at local dance studios. Her love for teaching and sharing her passion with others is what is most important to her. She aims to challenge each student, and inspire them to become their best selves!