Julie Berger, Founder and Artistic Director
A pioneer in the dance industry, Julie has fulfilled her lifelong dream with the creation of “Salsa in the Suburbs.” As a young girl, she marveled at those who touched lives with the art of dance. Being the driven, passionate person that Julie is, she joined many dance intensive programs at a young age, the first being a national tour with Hoctor Dance Caravan. Throughout the tour, she performed in competitions, assisted with judging and served as a student-teacher in master classes. At the end of this tour, Julie made a commitment to herself to ultimately inspire and change lives by means of dance.
Soon after, Julie took the first step towards realizing this dream by becoming one of the primary tap and jazz instructors at the Media Dance Center; she continued teaching there for the next four years. During these years, her most notable attribute was her natural ability to create and teach dynamic, unique choreography. While simultaneously teaching at the Media Dance Center, Julie decided to make a daring investment to further her dance education. Leaving all that was familiar, she switched schools to attend the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, where she majored in dance. The experience gained was invaluable.
After graduating high school with honors, Julie received a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Temple University, and studied both domestically and abroad. While studying in London, England, she discovered the art of salsa dancing. Completely awe-struck by this exotic form of dance, Julie was motivated to seek out and study with internationally renowned instructors in England, France, Sweden, and the United States. After her intensive instruction, Julie developed into a master dance instructor. She was finally ready to realize her lifelong dream.
In 2007, she put thoughts to action with the creation of “Salsa in the Suburbs.” Her intention is to use dance as a vehicle to help people gain confidence, learn, grow, and feel inspired. As a secondary goal, Julie wants to make Latin dance accessible to those living far from urban centers.
Lucas Lopez, Latin Dance Instructor
Although coming from a Hispanic background, Lucas only was inspired to learn Latin dance after a study abroad trip in Seville, Spain in the fall of 2008. “I clearly remember going to a club called, Cuba Libre in Seville for the first time, and seeing all the great dancers performing various complex moves. It truly looked like a form of art, and I wanted so badly to participate in it.” Upon returning to the states, he continued his studies at Harrisburg Area Community College where he obtained an Associates in Business Administration and then studied abroad again in Mexico in the Spring of 2010. In Mexico, he started to take Salsa classes. “It was great to finally start to understand this beautiful dance and experience salsa clubs in a different country. I was amazed by how similar the dancing looked as when I was in Spain. It excited me to discover that Latin dancing is a universal language and is transferable anywhere in the world!” After returning again to the States in 2010, Lucas transferred to Temple University to obtain a Bachelors in Business with a focus in Finance. Upon graduating in May 2012, he finally had free time to resume serious Salsa training.
After finding Salsa in the Suburbs, he was thrilled to a part of a Salsa community and devoted many hours to beginner and intermediate Salsa/Bachata group classes, private lessons and even performance classes, before beginning to train as an instructor under the direction of Julie Berger. “Latin dancing has really become my number one passion and I’m so looking forward to sharing it with all of my students!”
Michael Booker, Latin Dance Instructor
Michael first dabbled in Salsa when living in Los Angeles and San Francisco. His brother…an accomplished Salsero had taken him to a few clubs and he ventured into a few classes….but the bug did not bite him until he moved to Boston, MA where he fell in love…first with a woman, and consequently Salsa.
In 2003, Michael met his now wife Sharrie - herself a dancer, and they started going out to clubs where he would sit and watch her dance all night! One evening, after driving her to a dance audition in downtown Boston, he was recruited by the choreographer to an intensive Salsa bootcamp course lasting three months. Skeptical at first, he decided to sign up….and realized that he did in fact love dancing Salsa. He quickly became a regular on the Boston scene enjoying Salsa, Bachata, and Casino Rueda styles of Latin Dance.
In 2005, Michael moved to California and continued to learn LA Style Salsa, Casino Rueda and Bachata while picking up Merengue too. He then moved to the Philadelphia area in 2011 and eventually came across Salsa in the Suburbs where he signed up for a Bachata Performance class in 2013.
Michael has been dancing with Salsa in the Suburbs since then, performing in multiple performance classes and training under the direction of Julie Berger on the Salsa in the Suburbs curriculum too.
He is extremely influenced by Salsa dance companies featuring male dancers that he has been fortunate to learn from, these being: Jam’nastics, Salsa y Control and Hache Machete - all Boston based dance companies. While in Southern California he was further influenced by Rudy Zalez, Steps of Gold Dance and Rueda Madness.Their ability to incorporate fluid mens’ styling and intricate footwork patterns is very inspiring to him and is something he looks forward to incorporating in his classes at Salsa in the Suburbs!
Shauna Belizéando, Latin Dance Instructor
As a woman of Central-American heritage, Shauna has always had a passion for Latin American culture through both music & dance. For over a decade, she has been one of the top Latin Social Dancers, Performers & Spinners in the Southern NJ/ Philadelphia area. As a professionally trained Salsa Acrobatic Performer, she has danced all over the world — most recently in Las Vegas, Colombia, Ireland, Los Angeles, and India. Specializing in both Advanced Ladies Styling & Aerials/Lifts/Tricks/Spins, she currently dances in various shows/events and Casinos throughout the Atlantic City & Philadelphia areas.
Shauna teaches Latin & Ballroom Dances, as well as a variety of genres of Dance-Fitness workshops including: “Diva Dance”, Hip-Hop, “Cardio Funk Fusion” and more. She donates her free time running dance workshops for children in both Spanish & English back in Central America. Shauna is known for her easy, step-by-step teaching methods and her everlasting patience. She loves working with students of all levels to achieve their personal dance goals and is available for both group & private lessons at Salsa in the Suburbs.
Julie DiCecco, Salsa Dance Instructor
Julie DiCecco had realized her passion for dance early in life. Throughout her childhood, she trained and competed with both Double D Gymnastics and The Media Dance Center. Already an accomplished dancer, she was accepted at Pensylvania Ballet Summer Intensive Program as a young teen. This program consisted of six weeks, six days a week, eight hours a day of intensive dance training including: Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Lyrical, Jazz, Pilates and Nutritional Classes. High School was no different, as she shared her talents with the Cardinal O’Hara High School Dance Team in the school’s musical productions, including Godspell and Guys and Dolls. Straight out of school, she studied in Los Angeles, California under the supervision of Wade Robson and Chris Judd along with many other distinguished choreographers. There, she trained in various dance styles including: Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop and even Break-dancing. Yet, her roots in the Philadelphia area ran deep, and she discovered her love for Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue right here at Salsa in the Suburbs with founder Julie Berger starting as a student in 2008.
After taking a break to obtain her undergraduate degree in Paralegal Studies from Widener University, she is back at Salsa in the Suburbs to fulfill her childhood dream of being a dance teacher. She feels that dancing nurtures her heart and soul and is committed to passing on this feeling to her students.
No matter where in the world she has been, or what employment or circumstance, Pauline has always found a way to dance. As a child, Pauline studied ballet, jazz, and tap and performed throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania as a teenager with a dance troupe. She studied dance, theatre and psychology at DeSales University and eventually became a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer, which helped pay her way through graduate school. Pauline has always felt strongly about the healing capacities of dance and movement and combined her psychology, dance and fitness training to educate and inspire others in the USA, New Zealand and Australia. Together with East African refugee women in New Zealand, Pauline learned traditional and contemporary Somali dances while the women learned aerobics, tai bo, and sports conditioning. This work culminated in a number of academic publications about the physical and mental health benefits of fitness and movement. She also taught fitness with elderly and sight and hearing impaired people and to people who were chair-constrained. After moving to Australia, Pauline’s dancing included performing with a ladies tap dancing group. On moving to Media, PA, the stars all aligned when Pauline discovered Salsa in the Suburbs. Having never partner danced before, Pauline quickly learned the potential for salsa dancing to contribute to personal development and relationship building, which she incorporates into her teaching at the Salsa in the Suburbs studio.
Susan Liberace Perdunn, Ballroom/Wedding Dance Instructor
Susan started her dancing career in Junior High School, training in gymnastics. Floor exercises soon became her favorite because she could DANCE! Then for the majority of her teenage to young adult years, Susan would watch Channel 12 – Public Broadcasting’s Ohio Star Ball, featuring Sam Sodano (Creator of the Ohio Star Ball and also Chairman on Arthur Murray International Dance Board and Franchisee Owner).
Upon graduating from Business School with degrees in Accounting/Finance and Business Management, she started working at Flanagan’s Night Club (both in King of Prussia & on Philadelphia’s South Street) as Lead Dancer and performing at Pulsations Entertainment Complex in Character Study. From Pulsations’ exposure, Susan was then invited by Philadelphia’s Channel 6 morning program to model Madonna clothing line.
In 1993, Susan was not only able to meet Sam Sodano in person, but received direct training under Sam Sodano and Vicki Venka (creators of the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Arthur Murray Syllabus) while working at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Narberth, PA. After the studio closed in 1998, Susan continued to dance and choreograph with several theater groups (Barnstormer’s Theater, Center Stage Productions, Footlighter’s Theater, Calvary Chapel Acting-Up, Mermaid Players) and worked in New Hope, PA, with Hewitt Productions performing/dancing in Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Improv group.
Susan also spent time alongside ‘Christina’, Instructor for Art of Exotic Dance for Everyday Women (AOED), and was asked to dance for AOED’s Comcast/On Demand instructional video in 2006, and then worked at Medina Karate Kempo, Springfield, PA; teaching an 8 week class of Introduction to 7 Styles of Dance (Swing, Rumba, Waltz, Jitterbug, Tango, Foxtrot and Hustle).
She is now every excited to meet & dance with everyone at Salsa in the Suburbs!!! Whether you’re searching for the Perfect First Dance, or need some tips before you (or your family!) get on that dance floor in front of all of your guests and videographers, Susan will be happy to help show you a few basic steps or choreograph a special First Dance that you’ll never forget. Why wait? Book your lesson today!
Nicole Lanciano, Zumba Instructor
Nicole began her dance training as a small child, excelling in both Hip Hop and Salsa. She has performed at many venues, including the 2006 Phiiladelphia Salsa Congress. She has taught hip-hop for the last ten years to both children and adults in and around the Philadelphia tri-state area.
When Nicole discovered Zumba, she was immediately convinced that she was destined to share this amazing Latin-inspired, dance-fitness class with others. She was Zumba trained and certified by Maria Browning in College Park, Maryland. Zumba allows Nicole to combine elements of her favorite dance forms into a fun, fat-burning, dance party.
She is delighted to have the opportunity to bring Zumba to Salsa in the Suburbs!
Carrie Krause, Zumba Instructor
Although exercise had always been of importance to Carrie, she always found it difficult to stay interested and motivated. However, it was love at first shimmy when a friend introduced her to Zumba in 2009. After learning from some of the best instructors in the area, Carrie became licensed to teach Zumba in 2011. She is also licensed to teach Zumbatomic for children. Her passion for Zumba truly exploded after attending the Zumba Instructor Convention in Florida that summer. After achieving weight loss success and a positive outlook on life through Zumba, she is pleased to help others attain their fitness goals.
“I love the idea that Zumba is for everyone; I love that exercise can be fun again! It’s a challenge that leaves you feeling sexy, strong, empowered, and above all else confident in the person you see in the mirror.”
Beth Genther, Zumba & Zumba Toning Instructor
Beth found the perfect “job” for herself… teaching ZUMBA. She began dance training as a young girl at Touch of Class Dance Studios and now focuses on Hip Hop and Zumba. She continued her passion for dance while in College and danced for the Cabrini College Dance Team. All through high school and college, she also taught hip hop to children. After college, she become an elementary school teacher and assisted in teaching the St. Simon and Jude Cheerleaders a hip hop routine to be performed at the 76ers game in 2006.
When she discovered Zumba in 2010, she realized she had found a fun, amazing way to continue her dance career. She was certified at the Atlantic City Convention in May, 2010 and has loved every second of teaching Zumba ever since!
Melissa Threadgill, Ballet and Tap Instructor
Melissa’s love of dance began at the age of four when she started dancing at the Diane Matthews School of Dance Arts (DMSODA). She trained there for 14 years studying Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Modern and auditioned and participated in several groups of West Chester Dance Works (WCDW, in residence at the DMSODA). While earning a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, she continued to study ballet and modern and added different techniques of improvisation to her dance vocabulary. After graduating, Melissa returned to the DMSODA, as a student and teacher and WCDW as a performing member in it’s Signature group.
In 2009 she became the director of the youngest group in WCDW, Junior Performers, where she introduces young dancers to a more professional dance atmosphere. In the summer of 2011, Melissa came to Salsa in the Suburbs to expand her dance knowledge by adding Salsa, Cha Cha and Bachata. She still teaches at the DMSODA, directs for WCDW and is excited to bringing new styles of dance to Salsa in the Suburbs. Especially in a time when art programs are being minimized and removed from schools, she loves helping children express themselves through dance!
Sarah Carkner, Sensual Striptease Instructor
No, she’s not a professional stripper, although she’s a great striptease instructor! Sarah actually obtained her Bachelors in Neuroscience and Masters of Wellness Management while also pursuing her love of dance and fitness. An advocate of personal growth and self-development, Sarah acquired her Professional Coaching Certification and started a successful Life and Business coaching practice out of Malvern, PA. Sarah has established herself as a local fitness expert teaching exercise and dance classes to crowds of hundreds. No stranger to the stage, Sarah has appeared as the guest expert Life Coach on Navigating Your Life with Nat Williams and has presented at a range of venues from the Mind, Body, and Spirit Expo to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Sarah has been a certified group fitness instructor for thirteen years and personal trainer for ten. Sarah’s intention is to make each class so much fun that time flies and the benefit of exercising are only secondary to the elation that is felt when doing something good for your mind, body, and spirit. Sarah is currently available for private parties such as bachelorette parties or Girls’ Night Out Events at the studio or at your home!
Kahina Asurah, Bellydance Instructor
Kahina Asurah, native of Kiev, Ukraine, is a professional belly dance artist and she enjoys sharing her love of dance with others. She has graced stages in Ukraine, Romania and Mexico. Review after review will attest to the satisfaction of having Kahina perform at your event.
Kahina performs Egyptian cabaret and modern Egyptian dance. She regularly performs across the tri-state area, to name a few venues: the MERCEDES BENZ GALA; the opening act for concert of REKNOWN ROCK STAR Michael Angelo Batio; The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER Travel Show at the Philadelphia Convention Center; BALLY’S, HARRAHS and the BORGATA CASINO in Atlantic City, NJ.
Kahina has appeared on the MIND TV program in the history of Belly Dance section. Her articles are published in “MOSAIC”, London,UK and “SHIMMY”, USA. Kahina holds certificates in “Journey Through Egypt” Level 1 and 2, and “Sahra-Style Cairo Oriente”.
She expresses “that it is difficult to explain her fascination with dance in a simple, linear way. One can start by discussing the feminine, spiritual or self-expressive side of dance, and one can mention that most of the ancient civilizations used dance as a ritualistic tool for communicating with the divine; but she thinks that dance also helps us to understand our roots, the world around us, and ourselves”.
Kahina started dancing early in her childhood, while spending summers in the Black Sea region and in the Steppes, where she stayed with her grandmother. Her first memory about dancing is the vision of caravans of gypsies wearing colorful skirts, singing and dancing. Their bodies moving in hypnotic motions, bestowing spells on those around them. She reveals: “I am certain it cast a spell on me then; and now, much later in time, and on a different continent, I still feel the power of that enchanted potion”.