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 attended Temple University 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.
Linda Pang, General Manager & Salsa Instructor
Linda studied both dance and music throughout her childhood. While a photography student at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, she also studied Modern, Tap, and African dance as well as the drums. She worked and trained at Master Jay’s Dance Studio in Philadelphia before returning to Media and discovering Salsa in the Suburbs, while looking for a new creative outlet. She quickly devoured any dance knowledge Julie could impart on her, and soon found herself learning to lead, challenging herself to go further in partnered dances, as well as in Julie’s Performance Classes.
Since discovering Salsa in the Suburbs in 2007, Linda has trained extensively under the direction of Julie Berger, and has become an integral part of the company. She teaches group and private salsa lessons and may be seen at salsa parties or working the front desk at the studio. With a constant passion for further education in the Arts, Linda enjoys immersing herself in various forms of creative expression, whether behind a camera, a desk, or on the dance floor.
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!”
Rafael Dueno, Ballroom Instructor/Wedding Dance Expert
A lover of Ballroom dance with a passion for the Arts, Rafael is excited to bring his knowledge and expertise to Salsa in the Suburbs! Having trained at Arthur Murray Dance Academy with some of the best in the Ballroom field, Rafael is well-known for his beautiful and creative Wedding Dance choreography. 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, he is 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! (More info to come!)
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!
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”.