We love to dance, we love to teach and we are all about merriment & dance instruction.
We believe in encouraging and supporting our students at every phase of their dance development.
At Society Hill Dance Academy, established in 2002, we help our students achieve their goals at their own pace and teach all of our dance classes in a style that is clear, supportive and fun. Our beautiful studio also boasts 5,500 sq feet of stunning event space as well as beautiful hardwood floors and large bay windows overlooking quaint cobblestoned streets and the famed Headhouse Shambles.
Shana opened SHDA in June 2002. Originally from Apple Valley, Minnesota, where she started teaching there more than 20 years ago, Shana trained with coaches from all over the country, was a competitive dancer and eventually opened her own school in Philadelphia. She also runs a nonprofit organization called The Philadelphia Dance Foundation that brings ballroom and Latin dance to underserviced children in inner-city schools. “Dancing is a beautiful sport that brings people young and old together in a way that does not compare to anything else,” Shana says. “Do not wait until ‘someday’ to dance!”
Katie lives in Philadelphia and has been an instructor at SHDA for more than three years. She has studied all forms of dance as well as opera, glassblowing and printmaking at the University of the Arts, and majored in ballet. She performed for seven years with the Ballet Theatre of Lancaster (her hometown), was featured in many performances at the University of the Arts and has performed at weddings and special events with SHDA. Katie’s favorite dance memory was when she performed the role of Clara in the Nutcracker. Her other vocations include Pilates instructor and owner of a stained glass business, and she also enjoys fishing. According to Katie, “Dancing is like breathing. You do it every moment of every day but you are rarely aware of it.”
Nodari, a Dance Vision International Dance Association (DVIDA) and certified professional dance instructor, has taught ballroom and Latin dance in the Philadelphia area for more than 16 years. Both nationally and internationally recognized, he is a Pro/Am professional competitor, certified judicator in all styles of dance, an award-winning competitive dancer, and a member of the National Dance Council of America (NDCA). Originally from Russia, he studied ballroom dance in Israel and currently consults and trains dancers worldwide. He is a fifteen-time winner of the “Top Teacher” award at national competitions who has performed at the Merriam Theater and is a USA Rising Star Champion in Smooth and Rhythm dances. According to Nodari, “It is a source of pride and pleasure watching my students progress.” When he is not dancing, Nodari enjoys fishing, watching movies, swimming, cooking and playing sports.
Charissa was born in the West Indies on the beautiful island of Trinidad. In 1999, she moved to New York City to pursue her education and quickly became immersed in the Argentine Tango community there. She strived to perfect this difficult improvisational dance and participated in the work-study program at Paul Pellicoro’s Dancesport to balance her full-time career in Real Estate. Seeking a more fulfilling enterprise and an easy transition out of the corporate sector, Charissa began exploring dance fitness classes and soon stumbled on SharQui ™ – The Bellydance Workout. She was thrilled by the body loving, confidence -pumping workout and in 2008, got her Group Fitness Instructor certification with the American Council on Exercise to begin teaching. Now residing in South Jersey, Charissa is a Manager at SHDA. In this role, her anatomical knowledge and academic background in Education and Organizational Management complement seamlessly her passion for movement and musical expression. In her free time, Charissa enjoys traveling, reading and watching stand-up comedy.
Trish is a native of Philadelphia and is SHDA's Assistant Manager. The most interesting thing she sees while at the academy is the variety of different types of dance and the similarities and the differences of each of them. “My fondest memory I have ever had in SHDA since working here would have to be experiencing our dance parties for the first time,” Trish says. “I never thought I would be a part or see dancing like that before and it was amazing for me!” In her free time, Trish likes to play video games, read, and try new adventures with friends such as going to museums and attending trapeze classes.
"When the passion's too much to talk, sing. And when the passion's too much to sing, dance." Meghan is a Connecticut native who began ballroom dancing at the age of 11 years old. She traveled to Philadelphia for college and graduated from Chestnut Hill College in 2014 with a BS in Human Services. When Meghan isn't dancing she can be found writing, taking walks, spending time with loved ones, and watching 70s sitcom reruns.
Catherine is a native of Philadelphia who began dancing and performing at the age of 5. She has learned many forms of dance including Bharathanatayam (a South Indian Classical dance style), Bollywood, Hip Hop and Ballroom. She has gone on tour with musical artists, performed at special events and competitions. She believes learning how to dance is the best thing a person can do for themselves. It makes you more comfortable within your own skin, keeps you active, makes you happy and is an amazing way to communicate with other people. She stands by her statement that, "Dance is its own language and if you learn to speak a language that has no words, you will be universally understood."
Derek Walker's dance career started at University of Maryland, College Park as he was getting his B.S. in mechanical engineering. He started his competitive career in ballroom and Latin during his freshman year at University of MD at the age of 18 and fell in love with it. He has been teaching and competing ever since and hasn't looked back. He has competed in the categories of International Latin and standard and American rhythm and smooth up and down the east coast. Currently He competes locally and internationally with his partner Nicole in the style of international standard under the direction of some of the world's top coaches in and around New York. Derek genuinely loves every second that he spends on the dance floor practicing, teaching, and competing and he can't wait to help him and his students reach new goals and new heights.
Ro started dancing as a freshman in high school. He started performing at school cultural shows and fundraisers. He attended college in Florida at University of South Florida and joined a fusion dance team. Here he placed in many state and regional competitions. His love of dance has made him proficient in not only Ballroom, but also Bollywood, Bhangra, Hip Hop and Contemporary styles. He recently moved back home to Philadelphia and is finishing his degree in computer science at Temple University.
Joanna’s love for dance began at a young age. As a student in high school, Joanna was formally introduced to the art of Latin dance where she learned how to dance and perform salsa, bachata, and merengue. As a young adult, Joanna began her career as a salsa performer, and performed at local salsa congresses. As a ballroom instructor, Joanna aspires to share her love and knowledge of dance with others. Her teaching philosophy is, “with the right amount of passion and commitment anyone can learn the art of dance”. When she’s not dancing, Joanna spends her time painting in her home studio.
Are you are a highly self-motivated, persuasive, people person with a passion for dance? Are you looking for a unique career that is fun, exciting and rewarding - one that allows you to share your knowledge with others while developing your natural talents? Then we want you. Send us an email telling us why you would make a great addition to our team along with your resume and change your life today!
What do we teach at Society Hill Dance Academy?
Our goal at Society Hill Dance Academy is to prepare you to dance with confidence in any social situation. Our curriculum consists of several basic dances that will allow you to dance anywhere, with anyone, on any occasion! The most common dances are Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Swing, Salsa, Merengue, Samba, and Hustle.
How should I schedule my lessons?
Although we teach at your pace, there are certainly benefits to keeping your lessons close together. You will not only learn faster because the dancing will be fresh in your mind, but you’ll also be able to spend more time learning new material. We encourage you to jump-start your learning by scheduling your lessons at least twice a week to start.
What if I need to reschedule my lesson?
We require a 24 hour notification if you intend to miss a scheduled lesson or you may be charged.
What is a Group Lesson?
A group lesson consists of several students learning from one instructor. Students concentrate primarily on learning steps of a particular dance. Changing of partners is heavily encouraged to further develop your leading or following skills. View the event calendar to check out the current month's schedule and ask your instructor which classes to try out first! Find the right class for you!
What is a Practice Party?
Exactly what it sounds like! Our Practice Parties are an opportunity for you to try out your dancing in a social situation. Many of our students come together to practice their skills on our dance floor, all while socializing and enjoying refreshments in the company of each other. Our parties are on Fridays at 8:30PM.
Where will I use this style of dancing?
We teach a style of dance that is used in any social situation. Although many students come to us initially to learn for a special occasion (for example, a wedding, cruise, bar mitzvah, charity ball, etc.), they find many other times for dance in their personal lives. We also provide studio-sponsored nights out on the town for your enjoyment. Ask your instructor for where you can find dancing venues in the Philadelphia area!
For questions or to schedule a lesson, contact our studio at 215-574-3574 or send us an email.