Living Arts Dance, Inc. Mission

Living Arts Dance, Inc. was established in 2006, with the mission to provide professional performing arts programs for all. Living Arts Dance staff all have a passion for exposing children and adults to the arts, giving a safe outlet of self-expression, encouraging physical fitness, self-discipline and a great enriching diversion from inner city life. At Living Arts Dance, Inc. all levels, shapes and sizes are welcomed, from those who are looking to participate in dance classes as a hobby, to those who are interested in pursuing a professional career as an artist. Click Contact Us to join our studio today!

Jaquetta Colson

Director, Dance Educator, Choreographer

Jaquetta Colson began her studies as a dancer at the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. While attending Duke Ellington, Jaquetta traveled to X’ian, China and Holland representing the United States as a Youth Ambassador in the 1994 and 1995 International Arts Competitions. Jaquetta won several community service awards for her volunteer outreach work in the performing arts while in high school, she was also a member of local performance groups in the Washington, DC area. Jaquetta studied at the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Theater School and attended three summer intensive programs in New York City. In 1996, Jaquetta received the Presidential Merit and Achievement Full Scholarship to attend the University of the Arts, in Philadelpha, PA, where she earned a B.F.A. in Dance Education. During her college career she entered the Miss America Scholarship Pageant and won Miss Eastern PA 1997. After graduation Jaquetta became a personal trainer, fitness model and began teaching performing arts, dance, physical fitness, and yoga throughout the Philadelphia area and surrounding suburbs. Jaquetta also used her degree to teach early childhood education and Kindergarten classes. In 2006 Jaquetta opened the Living Arts Dance & Fitness Studios, as owner and director, she is determined to provide affordable professional performing arts and fitness programs to all. From 2009 through 2013 Jaquetta was Dance Professor at Girard College, Guest Lecturer at Immaculata University and Program Director at St. Mary’s Hospital Wellness Center. Jaquetta is currently a dance teaching artist and choreographer for the Education Department at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Jaquetta proclaims that out of all her achievements, that her biggest accomplishment is being a full-time mother of two wonderful children.

Shawn Cusseaux

Ballet, Contemporary Instructor

Shawn Cusseaux hails from Tampa Bay, FL, where he attended Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. He continued his studies in Pittsburgh PA at the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University, where he received his Bachelor in Fine Arts. During this time he was given opportunities to perform works by Garfield Lemonious, Jae Man Joo, Kiesha Lalama, Jennifer Archibald, Jose Limon, Jason Mcdole, Amy Hall Garner, Robert Priorie, Edwaard Liang, and Camille A. Brown. He is currently a company member of the BalletX and Living Arts is so thankful to have him educating our young aspiring dancers.

Kalayah Curry

Hip-hop, African Dance, Horton, Contemporary Instructor

Kalayah Curry is a dancer and choreographer from Hartford, Connecticut. At the age of three, she found her passion for dance and later on continued her dance education, studying ballet, modern/contemporary dance, jazz, hip-hop and West African dance with Jolet Creary and Kyle McHargh. She is an original member of Hartford’s successful hip-hop dance team, Team860 and has intensively trained at Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts and DCNS Summer Intensive. Curry has worked and trained with artists, Rennie Harris, Heidi Cruz, Aubrey Lynch II, Robert Moore, Robin Dunn, Kim Bears-Bailey and many others. During her collegiate career, she has also had the pleasure of working closely with Ali Willingham, Dara StevensMeredith, Laceda Nelson and Kariamu Welsh to create, perform and re-stage work all the while, building upon her own foundation. Aside from her movement studies, Curry is also an award recipient of multiple academic scholarships and graduated with her BFA in dance from Temple University. She is now sharing all of her expertise at Living Arts Dance, Inc.

Kareema Nelson

Kareema Nelson

Jazz, Hip-Hop Instructor

Kareema joined Living Arts Dance & Fitness Studios in 2006 as a student, became a student- intern in 2007 and to 17. May 16, 2011 Kareema received her in Criminology at Immaculata University with a minor in French language. While attending Immaculate Kareema was president of the Immaculata dance team and a member of the Double S Hip-Hop dance team. Kareema receive a master’s degree in Forensic Science in 2016. Kareema is a vital asset and blessing to the Living Arts Dance Family she teaches many classes, manages the studio, substitutes any classes when needed and is now Vice President of the Living Arts Dance Foundation dedicated to providing inner city youth with affordable accessible dance education.

Kareema Nelson

Ashley Simpson

Ballet, Pointe, Jazz Instructor

In 2016 Ashley became a Young Arts Winner before graduating Magna Cum Laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program as a Dance major and Communications minor. During her time in college, Ashley performed the works of such choreographers as Dwight Rhoden, Alvin Ailey, Bradley Shelver, Nijawwon Matthews, Janice Rosario, Troy Powell, and Hope Boykin. In 2019, Ashley was awarded the Denise Jefferson Memorial Scholarship and joined XY Dance Project, a dance company led by Nijawwon Matthews, performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and was a trainee/apprentice for Complexions Contemporary Ballet, performing with the company during their Joyce season. In 2020 she joined the dance ensemble for the movie production of Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights. To supplement her training, Ashley attended Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program, Arts Umbrella, Alonzo King Lines, Juilliard, Orlando Ballet, BalletX, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Joffrey Chicago, and Next Generation Ballet summer intensives. During her senior year at Ailey/Fordham, Ashley joined Collage Dance Collective and was able to work professionally while finishing her last year of college. In 2020 she joined BalletX and Living Arts Dance is so thankful to have her on our team of dance educators.

Zaria Leonard-White

Zaria Leonard-White

Musical Theater, Jazz, Tap Instructor

Zaria Leonard-White has been singing since the age of 8, she attended Grover Washington Jr. Middle School where she took voice lessons, sang soprano in choir, played violin in orchestra, piano in band, and solidified her choice in singing. She attended the Creative and Performing Arts High School where she participated in “All City Choir” for 4 years in the “Verizon Hall”, performed in every CAPA musical, and was apart of the”Showstoppers” program in the “Perelman Theater” at the Kimmel Center, while interning her 3rd year in the program. Joining Living Arts family she was given the opportunity of both administrator, musical theater, and conducting voice lessons. She graduated class of 2014 at CAPA as a vocal major and now attends University of the arts (Uarts) where she Performs in recitals, shows, and at gigs. She graduated from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in 2019. We are thankful to have her at Living Arts as an amazing Musical Theater, Jazz and Tap educator.

Zaria Leonard-White

Skye Lewis

Acro, Ballet, Jazz Instructor, Studio Sub

Skye Lewis is currently a second year as a dance major at University of the Arts from Southern California. Skye has taught dance at multiple studios for years, to kids of all ages and is currently an instructor at PAVE School of the Arts. We are so happy to have her as part of the Living Arts Dance family of educators.

Aiyana Martin

Creative Movement, Ballet, Tap, Acro Instructor

Aiyana Martin is proud native from Chicago, she was trained at Chicago Contemporary Dance Theater (CCDT) from the age of 8 in styles of Ballet, Horton, Dunham, Contemporary and Jazz. Throughout her years of training at CCDT she was also involved in competitive dance where she travelled around the states competing in national competitions. She was then accepted into one of the most prestigious performing arts high school in Chicago, The Chicago Academy for the Arts (CAA). Aiyana went on to receive her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University, in May of 2020. 

Aiyana is educated in Dance Anatomy, Studies of Music and Dance, Production, and Injury prevention. She has worked as an teaching assistant/ demonstrator for The Ailey Experience Program under the direction of Lisa Willingham, Dance Teacher for Forward Momentum Dance under Pierre Locket and also an interactive TedX Youth experience . She has performed on Windy City Live, ABC 7 Chicago, I Heart Radio, InLight Richmond arts festival and a multitude of other locations. Aiyana also prides herself on being a community activist and has worked as a mentor for young children in multiple settings, we are so happy to now have her as part of the Living Arts Dance family of educators.

Stephanie Stevens

Stephanie Stevens

Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop, Ballet, Ballroom /Latin dance Instructor

Originally from California, Stephanie moved to Philadelphia to receive her dance degree from The University of The Arts, BFA 2012. Since then she has worked with renowned choreographers such as Ronen Koresh and Seven time Blackpool Latin Champion Charles Danza. A recent performance highlight includesCherchez La Femme- An all female art collective in the Philadelphia area. It was through her love of dance, she discovered the benefits of Yoga. Certified in Vinyasa Flow from Dhyana Yoga, her classes aim to inspire mindfulness and good health for ALL levels! Come breathe and relieve the stress from corporate life, or enjoy dance lessons in Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop, Ballet and Ballroom /Latin dance!

Lia Haynes

Front Desk Administration, Studio Sub, Private Lesson Instructor

Lia Haynes began her love for dance at an early age. Originally from Plainfield, N.J. Lia performed in many local dance companies and studied Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip-hop Tap and African Dance. Lia is currently a full-time student at Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance obtaining a BFA in Dance Education and also a BA in African American Studies. We are so delighted to have Lia Haynes as part of the Living Arts Dance family of admiration and educators.

Student Teachers & Interns

Living Arts is a training program for dance and fitness educators, students such as: our teen dancers, University of the Arts, Temple University and various dance studios come to Living Arts to learn the fundamentals of dance education using the Living Arts curriculum, outlines and lessons. We are excited about the opportunity to create new artist, instructors and continue growth in the performing arts.



How do I get started at Living Arts Dance, Inc.?

For Youth classes: A parent or guardian must either register online or schedule a time to come into our dance studios to register in advance prior to the student attending the class.

For Adult classes: Adult may drop-in to classes at any time or join a session of dance classes.

Is a Registration fee required for each class?

For Youth classes: There is a registration fee at the start of each season, such as: Fall or Summer. A mandatory dance classes uniform is included with registration.

For Adult classes: There is no registration fee.

Where can I see the schedule and rates?

Please click on contact us to request our most current schedule and rates.

What is your refund policy?

All studio payments are non-refundable and can not be applied to any other sessions or merchandise. Our studio pays staff, orders supplies, orders merchandise, orders costumes, etc. using the fees collected, therefore payments will not be refunded.

How do I apply for financial aid or a scholarship?

You must fill out the online application, meet the requirements and submit proof of income.

Do you offer sibling discounts?

Yes, all 60 minute classes are placed together in a class package per family. 90 minute combo classes are already in a class package and cannot be further combined.

Is previous dance experience required?

No, we offer classes for adults and youth on all levels, so all can participate no matter if you are a beginner or advanced.

Can parents sit in the dance classes?

One parent or guardian is allowed to participate in our Mommy/Daddy and me class only. Parents are not permitted to sit in on or attend any other youth classes with their children. Parents are welcome to wait in our waiting are and observe classes on our monitors.

Can I see or try the class before joining?

Every Fall we provide free Open House events in which new students may visit our studio, meet our staff, sample classes, see our students perform and ask any questions in person. Once classes have begun, if there is space in a class, then the youth may sample one class before joining. Adults may drop-in to adult classes at any time.

Can I join once the season has already begun?

We allow youth class registration in most classes until February. We offer mini 5 week session of dance throughout the year as well, for those who do not fee comfortable committing to the program for the entire year. Students who attend a mini session are not able to participate in our annual dance recital production.

Is there a limit or age range?

Dancing is a natural and ageless form of expression. Although dance has no age restrictions, our studios our catered primarily towards youth ages: 2.5 through adults looking to learn something new and have fun doing it. We encourage parents to enroll and begin students who are fully potty trained.

What should I wear for dance classes?

For Youth Classes: We provide a mandatory uniform with registration, which must be worn with flesh colored tan or brown tights. Additional can be purchased at our dance studio dance wear boutique.

For Adult Classes: Adults may wear comfortable work out attire or dance wear.

Do I need dance shoes?

For Youth Classes: Ballet requires girls wear a Tan/Brown Ballet shoe, it should match the color of the tights. Boys wear a Black Ballet shoes to match black tights or pants. Jazz requires a Tan/Brown Jazz shoes, it should match the color of the tights. Tap requires a Black Tap shoes.

For Adult Classes: Dance shoes are recommended but not required. However, in order to be able to move comfortably across the floor, we advise that you do not wear rubber-soled shoes. Sharp heels or shoes with metal bottoms are strongly discouraged because they can damage the floor or cause injury.

Is participation in the annual youth dance recital production mandatory?

Every June we all look forward to our annual dance recital production, it is an opportunity to perform on stage and show our friends and what we’ve learned throughout the year. At the end of the recital weekend we have an awards ceremony. If a student is unable to attend the mandatory recital rehearsals or does not want to perform it is okay. We love having students participate with us throughout the year in dance classes as well.

What are the differences between group classes, private lessons, private dance parties and Youth Competition Team?

Group classes are perfect to learn fundamental elements, patterns, rhythms, and moves. We also offer supplemental group fitness and condition classes for adults.

Private lessons are completely customized to your needs, pace, ability, and schedule. Since we make a personalized program for each student, this is the most thorough learning process and guarantees fastest results. But is more expensive than group lessons.

Our dance parties are ideal settings to practice your newfound skills with your friends. Or get a group friends together for a ladies night out, youth or adult hip-hop dance parties, ballet birthday parties, etc. We have an amazing community of teachers and students that support each other and grow together.

Youth Competition Team is a pre-professional group of talented students who train intensively 4 – 5 dances per week and attend all genres of dance to perfect their artistry. In addition, they also have special events such as showcases, workshops, performances and competitions where they can take their dancing skill to the next level. An audition is required to participate on the team.

What styles of dance do you offer?

We specialize in many types of dance such as: Ballet, Jazz, Hip-hop, Tap, Acrobatics & Tumbling, Modern Dance, Contemporary, Musical Theater, and West African Dance.

We follow curriculum endorsed by experts in the professional dance industry, and our is degreed with BFA’s from University of the Arts, Temple University, and AMDA. Our teachers train daily and get tested regularly to make sure they know all the latest syllabus patterns, rules, and regulations.

Can I achieve my fitness goals through dance?

We’re so glad you asked! Dancing is one of the best activities recommended by health experts and scientists for both body and mind. Different styles and different tempos can help you achieve most fitness goals including cardio fitness, muscle toning, flexibility, strength, balance, and more. Look good, feel great, and have fun doing it!

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