Meet The Staff...
Kara Stanley, Owner/ Director
Kara Stanley is the owner and director of the Dance Academy of Somers. She is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Fine Arts/ Dance and Physical Education. She also studied dance pedagogy at the Hartford Comrata Conservatory. Kara received her primary dance training at the Marjory Serafin School of Dance in Stafford Springs, and credits this experience to her success as a teacher and business owner.
Prior to owning her own school, Kara performed and taught in various locations throughout Connecticut. As a member of the Connecticut Pride Dance Team, she performed at the Vin Baker/Ray Allen NBA Connecticut Allstar Classic, As a teacher, Kara was the dance director for Michael Lamb’s summer Performing Arts Camp as well as the Dance Director for Winninger’s Gymnastics and Dance for 8 years.
Kara recently graduated from Sacred Rivers Yoga and is a RYT 200 certified yoga instructor.
As a professional dancer/teacher and studio owner, Kara is proud to be a Vice Presient of NADAA (National Association of Dance and Affiliated Arts, Inc.). She is grateful for her opportunity to study under Clare O’Donnell (founder and director of “OD’ n Tap”), and studied under Benjamin Hosig. Kara's mission is to provide a comprehensive dance education to each of her students. Dance technique, dance history, theater and performance etiquette and dance appreciation are the focus of the Dance Academy’s teachings. Kara is excited to see the great success the studio has achieved in such a short time. She looks forward to many years of growth and success. Thank you for joining her in this adventure!
Kate Sulikowski, DPT, PMA®CPT
Kate is The Dance Academy of Somers (DAS) ballet/pointe teacher, certified in the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) ballet curriculum, co-director of the DAS Company Dancers, and director of DAS annual ‘Nutcracker Suite’. She is a full-time Physical Therapist and Pilates Instructor, who specializes in dance medicine, at Hartford Hospital Rehabilitation Network in South Windsor, CT. As well as being, an adjunct professor, at The University of Hartford. Lastly, she currently holds a position on the Board of Directors at Ballet Theatre Company in West Hartford, CT, where she taught ballet from 2006-2014.
Kate grew up in Somers, CT, starting her dance training at age 3. She trained under Shelley Ziebel and Ken Lipitz at New England Dance Conservatory in East Longmeadow, MA, where she committed 20+ hours of dancing a week. She attended summer dance intensives at Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Vermont during her high school years. In 2004, she received two degrees, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. While at UMass, she performed ‘The Nutcracker’ professionally with Pioneer Valley Ballet in Northampton, MA, and she attended summer dance intensives at Alvin Ailey School in New York City. In 2009, she graduated with her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Hartford and May of 2018 she received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University.
Kate truly loves being a part of the DAS family, since she started teaching in 2006, and excited to share her knowledge of dance for the years to come.
Leeza began her dance training at Dance Express in Tolland, Connecticut at the age of 2. She then furthered her training at The Dance Academy of Somers, in Somers, Connecticut with hip hop, tap, jazz, modern and ballet - eventually moving into pointe work. While co-attending Somers High School and The Greater Hartford Academy of The Arts, Leeza furthered her dance education establishing her love of modern dance where she earned a Dance Degree from GHAA. Following high school, Leeza attended Roger Williams University where she graduated in 2019 with a BA in Dance. During her time at RWU, she spent a semester abroad studying dance at the London Contemporary School of Dance as well as Pineapple Dance Studios. While attending RWU Leeza choreographed two shows for the Theatre program under the advising of Jeffrey Martin, these shows were Sense and Sensibility and Euridice. She also taught master classes at Harper Dance Center in Mashpee, Massachusetts, Grossi Dance and Performing Arts Academy in Vernon, Connecticut, as well as her alma mater The Dance Academy of Somers.
In her Senior year at RWU, Leeza was President of the Hawkettes Dance Team bringing back their best performance in the history of the program from the Universal Dance Association National Dance Team Competition placing 11th overall. Leeza has worked with choreographers from all over the world namely Jorge Crecis, Stephen Pelton, Tory Trotter, and Malgorzata Dzierzon. She has performed at Trinity Laban Theatre, in London, and with the CONNetic Dance Company in Hartford, Connecticut. Aside from teaching dance, Leeza has achieved a minor in psychology where she has become involved in the L.I.F.E. Inc program at RWU where she began teaching dance to special needs adults. She hopes to continue her love of dance as an instructor and a performer and to pursue dance as a form of therapy for the special needs population in the future.