Tracey started taking dance classes at the young age of 4 locally until age 8. She then transferred to the Wilkes-Barre area to study other genres of dance along with extensive ballet training under the original director and instructor, David Blight. There she studied weekly ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and technique. NYC ballet instructors were brought in regularly for training along with extensive workshops.
Attending multiple state competitions throughout her entire career, she won multiple titles such as Overall Decathalon Winner, Overall Duo awards, multiple perfect score awards, and Highest Scoring Tap Soloist for many years.
She was asked to perform at the Hersheypark Arena for the summer by the age of 10, performing daily in their shows in addition to many other performances in her schedule.
By the age of 12 she was instructing with her older sister and opened a small dance studio out of their home, Dancing Unlimited, which then expanded to the Weatherly with two additional branches. She instructed all ages up to 18 years of age during this time. When her older sister relocated, she started teaching locally again at the age of 16 and became very active within her community.
By the age of 17, Tracey was choreographing plays for local theaters and schools and was also involved in many Bob Sacco Productions where she played small roles and assisted with choreography. She enjoyed making the plays come to life and had a full schedule of dance and instructing. She was also head choreographer for her old middle school cheer squad at this time and Hazelton Area High School cheerleaders. Unable to have time to cheer herself, she stayed involved by choreographing and assisting when she was able.
Tracey is a 1995 graduate of Hazleton Area High School. Immediately following graduation she auditioned and was given a full scholarship to Allentown St. Francis De Salles but due to her father falling ill with cancer decided to stay back and attend Penn State Hazleton where she received an Associate Degree in business. She continued to take classes and attend workshops throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania during this time and still instructed locally.
Tracey’s Academy of Dance (TAOD) was established in 2002 when she decided to open the studio and continue to instruct in the Hazleton Area. Following it’s founding she coached cheer as well for many organizations including Crestwood, Freeland, and Valley Chiefs for nine years. After leaving Chiefs cheerleading she stayed on board to assist in their dance routines until starting her own cheer squads within the studio. This will be TAOD’s the 20th season!
Makenna is a recent graduate of the Hazleton Area High School class of 2021. She has been a student of the studio since the young age of two. She has studied all genres of dance and tumble. Growing up in the studio with her mom she started competing at the age of 3, winning many awards and attending multiple competitions throughout the Northeastern Pennsylvania, leading her to continue dance as her main focus throughout her high school career.
To take her dancing to the next level she started studying privately with multiple instructors from Los Angeles and Philadelphia, in addition to others near western Pennsylvania.
She traveled to Los Angeles to premier on the Katrina Stuart show where she performed and met with fellow dancers and trained. Following her trip she trained monthly with her group – DMS Dance Crew – under the direction of Dmac Sandoz. She was chosen to return to LA to dance in a music video for Latino artist Jesse Melendez to be filmed in March 2020.
Makenna also auditioned and was accepted into the Joffrey School of Ballet, located in New York City, for their three week summer intensive hip hop dance program. She has taken class in NYC with well known dancers such as Matt Stefanina, Keenan Cooks, and Rep Young, and also at Millenium Dance Complex and The Playground LA. She has privately studied under Bizzy Linder, Reggie Oliver, Elijah Morton and Dmac Sandoz.
Most recently Makenna was awarded the Regional Champion title at Dancers Inc. Competition where she earned a scholarship and was a Top 5 National Champion Runner up at BTS Talent Competition located in Cape May, NJ.
While instructing full-time at Tracey’s Academy of Dance, Makenna will continue to train and take classes.
Kara was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, PA. At the age of five, she began taking lessons at the Northeastern Pennsylvania Academy of Dancing, under the direction of former Radio City Music Hall Rockette and former Miss Pennsylvania, Barbara Woronko Anzalone.
Kara trained in ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz, pointe, novelty, and pantomime for over twenty years until it was time to raise a family of her own. She was a member of the award-winning Bobbette dance team who competed both locally and nationally at competitions including Tremaine and Showstoppers, performed yearly ballets, and Christmas shows.
A few of her most notable accomplishments include multiple Highest Scoring Soloist, Highest Scoring Duo, and Highest Scoring Group awards. Kara has taken master classes from Stepp Stewart, Barbara Weisberger, and many others throughout her dance career.
Some of her most memorable performances include being chosen as the lead role of Clara in the Nutcracker, being selected by audition at Showstoppers National Competition for the Hula Bowl Half-Time Show in Honolulu, Hawaii, and dancing at Carnegie Hall, the Citrus Bowl Half-Time Show, and Walt Disney World.
Kara is a 1999 graduate of G.A.R. Memorial High School and a 2003 graduate of King’s College where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with an emphasis in Molecular Biology. Following graduation she worked as a research assistant and laboratory manager at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH performing cell cycle cancer research. After getting married and moving back to Pennsylvania, Kara worked at Sanofi Pasteur testing and analyzing data from vaccine clinical trials. A few years later her first child was born and the unexpected turn of staying home to raise her family began!
Kara has been teaching at TAOD since 2019 and is so grateful to be sharing her love of dance with all students.
Katie started dance lessons when she was 3 years old. She began dancing under the direction of Phyllis Colombo, at Hazleton Studio of Dance, where she started her studies in tap, jazz, and hip hop. She also entered into gymnastics at the age of 3, starting at Columbia Gymnastics, then later at the Apollo Gymnastics Center.
She pursued dance and gymnastics into her early teens and began teaching students in various genres at the age of 15. She continued her journey throughout high school and into college by training under numerous instructors, including Faberge Follies, and frequently attending open workshops. Following college, Katie entered as an adult in ballet classes at Keystone Ballet Academy to further her studies.
Katie graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2011 with an Associate’s degree for Physical Therapy Assistance and in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Science. She has been working in physical therapy for over 10 years now, with her focus in pediatrics.
She has completed over 20 years of competition throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and has received multiple awards, including highest scoring duo/trio and groups. Her final showcase performance was completed in 2016 while she was 3 months pregnant! She is currently using her education and performance arts background to complete a certified unique technique course in which she will complete later this year.
Katie is part of the TAOD alumni and a proud dance mom of her now 4 year old daughter! She is looking forward to not only guiding and teaching her daughter, but also sharing her passion with her and all TAOD students!