Previously a professional dancer and leader in dance education, founder and director
Katherine Horrigan believes in building a team and culture to support our community raising the future generation of leaders through the values of a dance education. She and her faculty of
esteemed dance professionals, teachers, and choreographers are committed to cultivating their students as both dancers and individuals. Leading by example, they instill values of integrity, discipline, compassion, and humility. Their innate passion brings joy, fun, encouragement, and excitement to the classroom, creating an experience that students love to return to, one high-energy lesson after the next.
Connecting our community through dance!
Meet our team.
We have an amazing faculty of teachers who are excited to join our team at the Dance Academy of Virginia and are looking forward to teaching our students back in the studio and virtually!
Whether dance is your serious passion or extracurricular activity, our instructors will help you meet your dance goals and challenge you to achieve your maximum potential. Our teachers bring their professional experience as teachers, dancers and choreographers to the classroom nurturing and guiding our students from ages 2 through adult.
They are passionate about sharing their love of dance and are proud to teach a range of disciplines including ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, tap, and lyrical classes.
Our top priorities are to keep our students safe, healthy, active, and motivated while we support them to build confidence, improve skills, and express themselves creatively.
Meet Ms. Katherine! As a dance education leader, Ms. Katherine has dedicated the last 20 years to the dance field as a professional teacher, choreographer, and manager. Her artistic and dance education experience inform her passion for developing the next generation of leaders and artists. During her forman 8 year tenure as the Assistant Director of Adagio Ballet, Ms. Katherine advanced the artistic quality and educational programming while improving operations across the board. She led the development of the intensive program, advanced the quality of performances, and grew the school while remaining community centric. Amid the COVID pandemic in 2020 Katherine saw a need within the community and opened the Dance Academy of Virginia, now in its third year of operation and growing quickly! The Dance Academy is led by Katherine and is a direct representation of her expertise and vision for the dance community! Ms. Katherine teaches our Academy Program but her brilliance and voice is felt throughout all of DAVs programs.
We asked Ms. Katherine to tell a few fun facts, here is what she had to say:
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An Architect or a Dancer
If you could be any other DAV staff member, who would you be and why? I can’t pick! They are all fabulous and I appreciate different qualities in each of them. They are all talented, passionate, nurturing, compassionate and great role models, love my team!
If you could sit next to anyone on a place, who would it be and why? Michelle Obama, I have so many questions!
What is your most embarrassing dance story? I have two!
In dress rehearsal for Nutcracker for Les Grands Ballet du Canadians, I was a parent in the party scene with a big hoop skirt and heels. I stepped on the back of my dress and fell straight down with the dress all around me. It felt like I fell inside the dress, and my partner had to pull me up. It was not discreet!
In the contemporary dance company I was in from Mexico, one piece of choreography was in water and at the end we would walk into sand falling light rain. While on tour in Ireland, apparently they could not get sand, so someone thought it would be a good idea to use salt! So now you have wet dancers walking into falling salt. We tried to keep our eyes closed but the salt kept dripping into our eyes. Through all of this we had to keep dancing and stand and bow, all while our eyes were burning and red!
Get to know Ms. Jessie! Ms. Jessie grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina where she began her training at In Motion Dance Center under the direction of Michelle Nicholson. Jessie graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts High School where she specialized in Ballet. After high school, Ms. Jessie went on to receive her BFA from Point Park University where she worked with Ron Tassone, Kiesha Lalama, Heather Carpenter, Jason McDole, and Susan Stoew. During her time at Point Park, Jessie was a finalist at the Youth American Gran Prix from 2014-2015 and was a company member with MERZTANZ, a contemporary ballet company under the direction of Peter LeBrenton Merz. Ms. Jessie has performed in many shows, to include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Oklahoma!, Hello! Dolly, and the Pirates of Penzance. Recently, Jessie was a featured dancer and dance captain in Beauty and the Beast with the Arlington Players. You can find Ms. Jessie cheering on the Washington Commanders from the sidelines this season as a Co-Captain for the Command Force dance team. Ms. Jessie teaches our Little Dancer, Youth, and Academy Programs.
We asked Ms. Jessie to tell us a few fun facts, here is what she had to say:
Do you have any nicknames? Corn (my last name is Cobb so it started as “corn on the Cobb”).
What is one thing you do in every dance class? Stretch - specifically the splits
What are three words that describe you? Bubbly, Determined, and Loyal
What is the strangest talent you have? I am very good at standing on my head.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give the dancers at DAV? Do not tell yourself that you can’t do something. When we speak negatively to ourselves and put ourselves in a box, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Put in the work and believe in yourself, you can accomplish more than you know!
Danielle Sirinsky, Director of Programming Little Dancer & Youth:
Get to know Mrs. Danielle! Mrs. Danielle holds a BFA in Musical Theater Performance from the University of Michigan. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Danielle has taught, performed, and choreographed throughout the Chicago area, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Northern Virginia. A few of her favorites were performing in A Chorus Line and West Side Story. Prior to joining the DAV family, Ms. Danielle was with the Loudoun School of Ballet in Leesburg, Virginia for twelve years as the Director of The Rising Stars Department for dancers ages 2-6. Her Broadway and Tap Choreography has won numerous awards. In 2021 she launched DS Dance Consulting and Coaching to help assist actors, singers, and dancers navigate their training needs as they prepare for college auditions. Ms. Danielle lives in Leesburg, VA with her husband and two teenagers! Mrs. Danielle has taken over the role of Director of Programming Little Dancer & Youth (Contemporary Styles) and teaches our Little Dancer and Youth Programs.
We asked Ms. Danielle to tell us a few fun facts, here is what she had to say:
What is your most used emoji? Jazz Hands, of course!
What was your first concert? Hall & Oats, in 1983
What is your favorite song to dance to? Feel This Moment by Pitbull & Christina Aguilera
What are three words that describe you? Energetic, loving, & dramatic
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the dancers at DAV? Don’t be afraid to go for it, no one is judging you but yourself.
Maryanne Mitchem, Studio Manager:
Get to know Mrs. Maryanne! Mrs. Maryanne started her dance career in Ashburn, VA at Steps Dance Center, and later moved to Winchester, VA where she danced with Shenandoah University in their Middle and High School Conservatory program. In addition to her ballet career, Mrs. Maryanne was also a competition dancer, placing in many regional and national competitions. After high school, she attended Radford University where she received her degree in Dance Performance. After graduating she began teaching for Ravel Dance Studio in Reston, VA where she was an advanced ballet teacher for six years. During this time she also began her legal career, working for some of the top Family Law and Criminal Defense law firms in the Northern Virginia Area, and even putting in some time as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill. In 2018, Mrs. Maryanne and her now husband moved to Richmond, VA where she continued to manage her full time legal career and dance career. It wasn’t until the COVI-19 pandemic that she decided to drop her legal career and pick up dance full time. In 2020 she became the Assistant Director of J’adore Dance where she had been teaching since 2018. In 2022 Mrs. Maryanne and her Husband returned to the Northern Virginia area where she has taken on the role of Studio Manager at the Dance Academy of Virginia. Over the past ten years since graduation, Mrs. Maryanne has successfully balanced a full time legal and dance career, assisted in producing over 20 ballet productions, and has helped studios and dancers across Virginia reach their maximum potential. You’ll often find Mrs. Maryanne at our front desk or popping in as a substitute in your dancer’s Little Dancer classes.
We asked Mrs. Maryanne to tell us a few fun facts, here is what she had to say:
What was your first concert? Hanson
If you could be any other DAV staff member, who would you be and why? Ms. Jessie - she is an amazing dancer & teacher, plus she cheers for the Washington Commanders!
What fictional place would you most like to visit? Stars Hollow
What is your most embarrassing dance story? While I was dancing with SCAA we had a class demonstration for a small group of parents, while en pointe. When it became time for pique turns, I completely spaced out, fell off the elevated stage, and landed in a parents lap. I never lost my spot after that!
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the dancers at DAV? You do not have to have it all figured out right now. You are going to change a million times before you graduate high school or even college. Enjoy the season you are in, and do not take anything for granted, life moves too quickly for that.
Sarah Beth Penny:
Get to know Ms. Sarah Beth! Ms. Sarah Beth grew up in Roanoke, VA where she began training at Floyd Ward School of Dance. Ms. Sarah Beth has experience in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, musical theater, and CLOGGING! After high school Sarah Beth continued her dance education at George Mason University where she graduated with a BFA in Dance. While at George Mason, Sarah Beth performed works by Donald Byrd, Susan Shields, Linda Miller, Victor Adebusola among others. She also choreographed on her peers, and in 2017 her work You Know You’re Doing OK was selected and performed at the Kennedy Center on the Millennium Stage. Ms. Sarah Beth teaches DAV’s Little Dancer, Youth, and Academy Programs.
We asked Ms. Sarah Beth to tell us a few fun facts, here is what she had to say:
What is your favorite food? Sushi and Steak
If you could be any other DAV staff member, who would you be and why? Ms. Diedra, because she is so creative and engaging in her tap classes!
What was your first concert? Aaron Carter
What fictional place would you most like to visit? Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the dancers at DAV? You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t really have to have anything figured out. Try and enjoy the process of learning and discovering what you love and what you want, and give yourself the space to change your mind.
Katy Clay Garfolo:
Get to know Ms. Katy! Ms. Katy grew up in Missolua, Montana where she studied ballet and other dance styles at Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre. Since age thirteen Katy has performed as a singer and dancer in several international tours, traveling across both Europe and China as a Performer and Goodwill Ambassador. At the age of seventeen Ms. Katy was selected as a principal dancer and featured singer with Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre on an official US State Department tour. After graduating, Ms. Katy trained for two years at a musical conservatory in Vienna, Austria where she also performed as a Musical Theatre artist. She has placed in many ballet competitions and in 2018 Ms. Katy began her professional dance career with the Stavna Ballet in Richmond, Virginia, and later THE Landing also located in Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Katy teaches DAV’s Little Dancer, Youth, and Academy Programs.
We asked Ms. Katy to tell us a few fun facts, here is what she had to say:
What is your most used emoji?
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A dancer/singer or a princess
What fictional place would you most like to visit? Hogwarts
What is your most embarrassing dance story? When I was 6 years old, I did a kick-ball-change in tap class and my shoe that was too big for my foot flew off and smacked the mirror - which cracked but didn’t break. To my knowledge that mirror is still cracked.
If you could only have three apps on your phone, what would they be and why? Messages for communication, Spotify because I listen to so much music, and Waze for GPS and traffic monitoring.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the dancers at DAV? Think of your brain as a dry sponge. Walk into class ready for your teachers to pour knowledge into you and be ready to absorb as much as possible.
Get to know Ms. Brittany! Ms. Brittany grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia where she began dancing at age 3. During high school Brittany trained with the Fredericksburg Academy of Ballet and performed with their Senior Company. Ms. Brittany graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in both Politics and Drama. During her time at UVA, Brittany focused on dance for theater - performing as a featured dancer in many productions, such as The Producers, Godspell, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Sweet Charity, and Urinetown. Ms. Brittany also choreographed for productions such as Cabaret, Pride and Prejudice, and A Night of Gershwin. Ms. Brittany is currently a second year law student at Georgetown University as well as a Little Dancer and Youth instructor with DAV!
We asked Ms. Brittany to tell us a few fun facts, here is what she had to say:
Do you drink coffee or tea? Yes. Anything with caffeine.
What actress would play you in a movie about your life? Sutton Foster
What fictional place would you most like to visit? Narnia
What are three random items you can always find in your dance bag? Nail clippers, Contact Solution, and three ballet shoes that do not match.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give the dancers at DAV? Stretch whenever you get out of the shower, or really whenever you can.
Get to know Ms. Grace! Ms. Grace grew up in Stafford, VA and started dancing when she was 3 years old, however her love of dance really began at age 6 when her mom put her in Tap! She took tap for a few years before branching out into other styles such as jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. Grace competed with both her home studio, Stafford Dance Center and the North Stafford Dance Team in High School. She also assisted in choreographing two musicals for North Stafford High School, Fame and Little Shop of Horrors. In 2019 Grace began her B.S. in Forensic Science at George Mason University while continuing to share her love for dance through teaching. Ms. Grace currently dances with DanceWorks at George Mason and teaches both the Little Dancer and Youth Programs at DAV!
We asked Ms. Grace to tell us a few fun facts, here is what she had to say:
What is your favorite food? Anything with Shrimp
What is your most used emoji?
What three words describe you? Organized, thoughtful, and driven
If you could sit by anyone on a plane, who would it be and why? Abby Lee Miller. I have a lot of questions for that woman.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the dancers at DAV? Always strive to be the best that YOU can be! Only compare yourself to the dancer you were yesterday.
Get to know Ms. Deidra, or “Ms. D”! Ms. Deidra grew up in Columbus, Ohio and began dancing at the age of seven and has been tap dancing for 29 years. She was trained at Ballet Met Dance Academy and Judy Conti Dance Academy! Ms. D received her degree in Communications from Hampton University where she founded Above Deck Tap Dance Ensemble, which has been an official campus organization for fifteen years. Deidra later went on to receive her Juris Doctorate from George Washington University School of Law. Even as a practicing lawyer, Ms. D remains involved in the Performing Arts world. She began producing shows at the age of 16 and began competing nationally as a sophomore in high school. Ms. D has experience teaching tappers ages 4 through 85 and has taught all across the DMV! In addition to teaching tap, Ms. D has experience in production management, pageant coaching, poms, step, spoken word, oratory, and African dance and drumming. Ms. Deidra believes in teaching “poise, professionalism, and perfection” and firmly believes that the performing arts are a powerful means of self development.
We asked Ms. D to tell us a few fun facts, here is what she had to say!
If you could only have three apps on your phone, what would they be? Instagram, my bank app, and Calendar
What are three random items that you can always find in your dance/work bag? Chargers, hair ties, and pens
What was your first concert? KrisKros
What is one thing you do in every dance class? Ankle rolls - get those ankles loose!
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the dancers at DAV? Have fun and work hard!
Get to know Ms. Johanna! Ms. Johanna started her dance journey dancing Colombian cultural dance “Joropo Cumbia” from there she branched out to different dance styles and graduated from the University of the Arts Philadelphia in 2021 as a dance major. Johanna has experience in ballet, modern, contemporary, and improvisational dance. She was granted a full scholarship to the Rioult Dance Company, NYC where she trained in the Martha Graham technique, and in 2018 Ms. Johanna worked with Boris Charmatz on a collective dance project which was showcased in the United States for the first time. Ms. Johanna has adopted her passion for teaching by working in public charter schools teaching recreational, concert, and traditional dance styles. Ms. Johanna teaches both the Little Dancer and Youth Programs at DAV!
We asked Ms. Johanna to tell us a few fun facts, here’s what she had to say:
What is your favorite food? Tofu
Who was your first concert? Red Hot Chili Peppers
What is the strangest talent you have? I can eat a large amount of spicy food in one sitting.
What is your favorite song to dance to? Sunny Side of the Street by Jon Batiste
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the dancers at DAV? Find time in your day to practice your own craft.
Currently Annemieke is working for Manassas Ballet Theater and, this past January she toured with Etoile Ballet Gala, under the direction of Olga Azizova, in Lavia, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Before that she worked in State Opera Stara Zagora in Bulgaria for four years. During her time there, she worked with choreographers from all over Europe, such as Vasily Medvedev in his production of Pilate’s Dream, Arshak Ghalumyan in his setting of Don Quixote, and the principal role in Lotus by Alessandra Scalambrino Maria. Before moving to Europe she worked with ballet companies all over the United States. Notably she performed soloist roles in The Nutcracker and Carmina Burana. She started her training with Maria Whaley in Ashland Kentucky and then spent three years at The Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC. While at Kirov she trained with Marianna Lobanova and Elena Tenchikova, where she completed three Vaganova exams including the eighth and final exam.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child I danced at every opportunity. By age 10 I knew I wanted to make dance my career.
What are three words that describe you?
Ambitious. Modest. Goofy.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the dancers at DAV?
Work hard is everything you do! Even if others do not recognize your improvement you will.
Do you have any nicknames?
My nickname is Mieke.
What is one thing you do in every dance class?
In every dance class I always stretch either during or after class.