Studio J Staff

Jessica Mellace

Owner/Artistic Director

Jessica Mellace (Owner/Artistic Director) began her dance training at the age of two and began competing when she was five. Through her years of competing, Jessica has won many awards (overalls, special awards, and most photogenic). An award-winning performer, Jessica has been trained in all genres of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical/contemporary, musical theatre and acro. She has also taken classes at the New Jersey School of Ballet and Broadway Dance Center. In addition, she participated in the Rockette Experience, Team Rave, various conventions, and master classes. Professionally, Jessica has performed on many stages (South Street Seaport, Six Flags, New York Knicks/New York Liberty halftime shows at Madison Square Garden).

As a choreographer, Jessica has taught for over ten years in studios throughout Morris and Essex counties. With an innovative eye for storytelling, she has choreographed platinum winning solos, duos, trios, and group numbers for statewide competitions in ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and musical theatre.

Jessica has a degree in Applied Science, and is certified in CPR and BLS. For the past 7 years when she has not been teaching at the studio, she has been working as an x-ray technologist for numerous hospitals and imaging centers. With an immense love for family, she has also taken pride in helping with the family deli/catering business.

Jessica channels her passion for creative expression through dance into every student that she teaches. She strives to create an environment of respect while developing a valued rapport amongst students and staff. Jessica is committed to giving her students the opportunity to grow, not only as a performer, but as a well-rounded person of character. As the Owner and Artistic Director of Studio J Dance Academy, she is proud and elated to share her passion with generations of students to come.

Courtney Serpone

Teacher

Courtney Serpone (Teacher) began her dance training at Gail DeSantis Dance and Performing Arts Studio at the age of three, where she studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, and musical theatre. A talented musician and performer, Courtney started her vocal studies with Mrs. Helen Britez at Hanover Park High School (Chamber Singers, Women’s Choir, Concert Choir) and held leading roles in both the musicals and plays. In 2008, she was selected to perform with both the New Jersey Region I Mixed Choir (under the direction of Mr. Patrick Hachey) and New Jersey All State Women’s Choir (under the direction of Ms. Judy Hansen of the Chicago Children’s Choir).

Courtney began private vocal training with Ms. Barbara Cornelia in high school and went on to study at Immaculata University with Ms. Diana Borgia-Petro. While at Immaculata, she trained in music education, performance, and vocal pedagogy. After completing her student teaching and senior recital, Courtney received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education in May 2013. She was also a proud member of the Cue and Curtain Theatre Society and was admitted into Alpha Psi Omega, the national honor society for theatre.

Courtney is currently a music teacher at McManus Middle School in Linden where she directs multiple choirs, teaches general music classes, directs/produces the musical. She also studies at Montclair State University under Dr. Lisa DeLorenzo, and will receive a Master of Arts in Music Education in May 2019. Courtney has been teaching dance and voice at both recreational and competitive levels for five years. Her students have won platinum and overall awards in both voice and dance. She encourages her students to always exhibit professionalism and poise at a young

Carmellina Napolitano

Teacher

Carmellina Napolitano started dancing recreationally when she was 3 years old and danced for 13 years. When Carmellina was 16 she decided to use her dance experience to pursue recreational activities that assisted children with special needs.

Carmellina pursued her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Scranton, and master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University. She is currently pursuing her BCBA certification. She has experience working with children and adolescents with a variety of developmental delays. Carmellina has 7+ years of experience working with children with special education students and has worked in both, the public and private sectors.

Miss Carmellina and Miss Jess have partnered up to bring a unique social skills dance program that targets a wide variety of skills.

Lisa LoPinto

Teacher

Lisa LoPinto is a senior at Seton Hall University majoring in Elementary and Special Education with a second major in Environmental Studies. She has worked in many schools in New Jersey as an aide, substitute, teacher’s assistant, and student teacher.

Lisa was a competitive gymnast for 14 years, winning first place in the New Jersey State Championships in 2007 and placing in the National Championships in 2009 and 2010. After deciding to stop gymnastics in high school, she went on to teach it at Diamond gymnastics, where she learned how to spot and teach many tumbling and acrobatic skills. She was part of the first ever dance team at Hanover Park High School for 3 years, winning the title of National Grand Champions at a competition in Disney World. Also in high school, Lisa was involved in choir and theatre and choreographed an original musical called "Typed: A New Musical".

Throughout college, she has coached tumbling classes and privates for cheerleaders and dancers, assisted hip hop, ballet, and jazz classes, and has currently been an acrobatics instructor for 4 years. This upcoming year, she has decided to take dance classes again (jazz, tap, and theatre). Lisa enjoys sharing and teaching her passion for dance, gymnastics, and music with her students.

Dana Del Grosso

Teacher

Dana Del Grosso has been dancing since the age of 2 1/2. She started her competition career at the age of 7. Dana has competed in various styles of dance such as tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern and lyrical in different types of groups, duet/trios and solos. She has placed and won many adjudicated awards and special judges awards, as well as being crowned Miss Dance Arts Plus 2003-2004. She has trained at NJ School of Ballet and Broadway Dance Center as well as various competition workshops and invitational experiences.

After her high school career dancing at her childhood studio, Dancers in Motion, she went on to college and danced for the Hofstra University Dance Team in 2004-2005. Their hip hop routine placed 2nd and their jazz routine placed 5th in the nation at Nationals at UDA. Dana then became the Dance Team Advisor/Coach for the West Essex HS Dance Team from 2007-2011. She then pursued dancing on Semi-Professional Dance Teams in the tri-state area for the MFA, The Bergen Hawks/Hawkettes and the Boxers, where she also coached. She was also a promotional model/dancer for Venus/V-Squared and performed at many different events. Dana most recently was a Steelhawks Dancer for the Professional Arena Football Team based out of Pennsylvania for a year in 2014.

Dana has her Bachelors in Fine Art; Studio from Montclair State University and an Associates Degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of NYC. She previously worked in outdoor advertising for about 3 years in NYC/NJ/PA and moved onto tshirt/apparel design for about 5 years with brands such as Harley-Davidson and Hard Rock Cafe. Dana is excited to be apart of Studio J and looking forward to a successful and exciting season!

Jessica Brody

Teacher

Jessica Brody has been dancing since she was two years old and competing since she was four, winning several awards and national titles. Throughout her six years of teaching hip hop, contemporary, and acro, three of her choreographed numbers have placed first in competition. She has also performed in The Nutcracker at the PaperMill Playhouse two years in a row, American Idiot, and Legally Blonde, which she also did all of the choreography for.

Jess has recently graduated high school at the top of her class and will be attending classes at New York University whilst interning at the Biomedical Research Institute of New Jersey in the fall.

She has a passion for dance and a love for teaching and can't wait to be a part of the Studio J Dance Academy team!

Anthony Marchitto

Teacher

Anthony Marchitto has been performing since the age of 3 and is excited to finally teach his craft to the next generation. He spent the ages of 5-17 at the Paper Mill Playhouse studying acting, voice, and dance (jazz and tap). Anthony also studied at the Playwright's Theater and Stagestruck Kids. He is proud to have also participated in and made strong industry connections at Broadway Artists Alliance summer intensives for a number of years. There he learned from Broadway's best, including: Tony winners Alice Ripley and Beth Leavel, Alexander Gemignani (Hamilton, Carousel), Eden Espinosa (Wicked), and Jeremy Jordan (Newsies, Smash). Besides acting and dance classes, Anthony studied private voice with Linda Benanti, mother of Tony winner Laura Benanti. He was fortunate enough to sing in the North Jersey Region Choir, NJ All State Choir, and the National Men's Ensemble in Chicago. After high school, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at Ithaca College in upstate NY. Some alum of Ithaca College include Broadway's Jeremy Jordan, Kerry Butler, and Aaron Tveit. There he honed his craft and had the pleasure of performing in The Crucible, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Anthony has performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse and Feinstein's 54 Below in Manhattan. After working with a couple of talent agencies, Anthony decided to follow another dream and start teaching. He is currently an Assistant Lead Preschool Teacher at the F. M. Kirby Children's Center of the Madison Area YMCA. When he wasn't in class and performing, Anthony spent his time in college volunteering at the local SPCA in their dog annex. He also volunteers with the Special Olympics of New Jersey and the Madison Area YMCA, helping out with their performing arts showcases. He is ecstatic to share his love of the stage with this new generation.

Alfonse Napolitano

Alfonse Napolitano is currently studying Performance and Dance Education at Montclair State University. While attending school, he studied Ballet, Modern, Laban Movement Analysis, Choreography, Costume/Lighting, and Improvisation. In addition, he has also worked with Camille A. Brown, Earl Mosley, Maxine Steinman, and Joanie Smith from Shapiro & Smith. Alfonse Napolitano was also greatly involved in the competition world, where he has won multiple titles on the regional, national, and world level. In addition, Alfonse has also won multiple awards including a choreographer's award. Alfonse specializes in ballet, lyrical, contemporary, and contemporary ballet. When he choreographs, he likes to focus on the creating process and allow his students to part take as well. When Alfonse teaches, he likes the focus to be on the material being taught, and to make sure that his classes are fun and informative. He is thrilled to be a part of the Studio J Dance Academy family and is excited for what this year will bring. Alfonse Napolitano is also CPR/AED Certifed.

Jennifer Dent

Jennifer Dent began dancing at the age of six. She studied many different types of dance forms and joined a Performance Company that traveled throughout New Jersey and New York. After falling in love with Irish Step dance, Jennifer went on to study at local dance schools and in college with a minor in Dance at Rowan University. Jennifer is also a co-founder of the Midland Park Recreation Winter Theater Program. With Midland Park Rec, she choreographed and directed eight productions including The Lion King, Suessical, Peter Pan, and Beatlemania. She has also performed at Six Flags Great Adventure, Madison Square Garden, Hershey Park, Disney World, and various St. Patrick's Day celebrations all over the East Coast. Jennifer is passionate about sharing her love of Irish Dance with new students as well as continuing her own dance education! She is so excited to be apart of Studio J Dance Academy and can't wait to teach Irish dance to a new group of dancers!