Start A Movement Dance

Our Instructors

Samantha Lebowitz Owner/Director

Samantha has been working with children in various forms of educational settings for the past 15 + years. She started dancing at Dance With M.E. under the direction of Melody Embry and fell in love with movement. While earning a bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, Samantha was a member of the Pitt Dance Team for 3 years. She has performed at the Big East tournament at Madison Square garden and attended college level competitions in Daytona, Florida. While attending grad school at Arcadia University, Samantha worked with children in early intervention through the Bucks County IU for 2 years before taking on teaching dance full time and managing a dance studio.  She is passionate about making dance accessible and fun for everyone.  

Micah Geyer

Raised in North Carolina, Micah started dancing at a young age with Nina’s School of Dance in Durham. He later joined the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble under the direction of Gene Medler. During his career, he has had the privilege of performing at the Kennedy Center and the Joyce Theater for Tap City, as well as touring throughout Europe and South America. He received his BFA in Dance Performance and Psychology from East Carolina University and joined Koresh Dance Company in 2007. 

Carlee Ciaffone

Carlee is 29 years old and has used music and dance as therapy and creative expression her whole life. Her favorite genres are hip hop and contemporary and she loves teaching dancers of all ages. Carlee has been teaching for the last 10 years and strives to help students find their unique style and gain emotional freedom through movement. Outside of her dance life, she owns a Mental Health Coaching Company where she helps girls and women find balance and wellness.

Ann Chernigoff

Ann is a performer, choreographer and dance educator based in the Philadelphia area. She began dancing at the age of 3 in her hometown of Arlington, Virginia. Her passion for teaching, creating, and performing budded in her teenage years. Ann is an artist and educator of all ages and abilities. Her work utilizes her experiences studying at Temple University’s Boyer College and under the instruction of the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance Company. Ann majored in dance and has her Bachelors degree with a minor degree in education!

Colleen Dougherty

Colleen is originally from the Pocono Mountains and began her dance training at the David Blight School of Dance by studying various styles of dance including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, and Hip Hop. She began teaching these styles at the age of sixteen as a teaching assistant before taking on her own curriculum. She has since had the opportunity to work with several dance studios in PA and NJ for both competition teams and recreational dancers alike. She has been awarded Top Choreographer for her competition pieces and has received national recognition from various competitions over her 15+ years of teaching.

Colleen moved to the Philadelphia area to attend Temple University where she has continued to dance and perform with various ensembles. She began dancing professionally at age 16; represented by an agency that allowed her to book castings in commercials, live events such as the Super Bowl, and large-scale private events. She continued dancing professionally as an adult with Project Moshen Dance Company for 8 seasons, finishing her tenure in December 2019. As many dancers would agree; learning never ends! Colleen enjoys continuing her dance education whenever and wherever possible by taking in person and online classes and loves to try new styles! She is so excited to work with the students from Start A Movement!

Katelyn Frey

“Ever since I was a little girl I loved to dance. My mom saw me dancing in my room as a little kid and right when I turned 3 she put me into classes. I started off with ballet and hip hop and loved it. I eventually went on to learn other forms of dance such as Pointe, Contemporary, Lyrical, and Jazz. When I turned 10 I joined a competition team and have been competing ever since. Today I work with the St. Joe’s Dance club both performing and choreographing. I love taking master classes to further my education!

Renée Dennis

Mrs. Renée Dennis began her training in Dance and Theatre at the age of 3 in Houston, Tx as a frequent player at Theatre Under the Stars and a student of the Houston Ballet Academy. At 14 she was invited into an apprenticeship at the Houston Ballet where she was fortunate enough to work with Ben Stevenson and Trey McIntyre.  With a yearning for higher education she switched focus and moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University to study acting and dance and graduated in 2002 with a BA. During which time she toured within th Darla Stanley in Satie Blues as an actor and modern dancer as well as performing with Brat Productions under Madi DiStephano. While at Temple she discovered her passion for Costume Design under her mentor, Millie HIibel whom she assisted at The University of the Arts and Arcadia University. Mrs. Dennis then began teaching, choreographing, and designing costumes for various studios around the Philadelphia area, including the Rock School for Dance Education and Friend’s Central Upper and Middle Schools.  Mrs. Dennis still works as an actor and director, most recently as the host of Frankie’s First Ladies at Frankie Bradly’s and directing PPan and Beyondland in the 2019 Fringe Festival. Mrs. Dennis specializes in Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Lyrical, and Jazz techniques as well as Acting and Costume Design. Her passion for teaching far exceeds any joy she has experienced on stage, however, her most precious accomplishments to date are her three beautiful children and her marriage to her amazing husband.

Tatiana Greer

Tatiana began her dance training in local Philadelphia dance schools where she participated in workshops, competitions, and summer intensives. Her core training stems from Eleone Dance Unlimited, where she took classes in Ballet, Modern (Horton Technique), Jazz, and Composition. She attended “Dance Creating New Stars” (DCNS) summer intensive for 4 years where she learned the repertory of professional companies including (Eleone Dance Theater and Grace Dance Theater). In addition to repertory Tatiana took master classes with artists from across the nation. Tatiana furthered her education at West Chester University, where she choreographed and performed with the “University Dance Company” while also assisting and performing in the “American College Dance Association Festival” yearly. Post College, Tatiana joined the award winning Hip-Hop Dance Company “I Am Phresh” (2018-2020). There she gained exposure to various styles of Hip-Hop, and Commercial/Industry Dance. In 2019, Tatiana performed with Akira Armstrong’s international full figured company “Pretty Big Movement”. She was able to perform in the “Curvechella” concept video (inspired by Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance) in New York. Since this opportunity Tatiana has continued to take and teach class. She is currently enrolled in Temple Universities’ MFA program, majoring in Dance where she is developing her artistry through various improvisational studies.  

Paige Devitt

Originally from Clarkson, Michigan, Paige trained at Spotlight Dance Works under the direction of Liz Schmidt during her adolescent years. She also trained at Steps on Broadway and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Paige attended Point Park University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While there, she performed works by Adam Hougland, Sonya Tayeh, Alexandra Damiani, Jessica Hendricks, Troy Powell and Garfield Lemonius just to name a few. Currently Paige is a member of the Koresh Dance Company under the direction of Roni Koresh in Philadelphia. This is her 6th year with the company. 

Leigh Bednoff

Leigh received her BFA from Ohio State University where she majored in dance education. This is where she fell in love with the power and impact of movement and dance on child development. She then went on to receive her MA from Hahnemann Drexel University Hospital specializing in dance/movement therapy. After a career in the mental health field, Leigh decided to take her thesis study on the influence of dance movement intervention on preschool and child development and create several creative movement programs in the area. Leigh has taught all levels and styles of dance for about 30 + years and her choreography has won numerous awards. She is so excited to be part of S.A.M. and share her love of dance and movement with everyone.

Abbey Markward

Abbey Markward is a dance teacher and choreographer from Philadelphia, PA. Abbey taught with Miss Sam and Miss Leigh at Dance with M.E. for over ten years. She is the Dance Director at Southampton Summer Day Camp in Southampton, PA and has been teaching in the Bucks County area since 2008. She’s previously danced at a competitive level for 15 years winning various technical awards and titles, before becoming a choreographer. Additionally, Abbey has trained with many world-renowned artists such as Brian Friedman, Allison Holker, Yanis Marshall, Al Blackstone, Desmond Richardson, Nika Kljun, Tricia Miranda, Tyce Diorio, tWitch, and many more. Outside of dance, Abbey is currently studying Psychology and Behavioral Health Services at Thomas Jefferson University. She can’t wait create new beautiful memories with all of the students and families at Start A Movement! Let the fun begin! “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Maya Angelou