We are DEBE
A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart.
Erica Rae Kamensky
Owner, Team Director, Choreographer and Instructor
Miss Lori put Erica in her first dance class when she was just 2 years old in Jeannette, PA . She was the bossy kid in the class that told everyone else what to do! (Yes-there is always one!) The moment she stepped on to that stage and shouted "Hey Look At Me", everyone knew that was it! That's where she belonged. Dance became a big part of Miss Erica's life at a very young age and she quickly found her first true love. Erica and her family moved to Uniontown, PA. At this time, she began taking all styles of dance and competing at the age of 8. She competed all over the U.S. and took home several Regional and National titles. At 13, she was awarded her first choreography award. She began choreographing other numbers besides her solos at 16 years old, where she took home a more choreography awards and first place overalls. Erica and lifelong duet partner, EJ Ferencak, traveled to Germany to represent the United States at the International Dance Olympics. As a soloist, Erica was awarded the Silver Medal (2nd place) among girls from every country, up to 24 years old. She was the youngest dancer at the age of 16! Their duet got the Bronze (3rd place). This was Erica's most memorable competitive experience. As a teenager, Erica would participate in Point Park's International Summer Intensives. When she was a Senior at Norwin High School, she attend Point Park University's Pre-Professional Program. She has taken class from about every famous master teacher in the U.S. and Canada. Erica decided to explore the professional dance world right out of high school. She landed a few gigs working with renowned choreographers. Erica also worked for Walt Disney Entertainment in Orlando, FL, Stiletto Entertainment in LA and Holland America Cruise Lines. Teaching dance was always Miss Erica's passion, so she continued to teach all styles of dance on her breaks home at many local studios around Allegheny and Westmoreland County. In June of 2009, at 23 years old, Erica opened the doors to Dance Expressions by Erica in Murrysville, PA. It was a long time coming! She can still recall the days of dreaming up her dance studio, making pretend class schedules and choreographing routines for her cousins at family functions. Miss Erica's dream came true that year! While growing her business in Murrysville, competing and winning competitions and putting on spectacular shows, Erica began searching for bigger and better space for her dance school. In 2013, Dance Expressions by Erica found a new home in downtown Irwin where it currently resides. Dance Expressions by Erica is home to the DEBE Dance Team. As the entire studio continues to produce amazing shows year after year, the competitive dance team brings home winning trophies, scholarships and high honors locally and nationally. Miss Erica has won almost a hundred choreography awards. Her students have won thousands of awards since her studio opened. You can find Dance Expressions alumni dancing in several college dance teams; including, Pitt, Drexel, Slippery Rock, Ohio University, James Madison, Duquesne and more. Other alumni teach dance at local studios, for non-profit organizations and at DEBE. Nothing makes Erica more proud than when a student keeps dance in their heart and in their life!
"Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story."
"It won't be easy, but it will be worth it."
Team Assistant Director and Instructor
"Students don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care."
From Andover, Massachusetts, Tanya began her dance training at Ballet Workshop of New England. She then moved to Philadelphia to attend The Rock School for Dance Education where she continued her dance training. Soon after, Tanya graduated from Point Park University earning her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Dance. She then moved to New York to attend Dance Theatre of Harlem's Professional Program under the direction of Virginia Johnson where she performed leading roles in The Nutcracker. She was later offered a company contract with Ballet Austin II where she performed roles in Stephen Mill's A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf and Sleeping Beauty. Tanya has returned to Pittsburgh, PA where she continues dancing and teaching.
"I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say "Because of you, I didn't give up."
A 2009 graduate of Slippery Rock University with a BA in Dance. She was also chosen to represent SRU at the American College Dance Festival and perform repertory work with River North Chicago Dance Co. and Doug Varone. After college, Katie toured the US with The Latshaw Pops Orchestra for 6 years as a featured dancer and later as their choreographer. She also choreographs for Gateway High School musical, East End Kids, Penn-Trafford High School, and The University of Pittsburgh. Miss Katie is actively involved in theatre performance and has performed with Pittsburgh Musical Theater.
"Never let anyone dull your sparkle."
Tap & Hip Hop Instructor
Hailie is a senior Musical Theatre major with a minor in Dance and Education at Point Park University. She started dancing at the age of 3 in Michigan, and she hasn't stopped since! She was in a pre-professional ballet company (The Toledo Ballet) from 2008-2015 when she graduated high school. She performed in their annual Nutcracker every year (which is the longest running one in the country), as well as their other ballets and original spring dance concerts. She went to a performing arts high school, Toledo School for the Arts, where she was a dance major and danced for over 2 hours every school day. Along with all of the dancing, she performed in numerous high school musicals and community theater productions. All of those venues opened up teaching opportunities for her over the years, which paved the way for her to start substitute teaching classes with the Community Classes department at Point Park University during her freshman year as the only non-Dance major allowed to do so. Since then, I have choreographed musicals during the summers, and have been on the schedule to teach for the Community Classes Department every semester. This past year she taught a Musical Theatre Workshop class on Saturday mornings for kids that were 8-12 where she would teach songs, acting skills, and Musical Theater dances. She focuses on all of the skills individually, then putting everything together at the end of each semester to present very special routine. Hailie is excited for the opportunity to work with the students at Dance Expressions by Erica and comes highly recommended.
Alex began studying Ballet in 1991 through a cooperation of teachers from the Ballet National of Cuba. This Project was sponsored by (SESI Minas) an organization supported by industries of Brazil. He was the 1997 Silver Medalist, 1998 Silver Medalist and 2000 Gold Medalist in the International Festival of Joinville. He has 19 years of experience as a professional dancer; including 12 years as a soloist of Pittsburgh Ballet Theater (“P.B.T”). In this capacity, Alex performed numerous main roles including in the following productions: Swan Lake, Giselle, Corsair, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Raimonda, Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, La Fille Mal Gardee, and others. He has also had experience in dancing in numerous modern ballet productions including as follows: Sinfonietta, (Jiri Kylian) In the Night, The Concert, (Jerome Robbins) In the Upper Room (Twyla Tharp) Sylvia, Allegro Brillante, Western Symphony (Balanchine), among many others. Throughout his career in dance, he has enjoyed the opportunity not only in performing, but also in assisting his professional dance colleagues with enhancing their skills. In the process, he provided constructive assistance to his peers, without encroaching upon the roles of the ballet masters. To observe the application of his constructive corrections on stage, under the pressure of a professional performance, was enormously rewarding to him. The heightened enjoyment and satisfaction of this experience was more satisfying than dancing. He has created and taught innovative pas de deux master classes; incorporating techniques and tips he developed through his dance experience. He particularly values the cleaning of movements, the steps in between, and a high refinement of technique.
Jamie Corbett is a soon to be graduate from Seton Hill University with a BA in Dance Performance and Choreography. She began her dance training at age 3 at Southside Dance under Sharon Zietak and later trained at Technique by Toni and Pittsburgh’s Creative And Performing Arts high school (CAPA). She has studied jazz, ballet, hip hop, musical theatre, tap, lyrical, contemporary, and modern. Jamie first started teaching as an assistant at Southside Dance, and is now an instructor at Technique by Toni. She has been a recurring teaching artist with the dance company, Attack Theatre, as well as the Sisters of Charity Seton Arts Service Corps. She has choreographed many pieces for her university and has also been wardrobe manager and production manager for several productions. Jamie is extremely passionate about creating meaningful choreography and inspiring students of all ages.