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         Meet Our Faculty         

Kristina Caska

Kristina Caksa - Director, Choreographer, Coach

Kristina Caksa is a teacher, choreographer, and co-owner of Allied Performing Arts Center. Her 
training began in Riga, Latvia at the age of 5 with ballroom. At 12 years old, she diversified her 
training into ballet, jazz, modern, and hiphop at a private dance school named LaLi. Soon, 
Kristina began to travel around Latvia competing, performing; her success in dance being 
recognized through numerous prizes. 

At age 18, Kristina auditioned for the Royal Olympic Cruise Line’s dance team and was picked to 
be one of six dancers by Jan Rogers Entertainment. She toured around the world for four years 
and became the lead dancer and team captain in her third year of touring, highlighting her 
leadership skills in addition to her talent for dance. 

In the United States, Kristina began her teaching career in 2006 by creating an interactive dance 
program designed for young children alongside many Zumba programs for adults. In 2012, she 
became co-owner of Allied Performing Arts Center (named Allied Champions Dance Center at the 
time). Kristina produces, directs, and choreographs dance show productions, mostly inspired by 
stories from Disney and Pixar movies. Over the years Kristina has created numerous regional, 
national, and international champions with her highly personalized mix of coaching and training, 
as well as her prize-winning choreography.​

Natalia Stepanova

Natalia Stepanova - Co Owner, Choreographer

Natalia Stepanova grew up in Kerch, Ukraine, where at age 7 she began her dance career at the 
Ballroom Dance Studio “Rhythm”. She received a BS in Dance Art and Stage Productions from the 
National University of Art (Kiev, Ukraine).
Natalia received an MFA with Honors in Drama, Art and Dance at the University of Art and 
Tourism (Ukraine). She owned a dance studio named “Inspiration” (Kerch, Ukraine), as well as 
worked as a choreographer (Havana, Cuba). She taught in the City School of Ballroom Dance 
“Olympia” (Gatchina, Russia), Shostacovich School of Music, Art, and Dance (New York City, 
USA), Arthur Murray Dance Studios (New Jersey, USA).

Natalia owned and operated “Alluring Ballroom” Dance Studios (Spotswood, East Brunswick, 
New Jersey; 2004-2012). In September 2012, she became a co-owner of Allied Performing Dance 
Center (then named Allied Champions Dance Center) in East Brunswick, New Jersey. 
Natalia is a versatile dancer and teacher, skilled in Ballroom and Latin, Rhythm and Smooth, 
Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Folk Dance and Theater Arts, bringing over 37 years of multi-cultural 
teaching, coaching, and choreography experience in these disciplines. Besides coaching USA 
champions, she aspires to lead by example through her teaching/coaching, and hopes her 
students recognize the endless possibilities they can achieve with consistent practice, just as she 

Laura Clemente
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Laura Clemente -

Teacher, Choreographer, Ballet, Jazz, Tap

Laura began dancing at the age of 3, and shortly after moved onto competitive classes in New 
Jersey. Her various styles include: Ballet (Vaganova Method, Balanchine Method), Tap, Jazz, 
Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, and Pointe. 

Laura has performed and choreographed numerous shows throughout Six Flags Theme Parks 
before attending Hofstra University (Long Island, NY), where she studied Dance and Marketing 
and received Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business and Dance Education. While attending school in 
NY, Laura continued her training in Manhattan at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on 
Broadway. Laura’s dancing expanded outside of school, as she performed at various prestigious 
events throughout New York City with various performers. 

Following her graduation, Laura moved back to New Jersey, and began studying and 
incorporating Yoga and Meditation into her teaching experiences. She believes such practices that 
employ techniques of stronger concentration and self-awareness help dancers focus on their 
bodies in a positive light and helps prepare for any style.

Mikey D'Astoli

Mikey D'Astoli -

Teacher, Choreographer, Hiphop, Breakdance

Mikey D’Astoli is a teacher/choreographer with Clear Talent Group agency. Mikey started dancing 
at age 13 with a strong focus on Hip Hop styles such as bboying, popping, house, locking, vogue, 
waacking, and street jazz/industry styles. A subset of his notable performances include opening up 
for American Idol’s “Jax”, The Red Hot Chili Peppers 2017 Tour, The Cartoon Network Anti-Bullying 
Tour, Monsters of Hip Hop, The PULSE, Sybarite, Carnival. 

Mikey has been featured on television commercials such as “Bop it Tetris”, “Juicy Drop Pop”, and 
“Jenga tetris” as a dancer/actor. He can be seen in music videos of famous artists such as Jax (LA 
LA Land), The Red Hot Chili Peppers (Go Robot), Niki & Gabi (Hair Tie), and Vita Chambers (What 
If). Mikey can also be seen as ‘Crash’ in the Netflix series “The Get Down” by Baz Luhrmann, as a 
principal dancer in the feature film “Going in Style” by Zach Braff, and his talent is further featured 
in TBS series “The Last O.G.”, “Total Request Live” on MTV. 

Mikey’s NYC teaching/coaching consists of classes such as Hip Hop and Contemporary at studios 
including Broadway Dance Center, Peridance Capezio Center, EXPG, and hundreds of prestigious 
dance battles/events. He has used what he learned throughout the years to derive his own unique 
style in the way he dances and coaches. 
Mikey has been traveling and teaching all around the United States, and is devoted to technically 
as well as culturally inspire and enrich the present and upcoming community of dance.



Alisa Kash
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Alisa Kash -

Teacher, Choreographer, Latin, Hiphop

Alisa has trained at Allied her whole life, on a wide variety of styles. She has recently traveled to 
Paris, France to win the title of IFDPA World Group and Solo Champion in 2019. She is Miss 
National Teen Inferno Dance of 2018, winning both solo dance titles with her own choreography. 
Additionally, she is a Killer B assistant for the Ballroom Project. In the ballroom discipline, she is an 
Ohio Star Ball Open Level Junior Champion, Blackpool Dance Festival Team USA Representative, 
and National Junior Open 2nd Runner-Up. 

Alisa has received multiple choreography awards alongside numerous regional, national, and 
international titles for her choreography at Beyond the Stars, NRG Dance Project, IFDPA, Inferno 
Dance, and Thunderstruck. Although she trains in all styles, she is known for building her own mixed 
signature style of International Ballroom Latin with Hiphop and Jazz-Latin Fusion.

In addition to the rare combination of talent in dance and choreography at her young age, Alisa 
recently demonstrated her resilience and strength in organizational/leadership skills through the 
adversity and inconveniences of an ongoing pandemic. Alisa played a key role alongside Jesse 
Kohn, achieving the grass roots establishment of a massively successful remote dance convention, 


Lauren Potter
Tara Vecchio

Lauren Potter -

Teacher, Choreographer, Acro

Lauren started her dance and acrobatic journey at 4 years old. She started competing at the age 
of 13, and began to train semi-professionally in various styles such as ballet, jazz, contemporary, 
acrobatics, modern, and hip hop. Lauren grew a stronger passion for acrobatics while training in 
gymnastics, tumbling, and cheerleading. She was also a part of her high school dance program, 
and performed at various venues and sporting events. 

Lauren started choreographing at 16 years old for dance competitions and her high school dance 
team, marking the beginning of her presence as a dance teacher. Her team has won awards and 
overall placements with her choreographies. Lauren was picked to be a soloist performer in her 
dance program, while her choreography was being headlined. 

Lauren is now a senior at Stockton University where she is majoring in Dance and Elementary 
Education. At Stockton, she is continuing to grow into her career as a dance teacher while 
studying ballet, modern, jazz, dance composition, and pedagogy amongst accomplished faculty. 
Lauren is also a part of the Stockton Dance Company where she performs different modern/jazz 
works in front of large audiences. 

Lauren passionately loves to teach and inspire the future of dance through positivity, motivation, 
and high expectations.


Tara Vecchio -

Teacher, Choreographer, Contemporary, Street Jazz

Tara is currently a professional working dancer and choreographer in the Tristate area. She is 
trained in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, and HipHop/Foundation styles since the age of 3. 

Tara has danced with Jennifer Lopez for her VMA Vanguard Performance at Radio City, and 
her Live Concert on The Today Show. As well as with BTS on their “Love Yourself” tour stop in 
NYC, and a dancer in the film “In The Heights.” She is also featured as a dancer on SNL. Most 
recently she has performed with Julianne Hough during her performance on NBC’s 2020 New 
Years Eve special and with BTS at the United Nations General Assembly. 

Tara performed at venues such as NY/LA Carnival, Sybarite, World of Dance, ACE Awards and 
more. She also has been recognized and won awards for her own choreography at numerous 
competitions and got selected to showcase her work at the 2019 Young Choreographers Festival 
in New York. Currently signed with Clear Talent Group NY

Melike Sahin

Melike Sahin -

Receptionist, Art Teacher

Melike loves working with kids. She is a professional in East Brunswick School District, with 
teaching experiences that cover a wide spectrum of ages and abilities, covering a range students 
from kindergarten to high school.

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