Meet the Team

Meet the people who keep ZAZZ going!

Deborah Hirsch

Founder & President

Between running Philly Dance Fitness & ZAZZ, and running after three children, Deborah has her hands more than full. She founded Philly Dance Fitness in 2010, which now offers more than 45 weekly adult classes at multiple locations in the city, as well as a full slate of toddler and children’s programs. She’s completed numerous fitness certifications, teaching everything from aquacize to Pilates, and of course, all kinds of dance. She also teaches partner dancing through sister company Ballroom Bliss. During the summer, she organizes the annual nonprofit Philadelphia Dance Day festival and oversees the Zazz day camp for 5-12 year-olds. She credits the encouragement of many excellent teachers over the years for helping her become her best self, and hopes to do the same for your children.

Alex Victoria

Instructor

Alex is an actor, trained vocalist and cabaret performer originally hailing from Orlando, Fla. She’s been performing in plays, musicals, short films and performance art pieces since she was 3 years old. After studying Theatre Arts at the University of South Florida, she had the opportunity to perform in numerous states along the East Coast. In 2021, she settled in Philadelphia to further pursue a life of the arts here in the city. She has been teaching children in both traditional and non-traditional settings since 2013, and is pleased to bring her experience and love of musical theatre to ZAZZ!

Aliya Bowles

Instructor

Aliya is a New Jersey native who has been performing professionally for 15 years and teaching and directing for 7. She graduated from AMDA in New York City. She performed on the Broadway national tour of Spring Awakening and has performed in many regional theatre productions. Aliya has done two sold-out solo concerts in Philadelphia at Franky Bradleys. She loves teaching drama and creating a space for students to feel comfortable to be themselves.

Arabella Nobel

Instructor

Bio coming soon

Ashanti Jenkins

Instructor

Ashanti is a traditionally trained West African dancer with Imani Edutainers in her hometown of Lancaster, Pa and an instructor within the company. She has been performing for 15 years at colleges, festivals, annual celebrations on the East coast along with teaching kids and adult dance classes for 4+ years. With the company, she has trained with many traditional instructors and choreographed routines for the annual recitals with Imani. Ashanti wants dancing to feel exhilarating yet blissful for everyone and believes no matter what type of dancing you’re into, you have to feel out your own unique style and your body will flow to anything!

Beverly Holskin

Ballet Director & Instructor

Beverly began dancing at age 3, studying classical ballet, jazz and tap. She continued dancing while working as a research scientist, and rehearsed with the Philadelphia Civic Ballet Company at night and on weekends. In class, she delivers her technical expertise in a structured but supportive environment — a more laid-back approach than what you might find at a traditional ballet school. She’s designed curriculum for students of all ages, from creative movement/pre-ballet classes for 2-5 year-olds, to jazz for grade school kids, to pointe for adults. Since joining our company in 2011, she’s been the driving force in growing and shaping our multi-generational ballet program. In addition to instructing, Beverly is the program director for the ZAZZ summer camp — a perfect outlet for her surprisingly extensive knowledge of popular kids’ movies and music! 

Emily Leddy

Administrative Director

Emily is a former theater kid & dance instructor. From singing and acting, to training in many dance styles, performing and choreographing… she’s done it all. She can’t stop from singing along to a good show tune and loves having daily dance parties with her sons. Ask Emily any questions you have about our kids’ programs!

Hallie Rumsey

Instructor

Hallie a professional Ballet dancer with 10 years of teaching experience. Hallie has taught a variety of styles to all ages throughout the U.S and is Acro Dance certified. You can expect a space for creativity and self expression in Hallie’s classes.

Jody Thigpen

Instructor

Originally from Los Angeles, Jody has been dancing since she could walk and trained in many styles including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and bollywood. Jody has been teaching and working with kids for over 15 years. She started as a teaching assistant at her former dance studio, worked with summer camps and educational programming, and now is a social worker working with children and adolescents. Jody made the move to Philadelphia 10 years ago to pursue her Master’s degree and decided to stick around. She has been with Philly Dance Fitness as an instructor since 2018 and loves sharing the joy of dance with others!

Lesly Fernandez Gomez

Instructor

A native Philadelphian of Dominican descent, Lesly has trained in a wide range of dance styles including ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, African, hip hop and Latin. She’s currently working toward a bachelors degree in dance at Temple University. After graduating, she hopes to join a professional dance company and eventually open her own performance group for young dancers. 

Sabrina Follo

Instructor

Bio coming soon

Shaun Furter

Instructor

Shaun is a recent transplant to Philadelphia after graduating from Case Western Reserve University where he studied Marketing and Theater. He studied and taught dance in both Cleveland and back in Houston for 12 years. His dance journey began in theater, performing in shows like Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, and Les Mis. He then began his training at the Houston Performing Arts Company with Jade Whitemire and Terrill Mitchell. At university he began choregraphing musicals for the CWRU Footlighters Theater Organization. He is excited to share his passion for dance with the students of ZAZZ and instill them with a love for the art.