Our Teachers


Abena Taylor

Abena has been dancing since the age of 3 years old. She started her dance training at Dance Dimension in North Brunswick NJ where she studied tap, ballet , jazz, contemporary, and musical theater. While attending Dance Dimension she also competed on their competition team earning multiple high honor awards, and titles in multiple styles. Abena’s love for teaching started at 15 when she began student teaching various styles at Dance Dimension, choreographing for their junior competition, and choreographing multiple styles for her high school dance team. In college Abena has trained under multiple dance companies 10 hairy legs , free space dance, NJ Tap ensemble, Nimbus, & Paul Taylor just to name a few. Abena has also interned at Alvin Ailey Where she closely worked with the director helping choreographers & dancers book master classes all over the world.


Yi-Hsuan Huang

Yi began ballet training in her hometown Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Continued her training at Pittsburgh ballet theatre, Montgomery Ballet and American Repertory ballet. She had performed many different full length ballet with these professional companies such as Giselle, Coppélia, the Nutcracker, Beauty and the beast etc. Yi is so exciting to share her passion and knowledge for ballet to everyone!


Veronica Morilla-Rockman

Veronica Morilla Rockman has enjoyed the art of dance since she was the ripe age of just 3 years old. She has studied a wide array of dance disciplines ranging from ballet, tap, and jazz to hip hop, and several forms of Latin dance. She grew up dancing salsa, merengue and bachata with her family which nurtured her passion for the performance arts. As a teenager she joined a Colombian folkloric dance team, Aires de mi Tierra, and learned traditional dances such as the cumbia, mapale, el sanjuanero, and currulao, which are known for their fluid motions, musicality, and story telling. Soon after she began studying salsa on 2, which included complex turn patterns and intricate footwork. She has continued to arduously improve on her skill sets in all formats of dance and has performed all over the country. Performance is an important component to her teaching process. Veronica believes it to be integral to class excitement and retention . Her passion for salsa will inspire her students by the delivery of technical instruction and thorough explanation of historical value. The beautiful artistry of salsa will transform her students into fantastic dancers and wonderful performers. 


Kayla Shipley - Dance Teacher

Kayla Shipley began her dance education locally, studying ballet tap jazz and hip-hop. She is a fellow scholarship winner from Starquest, Starbound and Beyond the Stars Dance Competitions. Kayla’s teaching specialty is Hip-Hop, Tap and Ballet for little ones. Her focus on preschool level dance education gives her the experience two engage all students so their excitement for class is proven. “I hope to spread my knowledge to all who seek it, and have a lots of fun as we learn new dance techniques everyday!” Motor skills, terminology, musicality are only a few things Kayla will explore with her students. The magic she brings to the class is palatable and she transfers all of her joy of dance to all her students. She will turn any Student into a dancer, by instilling curiosity, understanding and admiration for the of the art of dance.


Leslie Merced

Leslie Merced is a freelance dance artist from NJ. A recent graduate from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, where she received her BFA in Dance Performance and was nominated for the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence 2020. In her time at Purchase, Leslie worked with a variety of artists such as Shannon Gillen, Joseph Hernandez, Roderick George and Sidra Bell.  Leslie has a passion for contemporary and modern dance. Leslie’s style of movement is about strength, expression and pushing boundaries. She is very excited to be on the ADS staff this year, inspiring young dancers to love dance! 


Nicole Washington - Head Dance Teacher

Nicole has been teaching since 2005, sharing her vast knowledge of all dance disciplines and love of performance. Our students are amazed with the encouragement they will receive when they enter her classroom.  A Seton Hall Graduate, Miss Nicole communicates Arts Education with a clear curriculum  and sound technical instruction.


Sherri McLaughlin-Ryan - Owner & Artistic Director

Sherri Mclaughlin-Ryan has owned dance education facilities since 1993. Studying dance since the age of 5, arts education has been a passion since she became an adult and performed professionally in musical theater. Studying with masters such as Henry Letang and Frank Hatchett Sherri has the expertise to instruct and guide students into the professional realm of performing arts as well as tapping into ones inner passion of arts education.

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