Meet Our Team
Soraya Hanzus – Owner, INSTRUCTOR & Artistic DirectoR
Soraya teaches both group classes and private lessons among all three of our locations. She is a seasoned Irish dance professional - having both performed and choreographed in Cleveland, Chicago and New York City. Soraya started teaching early on in her career and was appointed at the early age of 17 to serve as head performance instructor and choreographer for the Conway School of Irish Dance. After moving to New York, she joined a professional performance company in Manhattan and also led the Irish dance program at the Performing Arts Center of Southern Westchester.
In addition to managing The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance, Soraya serves as a marketing and communications consultant for a boutique business coaching firm. She previously served as Senior Director at DiGennaro Communications promoting Fortune 500 brands such as Microsoft and Live Nation. Soraya earned her BBA from Loyola University Chicago and MBA from Fordham University Graduate School of Business. She is CPR and First Aid certified in addition to being certified in Principles of Dance Medicine by New York University Langone Medical Center.
MELISSA WEIGEL – Lead instructor & company member
Melissa Weigel leads the instruction of our advanced and championship level classes as well as our stretch, technique and performance lessons. Additionally, she teaches private lessons on weeknights and weekends.
Melissa began dancing at age eight with the Rince na Cara studio in Chicago (later Norton-Healy). After her first Oireachtas regional competition, she was hooked and competitively danced for 15 years - eventually competing at the World Championship level. She began teaching private lessons at age 14 and spent time as a group instructor at Norton-Healy before moving to the East Coast for school and work. After spending nearly 10 years away from dance, Melissa joined The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance in 2017 where she quickly re-discovered her passion for the art form. Outside of dance, Melissa works for a global conservation organization in the impact investing space.
Sophia Strachan – Instructor And Company Member
Sophia Strachan teaches both advanced and championship level classes at our studio.
Sophia grew up in Maryland where she danced competitively for 8 years - first with the Beaton School of Irish Dance and later with the Hurley School. She moved to New York in 2016 to attend Columbia University where she is pursing undergrad degrees in economics and linguistics. She joined The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance in 2018 and quickly rediscovered her love of dance.
Catherine de leon – instructor & company member
Catherine de Leon will begin teaching our intermediate classes this summer.
Catherine began dancing at the age of 7 in New Jersey after she fell in love watching the Irish dancers at a St. Patrick's Day parade. She has since then competed for 19 years in ceili and solo representing four different schools - Davis, DeNogla, Shea-Jennings, and Lynn O'Grady Quinlan. Catherine also used to teach little kids with some of the schools and help out in most of the championship classes for rhythm and hard shoe drills. Catherine competed at both the regional and national levels before dancing just for fun and later joining The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance as a student in our Advanced classes.
Róisín Commane – Instructor & Company Member
Róisín Commane teaches our advanced beginner lessons.
began Irish dancing in the west of Ireland as soon as she could tie her own shoe laces. She competed in solo and ceili (group) competitions throughout her childhood. She completed her TCRG teaching exam in 2004 and she has had students compete at the CLRG World Championships (Boston, 2013). Roisin plays Irish music and is interested in the tradition and culture of both modern Irish step and sean nós (old style) dance.
Caroline Costello – Instructor, Company Member & Marketing Manager
Caroline works as the administrative and marketing manager of the studio, and attends classes weekly.
Caroline started dancing when she found The New York Studio of Irish Dance in January of 2018. Irish dance was always something she had wanted to try, and through finding the school, she was also able to find a creative outlet, a new skill, and a community of supportive friendships. Caroline is a recent college graduate and intends to pursue a career in acting. She has performed with The New York Studio of Irish dance in a number of memorable places, including pubs, convents, and even ABC!
Kasey Fausak – Social Media Manager& Company Member
Kasey manages the social media channels for The New York Studio of Irish Dance.
Kasey began dancing casually as a kid in Staten Island. She picked it up again in an effort to explore Yonkers and stay in shape while having fun - and nowhere is Irish dancing more fun than at the New York Studio of Irish Step Dance! When she's not dancing, Kasey works as a career counselor at Fordham University, where she's also pursuing her PhD in medieval history.