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 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.
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.
Maura keith – Instructor & company member
Maura recently began teaching an intermediate class at our 68th Street location. She grew up outside of Atlanta and was taught by Karl Drake at the Drake School of Irish Dance. Maura competed at the state and regional level until age 16 when she decided to retire from competing to focus on school and performances. After completing college and recently moving to New York City, Maura joined The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance to rekindle her passion for dancing. Outside of dance, Maura is a fashion industry professional.