Meet Our Team
Soraya Hanzus – Owner, Founder & 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.
Before opening The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance, Soraya was Senior Director at DiGennaro Communications promoting Fortune 500 brands such as Microsoft and Live Nation. She earned her MBA from Fordham University Graduate School of Business and is certified in Principles of Dance Medicine by New York University Langone Medical Center. Soraya is also CPR and First Aid certified.
laurieann barden – instructor, company member & marketing manager
LaurieAnn teaches both private lessons and the advanced beginner/intermediate group classes at our 68th Street location. She began dancing at the age of five at the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance in Chicago where her love for dance grew. LaurieAnn has performed across the U.S. and Canada in the 10 years she danced competitively. She later moved onto the Mayer School of Irish Dance where she competed at multiple Midwest Regionals as well as Nationals. LaurieAnn temporarily left dance to focus on journalism school and her career but missed it so much that she rejoined with The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance in 2016. She works in the media industry as a producer.
Andrea jacobson – Instructor & company member
Andrea teaches the advanced group classes at our 68th Street location. Originally from Quincy, Massachusetts, she first began dancing at age three as a ballerina before discovering her passion for Irish dance. Andrea competed at the regional and national levels for over a decade with the O'Shea-Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance in Boston. She loves all forms of Irish dance - from solo steps to Ceili dances, and enjoys the challenge of perfecting a difficult step as well as working together with her teammates. When she's not dancing, Andrea works in health policy research and consulting, having received her undergraduate degree in Finance from UMass Amherst and Master's in Public Health from Columbia University.
Claire eberts – Instructor & company member
Claire teaches private lessons at our 60th Street location. She was one of The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance's first students before quickly becoming a talented instructor and troupe performer. Originally from Akron, Ohio Claire performed and competed at the championship level on behalf of the O'Hare School of Irish Dance. Her warm and sunny personality makes classes fun and engaging. Outside of dance, Claire is a fashion designer in Manhattan.