Meet Our Team
Soraya Hanzus – Owner, Founder, 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.
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.
MELISSA WEIGEL – instructor & company member
Melissa Weigel teaches advanced classes at our 68th Street location. She 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.
Andrea jacobson – Instructor & company member
Andrea serves as a substitute teacher 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.