OWNER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Kelly began dancing at the age of 3 with Linda Diamond’s Academy of Dance in Youngstown, Ohio. Kelly trained with Linda Diamond until 1999 and then continued her high school years training at Jamie’s Dance Force, under the direction of Jamie Cordon. Kelly continued to study jazz, ballet, pointe, tap, and lyrical. During her tenure at Linda Diamond’s Academy of Dance and Jamie’s Dance Force, Kelly worked with renowned choreographers; Alan Sherfield and John Crutchman of West Coast Dance Explosion, Tina Caspary-Cyphert, owner of Katrina Activewear and faculty member of Velocity Dance Convention, and tap professionals Corey Finn and Mark Goodman. She has also studied under Ray Leeper and Dee Caspary, whose work is showcased on So You Think You Can Dance. In 2003, Ms. Sammon represented Jamie’s Dance Force in opening number of “Star Systems” Nationals: Battle of the Stars, nationally televised on E! - Choreographed by Dennis Caspary in Panama City, Florida.
Kelly is a 2007 graduate of Kent State University in northeastern Ohio. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Performance. The dance program at Kent State University focused not only on the technical aspects of a meticulous training schedule, but also on a strong historical and academic perspective of dance, preparing her to become a professional dancer and educator. Kelly benefitted from training in an academic environment and was able to train alongside professionals in the field, who came to the University to set pieces on the pre-professional company, The Kent Dance Ensemble, where Kelly was chosen as a sophomore to join. Kelly’s performance credits consisted of works under Cliff Keuter, Robin Richardson, Tanya Mucci and Sabatino Verlezza. She also had the privilege of performing at The American College Dance Festival at University of Buffalo and Wayne State in Michigan. While at Kent State, Kelly studied under the direction of many greats; Barbara Verlezza, Andrea Shearer, Joan Meggitt and Kimberly Karpanty through the concentrations of the May O’Donnell technique, Erick Hawkins technique, Lynn Simonson jazz technique and Release Post-Modern. Kelly has also had extensive training in Improvisation and Composition. Through her tenure in college, Kelly was the Teacher’s Assistant for master classes for students with disabilities at the SELS Division of Kent State University and also acted as a Dance Instructor (KSU Non-Credit Instructor). She was invited to teach several master hip-hop and jazz classes to students enrolled in Dance as an Art Form at Kent State University.
After graduation, Kelly danced professionally with Travesty Dance Group and Verlezza Dance until she relocated to Washington D.C. in 2008 to accept an esteemed full time position with Adagio Ballet in Arlington and Fairfax, Virginia as a Program Director and Marketing Coordinator. She also acted as a guest artist as the Advanced Tap instructor at the Center for Ballet Arts in Fairfax City, VA. Kelly danced professionally in the national setting with Dancin’ Unlimited under the direction of Marilyn York, and also worked with the CAPS program, Creative Arts Program in Public Schools. Kelly was a choreographer and trainer for the competition troupe Blair Dance Studio until Patrice Blair's retirement in 2015.
Outside of K-Force Dance Academy, Kelly has traveled as a judge for Dance Machine Productions along the east coast along with attending the Dance Teacher Summit in the summer of 2013 in New York City. Kelly was given Dance Machine Productions 2015 'Teacher of the Year' in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Kelly is also thrilled to start her first year with The Merit School directing their dance program. She extends her dance education by traveling across the country to attend master classes, conventions, and competitions to ensure the dancers of K-Force Dance Academy are receiving the best dance education in the area.
Teaching dance and working with children have always been Kelly's passions. Owning her own dance studio is truly a dream come true!
Patrice began dancing at age 3 in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. By age 10, she was studying ballet in Harrisburg, taking ballet/tap/baton at her mothers' studio in Lewisberry, while studying mime, gymnastics, voice and violin. Patrice furthered her baton and dance career taking classes and competing throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. By age 15, she was a state, regional and national 2 baton championships, as well as a featured twirler and performer with Red Land High School.
While in college at The University of Mississippi, Patrice studied ballet, pointe, jazz, modern(Horton Technique), choreography, tap, and musical theater dance. She was a performer in 2 dance companies with Ole Miss, and was named Dancer of the Year by University staff in 1993.
In 1993, Patrice moved to Virginia at began teaching at Showcase Dance Studio. She co-directed a performance company called Youth for Youth Productions, and was resident choreographer to Osbourn High School working in the choral, marching band and drama departments. Patrice also was the choreographer for the OHS Dance Team from 1998-2002, as well as the baton club. Patrice choreographed and taught dance clinics throughout Prince William County, including Pied Piper, Parkside Dance Team, and Round Elementary. She worked full time for a Urology Practice from 1994-1998 while teaching dance full time in the evening hours. By 2001, Patrice was ready to transition from teaching and running dance programs to owning her own studio.
For the next 14 years, Patrice trained competition dancers, as well as recreational dancers at her dance studio, The Patrice Blair School of Dance and Baton. Her students went on to win national championships, audition and gain acceptance to dance teams/college dance programs/dance companies, and many became dance teachers and professional performers. Many of her competition pieces have won choreography awards, entertainment awards and high score awards. Patrice was very honored to judge for Boogie Fever Dance Competition in 2014, and was blessed to end her 13 year career running the dance program at The Merit School in 2015.
In the future, Patrice looks forward to more creative opportunities with the competition dancers at K-Force! She hopes to push the acro program into new heights, and create a contortion program to rival all the great studios. Patrice is proud to be a Mom to Jacob and Maddie, and is blessed everyday to be a part of their lives, and the lives of the K-Force family!
K-Force Dance Academy is honored and privileged to welcome Christina Franco onto our faculty. Christina Franco began dancing at the age of 6. She trained under the direction of Alison Hron and Elbert Watson until high school. Christina continued her training at Academie de Ballet in Chesapeake, VA with ballet master Andrei Yemelinov. She received training in several dance styles, including ballet, lyrical, contemporary, modern, jazz, and musical theatre.
At the age of 19, Christina moved to New York City to be a trainee at the Joffrey Ballet School, with Era Jouravlev as her mentor. Christina danced in 2013 at the Richmond Ballet, performing in Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
Christina joined Manassas Ballet Theatre in 2013, as a company dancer. She has performed roles such as The Cat in Peter and the Wolf, Pink Fairy and White Cat in Sleeping Beauty, and Chinese, Columbine Doll, and Marzipan in Nutcracker. She is currently in her fourth season with the company.
Cathleen Leszczynski grew up in Virginia Beach, VA and began her training at Virginia Ballet Theatre. She continued her training throughout high school with the Governor’s School for the Arts Dance Department in Norfolk, VA with supplemental training at Virginia Beach Ballet Academy. While at the Governor’s School, Cathleen had the opportunity to perform in Richmond Ballet’s The Nutcracker, the Virginia International Tattoo, and was selected to attend and perform in both Regional and National High School Dance Festivals. She also completed summer intensives at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Ballet Chicago.
Cathleen graduated with Honors from Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Psychology. While at Butler, she had the opportunity to perform various roles in The Nutcracker, as well as Coppélia, Giselle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and original works by the professors. Cathleen participated in the Summer Dance Seminar in 2014 through Butler Ballet in which she spent a month training and performing at several schools and cities in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Upon graduation, she joined the company at Manassas Ballet Theatre, where she is currently in her third season.
Jessica has been dancing since the age of 3 and began competing at the age of 10. She was a substitute teacher for Blair Dance Studio and has been an instructor for K-Force since 2015. She is also Miss Kellys assistant teacher for the Merit School Dance Program. Jessica is currently continuing her dance training locally with a ballet focus.
Jessica loves to teach and to choreopraph dances. She has choreopraphed several dances for the K-Force competition team and has received choreography awards from Intrigue, Hype and Broadway Bound International.
She can't wait to see all of you again this year!
LeAnna Tyler was born in Annandale, Va and raised mostly in Midland, Va. She is a mother to four children, three boys and one little girl. She was born into the dance studio life, both her Aunt and Mother owned their own dance studios. She began dancing before walking, however started training in dance at 18 months. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical. Irish, hip-hop, Pom, and cheer. Her personal favorites were tap and ballet. She began dancing at her Aunts studio; Virginia Performing Arts in Fairfax, Va, from 1991 through 1997. She studied for a year (1995-1996) at Showcase in Manassas, VA as well. In 1997 her Mom opened up her studio; D’s Dance Studio in Bealeton, VA and this is where she finished the rest of her dance career and began teaching at the age of 13. In January 2002 she traveled to D.C. To audition at the Kennedy Center for Debbie Allen’s production of Pearl where she was 1 of 20 out of 1200 hopefuls who made and landed a part as a main cast member. Throughout her dance career she competed and won several awards and scholarships at multiple competitions and conventions. In High School she helped coach the middle school step team, and worked on choreographing halftime and sideline step routines.
Right out of High School (2008-2009) she began teaching at Patrice Blair’s School of Dance, where she taught ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip-hop. She also choreographed multiple routines for the competition team and ran the mini BDP competition team. Her jazz solo that year won and placed at several competitions and even took home Ms. Petite Encore Title in Virginia Beach. During this time she also ran the Pom team for Potomac Middle School, and choreographed their Hip-Hop and Pom competition dances. She maintained being a substitute dance teacher for a few years after with Patrice, but left to pursue her Medical Assistant Degree and worked solely in the medical field for six years. She’s worked at two other dance studios since 2013 MFA studios and DanceXpressions in Locust Grove, Va where she taught ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, acro, and hip-hop. She loves dance and sharing her passion of dance with others. She is looking forward to furthering her teaching career here at K Force this season.