Co-Founder and Artistic Director, BA (Hons – Music/Theatre), AISTD (Ballet), AATOD (Jazz), AMusA, LMusA
Hanne is the founding principal of Sydney-based dance school, The Jazz Factory. She has brought her extensive training in classical ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern dance, theatrical dance, character dance, hip hop and gymnastics, as well as theatre and music, to thousands of students over a twenty year teaching career. Having established her own school, The Jazz Factory in 1993, she has seen it grow into one of Sydney’s premier dance schools with over 500 students, offering classes in jazz, ballet, contemporary and hip hop for students aged three through to adults. Students are continually placed at State and National dance competitions and former students have qualified for many college dance courses and have danced professionally within Australia and internationally for such companies as Sydney Dance Company, Australian Dance Theatre, Bondi Ballet, TasDance and Compania Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Spain.
Hanne oversees the artistic programming of Downtown Dance Factory, and also teaches many of the Jazz/Hip Hop Fusion and preschool classes, as well as the Adult Dance Workout classes.
Co-Founder and Business Director, MBA (University of Toronto, Canada), BComm (McGill, Montreal, Canada)
Melanie has extensive experience in management, marketing and operations, having spent the better part of her career as a management consultant with global management consultancy, A.T. Kearney, New York. Prior to this she worked in both advertising and investment banking in her native Canada. She has also provided consulting services in Internet marketing and operations to small New York City businesses, such as The Warm Biscuit Bedding Co. and Tribeca Language, both based in the downtown area.
Melanie also has long-term experience in the dance school environment, having studied ballet at the Mount Royal Ballet Company in Montreal for thirteen years. She brings her love of dance to her role as Business Director of Downtown Dance Factory!
Head of Ballet
Jessica began dancing at three, and continued on to study at the New Jersey School of Ballet where she performed in numerous productions with the company. She moved to New York City at age 15 to attend the School of American Ballet in the Lincoln Center while simultaneously attending LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, where she studied modern dance and dance composition. Jessica was invited to join the New York City Ballet company as an apprentice in 2002, and quickly became a member of the corps de ballet. During her six seasons with the New York City Ballet, Jessica toured Russia, Japan, Denmark, and the U.S, and danced roles in over fifty ballets. Since her departure from the company, Jessica has taught ballet, art, and gym to children of all ages and spends her mornings teaching preschoolers. She is thrilled to be a part of Downtown Dance Factory.
Vicki Burns is a native Texan who has trained in all aspects of performance. She has performed in such shows as Chicago, West Side Story, Death of a Salesman, The Medeas, Taming of the Shrew and Hair to name a few. She has been seen in numerous showcases throughout the South & North East, including national television spots for ESPN and the Atlanta Olympics. Her choreography credits include Lei, Instinct, Silver Thread, Grease, Chicago and Die Fledermaus and she is now the Choreographer in Residence with Opera Manhattan Repertory Theatre. She has started her own dance company, Undefined Dance Co. with Andrea Leith. She loves sharing her passion with kids and has taught throughout Texas and New York. Vicki is proud to be a part of the DDF family!
Ivan de Leon
Ivan de Leon believes teaching is a gift. Given his knowledge of dance, drama and music, it is perhaps little surprise that Mr. de Leon has distinguished himself as a dancer, choreographer and instructor at many renowned schools and studios in New York City and the Tri-State area. He has also appeared in a wide range of commercial and promotional events and has also featured in many television and film productions, including a music video for the Grammy nominated band Nickelback; episodes of “MTV Select”, “Da Vinci’s Inquest" and “Masters of Science Fiction;” and the movies "Josie & The Pussycats" and "The Goodbye Girl". Ivan’s live stage performances include acclaimed music artists Talib Kweli and K-OS. More info at www.ivandeleon.me
Originally from California, Ashley moved to New York City and joined Downtown Dance Factory at the beginning of 2012. Ashley is well-known in the dance world, having been a finalist on the eighth season of the hit television show "So You Think You Can Dance"! Having trained as a child in all styles of dance, she continued her collegiate training at New York's famous Ailey School. Her teaching experience includes assisting world renowned choreographer Milton Myers at Juilliard while still a student at Ailey, and a full program teaching students aged two through teens at schools over the Bay Area since graduation. She has appeared in several music videos and has performed extensively. She is so excited to be a part of the Downtown Dance Factory family.
J Lyn Thomas
Our Street Hip Hop Teacher, J Lyn Thomas received a BA in Dance from the University of Colorado. She has taught extensively in Colorado and New York in dance schools and companies, as well as in public schools, charter schools and not-for-profit organizations. She is trained in and teaches a vast range of dance styles, but specializes in hip hop, breaking, locking and West African dance. Her extensive performance resume includes appearances in television, commercials, music videos, stage and film - including a DDF favorite Step Up 3D!
Zack was born and raised on New York City's Lower East Side. Starting off as an underground B-boy, he later transitioned into all forms of dance, training at LaGuardia Performing Arts High School (the "Fame" school) and at the Luis Abrams Arts Center.
Zack's performance experience includes dancing with the Company of Dance Arts in New Jersey, as well as an apprentice with Urban Ballet Theater, featured as the Snow King in their "Nutcracker in the Lower". He performs regularly in showcases with his and other break dance crews throughout the city and beyond.
Currently Zack is working as a youth specialist and teaching artist with several non-profit organizations in downtown New York City. You may even recognize him from his work with the youth and preschool programs at Battery Park City Parks Conservancy!
Shawn, our Monday boys' program teacher began his dance journey as a hip hop dancer in Colorado. He then went on to expand his dance repertoire, studying all genres of dance, graduating with Honors in Fine Arts and Dance from Loyola Marymount University in California. He has taught in Colorado, New York and also as far afield as Guatemala! Shawn is a strong advocate for the benefits of boys dance programs and we're excited to have him share his dance expertise with the boys of DDF!
Norwegian-born Canadian, Ariel Seidman-Wright began her dance training at the age of 4, specializing in tap, jazz and hip hop. Ariel is also a Musical Theatre actor, and in 2008, moved to New York after receiving a scholarship to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. While at AMDA, she was accepted into the AMDA Dance Workshop program with a focus on choreography. Since graduating from AMDA, Ariel has performed in dance sequences for Buick and Hue Leggings for Broadway on Broadway, and recently played the title role in Cécile at the Gene Frankel Theatre. As a Tap teacher, Ariel focuses on blending precise technique with rhythmic improvisation and musicality. She has found her past year at Downtown Dance Factory very rewarding, and is thrilled to be teaching such talented and vibrant young dancers.