Tom Karaty – Director
Jane Karaty – Director of Pre-School, Head of Costuming
Candice Mancini – Company Director, Head Choreographer
Alexis Comiskey – Head Secretary, Teacher
Lisa Danias – Head of Ballet
Dan Karaty – Master Teacher, Company Choreographer
Jeff Lapes – Hip-Hop Teacher
Sophia Marzocca – Teacher
Mary No – Tap Teacher
Jeanette Tannan Hoffman – Adult Ballet Teacher
Kristen Stietz – Teacher
Michelle DeGennaro – Teacher
Missy Milano – Teacher
Tom enjoyed an extremely successful dance career appearing on Broadway in such hits as Jerome Robbin’s masterpiece West Side Story, and in Mame with Angela Lansbury. For those who remember the talented Perry Como, Tom also performed regularly on his long-running television show.
Studying both theater and business at the University of Notre Dame, he rounded out his knowledge in both ends of the business. After working for 23 years as a stockbroker, the long overdue hope he shared with wife, Jane, came to be in the opening of In The Spotlight.
They vowed to offer the finest possible dance education and have continued to provide that since day one.
On Broadway in the hit Hello Dolly is where Jane’s dance career landed after years of studying all forms of dance. She spent time choreographing shows for the theater program at Georgetown University and The American Light Opera Company in Washington D.C. Jane also performed opposite friend Goldie Hawn in a successful nightclub act.
Raising five children of her own, Jane fell in love with kids, which is evident in her innovative, unique, and exciting pre-school program. Her background in dance and with children has allowed her to create the very best environment for kids to develop and have fun.
As a national award-winning dancer and choreographer, Candice found her true love in teaching. She decided to work with her parents, Tom and Jane, in building In The Spotlight and has been the leading force in the development of the dancers over the years.
Her dancers and choreography continue to be recognized and rewarded as the combination of her teaching skills and creativity flourish.
After training in ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop, and leading the In The Spotlight Dance Company to numerous national accolades as the dance captain, Alexis followed in her mother’s footsteps as a wonderful teacher.
She performed on the MTV Video Music Awards, appeared in national commercial campaigns, and modeled for Paul Mitchell and Nexxus. Alexis continues to teach classes from pre-school to teen at the studio.
Lisa’s performance credits range from ballet company soloist to featured commercial dancer. After studying under Balanchine at the New York City Ballet, she has gone on to establish herself as a premiere ballet teacher.
Undoubtedly, her training has proven to be invaluable to all of her students at In The Spotlight. Lisa continues to coach numerous professional ballerinas and is very proud of her many young students accepted into the School of American Ballet.
Dan Karaty is one of the hottest entertainers working today. In addition to choreographing films like Music and Lyrics and Did You Hear About The Morgans with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, Dan currently serves as a Judge around the world on ratings hits So You Think You Can Dance, XFactor and Holland’s Got Talent. His incredible choreography and thought-provoking critiques have made him a worldwide favorite.
Dan was born just outside New York City to Broadway veterans Tom and Jane Karaty so it’s no surprise dance is a huge part of his life. Although Dan’s Broadway roots remain a tremendous influence in his life, he chose sneakers and hip-hop over Broadway ballads!
Dan’s unique path allowed him to infuse his work with classic Broadway inspirations like Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and trailblazers in the growing hip-hop and pop culture like Michael Jackson.
Dan made his Broadway debut in the smash hit Footloose and soon thereafter began dancing with Britney Spears on the MTV Video Music Awards and The Billboard Awards.
After graduating from NYU with a B.A. in Journalism, Dan decided it was time to make the move to Hollywood where he collaborated with friend Wade Robson. Their rise was fast and furious and included high-profile projects like Britney Spears’ first Pepsi commercial and the *NSYNC World Tour.
Dan then branched out on his own, choreographing Jessica Simpson’s “Irresistible” and “Little Bit” music videos and serving as Artistic Director for her 2001 World Tour. He also worked with Kylie Minogue on many of her television appearances, as well as a long list of cutting edge artists like Justin Timberlake and Usher.
Although he quickly became known for his work in the pop music genre, Dan broadened his reach by choreographing ground-breaking commercials for iPod, Best Buy, Mattel, Miller and many more.
Beyond his role as a Judge around the world, Dan has his sights set on producing and directing films, television and theater. He is currently in development on several film and television projects and even a Broadway production of his own!
Born and raised in the New York metropolitan area, Jeff began his training at the age of eight in all styles of dance as an In The Spotlight company member.
Growing up close to Manhattan led to unique audition and performance opportunities, and by age 16, Jeff’s highly energized hip-hop style earned him agency representation.
Hip-hop, his true passion, led to work with Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, Lil Mama, Anya, and Ne-Yo, and he has been seen on MTV, CBS and in several music videos.
Jeff recently toured with America’s Best Dance Crew as a member of the crew Iconic, and performed and won one of the top three coveted spots at the 2010 ACE Awards as a member of the dance group Electric Love.
Jeff travels extensively teaching and choreographing for dance studios and colleges around the country. He is the hip-hop teacher on faculty for West Coast Dance Explosion, combining his stylized hip-hop moves with an old-school vibe inspiring and exciting young dancers everywhere.
Sofia is a graduate of the In The Spotlight Dance Company and has been teaching at the studio for 10 years. While teaching, she has traveled around the world performing and choreographing events for the NBA and World Basketball Championships.
She continues to dance for numerous recording artists and teaches the Ramapo College Dance Team where she is an alumna. Sofia’s passion and love for dance has always been part of her life and continues to show in her teaching.
Mary No has been the company tap teacher at In The Spotlight since 2004.
As a teenager, she trained in New York City with teachers including Savion Glover, Jason Samuels Smith, Derick Grant, Michelle Dorrance, Mike Minery and Gil Stroming.
Immediately out of high school, she started teaching classes at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in Manhattan as well at as several dance conventions throughout the country.
She is currently a faculty member and choreographer for Gil Stroming’s Break the Floor tap convention and off-Broadway show in New York City and has won countless awards for her choreography and teaching abilities. Mary also holds a degree in Finance from Montclair State University.
In The Spotlight welcomes Jeanette Tannan Hoffman as our newest faculty member.
Hoffman’s debut performance was in the 1946-47 revival of Victor Herbert’s “Sweethearts” at the Schubert Theater in New York. That was followed by five years as a soloist with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, touring the United States, Canada and South America. When Ballet Russe closed in 1952, Hoffman sought work as a guest artist. She did three engagements between 1953 and 1954 as a prima ballerina/guest artist at Radio City Music Hall. As the lead ballerina-in-residence for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Company the summer of 1953, she performed in a new musical each week during the company’s rigorous 10-week season. In 1954, she was invited to join the Corps de Ballet at Radio City as assistant choreographer, working with the company’s lead choreographer, Margaret Sande, to produce new ballets. She was also rehearsal mistress, responsible for running weekly auditions to hire temporary and permanent replacements for dancers leaving the corps and for writing the dance notations to preserve the company’s original ballets. She remained with Radio City through 1956, when she retired to raise a family.
In 1965 Jeanette joined the Irine Fokine School of Ballet and remained there for 45 years. Currently, in addition to teaching adult ballet classes at In The Spotlight, she teaches at the Alvin Ailey Extension in Manhattan.