Meet our Staff:   

Kathleen Cirioli has been the director of the Kathleen Academy of Dance, a central NJ dance studio since 1971. She received her formal training at the Boston Conservatory of Music, and continues to study with Master Teachers throughout the US. She is the founder, artistic director, and choreographer of the Youth Tap Company, "Kids On Tap", who have performed in many venues, in the NY/NJ area, including Swing ’46, the Joyce Theatre, and the Duke Theatre in Tap City. They have appeared at the Brook Arts Center Show, “Mirror of the Masters I and II”, for National Tap Dance Day, with T.A.P., in PA, and at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, “A Tribute to Gregory Hines” in Washington DC, and “Memories”, a Tribute to Pascalle Stahel, in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Other performances have been at the Takoma Theatre in Washington DC, the Brook Arts Center “Gala”, ‘Dance for the Brook”, Open Mic Night as guests of “Tappers With Attitude” in Washington, DC, Symphony Space, NY, with Traditions in Tap Dancer’s Showcase. Kids on Tap have performed in Ayodel Casel and Sarah Savelli's "Tappy Holidays" in NYC, 2006 through 2009, and also performed in the 1st Main Stage Showcase of the NJ Tap Festival.

Ms. Cirioli was also the recipient of the Outstanding Tap Teacher Award presented by the NY Tap Festival in 2004.

As a choreographer and teacher, Ms. Cirioli's mission is to promote and preserve the art of tap dancing by training the young dancers in both the current and historical styles of rhythm tap. She is a guest teacher for many studios and organizations, and on the teaching faculty of NADAA. She has been on the dance faculty of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pa.. She is a guest teacher for various Workshops and Dance Organizations, and an adjudicator for many National Competitions. Ms. Cirioli is a former member of the Tap Company, T.A.P. Company, and is the founder and director of the performance troupes “Show Biz Kids” and “Kids On Tap”. She is a former member of the Tap Company, Tap Ties. Ms. Cirioli is the New Jersey Representative for the International Tap Association , a past Member of The New York Committee to Celebrate National Tap Dance Day , Advisory Board Member of the Jazz Tap Center’s Traditions in Tap , and owner of Just TAP, a web-based business serving the international tap community. As an advocate for breast cancer awareness, she has appeared on The Rosie O’Donnell Show performing an original tap routine in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She is the co-founder of Dance For The Cure, a non profit organization dedicated to the prevention and cure of breast cancer through the celebration of dance.

Former students have appeared on Broadway, television, regional theatres, Garden State Arts Center, professional dance companies, cruise ships, cabarets, and international showcases around the world. Many of her students have pursued performing careers appearing in Broadway and National Tours including Footloose, A Chorus Line, Cats, Contact, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Beauty and The Beast, Dirty Dancing, Movin' Out, David Copperfield World Tour, 42nd Street, Contact, Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, and Saturday Night Fever.

Among other distinctions, Ms. Cirioli was the charter chairperson for the American Heart Association "Dance For Heart," and was a Dance Captain for the International Macy’s Tap Event since it began in the 1970's.

Take a look at this article about Kathleen from the publication "Tappin' In"!


Kathleen Cirioli

Founder and Director of the Kathleen Academy of Dance since 1971.

"Miss Kathleen"

Email Kathleen



Nilza Tyson: "Miss Nilza" has been with the KAD since she started dancing in 1984. She trained in all forms of dance and was an assistant teacher for many years. She attended Somerest Vocational Arts School for Dance and continued studying, choreographing and performing while in college. Nilza completed all levels of the American Performing Arts Syllabus Exams in Tap, Jazz and Ballet.
Nilza is the lyrical dance advisor for Dance for the Cure and performed on the Rosie O'Donnell Show. She has been teaching at the studio since 1997. Since her graduation from Rider University, Nilza has been a Language Arts teacher since 2001, and taught Sunday School for 10 years. She continues to study dance in NYC with a variety of teachers on a regular basis.
Nilza has always felt that the Kathleen Academy has been her home!

Joanne Liscovitz: “Miss Joanne” has been teaching at the Kathleen Academy of Dance since 1981, and dancing forever! Her passion for dancing and teaching inspired her to earn a BA in English Education and Theatre from Kings College. She lives in Hillsborough with her husband Michael. Joanne has two children, Meredith a 2006 graduate of Penn State University, and Brian a 2010 graduate of the University of Illinois (both former KAD dancers).

When Joanne is not dancing or spending time with family, Joanne is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Hillsborough. She has been successfully helping people buy and sell homes in our area since 1984.

Joanne (along with Miss Kathleen) co-founded Dance for the Cure. Joanne’s strong commitment to the success of DFC is evident in the work she does as Chair of the annual fundraiser, Ribbons of Hope, raising money for the growing number of local families during difficult and unforeseen circumstances due to their battle with cancer.

Sara Paternoster: "Miss Sara" began dancing at age four at the Kathleen Academy of Dance studying ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe, hip hop and kickline. During her time as a student at KAD, Sara was a member of Dance for the Cure and participated in the Kids on Tap Apprentice program. While in high school Sara worked as a receptionist at the studio and was captain of Hunterdon Central’s Dance Team for two years. Sara continued her dance training throughout college at Linda Jean’s Studio of Dance with private lessons in lyrical, jazz, tap, and hip hop.

Sara graduated Magna Cum Laude from Monmouth University with a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and History. She is currently a Kindergarten teacher in Titusville, New Jersey where she was awarded the HEART Teaching Award for her dedication to excellent teaching in April of 2011. She is so excited to be back with the KAD family to share her love for both dancing and teaching!
Ashley DeVincentz: "Miss Ashley" has been dancing since the age of three and has trained in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and hip hop. She is working towards her degree in Psychology at  Rutgers University and plans on continuing on to graduate school for a Masters and teaching certification. After school Ashley is planning on a career as an Elementary School Teacher. She has an extensive performing background throughout the East coast, including Benefit Performances for Cancer Research, the Special Olympics, and Alzheimers Research. She has been teaching dance for three years. In her spare time, Ashley loves cooking, baking, arts and crafts, getting ideas from Pinterest and watching dancers on YouTube!
Nicole Zivkovic: "Miss Nicole" has studied and performed many types of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and world dance forms. She has a B.S. in English Education from Duquesne University and a Master of Arts in Dance Education from NYU. During her four years in college, Nicole was a member of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans, an Eastern European music and dance ensemble, and had the opportunity to travel and perform all over the country. As a graduate student at NYU, Nicole was a member of Kaleidscope Dancers, a company that performs for and teaches workshops to NYC school children. Her original choreography was presented in the 2009 NYU Masters Fall Dance Concert. Nicole also taught middle and high school English and has choreographed several musical theater productions.
Allie Singer: "Miss Allie" specializes in tap. A Kids on Tap company alumna, Allie has performed in many shows and venues throughout New York City, New Jersey, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and more. Allie has completed the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Pre-Professional program; she continues to further her tap education by taking classes in NYC with today's tap masters, and she enjoys bringing back what she learns to her classes at the KAD. Allie has taken numerous college-level courses in education and adolescent development and has experience teaching dance in preschools and summer camps. Allie began working at the studio as a classroom assistant and receptionist when she was in high school, and she began dancing at the KAD when she was four years old. Allie holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of New Jersey in English and Journalism/Professional Writing.
Tara Melick: Miss Tara was a student at the Kathleen Academy of Dance for 15 years studying ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe, and kickline. As a student at KAD, Tara was a member of Dance for the Cure and participated in the Kids on Tap Apprentice program. Tara has worked as a receptionist at the studio since high school and continues to be involved with Dance for the Cure by being on the “Ribbons of Hope” committee.

Tara graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rider University where she majored in Accounting with a concentration in Fraud and Forensics. She was very involved with student government while at Rider and served on a variety of committees and activities throughout her tenure there. She is employed as a staff accountant at Wilkin & Guttenplan, P.C. in East Brunswick, New Jersey. She loves being able to continue her involvement at the studio, which she has always viewed as her second home!  

Andrea Doyle: Miss Andrea started dancing at the age of 4 and has been dancing at KAD for the past 24 years. During her time at KAD Andrea has studied tap, kickline, jazz, ballet and was a member of Kids on Tap. Andrea began working at KAD in high school as a teacher’s assistant and receptionist. Andrea has performed with Kids on Tap at Swing 46 in New York as well as at the Duke Theater in the NYC Tap Festival. She has also had the opportunity to perform in PA for National Tap Dance Day, in Chicago at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, and in Mirror of the Masters at the Brook Arts Center. Andrea graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. She was a member of the Dance Company of Virginia Tech during all 4 years of college. During her college years in Blacksburg, VA she was a member of Ann Kilkelly’s Footnotes Tap Ensemble and taught tap at The Center of Dance. Andrea is involved at her son’s preschool in Flemington where she teaches dance class to the preschoolers. She is thrilled to be continuing her involvement here at KAD with her dance family!


  Kathleen Academy of Dance    |    411 Route 206    |    Hillsborough, NJ 08844    |    Phone: 908-359-8888    |    Email Us