Our Dance Teachers
Palmyra Academy of Dance instructors bring to you years of professional experience within the industry. Armed with dance majors, minors, professional work from New York to Taiwan, and with years of training, we offer Central Pennsylvania the finest in dance education.
We are exceptionally proud of our team where comradery, collaboration, support and a shared love and passion for dance has created an atmosphere where students are challenged, and thrive! As teachers, we are students first! In an ever growing and evolving industry, we bring our students the hottest trends in dance while preserving the beauty of its traditions.
Alley Witt, a native of Hershey, PA, has been dancing for 38 years. As a child she grew up dancing locally. As a young adult, Alley studied in New York City under dance legends like Savion Glover and Frank Hatchett. Alley started teaching at Palmyra Academy of Dance at its inception in 2013. Alleys passion for teaching tap dance steams from her lifetime love of the art. She also teaches hip hop along with company productions.
Amy Busher began her dancing experience at the age of four at Anna Marie’s School of Dance in Hazleton, PA, where she studied tap under the direction of Bernadette Martaccio and jazz from Anna Marie McGowan. Amy continued to dance throughout her college career where she performed and choreographed as a member of Elizabethtown College’s dance ensemble, Emotion.
While at Elizabethtown, she continued her training in ballet and modern dance. Miss Amy’s first love has always been tap, and she has been thrilled to share her passion for dance with the students of Palmyra Academy of Dance since their first season. Miss Amy has taught classes in tap, jazz, hip hop and combo, choreographed pieces for Juniors, and assisted in creating the Tutu Twos creative movement program for toddlers.
Megan Rathbun began dancing at the age of three at Richie School of Dance in Highspire, PA and continued dancing there until age 18. While attending high school at Middletown Area High School, Megan attended the dance program at Capital Area School for the Arts (CASA) for two years. After graduation she enrolled at DeSales University in Allentown, PA where in 2012 she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance. Shortly after, in the winter of 2013, she joined the Palmyra Academy of Dance family and has loved every moment of it since.
In addition to teaching dance, Miss Megan currently works as the Medical Office Supervisor for the Infusion Center at the Penn State Cancer Institute. She lives in Hershey with her husband Jake and three cats Macchiato, Leonardo, and Rory. In her free time, Megan enjoys golfing, reading and spending time with her family.
Angeline Bertuola began her dance training under the direction of Bernie Martoccio and Anna Marie McGowan at the age of 3 (alongside Miss Amy!) at Anna Marie School of Dance in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. It was here that she studied tap and jazz. At Elizabethtown College, Angeline continued her dance journey and began choreographing for the dance group, E-motion.
Angeline joined Palmyra Academy of Dance at the start of their second season and has loved every second of being a part of the PAOD family. She has shared creative pieces in tap, combo, and jazz, but has found her true niche as one of PAOD's hip hop teachers.
Rebecca Drye grew up dancing ballet under the direction of Debbie Manlove at Manlove School of Dance. This is where she began her love for teaching dance. Rebecca continued her training in college at IUP where she minored in dance and performed in a pre-professional company. Rebecca has taught at Campbelltown Music Academy and has been enjoying her role as a ballet teacher to students of all ages at Palmyra Academy of Dance since 2016.
While Rebecca's main focus is ballet she has been thrilled to help create and teach PAoD's Adaptive Dance Program, giving children with special needs the opportunity to experience the love of dance and performance. Besides dance, Rebecca runs the family business; Schoolhouse Antiques!
Tara Maya began and continued her dance training for nine years at Berks Ballet Theatre under the direction of Carol Ennis in Reading, Pennsylvania. She performed in numerous productions each year with the Reading Symphony Orchestra. Her most memorable performance there was as Clara in The Nutcracker. Tara attended summer ballet intensives and performed productions at Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Johnson, Vermont under the direction of Angela Whitehall and Joanne Whitehall.
While obtaining her degree in Elementary Education and Special Education at Lebanon Valley College, Tara worked as a co-founded for the LVC Dance Team where she performed and choreographed. Tara continued her dance career on a semi-professional dance team for the Reading Fightin’ Phils performing during baseball games and other community events. Tara joined the Palmyra Academy of Dance teaching staff in 2016. She has truly enjoyed every moment of dance through teaching and choreographing for many genres and ability levels over the years. She hopes to continue to spread the love of dance to many students in the years to come.
Miss Tara is very grateful for her family and her PAoD family who have supported her on this journey. She enjoys dancing through daily life with her husband and two daughters.
Laurie Petersen is proud to be finishing her 6th year at PAoD. As a graduate of Northwestern University’s theatre program, Laurie is passionate about theatre, dance, and storytelling through the arts. She is also a fight director and a mostly retired stuntwoman whose credits include the daytime television dramas “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns.”
She has been the choreographer for Annville-Cleona’s musicals for the past 11 years and teaches preschool at Hilltop Christian Nursery School. She resides in Hershey with her husband and their three sons.
Mia Vera has been dancing her whole life and has been a dance instructor for over 10 years. She studied dance and apprenticed under the direction of Judy Williams Henry in Lebanon County, and has participated in Point Park University’s International Dance Program. Some of Mia’s fondest dance performance memories include performing at Disneyland Paris and at The United Nations.
Mia’s passion for teaching came at an early age, and she became a certified instructor through Dance and Gym USA at 16 years old. From then on, she has gained teaching experience at various elementary schools including The New School of Lancaster and Lititz Christian School, teaching the fundamentals of music and movement exploration.
Mia has choreographed at Gretna Theater for seven years and has choreographed for various community dance and theater events as well as a cruise ship performance group. When Mia isn't teaching dance, she dances with the Lancaster based professional dance company, LUNA and spends the rest of her time with her family creating, making messes, and exploring nature.
Mia loves helping children bridge the gap between visual and performing arts, so she founded the nonprofit Full Circle Studios whose mission it is to give children with lesser means meaningful experiences in music, art, and dance. Mia loves that Palmyra Academy of Dance is such a welcoming atmosphere for children to learn and share in the joy of performing arts!
Bryanna Urban has been dancing for 25 years. She received her BFA in dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Bryanna joined Palmyra Academy of Dance as a teacher in November of 2020. Since joining the studio she has taught Jazz and Contemporary, and this year she was very excited to take on Tap!
In September of 2022, she married her wonderful husband who she is expecting her first child with in August. She is so grateful for the opportunities dance has given her and can't wait to continue watching these amazing students grow in their dance and personal lives!
Jiana Merkert began dancing at Palmyra Academy of Dance in 2015. Learning every genre of dance and auditioning for and performing in the company program Jiana enjoyed unique performance opportunities and her love for dance was solidified. Jiana spent several years apprenticing in the student teacher program where her passion for teaching dance began. After high school, Jiana attended beauty school which afforded her a wonderful opportunity to stay with the studio and teach. Jiana loves her time with the Combo students!
Aside from dance, Jiana is a full time stylist at I-Talon Studio in Carlisle. She loves to travel, shop, and spend time with friends and family!