Meet our Teachers


Lauren Lanza, Studio Director

 Lauren has been involved in teaching and performing dance for over 21 years and dancing for over 29 years. Her school Starz Performing Arts Academy Inc. is in its 23rd year and has over 225  students. Lauren is a graduate of Montclair State University and member of Associated Dance Teachers of NJ. The East Rutherford location is just ten miles outside of NYC; which gives Lauren and her student’s the opportunity to take advantage of all the wonderful classes and dance performances that go on everyday in the city. Lauren graduated from Montclair State University in 1995 with a degree in Fine and Performing Arts. She was a member of the MSU dance company and the choreographer for the sorority Sigma Delta Tau while at MSU. Lauren performed and choreographed many performances while getting her degree. Lauren has taught from the age of two to adult . She has the patience to teach the beginner as well as the knowledge and discipline to teach the very advanced dancer. Lauren continues to take classes to hone her skills in the ever changing world of dance, so that she can bring the latest steps, music and safety skills to her students. Lauren has worked with various production companies in Atlantic City, Boston, Philadelphia and various venues through out New York and New Jersey. Lauren has choreographed for high schools and has judged national dance competitions.Her dancers have gone on to dance in college level programs and dance and model professionaly all across the tri-state area. Lauren continues to try to read, see and experience everything she can about the world of dance. Dance is not something she does, it is something she must do, it is who she is. Lauren is a Mom too;  her children are a great joy and they love all their friends at Starz. Lauren loves all her students and hopes that they will get a glimpse of this beautiful art through their weekly classes and that they enjoy dance as much as she loves to teach it. 


Heather Haczyk

 Heather has been dancing as far back as she can remember. From the early age of four she knew performing was the life for her. As a student Heather competed in jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop, and Pointe locally and nationally throughout the tri state area. After high school Heather began dancing at Montclair State University. In 2005 Heather landed a spot on the National Basketball Association’s Fan Patrol. This amazing opportunity allowed Heather to pursue her passion, dance all over the world with other top professionals, and promote for the NBA. Heather has performed at the 2006 and 2007 NBA-All Star games in Houston, TX and Las Vegas, NV. She has traveled to Guangzhou, China and Seoul, Korea to dance in the NBA World Games. Heather also participated in the NBA Europe Live Tour in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, and Cologne, Germany and in the FIBA World Championship. During this time she performed center court with various celebrities such as Mya, Disney Channel’s Aly and AJ, Grammy award winner John Legend, and American Idol’s Carrie Underwood, just to name a few.In 2010, Heather became a New Jersey Hawkette; this dance team performs at various semi- professional football games, charity events, dance competitions and showcases. Heather is currently choreographing for and coaching the Jersey Boxers Dance Team. This year Heather also became a model for the Harley Davidson clothing line and is featured on their website as well as print catalog. Heather continues to take dance classes in New Jersey and New York City so she can remain educated in the field and keep up with the latest trends. Heather wishes all her students good luck.  


Jessica Cintron

 Jessica has been dancing since the age of three, training in a variety of styles such as jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, modern, and acrobatics. Jessica was a competitive dancer from ages 6 through 18 winning many overall high scores, national titles, and special awards for both solo and group performances. Jessica has danced throughout the country, and has also performed in other countries such as the Dominican Republic and China. After high school, Jessica furthered her dance education at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia studying in all styles, and graduating in 2011 with a BFA in Jazz Dance Performance. She continues to study in New York City taking classes at Broadway Dance Center and Steps On Broadway.
Jessica loves to share her passion of dance with her students, and help educate them to become the best artists and dancers that they can be. 


Ava Coccaro


Ava started dancing at Starz Performing Arts Academy at the age of two where she learned many styles of dance; ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical acrobatics, hip hop, and contemporary. By six she was on Starz’s award winning competition team, which she competed on for twelve years. Ava also danced at Nunnbetter Dance Theatre for four years where she learned ballet and performed in the Nutcracker at the Williams Center. Ava Graduate of  Montclair State University pursuing a 5-year master’s degree in Family and Child Studies, Education, Math, and Special Education. Ava is a 8th grade math teacher in Rutherford NJ. 

Ava looks forward to teaching her students the art form she holds closest to her heart; dance!


Leslie Smolen Wuebben

 Leslie is originally from Buffalo N.Y. where she received her ballet training from Maris Battaglia as well as training summers at Pennsylvania Ballet, Chautauqua Institute, NYSSA and Hartford Ballet.  After high school she advanced to the Hartford pre-professional program and later began her modern career with Pick of the Crop under the direction of Elaine Gardner where she performed the repertory of , Ms.Gardner, Peter Pucci, David Parsons, Colin Connor , Gail Gilbert and Jessica Lang. With continuing her work with P.O.C  Leslie relocated to N.Y.C where she performed with The Mary Anthony Dance Theater, Kun Yang Lin and Dancers, RACOCO Productions, Fly by Night Theater and AMDAT. In February of 2011 Leslie began her Certification with American Ballet Theater. Leslie is a ABT Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. Leslie has been teaching ballet locally for the past several years and is thrilled to be sharing her love of ballet and vast dance experience with the Starz students. 


Claudia H. Stein

 Claudia fell in love with dance and performing from the young age of six. Following in her mother's footsteps, she found herself at Starz every day after school training in all styles of dance. During her decade as member of Starz Performing Arts Academy's Competition Team, Claudia attended Bergen County Academies for high school as a Theatre major and continued her Musical Theater education, earning BFA at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Returning to the Garden State with her wonderful fiancé, David, she continues to audition for many types of performing opportunities while teaching at Starz and the Meadowland's YMCA. Claudia is very excited to be a member of the famous 92nd St. Y's Theatre for Young Audiences working with the Meagan Doyle Dance Company and will be making her New York City debut this summer. For more information, visit



 Kristina has been in the entertainment industry for most of her life, and has had the privilege of performing and choreographing all over the United States and the world. Kristina is a 1999 graduate of Montclair State University with degrees in dance and communication studies. She began her professional dance career during her senior year of college, as a dancer for the New Jersey Nets, andfrom there continued to perform for the New Jersey Storm, Everlast Dance Team, WNBA and NBA All Star teams, as well as various production companies in New York and New Jersey. Kristina took the knowledge she gained as a dancer, and went on to continue her career as a director and choreographer, first as director and choreographer for the New Jersey Nets Cheerleaders and then joining the National Basketball Association as Dance and Entertainment Coordinator.    During her time with the NBA, Kristina had the honor of working the 2004 Athens Olympic Games as a dancer, director and choreographer. The NBA took her all over the globe, to places such as Paris, Greece, Barcelona, Rome, Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo. While her career was very exciting and definitely full of incredible experiences, Kristina's true passion always remained teaching and sharingher experience, love and passion of dance with her students.  Kristina's most proud and important rolesare as wife and mother. She sends a special thank you to her husband AJ and her kids Myles, Kyla & Kelsy 


Caitlyn Barrows

 Caitlyn Barrows, Ed.M. / B.F.A., is a proud alumni of Starz and is so excited to now be a teacher here! After graduating high school she went on to receive her Master’s degree in Dance Education and Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Upon graduation Caitlyn was also nominated for the New Jersey Department of Education’s Distinguished Student Teacher Award. She holds a PK-12 Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing in DANCE Teaching and is now the head dace educator and director of the Clifton High School dance program. She wishes luck to all of the dancers at Starz and is so happy to be back teaching where she first discovered her passion for dance. 


Jen Silver

Say something interesting about your business here. Jen Silver received her Master's Degree in Dance Education with PK-12 Dance Teacher Certification (NJ CEAS) from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. Prior to this, Jen graduated Summa Cum Laude with her B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Professionally, Jen has danced with Spark Movement Collective, Marked Dance Project, eSKay Arts Collective, Kaley Pruitt Dance, Humanistics Dance Company, and Erin Pryor Dance Theatre. Jen enjoys sharing her passion for dance with students of all ages! She is an ABT® Certified Teacher (Pre-Primary-Level 3) and teaches in a variety of settings, including dance studios, public schools, and community dance programs. Jen is thrilled to join the Starz family! 


Avery Vazac

Bio Coming soon !