Charles has been dancing for 25 years and coaches Professional, Amateur, and Pro-Am couples in International-Style Latin & American-Style Rhythm & Smooth. He is a former Italian National Latin Champion, was a finalist at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival, and has won numerous titles in other competitions throughout the world.
After retiring from competitive dance, Charles became a world-class adjudicator and received DVIDA, IDTA, and ISTD certifications. He is also a certified examiner for DVIDA.
Charles has traveled all over the world to teach and coach dancers at every level and most recently starred in Italy’s production of “Dancing with the Stars”. His other performing arts credits include training professional dancers in the film “Mad Hot Ballroom” and the popular U.S. TV shows “So You Think You Can Dance?” and “Dancing with the Stars”. He was one of the originators of “Burn the Floor” and also played a leading role in the film adaptation of the legendary musical “Evita”. Charles has owned and managed several studios throughout Europe, and currently directs three studios in the Tri-State Area: Philadelphia and Exton, P.A.
He coaches all of The Academy of Social Dance instructors on a regular basis and requires them to attend training sessions multiple times a week to meet detailed DVIDA syllabus requirements.
In his personal life, he trains in Jiu Jitsu and MMA and was a Golden Glove boxer. Charles’ competitive experience and effortless dancing style combined with his coaching ability and innovative vision enable him to provide our instructors with top-flight leadership and guidance, which ultimately benefits our students.
Italian National Professional Latin Champion
British Open Finalist/Blackpool Dance Festival
Professional Trainer for SYTYCD, Mad Hot Ballroom
Featured Dancer in Original Burn the Floor Production
Star of Italian Dancing with the Stars
2013 – 2016 DanceSport Championships Organizer (Philadelphia)
2016 Ultimate DanceSport Challenge Organizer
World Class Adjudicator
Manager, Instructor - Philadelphia
Ed is from a family with a rich history in dancing. From early childhood, he excelled in sports such as hockey and cultivated an interest in Aikido and other martial arts. Ed also developed an interest in music and became a professional musician, landing a recording contract right out of high school and touring in support of those recordings. Ed’s love of music gave impetus to his desire to dance, and he became an instructor at The Academy, where he is now the manager. He introduces students to the poetic movement of Argentine Tango and frequently accompanies students to Buenos Aires to experience the dance. He also competes at pro-am competitions nationally and internationally and has won numerous “Top Teacher” awards.
1st place Top Teacher at Philadelphia Dancesport Championships
Chelsea stepped into a studio for the first time at the age of 4 with her pink tutu and her ballet shoes on the wrong feet. Growing up dancing was a given for her and she soon became proficient in ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, gymnastics, and contemporary. She then went on to study dance in college. While in college her choreography was Featured at the American College Dance Festival Association and adjudicated by a panel of professionals. After 4 years of intense training, learning, and choreography Chelsea graduated from Eastern University with a BA in Dance. She then emerged into the world of Ballroom dance and is a certified instructor. Chelsea also competes with her students in numerous national competitions and has won “Top Teacher” awards.
2nd place Top Teacher at Philadelphia Dancesport Championships
Instructor - Philadelphia & Exton
Born in Eboli, Rosaria began dancing at the age of 7 in the styles of Latin and Standard. Over the years, she has participated in many competitions and international championships in which she gained International Class status in 2007. She has had many victories and made the finals in some of the most recognized International competitions such as, â€œleague of Southern European, Malta Open, and the Sardinia Open. In 2006, she performed as a dancer in the RAI TV show, Morning in the Family. In addition to being certified as a Latin and Standard instructor, she is also a certified Zumba instructor. Rosaria has been competing professionally since 2012. She has earned many top recognitions in National and International Competitions throughout the years, and is currently partnered with Francesco here at the Academy.
3rd place Top Teacher at Philadelphia Dancesport Championships
Instructor – Philadelphia & Exton
Francesco was born in Salerno, Italy and began his dance training at the age of 7. It was almost right away that his family recognized his competitive drive as he won his first championship that year in the “Italian Circuit” in the youth category. From there he was a finalist in the German Open, one of the most important competitions in the world. H then took 1st places in the Alassio Open (also won by Chuck Danza). Lithuania Open, and the Bulgarian Open and was a finalist in the Italian Championships in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2013. In November 2014 Francesco came to Philadelphia to explore the opportunity of joining the Academy. He and his long time friend, Rosaria, decided to try competing together last minute. With only three days to put together five routines, they competed at the Ohio Star Ball, the hardest competition in the US. They were placed ahead of 30 professional couples and narrowly missed being in the final round by only one mark. Francesco and Rosaria have since been competing nationally and won top honors. Francesco has also won many Top Teacher awards competing with his students, he took first place award in 2015 at the Ultimate Dancesport Challenge in New Orleans and in 2016 at the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships.
1st place Top Teacher at Philadelphia Dancesport Championships
1st place Top Teacher at Ultimate Dancesport Championships
Instructor – Philadelphia
Stephanie has been dancing for 18 years, choreographing and teaching for 7 years. In 2012, she earned a BA in dance from Eastern University. A year later, she received a full-tuition scholarship to American Dance Festival. She has presented her dance works at various venues in the Greater Philadelphia Area including Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Wilmington Fringe Festival, and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers present Inhale Performance Series. Stephanie has choreographed and performed for professional Philly-based companies MM2 Modern Dance Company, Introspective Movement Project, and Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective, with whom she taught children in New Orleans living under the socio economic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She attended American College Dance Festival for 3 years, where she received feedback on her work from internationally-recognized dance professionals. Stephanie is excited and honored to have found a home teaching at the Academy of Social Dance in Philadelphia.
Instructor – Philadelphia
Gia has joined the Academy in September 2015. He has been dancing for 26 years, won top placement in numerous competitions. He is a 5-dance Standard and 10-dance champion, as well as a coach and a National Adjudicator from the Republic of Georgia, south of Russia. He also designed two copyrighted Latin and European programs allowing women to compete as solos at the national level in Georgia and won top recognitions. Gia enjoys bringing his abroad knowledge of Ballroom dancing to his students.
Instructor - Exton
Artur Lago-Varjapetian started his performing career as a competitive dancer in International Ballroom Style. His humble passion for performing arts grew as he received his AA degrees in Dance and Liberal Arts at Santa Monica College; and his BFA in Dance Major /Theater Minor at CSU, Long Beach. Artur believes in the power of art to make our world a better place by bringing art into our communities. Since his graduation, Artur has been teaching Ballroom, Ballet and Physical Education to children and adults. He also has been collaborating with Gregory R.R. Crosby on multiple film projects and has been nominated for his role of Al in the short film The “Janitor” as a best actor in Milan Film Festival. He also is one of the featured dancers in an upcoming film with Ben Affleck Live By Night. He is excited to be a part of Academy of Social Dance team and grateful to be given an opportunity to share his passion for dance and to play an active part in his new community.
Front Desk Coordinator - Instructor - Philadelphia
Melissa started dancing at the age of 2 studying various styles including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop and acrobatics. She Started teaching in 2005 and performed professionally in a dance company touring from 2006-2008. After completing two seasons in the company, she has continued to teach both social and competitive dance. In 2011, she received certifications in different fitness fields and managed a gym for 4 years, where she also taught group exercise classes such as Zumba and Piloxing. Dance being her number one passion, Melissa is excited to have recently found a permanent home here at the Academy.
Office Manager - Counselor – Exton
Laura graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.S in Hospitality Management. She has an extensive background and training in the Hospitality Industry, working a number of internships and jobs in hotels, restaurants, catering, spas and retail. Most recently, she worked in management at a Spa. She believes in creating a unique, genuine experience for clients, connecting with people and making a difference. Her biggest passion is dance. For the past 10 years, she has been making ballroom dance a part of her life. Laura has experienced social dancing, International Latin and Standard, and Argentine Tango. When she first found Tango, she immediately fell in love with the Dance. Almost all of her formal training is in Tango. For 6 years she has traveled, and attended countless workshops, Milongas and lessons from well-known Professionals.
Front Desk Coordinator - Philadelphia
Fran has filled her life with dancing. Since the age of 9, dance has been her passion. Since joining the Academy, her favorite part has been seeing the students enter the studio with no experience, and watching them grow into beautiful dancers. Fran can often be heard saying “I love helping them in any way I can to make them feel like family…and, I might add, they are family”.