Pamela Caira

Artistic Director

Pamela C. Caira is a graduate of Dean College with a degree in dance.  After completing two years at Dean, Pamela transferred to the University of Performing Arts and Design in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on a scholarship award in dance. She attended the University with a serious study in contemporary dance to fulfill her passion.  Pamela is also a member of the Dance Teachers Club of Boston.  Valuing her talent as one of the greatest blessings in her life, Pamela, a native of Waltham, MA, knew her gift needed to be passed on for generations. She is currently celebrating her 21st year in business.

A self-made entrepreneur/business woman, Pamela founded Step-By-Step Dance Studio in 1996.  To add to her classical training in 2004 Pamela took a serious study in Latin dancing winning her second place at the Stardust Competition in N.Y. That same year The Next Step Dance Company was formed under her direction.  In 2011 she earned her Zumba Certification spreading her joy of movement through dance fitness.

Pamela has committed her personal and professional life to children and families.  In 2003 she directed and produced the studio’s first charitable holiday show. A decade later, Pamela’s fundraising success has helped many worthy causes throughout Massachusetts, such as the Matthew and Melissa Bastianelli Foundation, Save the Children, Cradles to Crayons, Andrew’s Helpful Hands, The Boston Medical Center, The Steven T. Hill Stroke Foundation, The Andrèa Rizzo Foundation, The Autism Alliance of Metrowest and The Anastasi Fund.  Pamela is an active member of her community. Her students are often dancing for local senior centers, nursing homes, parades and events throughout Waltham.

In 2016 Pamela returned back to school and is attending Lesley University as a part-time student.  She is currently majoring in Expressive Arts Therapy.  She currently spends her time choreographing, teaching, directing and producing.  She wants students who have an opportunity to attend her studio to embrace not just the techniques of dance but to embody the soul of dance.  She currently resides in Waltham with her fiancé and two sons.

Michelle Usseglio

Studio Coordinator / Bookkeepererica ferrone photography-84

Michelle Usseglio first joined the Step-By-Step family in 2005 as the parent of a pre-school dancer. With an outgoing personality that makes everyone feel like her best friend and having volunteered her time on numerous projects and crafts, it was inevitable that Michelle join the staff. The financial operations of the company being her primary responsibility, she brings 20+ years of bookkeeping experience to the table.

Michelle resides in Waltham with her two children and is an active member of the community.

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Demetra Chastangerica ferrone photography-85

Office Manager / Dance Company Director /

Musical Theatre / Lyrical

Dancing since the age of three, Demetra was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships throughout her years as a dance competitor. Deciding to pursue a career in dance, she attended Dean College and Fitchburg State College.  Demetra was the Creator/Director and Choreographer for Fitchburg State College Dance Team. Accomplishments from this program include travel to both Florida and NYC for performances, training and competitions.  She has received awards for her choreography including “Up and Coming Choreographer to Watch.” Demetra has also traveled with renowned dance competitions and has continued her training with teachers including Mandy Moore, Brian Friedman, Mia Michaels, Savion Glover, Tyce Diorio, Tabitha & Napoleon.  When time allows she participates in classes at Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey in NYC.  In her second season at Step-By-Step Dance Studio, she has taken on the role as Director for our Next Step Dance Company – a program that allows students the opportunity to compete, travel and perform while working at a higher level than a recreational dancer as well as working with respected choreographers in and outside our community.

Ricardo Foster, Jr

Jazz / Contemporay  / Hip Hop Instructor

Born and raised in Boston, Ricardo has been involved with the entertainment industry for over 10 years. Using his special talents as a dancer, choreographer, performer, actor, comedian, and model, he has single-handedly made a name for himself amongst many of today’s popular artists. Working and performing with artists ranging from Jay-Z, Usher, Britney Spears, NSYNC, En-vogue, Uncle Cracker, and Beyonce to old school classics like Naughty by Nature, Wu-Tang clan, and RUN DMC, he has seen it all. Recently he has been focusing his talents on ventures behind the scenes, choreographing for various artists, guest choreographing for major dance companies and crews and producing onstage performances through his production company Unyted Stylz Entertainment. He has also fashioned Unyted Stylz to be an entertainment umbrella housing performers, teachers, and dance groups of different disciplines, styles, and backgrounds to help enrich and broaden the dance community. Ricardo is also proudly one of the main choreographers and developers for the Xbox Kinect video game franchise “Dance Central”. Due to his involvement with these projects and his works showcased on different platforms of entertainment Ricardo has been recently dubbed a world renowned choreographer.

With an outstanding personality, he has a way with audiences, students, and his peers alike. By using comedy, simple physical analogies, and a story-like premise behind all of his dance movements, he looks to have people understand and enjoy his performances, choreography, and classes. All while trying to help people find a new appreciation and love of dance and themselves. Known as a master teacher, an exceptional performer, and an international choreographer Ricardo strives to live up to the standard of “…..not necessarily being the best, just everyone’s personal favorite.”  Ricardo returns to Step-By-Step for his 10th season!

Janelle Gilchrist

Ballet Instructor

Ms. Gilchrist is a leader in the art of dance, holding many roles in her professional career, including those of dancer, teacher, choreographer, and community organizer. Originally from Stoneham, MA, Janelle developed her skills and expertise through studies at Harriet Hoctor Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, Broadway Theater Project, Concord Academy, and Dance Theater of Harlem, and earned her BFA in Dance at the University of Hartford, CT.

Highlights of Ms. Gilchrist’s professional career include company dancer in the following companies:  Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, BalletRox, Island Moving Company, and Hartford Ballet.  In addition, Janelle has performed with Legends in Concert, Celebrity Cruises, Anna Myer, and David Parker.  She has also held small roles in several major movie productions, including ‘27 Dresses’, produced by 20th Century Fox in 2008 and ‘What’s your Number’ produced by Contrafilms in 2011.

Constantly striving to take her skills and vision to new creative applications, Janelle has served as choreographer and casting director of two flash mob performances for Media Direct Productions, in Boston and Las Vegas.  She also recently choreographed and danced in a piece sponsored by the Boston Center for the Arts at the Mills Art Gallery.  Janelle has worked company manager for Balletrox and has coordinated the BalletRox dance programs in Boston Public Schools. She also teaches dance at Tony Williams Dance Center, Step by Step in Waltham MA, and Angel Dance Troupe in Watham MA.

In March 2012, Janelle went with BalletRox to Riga, Latvia to perform and teach the Urban Nutcracker to Dzirnas Dance Troup.

Noa BarankinNoa3

Tap Instructor

Noa is a tap dancer, choreographer and body percussionist. She was a member for three years of the “Tararam” group, which is an Israeli-based Stomp style company, touring internationally. The style of this company is African/Mediterranean and drumming on different objects. She was also part of the Tempo Tap Company in Tel Aviv for which she was also the Producer. She is currently studying and a member of The Boston Tap Company. She has been a teacher for many years.  Since moving from Israel she is teaching tap dance and body percussion (like Stepping) in the local Boston area.  Noa has choreographed for song and dance youth companies in styles of pop/jazz. She has been featured in Cabaret shows and fusion dance shows involving Irish dance and Flamenco. She is a drummer, plays the piano and composes and writes her own music.

Marisa DiDino

Tap, Jazz, Contemporary and Hip Hop InstructorMarisa 2

Marisa DiDino has been dancing at of Step-by-Step Dance Studio for 16 years. She began dancing at the age of three and has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Modern and Salsa. Marisa was selected as a Next Step Dance Company member in 2005. During the next six years Marisa continued to dance with NSDC. Marisa danced in local competitions earning high silver through platinum awards in many of them.  She has danced for community and charitable events through the studios benefit performances. Through her years as a dancer and company member Marisa was asked by Step-By-Step’s Artistic Director to train as her personal dance assistant and obtain knowledge of teaching students between the ages of six and thirteen. Marisa quickly gained confidence and strong leadership skills earning her the title of the Next Step Dance Company Captain and Manager in 2011.

In 2011, Marisa started undergraduate school at Lasell College where she auditioned and was part of the Lasell College Pulse Dance Team for four consecutive years. On the team, she grew a strong passion for hip hop choreography while choreographing for New England competitions, basketball games, and the annual showcases. In 2014, Marisa became crew leader of, Beatnikx, a hip hop dance crew formed from 8 ambiguous dancers all over Boston, MA to practice and train to compete in Hip Hop International dance competition in Las Vegas, NV. After her experience at HHI, leadership, organization, and communication skills earned her the title of the Lasell College Pulse Dance Team President and Captain in 2015.

Marisa joins the studio for another season a Hip Hop instructor. After recently graduating from Lasell College in May 2015 with a BA in accounting and finance, she is currently enrolled in a graduate program at Northeastern University for her Master’s in Accounting (MSA). Starting in January, Marisa will work full time at Moody, Famiglietti, and Andronico, CPAs in Tewksbury.

Axel Lopez

Hip Hop Instructor

Photo 21-11-15 18 34 07

Axel Lopez has been involved with Step-by-Step Dance Studio since 2014 as a substitute dance teacher. Axel began dancing at the age of 13 as a self taught dancer. Since then, Axel has trained himself in different areas of dance such as hip-hop, popping, breakdancing, and most recently, house.

In 2013, as an undergraduate freshman, Axel joined Bentley’s hip-hop team, CRAZE, and eventually was elected as vice president of the team for the following two semesters. In the summer of 2014, Axel joined a newly formed dance crew, Beatnikx, to compete at the biggest hip-hop dance competition in the world, Hip Hop International in Las Vegas, Nevada. While there, Axel also competed alongside partner, Eddie Mandell, in the 2v2 World Battles in the “All Styles” category. Out of 100 competing pairs in that category alone, Axel and Eddie placed in the top 16, and narrowly missed reaching a top 8 spot by one vote. While experiencing HHI, Axel met Founder and Director, Reia Briggs Connor, of professional dance company, Phunk Phenomenon, which placed fourth at USA Finals and just missed World’s competition as well as placed third on season 6 of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew.

In the Fall of 2014, Axel auditioned and earned a spot on Phunk Phenomenon. Since then, Axel has been involved in many professional opportunities and continues to do so today. With Phunk, he has performed at various annual college showcases, performs, annually, as a special guest at World of Dance Boston, opened for artists such as Tommy Sunshine, Fat Joe, & Salt N Pepa, worked with Jordan Knight of NKOTB, performs as game time entertainment for the Boston Celtics,  and he has had the opportunity to teach multiple workshops overseas in Sevilla, Spain due to the exposure of his dance concept videos in which he choreographs, films, and produces with dance mates from Phunk.

Melanie CapalboIMG_5392

Dance Instructor

Melanie Capalbo began dancing and tumbling at the age of three.  Her primary training was at Karla Pattavina’s Dance Academy located in Haverhill, MA and The Dance Works located in North Andover, MA.  Melanie also furthered her training by attending master workshops in NYC, LA, and Las Vegas with many master teachers including, but not limited to, Frank Hatchett, Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Savion Glover, Gregg Russell, BOSCO, Geo Hubela, Twitch, and Tabitha and Napoleon.  At a very young age she knew dance was her passion and decided to share her love of dance by becoming a dance instructor.

Melanie is a graduate of Dean College where she studied dance performance/pedagogy and received her Associates Degree with high honors. While at Dean, Miss Melanie was accepted into the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City and also received the Gregory Hines Tap Dance scholarship. She was also a member of the Dean Dance Company.

After graduating from college in 1997, Melanie went on to open her own dance studio, Melanie’s Center for DanceArts.  There she taught recreational and competitive students of all ages.   Her former students have received many medals and awards at various local and national dance competitions including Highest Overall Technique Performance and Choreography.  Many of her students are now teachers and/or performing with different dance companies in NYC, Boston, and Orlando!

With over 20 years of dance instruction under her belt, Melanie is looking forward to continuing to properly educate, train, and inspire our young artists of today.  She is a teacher of all genres, however her favorites are modern, contemporary, and tap.  Melanie is extremely excited to be a part of the Step by Step faculty and can not wait to share her passion for dance with the students!  Melanie returns to Step By Step for her second season.

Deirdre A. MilionisDM headshot

Ballet Instructor

Deirdre A. Milionis received her formal dance training at Charlotte Klein Dance Centers in Worcester, MA. There, she became a member of the Dance Company and an assistant dance teacher. She has worked with accomplished choreographers from Gus Giordano to Desmond Richardson and spent summers training with Dance Masters of America, for which she was once a finalist in the prestigious National Ballet Scholarship Audition. Over the years, she has participated in numerous dance performances, including Boston Dance Company’s productions of “The Nutcracker” as well as regional and national competitions, and benefit events. She is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross where she was a member of the Dance Ensemble and choreographed for ballet and contemporary classes. Most recently, she has performed with and choreographed for OnStage Dance Company and DanceWorks Boston.  She is excited and grateful to have the opportunity to share her love for dance with a younger generation of dancers at Step-By-Step.  Deirdre returns to Step By Step for her second season.

Caitlin Elizabeth Peelerunnamed

Contemporary and Hip Hip Instructor

Information Coming Soon!








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