About Ambition Dance Academy

1. an appetite for fame, success or power
2. a desire for achievement and the willingness to strive for its attainment

Helping to Mentor The Next Generation of Dancers

Founded in 2006 by Director Mary Ann DeCarlo, Ambition Dance Academy provides premier dance training for students who wish to learn the art of dance. With a variety of classes for students of all ages and skill levels, ADA is developing the skills of New Jersey’s rising talent.

Our Team

Mary Ann DeCarlo

Mary Ann DeCarlo has over twenty years of training in various styles of dance. Starting dance class at age three she knew immediately she wanted to grow up to be just like her dance teacher. Mary Ann soon became captain of her dance troupe and competed in solo and group dances in tap, jazz and lyrical dance in regional and national competitions. She performed as a feature dancer throughout New Jersey, appeared on Channel 9 Children Programs and danced at PaperMill Playhouse with the New Jersey Ballet Company.

After High School, she focused on ballroom and latin dance, learning lifts, styling and technique from world class champion trainers. She performed and competed throughout the U.S. with multiple entertainment companies for five years. Mary Ann successfully completed her teacher training through Dance Educators of America and has been teaching performing arts and ballroom dance ever since.

She continues her training with the commitment to stay current with the newest dance moves and trends. Using her knowledge of the dance world and her eclectic background she founded Ambition Dance Academy in the summer of 2006. Mary Ann is extremely thankful to her family and friends for their love and constant support!

Lily Muniz

Lily Muniz began her formal dance education when she was two years old. She graduated from Oneidas Dance Studio in Guttenberg New Jersey where she participated and completed the Dance Educators of America Medal Testing Program. She graduated with superior honors and received various achievement awards. Lily has not only received formal training in ballet but also in other forms of dance including, salsa, hip hop, lyrical, tap, jazz, tango and many more.

Throughout her years dancing she participated in local, regional, and national dance competitions placing in the top 5 and winning numerous gold and platinum awards. Upon graduating from her dance studio, Lily became a dance teacher at Ambition, her senior year of high school. While attending Fairfield University, Lily was the Captain of the Fairfield University Dance Team, as well as a choreographer and member of the Fairfield University Dance Ensemble. While on the Fairfield Dance Team, she attended UDA Nationals with the team, where they performed dances in jazz and hip hop, that were nationally ranked.

Lily’s strong passion for dance led her to Ambition Dance Academy, where she has been since the studio opened and will continue for years to come!

Linnea Quintino

Linnea began her dance career at four years old. She received her formal dance training from local dance studios in New Jersey. Linnea has studied ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap, modern and musical theater. She attended Ramapo College of New Jersey, where she studied dance, education and business. She currently holds a NJ Teaching Certificate and has been teaching dance in NY/NJ for the past three years. She has also choreographed regional/high school musicals throughout NJ. She is very happy to be part of the staff at Ambition Dance Academy.

Cassie Vallejo

Cassie participated in recreational cheerleading from the time she was 7 years old until 2006 when Ambition Dance Academy opened and she instantly fell in love with dance. She danced and competed with ADA from the time we opened until she graduated high school in 2011. While attending Westwood High School she was a part of the Woodington Players, acting in plays and being on the costume crew. Since graduating, Cassie has went on to study psychology at Montclair State University. She has also been the stage manager for the past two recitals and can’t wait to spend many more years with ADA.

Shawn Rawls

Shawn Rawls is from Cleveland,Ohio. He has performed with over a dozen shows and dance companies throughout the United States and abroad including Pilobolus, the Aluminum Show, Ad Deum, Monster Energy Drink and the Roots, Culture Shock, the Roxey Ballet, Chicago Dance Crash, Tygo Ballets, K-Theory, Son Kiss’d Hip Hop Contemporary and the Chicago Lyric Opera. As a freelance choreographer for more than Seven years, he recently won the first round of NYC XYZ choreography competition and placed runner up in the final round.

Shawn Rawls choreography has been featured on Dancing Wheels and the Roxey Ballet. Shawn Rawls works has also been seen in NYC 10 festival, and he recently presented an evening length piece at the Houston Fringe Festival. Shawn is the founder and artistic director of Emotions Physical Theatre, a dance company that performs in New York and around the United States.


Kailey Medzadourian

Kailey began her dance training at the age of two and since then it has become an integral part of her life. When Ambition Dance Academy opened its doors in 2006, Kailey was given the opportunity to train in a variety of styles including jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap, hip-hop, ballet, pointe and musical theatre. She was lucky to begin assistant teaching at the age of nine and became extremely passionate about choreographing and working with young dancers.

During her time at ADA, Kailey competed in numerous regional and national dance competitions and won many judge’s and overall high score awards. With her team, Kailey performed for the Brooklyn Nets, at multiple Six Flags Dance Fests, Westwood Home for the Holiday’s Parades and more. Since graduating ADA, Kailey has helped manage the office and is a core part of ADA’s dance family.

Outside of dance, Kailey works in public relations. She has been a part of the ADA family since the very beginning and loves her second home!


Andres Neira

Andres Neira was born in Cali, Colombia. He started his dance education at the Colombian Institute of Classical Ballet (Incolballet). Eight years of intense training provided him with the opportunity to work with teachers, choreographers and coaches of national and international notoriety. Classical ballet, repertoire, modern and contemporary styles, along with pedagogy of ballet and pedagogy of partnering were part of the main focus such training had to offer.

After graduating Mr. Neira joined the Ballet de Cali Company, where he became the youngest soloist in the company’s history to date, performing a wide variety of classical and contemporary roles worldwide.

Mr. Neira’s career in the U.S.A. begun when he recieved the first ever Lefkowitz Award for Outstanding Performance of a Solo at the New York International Ballet Competition (NYIBC), then he went on to participate as guest dancer and/or guest ballet master for numerous companies in the U.S. and abroad such as New Jersey Ballet, Connecticut Ballet center, Ballet Hispanico, Eglevsky Ballet, Granite State Ballet, Gainesville school of the arts, The Renval Project (Johan Renval director). As well as Danza Hoy (Caracas, Venezuela) Ballarte (Bogota, Colombia), to name a few.

Mr. Neira’s performance experience includes a wide range of rolls varying from Petipa’s classics such as Corsaire, Don Quixote, Raymonda and Sleeping Beauty, to contemporary works, some of which have been created for him, including Backthi by Maurice Bejart, Tango by Johan Renval, Rhapsody in Blue by Alex Proia, For Ella by Margo Sappington with music by Ella Fitzgerald, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Too Darn Hot and many more.

Currently Mr. Neira is a free-lance dancer/teacher, based out of the New York, New Jersey area.


Dylan Rosenfeld

Dylan Rosenfeld began dancing at the age of 2. She attended Ambition Dance Academy when the studio opened in 2006, and began her competition career there. Dylan continued her training at various studios prior to attending James Madison University in 2015. She was a member of the JMU Division 1 Dukettes Dance Team, winning two national championship titles at NDA collegiate nationals. Dylan also performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2018, and is a two time All American dancer at NDA. She is currently a graduate student at William Paterson University studying to earn her Master’s of Science in Speech Language Pathology.

Julia Patterson

Rockland County native Julia Patterson has been dancing since the age of 2 and has a true passion for the entertainment industry. Over the course of her career, she has trained diligently in hip hop, modern, lyrical, jazz and contemporary dance. Julia has competed in countless regional and national dance competitions and has won “Most Entertaining Dancer” among various other special awards for her stand-out stage presence. At the moment, Julia is continuing her dance studies with RCC and is excited to work with the talented dancers at Ambition Dance Academy!