About Our Team
Mercier School of Dance: Little Dancers is a mobile dance studio that brings the magic and excitement of a dance education to your learning center, private school, or other institution. No longer will you have to rush from work to dance! Enrolling in our dance program provides your little dancer with a fun and exciting class without the hassle of having to take time out of your day to drive to a separate location for classes!
Mercier School of Dance is pleased to offer a variety of classes. Each class is tailored to meet and exceed the needs of dancers ages 9 and under. With a focus on proper form and terminology via movement, music, and creativity, we strive to lay a foundation for proper technique and a love of dance.
CARISSA KOONTZ (Director) began her dance career at a young age and became a serious dancer at eleven when she focused on ballet. She trained with The Raleigh School of Ballet in Raleigh NC, and Annette Hagopian at the Triangle Academy of Dance in Cary, North Carolina , as well as Meredith College, and the North Carolina School of the Arts . Carissa has preformed various classical ballet pieces including: Odile (Swan Lake), Arabian, Spanish, and Marzipan (Nutcracker) Wheat Pas (Copeilia) as well as various other ballets, and modern dance pieces. While at Meredith College Carissa preformed in “Dance Works” modern piece.Carissa loves sharing the magic that is dance with the next generation of dancers!
Carissa began competitive Scottish Highland dance at the age of eleven studying under Jo Kalat, and attained the highest level of premier . She has competed across the Eastern Seaboard, including placing fourth runner up at the Carolina Open Championship at Loch Norman, 5th runner up twice at the Atlantic Seaboard Championship at Grandfather Mountain, and winning the pre-championship at Grandfather Mountain in 2004. Carissa has twice appeared in Rhythms of Scotland, a professional concert highlighting Scottish musical traditions. In the 2005 performance, she shared the honor of dancing with world-renowned fiddler Alasdair Fraser, whose music is featured in The Last of the Mohicans and Titanic. Carissa and her husband, Greg, appeared in the 2011 Celtic Christmas on Georgia PBS, which won a regional Emmy! This show also is aired several times a year during the holiday season on TV. In 2013 Carissa and Greg appeared with Howard County Ballet as guest performers. Carissa and Greg also won various duet competitions in NC as well as VA. . Carissa also performed with the Ben Lomond Dance Company in 2012.
Carissa holds her teaching certification in Highland Dance from the British Association of Teachers of Dance, and is a member of the Federation of United States Teachers and Adjudicators and a member of National Dance Education Organization. As well as various other professional dance orgonizations.
Catherine Bacha, a Fairfax native, has been dancing since the age of 4. She trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, pom and hip-hop at local dance studios and with the Washington School of Ballet. In the summer of 1995, Catherine was accepted to the Virginia Governors School Summer Program where she studied ballet, jazz and modern. During her senior year at Herndon High she was on the Drill Team where she won the honor of Universal Dance Association All Star. She graduated with an advanced degree from Herndon High School.
Catherine was accepted to the Conservatory at Shenandoah University where she received her bachelor’s in fine arts in Dance. She also received the Terpsichore Award for the graduating dance major who has increased the visibility and prestige of the dance division through their efforts as a performer, choreographer and working artist. Catherine was accepted to the honor society Alpha Lambda Delta and was a founding member of Sigma Rho Delta Epsilon Chapter at Shenandoah University. While at Shenandoah, Catherine was a member of the “Sensations” Dance/Cheer team for two years and co-captain her last year with the team.
Catherine was able to perform with the Fairfax Ballet Company in winter season of 1999. They preformed Nutcracker where she was a featured dancer in the Russian Dance Trepak. That same year she was able to perform a tap duo with Glenda Huntley at Tap Fest. She had the pleasure of dancing in Kelly Ottaviano’s dance piece “Urban Kyst” in the Leo’s Jazz Dance Choreography Competitive Event in 2000. In 2000 Catherine was also invited to perform for Ting-yu Chen at the Maryland Public Play House. She was able to study ballet at Ulyanovsk State University in Russia in the summer of 2001. During her stay she was invited to perform traditional Russian dances along with a jazz piece choreographed by Alan Arnett at the Ulyanovsk State University’s graduation ceremony that was aired internationally.
Catherine has been teaching since the age of 16. Catherine has provided classes at private studios throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, and Frederick County Virginia. She wants her love, passion and appreciation of dance to be passed on to as many people as possible.
Catherine Bacha (Instructor): Catherine started dancing at age 4. Fell in love with dance and has been teaching since age 16. She received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from Shenandoah University in 2002. Catherine participated in the Leo’s Choreography competition in 2002 with her piece “Point of View”. She continues to teach and spread the joy and love of dance to her student of all ages.