Owner & Artistic Director
World renown coach, judge & choreographer
As a child, Melissa’s dyslexia meant she struggled in the classroom; yet “like a separate gift” she excelled at dancing. Recognized early for her elegant lines and exceptional technique, Melissa rose to the top of the dance world as three-time United States Latin American Champion, Grand Slam Champion, three-time European and World Finalist, and received the Feather Award, the dancing world’s Oscar two times. As the finalist at the prestigious Blackpool Championships in England, Melissa met and later married Giacomo Steccaglia (Italy’s five-time National Amateur Champion). Together, they dominated the Italian, United States and World Latin American Championships, picking up various titles as well as England’s Bill and Bobbie Irvine award. Today, her extensive resume includes film, TV, and stage choreographer as well as world-class judge, coach, and lecturer.
World renown coach, judge & choreographer
Raised in the small Northern Italian town Arcola (population 100), Giacomo excelled at sports like soccer, track & field, and swimming. At age 14, however, he chose dancing because “that’s where all the girls were.” Three months later, he won the first of his five National Amateur Championships and went on to represent Italy at both the European and World Championships. Attending Blackpool, he was “mesmerized by a gorgeous girl in white from America, wishing with all my heart to dance with somebody like her.” After marrying Melissa, Giacomo turned professional and together they won four Italian Professional Championships, two Vice South American Showdance Championships, as well as Imperial, All England, and Universal Championships. In addition, they placed second in the World Professional Masters, and were finalists in the European and World Latin American Dance Championships. Having performed in places like the Kremlin in Moscow, Royal Albert Hall in London, Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, and New York’s Madison Square Garden, Giacomo is a popular international lecturer, world class judge, and coach.
American Smooth Ballroom
Elisa loves the way dancing brings people together and is excited to share her expertise with the southern California community. She began training in dance early in life and discovered partner dancing in her adolescence; what began as an experimental trip to the local community center turned into a lifelong passion. She began teaching at the University of Indiana and eventually turned professional, competing and finding success in both the International Standard and American Smooth divisions. With over ten years of teaching experience, Elisa is excited to help others explore their dancing and discover new ways to express themselves.
Krista Ann, born into a dancing family she started dancing at the age of two. Teaching for over 12 years she has focused her dance passion on Argentine Tango for the past decade. She is driven to teach dance as it creates beautiful growth in the individual and a deeper connection between people. Krista is often assisted in classes by Matt Bellamy, her spouse and dance partner of 7 years. Matt trained by Krista has a strong musical and mathematical background. Together they perform and host many Argentine Tango events in the San Diego Area.
Lisa-Anne is a Certified Nia Black Belt, a Certified Nia 5-Stages Teacher, and Certified Mat, Standing and Reformer Pilates Practitioner. She received her Nia training through The Nia Technique in Portland Oregon. She received her Mat and Standing Pilates training through the PhysicalMind Institute in New York City, and her Reformer Pilates training through Balancepoint Pilates. After many years of studying and performing Jazz, Funk and Modern dance in Europe, Asia and the US, Lisa-Anne found the perfect home for her mind, body and spirit in the teaching and practice of Nia and Pilates.
NIA is a blend of Yoga, martial arts, and dance, and is one of the latest trends in mind-body fitness fusion.
Afro-Brazilian Dance & Capoeira BCACSB
From a young age, Vika Stansky-Hernandez has been studying different dance styles such as ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and modern dance. Since 2006, she has been training Capoeira and Afro-Brazilian dance under the direction of world renowned dancer, choreographer, and capoeira Master Mariano Silva. She is part of The Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara as well as Bahia Magia Dance Company. Over the years, she has studied various genres of Afro-Brazilian cultural expressions such as Afro-contemporary, Samba, Samba-Reggae, and Brazilian street dance. She holds a Masters of Arts in Global & International Studies where her research explored cultural resistance movements and religious persecution of the African Diaspora in Bahia, Brazil. She lived in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil during her research where she continued her training in Afro-Brazilian dance at FundaÃ§Ã£o Cultural do Estado da Bahia (FUNCEB); AssociaÃ§Ã£o Artistica e Cultural DiÃ¡spora (DiÃ¡spora Art Center) and capoeira training with Mestre Angola in Bonfim. She continues to visit Bahia regularly, and speaks fluent Portuguese. She has professionally performed throughout Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, and Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Now living in San Diego, she is sharing the beautiful culture that has been passed down to her with the continued guidance and blessing of her mentor Master Mariano Silva.
Who We Are
Home to national and international champions Melissa Dexter and Giacomo Steccaglia, Dancessense Studios is a place where dancers of all ages and skill levels are welcomed to explore their potential, improve their personal style and skill, and share the joy of dancing with others who love dance.
Dancessense Studios is a state-of-the-art ballroom dance facility located in the beautiful coastal North County city of Carlsbad, California. Unique in San Diego County, Dancessense Studios is both a world-class training facility for competitive amateurs to professionals and for beginning to advanced social dancers. Please come give us a try and share our love of dance.
Mission Statement: We strive to provide the best experience in personalized dance instruction. Our students learn in the finest studio that offers a comfortable, friendly environment ideal for learning and personal development. We ensure our students’ goals are met by tailoring each lesson to fit their specific needs and desires. We nurture social interaction for all age groups and provide a variety of fun dance events and workshops. By offering a broad range of services, Dancessense Studios not only teaches dance, but also enriches lives.