Meet Our Team
Italia’s CEO & School Principal
Lorenza Manara Marchi
Meet Miss Lorenza! The art of dance has been a passion for Italia’s CEO, Lorenza Manara Marchi, all her life. Born and raised in Florence, Italy, surrounded by the beauty of the classical art of Michelangelo, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, she started her training in the Italian method of classic ballet, called the Cecchetti Method, at the Atelier de Danse school in Florence.
After studying for seven years under the supervision of Miss Rita Gramigni and reaching the Advanced 1 Level, she then moved to England, where she continued her training as a teacher of the Cecchetti Method, studying under Miss Elisabeth Swan, who was Chairman of the Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty committee in the UK, as well as other senior teachers including Miss Gillian Hurst, Miss Kate Simmons, and Miss Cara Drower. During this time, Miss Lorenza spent three years at The Weston School of Dance and a year in the Kate Simmons College Programme, where she received her DDI (Diploma in Dance Instruction, Level 3 of dance training in the UK) as well as her DDE (Diploma in Dance Education, Level 4).
In 2012, Miss Lorenza and her husband, Peter, moved from England to the USA and settled in the northern Shenandoah Valley with the intention of starting Italia Performing Arts. Today, Miss Lorenza serves the school and its students as CEO, School Principal, and head of the Ballet department.
Since moving to the US, Miss Lorenza has continued her studies with Miss Pamela Moore, an examiner of the Cecchetti Council of America, and Miss Jennifer Meyer. Miss Lorenza holds the DDI and DDE in the Cecchetti Method from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing as well as the Licentiate of the Cecchetti Council of America (CCA). Lorenza is also a Member of the East Coast Committee of the Cecchetti Council of America. She has a passion for the Romantic era of ballet (1820s to 1860s) and is seeking to bring this style back to life in the 21st century.
In addition to her Cecchetti training, Miss Lorenza has broad experience in performing arts and in personal fitness. She is an Acrobatic Arts certified teacher, a Zena Rommett Floor-Barre™ certified teacher, a qualified Pilates instructor, and a member of Mid-Atlantic Dance Masters.
Miss Lorenza also completed a one-year Ministering Arts Program specializing in mime at Mimeistry’s School of Ministering Arts in Pasadena, California, under instructors trained by Marcel Marceau, and she studied languages at the International Academy of Languages in Florence, Italy. She has worked as an international exhibition organizer and as a representative for an Italian fashion designer.
Our Dance Teachers
Meet Miss Eve! Eve McKennah Stanley brings several years of dance experience to Italia Performing Arts with a special focus on Ballet, Modern, and Jazz.
Eve started dancing in her hometown of Frederick, Maryland at the age of two. After training at various studios throughout her childhood, she knew she wanted to dance professionally. She auditioned for a spot at the Barbara Ingram School for The Arts (BISFA). At 16, Eve graduated from BISFA and was accepted into Shenandoah Conservatory. Four years later, she graduated with her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and a minor in Entrepreneurship. While at the Conservatory, Eve gained many dance and leadership achievements and also became certified in Mat Pilates through Health Fitness Education.
Today, Eve is delighted to bring forth her passion and share her gifts as a dance instructor at Italia Performing Arts.
Meet Miss Becca! Becca Hopkins began her dance training at a young age, studying at Danceland II School of Dance and Todd Rosenlieb Dance throughout her childhood. From there, the Chesapeake, Virginia native went on to study at Shenandoah University, graduating in May 2023 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a plan to pursue her Master’s of Science in Performing Arts Leadership and Management in 2024.
As an Italia dance teacher, Becca is proficient in Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Ballet, and Musical Theatre dance styles. She also has experience with Musical Theatre vocal training. Her passion for performing arts includes dance education, and enjoys sharing her knowledge of dance with people of all ages.
Meet Miss Abigail! Abigail Adams started dancing when she was three years old and never stopped. She originally joined the Italia Performing Arts School as a student. She is currently preparing for the grade 4 Cecchetti exam and also plans to study dance in college.
Abigail joined the staff at Italia Performing Arts after receiving in-house training from Miss Lorenza and other Italia teachers, earning her Teacher Training Certificate in 2022. As an Italia dance teacher, she quickly discovered deep joy in working with children. She enjoys teaching ballet to our pre-primary and primary students, where her passion shines through in every class.
Behind the Scenes
Peter Kirk, Business Manager
Every team needs an operator behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. For Italia Performing Arts, that operator is Peter Kirk. As Italia’s Business Manager, Mr. Peter is responsible for student registration and scheduling, billing, banking, and bookkeeping. You’ll also see him at reception, welcoming students to their classes each week.
In addition to being married to Lorenza Manara Marchi, Italia Performing Arts School Principal and CEO, Mr. Peter brings his own experience to the team. He was born and spent most of his life in southeast England, where he studied physics and mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He spent several years working for GEC Marconi Research before turning his efforts back to higher education, this time studying theology at a master’s level at London Bible College. Following his studies, he became involved with nonprofits Wycliffe Bible Translators and the United Bible Societies and spent several years working as part of a team focused on translating the Bible into the languages of the former Soviet republics.
Soon afterwards, he returned to the UK, where he met Lorenza. A year later, they were married, and four years later, they moved to the USA
Laura Fieo, Volunteer Coordinator
Laura Fieo’s love of the arts began at an early age. She took ballet and tap, sang in her church choir, and played numerous instruments. The Frederick County, Virginia resident went on to become a special education teacher, spending the majority of her 23-year teaching career at Admiral Byrd Middle School in Frederick County.
Laura has two daughters, both of whom began dancing at a young age. As a result, her work with Italia Performing Arts began as a parent volunteer. She helped to create the Italia Performing Arts Parent Committee, organizing parents to assist with shows and functions. After several years of volunteering, her role was made official in 2019, and today her responsibilities include ordering costumes for shows and competitions, organizing parent volunteers for shows and events, and assisting to promote events for the studio on social media.