Meet Our Faculty

Loralyn Gaughran

-Owner

Loralyn Gaughran - Artistic Director, Owner and Dance Teacher
Loralyn Gaughran began teaching full time in 1991. Her Mother, Lois Allen, started the studio in 1955. Loralyn took over in 1991, and then opened up our second location in Bridgewater in 2010. Loralyn began by attending school at Kean College where she was in the Kean Dance Theatre Company performing in many shows and Musicals such as West Side Story and Dames at Sea. She traveled abroad and studied British theater in London, England. Loralyn continued her education in dance at The Pineapple, in London. She then went on to perform professionally as a dancer on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Upon her return to the USA she transferred to Oklahoma City University, where she was an honor student and performed with the American Spirit Dance Company directed by Jo Rowan. She graduated with a Bachelor of Performing Arts Degree from OCU. She studies at Broadway Dance Center and Steps n NYC. She has attended multiple dance workshops including, The Pulse and Associated Dance Teachers of NJ. She is certified with Dance Educators of America, and is a member of Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey. Loralyn is a recent Breast Cancer survivor and wants to thank all of her students and their families for being there for her during the most difficult time of her life. The two studios have always been like her second and third home and she loves her students like they are her own. 

Our Teachers

Carissa Gaughran

Carissa Gaughran is Loralyn Gaughran's daughter. A professional performer from New Jersey, grew up in her family’s dance studios. She has been a workstudy at Broadway Artists Alliance of New York City for 6 years. She was in Broadway Dance Centers Summer Professional Semester in 2016. At 18 years old she booked her first professional job as a performer on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Since then Carissa has worked at various theaters across the country. Professional Credits include: Terri, Sophisticated Ladies (Fulton Theatre & Maine State Music Theatre); Princess Ruth, Princess and The Pea (Fulton Theatre); Ensemble, 42nd Street (Fulton Theatre); Maria Huerta, Saturday Night Fever (Maine State Music Theatre); Beauty & The Beast (MSMT); Singing In The Rain (MSMT); Lead Vocalist, Blazing Boots (Norwegian Cruise Line); Other credits include: Penny, Hairspray (Mayo Performing Arts Center); Wednesday Addams, The Addams Family (Stony Hill Players); Maggie Winslow, A Chorus Line (Villagers Theater); Carissa is signed with The Mine Talent Agency and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association 

Heather Gaughran

Heather Gaughran is Loralyn's daughter. She grew up in our studios helping assisting with classes and camps. Heather was a gymnast her whole life. She competed since 7 years old. Heather was State Champion in 2011. She was apart of USAG and JOGA. She competed at the National Level multiple years in a row. She went to Regionals as a level 9 USAG gymnast. Heather ended her gymnastics career her Sophomore year of high school due to injuries. She then became a Pole Vaulter and ended up competing at the National level. She holds her school record. Heather is a sports management major at the University of Arizona. She loves subbing dance classes and assisting whenever she can. 

Alyssa Thostesen

Alyssa Thostesen has been trained in many styles of dance from ballet and contemporary to jazz, hip hop, tap and acro. After attending Somerset County Votech’s honors dance program in high school, Alyssa continued her studies at George Mason University where graduated with a B.F.A. in Dance and minor in Early Childhood Education. At GMU’s School of Dance, under the direction of Susan Shields, Alyssa had the opportunity to perform in many student-choreographed works and has also choreographed five works on her peers. She also studied dance abroad in France, Cuba and Amsterdam. During her time off from school, Alyssa has taken a variety of open classes in New York City to supplement her training and plans to continue developing her own technique and artistry while pursuing her passion for teaching.

Emily Massache

Emily Massache has been dancing for 15 years. She’s studied ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and is on LA Dance’s Competition Team. She’s danced at Lois Allen for 9 years and has been on the comp team for 6 years. She currently teaches hip hop classes on Tuesdays and loves her students! Emily is attending Moravian College in the fall and plans on joining her college’s dance company to continue dancing through school!

Lauren Newby

Lauren Newby began her dancing career at two and a half at Lois Allen where she studied ballet, tap, jazz and pointe until she was eighteen. From 2001 to 2005 Lauren attended DeSales University and earned her BA with honors in Dance. From the fall of 2009 to the fall of 2013, Lauren enjoyed a performing career with Undertoe Dance Project, A jazz/tap fusion company based in NYC, where Lauren danced with company as a jazz dancer and tap swing while also working behind the scenes as the Company Manager. For thirteen summers Lauren worked at Camp Ballibay for the Fine and Performing Arts in Camptown, PA starting as a dance teacher and cabin counselor, Lauren was the head of the dance department, Dean of Girls, Dean of Campers and finally the Assistant Director her last summer. Since the fall of 2005 Lauren has been teaching at the Lois Allen School of Dance in Clark, NJ and taught at On The Move Performing Arts Center in Butler, NJ from 2005 to 2010. In the fall on 2010, Lauren began teaching exclusively for Lois Allen School of Dance and started their first competition team. She has been proud to choreograph for her alma matters Arthur L Johnson High School and Carl H Kumpf Middle School ("Annie" in 2008) as well as the St. Matthias School in Somerset, NJ. Lauren went back to school where she graduated with honors with her AAS from Union County College as a Physical Therapist Assistant. She currently works for Kessler Rehabilitation Center in Union, NJ where she treats patents and leads education initiatives on injury prevention and care for dancers as the co-lead of their company-wide Performing Arts Special Interest Group. Lauren is a member of the National Dance Education Organization, Dance Educators of America, Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey, Dance New Jersey, and the American Physical Therapy Association.

Rebecca English

Rebecca English is a dance teacher at Harriet Tubman School in Newark, NJ and the Lois Allen Bridgewater Studio! Rebecca went to Montclair State University for Dance Education and has performed in pieces by Martha Graham, Mark Morris, and Frederick Earl Mosley. In 2016, Rebecca travelled to Livorno, Italy to study dance for 3 months. 

Patty Dowden

Patty Dowden grew up dancing at Lois Allen School of Dance ever since she was little. She loves teaching her babies as well as her jazz and hip hop classes on Saturday! When she’s not dancing, you can find Miss. Patty teaching 5th grade Literacy at PGM. 

Jennifer Kober

Jennifer Kober has been dancing at Lois Allen since she was 3. She graduated from middlesex county college with a associate degree in psychology and AIMS education as a certified ultrasound technician. She is now working at Lois Allen as a dance teacher and Trident Care as a mobile ultrasound technologist. 

Samantha Gelnaw

Samantha Gelnaw Lang teaches acting and directs the theatrical productions at Lois Allen School of the Dance. She also works as a teaching artist at the Papermill Playhouse, directs at On Stage Theatre Camp in Westfield and is the Director of the community theater program at the JCC in Bridgewater. Samantha is also an actress and proud and active member of the Screen Actors Guild. She has appeared in many film and TV projects. Samantha has had formal training in both stage and screen acting as well as a degree in Theatre, from Manhattanville College where she also holds a degree in English. Samantha is married and lives with her husband and chihuahua Lucy. 

Aurora Starr

Aurora has been passionate about dancing since she put on her first pair of tap shoes when she was only two years old. Aurora grew up in the Lois Allen School of the Dance studios and was an original member of their award winning competition team. She began her teaching career as an assistant of Miss Loralyn’s at the age of fourteen and for Miss Lauren when she was seventeen. Studying under her mentors has taught her the importance of training students to love the art of dance and to have fun while learning. Aurora is certified by Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey. In addition to her lifelong studies at Lois Allen, Aurora has also learned from master choreographers by attending classes at Broadway Dance Center and The Pulse on Tour in New York City, as well as multiple workshops throughout the tri-state area where she has earned several recognitions and scholarships.Aurora has a strong performance background with over ten years of training at Mystic Vision Players Children’s Summer Theatre Workshop where she was also invited back to assist. Additionally, she starred in all of the stage productions at Mother Seton Regional High School during her four years there where she graduated with honors in 2016. Aurora is continuing her education as a nursing major, to pursue her dream of being a Labor & Delivery or Pediatrics RN. She was accepted into the prestigious Disney College Program where she completed an internship as a Cast Member at Walt Disney World in Florida. Her leaders often recognized and acknowledged her outstanding achievements in making magic for guests, especially for her work with children where she led them in singing and dancing during “Land Band” at Epcot. She continues to still make magic at The Disney Store. Aurora is happiest when she is able to share the he pure joy that she feels from dancing with her students.

Gianna Falco

Gianna Falco has been dancing for 15 years. She has studied many different genres of dance at a few different studios. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, modern, lyrical, pointe, and acro. Gianna has participated in many dance workshops as an Allenette and competed for the Lois Allen Competition team.  She has participated in her high school’s drama department and dance company. She has also taken many classes at Broadway Dance Center to help further get education and experience. She started as an assistant along side Miss Loralyn at age 17 and fell in love with teaching. Gianna has also been a gymnastics coach for 5 years! Gianna is currently a college student furthering her education in Human Resource Management. She has recently completed her Disney College Program internship at Walt Disney World in Florida and is excited to be back! Gianna enjoys sharing her love of dance with her students. Making learning fun and enjoyable for all.

Musical Theatre Faculty

Sam Gelnaw

Samantha Gelnaw Lang teaches acting and directs the theatrical productions at Lois Allen School of the Dance. She also works as a teaching artist at the Papermill Playhouse, directs at On Stage Theatre Camp in Westfield and is the Director of the community theater program at the JCC in Bridgewater. Samantha is also an actress and proud and active member of the Screen Actors Guild. She has appeared in many film and TV projects. Samantha has had formal training in both stage and screen acting as well as a degree in Theatre, from Manhattanville College where she also holds a degree in English. Samantha is married and lives with her husband and chihuahua Lucy. 

Carissa gaughran

Carissa teaches Musical Theatre Dance classes as well as Private Voice and Dance Lessons. Professional Credits include: Terri, Sophisticated Ladies (Fulton Theatre & Maine State Music Theatre); Princess Ruth, Princess and The Pea (Fulton Theatre); Ensemble, 42nd Street (Fulton Theatre); Maria Huerta, Saturday Night Fever (Maine State Music Theatre); Beauty & The Beast (MSMT); Singing In The Rain (MSMT); Lead Vocalist, Blazing Boots (Norwegian Cruise Line); Other credits include: Penny, Hairspray (Mayo Performing Arts Center); Wednesday Addams, The Addams Family (Stony Hill Players); Maggie Winslow, A Chorus Line (Villagers Theater); Carissa is signed with The Mine Talent Agency and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.
Insta: @carissagaughran
Website: www.carissagaughran.com/ 

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Carissa Gaughran/Lois Allen School of Dance 

Clark Studio 

Clarkton Shopping Center,

Clark NJ, 07066

Bridgewater Studio 

387 route 28,

Bridgewater NJ, 08807

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