born in Ontario, Stephanie Troyak started dancing at the age of three. She graduated from Booker T. Washington HSPVA in Dallas, and later graduated from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. While in New York, she worked with Galim Dance under the direction of Andrea Miller. In August 2015, she joined the Batsheva Dance Company Ensemble in Israel. She performed and created with Ohad Naharin, Sharon Eyal and Danielle Agami and was trained as a certified Gaga teacher. As an actress she worked for the Netflix Original TV series "Greenhouse Academy". Since January 2017 Stephanie Troyak is a permanent member of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, with whom she performs and tours worldwide, including works of Pina Bausch, and a new creation by Alan Lucien Øyen. In her first season, she played the soloist role of Anna II in “The Seven Deadly Sins,” working directly with original dancer Josephine Ann Endicott. She was nominated for Germany’s most prestigious Theater prize “Der Faust” 2018 for “Best Dancer/Actress” for her performance in this role. Troyak continues to create own work. In 2012, she was selected as a YoungArts finalist in Choreography, which later won her the title of U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts semi-finalist. She was selected for the 2014 Young Choreographer's Festival in New York, and created for Batsheva’s “DOMAIN" in 2016. Stephanie was most recently commissioned to create a new piece for Wanderlust Dance Project, which premiered in August 2018 at the Marshall Family Performing Arts Center in Texas. In addition to her work as a dancer and choreographer, Stephanie gives workshops worldwide inlcuding gaga, and master classes for companies, universities, intensives & studios.
Mason Manning, a native of Dallas, TX, is currently studying in his senior year at The Juilliard School in New York City. Mason is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and while there, he had the opportunity to perform works by Takehiro Ueyama, Adam Hougland, Jessica Lang, and Robert Battle. When Mason was only 16, he was asked to perform in TITAS Presents: Command Performance Gala at Dallas’ Winspear Opera House, in a newly commissioned duet entitled “Growth” choreographed by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. Mason has spent his summers training at Pacific Northwest Ballet, The School of American Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, and Springboard Danse Montreal. Mason has also danced works by Aszure Barton, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Stephan Laks, Andonis Foniadakis, Ivan Perez, Crystal Pite, Jose Limon, Jiri Kylian and Richard Alston, among many other esteemed choreographers. Mason is a Texas Young Master in Dance, a 2014 Young Arts Gold Award Recipient in Modern Dance, as well as a 2014 Presidential Scholar in the Arts Nominee/Semi-Finalist. In 2015 Mason was one of ten choreographers from around the world selected to have his work shown at the Copenhagen International Choreographic Competition, where his work Transient Altar Spaces was performed in Denmark.
Jade Whitmire has been living and training in both Houston and New York City. She trained extensively with the Houston Ballet, The Houston Met, Broadway Dance Center, Edge PAC, Steps NYC, and Alvin Ailey in all styles of dance. Jade was one of the first members of the NYC TapKids touring company, and had the fortunate opportunity to train for several years with tap legend Savion Glover as a young girl. While living in NYC, she was assistant to the director of the Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary Program, and guest taught jazz and hip-hop classes at Joffrey Ballet School. She HAS BEEN FEATURED IN Gossip Girl, Law and Order, and commercials including Sony Bravia and Adidas Bounce, and was a background performer for several films. After leaving New York Jade began teaching and choreographing tap, hip-hop, musical theater, jazz, and contemporary in Houston, around the US, and internationally. While she loves teaching multiple styles of dance, her specialty is tap. Jade has a way of reaching students of all levels and finding a way for each kid to connect to tap dancing in her classes, even if it is not their forte. She has been on faculty for Mike Minery’s “Slide” tap intensive/Dancerpalooza, has travelled to guest judge for dance conventions such as 24/7 and Jump, and has travelled with Revive Dance Convention as their tap instructor. Jade is the creator and director of Artistic Soul Dance Company, housed in Houston, and is the founder of JAM Dance Workshops.
Cory FInn is one of the most highly sought after master tap teachers in the country. His unique rhythmic style, along with genuine care for his students keep him in high demand. Cory has performed with various tap companies and stage productions including Rhapsody in Taps, Power Tap, and Men at Work, to name a few. He has also had the honor of working with such tap legends as: Gregory Hines, Henry Le Tang, Sam Weber, and Mark Mendoca. Cory has taught on numerous touring convention circuits including: Nuvo, LA Underground, LA Dance Magic, Hollywood Vibe, Pacific Coast Dance Fest, and Hollywood. Some of his commercial credits include Toyota, Taco-Bell, Dr. Pepper, and Disney. Cory continues to set his award winning choreography on dance companies and studios all over the country. His students have gone on to perform in every medium of the entertainment industry on stages all over the world.
Madison Hicks, originally from Dallas, TX, graduated from Booker T. Washington HSPVA in 2014 and received her BFA from The Juilliard School in May 2018. She is a full time company member with LA Dance Project under the direction of Benjamin Millepied. Madison was a 2013 YoungArts winner for modern dance, 2014 US Presidential Scholar in the Arts Nominee and a guest artist in the 2014 YoungArts Presidential Scholar Gala under the direction of Bill T. Jones. In January of 2017, she performed as a distinguished guest alumnus in the YoungArts annual Backyard Ball under the direction of Tony Yazbeck. She received a choreography award from YAGP in 2014 and had three choreographic works chosen to perform in The Choreographic Honors show at The Juilliard School. Madison was awarded the Gene Kelly Legacy Scholarship for her choreography and jazz technique in 2016. She has been a resident choreographer for both Booker T. Washington HSPVA Rep II Ensemble, The University of Texas at Austin, Center of Creative Arts, and Houston MET Too. She has also had works showcased at Periapsis Music and Dance and WestFest Dance Festival in New York City. Madison has created and is the director of Moving Forward Dallas, an innovative dance intensive for young artists. She has performed works by Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian, Emily Molnar, Kyle Abraham, Ohad Naharin, Peter Chu, Merce Cunningham, Aszure Barton, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Pam Tanowitz. Madison is thrilled to be a part of Dancers Give Back!
Marcea Lane is a wonderful example to all young dancers inspiring them to follow their dreams. Dance does not stop once you walk off the stage; it crosses over into many aspects. She is an inspiration to young and old, enterprising and progressive! She is now a Master Dance Instructor on Adrenaline Dance Convention and about to have the 2nd Annual Verve Dance Intensive. Marcea’s dance career started at a very young age of four years old. Starting off in the small Iowa dance school, she received basic training enough to know that she wanted to be a professional dancer. With a stroke of good luck, her family moved to California. There she was crowned 1976 Miss Hemet (California), a role that forced her to acclimate quickly to a very public life. Marcea took dance classes at her local junior college, but her heart was also set on doing jazz dance. She planned a two-hour drive to Los Angeles to take classes at Joe Tremaine’s studio in Hollywood. Classes there were packed with over 75 people in each class. For over five years Marcea took class with Tremaine whenever possible; “I set out to be in his face”, says Marcea. Whatever she learned at Tremaine’s she passed on to her students at her own studio. Finally her break came, at a convention in Las Vegas Marcea was called on stage to assist Joe Tremaine. She then became his teaching assistant, which was a position she held for 17 years. In addition to working side by side with one of the jazz greats, Marcea took the dance industry by storm with working with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars: Barbra Streisand, Sting, Janet Jackson, Natalie Cole, Prince and the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson. To date, working on Michael Jackson’s music video “Thriller” stands out as her most memorable projects. While living near Palm Springs, Marcea would drive two hours to rehearsal, after receiving a position in his music video, she was specifically asked by the choreographer Micheal Peters to be in the video. Barbra Streisand personally picked her for a position in her “Left In the Dark” video. On the choreography side of the dance floor, Marcea worked on projects for both Sting and Prince. Prince was her greatest challenge on “Bat Dance”. You had to be very professional with him and he was quite demanding. Marcea has worked on numbers for the Academy Awards and on the Emmys. These performances were very rewarding and exciting. Her third career started somewhat unexpectedly. The beginning of Marcea Activewear began in 1988 and stood strong for 27 years. At one convention with dancewear exhibits a woman held up a leotard and asked Marcea if she liked it. Her reply was to make a few alterations here and there. The woman presented the leotard to her the next day, flattered by the gift, Marcea wore it and the dancers flocked to admire it. From that, the Marcea Active Wear line was born. “I always knew I would be a businesswoman of some sort,” she declared. “I had started in business quite young, teaching dance classes in my parents garage. I owned my own dance school right out of high school. When I started the business, I was still on the convention circuit, working as a professional dancer and teaching master classes. Once production was booming, Marcea was forced to learn the manufacturing business. She started from the beginning and learned about fabrics and patterns and managing a large business. Marcea has become a role model to tens of thousands throughout the nation. “I love working with the kids…teaching them Jazz dance and inspiring them to follow their dreams!!” Yes, I’ve achieved success but money comes and money goes. Watching children grow and prosper is the true success in this field. I want to instill in them a sense of confidence and achievement and to inspire them.” Marcea is a true idol. She has done such an amazing job dancing and has gone on to do other things. It’s good to let kids know that there is life after dance, it will always stay with you, but you can achieve amazing things when it’s in your heart.
started her dance journey at the age of 2 per doctors orders due to intense pigeon toe from the hips. She quickly found her life long love and an eventual turnout. Traci has received several accolades as a dancer but found her passion to be in teaching and in choreography. She is very blessed to be one of the only people in the state of Texas to work for, Varsity Owned, United Spirit Association out of California. For the USA, she taught dance and leadership camps all around the country. Traci served as a Head Instructor, a member of the Program Development Team, a Competition Director and a Nationals Head Judge. Traci graduated first in her class from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Theatre. Traci has choreographed theatre stage productions of “Carousel”,”Dames At Sea” and “Pirates of Penzance” for which she was nominated for a Tommy Tune Award for Best Choreography. She is a Texas certified teacher in 9-12 Dance and K-12 PE. From 2006-2010, Traci was the Director of the Clear Creek Cavalier Dance Team. In her four years of directing she brought the team to 4 National Championships. Traveling around the country, sharing her love of dance, a message of empowerment in young dancers & creative choreography is her mission and she is blessed to be able to do it. Traci’s pride comes from the success of her students who have gone on to train and dance with: The Boston Conservatory, The Joffrey Ballet, The Joffrey Jazz & Contemporary Trainee Program, Chapman University, OCU with full dance scholarship, AMDA LA & NYC, Connecticut College, Spaces of Fontana, teaching at Broadway Dance Center, HSPVA, UT Pom Squad, Texan Cheerleaders, The Houston Astros and several other prestigious schools/ companies and jobs. Traci finds her heart in sharing her passion for dance with her students. Her high energy and truthful way of delivering material have made a success out of any student who has taken from her. She believes in keeping her students accountable for themselves and pushing each individual to realize their fullest potential. Traci’s mission is to create well rounded & thoughtful humans, not just dancers.
Kevin Pajarillaga is a performer raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. Kevin began his formal dance training at Citydance Conservatory (2010), ran by the artistic director Lorraine Speigler, under a full Artistic scholarship. At Citydance Conservatory Kevin, participated in workshops with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Gallim Dance, Paul Taylor Dance, Koresh Dance, and Dance Theater of Harlem. Simultaneously, Kevin went to Albert Einstein Visual and Performing Arts School. Kevin received the “All County Performing Arts Awards” by the MCPS Arts Super intendant and the “All States Dance Award” at the Goucher College Dance Festival in 2011 and 2012. Kevin continued his formal dance training at Point Park University (2012-2016) and has attended Springboard Danse Montreal 2015 & 2016. Kevin's past 8 years of training have been under mentors such as Garfield Lemonius, Alexandra Wells, Jermaine Spivey, Judith Liefer-Bentz, Jason McDole, Maleek Washington. Kevin has choreographed for The Juilliard School, Wanderlust Dance Project, DREAMscape Gala, and is choreographing on Booker T Washington's REP II ensemble in the summer 2018. Kevin is now working professionally with Bruce Wood Dance & Yin Yue Dance Company, and formerly worked with companies including, Sonya Tayeh Dance Company, PRIOREDANCE, I.C Movement Project and guest performed with Parsons Dance Company, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Focus Cia De Danca. Kevin was a dancer for Gap Inc. 2018 Spring Campaign. Kevin has acquired a range of repertoire including works by Crystal Pite, Alejandro Cerrudo, Lar Lubovitch, Viktor Quijeda, Dwight Rhoden, Andrea Miller, Ronin Koresh, Ron Tassone, Christopher K Morgan, Douglas Bentz, and Kiesha Lalama. Kevin was included in creations with choreographers: Yin Yue, Sonya Tayeh, Garfield Lemonius, Robert Priore, and Maleek Washington.
Matt Luck, a Los Angeles based choreographer and dancer, originally comes from Ohio where he trained with Z Company Dance. After years of assisting and teaching classes of his own, Matt made the move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the commercial world of dance. He has had the opportunity to perform with Taylor Swift at The American Music Awards as well as on FOX’s television show “Glee.” Matt’s current artistic focus is choreographing and dancing for mystical-pop band, Figs Vision— founded by Jordan Spoliansky and Gunner Sixx. Together the band and performers merge the world of dance and live music while working through structured choreography and improvisational tasks. Matt had the opportunity to choreograph their latest music video “Elle Your Walking” featuring co-perfomrers: Maddi Burg, Angelica DeWitt, Savannah Harrison and Ty Wells. Matt’s main focus for creating started in 2013 when he produced an evening length show titled “Regretless” in collaboration with Emily Shock and musician Richard Walters. He is currently a faculty member of the Adrenaline Dance Convention and has been a company member of Justin Giles’ “SoulEscape”. Most recently Matt completed the 2016 Gaga Winter Intensive held at Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel. Aside from training, Matt has been able to teach all throughout Europe in countries such as London, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Italy and in has performed in London based Dance Adventures “Best of British”. Alongside choreographing and dancing, Matt fuels his extensive interest in filmmaking through college courses and is constantly creating short films that mesh the two worlds of dance and film. Some of Matt’s films, including “Dancing in the Dark” which was created in collaboration with Emma Portner, have had the chance to be featured in various events such as “SourceEcreative”, in an episode of “Artgrease”, as well as on tour with artist Ben Riddle. Matt is constantly searching for new adventures and is so grateful for all the opportunities he has had so far in his life.
Mark, from Philadelphia, trained in many styles at the Creative and Performing Arts HS and the Ailey School. In 2010, he graduated from the University of the Arts with a BFA in Ballet Performance. Mark was a member of Eleone Dance Theater from 2006-2010. He was a member of International touring companies Complexions Contemporary Ballet from 2010-2014 and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal from 2014-2016. He has choreographed on PA Ballet II, the University of the Arts Dance Department and Grace Dance Theater. He has presented works at STEPS Lab, the Banff Centre and the Brooklyn Dance Festival. Mark is also a participant in the organization MindLeaps and co-founder and director of DRIGGproductions.
Brian Stevens grew up in the Dallas Fort Worth area where he first began his dance training. He furthered his education on scholarship at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC and The Edge Performing Arts Center in LA. Throughout his training Brian assisted for Tremaine and Dupree Dance Conventions across the country. Assisting faculty members of these nationally recognized dance conventions allowed Brian to have a hands on experience in teaching other dancers movement and technique. The assistant opportunity also helped him to further create his unique choreography style in contemporary and jazz. Brian is a current Artist In Residence of KJ Dance’s pre-professional dance company, Pulse. Previously under his direction the company has been nationally recognized as NYCDA Outstanding Studio. His choreography for large and small groups, solos, duets, and trios have won multiple high scores in the country. Under his mentorship Brian has had individual nationally recognized dancers as well. Brian tours the country with the Dupree Dance Convention faculty as a choreographer and instructor. Brian is currently the Artistic Director of Wanderlust Dance Project which is"the first and only Non-Profit 501(c)(3) of it's kind, where pre-professionals learn and rehearse from some of the dance industry’s top choreographers, while dancing alongside working professional dancers". The show has been named as one of "Theater Jones Top Ten Dance Performances of 2016”. He is the founder and designer of the internationally recognized costume company, Artistic Dance Designs, which launched in 2013. Brian is a teacher and mentor for The Joffrey year round trainee program in Frisco, TX. He teaches at a number of dance intensives and workshops including Complexions Summer Intensive, North Texas Summer Dance Intensive, Dallas Repertoire Ballet Intensive, Dancers Give Back Dallas, Moving Forward Dallas and Dallas DanceFest. He travels teaching Master classes and setting choreography at studios, schools and professional companies across the country.
Jenny Durbin Smith is one of the Dallas's most sought after award-winning choreographers. Her resume reads like a "who's who" list in the dance industry! She trained in jazz and hip-hop during her college years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while obtaining a double degree in journalism and communication studies. During her time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill she was a member of the national award-winning cheer and dance teams. Jenny has been a member of the NBA Dallas Mavericks Dancers where she served as captain in her second year. She has also been a principle dancer and actor for many national industrials, commercials and films. Jenny’s dynamic choreography has been featured on many national television commercials, industrials, films, reality television shows, and international stages including Hasbro, Mary Kay, ‘America’s Got Talent,’ MTV’s ‘TRL,’ and Monday Night Football. In addition to being the proud director of the NFL’s first and only co-ed hip hop crew, the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue, she is a choreographer for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, a master instructor for Professional NFL and NBA Cheerleading & Dance Conventions including All Pro and Choreography Pros, and travels the country choreographing for numerous high school, collegiate and professional dance teams and dance studios. Jenny was recently featured in Dance Track Magazine and Dance Team Magazine!
Jess Hendricks graduated from the University of Colorado with a BFA in Dance. Her credits include commercials and industrials for Godiva, L’Oreal, Reebok, Toys R Us, Universal Studios, Volkswagen and Warner Brothers. Jess worked on the tour of HAIR as Dance Captain, performed for the opening premiers of moulin rouge and The Great Gatsby and can be seen in such movies as Living Out Loud and Between The Sheets. She has danced in or been the assistant choreographer to the Elan Awards, Bob Fosse Awards, Ms. America Pageant, Carnival, Dance Break and Broadway Bares. Jess has choreographed the New York musicals “The Shaggs”, “The Book Of The Dun Cow” and “Dead City” as well as the movie musical “Free Fall”. She has choreographed the music video “Just A Dress” for the Berlin Film Festival, and “Mia Agapi Fotia” for European artist Sofia Strati’s Eurovision. Jess has taught at Universities and Festivals throughout Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway and the United States. Jess has danced with “The Wes Veldink Movement” and co-created her own company “Two Peas & A Pod”. She has created live work for the band “A Great Big World” at BAM, set work at Carnegie Hall and assisted with choreography for the Alicia Keys tour. jess has created work for manhattan marymount college, point park university, pace university, wanderlust and metdance. she is currently an adjunct professor at Pace University in nyc, on faculty with 24 Seven dance convention and a co-founder of dancers give back dallas.
Katey is a multi talented actress and dancer originally from Dallas, TX. She has worked with some of the top names in the dance industry including Desiree Robbins, Justin Giles, and Keith Young to name a few. Katey started her career working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, where she was a soloist in both “Rock on Broadway” and “Flashback”. Other stage credits include, US Tour with the Wiggles, Mary Kay Convention, “Love Notes” with Soulescape and “Thriller” with Odyssey Dance Theatre. She has performed in various productions with Disney. Katey has also appeared in commercials for Old Navy, Big Lots and Toshiba. She has taught and choreographed at numerous workshops and studios in Canada, Costa Rica and across the US. One of Katey’s greatest joys is sharing her love of dance with others through performing and teaching. Her infectious personality and hard work ethic keep her in high regard amongst her peers.
ida Saki trained at Dance Industry PAC, Booker T. Washington HSPVA, and furthered her studies at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. She has received national honors including one of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch in 2013 and modern dance winner by NFAA YoungArts where she was named a Presidential Scholar of the Arts. Saki was a closing member of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet after dancing with them from 2012-2015. Saki has also performed in the Off-Broadway show The Lucky Ones and apart of Sonya Tayeh’s You’ll Still Call Me By Name. She is a co-founder of Dancers Give Back Dallas, a non-profit raising funds for cancer research and patient support, and a Mind Body Dancer Yoga® Teacher. She is currently rehearsal directing and performing as Lady Macbeth in the immersive show, Sleep No More, in New York City. IDA WILL BE LEAVING FOR LONDON SOON TO ASSIST AND APPEAR IN A BIG-SCREEN ADAPTATION of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical “Cats.”
terrill Mitchell is a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer who relocated to Houston, TX after receiving his B.A. in Dance from Point Park University’s Conservatory of the Performing Arts. He was a seven-year company member with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company (Met Dance) and is now a part of the administration organization working as a faculty member with both the professional company and pre-professional company. He has worked with companies such as Attack Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera, West Virginia Public Theatre, Playhouse Dance Company as well as performed in several industrial performances. Since joining the Houston MET he has performed works from choreographers such as: Caleb Mitchell, Jason Parsons, Spencer Gavin Hering, Jess Hendricks, Joe Celej, jhon r stronks, Kiesha Lalama, Peter Chu, Salim Gauwloos, Jason McDole, Kiki Lucas, Kate Skarpetowska, Lauren Edson and Larry Keigwin. He has performed at venues such as The Dance Gallery Festival, Bayou City Arts Festival, Artopia, Texas Contemporary Dance Festival and the APAP Conference. He has also had the pleasure of performing in the Boston Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Dance Festival in Massachusetts. Additionally, Terrill was chosen as one of Houston’s 100 creatives in 2014. As a teacher and choreographer, Terrill has set works on MET dance, Wanderlust Dance Project, St. Johns School, Contemporary Ballet Dallas and has also traveled the coasts for competitive studios, dance teams and youth companies. He was the Company Director for the nationally ranked competitive company at Elite Dance Academy in League City, TX for nine seasons and now serves as Rehearsal Director. He served as a choreographer for the educational outreach program for MET dance and has worked training pre-professionals dancer in Houston. Lastly, Terrill travels the U.S. as a faculty member with Dupree Dance Convention.
Jennifer Mabus is an artist and educator based in Texas. She comes from a rich career as a performing artist working regionally and internationally for choreographers and companies such as Robert Battle (founding dancer of Battleworks, NYC), Amy Marshall Dance Company (NYC), Heidi Latsky (NYC), Takehiro Ueyama (NYC), Bruce Wood Dance Project (TX), Noble Motion Dance (TX), Dark Circles Contemporary Dance (founding dancer, TX), and Aimed Dance (TX). As an educator, she has served on the dance faculties of Texas Christian University, Booker T Washington HSPVA, Interlochen Arts Academy, Houston’s HSPVA, San Jacinto College, and Sam Houston State University. Additionally, Jennifer has presented her own choreography in New York and Texas at festivals and residencies, such as Dumbo Dance Festival, Cool/NY Festival, Interlochen Arts Academy, UT/Dallas, Omega Dance Company, Elle Danceworks and at the historic Wynne Home and Arts Center. She was the 2015 Rice University Dance Artist in Residence, one of Noble Motion Dance’s 2016 “Next Step” emerging artists, one of Dance Source Houston’s 2017 Artists in Residence and has presented her work through the Dance Gallery Festival and with other regional festivals and companies. Mabus received her BFA in Dance from Southern Methodist University and her MFA from Sam Houston State University. Mabus is also is also a 500-hour certified yoga teacher, and is dedicated to teaching young dancers healthy artistry. You can see more about Jennifer at jenmabus.com. PHOTO CREDIT: LYNN LANE
JC Schuster was born in Dallas, Texas and a true Texan at heart. He has performed professionally since the age of ten, studying dance both in Dallas and in New York starting at the early age of six. At fourteen, JC was one of 9 chosen to tour nationally and internationally with New York Stage Originals show “Tap Kids”. Since moving to LA in 2009 followed by New York in 2011, JC’s Film/Television credits include: Annie (2014) , HBO’s Vinyl (Post production 2015), Glee, Gossip Girl, Nurse Jackie, and Madonna’s “Give me all your Luvin” video. His resume includes : The SpongeBob Musical (Chicago- Oriental Theatre) Finding Neverland (Boston-A.R.T. ), Radio City’s Spring Spectacular, and Soul Doctor (NY-Theater in the square). In addition, JC’s choreography career has taken shape with Season 3 of Orange is the New Black episode 2 “Bed Bugs and Beyond”.
Jamie is a graduate of Texas Tech University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Family Studies and a Minor in Psychology with an emphasis on Substance Abuse Counseling. Jamie worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor for two years before receiving her teacher’s certification in Special Education & Dance. Jamie worked as a Special Education teacher in Odessa, Texas, for 5 years where she incorporated dance into their curriculum. she became the dance teacher & director of the Odessa High School Showgirls dance team, as well as the district wide mentor for all dance programs in the public school system where she remained for 11 years. In June, 2012, Jamie and her family moved to Plano, TX, where she became an instructor & office manager at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, Texas. Jamie continues to work with dance/drill teams & studios all over Texas teaching master classes & leadership workshops. Jamie feels blessed to be given the opportunity to instill the love and passion for dance with everyone she works with.
BYRON began dancing at a young age in his hometown of New York: solely with tap and ballet. He studied extensively in all facets of dance at Broadway Dance Center and the American Tap Dance Foundation, learning from masters such as Dormeisha Sumbry-Edwards and Derick K. Grant. After touring the country assisting Gil Duldalao, Laurie Ann Gibson, and Wade Robson, Byron found commercial success while dancing for Nicki Minaj (VMAs), Janet Jackson (BET), Kevin Hart (The Wedding Ringer) and more. He now lives in New York City and has been touring the world with the “entirely glorious” Dorrance Dance led by the visionary Michelle Dorrance. (The New York Times)
colby grew up in Kilgore, Texas and began studying dance at the age of two. Under the direction of Pat George Mitchell, Colby danced in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Serenade and Who Cares?. During the summer, Colby has trained with various companies such as, Miami City Ballet , Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet X, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and BODY TRAFFIC. Colby was Captain of the Kilgore High School Hi- Steppers for two years. She graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a BFA in contemporary dance in 2017. Colby currently dances with Zion Dance Project. She teaches and choreographs in the DFW area and is a yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga.
.Jeremy received his B.A. cum laude, from Muhlenberg College in 2012. He is a graduate of the tap program at Jacobs pillow under the direction of Michelle Dorrance. Jeremy is a former member of the nationally touring Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers and Chloe Arnold’s Apt 33. Jeremy was a principal dancer with Tapestry Dance Company from 2014-2017. He is on the faculty of the University of Texas Dance Department as a professor of tap dance. Jeremy has served on the faculty of the Soul 2 Sole festival, True Sound Rhythm festival, Revive Dance Convention, Dance Olympus/Dance America, Dance Masters of America, and the Cecchetti Council of America. Third Coast Rhythm project, Tap Ties, and McLennan Community College have all commissioned his work.
Lisa has been teaching in the dance industry for over 25 years. She has been a head instructor, program curriculum developer and choreographer for NCA Danz, NCA collegiate program, and USA dance. She is a former captain of the NCA national award winning Navarro college Showstoppers dance team, former 5 year veteran of the Dallas Mavericks Dancers, she has danced professionally in numerous shows, and infomercials, including Mary Kay, Beauty Control, and Juice Plus. Her love for dance branched out into ballroom about 13 years ago. She taught for the nationally renowned program called Dancing Classrooms, which is featured in the films, “Mad Hot Ballroom” and “Take the Lead”. She and her partner, israel Peña developed and directed the ballroom dance program at Power House of Dance Dallas and Frisco for the past 9 years. Along with there program at the studio, they have taught numerous workshops, master classes, dance intensives, and given seminars to elementary, middle schools, high schools, and universities, including Booker T Washington HS, University of North Texas, TWU, and UTD. She and her partner also compete professionally in the international Latin division and have competed all over the country and abroad. Their highlight to date was competing in London and at the Blackpool Dance Festival. She continues to train and study with award winning and world renown coaches,from all over the world, such as Shirley Ballas and Martin Lamb.
A native of Colorado, Mikey began dancing at the age of two and heavily trained in all genres at Artistic Fusion Dance Academy. Upon graduation, Mikey moved to New York where he received a BFA in Dance at Marymount Manhattan College. Mikey joined Sidra Bell Contemporary Company where he was a company member from 2011-2015. Mikey has recently moved to the dallas area to teach, create and move.
JASON AMBROSE Starting dance at the late age of 16 and beginning his formal ballet training a year later, Jason Ambrose, of Virginia Beach, VA., began his studies at the Virginia Beach Ballet Academy under the direction of Ana Maria Martinez. He furthered his training at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School where he danced roles in company productions such as Terrance Orr's "The Nutcracker" and Derek Deane's "Alice in Wonderland". He has been accepted into and attended many prestigious year-round and summer programs such as the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and The Kirov Academy of Ballet, all on scholarship. Jason has had the opportunity to study closely with teachers such as Hector Zaraspe, Marina Stavitskaya, Deborah Wingert, Daniel Ulbricht, Andrei Bossov, and the late Peter O'Brian. He is an alumnus of the Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program where he was coached and mentored by master teacher Edward Ellison. Jason has been recognized as "a rapidly rising choreographic talent." In 2012 he premiered a new work at the 2nd Annual Dance Against Cancer Benefit Gala where he was personally invited to perform in by gala director and New York City Ballet Principal, Daniel Ulbricht. His work was featured in the 2013 Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition Closing Gala and in 2014 Jason's work "In the Beginning" was invited to be performed in the Youth America Grand Prix, (YAGP), closing gala in Lincoln Center. He has had numerous Top Three winners in the YAGP Contemporary Solo Category and he created the contemporary solo performed by last years 2015 Junior 1st Place Winner, Juliette Bosco. As an instructor he has been a guest faculty member and choreographer for the Manhattan Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Ellison Ballet, Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory, NY, Charlottesville Ballet, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts, Dancers Give Back Dallas, the University of Texas at Austin, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp, Canadian Dance Company, Dupree Dance Convention, SoulEscape, and Adrenaline Dance Convention. Jason worked as Ballet Director for Next Step Dance Performing Arts Center in Frisco, TX from September 2013 to June 2015. Jason was personally invited by St. Petersburg Conservatory Dean and former Mariinsky (Kirov Ballet) Director, Oleg Vinogradov, to travel to St. Petersburg, Russia as the first African American to enroll in their Ballet Masters and Choreographers Degree Program and to dance with the Ballet Theatre of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. After moving to St. Petersburg in September 2015, he has returned to the U.S. where he is a freelance choreographer and teacher. He is the Director of Ballet at Canadian Dance Company and Ballet Teacher for ADRENALINE DANCE Convention.
Josh Manculich from Windber, PA, graduated as valedictorian in 2005 and went on to pursue dance and psychology studies at Point Park University. While there, Josh was a recipient of the Conservatory’s Outstanding Graduate Award for his artistic involvement in the Pittsburgh community. Some of Joshua’s performance credits include The Pillow Project, an innovative Pittsburgh-based company, and JMT-JLS Productions. In Chicago, he danced five seasons with Thodos Dance Chicago, performed with Chicago Repertory Ballet, and became a founding performance member of Pursuit Productions, an up-and-coming dance theater force under the direction of Ahmad Simmons and Kacie Smith. Josh’s “The Rate At Which I Am” was toured internationally with DanceWorks Chicago - being one of six finalists in the DanceMoves Choreography Competition. This past year, in collaboration with Jacqueline Stewart, their duet “A Forgotten Rhyme” was chosen to showcase in NYC as a part of the Dance Gallery series. Josh has been a guest teacher for Chicago National Association Dance Masters and has taught master classes throughout the United States. Josh is currently pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts in Dance at the Ohio State as a recipient of the Susan Huntington Dean’s Distinguished University Fellowship.
This Texas native has had a passion for dance since a very young age. He has been trained in various styles of dance from jazz, contemporary, acrobatics to his biggest passion hip hop. Cooper first began at the age of 4 being trained in gymnastics at Concho Valley Gymnastics. Furthering his progression in gymnasticshis family relocated to Dallas to further his training. Once Cooper’s familyrelocated to Dallas he began his dance training at the age of 8 to add to his repertoire. Following his achievements in dance he went to college to and graduated with a BFA in Fashion Marketing and Management. Cooper has led a successful career in the hip hop world having lead his team for the past 7 years at numerous victories. Teams have been led to wins in Regional to National Championships, top recognition at Monsters of Hip Hop, HollywoodVibe, The Pulse, Nuvo and placing 1st at the USASF Dance Worlds. Cooper’sbiggest joy in his career is to not only share his love of dance but to mentor and develop dancers through every step of their journey. Cooper is fortunate to have his dancers be able to create a dance career across the United States. His goal at DIPAC is to continue this dream, mentoring the new generation to truly find their craft and their place in this industry.
Named one of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch in 2012, professional dancer, educator and actress Courtney D. Jones is on the Dance Faculty at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts for Choreography. She began her professional career in Miami, FL with the Freddick Bratcher and Company Contemporary Dance Theatre while attending New World School of the Arts. Ms. Jones is a proud graduate of SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Psychology, graduating with honors. After graduation Ms. Jones worked with the Kevin Wynn Collection and joined Jennifer Muller/The Works where she taught and toured internationally for four seasons. With a growing interest in theatre she joined the cast of Show Boat in 2008 accomplishing a long-standing goal to perform at Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and went on to join Broadway's First National Tour of WICKED in 2009.In Houston, Ms. Jones enjoyed four lovely seasons from 2010-2014 with Hope Stone Dance Company where she was the Assistant Director of Hope Stone Dance II (h.s.d. II) and has been seen in productions at Stages Repertory Theatre, Houston Grand Opera and Theare Under The Stars. She is also a highly sought after consultant both as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Houston and teaching company class for Hope Stone Dance, MET Dance Company, SUCHU Dance, Rice University Rice Dance Theatre and Urban Souls Dance Company where she also served as a guest choreographer for their 2012 season. She also serves as a guest teacher at numerous universities, workshops and intensives including Bates Dance Festival and the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive (NYC). Alongside professional dancers and colleagues Catalina Alexandra and JoDee Engle, Courtney is Co- Founder of Houston Dance Collective, providing continuing professional dance training to the Houston dance community by offering Open Professional/Advanced classes. courtneydjones.weebly.com
After a very rewarding performing career in Ballet, Broadway, Film , Television and video Jeff Amsden decided to dedicate his time and talents to teaching, training and mentoring the next generation of dancers. In 1990 he co-founded the Professional Dance Center of Tokyo Japan bringing American Style Jazz and contemporary dance to students eager to learn all the newest techniques from NY and LA. Jeff headed the studio staffing it every two months with Master teachers from both coasts offering students in Japan a rare opportunity to study with America's best Master teachers. It was while in Japan that Jeff had the opportunity to teach and choreograph for Carrie Ann Inaba , the judge of Dancing with the Stars. Carrie Ann Credits Jeff as being her first professional Jazz teacher. After running the Professional Dance Center in Tokyo for three years, Jeff changed his focus to LA and was hired on staff at The Edge performing Arts Center in Hollywood. While at the Edge Jeff met student Sheryl Murakami and was instrumental in encouraging her to keep dancing and performing. Now Sheryl is a wildly successful teacher and choreographer and is best known as Beyonce's choreographer and was awarded an MTV award for best choreography for Beyonce's Run The World video. From LA, Jeff went to London to be Associate Choreographer for the West End Production of Saturday Night Fever. The show was nominated for Best Choreography at the Olivier Awards . From London Jeff moved back to NYC where he had trained as a young dancer on Scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School. Jeff launched his own show A Few Good Men Dancin' and also began a long term relationship teaching at Broadway Dance center. Jeff taught Jazz, lyrical and Ballet at Broadway Dance Center for ten years and continues to teach master classes there when he is in town. Jeff worked closely with the scholarship, pre professional trainees while at BDC and students that he mentored have gone on to dance in Videos, Broadway shows and are dancing with The famed Radio City Music Hall Rocketts. While in NYC Jeff also was honored to teach at the Joffrey Ballet School and was instrumental in the launching of the Joffrey Ballet School Jazz and contemporary workshops. Jeff also was invited to teach master classes at Marymount Manhattan University as well as Pace University.
Lily Cabatu Weiss is the Executive Director for the Dallas Arts District and most recently served as the Artistic Director for Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts (Booker T), 2nd Artistic Director since Paul Baker, founder of the school. She served as Chair of the Dance Department that now serves as a national model; she holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University, has taught on the dance faculties at Southern Methodist University and Houston’s HSPVA, and joined the faculty at BTWHSPVA in 1978. Her dance credits include John Mead and Dancers in New York and Japan, the Texas Choreographers Award from the Texas Commission on the Arts, guest choreographer in the Dance Education Department-New York University, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, among others. Known best as an artist | educator, much of her work was instrumental in Booker T’s distinction as the Top 8 Magnet Schools by the U.S. Department of Education and the 2015 Texas Medal of Art. Additional awards include the National Young Arts Foundation Distinguished Teacher, Distinguished Teacher by the Commission on Presidential Scholars thirteen different years, SURDNA Arts Fellowship, Bates Dance Festival Teacher Fellowship, features in two articles inDance Teacher magazine (2007,2009) for her work at BTWHSPVA, and a cover feature story inArts + Culture, December 2017, among others. She currently serves on the boards of TITAS Presents, Booker T’s Advisory Board, Downtown Dallas Inc Foundation, Texans for the Arts, and VisitDallas. Her most important legacy are her family and her graduates all over the world.
Lexi Johnston danced professionally with Charlotte Ballet from 2015-2018. She began taking ballet classes at age 6 with Longview Ballet Theatre under the direction of Pat George Mitchell in Longview, Texas. After graduating from high school, Lexi continued her studies in classical ballet and contemporary dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) under Susan Jaffe. She graduated in May 2015 with a BFA in Dance with a concentration in Ballet. At UNCSA, Lexi performed in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Susan Jaffe, Emery LeCrone, William Forsythe and Ethan Stiefel. She attended summer intensives at Jacob’s Pillow Ballet School, BalletX, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Miami City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet and Tulsa Ballet. While dancing with Charlotte Ballet, she performed in various classical and contemporary works such as Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, Mark Diamond’s Bolero, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s Sleeping Beauty, Dwight Rhoden’s The Groove, and George Balanchine’s Rubies. Lexi was a member of Charlotte Ballet II for the 2015/2016 season. Born in Kilgore, Texas, Lexi also was a Kilgore High School Hi-Stepper and served as Captain for two years.