Kathy Dupuy Kathy started dancing seriously in high school and has continued to take classes and had the opportunity to perform through various studios in Austin. Through the years, dance has proven a great way for her to stay fit after having 4 kids and maintaining a busy lifestyle. She has successfully pioneered multiple businesses from start up to maturity including Texas’ largest household staffing service, Mom’s Best Friend, which she founded in 1994. She and her husband, Stuart, now run this together, along with the College Sitters & Tutors Barton Springs franchise. She also started and ran a residential care, assisted living home for seniors, for 10 years. Kathy has served on various boards, and her companies have been recognized for outstanding achievement, as well as a commitment to giving back to the local community. As a dancer herself and mom of 4 kids who all danced at one point or another, Kathy understands the need for a high quality studio environment catering to the needs of both adults and children, thus the creation of Balance Dance Studios in 2012. Kathy’s business expertise and entrepreneurial spirit, combined with her passion for the art of dance, create the perfect combination for her role as studio owner of Balance Dance Studios. Kathy purchased a Round Rock studio, The Dance Spot, in 2017, and now manages both locations. Kathy and her family reside in Southwest Austin and are the proud parents of Grace, Kaitlyn, and James and Jordan.
Taylor has been teaching dance for more than three years now and is currently studying Psychology and Sociology at UT Austin. When she entered college, she wanted to challenge herself with something new and decided to become a member of the award-winning Texas Gymnastics team. Though she missed out on competing at NAIGC (nationals) due to injuries, she was on track to compete as a level 8 in floor (her favorite), bars, and beam.
She has been awarded several dance achievements, including being awarded membership in the acclaimed Showmakers of America staff, being on Spurs Teen Elite, a junior NBA team, performing in South by Southwest for Lizzo, and choreographing competitive and recreational routines, for all genres and ages, from San Antonio to Austin.
Working with others and dance are two of her greatest passions—she aims to utilize the fusion of these passions to make a positive, lasting impact on all those around her, and especially dancers!
Christine Bourgeois Autin Christine Bourgeois Autin, a native of Baton Rouge, LA, has been teaching ballet for 25 years and most recently taught at Revolution Dance Company in Baton Rouge, LA. She implemented the first dance program at St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge in 2006, was Director of Dance, a Pilates instructor, and Psychology teacher at Episcopal High School of Baton Rouge from 2007-2011, as well as Co-Director and choreographer of The Bridges Project for the 2008 Young! Tanzsommer Tour in Austria and Germany. Christine was also the Production Stage Manager for Debbie Allen for her productions of “Dreams”, “Just Dance”, and “All the Right Moves”, has appeared on Mario Lopez’s “Name Your Adventure” on NBC, was a guest dancer for Luciano Pavarotti’s Concert Gala in Baton Rouge, and danced with former NBA player Glen Davis, the first year of Dancing with Big Buddy. Christine has trained around the globe, such as the Royal Ballet in London, Joffrey II in San Antonio, Joffrey Ballet in NYC, & The Rock School in Pennsylvania. She was also accepted into the School of American Ballet in NYC, Virginia School of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Houston Ballet School. She was a principal dancer with Louisiana Dance Theater and Mid City Dance Project, & also performed with the Delta Festival Ballet & Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre. She is certified in Kathy Corey Pilates (formerly West Coast Pilates) for Mat and small apparatus, Reformer, Wunda Chair, Spine Corrector, Cadillac, and Ladder Barrel. She is also certified in PiYo, Progressing Ballet Technique, a Merge Level I practitioner, and recently completed the Dance Teacher Training with Australian physiotherapist, Lisa Howell. She is a 200-hour RYT & member of the Yoga Alliance, a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS), a NASM Virtual Coaching Specialist, an AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor, a Fascial Fitness Trainer, & an Advanced Instructor & Master Trainee with Buti Yoga, certified in all 7 formats. Being a lifelong lover of learning, Christine is currently working on the Brain Longevity Therapy Training Certification with the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, and will begin her 300-hour YTT & Ayurvedic Nutrition Certification this summer. Christine is excited to share her love of ballet, yoga, and fitness in and around Austin, TX, where she currently resides with her family.
Bethany Boutwell Hello! I’m Bethany, I’m originally from Salt lake city, Utah and began dancing almost twenty years ago. I trained as a studio styles dancer, but soon integrated street style movement + circus acrobatics into my life. When I moved to LA in 2019, I was a touring company dancer with Diavolo | Architecture in Motion. I traveled nationally and internationally performing floor movement + structure acrobatics. I can’t wait to share what has inspired me throughout my movement exploration journey. Come take my classes (contemporary, jazz, choreography, acro, flexibility + conditioning, etc.) and let’s research + discover together!
Daniel Broxton Daniel started dancing in high school, participating on a crew his freshman year that turned into a team his sophomore year. He started pursuing dance more and training more seriously throughout his high school years. He now directs a high school hip hop dance team, teaches workshops, and choreographs for music videos, musicals, events, and performances. Daniel is excited to bring his background and experience, as well as his excitement for hip hop, to dancers at Balance!
Peyton Calhoon Peyton is an Austin Native and has been dancing and performing since she was 9. She attended Shenandoah Conservatory, in 2017-2018, before moving to New York City. Shortly after that, she became a soloist dancer in the Las Vegas Production of “Purple Reign: The Prince Tribute Show”, alongside fiancé, Donelvan Thigpen, headlining the role of Prince. She is mother to a baby girl, Aliyah! Peyton has always had a love for children, and taught dance and musical theater classes, since she was in high school. She currently works at Summer Stock Austin, as an Associate Producer and Head Marketing Manager. She also is an instructor with the Adderley School. Peyton Calhoon has a deep love for the arts and takes pride in helping to spread the power of creativity and share the impact that the arts have had on her life.
Mica Carson began her dance training near Austin, TX at the age of 8, training and performing as a member of a competitive dance company. Her instructing career began at age 15 as she assisted special needs dancers of the program 2dance2dream. She continued her dance training at Hope College, earning a BA in Dance Performance & Choreography. While attending she was in H2 Dance Company and toured the Midwest, performing modern and afro-fusion works by Matt Farmer and Crystal Frazier. Her favorite performances include tapping in Chicago Tap Theatre’s holiday show and also showcasing her choreography at the Centre Du Danse De Marias in Paris, France. Mica choreographed and danced for Outlet Dance Company In Chicago and instructed dancers both in studios and as a faculty member for Activate Your Artistry Dance Convention. Now an Austin resident, she looks forward to teaching to her home community!
Erin Carle began dancing at the age of 3 at Sugarland Dance Center in her home town, Houston Texas. While there she studied ballet, modern and jazz dance, later became an assistant teacher at the age of 14. At the age of 15 Erin began studying the aerial arts at The Vault in Houston. While there she became versed in silks, trapeze, triple cloud swing, contortion and flying trapeze. She danced with both her middle school and high school dance teams competing in team and solo competitions. In 2016 Erin won third place in the state at the high school level for her solo. The summer of 2017 Erin moved on to dance with the Balletforte ballet company starting as an apprentice dancer. By 2018 Erin worked her way up to dance as a corps dancer with the ballet. Under direction of Michael Banigan, Erin danced in many ballets including Don Quixote and Sleeping Beauty. Erin them moved on to dance with the UT Tyler dance team for one year where she was awarded all American status by National Dance America. Erin is now a student at Texas State University studying painting. She currently teaches dance and choreographs all over the Austin area.
Danielle Cortier is originally from South Bend, Indiana. After graduating from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and a minor in Dance Education, she moved to NYC where she worked as a freelance performer and dance educator for 13 years. On top of freelance performance work, she danced with several companies including Eidolon Ballet in Concert and Mariana Bekerman Dance Company. She has performed all over NYC and the East Coast, including the Lincoln Center “Out of Doors” Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, and City Center Studios. She has also performed abroad in Japan. Danielle’s national credits include back up dancing for Twenty One Pilots on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Teaching has always been a large part of her life, and she taught at Ballet Academy East on the Upper East Side during her time in NYC. Danielle enjoys teaching students of all ages in many forms of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, and Contemporary. She has been a Dancer, Assistant Choreographer, and US Company Manager with Keiko Fujii Dance Company based in Osaka, Japan since 2015.
Elzanne Crause-Fields studied at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa where she completed her national diploma in dance as a ballet major. She performed as principal dancer with Bovim Ballet, Cape Dance Company and South African National Dance Trust and as a soloist dancer with Joburg Ballet and Free Flight Dance Co. Elzanne also produced, choreographed, directed and performed ‘HOPE’, a fundraising event for South African orphans in collaboration with Young Blood Art Gallery. She was employed in South Africa by various dance companies including Tshwane Dance Theatre, Ballet Theatre African, South African Ballet Theatre (later Joburg Ballet), Darkroom Contemporary and The Fugard Theatre. Elzanne has worked with both national and international choreographers from the USA, Sweden, Canada, Netherlands, and Spain. During her employment at Tshwane Dance Theatre, her choreographic works for the company began her reputation as “one of the new and upcoming choreographers’ “, as reviewed by critics. Her accomplishments as a choreographer continued when another work entitled ‘Five’, was invited to YAGP Finals NY 2020 and won outstanding ensemble at Icon Dance Convention 2020. Her most recent work, ‘Parade’, finished top 12, 2021 YAGP L.A. Her solo ‘Morphametisis’ won top 12 YAGP 2021, junior second runner up at Dance makers Convention 2021 and 1st place at Spotlight Competition 2021.
Elzanne has also had the wonderful opportunity to teach ballet, contemporary, body conditioning and pilates for the last 5 years to some of South Africa’s and San Diego’s top young dancers. Most recently she has been training and teaching in Austin Texas, where in addition to teaching ballet, she also started teaching PBT and CTR curriculum. Two of her students finished top 12 ballet at YAGP Houston in 2021. In the same year, after 5 years of retirement from stage, she entered Ballet Beyond Borders ballet competition. She received a gold medal for her self-choreographed contemporary work “Truth to Freedom” and a bronze medal for her ballet variation from the ballet Raymonda.
Micki Fields Since the first dance class at 5 until now, dance has been a constant in Micki’s life. From cheerleading, drill team and baton twirling, to dancing on stage in community theater, to a life long love of cardio dance classes, a passion has grown and blossomed into the incredible opportunity of becoming an instructor at Balance Dance Studios.
Avery Hampton Avery, originally from Savannah, GA, began her dance journey at the age of 3. She’s studied a variety of movement styles, including tap, jazz, acro, ballet, modern and contemporary. She graduated from Emory University in the spring of 2021 with degrees in neuroscience and dance movement studies. There she gained a deep appreciation of dance as a link between mind and body communication. Now, Avery looks forward to helping others discover their own creative voice using movement as a means for self-expression.
Shawna Hesketh Shawna started dancing at an early age, at her one-room studio, in her small central Texas hometown. Her love of dance continued to grow, and she went on to join her high school’s drill/dance team, and then began teaching dance at the age of 16. She attended Sam Houston State University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, in Photography and Dance. While at SHSU, she was in several performances, including a graduate thesis, and also worked in the costume department for their Nutcracker production. After moving to Austin, she got back into dance full-time, diving into ballroom dancing. Shawna then joined Balance Dance Studios, in the fall of 2012, in its inaugural year. Since then, she has created a home and family with Balance, and now gets to share this journey with her two children, as she watches them dance and grow.
Spencer Jensen A southern California native, Spencer Jensen received his BFA in Dance at California State University, Long Beach, and continued to perform as a freelance dancer in both Los Angeles and Orange County. Spencer received his formal dance education from Keith Johnson, Rebecca Lemme, Lorin Johnson, Summer Brown, Rebecca Bryant, and Alicia Head. His credits include performing as a dancer in Willam Shakespeare’s The Tempest at the Walt Disney Concert Hall along with the LA Philharmonic under the direction of Barry Edelstein and choreographed by Patrick McCollum, FLEX presented by L.A. Dance Project’s MAKING:LA Residency Program choreographed by Jay Carlon, and Keith Johnson and Dancers’ 20th Anniversary Show.
Kirsten Kemp Kirsten Kemp is a former professional dancer, classical ballet instructor, creator of TwinTalksBallet on YouTube, and a Mindset Coach for dancers. A native of Corpus Christi, TX, Kirsten grew up dancing alongside her twin sister, Kelsey. At 13, their passion for ballet grew into a drive to pursue ballet professionally, which lead to training during the summers at programs such as San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. Kirsten went on to train year-round in the top levels of the Houston Ballet Academy for two years, after which she went to study on full scholarship and perform numerous lead roles in the Department of Ballet at the University of Utah. She graduated from “the U” within three years with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ballet and a Minor in Business Administration with top honors. Kirsten then danced professionally with Oklahoma City Ballet, where she performed in the corps de ballet of productions such as George Balanchine’s Serenade and Robert Mill’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. As a Company Apprentice, she was also chosen to perform with the company on their annual tour to Colorado Springs. After making the decision to step away from the professional realm due to a persistent knee injury, Kirsten now finds great joy and purpose in performing as a guest artist while supporting the next generation of dancers through her work as a ballet instructor and Mindset Coach for dance.
Kelsy Leyendecker Kelsy began dancing at the age of 3 and has been teaching since the age of 16 years old. She began her studies and competitive years at Irvine Dance Academy but went on to receive training at some of the best studios in the country in the styles of ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, cheer, tumbling, and musical theatre. She has had the opportunity to study under legends such Joe Tremaine, Doug Caldwell, Molly Lynch, Christine Baltes, Jerome Robins, and Susan Stroman. In addition to them, she credits much of her growth and passion to her mentor, Monie Adamson who is a 3 time Emmy nominee and 2004 American Choreography Award winner. While still in school, she began choreographing young for her high school show choir and other local area theatre and children’s programs. As a diverse and performer, Kelsy danced as an extra on a couple TV shows, strutted the parade routes and stages of Disneyland as well as toured parts of the US as a member of the company, “Dance N’ ETC” and the “Concordia professional Chamber Choir”. She quickly found her passion in musical theatre and was cast in multiple theatre company ensembles such as “Guys and Dolls”, “Cabaret” and “Oklahoma” as well as lead roles such as Penny in “Swingtime” and Carol in “South Pacific”. Kelsy is the Creative Director for Ignite Dance Company and Assistent Director of Elevate Performance Company. She is proud to be a part of the Austin dance community and loves teaching her students of all ages at Balance Dance Studios.
Stacey Lizette Stacey has been studying belly dance for twenty years. (Woah, how did that happen?) She is one of five dancers currently Level 5 certified in the internationally recognized Suhaila Salimpour format and hosts annual Suhaila workshops in Austin. Besides being a dance instructor, Stacey has taken on many roles and projects as part of the belly dance community, including: performer, choreographer, costume designer, artistic director of Tekatek Dance Ensemble, (former) producer of the annual Austin Belly Dance Convention, teaching assistant to Suhaila Salimpour, workshop sponsor, and show producer. Stacey’s style of teaching is patient yet challenging to guide students safely beyond their comfort zones and into personal growth. Belly dance will grow your brain, move your body and feed your soul!
Andi Loo Native to Texas, Andi graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Spanish and quickly jumped on the earliest flight to Los Angeles. While in L.A., Andi worked for a local newspaper while studying dance at local venues. She recalls pre-Zumba days in L.A. being filled with healthy doses of “Latin Hip Hop” and “Salsa-esque” aerobics. Needless to say, her love and commitment to dancing grew quickly and after 3 children and a move back to Texas, she found her passion in teaching dance fitness classes.
For a short video of Andi, Click HERE
Kyrie Lloyd began her dance training in Philadelphia, PA where she studied classical ballet, modern, jazz, and tap. Upon graduating high school, she attended Palm Beach Atlantic University earning a degree in dance. While at PBA, she had the opportunity to study under Demetrius Klein of Demetrius Klein Dance Company, Jin Young Lee from NYCB, and Eileen Hebron from ABT. She also performed and choreographed original work for the university’s dance ensemble. Since graduating college, she has been teaching at dance studios teaching all levels of dance, with an emphasis on ballet and modern dance. She also teaches barre fitness classes for teens and adults. She has performed for various South Florida dance companies and artists including Demetrius Klein Dance Company, REACH; A Dance Theater Collective, and Florida Grand Ballet. In addition, she has worked with MUSE Theater Company and has performed works such as CHICAGO and A Chorus Line.
Chantel Mead is a seasoned vocalist, performer, recording artist, and voice educator. While she loves the stage & studio, she is also passionate about helping others more fully understand their voice, fall in love with their own unique sound, and feel truly confident with their voice in the world.
Chantel has a BFA in Musical Theater, Minor in Classical Voice, graduate work in Vocal Pedagogy, over 20 years of experience, both as a performer & educator, and is continually attending trainings to stay up to date on the most current vocal science available.
Chantel grew up in the hill country, but found herself happily tucked away in Boulder, CO after college where she lived, performed and taught for over 12 years. During her time in Boulder she was the Children’s Choir Director at Sacred Heart of Mary for 5 years, directed multiple youth musicals with multiple local performance companies, and founded her own teaching studio.
In 2010, she and her husband moved to NYC where she took a full time position as the Music Teacher and Performing Arts Director at the Stephen Gaynor School. 2013 brought the blessing of their daughter, and they decided to move back to the hill country to raise her close to Grandma & Grandpa!
Here in Austin, Chantel homeschools her daughter, runs her own voice studio (private lessons, audition & performance coaching, voice related masterclasses, & singing camps), is in her 9th year of directing the musical at the Austin Jewish Academy, and is the Youth Choir director at the First UU Church of Austin.
Chantel is excited to join the Balance team and bring her unique and supportive style of coaching to the Elevate program 2022/2023!
Natalia Maravi Natalia was born to dance. From dancing on the bleachers of a football game at 5 years old, to choreographing a dance performance for her and her friends for their 5th grade class talent show, to tearing it up on the dance floor of many clubs as an adult. However, it wasn’t until she was 26 years old that she took her first dance class and started her training. She fell in love immediately and got to work. She’s taken a ton of hip hop classes and heels classes and has traveled to LA to train with Brinn Nicole and Tevyn Cole. Her passion for dance and teaching runs very deep and she is grateful for every opportunity to shake her hips and flip her hair.
Kate McCann Kate fell in love with dance at an early age. The way that movement and music creates its own unique form of artistry has had an unparalleled impact on her life, both in and outside of the studio. She has been working with children since the age of 14, and has found that one of her greatest joys is being able to share her passions with a younger generation. Because Kate didn’t start her formal dance training until high school she is a huge proponent of self discipline, and regards dance as the medium which taught her that all things are achievable through hard work and diligence. It was at Balance Dance Studios she cultivated this understanding, as she is one of our very own Push Dance Company alumni. Kate looks forward to teaching, training, and exploring movement with you!
Mark Moy A veteran instructor and choreographer with over 20 years of teaching experience, Mark has a passion for teaching the love of dance. Beginner and advance students alike benefit from his warm, enthusiastic, and patient style. Mark’s greatest joy is watching his students have the “lightbulb” moment. Mark tries various approaches for presenting concepts until that happens for each and every student.
Giving back to the Austin community and participation and local charitable events is important to Mark. In 2011 and 2012, he was a featured dance professional in the Lake Travis Dancing with the Stars event to benefit the Lake Travis Community Library, and in 2011 & 2016, he was a featured professional in the Dancing with the Stars Austin, benefiting the Center for Child Protection. He served on the Board of Directors of the prestigious Mayfair Dance Club from 2011 – 2013 and served as Membership Chair of the organization in 2014.
Dani Sanders Dani Sanders, CPT, FMT, is a fitness professional that focuses on dancer health and performance, and functional fitness. She studied Exercise Sports Science at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX and graduated with her Bachelors in 2015. She has worked in multiple gyms and dance studios across Texas teaching her love of health and fitness and sharing the benefits of sport specific training with dancers. Dani started dancing at a young age up until her early twenties when a chronic hip injury pushed her into another direction. This is where her passion for cross training and educating dancers began. Her dance training experience coupled with her copious amounts of kinesiology and physiology knowledge has given her the ability to work with dancers in a unique way that has yet to hit mainstream dance studio training. Her program is designed using scientifically proven muscle training protocols that incorporate both dance techniques and Pilates ideologies. She works hard to cross train dancers in order to keep them dancing longer, injury free, and performing at their best.
Kristen began dancing professionally in the fourth grade when she was selected as a member of the San Antonio Spurs Jr.Jammers dance team. In high school Kristen was a member of her dance team and served as officer for two years, captain her last. She then went on to Texas State University where she was a four year member of the Texas State Strutters. While on Strutters, Kristen was selected to be in the jazz elite and Pom squad specialty groups. With Strutters she performed in Chicago, Washington D.C, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and on the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship! While at Texas State she perused a dual degree in Dance and Mass Communication. After graduation, Kristen joined the ShowMakers of America staff and has been teaching camps and working competitions throughout the state. Now living in Austin, she continues to teach dance at studios and recently completed her first season with the Austin Lady Vipers!
Lisa Schreck has always had a lifetime love of learning and dance! This started for her in her hometown of Cedar Falls, IA and led her to Ball State University where she graduated with her BFA in Dance. During her time at Ball State, she had the opportunity to perform across multiple genres in shows such as; Swing! The Musical, A Chorus Line (Bebe u/s, Dance Captain), modern dance concerts, and collaboratively in student led grant projects. In 2017 she worked closely with Sidra Bell on the project i2i: impact to innovation, an immersive evening length concert. After graduating, Lisa moved to Indianapolis, IN where she performed in the annual IPL Yuletide Celebration, The Fringe Festival, and Flourish: A Modern Dance Showcase; a recurring concert at the White Rabbit Cabaret. In addition to performing, Lisa taught dance to students from ages 2 to adult. She is so excited to be in Austin and share her love of dance!
Haley Sikes Haley is a dancer, performer, choreographer, and teacher based out of the Austin area. She started dancing at the age of three, training in many different styles, with a focus on hip hop and contemporary. Haley has been teaching dance for the past five years, and her resume includes working for Prestige Dance Convention, choreographing for many Hip Hop crews all over Texas, and being a background dancer for local artists. She has a fresh new view that she uses to spark creativity among other young artists.
Paradise Taylor Paradise’s love of fitness and movement brought her to her yoga mat over 15 years ago. Her practice began in the Ashtanga lineage under the guidance of Sharon Moon. It didn’t take long for her to discover that the practice was not only good for lengthening and strengthening the muscular system, but also provided a sense of balance and calm throughout her life. After years of reaping the benefits of yoga Paradise felt the desire to give back and to share yoga with others through teaching. Now a registered 500-hour Yoga Alliance instructor, Paradise combines energetic forms of yoga such as Flow and Vinyasa with quieter practices of Yin and Restorative, for a well rounded class. In whatever style she is teaching she brings a warm, welcoming aura that empowers her students to grow in the practice by fostering a challenging and nurturing environment. She encourages playfulness, honesty, and enjoyment as each student explores and creates their individual practice and experience. Paradise believes passionately in yoga’s ability to unite oneself and those around you in a positive environment of personal growth.
Wyntergrace Williams was born and raised in Connecticut and began dancing, at the age of four, with African dance and ballet. Over the years, she trained and competed in Latin & Ballroom, at Maria Fiora’s Dance Studio and, when she was a pre-teen, she began training in jazz, jazz-funk, heels, ballet, hip-hop, broadway, and contemporary, at Broadway Dance Center, while being part of the Jimmy Locust Dance Company, with whom she competed and performed (in addition to her high school dance team). When she moved to Los Angeles, she trained at Millenium Dance Complex and Edge PAC, while acting in a kids sitcom, This Just In. She studied under prestigious choreographers and teachers in LA, performed in music videos, and danced in a Lifetime movie, Psycho Party Planner, and the sitcom, This Just In. Wyntergrace has extensive experience working with kids as a nanny and acting coach and is now excited to be teaching, and sharing her love for dance, with kids at Balance Dance Studios. She respects the littles and their vast imaginations, unique personalities and creativity. She also loves teaching adults because she believes in the infinite possible capabilities that each individual possesses to continue to discover about themselves, physically and mentally. She loves dance because it brings people together who share the same passion for authentic expression, through movement, music and fun, as well as the overall health benefits that dance provides. She is thrilled to be a part of Balance Dance Studios’ faculty, especially because of the supportive, encouraging, talented and community-focused environment.
Alex Wood Alex Wood is a dancer and artist, originally from Michigan. He studied dance at Marymount Manhattan College, with a concentration in choreography. Since college, he has worked with several dance companies & performance art groups, including Ann Liv Young Dance Company, as well as creating independent works.
Carissa Zieske began her formal ballet training at the Severance Fresno Ballet School in California, under the direction of Chris Doyle and Francoise Thouvenly-Doyle, former Principal Dancers with the Washington Ballet Company. She spent her summers at the Houston Ballet Intensive as well as the Washington Ballet Intensive, studying from teachers Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, former Principal and Soloist dancers with the American Ballet Theatre. She continued her training as a student in the highest level at the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, D.C.
Carissa has performed a wide-variety of full length ballets and contemporary works throughout her training, most notably as a student performing with the Washington Ballet Company in season productions such as the Nutcracker and Peter-Pan. She has also performed professionally as a company member with Tony Powell Music and Movement in Washington, D.C., having the honor of performing at the renowned Kennedy Center.
With a passion for passing on the love and discipline of ballet with others, Carissa has more than 15 years teaching experience. She has furthered her teaching education by attending training at Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating with a BA at Winona State University in Minnesota, she became an Adjunct-Faculty member in the Dance Department at WSU for 8 years, creating and teaching the ballet curriculum and choreographing productions.
Throughout her time in the “world of ballet”, she has had many opportunities to bring ballet technique and christian worship together.
This desire to couple excellent training with christian values has propelled her into this venture of a new studio. She is thrilled to begin this journey together with all new students and families!