Butler Center for Dance & Fitness

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STAFF


Vicki Parsons, Director, Butler Center for Dance & Fitness (Bio)

Stephanie Locklear Albrecht, Project Coordinator & Customer Relations Manager
Tonie Torres,
Academy Registrar & Customer Relations
Janet Alvarado, Customer Relations
Rachel Beale, Customer Relations
Tara Alperin, Customer Relations
Erin Chancy, Customer Relations
Larissa Cruz, Customer Relations


Vlada Sheber, Pilates Program Director (Bio)
Joshua Piper, Pianist Coordinator (Bio)

Butler Center Instructors

Jenny Alperin
Tara Alperin
Phil Amador
Bailey Anglin
Toni Bravo
Hannah Brightwell
Pei-San Brown
Amanda Bucher

Dane Burch
Orlando Julius Canova
Alexa Capareda
Melissa Corpus
Lisa del Rosario
Divya Dinakar
Rebekah Fowler
Tyler Guthrie

James Fuller

Brittany Harpole
Erika Holguin
Aminya Houston
Arletta Howard-Logan
Vivian Kaw

Jean Claude Lessou
Felicia McBride
Alex Miller
Prakash Mohandas
Grace Morton
Selena Offenberg
Lauren Parra
Sara Paul
Elise Pekarek
Madison Piner
Boo Ruiz
Brittany Strickland
Christopher Swaim
Jason Vaughn
Quinton Weathers
Lucy Wilson
Terri Lynn Wright
Erick Yanez

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Vicki Parsons, Director of Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness

Vicki Parsons develops, implements and directs recreational dance and fitness programming in Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, and through classes and community-based programs, promotes the value of life-long health and well-being.

Vicki joined the staff of Ballet Austin in 1997. She has over 25 years of experience working in the field of Long Term Care, specifically in direct care as a Recreation Therapist, using therapeutic recreation as a treatment intervention to improve overall wellness. She also worked extensively with young children, developing physical activity programs that are developmentally appropriate and promote an active and healthy life. Vicki taught at Austin Community College for 13 years and worked with several non-profit organizations to develop and present workshops on lifelong health and fitness.  Promoting physical activity and wellness to people of all ages continues to be one of her greatest interests and passions. She holds current certifications as a Senior Fitness Instructor, a Youth Fitness Specialist, a Group Exercise Instructor, and in Advanced Sports Nutrition.  She is also a certified Fitness Business Manager.

In addition to overseeing the recreational dance and fitness programming and the Pilates Center, Vicki teaches the Better Balance & Movement Workshop, a falls prevention program for adults. She also enjoys teaching a variety of health and fitness topics at conferences and places of business, and has implemented the free BeWell Healthy Living Talks in the community. Her advice is simple, "it’s your life, your health, YOU are in control. Be active. Be well!" 

As the Director of Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, Vicki looks forward to developing people and programming that will fulfill one of Ballet Austin's Core Values: "We dance...to encourage lifelong health and well-being."

Follow Vicki on Twitter @VickiBeActive.

Follow the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness on Twitter @BalletAustinCTR

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Toni Bravo, Modern Dance & Body Sculpting Instructor
Leaps & No Bounds Program Director

Maria Antonieta (Toni) Bravo is the Leaps and No Bounds Program Director. Ms. Bravo is originally from Mexico City and holds a Master's Degree in Theatre History and Criticism, with a minor in Dance Pedagogy (University of Texas, 1987). Since 1975, she has taught and performed as a professional dance artist in Mexico, England, Israel, Costa Rica, Germany, Spain and throughout the United States. Ms. Bravo began teaching for the Ballet Austin Academy in 1990 and, since 1991, the City of Austin has funded her performance and educational projects. In 1991, 1992 and 1998, she received awards from the Texas Commission on the Arts for her workshop projects with the Travis County Juvenile Court and Austin Housing Authority Education Department. Ms. Bravo spearheaded Ballet Austin's in-school movement programs, which are currently conducted in a number of school districts throughout the Greater Austin area. She continues to develop curriculum as well as train and monitor Academy faculty.

Ms. Bravo also teaches modern dance to kids and adults in the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, and her Body Sculpting class has become a favorite drop-in conditioning class for many.

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Vlada Sheber, Pilates Program Director & Certified Core Connections® Pilates Instructor

Originally from the Ukraine, Ms. Sheber received her training in classical ballet from the State Classical Ballet College of Russia (Voronezh). Vlada performed as a soloist in the Donetsk Ballet Theatre before immigrating to the United States. She was a member of Ballet Austin from 1992-2003 and danced a variety of classical and contemporary roles, including the original Lady Capulet in Stephen Mills' Romeo and Juliet.

In 2002, Vlada received her diploma as a Certified Core Connections® Pilates Instructor from the Core Connections® Comprehensive Teacher Training Program at the Pilates Center of Austin.  There she studied under Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle.  In the summer of 2009 Vlada attended a workshop conducted by Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle and Michele Larsson that gave her additional insight into working with older clients. Ms. Sheber is also a Post-Rehabilitative Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist.

In 2002 Vlada worked in a physical therapy clinic with Allison Bennett (Women’s Health specialist) and joined the Ballet Austin Pilates Studio as an instructor.  In 2005 she was acknowledged as a "Pre-eminent Purveyor of Pilates" by Austin Monthly MagazineIn 2007 Vlada was appointed Director of the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness’s Pilates Program.  She also designed the layout of the Pilates studio. In recognition of Ballet Austin's commitment to excellence, Ballet Austin’s Pilates studio has been chosen as “Best Pilates Studio in Austin” by Rare Magazine and Austin Fit Magazine.

Vlada's knowledge and approach to her practice of Pilates make her a highly requested master instructor.

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Jenny Alperin, Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet Fit, Videodance™ & Zumba® Instructor. Children's Camps and Dance Instructor

Jenny graduated from SUNY Buffalo where she received her BA in Dance. While in school, Jenny had the opportunity to perform and choreograph in numerous concert dance shows in styles ranging from jazz to contemporary to modern. She was given the opportunity to collaborate her choreography with Digital Poetry media as well as choreograph for the Department's second company. Jenny has studied with artists from Jazz Dance World Congress, River North Jazz Dance Chicago, Paul Taylor Company, Doug Varone and Dancers, LehrerDance, Urban Bush Women, San Francisco Ballet and Giordano Dance Chicago. She is also a certified Zumba Instructor and working towards her Personal Trainer Certification. Jenny has also taught children's dance classes and especially loves working with young children.

In addition to teaching at Ballet Austin. Jenny works with schools and youth around Central Texas.

Jenny is extremely passionate about dance and fitness and is very excited to share her knowledge at the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness.

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Tara Alperin, Jazz, Contemporary, Videodance™, Yoga, and Yoga Fit Instructor

Tara began her advanced dance training at Sarah Lawrence College under the direction of Sarah Rudner. While in New York she also trained at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway under a wide variety of inspirational teachers including, Sheila Barker, Michelle Barber and Tracie Stanfield. She moved on to Prescott College to explore her own artistic voice and earned her BA in Integrative Arts with an Emphasis in Dance Choreography. After graduating she moved to Chicago to be part of AMEBA Aerial Dance Company where she performed works by Nefertiti Thomas and Autumn Eckman (Choreographer for Hubbard Street Dance). During her years in Chicago Tara also trained with Nick Pupillo, and Ricky Ruiz (of River North), Nan Giordano, Diona PidGeon, Becca Lemme, Eddie Ocampo and Toyko to name a few. Tara has directed several of her own evening length dance works as well as multiple dance films. Tara recently founded her own company and is the director GO Collective. She is excited to share her love of dance with Ballet Austin.

 

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Phil Amador, Zumba® Instructor

Phil Amador is an aerobics instructor specializing in Zumba® Fitness. He is an enthusiastic teacher and has brought his style of aerobic dance fitness to several local fitness venues over the years including: Galaxy Dance, Corazon Latino Dance Studio, YMCA of Austin, Tapestry Dance, 24 Hour Fitness, The Hills Health Club and Wellness Center, Uptown Dance, and BodyBusiness Fitness Club.

Phil holds Group Exercise Instructor certifications with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and YMCA USA. He is a licensed Zumba® Fitness Instructor and also holds certifications in CPR and AED. Phil is very excited about sharing his passion for fitness at Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness.

Follow Phil on Twitter @MWPhil

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Bailey Anglin, Horton-based Modern Dance Instructor

Bailey joined Ballet Austin II in 2014. Originally from Shreveport, LA, Bailey began her training at Carol Anglin Dancenter where she was a member of Louisiana Dance Theatre.

Bailey furthered her education by studying at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation, she accepted a traineeship with the Richmond Ballet. She has attended numerous intensive training programs including Kirov Academy of Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet Academy Lincoln Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Richmond Ballet and Ballet Austin.

Bailey studied Horton technique while at the Alvin Ailey School in NYC and is happy to be able to share Horton with Austin.

 

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Pei-San Brown, Hula Instructor

Kumu Hula Pei-San Ka'ua Brown hails from the island of Oahu, where she first studied hula and ballet at the age of 5. She has been a member of several dance companies, including Disney Entertainment Arts (Los Angeles, CA), the Raul Cruz Dance Company (Orange County, CA), Third Coast Jazz (Austin, TX), and Austin Musical Theatre. She debuted on the silver screen as Miss Alaska, a principal dancer and top ten finalist in the movie Miss Congeniality.

Pei-San earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of California at Irvine in 1994, as well as a Master’s degree in Education at UT Austin in 1999. She is a published author in the fields of education and cognitive development, and has been Community Education Director at Ballet Austin since 2004.


Pei-San studies hula with Kumu Hula Keli'i Chang of Halau Ho'ola Ka Mana O Hawai'i in Houston, TX. She has also studied with Kumu Hula Paul Ho'omanawanuiikana'auao Apo (Honolulu, HI), Joyce Flaugher (San Antonio, TX), Kumu Hula Ellen Gay Delarosa (Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, HI), Kumu Hula Keith Awai (Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, HI), and Kumu Hula Lorraine Daniels (Magic Hula Studio, Honolulu, HI). In April 2006, she was honored to compete with Kumu Chang and Halau Ho'ola Ka Mana O Hawai'i in the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, the world's most prestigious hula competition. In May 2011, she attained the rank of Kumu Hula (Hula Master).

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Hannah Brightwell, Jazz Contemporary Instructor

Hannah Bacon-Brightwell is originally from Southwest Louisiana where she fell in love with the art of dance at age 13. Hannah trained and cempeted in dance until she went to Northwestern State University of Louisiana wher she earned her BA in Business & graduated Magna Cum Laude. While there she also studied modern dance and composition extensively, both within the university and outside of the program. Hannah has continued to train & expand her passion and knowledge through various intensives and classes spanning the country from New York to Los Angeles. She has found a new home in Austin where she is able to share her passion and style with the community as an instructor and choreographer as well as the Artistic Director of Verge Dance Company.

She is excited to work more closely with Austin's beautiful & artistic community through Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness. .

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Amanda Bucher, Certified Pilates Instructor

Amanda's love for Pilates originated from her profession as a commercial and theatrical dancer. She began her professional career in Los Angeles in 2004, where she began working for Disney. She has danced behind artists such as Leann Rimes and Hilary Duff, and continued to sharpen her dance and jump rope skills with Disney. Dancing with Holland America Line allowed her to travel to almost 50 countries, and in 2008 had the wonderful privilege to work as a stunt actress for Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. She was also part of L.A.'s Urban Poets when they performed in the 2009 Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. In addition to a BBA in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin, Amanda has a fully comprehensive Pilates certification from L.A.'s Pilates Sports Center, where she learned both classical and progressive repertoire. Her teaching style focuses on neutral spine while providing the client with modifications and/or challenging variations. You'll leave each session with a better understanding of your body and feeling worked out, taller and refreshed. She truly believes Pilates is for every body and hopes to still be practicing it when she's 90!

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Dane Burch, Contemporary and Pilates Fitness Instructor
Dane was raised in northwest Oregon where he started dancing at the age of 10. After high school he was awarded a scholarship to Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. He trained there for several years, preparing him for the performance industry. Dane has worked with choreographers such as Mandy Moore, Malaya, JT Horenstein, Terri Best and many more. He has worked with MTV, danced on the NBC show "American Dreams" and has performed and choreographed numerous live shows around the L.A. area. In 2008 he ended a 5 year run working with Tremaine Dance Conventions and he has been traveling the U.S. judging for Creations Dance Championships. 

Dane currently lives in Austin, TX where he teaches dance and choreographs for private studios and local high schools. This year he was a part of professional development of Austin Independent School District dance teachers. He has also helped in the production of live show benefiting charities around the U.S.  He is enjoying sharing his talents with the dance community of Austin.

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Alexa Capareda, Ballet and Contemporary Instructor
Alexa was born in the Philippines, where she began her dance training at Ballet Regina, following the Royal Academy of Dance curriculum.

At age 16, Alexa started a three-year traineeship with Ballet Austin while attending college at the University of Texas. She then attended the study program of the Ecole Superieure de Ballet Contemporain de Montreal in Canada, where she trained under renowned classical and contemporary artists and performed with Le Jeune Ballet du Quebec in works by Gioconda Barbuto, Shaun Hansell, and Jean-Louis Morin. While in Montreal she performed as a guest soloist with Ballet Ouest in their production of "The Nutcracker". In 2011, Alexa joined Mario Radacovsky's newly formed contemporary company, Balet Bratislava, in Slovakia, as one of 16 original company members. Aside from working with Radacovsky on the company's repertoire of neoclassical and contemporary works, Alexa had the privilege of performing Jiri Kylian's "Falling Angels" and "Six Dances" and performing creations by Libor Vaculik, Sarka Ondrisova, and Jan Durovcik. Alexa has extensive training in dance and choreography, having participated in top-notch summer programs and workshops at Springboard Danse Montreal, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Northwest Dance Project. Shortly before leaving Balet Bratislava, Alexa received 3rd place in the 2013 Festival of Choreographic Miniatures choreography competition held in Belgrade, Serbia.

Alexa has been teaching ballet and contemporary at Ballet Austin's Butler Center since 2013. She also dances professionally with Austin-based Arcos Dance, and has performed with Andrea Beckham Dance Collaborative and Jennifer Hart's Performa/Dance. Alexa obtained a B. A. degree in English, with high honors, from the University of Texas-Austin in 2015.

Alexa' Ballet Remix class has become a weekly favorite!

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Melissa Corpus, Latin Salsa Instructor
Melissa Corpus was born in Austin, TX and began dancing at the age of 5. She has been an enthusiastic teacher/choreographer/performer of Latin dances since 2008 and continues to study and grow with sharing her knowledge with her students of all ages. She credits growing up in a musical household with parents who loved to dance; for giving her a passion for Latin music and dance.

Melissa strives to fuse technique and freestyle to create a unique method of dance movement. She conducts her classes in a manner that teachers her students to be confident with their dance moves and create their own individual style. Melissa has performed and choreographed shows for Aquadrums and Sonido Sol, and is a featured soloist for MJS movement under the direction of Mark Sharon. She has held dance workshops, choreographed school performances, and led summer dance camps throughout Austin for elementary and high schools and local non-profits.

Melissa is also a choreographer/ dance director/performer for Austin Samba, the largest Samba school in the United States. Teaching and performing are loves of her life, and she is excited to share her love of dance with Ballet Austin.

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Lisa del Rosario, Certified Feldenkrais® Instructor
Lisa del Rosario began her dance studies at the Margo Marshall School of Ballet and the Cleveland San Jose School of Ballet. She continued her training as a Heywood “Woody” McGriff Presidential Scholarship student at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her BFA in Dance. She also studied classical piano and violin for many years and in her later years Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, qigong, Droznin System, Vipassana Meditation, and the Feldenkrais Method® of movement education.

Lisa has danced professionally in the Philippines with The Philippine National Folk Dance Company, Bayanihan. She currently is a member of DA! Theatre Collective and Sheep Army/Elsewhere Dance Theatre, and also performs her own solo work, along with independent choreographers, locally, nationally, and internationally.  Lisa has taught and choreographed at the Dougherty Arts School, the McCallum High School Fine Arts Academy, Tapestry, and the Texas Arts Project at St. Stephen's Episcopal School. Lisa is thrilled to be in her tenth season teaching at Ballet Austin Academy and Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness.

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Divya Dinakar, Bollywood Cardio & Tone Instructor

Originally from Bangalore, India, Divya Dinakar is an engineer at Intel Corporation by day and a dance aficionado otherwise. She is formally trained in Kathak, an Indian classical form of dance and has been dancing to Bollywood songs all her life. Divya is also a certified Zumba instructor. In addition to dance, she is a running enthusiast. Dance and fitness combination classes always excite her and she is thrilled to be an instructor at Ballet Austin. 

Divya's sense of humor and fun make her classes a favorite!


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Rebekah Fowler, Zumba®, Brazilian Dance, & Zumba® Kids Instructor

An avid student of Brazilian dance since 1995, Rebekah Fowler continues to study and share the dance traditions of Rio, Bahia, and beyond. Since 2000, she has been teaching students how to samba "like they do it in Brazil," focusing on footwork, technique, and the Brazilian spirit of "alegria e charme" (joy and charm). Rebekah has worked in the United States and the United Kingdom as a performer, choreographer, and teacher of Brazilian dance for all ages and skill levels. In addition to teaching ongoing classes in the community, she has worked as choreographer and dance director for the Austin Samba School, one of the largest samba schools in the U.S. Rebekah is also a licensed Zumba® Fitness instructor and AFAA-certified group fitness instructor who enjoys transforming her exercise classes into a dance-party workout while having fun with students on the dance floor. She has trained in Brazil and the U.S. with Rosangela Silvestre, Nildinha Fonseca of the Balé Folclórico da Bahia and members of DanceBrazil. In addition to showing her students just how fun Brazilian dance and dance fitness can be, she also works as a translator (Spanish/Portuguese > English).
 

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Tyler Guthrie, Certified Pilates Instructor and ACE Certified Fitness Instructor

Tyler has had a passion for fitness and nutrition all her life. Her involvement in athletics and interest in "clean" eating diet habits led her to pursue a Personal Training certification through ACE.

After graduating from SMU with a degree in Journalism, Tyler moved to Austin and began her career in fitness, teaching boot camps, spinning classes, and creating customized programs to help clients reach their goals. Tyler began her advancement in Pilates training through PEAK Pilates in 2009 while continuing her personal training pursuits. Tyler is an education enthusiast who loves learning about the body and what techniques help each client find their ideal level of fitness and performance. Tyler has an understanding and compassionate approach to fitness. She enjoys challenging her clients and tailors each workout regimen carefully to ensure that she is meeting the particular needs of each client.

In 2013, Tyler took a leap to follow her passion of health and attended The Natural Gourmet Culinary Institute in New York. There she gained an understanding of the fundamentals of human nutrition and the connection between food and wellness. This 619 hour program excelled her to start helping clients not only with fitness, but with food and lifestyle choices. Tyler makes herself available to her clients at all times to answer questions, motivate, and help each client reach their true potential.
 

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James Fuller, Ballet Instructor
James Fuller is from Irvine, California, and was trained at Ballet Pacifica Conservatory. In 2004, James received a Youth America Grand Prix scholarship to study at the Boston Ballet School, where he completed his final year of training. James apprenticed with Oregon Ballet Theatre for a year before enrolling at Harvard University. At Harvard, James performed works by choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and Alvin Ailey.

In the summers, James studied modern dance with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, American Dance Festival, and Beijing LDTX. James directed the Harvard Ballet Company in 2009 and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Philosophy, a secondary field in dramatic arts, and a language citation in Urdu-Hindi. At graduation, he received the Suzanne Farrell Dance Prize for outstanding artistry in the field of dance and the David McCord Prize from Mather House for highest contribution to art and literature at Harvard.

James is a member of Ballet Austin's professional company, and since joining Ballet Austin, James has performed in original works by Stephen Mills, including Luminaria and Though the Earth Gives Way, danced in Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, performed with the National Choreographers Initiative, and choreographed for Houston City.

 

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Brittany Harpole, Certified Pilates & Fitness Instructor
Brittany Harpole was introduced to Pilates though her 15 years of classical ballet training. She studied under Vlada Sheber, director of Ballet Austin's Pilates Program. She is also certified with Peak Pilates and Power Pilates; both internationally recognized companies. Brittany danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's scholarship program and The Richmond Ballet. 

Brittany's knowledge, experience, and passion for fitness and movement guide her clients though personalized sessions to help achieve goals and specific fitness needs. Her group Pilates-based drop-in classes are also favorite workouts.

Brittany also implemented the Mommy & Baby Fit classes at Ballet Austin, including the ever-popular Babywearing Barre Workout.

Follow Brittany on Twitter @HarpoleBrittany

 

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Erika Holquin, Certified Piloxing® Instructor
Erika is a licensed Piloxing instructor and a licensed fitness instructor. Above all she believes exercise should be fun.

Erika is excited, energetic, and passionate about her teaching, encouraging and motivating class participants to keep going to the end!

Piloxing is a fitness program that blends the best of Pilates, boxing and dance into a high-energy interval workout. Check out the schedule and join Erika for a round of Piloxing!

 

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Aminya Houston, Hip Hop and Jazz Instructor
Aminya Houston was born and raised in Austin, Tx where she began dancing at the age of 3. She is trained in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop and musical theater. She competed and performed with the award winning dance company Body Talk directed by Kim Willett for 11 years. While in Body Talk she performed at the 1999 Texas Inauguration and also appeared on the FOX Network. Aminya received scholarships from several training conventions such as L.A. Danceforce, Tremaine, L.A. Dance Magic, and Monsters of Hip Hop. She enjoys training in Los Angeles at the Edge Performing Arts Center with Bill Prudich, Adam Parsons, Mandy Moore, Malaya, Doug Caldwell, Tovaris, Erica Sobol and Tabitha & Napoleon, and many more talented choreographers. This year, she had the opportunity to teach at the 2012 Texas Dance Educators Association Convention. Aminya currently teaches dance and choreographs for several high schools in the Austin area, and private studios around the U.S.

Aminya loves sharing her passion for dance and very excited to do so at Ballet Austin.

Follow Aminya on Twitter @Aminyakitchen

 

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Arletta Howard-Logan, Ballet Instructor
On faculty since 1996, Arletta Howard-Logan enjoys making ballet available to both professional and nonprofessional dancers through her instruction in the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness. Ms. Howard-Logan co-owned Austin Dance Academy (ADA) from 1986 to 1996. In 1996, ADA merged with Ballet Austin Academy and joined the Ballet Austin Academy faculty. She began her relationship with Ballet Austin as a guest dancer in 1992.

During her career, Ms. Howard-Logan has focused on artistic direction, teaching, performing and choreographing for such establishments as Austin Ballet Theatre, Austin Conservatory of the Arts, San Angelo Civic Ballet and Northcross Mall's ice skaters. As a performer, she danced for institutions including Ballet Austin, Austin Ballet Theatre, Incarnate Word College Ballet in San Antonio, Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, Victoria Ballet Theatre and Beaumont Civic Ballet. Her professional experience as well as the education she received as an aspiring dance pupil helped to shape her distinctive approach to teaching dance. Ms. Howard-Logan trained with the Royal Academy of Dancing Majors, earning various awards and accolades for her ballet technique. She has also studied with Oklahoma City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and several other schools and companies.

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Vivian Kaw, Hula Instructor
Ms. Kaw was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She began taking hula lessons from her mother, a hula teacher. These lessons eventually grew into a deep love of Hawaiian dance and culture.

Ms. Kaw currently studies hula with Kumu Hula Keli'i Chang's Halau Ho'ola Ka Mana O Hawai'i in Houston, TX. She has also studied with Kumu Hula Ellen Gay Delarosa (Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, HI), Kumu Hula Keith Awai (Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, HI), Kumu Hula Lorraine Daniels (Honolulu, HI), Kumu Hula Paul Ho'omanawanuiikana'auao Apo (Honolulu, HI), and Joyce Flaugher (San Antonio, TX). She competed in the prestigious Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in April 2006 with Kumu Chang. She is a founding member of the Island Rhythms Hula Company in Austin, TX, and is its current Artistic Director.

Ms. Kaw is active in film, television, print, and runway in Austin, TX. She is also an avid salsa dancer.

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Jean Claude Lessou, West African Instructor

Jean-Claude was born and raised in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in West Africa.  He began dancing professionally at age 15, and performed with the Dante Theater Company for five years before touring the U.S. as principal dancer with Ballet Jolem.

He regularly performs and teaches at dance camps and festivals throughout the U.S.  He produced a special event for children at the Kennedy Center, performing masked dances from his own village.  During the past 10 years, he taught at Lisangua Ya Bato Dance and Drum Camp in Woodstock, New York and worked with students and faculty at Goddard College, Saint Michael’s College, Middlebury College and Norwich University in Vermont.

For the past three years, he has choreographed and taught classes at “Africa in the Ozarks”, a West African dance camp in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  He was also the lead choreographer for the Lannaya West African Drum and Dance Ensemble in Austin. Today he works regularly with high schools and dance studios around Austin to choreograph professional and student performances.

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Felicia McBride, Pilates and Fitness Instructor

Originally from San Antonio, Felicia began her ballet training at the age of 12. She attended summer intensives at Houston Ballet, The Chautauqua Institute, Tulsa Ballet, Ballet Austin and also trained as a trainee with Charlotte ballet.

Felicia has danced professionally with companies such as Ballet Austin 2, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Hedwig Dances, Kristina Isabelle Dance Company, Chicago Repertory Ballet and Hubbard Street 2. She has performed works by Jiri Kylian, Matts Ek, Mauro Bigonzetti, Dominic Walsh, Stephen Mills, Alejandro Cerrudo, Maurya Kerr, Penny Saunders, Edgar Zendejas, Gabrielle Lamb, and Robyn Mineko Williams. Felicia has also guested for three seasons with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens in their production of "The Nutcracker." She has toured to Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands for various performance opportunities with a few of the companies listed previously. Within the past year, Felicia expanded her skill set and can now dance on stilts as well.

Currently Felicia is basing herself out of Austin and will continue her freelance career dancing in Austin with ARCOS Dance as well as smaller companies outside of the city. Felicia is extremely excited to be back in Austin!

Felicia has a great interest in fitness and movement, and is a certified Balance Body Pilates instructor.


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Alex Miller, Certified Pilates & Fitness Instructor and Contemporary Modern Dance Instructor

Alex Miller is a modern dancer and certified Pilates instructor originally from Louisiana. She earned her BFA in Performing Arts with a concentration in dance in 2010 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She received her Pilates certification through Balanced Body University in mat work, reformer, chair, and tower.

Alex has done many dance intensives, and continues to do so to keep up with her technical training. These include Tisch NYU Summer Intensive, Bates Dance Festival, American College Dance Festival, Doug Varone Summer Intensive, Doug Varone Winter Intensive, and travels annually to New York City to take various classes at Dance New Amsterdam, STEPS on Broadway, and other master classes to keep up with the ever changing dance world.

Alex's modern and contemporary classes are upbeat, technical, and always locomotive; using large movement both standing and floor work. You can find her in the Pilates Studio at Ballet Austin and also in the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness teaching Pilates, fitness, and dance classes all week and weekend long!



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Prakash Mohandas, Bollywood Dance Instructor

Prakash Mohandas is the founder of Agni Performing Arts based in Austin, TX. He is trained in Bollywood, Hip Hop and Jazz. He is also a filmmaker, entrepreneur, actor, and musician and is the founder of Agni Entertainment, film and theatre production company. His recent theatre project Lanka was a touring stage production that combined theatre, dance and martial arts.

Prakash produced and directed a larger than life touring Bollywood musical this past year, "Om Shanti Once upon a Time in Bollywood." Read what the Austin American Statesman had to say about this production.


Follow Prakash on Twitter @PrakashMohandas

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Selena Offenberg, Ballet Instructor

Selena Offenberg is originally from Munich, Gemany, and enjoyed a 14 year professional career; Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden and Nuremberg City Ballet, Germany; Paul Henry Dance Company, London; Concert Dance Theater, Munich; Michael Mao Dance and Dance Imprints, NYC.

Selena worked with choreographers Royston Maldoom of the Scottish Ballet and Mauricio Wainroth of Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal. She also trained with Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv; Ballet Rambert and Michael Clark in London; David Parsons and Alvin Ailey School in NYC. In the fashion industry,

Selena was a dance model in fashion shows with Nike, Reebok, Goldwell, Wella, and Mercedes Benz. Selena also worked as a personal trainer with members of the HBO Fitness Center, NYC, and in Miami.

From 2007 to 2013, Selena was ballet mistress, instructor (all ages) and administrative director with the New Mexico Dance Theater School and Performance Company.

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Lauren Parra, Jazz, Hip Hop and Jazz Funk Instructor
, Kids Hip Hop Instructor
Lauren Parra has danced ever since she could walk. Originally from Austin, she studied Dance at Skidmore College in Upstate New York, and while at school, Lauren had the opportunity to perform in many shows and to teach dance in the local community.

She has studied an array of styles including Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, Ballet, Salsa and Tap. Lauren has taught hip hop and jazz in both New York and Austin and has experience teaching all ages. Lauren has a passion for dance which she loves imparting to students of all ages.

Lauren is excited to be a member of the Ballet Austin teaching family.

 

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Sara Paul, Ballet Instructor
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Sara began her dance training at the Peabody Preparatory under the direction of Carol Bartlett and Barbara Weisberger, founder of the Pennsylvania Ballet. At Peabody, she was a dedicated student of both classical ballet and contemporary dance. She studied in the select Arts for Talented Youth program and received multiple scholarships and awards, including the Sara Glassman Scholarship, support from the Wendy Robinson Memorial Fund, the Peabody Dance Scholarship, and the Performance Award in Dance. Sara spent her summers studying at renowned summer intensive programs at The Washington Ballet, American Ballet Theater, The School of American Ballet, and Ballet Austin. Upon her graduation in 2005, Sara was accepted into Ballet Austin's Professional Trainee Program. In 2006, after just one season in the trainee program, Sara was promoted to Ballet Austin's Second Company. During Sara's two seasons with Ballet Austin, she performed works by Stephen Mills, Thang Dao, Thaddeus Davis, Gina Patterson, and Michelle Thompson. In 2007, Sara became a founding member of New York-based contemporary company Wideman/Davis Dance under the direction of Thaddeus Davis and Tanya Wideman-Davis. Both in New York and on tour, Sara performed principle roles in Davis' Based on Images, Woman, Rock and my Soul, Elida and Twenty Rising, and the Boskett Affair. This 2013-2014 Season, Sara is working with Wideman/Davis Dance on two new works, in addition to other freelance opportunities.

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Elise Pekerak, Pilates & Fitness Instructor
Originally from the Chicago area, Elise began her ballet training with Judith Svalander in Crystal Lake, Illinois. In 2007 she was accepted into Ballet Austin's Trainee Program and moved to Austin to further her dance education. In 2009 Elise joined Ballet Austin II and has just finished her second season as a BAII apprentice and is thrilled to be returning this fall as a company member for the 2011/12 season.

Elise had utilized Pilates as a part of her ballet training and as a means of injury prevention and rehabilitation, but after moving to Austin Elise found a passion for Pilates, fitness and wellness. In 2009, Elise studied with Ann Arnoult and became certified in the D.K. Body Balancing Method of Pilates mat instruction. She is also certified with Balanced Body Pilates. When not dancing, she enjoys running, kickboxing, Pilates reformer classes, and teaching swim lessons. Elise looks forward to working with clients in the Pilates Center, and motivating people through her fitness and conditioning classes to achieve results and improve wellness through movement...all while having fun!

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Madison Piner, Director of the Broadway Kids Camp, Jazz, Tap and Musical Theatre Instructor
Madison Piner is a graduate of Oklahoma City University where she received her degree in dance performance.

Maddie has extensive musical theatre experience from the time she was a young child. She studied dance at the Ballet Austin Academy and Butler Center for Dance & Fitness for 12 years including classes in ballet, jazz, tap and musical theatre. She also studied voice with Dr. Michael McKelvey and was a member of Performers Workshop.

Some of her past musical theatre production credits include Music Man and Carousel with TexARTS, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Assassins, Sweet Charity, The Producers, Little Shop of Horrors and SWING with Summerstock Austin, and The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz and Celebrate! with Austin Musical Theatre.

Maddie performed the roles of Judy in White Christmas, Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, for which she was awarded Best Actress in the UIL Zone competition.

Maddie has served as dance captain for numerous musical theatre productions, choreographed for both high school and college students, taught jazz and musical theatre at Ballet Austin's Summer Intensive program, directed The Broadway Kids camps for several years at Ballet Austin, and has taught many other Ballet Austin camps and classes. She is also sought after as a choreographer in the Austin area for many local musicals.

Madison looks forward to being in Austin for awhile choreographing and teaching.

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Joshua Piper, Pianist Cooordinator
In his role as Pianist Coordinator for Ballet Austin, Joshua Piper accompanies dance classes and manages accompanist schedules for the Ballet Austin Company, Ballet Austin Academy, and the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness. In addition to working for Ballet Austin, Joshua is also the pianist for the Tosca Tango Orchestra, works with the Vintage 15 jazz big band, is staff organist and pianist for Asbury United Methodist Church, plays for Royal Academy of Dance exams, and teaches a small group of piano students ranging from children to adults. A dog-lover and avid runner, in 2011 Joshua completed the Austin Marathon, and one can often find him running along the Town Lake Trail, or at the Auditorium Shores Dog Park with Samantha, his corgi-mix. He holds a BA in Piano Performance from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas.

It is especially great to have Joshua coordinating pianists for adult ballet classes.

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Boo Ruiz, Certified Pilates Instructor, Dance Instructor

Boo Ruiz is a lifetime dancer and student of Pilates. Involved in competitive dance from the age of eight, Boo started her formal ballet training at Ballet Austin under Mr. Stephen Mills in 1996. After a dance injury, and a year of recuperative Pilates work with Vlada. Sheber, Boo made a full recovery, is still dancing today. Boo continued her Pilates training under the direction of Vlada Sheber, and completed her certification.

From 2012-2014 Boo completed a number of advanced trainings including Bar Method™ certification, Pilates Sports Center™ certification, and DaVinci Body Board™ certification while growing her knowledge of movement focused on injury prevention and rehabilitation.  Her current certifications include: pre-natal/post-partum Pilates, Pilates for golfers and equestrians, Pilates for special populations (senior citizens and small children), as well as specialized continuing education in the jump board, foam roller, Cadillac, Wunda chair, tower, special needs citizens (handicapped, Down syndrome, MS, and seizure patients), and is currently pursuing her Master Trainer Certification through Pilates Sports Center™ (CA). Boo is also a National Academy of Sports Medicine™ (NASM) certified personal trainer with specialized credits as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist.

Boo continues her professional education in anatomy and Pilates practices to ensure she brings fresh ideas to the studio for challenging, yet healthy workouts. Her passion, energy and knowledge is a part of every workout, whether dance or Pilates.

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Jason Vaughn, House Dance & Hip Hop Instructor
Jason Vaughn has been a dancer & choreographer for 10 years of many facets of dance, such as Hip Hop, House, Breaking and West African.

He was born and raised in Houston, TX, but now is an Austin resident. He has performed for Ballet Afrique, in shows such as "Our Legacy" & "Love Letters", for The University of Texas, and Red bull. Jason learned from numerous veteran dancers such as Moustapha Bangoura & Jean-Claude ( West African dance), Caleaf Sellers ( House), B-Boy Flowmaster ( Break Dancing) & Mario Pena ( Hip Hop dance ). He has taught Break Dancing, House Dance & Hip Hop, as well as private hip hop lessons.

Jason is notoriously known for his great personality, positive energy and patience.

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Quinton Weathers, Musical Theater Instructor
Quinton grew up in Austin where he began dancing at the age of 8. He studied just about every style of dance including jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, lyrical, musical theater and gymnastics.

Quinton received many scholarships and awards and at the age of 12 began training at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles where he trained with Mandy Moore, Adams Parsons, Tabitha and Napoleon, and Roger Lee only to name a few.

Quinton's fresh choreography and outgoing personality makes him a sought after teacher and choreographer. You will love his class!

 

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Lucy Wilson, Modern/Contemporary Instructor
Lucy Wilson graduated with honors with a B.F.A. in Dance from the conservatory at Purchase College, SUNY. While at Purchase, she worked with a number of talents, including: Bill T. Jones, Monica Bill Barnes, Catherine Cabeen, and Kevin Wynn. She has had the wonderful opportunity to train in a wide range of dance styles, in several countries around the world, and with artists from companies that include Batsheva, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Shen Wei, Kyle Abraham, Doug Varone & Dancers, Inbal Pinto, Mark Morris Dance Group, and more.

Lucy's performance credits include Annie Rigney, Brooke Broussard, The Dreamland Follies, Pam Tanowitz, and Nelly Van Bommel // NA Dance. She continues to study and perform in Austin, and is currently pursuing her yoga teaching certification.

In her classes, Lucy draws from different techniques to create movement that ranges from technical and challenging, to sweeping and simple. She is absolutely in love with dance, and loves to explore its possibilities with her students..

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Terri Lynn Wright, Ballet Instructor
Ms. Wright received her early training with Barbara Carson and Stanley Hall in Austin, Texas. She studied with Robert Joffrey, Patricia Wilde, Kristen Ralov, Kirsten Simone, and Peter Appel during summers in the U.S. and Europe. Ms. Wright began her professional dance career in Wiesbaden, Germany, followed by ten years with the North Carolina Dance Theatre where she became principal dancer as well as an assistant to director Salvatore Aiello.

She enjoyed Dance Theatre's diverse repertoire that included works by choreographers such as Salvatore Aiello, Oscar Ariaz, George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Bill Evans, Lambros Lambrou, Luk de Layress, Robert Lindgren, Lar Lubovich, Susan McKee-McCullough, Elisa Monte, Vincente Nebrada, Marius Petipa, Helgi Tomasson, Mel Tomlinson, Norbert Vesak, Mauricio Wainrot and Alvin Ailey. Leading roles performed in Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, Scotch Symphony, Glinka Pas de Trois, Pas de Dix and Valse Fantasie were coached by Melissa Hayden and Marina Eglevsky.

Ms. Wright has taught master classes while touring with NCDT throughout the U.S. and Europe, for summer sessions at North Carolina School of the Arts, and was a guest teacher at the Arts Magnet School in Dallas. She continues to help care for works choreographed by the late Mr. Aiello.

As a teacher, Ms. Wright's methods evolve with Ballet Austin, the students' needs and the ever increasing demands put upon the professional dancer.


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Erick Yanez, Hip Hop Instructor

Erick Yanez started dancing at the age of sixteen. Self-taught in hip hop, he began taking dance classes at Burnet High School where he learned the principal elements of dance. From the moment he started, he fell in love with dance and entered into his 1st two dance competitions: he placed top ten overall in both of them and received performance/showmanship awards along with a scholarship to New York Dance Experience. This provided multiple opportunities as an instructor and a performer.

Erick has performed as a dancer in House of Torment, numerous music videos, and Premios Texas with multiple artists like Gloria Trevi, Chingo Bling, Grupo Treo, and Danie Pearl just to name a few. Erick is an instructor at various studios throughout the Austin area and continues to spread his love for dance with others.


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