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Liza Ashton Liza Ashton moved back to North Carolina after living in San Antonio, Texas for 10 years. While in Texas, she was the owner and Artistic Director of LA Performing Arts and the lead choreographer for the Sensations Dance Company. She has danced with two professional dance companies and performed as a character and dancer for Walt Disney World in Florida. Liza also has over 20 years stage experience, and has worked as a professional actress in Los Angeles. She is a long-standing member of Screen Actor's Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. When not dancing or acting, Liza enjoys spending time with her two amazing children and her wonderful husband in Chapel Hill.
Anna Barker Anna Barker was introduced to Pilates during college, as a strengthening and supportive tool for her dance career. She went on to receive her Pilates Mat Certification in 2009 and taught in Philadelphia and New York City for 5 years. Anna moved back home to Durham, where she received the Pilates apparatus/equipment certification at InsideOutBodyTherapies, and currently teaches at several local studios. She is fascinated by the healing and reconstructive elements of Pilates and has used the system to combat her own dance-related injuries. Anna is thrilled to share her movement experiences in her classes, while not taking herself too seriously!
Suzanne Beahrs Suzanne Beahrs is a modern dancer, teacher and choreographer. She loves teaching multiple styles of dance to both children and adults. She has taught at Dance New Amsterdam, Gibney Dance Center, Mark Morris Dance Center, Dancewave, and others in New York City, and has guest taught at Elon University and North Carolina State University. With her company, Suzanne Beahrs Dance, she has shown work and performed at venues throughout New York City, as well as in Boston, San Francisco, and Tempe, AZ. Suzanne received her MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. suzannebeahrs.org
Shanda Clifton Shanda Clifton developed a passion for dance during her junior year of high school. Through determination and hard work, she taught herself to dance by watching YouTube. She has auditioned for NBA and NFL cheerleading teams in both Florida and North Carolina and has performed across North Carolina as a Carolina Flames Cheerleader and Cary Invasion Dancer. In February 2015 she cheered at the CIAA Celebrity Basketball Game in Charlotte, with celebrities such as Keke Palmer, Lil Kim and Lil Romeo in attendance.
Christina Conley Christina Conley began dancing at age three, focusing her training on jazz, tap, and modern. She holds a BA in modern dance from the George Washington University and is certified in yoga, Pilates mat, and Pilates apparatus. Christina has taught in the Triangle since 2006 and has performed with Killian Manning, Ava Vinesett, for the UNC-G graduate dance department, and recently at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. She also practices massage therapy in Chapel Hill.
Rebecca Conley Rebecca Conley began tap dancing with Gene Medler at age 7 and is an alumna of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble. She has been teaching different styles of dance, including Irish step and tap, to children and adults for more than 20 years.
Michelle Draughon Michelle Draughon has trained with Latino professionals from all over the country and has been teaching since 1993; she has appeared in hundreds of events and on local television.
Sally Mae Dunn Sally Mae Dunn appeared on Broadway in Will Rogers' Follies (Original Cast), Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public (Original Cast), Beauty and the Beast (Babette u/s), Follies (Revival (Original Cast)), Never Gonna Dance (Original Cast), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Original Cast). National Tours include Anything Goes (Chastity) and Chicago (June). She also performed in Radio City's Christmas Spectacular and regional productions of Sweet Charity (Charity), Contact (The Wife), Crimes of the Heart (Chick) and Chapter Two (Faye). She began her career dancing at Disney World's EPCOT Center, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland in CA. Her career has spanned many years and she is happy to bring the knowledge born from her vast experience to the classroom.
Caroline Dyar Caroline Dyar is a Green and Black Belt Nia teacher who was introduced to Nia in 1999 and began her teaching journey in 2008. Her Nia practice guides her to be aware of sensation, to open her mind to endless possibilities, to allow emotions to flow and release, and to listen to and embrace her unique spirit. Caroline delights in applying what she has learned from Nia to every aspect of her life, and she loves to share the Joy with everybody! Contact Caroline and read the story of her Nia journey by visiting her NiaNow profile: http://www.nianow.com/carolinia
ShaLeigh Fairbanks ShaLeigh Fairbanks holds a Masters degree in Visual and Performing Arts and toured with the Roanoke Ballet Theatre of Virginia. She lived for several years in New York City, where she danced with Tina Croll and Company and apprenticed with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane. In 2005, she formed ShaLeigh Dance Works, a dance-theatre company dedicated to creating socially conscious works. ShaLeigh has also studied Gaga technique in Israel with Ohad Naharin and the Batsheva Dance Company.
Bernadine Fields Bernadine Fields has trained in dance styles ranging from hip hop, ballet, pointe, jazz, West African, lyrical, and modern. She has been teaching and performing for over 12 years. She studied modern dance at NC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and went on to receive her degree in Dance Education at UNC-G. Bernadine is currently the dance director and department chair for the performing arts at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability. As a performer, she has done work for Disney, TLC network, Fox, and 2 movies. Bernadine is the founder of NC Underground, which provides quality training and performance opportunities for dancers of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Rita Glynn Rita Glynn has always been a lover of music and movement and has been a professional performer from the age of eight. Her first career landed her both on Broadway and on a National Broadway Tour. After experiencing body image issues, she decided to pursue a new career as a mental health counselor specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and is currently a graduate student at the UNC-CH Medical School in the Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program. Throughout her own recovery, Rita knew that movement would remain a critical part of her being and she took time to explore many different forms of movement, including yoga and Zumba, until at last she took a POUND class and fell in love! She has also been an instructor of Ballet Burn, Pure Barre and PopUp Workout. More at: poundwithrita.wixsite.com/pound
John Graner John Graner started dancing 16 years ago and never stopped. He's been teaching for almost 13 years and is experienced in a range of dances including Lindy Hop, Blues, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, and social ballroom. He enjoys teaching and sharing dance with others in fun and inviting ways. He currently teaches, DJs, and organizes for RDU Blues and DJs for the Lindy Lab.
Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez has always been interested in dance and studied ballet and danced in musicals and summer stock while at university. She has choreographed and danced for the Kansas City and Orlando Lyric Operas, as well as for Epcot Center and other venues. Her flamenco and Spanish dance studies began in NYC at Ballet Hispanico. She has studied in Spain with Milagros Mengibar, Raphael Campallo, Isabel Quintero, and El Veneno and in the U.S. with Carlota Santana, Belen Maya, Leonor Leal, and numerous others. Jeanie endeavors to share her enjoyment of the dance with others.
Steven James Steven James hails from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, where he began his movement studies with the martial arts. While a student at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, he studied ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance intensively and performed and choreographed with HINCAPIE and ANDANZA dance companies. Steven came to the Triangle area a year and a half ago and has been teaching both children and adults at local studios.
Stephanie Johnston Stephanie Johnston is a dancer, singer, and Celtic musician who has been performing professionally since her teens. She has appeared in concerts and festivals in Canada and all over the United States, and has recorded two albums with the Carrboro-based Celtic music and dance group, Cucanandy. She began teaching Cape Breton step dancing in 2002 and founded the Asheville, NC percussive dance group, Twistycuffs, in 2006.
Laurie LaBean Laurie LaBean is a certified Blue and Green Belt instructor and a licensed massage therapist who has been studying health and healing for the last 9 years. When she began dancing Nia®, she realized the incredible power Nia has to heal the body, mind and spirit. In her Nia classes she fosters an environment free of judgment where participants can just have fun!
John Laible John Laible has been teaching dance for 14 years. He loves teaching a wide variety of ballroom dances, including waltz, salsa, swing, shag, and his favorite, bolero. He enjoys encouraging his students as they develop their skills and tailors each class to the needs of those attending.
Lucinda (Lu) Lathan Lucinda (Lu) Lathan considers herself a North Carolina native, even with her off-shore roots. She has been dancing, performing and teaching dance in many forms for most of her life. Lu believes dance should be fun before it's technical and that technique should only enhance the fun. She is a certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer and a licensed Zumba instructor since 2011.
Nicole Lawson Nicole Lawson , originally from Sandy Ridge, North Carolina, is a dancer, choreographer, and instructor working in the Research Triangle community. Nicole began working with young children while still a student herself. This will be her sixth year teaching dance to young students. A recent graduate of Meredith College, Nicole received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Studies and Spanish with a Certificate in Professional Performance. In addition to her work with Ninth Street Dance, Nicole is also a dancer with Renay Aumiller Dances in Durham, North Carolina.
Caroline Leitschuh Caroline Leitschuh has been dancing for 12 years and teaching dance for 9 years. She has trained in blues, lindy hop, belly dance, ballroom, jazz, and ballet. She loves working with dancers of all levels and building a safe, supportive dance community. She currently organizes, teaches, and DJs for RDU Blues.
Raina Lucas Raina Lucas is a dance teacher, choreographer, and dance research artist. She received her MFA in dance, with a concentration in choreography, from UNC-G, and a BA in dance and psychology from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. She teaches a variety of dance styles to both adults and children and has taught dance technique and lecture courses at UNC-G and Guilford College. Her latest endeavor has been the founding of her contemporary dance company, the Raina Lucas//Dance Co. & Lab. Raina Lucas//Dance Co. & Lab
Antonio Luna Antonio Luna began his dance training in high school and has studied jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and African dance. He has been teaching both kids and adults for the past two years.
Savita Madan Savita Madan has been dancing for nearly fourteen years and has taught dance for the past seven. She has studied various dance styles ranging from ballet to modern to classical to folk. Among these dance styles, Bhangra is her true passion; she has been a member of UNC's competitive Bhangra Elite team for the last four years.
Laylianah Mahasin Laylianah Mahasin has been devoted to the art of Belly Dance for over 11 years. She has studied many styles of belly dance with world-renowned instructors, and is excited to share her knowledge and passion with her students. Laylianah emphasizes the importance of correct technique, while providing a fun and supportive atmosphere for students who are just discovering what amazing belly dancers they can be!
Nicolette (Nicki) Miller Nicolette (Nicki) Miller studied ballet, tap, and jazz as a young girl and later focused primarily on ballet and modern. She studied at the Virginia School of the Arts and at the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Conservatory of Music and Dance. Nicki has performed with several Triangle-area dance companies, including ShaLeigh Dance Works.
Allie Pfeffer Allie Pfeffer is a North Carolina native and has been studying various dance styles, including ballet, modern, and jazz, since she was a child. She received her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and was performing and working as an arts administrator in New York City for 5 years before returning to NC two years ago. She has taught both young children and adults; her adult classes focus on movement that is informed by bodily structures and seek to extend the limits of how we think we're capable of moving.
Jasson Phillips Jasson Phillips has been dancing and teaching West Coast Swing for many years and competes on the national circuit.
McDaniel Roberts McDaniel Roberts dances with the African American Dance Ensemble and is the Artistic Director of The Harambee Collective. He has performed with many companies, including the NC Central University Dance Group, and has traveled abroad to perform.
Deborah Ross Deborah Ross currently studies dance at North Carolina Central University. She has done Liturgical Dance for seven years starting with the founding group of Victory In Praise Dance Ministry of UNC at Chapel Hill. She is now a member of Divine Destiny Dance Ministry at New Covenant Christian Church of Durham, NC.
Carol Ryner Carol Ryner taught movement and martial arts for seventeen years, and has also studied a variety of partner dances. A long-time and beloved social dance instructor at NInth Street Dance, she says that dance is her passion and that she teaches with the belief that "if you can walk, you can dance.
Ray Schwartz Ray Schwartz received his MFA in Dance from University of Texas-Austin. He has been on the faculty of the University of the Americas Puebla in San Andrés Cholula, México for eleven years, is a co-founder of Performática, an international dance forum, and is a research associate at the Center for Mind Body Movement. He has co-founded four contemporary dance projects, has been a guest artist on several continents, and is a published scholar whose principal focus is the interface of somatic movement education and contemporary dance practice. Somatic studies include certifications in Body-Mind Centering® and the Feldenkrais Method™. Additional studies include Zero-Balancing, Gross Anatomy (Dissection), Cranio-Sacral Therapy, and Traditional Thai Massage.
Nischitha Shetty Nischitha Shetty is a well-known Bollywood choreographer in the Triangle. Her experience spans over 20 years, and she has been teaching dance for the last 10 years. She was introduced to Indian classical, folk and Bollywood dance styles at a young age. Her passion for Bollywood kept on growing because of the versatility it offers. She choreographs and performs regularly at various events - from small private parties to big international festivals. She likes to incorporate different dance styles like Indian folk, Indian classical, contemporary and hip-hop into her dance routine. She works well with adults, children and dancers of all levels. Her classes are clearly structured, well researched and fun!
Cristina Velasquez Cristina Velasquez studied with Hannan Sultan and has performed with Hannan’s student/professional dance troupe “Zohour al Sultan”. She has assisted with belly dance workshops taught by internationally known dancers, including Mohamed Shahin, Tamalyn Dallal, Bozenka, Tito, Camelia, and Yousry Sharif. Cristina currently performs as a soloist at local events, private parties, and venues around the Triangle and continues to study belly dance at workshops abroad.
Jose Velasquez Jose Velasquez grew up dancing, but it wasn't until high school that he attended his first hip-hop class. Largely self-taught since then, he has had the honor of opening for several big events, including The Gospel Choice Awards in Atlanta, 102 Jams Super Summer Jam, KC and Jojo and New Edition, and more.
Erika Bianca Vinson Erika Bianca Vinson began performing hip-hop with Pamoja Dance Company at The University of Georgia. She continued her training with Culture Shock Chicago NFP, through which she met and began touring with recording artist Kid Sister. She has performed in several music videos, international festivals, and on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC). Erika has been an EC Behavioral TA in Chapel Hill for the past two years. She has been a dance teacher for five years and a kids' dance instructor for one year.
Li Vizzi Li Vizzi is a dancer from Baltimore by way of New York. He found the Pilates Center of Boulder by accident and fell in love with its way of getting people moving and lending awareness to its practitioners. Li is finishing up his Pilates training at Inside Out Body Therapies in Durham; he likes anything movement related.
Leah Wilks Leah Wilks is a Durham-based dancer, teacher and choreographer. She has taught creative movement, release technique, improvisation and composition to kids and adults in a variety of settings. She likes getting her students moving and is constantly inspired by the ways in which they make her imagination grow.
Becca Wilusz Becca Wilusz began dancing at age three in Hamilton, NJ and grew up competing in NJ and New York City. As a student at Duke, she choreographed and performed with two dance groups. She holds a B.S.E. in biomedical and mechanical engineering and is pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Duke.
Stephanie Blackmon Woodbeck Stephanie Blackmon Woodbeck is a dance artist and teacher based in Hillsborough, NC. She holds a BFA in dance from UNC-G, an Associates Degree in massage therapy from the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences in NYC, and a certificate in Pilates Mat from the PhysicalMind Institute in NYC. Stephanie loves anatomy and physiology and bringing this knowledge into the dance studio. She is the co-founder of Tobacco Road Dance Productions and an active member of the Durham dance community.

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