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Aarti Asrani Aarti Asrani is a North Carolina native who has been practicing and performing Bhangra for the past eight years. At Duke, she served as the captain of the Duke Bhangra team and has competed in Chicago, DC, Las Vegas, Miami, and a number of other cities with her team. To Aarti, dance is more than just a hobby - dance means following a passion, always learning new things, and belonging to a family of fellow dancers.
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!
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.
Lauren Deisenroth Lauren Deisenroth has pursued a love of dance for over twenty years and has been studying the Pilates method for more than a decade. A certified Pilates Mat instructor, she feels that the method benefits the well being of both dancers and non-dancers alike. Lauren now has an additional love in her life: baby Olivia!
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.
Tracey Durbin Tracey Durbin recently moved to Durham from Portland, OR, where she has been an integral part of the Portland dance scene for 25 years. She has choreographed and taught for Northwest Dance Project, BodyVox Dance, Oregon Ballet Theater and Reed College. Most recently, Tracey was one of four choreographers chosen for the Northwest Dance Project ‘Chopin Project’ with acclaimed pianist Yekwon Sunwoo and she is also a featured artist in the book 'Beauty Is Experience: Dancing 50 and Beyond' published by Stance on Dance in 2017.
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.
Rachelle Feldman Rachelle Feldman grew up studying and performing ballet at Maryland Youth Ballet with national acclaimed teacher Hortensia Fonseca, and modern dance with Anne Waugh Allan among others . She also served as Ballet Mistress for Columbia Dance Theater and taught creative movement, modern dance, and ballet to children. She earned a bachelor's degree in Dramatic Arts - Dance at the University of California, Berkeley where she received the Julia Payne Award for Dance Scholarship and Choreography. Rachelle danced for various modern choreographers in the San Francisco Bay Area and taught ballet and contemporary classes for adults at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center before moving to Durham in late 2016.
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.
Melissa Godwin Melissa Godwin has been working with children age six weeks to six years for more than a decade. A preschool teacher for twelve years, she grew up dancing and always loved incorporating music and movement into her classrooms; she is excited to bring that play into the dance studio. Melissa is also a certified ChildLight Yoga and Mindfulness for Children instructor.
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.
Laura Grant Laura Grant is a movement-based educator and performer who has been teaching students ages birth-adult since 2006. After 15 years away (in MN and NYC), she recently moved back home to the Triangle. Laura holds certifications in adult yoga, youth yoga, and infant developmental movement, and is currently pursuing an MS in Education at Bank Street College (NYC). She has been mindfully moving since age 3, studying various modern dance, somatic, and improvisational forms, and she has performed as a professional contemporary dancer in NYC and Minneapolis. Laura’s youngest students keep her curious, playful, compassionate, patient, and present, for which she is immensely grateful.
Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez has a life-long love of dance, studying ballet and dancing 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 in the U.S. with Carlota Santana, Belen Maya, Anna Menendez, Carmela Greco, and others. Jeanie endeavors to share her enjoyment of the dance with her students.
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.
LeBrandi Johnson LeBrandi Johnson began dancing at age 5 and continued through high school and college. She performed African and multi-cultural dance with DanceVisions and La Raza at NCSU, and guest performed with the Duke University Dance Ensemble and with Ron K. Brown at the Kennedy Center.
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!
Emylice Landestoy Emylice Landestoy hails from the Dominican Republic, where she trained from an early age in a variety of dance styles, including ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern and contemporary. She moved to NYC in 2011 and earned her BA in Dance with a minor in Exercise Science from CUNY Lehman College. While in college Emylice trained intensively in Katherine Dunham technique of Afro-Caribbean dance and was awarded numerous awards and scholarships. She performed and presented work in NYC and also worked as a Dance Specialist at the Y.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dominique Sauls Dominique Sauls is originally from Goldsboro, NC and has been living in Durham since 2009. Her dance background includes over a decade of experience in cheerleading; she was also a member of a step team in college.
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!
Travis Travis "Skitz" Simmons has had a longtime passion for dance. A student at NCCU, he has studied and performed with Kristi Vincent Johnson (Director of Triangle Dance Project), Avis Hatcher-Puzzo (Director of Koffee Dance Company), and Ryan "Native" Taylor (Young Bulleyex). Travis' goal is to continue learning and growing so that he can "aspire to inspire."
Paige Smith Paige Smith has 17 years of pre-professional classical ballet training, studying in Cary, NC and spending summers dancing and training with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Washington Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. While training at Cary Ballet Conservatory, she had the opportunity to perform with Carolina Ballet in the productions of Nutcracker, Carmen, and Romeo and Juliet. Paige has taught ballet to children ages 3 and up since her high school days and has a special love for teaching all ages.
Ruby Timberlake Ruby Timberlake has studied a variety of dance styles, including ballet, modern, lyrical, jazz, and prophetic dance, for over 24 years. She is licensed as a dance minister through the Eagles International Training Institute. Ruby teaches at conferences, workshops, nursing homes, prisons, community centers, church events, and inspirational services and is the founder of Simply Grace Dance Ministries.
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.
Megan Yankee Megan Yankee is a dancer, experimental choreographer, and movement educator who holds an MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She has taught dance online as well as in a range of face-to-face settings including non-profit dance studios, public and private school residencies, private lessons, dance festivals, intensives, and collegiate programs. Her movement lineage includes an eclectic mix of contemporary dance techniques, gymnastics, colorguard, contact improvisation, as well as somatic and release techniques. She has taught and presented work in Kampala, Uganda; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and in festivals across the US. For more information, visit meganyankee.wordpress.com.

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