Kathy Dupuy - Owner
Melissa began dancing at age 2 and has studied dance across the world from New York City to Germany. Her dance career has been very active in the local Austin community since 1999, teaching in numerous dance studios and Drill Teams in around the country. She is certified as a pre-school teacher where she is educated and trained in early childhood development and has spent the most of her adult life inspiring a love of life and dance in her students. From 2013-2020, she co-owned Evolution Dance Center and created a nurturing home for professional seeking dancers with the award winning EVOLVE Dance Company. Melissa is passionate about cultivating an environment that is safe and explorative for her dancers, challenging them to set goals, take risks, and make change. Under her direction, her dancers have received regional and national recognition and her choreography been nationally recognized and awarded. Melissa brings a fresh and exciting energy into her classroom, instilling confidence and creativity in her students. As a military wife, she is ready for anything life throws at her, and is passionate about cultivating a future of leaders that are confident, powerful, fearless, and creative. Melissa’s goal is to provide a customized dance experience for each dancer based on their own personal needs and goals and to provide a safe space to explore their growth and lead us in the future.
Lauris Blackwell grew up singing and dancing! After high school she attended Austin College,and then went on to New York, where she was a scholarship winner to the American Musicaland Dramatic Academy. She stayed in NYC for eleven years performing professionally on and offBroadway and on many National and European tours. Some of her favorite roles are theNarrator in“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, Rose, in “Bye, Bye Birdie”,Amnesia, in “Nunsense”, Lily, in “Annie”, and Rhetta, in “Pump Boys and Dinettes”.She has performed at the White House and the Kennedy Center for both the Bush and ClintonAdministration in conjunction with the Children’s Literacy Program. She performed in theNatchez Opera for ten years and was fortunate enough to bethe soloist for then GovernorGeorge Bush’s Inauguration.Since moving home to Texas, she has performed and Choreographed with Waco Children’sTheater, Temple Civic Theatre,the Public Domain, and River City Pops and many others. She haschoreographed for Buzz Productions, Akins High School, River City Pops, Austin SummerMusicals For Children, as wellas served on the RCP and ASMC Boards. She teaches tap, ballet,jazz, andmusical theatreto all ages. She is the dance instructor and Choreographer for ChristianYouth Theatre. When not dancing about, she spends time with her husband, James,and theirwonderful son Dustin. She is so grateful and blessed to be a part of all of her work “families”.
Alicia started dancing when she was 7 years old with Deb’s Dance in Elgin and continued on till she was 11 years old. When learning from Ms. Deb she was taught in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. Alicia started dancing again as a sophomore in high school at Elgin and became apart of the Purple Diamonds Dance Team in 2014. She eventually became Major officer her Senior year and won numerous awards while on the team. After graduating she continued with dance and started teaching Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Contemporary, and Drill Team Prep classes at Dance N Groove with the ages 2-15. After teaching for a year she continued her dance education at Tyler Junior College and was offered dance scholarships. While in Tyler she had the opportunities to teach at multiple dance studios, solos, and was a assistant director for TJC’s 30th anniversary of The Nutcracker. She is currently continuing her education at ACC and plans on being a Early Childhood- 6th Education major.
Elena Giannuzzi is an artist based out of Austin, Texas. Since the age of two Elena has been dancing, and was instructed in several forms of dance such as Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, and Contemporary. Her passion to study dance took her to Sam Houston State University, where she graduated with a B.F.A. in dance and with an emphasis in Pilates. She also had the opportunity to work closely with artists such as Manuel Vigonoulle, Bliss Kohlmyer, and Joshua L. Peugh. Since training at SHSU, Elena had the opportunity to study abroad with The Dance Italia Program out of Lucca, Italy. There, Elena took daily classes in Counter Technique with Elita Cannata and Gaga classes and Repertory with Chisato Ohno (Batsheva Dance Company). Additionally, Elena has worked under Elijah Alhaji Gibson (SHSU) who is a long-standing company member with The Gus Giordano Company, where Elena had the opportunity to train as a scholarship student with their College Program in Chicago, IL. Most recently she has performed in The Dance Gallery Festival in NYC, The Barnstorm Dance Fest in Houston, TX, the American College Dance Association in Beaumont, TX, and NobleMotion Dance in their show “Catapult” in Houston, TX. Upcoming, Elena will join The Axis Connect, (Barton Movement) Program out of Los Angeles, where she will study under the guidance of many artists as she travels from Los Angeles to New York City. Currently, Elena is dancing for The Social Movement, under the instruction of Elijah Alhaji Gibson out of Houston TX.
Along with her passion for performing, Elena is also a passionate teacher and has been teaching in studios around Texas for five years now. Recently, her choreography has been featured in the Annual Dance to Breath Benefit Concert, raising money for Cystic Fibrosis in Austin, TX. And her work as an undergraduate student at SHSU was nominated as a candidate to perform at The American College Dance Association in 2018. The Dance community is very important to her and she plans on continuing to teach so she can spread the knowledge she has attained from her dance career.
Ki’ana considers herself an Austonian, even though she was a military brat and lived in many different places growing up. She started dancing when she started walking and, as she grew up, continued to dance in her garage and put on talent shows for her parents. She performed in many talent competitions as she moved across the globe and ultimately became the captain of her step team in 8th grade and later, the creator of the first hip hop dance club at her high school. She went to school to play basketball at Trinity International in Chicago, and then transferred to the University of North Texas, where she joined Choreoblock, also known as UNT FSA Modern. She became a choreographer and later, the creative co-director for the team, between 2015-2017. In the meantime, she also danced on Neighborhood, in Dallas, out of DFC dance studio, and went to World of Dance, placing 1st in 2016, and 3rd in 2018, winning crowd favorite both years, as well as Summer Meltdown, in Houston, in 2016, taking home 1st, and Dancers’ Paradise, in Mexico, in 2017 and 2018. After completing school at North Texas, she finished out her time with Neighborhood, in the spring of 2018, and became the director of the youth team, Impact N Change, for the 2019 WOD Dallas season. In August 2019, she moved home to Austin. She love dancing and is committed to continuinng to make it a part of her life, to learn and grow, and try to help promote growth for those around her.
Ann Marie Schuler
Ann Marie is an award-winning dancer, teacher, choreographer, actress, and singer, who has been teaching and performing for over 25 years. She grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, studying dance at Becky Nalevanko’s Dance and Tumbling Studio. She was the Co-Director of Hudson Dance Academy, in the Twin Cities, from 2006-2009, a teacher and choreographer at Dance FX, in Des Moines, from 2013-2015, and most recently, was the Owner/Director of AMS Dance Collective in Indianapolis, prior to relocating to Austin. She has adjudicated dance/talent competitions and travels where she is needed to teach dance workshops, as well as to choreograph competition solos and group routines. Ann Marie specializes in Hip Hop, Contemporary, Ballet, and Musical Theatre. She performed in productions of “West Side Story” (Margarita), “The Pajama Game” (Poopsie), and “A Chorus Line” (Cassie), and also choreographed for Community Theater and High School productions of “Guys and Dolls”, “Wizard of Oz”, and “The Nutcracker”. She has both studied with, and had her work performed, for Emmy-winning choreographers, Mia Michaels, Wade Robson, Tyce Diorio, Brian Friedman, Cris Judd, Chuck Maldonado and Kevin Maher, among others. Ann Marie is excited to bring her love of the performing arts to The Dance Spot family!
Jessica Stroh began her love affair with dance at the age of 3 in Ocala, Florida. She joined the Marion Ballet Theater and performed for 8 years under the direction of Nicole Benson and was a part of numerous ballets; performing notable roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy, Odette, and Princess Florine. In 2015, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Psychology from the University of South Florida receiving the notable BRAVO! Scholarship in Dance Award. Under further scholarships, Jessica trained with Sarasota Ballet Company, Bodytraffic, Repertory Dance Theatre, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and USF’s Dance in Paris Program. Jessica has had the privilege of performing works by world-renown artists including Ohad Naharin, Alonzo King, Maurice Causey, and Robert Moses. In 2016, Jessica moved to New York City where she had the honor of working and collaborating with Colleen Thomas Dance, Dugal Dance Projects, Alexeya EM, Rosie DeAngelo, Bryce Dance Company, and BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance. In NYC, Jessica taught with Greenhouse Arts Center and Global Community Charter School. She has choreographed, performed, and taught in NYC, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Paris, France. She is the recipient of Brooklyn-based Spoke the Hub’s 2018 People’s Choice Award where she presented an evening-length work with a collaborator, Laura Mobley. Jessica now resides in Austin, TX, and joyfully teaches at Ballet Austin and creates with her performance company, Alt Project, alongside co-creator, Laura Mobley. Altproject.co.
Dereke’ started his dance career in Chicago with the dance group 2XS. He was invited to LA for a Janet Jackson audition that led to him to the discovery of Monsters of Hip Hop. After being selected for the show in LA under the direction of Tabitha & Napoleon, he continued to be featured in various commercials. He was also a stand-in dancer for MTV ABDC & assisted choreographers on SYTCD. He was on two international tours with artists Kat Deluna, Amei, and Anahi, traveling to Europe, Asia, & South America. Dereke’ lived in Mexico City for five years, where he worked as a judge for Hip Hop International and Infinity dance studio which competed in the US and won various top awards at Nuvo, Monster of Hip Hop, etc. While teaching, he choreographed various tours, including Belinda & Gloria Trevi. He is now residing in Austin ready to invest in the future success of the city’s dance & fitness scene!
Hailey was born and raised in Austin, Texas and began dancing at the age of two. She has trained in contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap, musical theater, and hip hop and has received many scholarships and awards through conventions and competitions such as Intrigue Dance Intensive, Dancemakers, The Streetz Dance Convention, Adrenaline Dance Convention and more. Hailey has assisted The Streetz Dance Convention and world renowned choreographers and teachers. She also worked on staff with 8 National Talent and is currently an ambassador for RAW Artists. She found a love for teaching/choreographing and began working with/teaching children in 2015. Hailey has been teaching at multiple studios in the Austin area for the past year as an instructor as well as a co-director of EMERGE Dance Company. She currently attends Arizona State University Online. She is extremely passionate about helping dancers find why they love dance and how to use it to improve!
Hannah Woolridge, who recently relocated to Austin, TX, began dancing at the age of 3 in Corpus Christi, TX. She has gone on to earn a B.F.A. in Dance from Sam Houston State University, is certified in Mat and Reformer Pilates, as well as pursuing her Gryotonic® Certification. Hannah performed with the Corpus Christi Ballet from 2004-2013 starring in various roles such as; Clara, Dew Drop Fairy, Russian dancer, Mirliton, Pirouette Doll, and Harlequin Doll in Nutcracker, Cygnet in Swan Lake, and the Generosity Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. She attended several summer intensives including Ballet Austin studying under Stephen Mills, the School of American Ballet studying under Peter Martins and Kay Mazzo, and the Alonzo King Lines Ballet. While pursuing her degree at Sam Houston, Hannah had the opportunity to work with various international choreographers, including Gerard Theoret and Maurice Causey, as well as perform as a member of Nicolay Danceworks in A Wynne Home Nutcracker. After graduating from Sam Houston State University in 2016, Hannah spent three months in Rome, Italy dancing and performing with VivoBallet under the direction of Enzo Celli. Upon returning back to the states Hannah began dancing as a Resident Guest Artist with Corpus Christi Concert Ballet for the 2017-2018 season as well as teaching at the Ballet Academy of Corpus Christi.