Meet Our Instructors

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Chris Munar

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Sessions

 

Hip Hop (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

 

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Bio

Chris Munar started dancing in 2008 with a DMV-based crew called Ajnin Precizion. In 2009 he joined the collegiate competitive team from UMBC, Major Definition. Shortly after he started dancing with the crew, Tito BoyScouts, known for their comedy and urban stylized sets. In 2010, Chris has volunteered with the non-profit organization Baltimore Dance Crews Project. KCX artists is a division of the KODACHROME collegiate network was formed in 2011 and Chris was invited to be a part of the first installment as one of their dancers and choreographers. The same year, Chris auditioned and joined the professional hip-hop dance troupe, Culture Shock DC.

In the year 2012 Chris became sponsored by Fresh From Birth clothing line. In 2013 Chris became the assistant director of Mini Shock DC dance Troupe and a co-founder of an all-male dance crew from the DMV called UpperClassMen. In 2014 Chris started to work with Raw Element Dance Company as well as became a hip-hop instructor for Capitol Movement in DC. In 2015 Chris has been focused on sharing his knowledge by teaching and training the younger generation in various dance studios. His choreographed hip-hop routines have placed (category and overalls) and have been awarded titles such as: the Entertainment Award (Bravo), the Industry Award (StarQuest), the Odyssey Award (StarQuest), and a Choreography Award (Revolution).

He has worked for many studios in the DMV area including Joe’s Movement Emporium, C-Unit Studio, Mid-Maryland Performing Arts Center, American Dance Institute, Dance Dimensions, Strictly Rhythm, Dancin’ Time Studio, 24/7 Dance Studio, Mount Airy Performing Arts Center, Making Moves Dance Collective, Studio 180, and Dance Sensations. He currently teaches at Gainesville Dance Center and Barton & Williams.

His journeys has taken him to teach and perform at places such as DC, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Utah, California, and Canada. Throughout these many events, Chris has also been privileged to judge prestigious dance competitions such as Prelude Carolinas, Prelude DMV, and Prelude Championships held in Philadelphia. He was also awarded a one-city scholarship at the Monsters Dance Convention held in DC as well as won the ClubStylez freestyle battle in 2015. He has also taught at the Showbiz Xtreme dance convention in Maryland the same year. He was performed at well-known events such as the East Coast Dance Competition (DMV), Culture Shock International Showcase (DC/Los Angeles/Canada), and World of Dance (New York/New Jersey).

Chris hopes to share what he has learned from many great dancers, mentors, and friends. But above all, Chris prays to share God through his dancing. His ultimate goal is to travel the world, meet new people, and continue to inspire and be inspired through the universal language of dance.

Stephanie Jingle

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Sessions

 

Jazz (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

Hip Hop (Beginner)

Jazz Funk (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

Improv (Intermediate, Advanced)

Turns and Leaps (Beginner)

 

 

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Bio

Stephanie Jingle is a native of Bellaire, OH.  She received her BFA in ballet from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.   Stephanie also studied at Nashville Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago.  “Jingle” has danced with Pillow Project Dance Co., worked as a featured dancer on the set of Step Up, and toured with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines performing with such artist as Marty Thomas and Jennifer Hudson.  You can see her in music videos for Telling on Trixie, The Woodpeckers, Hugo, and Tori Green.  Living in New York City, Miss Stephanie performed and choreographed for the contemporary dance theater company, The MoveShop.  (moveshop.org)   She now resides in Maryland where she works in the DMV dance scene as a full time dance instructor and choreographer.   She continues to teach and set choreography nationally and internationally, most recently at the South African Dance Academy.  To see more check out stephaniejingle.com or facebook.com/noexcusesjingle

Jess Beach

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Sessions

 

Musical Theater (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

Jazz (Intermediate, Advanced)

Turns and Leaps (Beginner, Advanced)

Condition (Intermediate, Advanced)

Contemporary (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

 

 

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Bio

Jess Beach believes in always being a student. She has been training for over 25 years in all styles of dance in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and up and down the east and west coast under noted dancers and choreographers such as Nicolas Petrov (founder of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre) and Ilya Gaft (Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre). Jess began her formal academic pursuit of dance during her senior year of high school at La Roche College’s conservatory for Ballet. After successful years of training and featured rolls in “Cinderella”, “Swan Lake”, and “The Nutcracker”, Jess then expanded her studies to contemporary techniques and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Dance (Jazz Concentration) from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Upon graduation, Jess became a featured dancer in several Industrials in Pittsburgh and danced  backup for the tour of  Neil Young and Crazy Horse working with West Side Story‘s Russ Tambyn.  Jess then landed a position touring professionally all over the globe as a dancer/performer for Holland America Cruise Lines through Stiletto Entertainment based out of California. Jess spent 6 years working steadily for Stiletto Entertainment performing all over the world from Russia to South America and everywhere in between. With Stiletto Entertainment Jess had the honor of working directly with various noted choreographers such as Broadway’s Patti Colombo and director, producer, associate choreographer John Charron, and Carla Kama (known for her pioneering choreography all over the media scene including Prince and Carmen Electra).

Jess feels blessed continuing her dance career by spending the past 10 years educating, mentoring, and choreographing. Jess has had the honor of working with the distinguished Alvin Ailey Dance Company with their Inaugural installation of Ailey Camp Baltimore at Towson University as Master Jazz instructor. Most recently, Jess worked with Big Picture Media as Choreographer and featured dancer for a Regional Television commercial.  Jess currently works with Danielle Sten-Guillermo and Lance Guillermo as assistant choreographer and rehearsal director for the Alternative Dance Project (ADP) dance company’s original works entitled “Working America” & “366”. She enjoyed 4 years as director/choreographer of three youth competition and performance Hip Hop Companies in Maryland. Jess is beginning her third year as Artist in Residence and Instructor for the Dance Departments at Howard Community College and Barbara Ingram School for the Arts while teaching full time in a private studio in Frederick, MD. A sought-after Master Instructor, adjudicator, and the recipient of many accolades for her choreography; Jess is humbled to continue to follow her passion and to do what she loves as her career.

Liz Fink-Rakoski

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Sessions

 

Jazz (Beginner)

Contemporary (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

 

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Bio

Liz Fink-Rakoski is a dancer, choreographer, and educator located in northern Maryland. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Shenandoah Conservatory, where she was a recipient of the Bergmann Choreography Award. Liz is currently in her third year as Dance Faculty at the University of Delaware. Prior to joining the dance faculty, Liz assisted former Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago company member Elijah Gibson during his residency at the University of Delaware. Liz has danced professionally, touring internationally with InterTOUR Dansa in Spain and France, a tour sponsored by the Catalan government, and she was an invited company member, performing with The Doniphan Project, in Tupelo, MS and Washington, DC. Liz is the Rehearsal Director and a company member of the professional dance company InvisibleWings Dance Project under the direction of Lauren Carnesi.

The company features modern partnering works that explore the struggles and realizations of auto-immune conditions and chronic diseases. IWDP had their debut performance at the HATCH series in New York City last December. In addition to her performance credentials, Liz has been commissioned to choreograph work for Kinetic Canvas, a production of Harford Dance Theater of Harford Community College, for their 2015, 2016 and 2017 performances. The production draws inspiration from a famous artist and features dancers ages 11-25 from the county and surrounding areas. Liz’s interest in giving back to the community and making dance more accessible locally, led her to assist board members of the Maryland Council for dance by serving as Concert Chair for their 2016 festival. Liz has taught guest classes and set choreography along the east coast including teaching at the annual Maryland Dance Festival in 2015 and 2016. Liz serves as a judge for the intercollegiate Evolve Dance Competition, and she has also performed in music videos for local DC artists. She is currently on staff, teaching and choreographing, at Delaware Arts Conservatory in Bear, DE. Liz pushes creative boundaries in her choreography and teaching, through the use of dynamics, and innovative movement and partnering, while creating a comfortable yet inspiring atmosphere for her dancers. Liz is also the current President for the Maryland Council for Dance and Rehearsal Director and Company Member for InvisibleWings Dance Project.

Roni Mahler

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Sessions

 

Ballet (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

Character (Beginner, Intermediate)

Variations (Advanced)

 

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Bio

Roni Mahler is a former ballerina who was trained by the renowned Madame Maria Yurieva Swoboda. Ms. Mahler performed principal roles with American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Washington (D.C.), after beginning her career in her teens with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.  For over three decades, Roni was the Artistic Associate of Dennis Nahat’s Ballet San Jose in California, where she taught, coached and performed “character” roles with that internationally-acclaimed ballet troupe.  A native of New York City, Ms. Mahler’s teaching credits include Ballet Academy East, The Alvin Ailey School, The Juilliard School, The Joffrey School, Ballet Tech, and  School of Dennis Nahat’s Ballet San Jose.

Roni is a former tenured Assistant Professor and director of Dance at Kansas State University, where she initiated the KSU Dance degree program. Kansas State has since honored her with the Roni Mahler Ballet Studio and (for fifteen years) presented an annual award in her name.  Roni choreographed for Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones during their City Center season in New York, and created “Ballet Movement for the Athlete” (a fitness program she customized for the Cleveland Browns.)  Her 6-DVD collection… “The Complete Guide To Teaching Ballet”… enables dance teachers to explore training methods for all ages.  A certified Pilates instructor, Roni is the author of numerous ballet class CDs  and a stretching DVD for flexibility and range of motion. Each year, Ms. Mahler is invited by the prestigious Rancho La Puerta Spa in Tecate, Mexico, to return as a Specialty Presenter for its Ballet Week.

Ami Mattison

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Sessions

 

Floor Work (Intermediate, Advanced)

Progressions (Beginner)

Contemporary (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

Lyrical (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

 

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Bio

Ami Mattison is a teacher, choreographer, and the artistic director of Mattidance Company. She is on faculty at the Edge Performing Arts Center and Debbie Reynolds Legacy Dance Studio. Ami travels nationally teaching master classes at studios and universities like Broadway Dance Center, Loyola Marymount University, and Joffrey Academy of Dance. She has won several Choreography Awards and trained top national soloists and YAGP finalists. In 2014 Ami launched Mattidance with a two sold out performances. Mattidance has since performed at Los Angeles area festivals including Dance Resource Center’s Home Grown, Pasadena Dance Festival and the So-Cal Dance Invitational. Most recently Ami and Mattidance were selected as finalists for the McCullum Theater’s 20th Annual Choreography Festival. For more information visit amimattison.net

Yara Perry

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Sessions

 

Turns and Leaps (Intermediate)

Musical Theater (Beginner)

Jazz (Beginner)

 

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Bio

Yara Perry is a native of Middletown, MD. Growing up, she received numerous awards and scholarships for dance, and enjoyed many performance opportunities. Yara went on to pursue a BA in Dance and Art from Muhlenberg College, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2005, earning honors in art and membership to the Phi Beta Kappa society. Post college, she earned her MA in Digital Arts from the Maryland College Institute of Art, and is also a candidate for her MA in Teaching at Mount St. Mary’s University. Yara has trained with Tiffany Mills, Nicholas Leichter, Robert LaFosse, Charles O. Anderson, Shelley Oliver, Karen Dearborn, Jennifer Kayle, and Pat Catterson. Her performance credits include 365, MTF Mainstage, Step Aside Tap Company, the Muhlenberg JazzTap Ensemble, and Copasetic Rhythms, for which she was the director.

Her choreography has been showcased at the MD Council for Dance Artist Gala Concert and the Joy of Motion Choreography Showcase, she has received several choreography awards, and she was selected for an internship with the Tiffany Mills Company in NYC. Her love for the arts extends to her photography business (www.photographybyyara.com), and she enjoys photographing dancers and children the most! Yara has been teaching in and out of the Frederick community for seventeen years; she currently teaches for 24/7 Dance Studio. She is currently the Administrative Director of PRIDE dance companies, and her students have been recognized for their technique and performance qualities, some going on to pursue dance in college, perform on dance teams, and enter the professional world of the arts. Yara wants to thank her husband Chris for being supportive of her involvement in the arts, and her two daughters for being her never ending inspiration.

Brandon Girouard

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Sessions

 

Musical Theater (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

Turns and Leaps (Advanced)

Jazz Funk (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

 

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Bio

Brandon Girouard BA/MFA is a highly in-demand international choreographer, teacher, dancer, and talent manager – having brought audiences to their feet in Paris, Canada, London, Argentina, NYC, Mexico and Spain in summer of 2017. Known for “compelling, explosive movement”, Brandon has performed with dance companies such as dancetheatreX, Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre, Ailey 2, Koresh Dance, Plasma Dance Theatre, and for Bill Clinton’s Inaugural Presidency Gala. Brandon resides as Guest Faculty at Broadway Dance Center NYC, Millennium Dance in Philadelphia, Studio Harmonic in Paris and is faculty to many dance conservatories on Long Island, NY. Holding a BA in Theatre & Dance from Muhlenberg College and a MFA from NYU, Brandon also studied for 18 years at the Cheryl McCormack Academy of Dance in New Bedford, MA.

Brandon teaches across the country as a guest artist for dance studios and choreographic opportunities. Brandon holds the position of Regional Director for EncoreDCS and lead-judge for Headliners Dance Championships. Professional credits include: Thank You, Gregory!, Disney, Carnival Cruise Lines, Legends at the Harrah’s Resort Las Vegas, Caesars Palace Review Atlantic City & Las Vegas, Resorts Atlantic City, Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards, and the National Tour of West Side Story. Brandon has worked with such noted choreographers as Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Robert LaFosse, Tiffany Mills, Gregory Hines, Brian Thomas, Debbi Dee, Frank Hatchett, Jared Grimes and Charles O. Anderson both nationally and internationally. Brandon was awarded “Most Promising Performer” by Art Stone Dance, and was featured in Dance Spirit magazine in October of 2003 and 2004. Brandon was awarded “Dance Teacher of the Month” and “Video of the Month” by Dance Teacher Magazine. In addition to performance, Brandon has served as Assistant Choreographer for Broadway Bares and Broadway in Cape Town South Africa. Brandon was named co-choreographer/director of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Special Olympics with Broadway Veteran Shannon Lewis. Brandon also choreographed for the EPCOT stage in 2014 for a full-production stage show. Most recently, Brandon choreographed and conceived ‘Criminal Love’ music video of UK pop star Carl Man. Brandon can be found as adjudicator for international dance festivals throughout Canada and Europe. Brandon has submitted choreographed works for artist’s such as Ariana Grande and is a staple name in the NJ & NY dance communities honing and training talent launching careers among the biggest talent agencies bi-coastal. Commercially, Brandon has booked clients on Welspun Textiles and Microsoft commercials nationally and internationally. Brandon is the Founder/Director of the Quest Intensive – The most cutting-edge ‘in-studio’ classroom tour working with the industry’s biggest leading names in Broadway, Concert Tours, Professional Dance Companies, Talent Representation and Casting Directors. Brandon manages emerging talent and covers all industry work from Commercial Industrials, Broadway, Non-Union jobs and World Tours. For more information on Brandon & The Quest Intensive visit his website at www.bgprogression.com orwww.questintensive.com.

Lauren Carnesi

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Sessions

 

Partnering (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)

 

 

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Bio

Lauren Carnesi is an artistic director, choreographer, and teaching artist in the greater Baltimore region. She studied at Mid Atlantic Center for The Performing Arts for her early training and completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts, cum laude, in Dance Performance and Choreography at Shenandoah Conservatory where she was the recipient of the Elizabeth Weil Bergmann choreography award.

Lauren is the founder, artistic director and choreographer for InvisibleWings Dance Project, a contemporary dance company, which allows Lauren to spread awareness for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and share the honest experience of living with the disease. The company has been honored to perform in showcases and concerts including the Hatch Presenting Series (NYC), Synthesis Community Dance Concert (MD), E-Street Dance Academy’s Chances (MD), Mid Maryland Performing Arts Center’s Care to Dance Benefit (MD), The Cruel Mystery: Lupus Through Movement at E-Street Dance Academy, the 16th Annual Maryland Council For Dance Artists’ Concert, the 4th annual Baltimore Dance Invitational and Open Marley Night at the Baltimore Theater Project. The company most recently performed in a split bill show in Washington, DC. In:Flux was presented on July 7th and July 14th at Dance Loft on 14.

Lauren is currently on staff as a teaching artist at E- Street Dance Academy, Harford Dance Center, and Mid- Atlantic Center For The Performing Arts in addition to many other studios through Maryland. She specializes in teaching contemporary, composition, partnering, improvisation, jazz, and modern. She believes in introducing artistry to dancers at a young age in order to create well-rounded dancers, performers, and artists. Additionally, Lauren taught dance part-time at the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore City from 2013- 2016. Lauren was a selected faculty member for the 2016 Maryland Council For Dance Festival. Lauren’s true passion is found in choreography; her work has received many accolades and has been selected for performance at several venues including the American College Dance Gala, Manhattan Movement and Arts Center (NYC), City Center Studios (NYC), Hatch Studios (NYC), The Secret Theater (NYC), Jack Guidone Theater (DC), Athenaeum Theatre (Chicago), Ohrstrom-Bryant Theater (VA), Armstrong Concert Hall (VA), Shingleton Dance Space (VA), Lang Performing Arts Center (PA), The John Carroll School (MD), The Weinburg Center (MD), the Chesapeake Theater (MD), The Grier School (PA), The Baltimore Theater Project (MD) in addition to Youth American Grand Prix regional and national stages. Lauren’s work has been professionally performed abroad at the Macedonia National Opera and Ballet Theater and other notable performance venues in England, Greece, Macedonia, and on tour through the Catalonia region of Spain. Lauren also had the honor of performing at each of these reputable and memorable international performance spaces. Lauren was commissioned to set a piece for Motion X Dance DC that premiered at the 2016 Capital Fringe Festival and by Danse Macabre for their productions Witching Hour (2016 & 2017), Snow White and the Seven Demons, and Cinderella The Vampire Slayer.

One of Lauren’s most notable accomplishments is her work as artistic director and lead choreographer for Harford Dance Theatre’s summer contemporary dance performance series, KINETIC CANVAS. After the great success of Oona (2014), KINETIC CANVAS: Edward Hopper (2015), a sold-out performance of KINETIC CANVAS: Claude Monet (2016), and expanding to two shows for KINETIC CANVAS: Salvador Dali (2017), Lauren is thrilled to be presenting KINETIC CANVAS: Vincent van Gogh in August of 2018. Lauren is very thankful for the support of Harford Dance Theatre and is thrilled to continue creating and producing moving, and original productions for their stage.

Ryan Johnson

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Sessions

 

Tap (Intermediate, Advanced)

Step (Intermediate, Advanced)

 

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Bio

Ryan “Theseus” Johnson (@rkj.dance) Johnson believes that he was created to perform, entertain, and use the arts to enhance the lives of people globally. He credits his passion for the arts to his mother, Vanessa Jackson, tap teacher Mary Slater and gives all the glory to God for allowing him to learn and share the art of dance. He is a virtuosic performer, choreographer and artistic director of SOLE Defined. He is a well-known national and international performer who has been called “purely amazing” by Septime Weber, Director of the Hong Kong Ballet. At the tender age of fourteen, Johnson started his professional journey in the arts by performing with greats such as Gregory Hines and Marvin Hamlisch. Johnson made history in 2010 by becoming the first tap dancer to win the DC Metro Dance Awards: Outstanding Solo Performance. That same year, Johnson was a finalist for the DC Metro Emerging Artist Award.

 

Ryan Johnson has performed in The Beatles LOVE by Cirque Du Soleil as Sugar Plum, and One Drop by Cirque Du Soleil under the direction of Mukhtar Omar Sharif Muktar. He was in the NYC cast and touring cast of the hit show STOMP where he played Particle Man and Ringo. For six years of his career, Johnson was the soloist and production manager for the world renown step company Step Afrika!, and the resident tap dancer for The Washington Ballet’s “The Great Gatsby.” Johnson performed in the Tony Award winning show After Midnight created by Jack Viertel and choreographed by Warren Carlyle with NCL Productions.

He was the lead choreographer for the 2010 Season Premier of Extreme Makeover Home Edition in Baltimore, MD starring Raven-Symone. Johnson premiered new works at the International Body Music Festival in Brazil, New York City Tap Festival: Tap International, and Cirque Du Soleil with The Nevada Ballet’s “A Choreographers’ Showcase” in Las Vegas. Of this performance, the Las Vegas Review Journal wrote, “Urban Jungle: The Village, by Ryan Johnson of The Beatles LOVE, is a burst of pure feeling, the most infectious entry of the program.”

Johnson has taught workshops, master classes, and lecture demonstrations at universities, dance festival and conventions worldwide. Festivals include LA Tap Festival, Motor City Tap Festival, ATDF Tap City and many more. He has been contracted by US Embassies to participate in cultural exchange performances and workshops throughout Africa, North America, South America, and South East Asia.

In 2011, Johnson co-founded SOLE Defined, an award-winning dance company that takes an exciting twist on theater and percussive dance. The Washington Post has
noted SOLE Defined as performing “the coolest number of the night with its high-stepping and toe-tapping blend of styles.” Under the Artistic Direction of Johnson, SOLE Defined has performed on stages both nationally and internationally including The Lincoln Center, DancEncore, Jacobs Pillow, The Kennedy Center, and The World Children’s Festival in Turin, Italy. SOLE Defined brings musical theater, stepping, singing, tap dance, sand dance, and vocal percussion to the stage for a power-packed hour and fifteen-minute performance.

For more information on Ryan K. Johnson, please visit: www.rkjdance.com.

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