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Brie Underwood


Owner & EVOLVE Director

Tribe Dance Faculty

 

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Brie Underwood


Owner & EVOLVE Director

Tribe Dance Faculty

 

Brianna Underwood founded Evolution Dance Center with Melissa Best in May 2013. Brianna is from a family of dancers, her mother dancing in high school, along with her two younger siblings, Ali and Grant, who also dance! Brianna started dancing when she lived with her family in Harker Heights, TX. After moving to Austin, Brianna danced with Broadway Dance and Fitness under the direction of Heather Nickens-O’Hara and ended at The Dance Spot, dancing with Rise Dance Company under the direction of Quinton Weathers. After high school, Brianna joined BHumn Dance Company as Cheryl Copeland’s assistant. She has taught classes for Twin Lakes YMCA, Kinderdance, The Dance Spot, and most recently Dance eMotions. Her dancing has taken her all around the country as a competitive dancer as well as getting to take classes at Edge in Los Angeles. Her dancing has brought her many awards and accomplishments including being inducted into the Hall Of Fame Dance Challenge website and dancing half-time with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. One of Brianna’s passions is children as she was a preschool teacher for 3 years, specializing with two year olds. Also, she has recently graduated from the Aveda Institute and has her license in cosmetology. Brianna loves her dance family here at Evolution Dance Collective and feels very confident about the strong foundation they receive while dancing in a fun, tight knit atmosphere!

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Melissa Best


Owner & EVOLVE/EMERGE Director

Melissa Best


Owner & EVOLVE/EMERGE Director

   Melissa began dancing at age 2 and has studied dance across the world! From New York City, where she learned from Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and received a scholarship with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to Gelnhausen, Germany!  Her dance career has been very active in the local Austin community, as officer and choreographer of the McNeil High School Majestics where she became the National Champion solo winner with American Dance/Drill Team, competitively dancing with several studios in the Austin area, and dancing with TDDEA.  Melissa has always had a passion for teaching.  In 1999 she began teaching at Joyce Willet School of Dance, and in 2001 became a very active part of Dance eMotions, in Cedar Park.  In 2002, she married her high school sweetheart who joined the Army in 2004, giving Melissa the opportunity to study dance at Tanzschule Bayerle in Gelnhausen, Germany.  The Army then brought her to Kansas where she became a lead preschool teacher and dance teacher for 3-5 year olds.  As her husband left on deployment, Melissa moved to Cedar Park to be employed as director with Dance eMotions from 2007-2013.  Under her direction, her dancers have received regional and national championships, scholarships, and awards; and her choreography has won top awards.  
Melissa brings a fresh and exciting energy into her classroom, instilling confidence and creativity in her students.  When not dancing, she brings her energy home where she is busy with her husband, 4 children, and 4 dogs!

 

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Gabe Flowers


Contemporary Director / Multi-style Instructor

Gabe Flowers


Contemporary Director / Multi-style Instructor

Gabe is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and has trained under nationally acclaimed choreographer Emily Shock for fifteen years. He has trained in styles such as contemporary, jazz, lyrical, tap, ballet, hip-hop and acrobatics as well as been nationally recognized with awards, scholarships and assistant positions as a result of said training. Said assistant positions include being the Creative Assistant for Intrigue Dance intensive which brought him all over the nation, as well as assisting choreographers such as Emily Shock. Gabe has taught, choreographed and assisted at studios and conventions across the country. He has danced in commercials, music videos and television shows for numerous companies, with the latest being Netflix. Gabe is super excited to hone in his teaching skills at the Collective!

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Elif Tuzer


Ballet Director

Elif Tuzer


Ballet Director

Elif has been teaching classical ballet for the past twelve years. Her education started with her parents, Pat and Tanju Tuzer at the age of three. She went on to study with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Kirov Academy and Ballet West. She has performed many ballets including Swan Lake, Coppelia, La Bayadere, Les Sylphides, Serenade, Giselle and La Vivandiere. She earned a B.A. in English from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina and enjoys writing in her spare time.

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Cheryl Copeland


EVOLVE Instructor

Owner of Humans On Tour

Cheryl Copeland


EVOLVE Instructor

Owner of Humans On Tour

Cheryl Copeland graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Having studied and performed extensively in Florida, New York, Texas, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, her training and technical expertise are reflected in her classes and choreography. She has worked under such notable choreographers as Mia Michaels, Milton Myers, Lisa Hopkins, and Kim Bears-Bailey. Finding her true passion behind the scenes, Cheryl gave up a career in performing for a much more fulfilling career in choreography and education. She has served as resident choreographer for Teen Dance Company of the Bay Area, and as artistic director of pre-professional companies; Breakthru Dance, DAC PAC, and Humnz Dance Ensemble, as well as her professional company BHumn Dance Company. She owned BHumn DanceSpace, the leading training facility for modern dance in Austin, TX for four years  and then retired as owner and headed to NYC to serve as the Director of Education at Peridance Capezio Center, where is she is still head of their audition tour and communications. She finds herself creatively pushed in dance administration as much as she does in choreography. As an educator, Cheryl’s students have received countless awards and scholarships, and gone on to dance with artists such as Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, and can be seen in numerous national commercials. Many of her students find themselves pursuing dance degrees at various colleges all over the United States including Juilliard, SUNY Purchase, NYU, and Boston Conservatory amongst others. As a choreographer, she has won several awards including a Choreography Under the Stars finalist cash award, a Young Choreographer’s award from NYCDA, and has just completed a full length work on the Fordham Ailey BFA students. These choreographic praises keep Cheryl in demand amongst studios all over the country. Previously, Cheryl has been an instructor at Millennium Dance Complex, Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, Edge PAC, Ballet Austin, Peridance Capezio Center, and Broadway Dance Center.  Cheryl is looking forward to all of the new opportunities and adventures coming her way and trusts that because of her diverse background, hands on approach, and her ever changing creative mind, she will continue creating innovative work and cultivating beautiful talent for years to come!

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Angelina Barba


eSTREET Director + hip hop instructor

Angelina Barba


eSTREET Director + hip hop instructor

Angelina Barba always had a passion for dance since she was a child. She was born in Los Angeles, California and began her training in hip hop at the age of 8. She then soon moved to Austin, Texas to continue her training at local dance studios. She competed with 2 Hype hip hop company for 5 years, under the director of Leslie Garcia. Angelina joined the Rouse Royals drill team in high school and served as a line officer her senior year. Along with her senior year of high school, she competed with eStreet hip hop company, under the direction of Justin Streeter. Angelina has received Grand National titles and many awards throughout her competitive dance team years. She has also received scholarships for The Streetz dance convention and has attended Monsters of Hip Hop for many years now. Now a recent graduate from Rouse High School, Angelina wishes to continue her training and grow by taking from instructors all over. She is excited to create choreography, teach and share her passion for dance!

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Kendel Jones


EMPOWER Director

Kendel Jones


EMPOWER Director

Kendel, an Austin native, sparked a passion for dance at a young age. She grew up training and competing on companies at Cedar Park Dance Company, and Dancers Workshop in Austin. In her high school years, she joined the SunDancer drill team at Westwood High School, under the direction of Shelby Kelly and Angel Scrudder. As a member of the team, and later as a line officer, she cultivated a love of choreographing and teaching. Kendel has been on staff at Evolution Dance Collective for two years, working in admin as well as teaching. She is thrilled and humbled to be directing Empower Performance Company this season, as she pursues both a BFA in Dance and a BS in Communication Studies at the University of Texas!

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Erica Sobol


EVOLVE instructor

Erica Sobol


EVOLVE instructor

Grand Prize Winner of the prestigious Capezio ACE Award & founder of Lobos Art Collective (formerly collidEdance), Erica Sobol is one of Los Angeles’s most sought after choreographers and educators. An LA native, Erica holds a BA in dance-theater from the illustrious Columbia University in New York City.
Her service to the dance community has been praised in many dance publications and art and travel blogs. And Lobos Art Collective was featured in Dance Spirit Magazine’s “The Higher Ed Issue” as one of the most desirable companies for post-competition dance life. Erica has toured the world as a master instructor and creator at Broadway Dance Center NYC/Tokyo, KHiO in Oslo, Visceral Dance Chicago, Pineapple London, Studio Harmonic Paris, FnF Dance Festival in Poland, DiAmbra Dans Stockholm, Skip Entertainment on Guam, and Mediterranean Dance Festival in Italy. And she has had the great honor of studying closely with Crystal Pite, Tilman O’Donnell, Jiri Pokorny, Medhi Walerski, Eric Beauchesne, Tom Visser, and many other brilliant dance and theater artists.
Erica is the heart and the brains behind The Gypsy Project, a training and development program for young artists worldwide. She believes deeply in the power of nurturing the minds and bodies of the next generation, helping to create the storytellers of our future. She also believes deeply in community, connection, collaboration, and kindness. She feels lucky, so lucky, to be inspired every day.

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AARON GIRARD


EVOLVE instructor

AARON GIRARD


EVOLVE instructor

Aaron began his dance training at Theater Arts in Broken Arrow, OK during his sophomore year of high school.  outside of this studio training, Aaron also was a part of Portico Dans Theatre.  As a part of Portico, Aaron performed numeroud times with the company on various occasions around Tulsa.  After high school, Aaron attended the University of Arizona to studio dance where he studied many different techniques of ballet, modern, and jazz.  He was also about to perform repertoire of many choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Ben Stevenson, Robert Battle, and many others.  After spending a year studying dance, he decided to go explore his own endeavors.  In the summer of 2015, Aaron understudied Emma Portner's first full length show "A Primitive Cinema."  Aaron also assisted and traveled with Intrigue Dance Intensive this past season.  This past summer Aaron attended Rubberbanddance Groups summer program and performed repertoire from the company.  He also was able to perform work by Andrea Ward at the Capezio ACE Awards.

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Justin Streeter


Guest Instructor

The Streetz Dance Convention Faculty

Justin Streeter


Guest Instructor

The Streetz Dance Convention Faculty

Justin Streeter was born in Escondido, California but was raised in Texas. He took a hip hop class as a freshman in college and has been hooked ever since.  Justin trained solely in hip hop for a year, but after going to his first dance convention, he fell in love with all facets of dance.  He has received scholarship and accolades from The Pulse on Tour, West Coast Dance Explosion and many more. Thankful for getting to work under great artist such as Mark Kanemura, David Moore, Phillip Cheebeb, Justin has now turned to teaching.  You can catch Justin on tour with The Streetz Dance Convention and Competition teaching hip hop and contemporary.  His love for dance is strong and he looks forward to sharing it with the masses as much as possible!

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Alexa Moffett


Guest Instructor

Alexa Moffett


Guest Instructor

Alexa started her dance training in Burnsville, Minnesota at 10 years old under the direction of the Nelson sisters. At age 12 she moved with her family to Arizona. She continued her training as a competitive dancer, and won multiple regional and national overall awards.

At the young age of 15, Alexa started instructing and creating some of the most well known dancers in the country. Alexa's training is sought after for her precise technique, attention to detail, and ability to showcase stage presence. Alexa's students have worked on America's Got Talent, X Factor, Abby Lee's Ultimate Dance Competition, The Maury Show, Ellen, Dancing with The Stars, Fresh Off The Boat, Disney's Shake It Up, Bunheads, and Dance Moms. She has been a consistent guest choreographer for Lifetime's Dance Moms and was featured on a recently aired episode. She is the founder and choreographer of "Fresh Faces" and "Complexity".

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Emma Portner


Guest Choreographer

Emma Portner


Guest Choreographer

Born in Ottawa, Canada, Emma is currently residing and training at The Ailey School in NYC. She graduated with honours in dance from Canterbury High School of the Performing Arts in 2012. Dancing since age 4, Emma discovered her passion for moving and creating in all styles at Leeming Danceworks. While at Leeming, she had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Teddy Forance, Mike Minery, Linda Garneau, Matt Luck, Eryn Waltman, Vlad Novitski, Benoit Swan Pouffer, and Nathan Makolandra, just to name a few. She also spent several summers attending the National Ballet School of Canada. Emma is always excited to learn and evolve, hailing from a small city she has continuously sought out opportunities to take class from master teachers working on the faculties of various conventions. At the age of 15 she started doing choreography for herself and peers, and in 2012 she was named American Dance Awards “Young Choreographer of the year”.  Since then, her choreography has won several National and Regional Level awards and is constantly recognized for it’s intricacy and honesty. Aside from attending daily classes at the Ailey School, Emma has been familiarizing herself with the NYC dance scene.  Currently, Emma assists Michelle Dorrance from “STOMP” in tap, Mishay Petronelli in contemporary at Broadway Dance Center, Teddy Forance at JUMP, and has been an assistant at Intrigue Dance Convention. Recent performances include: Hani Abaza’s piece at the 2012 ACE awards and a benefit Gala for Dana Foglia Dance. Emma is also proud of and most recognized for her collaborative film work with Matt Luck. Together they are exploring innovative ways to share their art with new audiences using film and social media. Their short dance film – “Dancing In the Dark” has been shown at film screenings across Europe and the U.K. and has surpassed 200,000 views online. In April 2013, Emma performed alongside Matt and musician Richard Walters in “Regretless” – a full length, sold out show in collaboration of Richard Walter’s live music and choreography by Matt and Emily Shock.

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Will Johnston


Guest Choreographer

Will Johnston


Guest Choreographer

Will Johnston has been training in dance since the age of four. Coming from San Jose, CA, he received the majority of his training at A.K.A Dance Company under the direction of Kelly and Alex Velasquez. Will graduated from the University of California: Irvine with a B.F.A in Dance Performance, a B.F.A in Dance Choreography, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. While at UCI, he was a four-year member of the legendary Donald McKayle’s UCI Etude Ensemble and a member of CADC. Will has performed works choreographed by Erica Sobol, Loretta Livingston, Jodie Gates, Lisa Naugle, and Israel “El” Gabriel.

Will is also a member of Tayeh Dance Company, performing works choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, one of which premiered at the City Center in New York City, in November 2009. In addition to performing for Tayeh, Will assisted the choreographer on season five and seven of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance as well as the national commercial for ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Will’s passion also lies in the art of choreography. He has choreographed a piece on Mike Esperanza’s BARE Dance Company, numerous works for local studios in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as for various UCI dance productions. He has had the honor of showcasing twelve works at UCI, one of which was invited to perform by former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater member, Stephanie Powell, in Long Beach, CA.

Will along with co-choreographer, Jenna Otter, was awarded the Grand Prize Award at the prestigious Dancing Under the Stars Choreography Festival, in Palm Desert, CA, for their duet entitled “Amongst the Hedges.” Currently, Will is represented by Clear Talent Group in Los Angeles, is the assistant director of Westside Dance Project, as well as Co-Director of Boogiezone’s contemporary company, ENTITY. As a teacher, will has taught for numerous studios and workshops all throughout California, Australia, and Singapore.

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Rae Srivastava


Guest Instructor

Rae Srivastava


Guest Instructor

Rae Srivastava hails from Austin, Texas, where he began dance at a young age, quickly achieving recognition in the regional and national convention circuit. In 2012, he won the national title of Outstanding Dancer, awarding him the opportunity to tour with, study under, and train alongside the master teachers of New York City Dance Alliance. In 2015, he was lucky enough to achieve the same title. As an older and more experienced dancer, he worked with NYCDA faculty, helping professionally with both assisting and administrative duties. Between these two tours, he embarked on the foundational period of his training, examining Limón technique under Cheryl Copeland. Upon enrolling in the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance in the Fall of 2016, Rae began training under some of the dance world’s most influential choreographers, dancers, and educators. He has had the opportunity to perform the works of renowned choreographers Dwight Rhoden and Jiri Kylian, learning these master works firsthand from their colleagues and protoges, namely Desmond Richardson and Fiona Lummis. In December of 2016, Rae acted as both a demonstrator and an orator in William Forsythe’s improvised show, Focus Forsythe: The Choreographic Process. Rae has also had the opportunity to study under Barak Marshall, Victor Quijada, Brian Brooks, and Wendy Williams.

Because of USC’s location in central LA, Rae has also had the chance to begin venturing into the dance world’s commercial industry. He has built lasting relationships with some of the industry’s top choreographers, collaborating on concept videos and live performances with Andrew Winghart and Matt Luck. In addition, Rae has been featured prominently in classes with Hamilton Evans and Kyle Hanagami.

Rae is excited to begin his professional career as soon as possible, and plans to graduate from USC in 2020 with a double major in both Dance and Mathematics.