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Brianna Underwood


Owner & EVOLVE Director

Tribe Dance Faculty

 

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Brianna 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 Center 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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Marissa Forbes


Officer Manager & EMPOWER Director

Marissa Forbes


Officer Manager & EMPOWER Director

Marissa Forbes is a recent graduate of Vista Ridge and is currently enrolled at Austin Community College working towards her degree in business. She comes from Dixon, California where she began her dance career at the age of 5. She trained and performed with the Dixon Dance Studio for 12 years. Seeing her love of dance and her strong background in technical training, her dance directors asked her to join the staff. A highlight of her dance career came when she worked with the L.A. Dance Magic Company for 2 years as an apprentice. Traveling throughout the United States, she trained under top choreographers in the industry and assisted them at their numerous conventions. In her senior year of high school, she moved from California to Texas and competed with the Rise Dance Company. Marissa is a high energy, hard hitting, technical choreographer. She strongly believes in stretching and strengthening her dancers in every class.

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Justin Streeter


Hip Hop Director & eSTREET Director

The Streetz Dance Convention Faculty

Justin Streeter


Hip Hop Director & eSTREET Director

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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Morgan Burke


EVOLVE Instructor

The Streetz Dance Convention Faculty

Morgan Burke


EVOLVE Instructor

The Streetz Dance Convention Faculty

Morgan Burke, at age 15, was hand-selected to train at the prestigious Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, where he was one of five to be on the full housing and dance scholarship. Prior to, he trained at the Nashville School of the Arts under Stacie Flood-Popp and at DC Dance Factory under Stephanie Campbell and Nick Bass. He also assisted the “Single Ladies” music video choreographer Jaquel Knight on a major international project. He has worked with such talented choreographers as Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, Teddy Forance, Tessandra Chavez, and Tabitha and Napoleon, among others. Morgan Burke has appeared on “It’s Showtime at the Apollo”, “America’s Most Talented Kids”, “Good Morning America”, and “American Juniors.” He has also performed with Florence + the Machine, Chaka Khan, and Jennifer Lopez. Currently, Morgan is directing his focus to dance education and choreography. 

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Kelsey Oliver


Ballet Instructor

Kelsey Oliver


Ballet Instructor

Kelsey Oliver, an Austin native, received a B.F.A. in Dance in 2015, studying at the University of Texas at Austin and Le Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers, France. She is currently a freelance choreographer and performer, and is deeply motivated by uncomfortably adaptive situations and accessible collaborative processes. Kelsey has choreographed and performed for the Beijing Dance Festival, Cohen New Works Festival, Frontera Festival, Frank Wo/Men Collective, Underbelly Theatre Company, ZACH Scott, UT New Theatre, University of Texas at Austin’s Dance Repertory Theatre, Cordova Quartet, and more. She has also been an adjudicator and dance instructor for studios and teams throughout Texas.  (Kelsey-Oliver.com)

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Hunter Sturgis


Ballet Instructor

Hunter Sturgis


Ballet Instructor

Bio coming soon!

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Jesse Berry


Tap Director

Jesse Berry


Tap Director

Bio coming soon!

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Ally Ediger


Recreational Instructor/EVOLVE Senior Apprentice

Ally Ediger


Recreational Instructor/EVOLVE Senior Apprentice

Ally Ediger started dancing at age 2 and began competing locally at the age of 5!  Pursuing her passion for dance, Ally has trained locally at Dance eMotions and Evolution Dance Center.  She has been a part of EVOLVE Dance Company where she has built a diverse dance foundation as well as a strong work ethic.  With EVOLVE Dance Company, she has competed both locally and nationally receiving top awards and recognition.  More recently, she has been building on her interest in choreography and teaching.  Ally is excited to bring her passion and love for dance to her students! 

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Sierra Wiggers


Recreational Instructor/EVOLVE Senior Apprentice

Sierra Wiggers


Recreational Instructor/EVOLVE Senior Apprentice

Bio Coming Soon!

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Kendel Jones


Recreational Instructor

Kendel Jones


Recreational Instructor

Kendel Jones is a native Austinite. She grew up training at Dancers Workshop and Cedar Park Dance Company where she discovered her undeniable love for dance! Membership in these studios' pre-professional companies allowed her to build a strong technical foundation, as well as develop a unique style of movement through training at The Edge Performing Arts Center, Broadway Dance Center, the BHumn Forum with Cheryl Copeland, various conventions, and more. In high school, she joined the SunDancer drill team under the direction of Shelby Kelly and Angel Scrudder. Kendel served as a line officer for two years. In this position, Kendel was able to channel the joy she finds in dance onto her peers, kindling her ever-present passion for teaching, choreographing, and encouraging others. On SunDancers, her small group and solo choreography received top awards at multiple American Dance/Drill Team Contests, Westwood Dance Classic, and more. She recently graduated from Westwood High School in the Performing Arts Academy, where she received well rounded training in Dance, Theatre, and Music Theory. Kendel is thrilled to be actively pursuing her passion for teaching dance, as well contributing the creative and encouraging environment on staff at Evolution!

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Mackenzie Lawrence


Recreational Instructor

Mackenzie Lawrence


Recreational Instructor

Mackenzie Lawrence was born and raised in Austin, TX where she discovered her love for dance at the age of ten. She grew up dancing predominantly at Dance eMotions and Evolution Dance Center, where her passion for dancing intensified. Mackenzie was a member of Evolve Dance Company where she competed and earned various titles and awards. Mackenzie was also a member of the Cedar Park Celebrities Dance Team, under the direction of Stacy Danielson, where she served as 2nd Lieutenant her junior year and Captain her senior year. Through leading the Celebrities, Mackenzie’s passion and interest in teaching dance, and using it to inspire others, grew exponentially. Mackenzie is now pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance as well as her teaching certification at the University of Texas at Austin. Mackenzie also has the privilege of dancing on Verge Dance Company, under the direction of Hannah Brightwell. There, she gets to train and perform in various local venues. Mackenzie is so excited to combine her passion for dancing and teaching this year at Evolution Dance Center!

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Angelina Barba


eSTREET Assistant Director

Angelina Barba


eSTREET Assistant Director

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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Michael Clement


Guest Instructor

Michael Clement


Guest Instructor

An Austin, TX native, Michael began training at the age of 5 starting with ballet, jazz, and tap.  As he grew up in the Austin dance scene he eventually added training in hip hop, contemporary, and music theatre styles.  Michael attended University of Arizona where he earned a BFA in Dance focusing in Pedagogy and Choreography.  There he performed works by George Balanchine, Donald McKayle, Mia Michaels, Bob Fosse, and many more.  He has trained with River North Dance Chicago, Compagnie Marie Chouinard (via Springboard Danse Montreal), and held a choreographic residency while studying with The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance.  After graduating, he moved to New York City where he danced commercially at NYC Fashion Week and The 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show before discovering his love and talent for music theatre.  Some of his credits include Disney Cruise Line (Swing), CATS (Mr. Mistoffelees), and Seven Brides (Ephraim).  Michael also has a strong background in fitness and teaches around the Austin area.  Michael's teaching style uses biomechanics and anatomy to teach his students to safely navigate their own bodies in a way that is healthy and technically correct.  He believes that this implementation both protects and frees the body up for beautiful artistic expression.    

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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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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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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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AARON GIRARD


Guest Instructor

AARON GIRARD


Guest 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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Ali Pfleger


Guest Instructor/Choreographer

Ali Pfleger


Guest Instructor/Choreographer

Ali was born and raised in the costal city of Newport Beach, California. She began dancing at the age of 10. At age 14, Ali began apprenticing for a professional dance company based out of LA, called MusEffect. She attributes her growth in dance to being thrown into a company where the majority of the dancers were around 6 years older than her. She was the youngest member ever inducted into the company and remains the youngest company member to this day. Living so close to LA, she has had the opportunity to dance for many artists such as Hailee Steinfeld and Alicia Keys, as well as brands such a Reebok and Gap. Ali attended Orange County High School of the Arts as a major in Commercial Dance, until she chose the online education route in order to more seriously pursue her dance career. In the summer of 2016, she took the title of Intrigue Dance Intensive's Tier One Assistant - allowing her to travel the country free of charge to every city on Intrigue's 2016-2017 tour. Through this opportunity, Ali found a love for education and creation that she is continuing to pursue. In addition, she recently received a scholarship to St. John's University in Queens, NY and hopes to obtain a degree in Criminal Justice specializing in Forensic Psychology, while continuing to pursue a career in dance – hopefully attributing to the idea that one can have both an academic and artistic career.  

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Isaiah Harvey


Guest Instructor

Isaiah Harvey


Guest Instructor

Isaiah Harvey grew up in Lufkin, Texas and started taking gymnastics at 10 years old. It was through this passion that he took on cheerleading at school and achieved All-American for every year he was a member of the team. In 2006 he was named NCA’s Top-American cheerleader for both his outstanding skill and technique. At 17 years old he began teaching under the instruction of Darlene Atkinson at the Academy of Gymnastics and Dance as both a tumbling instructor and competitive cheerleading coach. During his time there he discovered his passion for dance and began taking classes, and gradually worked his way up to teaching and choreographing for the competitive dance teams. His dance choreography has won numerous awards including “best in show” and placing in the top 10 at dance competitions.

In 2007 he started working with the Angelina College cheerleaders in choreographing dances and cheers and later took on the position of the Director of the Spirit Program as well as teaching dance classes at the college.Throughout the year he travels to teach cheer camps at multiple schools around Texas and judges during drill team and cheerleading tryout season. Isaiah has helped choreograph and produce for the corporate supermarket Brookshire Brother’s commercials, and has traveled international to perform for TEDX.

As a teacher, it’s most important for Isaiah to help his students achieve the goals they set for themselves. He takes pride in seeing his students achieve something they’ve worked hard for and watching them grow to their fullest potential.

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Michael Love


Guest Instructor

Michael Love


Guest Instructor

Michael J Love is a 2015-2016 Austin Critics' Table Award-winning tap dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Most recently, he was an ensemble member of the summer laboratory cast of the Savion Glover-choreographed, George C. Wolfe-directed musical “Shuffle Along.” Michael has held principal and soloist roles with Tapestry Dance Company, performed with Andrew Nemr's New York City-based Cats Paying Dues PLUS, toured throughout the country with the Mike Minery-choreographed "TAP: The Show!," and danced with the Boston Tap Company. Performance highlights include “Echoes in Time” at Symphony Space in New York with CPD PLUS, the GAC Network’s “Christmas in the Black Hills” holiday television special, and Baakari Wilder’s “A Tap Tribute to Bill Bailey” at the DanceAfrica DC Festival. Michael is originally from the Washington, DC metropolitan area where he trained at Knock On Wood Tap Studio and was a member of Tappers With Attitude Youth Ensemble for six years. Michael is an alumnus of Emerson College. You can learn more at DancerMLove.com!