Brianna Underwood – Co-Owner and Director of EVOLVE Dance Company
Technique, Jazz, Contemporary, and 2dance2dream.
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 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!
Melissa Best - Co-Owner and Director of EVOLVE Dance Company & EMERGE Dance Company
Contemporary, Jazz, Technique, and 2dance2dream.
Melissa Best is a local Austinite with a passion for life that overflows in her classroom. She is excited to bring her creativity and passion into Evolution Dance Center as co-owner. Melissa has studied dance in New York City, where she learned from Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and received a scholarship with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Her dance career has been very active in this community, as top 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, and dancing with TDDEA. 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, and he joined the Army in 2004, giving Melissa the opportunity to study dance at Tanzschule Bayerle in Gelnhausen, Germany for 2 years. The Army then brought her to Junction City, 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. Her choreography has been awarded with top awards, and described as creative, inspired, innovative, and fresh. Under her direction, her dancers have received regional and national championships, scholarships, and awards. Melissa brings a fresh and exciting energy into her classroom, instilling confidence and creativity to her students. When not dancing or teaching, she brings all her energy home where she is busy with her four children, and dogs.
Marissa Forbes - Assistant Director of EVOLVE Dance Company
Jazz, Contemporary, Tap, and Technique
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.
Morgan Burke - EVOLVE Dance Company, Contemporary, Jazz, and Choreography
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.
Trevor Parmentier – Hip Hop , Director of Electrolytez Dance Crew
Trevor Parmentier is a southern California native. Learning to walk in high tops, and raised within the walls of a studio, Trevor has consistently looked up to top choreographers in the industry. While living in California, Trevor worked with several dance organizations and companies individually, including Culture Shock Dance Company, Velocity Dance Troupe, and Surreal Crew, blessing him with the opportunity to teach and perform up and down the California coast. Now living in Austin Texas, Trevor shares his passion for life and dance by teaching all around the United States. He is on staff with Dupree Dance, and directs several companies in Texas. He has danced and choreographed for local Hip Hop & RNB artists, and with crews around Texas, including ILLovation crew who placed 1st overall at the World of Dance competition in 2010. Whether it is teaching at conventions, or teaching a small class for kids after school, Trevor always has the same goal in mind, and that is to spread a positive light and influence in the dance industry where it is typically hard to find. His goal is to not only teach students how to move, but to love dance and to let it be a part of who they are. Trevor hopes to continue training, teaching, choreographing, and striving to personally improve his craft so he can further share his love and talent with as many people as possible.
Randall Marks - Ballet Director
Randall Marks originally trained with the Tidewater Ballet, and was privileged to study with Susan Boree, Irtha Kitt, Edward Villela, Gene Hammet, Pat Sorell and Robert Steele. His talent was quickly realized and he was given featured roles in Graduation Ball, Concerto Borrocco, Spanish Rhythms, Don Q Pas De Deux, and Copellia. Mr. Marks was awarded full scholarship to study with Joffrey Ballet and then was offered an apprenticeship with the Pennsylvania Ballet where he continued his training under Lupe Serano and Benjamin Harkave. He also studied at the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts. He went on to dance as a soloist with Ballets Elan and was quickly hired by Atlantic City Ballet where he was named principal dancer after his first season. His distinctive grace was acclaimed in a notable performance of the Green Boy in Les Patineuers and as the Prince in Swan Lake and other pieces including George Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie, August Bournonville’s Flower Festival Pas de Deux, and Stuart Hodes’ Abyss. During this time, he was invited to dance at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival. As principal dancer with Ballet Austin, Dance Magazine described him as “a cocky young Gene Kelly, hoofing his heart out.” His featured roles included Allegro Brillante, The Fairy’s Kiss, Rhythmetron, Triangles, House of Bernarda Alba and Promises. Joining New York City’s Dennis Wayne’s Dance Company he toured across the US, and overseas. Mr. Marks accepted a position with the New York City Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company performing in Aida, La Traviata, Faust and Giaconde, and guest starred with Connecticut Ballet Theater in Giselle, Die Fledermaus and Vienna Life. But several personal invitations from Ballet Austin’s artistic director finally took Mr. Marks back to Austin to dance in ballets including Other Tangos, and Elektra. Eager to expand his versatility in dance styles and looking for a choreographic outlet, Mr. Marks accepted the position of resident choreographer/principal dancer with Tapestry Dance Company. His Stepping Over the Line and A Tango Perhaps were received with high praise. A joint performance with Austin Contemporary Ballet brought an invitation to choreograph a piece on the company. With high reviews for Toward the Within he was invited to step in as guest director for the last half of Austin Contemporary Ballet’s final season, expanding on his first piece and creating a new lively piece, Mr. Jones and Friends. During this time, Mr. Marks joined forces with his wife, Jeanne Marie, and began a partnership that took him across the country and on board some of the finest six-star cruise ships performing many of the classic pas de deux. Stepping away from the forefront of dance to focus on teaching and coaching, Mr. Marks teaches throughout Texas and the United States. Based in Austin, he teaches at many of the leading academies, and is presently director of ballet at the Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Mr. Marks teaches at the Joffrey Summer Program, adjudicates for the American Ballet Competition, and has been teaching with Sun King Dance since 2006. He is pleased to be part of the Evolution Dance Faculty.
Alexis Ringel - Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, Director of Electrolytez Dance Crew
Alexis Ringel is a recent Westwood High School graduate and is currently in Austin studying dance at Austin Community College. Being born and raised in Texas, Alexis started dancing when she was 3 years old. While attending Westwood, Alexis was a Sundancer. Her senior year she assisted the JV dance team (Warrior Pride) where she had a lot of choreography opportunities. Alexis has trained at multiple studios growing up such as Cedar Park Dance Company, Dancers Workshop, and The Dance Spot. While training at the studios, she was on their companies and was very dedicated to growing as a student. Right after Alexis graduated, she wanted to jump into the Austin dance community to teach and volunteer as much as she could. Alexis is versatile in styles but has a strong passion for hip-hop. Alexis hopes to grow as a teacher and get involved on a personable level with all of her students. Alexis strives for a positive class when she is teaching, so that all the kids feel that they have a home away from home while taking her class.
Sarabeth Hough - Tap Director
Sarabeth Hough is excited to join the teaching faculty for Evolution Dance Center as the resident tap instructor. SB (as she is known to many) is the former the owner and director of Lonestar Dance in Pflugerville. In her tenure as a dance teacher, for the past 17 years, she has approached teaching with a multifaceted technique. She tries not only to focus on work ethic in class, but also to instill values into her dancers that influence them to be kind humans. Sarabeth specializes in tap, jazz, musical theatre, and pre-school dance. Sarabeth grew up dancing competitively in the Dallas/Metroplex area under instructors: Kari Anderson, Kendyl Schaffer, and Paula Stevens. Throughout high school she was involved in dance and was a member of the L.D. Bell High School Raiderettes Drill Team from 1998-2000, serving as lieutenant her Senior year. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where she was a member and captain of the University of Texas Pom Squad, the official dance team of UT Athletics and where she later served as the assistant to the Spirit Program Director.
During the last 10 years she has contracted as a free-lance choreographer across central Texas. She has pursued continued dance educational through programs such as Break the Floor's annual Dance Teacher Summit. She maintains a high level of professionalism and strives for continual growth in her teaching and choreography. In her spare time, she blogs about her obsession with holidays and works in event planning and coordination.
Raymond White - Acro
Raymond has a strong background in gymnastics. He was a competitive gymnast from the age of 6 through college. He was a part of the University of Oklahoma's gymnastics team. He was the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation floor champion his senior year of college. Raymond was also involved in theater while in high school. He performed in several plays as well as a play that was performed at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has trained on the Lyra, silks and canes. He has a certificate to teach Ballroom dance from Dance Makers, Inc. He has a bachelor's degree in linguistics with a minor in Spanish. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2014. He has been a gymnastics coach at Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy and Eagle Ridge Gymnastics.
Melissa Roetker - Ballet
Melissa began her dance training in San Diego at Balletcenter West focusing intensely on classical ballet. To broaden her dance knowledge Melissa also studied modern, ballet, jazz, dance history, choreography, and improvisation at Coronado School of the Arts for two years. Melissa began her professional dance career at the age of 16 with City Ballet of San Diego, and at the same time joined Balletcenter West as a ballet instructor. In order to further her performing career, she moved to train with Miami City Ballet School for the 2011-2012 season. Additionally, Melissa has trained and performed through summer programs at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, and Ballet Austin. She moved to Austin, Texas to dance as an apprentice with Ballet Austin in 2012 performing classical and contemporary works at The Paramount Theatre, The Long Center, and on tour throughout Texas. She is currently pursuing dance as much as possible through performing with The Dance Project and teaching ballet and contemporary dance at several schools throughout the Austin area. Melissa is very excited to join the teaching staff at Evolution Dance Center and looks forward to helping the students in any way she can.
Elif Tuzer - Ballet
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.
Emma Portner - Guest Instructor/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.