Faculty

Faculty

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Nicole Thate: Owner/Director/Choreographer

Nicole Thate started dance when she was 3 years old. She began her training and love of dance at Jon Mullen’s Performing Arts Center in West Palm Beach, FL and then later Wellington, FL. As part of the Jampac dance company, Mrs. Thate trained there for 15 years. She competed annually at competitions both regionally and nationally winning judges awards and regional titles. Mrs. Thate has performed in The Orange Bowl half-time show with Ciara, Miami Heat basketball games, The Breakers, cruise ships, Disney World, So You Think You Can Dance and many more.

Nicole continued her dance training in college at Palm Beach Atlantic University where she majored in Psychology and minored in Dance. She was a member of the Dance Ensemble and performed in Fall and Spring concerts at the Kravis Center as well as at ACDFA (American College Dance Festival Association), now known as The American College Dance Association. Mrs. Thate has several classical ballets in her repertoire including Le Corsaire, Stars and Stripes, Le Sylphide, Don Quixote, Carmen, and the solo The Dying Swan from Carnival of the Animals. She then continued her dance training at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in
Chicago while in graduate school.

Mrs. Thate’s teaching career began in 2005 and she has loved teaching the art of dance to students ever since. She has experience teaching ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and acrobatics. She has choreographed several production, solos, and group competition pieces. Her passion is to train dancers and provide an environment for them to grow and thrive in. She is certified as a Progressing Ballet Technique trainer as well as certified as an Acrobatic Arts instructor.

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Jessica Keller, Ballet Teacher

Mrs. Keller is a New Jersey native who started dancing at the age of 3.  Ballet has always been her passion.  She trained at the Academy of Dance Arts in Red Bank, NJ under Jennifer Church, Sori Gottdenker, Victoria Green, and Charles Nicoll.

Mrs. Keller is Royal Academy of Dance trained and passed all exams from Primary to Advanced with Honors.  She performed a number of lead roles including, Clara, Lead Marzipan, Snow Queen, and Mouse Doll in the Nutcracker and other lead roles in various performances.

During her studies, Mrs. Keller attended summer programs at the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Miami City Ballet.  She continued her pre-professional ballet training at the Miami City Ballet School. Her instructors included Edward Villella, Nancy Raffa, Geta Constantinescu, Truman Finny, and Carter Alexander.  During her time at the school, she performed most notably as the Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty and Russian Girls from Balanchine’s Serenade. Mrs. Keller danced professionally with Miami City Ballet performing in ballets such as Symphony in C, Western Symphony, Symphony in Three Movements, Don Quixote, Giselle, and The Nutcracker.

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Megan Dunn, Ballet Teacher

Megan Dunn was born and raised in Palm Beach County. She has trained with numerous studios in the area including Miami City Ballet, Ballet Florida and Susan Lyle Studios. She has also studied at The Boston Conservatory and Orlando Ballet as a full scholarship student. After dancing with the Joffrey Ballet Concert group in New York City, Megan returned to her hometown and danced professionally with Ballet Palm Beach. Megan has traveled on trips with Ballet Ambassadors to Cuba, Budapest, Russia, Croatia and Bosnia. She is active in the community and is currently a member of the Junior League of the Palm Beaches.

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Ben Slayen, Ballet Teacher

Ben Slayen began his dance training at Oregon Ballet Theater, and the Portland Ballet, in Portland, Oregon. He continued his dance training at The School of American Ballet in New York City and Miami City Ballet School. Ben then went on to dance professionally with the Miami City Ballet, Ballet Florida, Alberta Ballet, and Ballet Memphis. He has performed many works all over the world from classical ballet to contemporary performances working with choreographers such as Trey Mcintyre, Vincente Nebrada, Matthew Neenan and Christopher Wheeldon. As well as performing works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and Alonso King.

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Alaina de Renzo, Modern Teacher

Alaina De Renzo is a dancer, choreographer, and educator originally from South Florida where she began dancing at Susan Lyle Studios in Lake Worth. She graduated cum laude from the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida receiving her BFA degree in Dance Performance. Alaina has a passion for teaching; she has been teaching dance as an instructor and assistant instructor for eight years throughout the West Palm Beach area. Recently, she interned at Howard W. Blake High School of the Arts in Tampa, Florida as an advanced-level Modern dance instructor.

During her time at USF, Alaina trained in Modern, Ballet, Laban Movement Analysis, and Improvisation. More specifically, Alaina has trained in the Modern techniques of Horton, Limon, Graham, Drop/Release, Contemporary, and floor-work as well as the Ballet techniques of the Cecchetti and Vaganova methods. Alaina trained in these techniques under the direction of her professors Andee Scott, Bliss Kohlmyer, Michael Foley, John Parks, Jeannine Travers, Andrew Carroll, Paula Nunez, Osmany Montano, and Merry Lynn Morris. Alongside her training with her USF dance professors, Alaina also worked with many USF guest artists, including Gierre Godley (artistic director of project 44), Jody Kuehner (Seattle-based dance artist, director, and drag queen Cherdonna Shinatra), Christian Denice (former company member of Odyssey Dance Theatre, River North Dance Chicago, and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal), Donna Mejia (assistant professor of the CU Boulder Theatre and Dance Department), Alonzo King (founder of Alonzo King LINES Ballet), and Maurice Causey (Ballet Master for both the Royal Swedish Ballet and Netherlands Dans Theatre 1).

In addition to her training in Modern and Ballet dance techniques, Alaina has also studied the art of choreography while participating in a dance choreography series. This series included site-specific choreography, dance on film choreography and production, choreography with live text performance, and choreography creation and analysis for both intimate performance settings and large stage settings. Further, Alaina also has extensive knowledge of kinesiology, dance pedagogy, and the history of both Ballet and Modern dance techniques. This expertise has allowed Alaina’s passion for dance to extend beyond just the physicality of the art; it has allowed her to understand and pass on a deeper meaning of the field.

Alaina also performed in various USF faculty and guest artist works. Recent guest artist works that Alaina has performed in include: One Tuesday Afternoon, choreographed by Kara Davis (faculty member and choreographer of Alonzo King Lines Ballet); Up in the Air, choreographed by Xiao Xiang Rong (Chairman of Beijing Normal University and the chief creator and choreographer of the 29th Olympic Games and the 29th Paralympic Games opening and closing ceremonies); Motions on the Mobius Strip, choreographed by Kristin O’Neal (professor at Emory University, the Bates Dance Festival, and the Florida Dance Festival); and Batsheva Dance Company’s re-staged Minus 16, choreographed by Ohad Naharin (artistic director of the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company – also known as, “Mr. Gaga”).

In 2016, Alaina received a full scholarship to attend the Florida Dance Festival where she was able to train with Jennifer Archibald (founder and artistic director of Arch Dance Company), Chase Angrier (artistic director of Angrier Performance Works and professor/director of the Alfred University Dance Program), Jon Olstad (international choreographer and former company member of Nederlands Dans Theatre), and the members and choreographers of the Axis Dance Company.

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  Jason Masloski, Modern Teacher

Jason was born in Connecticut, where he started dancing at the age of 5. Music and dance have always been his passion. Jason studied Jazz for 5 years until he moved to Florida. Upon coming to Florida, Jason attended Dreyfoos School Of The Arts. While there, he majored in Modern dance. He was classically trained in Horton, Limon, Graham and Afro-Caribbean techniques. He choreographed several dance pieces and productions before graduating.

After graduating, Jason joined the Hip Hop Dance Company – Pop Starz. While there, he danced with Cris Judd & Darrin Henson.

Jason’s teaching career begin in 2003. He has been teaching throughout the community ever since. He has taught Modern, Contemporary, Hip Hip Hop and Lyrical. His true passion is choreography. He loves creating a piece and seeing where it goes.

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Sherry Tautiva, Jazz Fusion Teacher

Sherry Tautiva is a ballroom dancer, coach and choreographer. Sherry won a number of dance competitions, including the Eastern United States, the Middle United States, and the California Star Ball Championships, the titles of Ohio Star Ball Champion (of PBS television’s Championship Ballroom Series), as well as reached the finals of both the USBC (US Open Dancesport Championships) and La Classique du Quebec (Canadian Open Championships). Culminating her career with the title of North American Latin Dance Champion. Sherry also performed as lead dancer for Kenny Vance Videos shown on MTV.

Sherry has coached and choreographed for Olympic and World Figure Skaters.  Including the National Champions of France, Poland, Russia and the United States to name a few. Many of her dance students have gone on to perform on Broadway, TV and are now competing and teaching all over the world.

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Maria Hernandez, Hip Hop Teacher

Maria Hernandez began her dance training in 2010 at the age of sixteen in West Palm Beach, Florida at Sean’s Dance Factory under the direction and training of Sean Green. In 2012 she became a Hip Hop instructor at Spotlight of Wellington, and shortly after became an instructor at Sean’s Dance Factory. Her training and dance experience have led her to come up with her own distinctive style of Hip Hop, believing that dance is an art form of expression and a lifestyle. She has performed on productions at the Broward Performing Arts Center, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, and was featured her own piece at the choreographer’s showcase in Miami. You might have seen her as a backup dancer for James Cove, and dancing on stage with Sugarhill Gang. She remains a continuous student training with some of the top choreographers in the Hip Hop community such as Dondraico ‘Draico’ Johnson, Ellen Kim, Jillian Meyers, Marty Kudelka, Dexter Carr, Chris Grant, Chuck Maldonado, Aisha Francis, Kevin Maher, Nick DeMoura, and many more. Her training has allowed her not only to perform but also to train and direct her students onto the World of Dance competition, never forgetting the main elements of Hip Hop to be the base of their elaborate pieces of competition and performance.  Maria believes that her love for dance can be spread and can help dancers of all ages grow and develop their craft with strong self-confidence, allowing them to build their passion and follow their dreams.

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Veoletta Range, Pilates Teacher

Veoletta Range Dyer is a trainer, instructor, and dance artist based in West Palm Beach, FL.  She earned a MFA in Dance with an emphasis in Choreography and Performance from Florida State University and holds a B.S. in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy with a Minor in Dance from Duke University. Her love of anatomy and dance led her to merge her interests by choosing an additional concentration in Dance Science at FSU where she taught Pilates, conducted dance science research, and helped condition and rehabilitate dancers. Veoletta has taught conditioning classes for Suzanne Farrell’s Workshop for Young Dancers and helped develop and teach the cross-training program for FSU’s Summer Intensive Dance Workshop.  Veoletta has taught master classes at the American College Dance Association’s Southeastern Conference, The Dancer’s Space, and local dance studios in Palm Beach. Veoletta loves helping dancers enhance their skills and balance their overall well-being and is delighted to bring her knowledge to Palm Beach County.