We often get asked where the best dance studios are in town
Though we have so many wonderful places to choose from, we have found that the following list of artists in the industry have come with the highest recommendations from multiple sources. These are also the studios that we send students to regularly.
Toni Bravo: Ballet/Modern:
Maria Antonieta (Toni) Bravo Originally from Mexico City, and naturalized American, Bravo holds a bachelor's degree in Chemistry, a Diploma in Physiotherapy Nursing and a master's degree in Theatre History and Criticism, with a minor in Dance Pedagogy (UT, 1987). Ms. Bravo left Latin America in 1979 since then she has studied and performed throughout the planet before she settled in Austin, Texas. Most notably, Bravo studied in London at the Royal Academy of Dance and the Imperial Society of Dance, with Ruth French, John Field and Dame Ninette de Valois in 1976, In the USA she has performed with Ballet Austin, Ballet Memphis, Discovery Dance, and The Early Dance Institute. In 1985 she became assistant to the director of Dance Repertory Theatre at UT, Austin where she studied with Merce Cunningham [in residency] Leon Danielian, Woody McGriffe and Sharon Vasquez. And in 1989 Bravo spent 9 months in Essen Germany, teaching and training with the Gymnasium Essen Werden and Pina Bauschs company in Wuppertal. In Austin she has worked with almost everyone in the dance and theatre scenes. In 1995 she founded Diverse Space Dance Theatre DSDT. Her work consists of different dance and dance-theatre styles including Modern/Contemporary Dance, Musical Theatre, Ballet, and Dance and Rhythms from different sectors of the World. In the 90s she was awarded best choreographer title by Austin Chronicle's Best Of Austin for three years in a row. And, last year, she received the B Iden Payne award for outstanding choreography for The Vortex's production of EARTH. She presents her independent works with DSDT and her youth company travels every year to perform and study in the Irish Youth Dance Festival and at LISTROS, Berlin. She also choreographs every year for Austin Shakespeare. Last spring, she choreographed UT's production of In The Heights, the Tony Award Best Musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Since 2008 Bravo has taught and choreographed in Spain, Germany, England, and Ireland every Summer. And is currently working to train teachers in Dublin and Berlin to teach her methods and concepts. Toni began teaching for the Ballet Austin Academy in 1990. She spearheaded Ballet Austin's in-school movement programs, which are currently conducted in a number of school districts throughout the Greater Austin area. Toni is also the Artistic Director at Diverse Space Dance Theatre.
Currently teaching at:
Jesse Smart: Ballet
Jesee Smart is originally from Chicago, IL. She has studied dance for more than 20 years under various professionals including Lisa Boehm (Ballet), Frank Boehm (Jazz), Randall Newsom (Ballet, Graham Technique), Judith Chitwood (Ballet, Horton Technique), Paula Frasz (Modern, Tap, Musical Theatre), Karen Williamson (Ballet, Modern), Lila Dole (Spanish), Danny Herman (Broadway Jazz, Tap), Rocker Verastique (Broadway Jazz), Kenney DeCamp (Jazz, Performance), and Joel Hall (Jazz). Jesee moved to Austin in 2006 after graduating from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management (Human Resources) and a Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Education. She currently choreographs and performs in and around Austin, including multiple performances per year at the Georgetown Palace Theatre. Jesee taught ballet, pointe, modern, tap, and jazz for ten years prior to moving to Austin. She was a founding member of the award winning competition group "Petite Feet" with DancEncounter in Geneva, IL. While attending Northern Illinois University, Jesee was the director and producer of Art for Life, an AIDS benefit concert associated with Dance for Life in Chicago.
"People have asked me why I chose to be a dancer. I did not choose. I was chosen to be a dancer, and with that, you live all your life." -Martha Graham
Currently teaching at:
Danny Herman: Broadway Tap: (Dance Theater Instructor)
DANNY HERMAN was in the original Broadway cast of A Chorus Line,Contact,and Leader of the Pack, and performed as a principal jazz and tap dancer in many other off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Danny was also in the first national tour of Song and Dance, toured Europe in Broadway Tonight, was featured in the Chicago company of Sophisticated Ladies and began his career as the Purple Panda on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
As a choreographer and director, he created three International Editions of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, spectaculars for casinos, special events such as the Martin Luther King Honors Show at the Kennedy Center, and an encore presentation of 200 inner-city children dancing together on stage for the Pittsburgh Musical Theater. He has directed, choreographed, and staged musical shows for theaters throughout the United States, as well as for international and national touring companies.
Mr. Herman has taught jazz, tap, and theater dance at Ballet Austin, Steps, Broadway Dance Center, New Dance Group, and Queens College in New York City, Carnegie Mellon University, Point Park College, and Pittsburgh Musical Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and at Fresno State University in California.
An internationally recognized director, choreographer, actor and teacher, Mr. Herman has received Chicago's Jeff Award, Artisan Award, and After Dark Award, was awarded a Platinum Album for his contributions to the record breaking Tabaluga and Lilli, and co-directed and co-choreographed the recently acclaimed Dreamgirls - the 20th Anniversary Benefit Concert, raising over a million dollars for The Actors' Fund. As associate choreographer for Michael Bennett's Pre-Broadway Workshops of Scandal, Mr. Herman recognized his passion for creating original works, and has since collaborated as a director and/or choreographer on numerous world premier productions in New York and nationally.
Currently teaching at:
Kristin Nicholaison/Balance Dance Studios: Jazz/Lyrical
Kristin Nicolaisen started dancing at a very young age and is now the Artistic Director and co-owner of Balance Dance Studios. Kristin grew up in Houston dancing with some of the best studios in the city including North Harris Performing arts Center and Masters Upper level where she was on the advanced competitive team under the direction of Melissa Hooks. The company traveled all over the country seeking the highest level of well-rounded dance education and placed first overall at national competition, multiple years in a row. She also received many awards and acclamations in her solo work including multiple scholarships, 'L.A. agent' and 'Teen Dancer of the Year' I.D.C. etc. During these years Kristin also coached gymnastics and participated on her high school cheerleading team where she was awarded the honor of All Star as well as All American. Kristin then attended Texas State University where she graduated with a bachelor degree in mass communication with a sociology minor. While going to college she worked as a dance sr. instructor/choreographer for 8 years at Alisa’s Dance Academy. She also has directed the off campus physical education program at ADA working with Austin school district. Kristin has worked close with Austin’s Dance Elite competitive team, Aspire Dance Convention, Lake Travis I.S.D. and Manor I.S.D. choreographing many award winning ensembles and countless solos including the 1st place district champion 2011. She travels to Los Angeles and New York regularly to continue her training and stay current. Last year she toured U.S. and Canada as a backup dancer for singer Zayra. She dances with Reverence Dance Company as well as Verge Dance company where she has been artistic director and head choreographer. Kristin is madly in love with the art of movement and is ever embracing and exploring this beautiful boundless art. She has found in her dance experience that she not only loves the art but also truly loves sharing it with students. Exposing people of all ages to a form of athleticism and personal expression that induces healthy happiness for the mind, body, and soul is endlessly fulfilling.
Currently teaching at:
Boo Ruiz: West Coast Jazz/Hip Hop
Ms. Ruiz has more than 20 years of dance training in jazz, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, and contemporary dance. She was in the pre-professional program at Ballet Austin from 1996-1999 where she was fortunate enough to study under Mr. Stephen Mills. She has trained in jazz, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, ballroom, and contemporary dance all over the country in studios such as The EDGE PAC (West Hollywood, CA), The PAC Annex (Van Nuys, CA), Broadway Dance Center (NYC, NY), and Steps (NYC,NY). Ruiz was a competitive dancer from 1992-2003. In 2003 she was ranked as the number three competitive soloist in the nation (National Dance Finals in Orlando, Florida). She began choreographing and teaching at the professional level in 2001. Ms. Ruiz is also a Certified Pilates Fitness instructor and is on staff at Ballet Austin's Pilates Center. She currently teaches Contemporary Dance and Pilates for Ballet Austin's Butler Community School. She continues to dance and audition all over the United States and Canada.
Currently teaching at:
Round Rock Repertory: Strength: Ballet
1100 Sam Bass Rd, Suites #201-203
Round, Rock, TX
Dance Spot: Strength: Ballet
900 Round Rock Avenue, Suite #220
Round Rock, TX
4544 S Lamar Blvd #200