Deidre Russell Robinson
Deidre began her studies in Houston, TX with Margo Marshall, Madame Seminova, James Clouser and Patsy Swayze. She also studied jazz and musical theater with greats Frank Hatchet, Gus Giordano and Alvin Ailey. A graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Ms. Robinson’s career has included many dance forms, movies, commercials, touring shows and eight different countries. She performed and toured extensively with the Houston Jazz Ballet Company under the direction of Patsy Swayze, dancing in numerous ballets including Spartacus, Kismet, Spring Waters and Raymonda Variations. Joining the Houston Ballet under the direction of James Clouser, then Ben Stevenson, Deidre’s roles included the Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle, as well as performances of Caliban and Carmina Burana.
Summers had her touring with Theater Under the Stars productions of Music Man, Gi Gi, My Fair Lady and Carousel, under the direction of Roger Rabe (Director of Broadway’s Best Little Whorehouse) and Bruce Lumpkin (Director of Nine on Broadway). She was featured in a national commercial for Astroworld and appeared with John Travolta in the movie Urban Cowboy. A move to Los Angeles landed her in the touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar and subsequently with a principal role in Bally’s Las Vegas production of Hollywood Jubilee. She also performed and toured with the Jean Carlos Flamenco Ballet Company of Caracas, Venezuela. She returned to the United States in 1987. In Austin, she was invited to join the Austin Contemporary Ballet while she directed its junior company, Texas Youth Ballet.
Additionally, Ms. Russell Robinson has choreographed several musicals for the Capital City Playhouse and Kid’s Acting such as Fiddler On the Roof and Westside Story. Deidre shared her wealth of knowledge and love of dance through her own studio, Austin Dance Arts, 2003-2008. She is proud to be a member of the International Dance Council, Classical Dance Alliance, Texas Association of Teachers of Dance and the Cecchetti Council of America.
Leo Paschal started his dance career in Austin Texas at Reagan High School. He was the first male to be on a dance team and on ALL- City, State, and Company. Leo was Jr. Lt. 1998-99 and Captain of the Double R Dance Team 1999-2000. After graduation, Leo ventured out to studios teaching Street Jazz and Hip-Hop. Teaching at Tapestry, Dance Arts, Joyce Willett School of Dance, Dance Zone, The Dance Studio, and Jackie’s, Leo added Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Salsa, Hawaiian, Tango, and Break Dancing to his list of credits. Leo became one of the top Hip-Hop Choreographers in Austin and was deemed the best in Austin by Fox 7 News in 2004. Leo has choreographed 1st place award winning dances for high schools such as Stony Point, Reagan and East-side Memorial High School. Leo has danced the roles of both Russian and Arabian Dancer in the Nutcracker.
Danielle began cultivating a love for dance as early as three years old, but started a serious study of ballet in 2001 at the age of 9 at Inland Pacific Ballet Academy. Over the years at Inland Pacific Ballet, Danielle was afforded many opportunities to perform in their productions of, “The Nutcracker”, “Giselle”, “Little Mermaid”, “Cinderella” and excerpts from “Dracula” at the IPB “Gala”. Her summer intensive studies include Inland Pacific Ballet, The School of American Ballet in New York, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, and Ballet Austin. While at San Francisco Ballet’s 2008 Summer Intensive, Danielle was invited to study with them for the 2008-2009 school year. While attending the summer program of The Pacific Northwest ballet summer of 2010 she was accepted with a scholarship into the Professional Division of their school for the 2010-2011 school year and was able to perform in many of their productions. After attending a summer at Ballet Austin in 2013, she was invited to stay as a trainee with the company 2013-2014 where she was able to perform with Ballet Austin II, and Ballet Austin. Danielle is excited to be performing with the Austin dance project this season.
Danielle Juarez Maguire
Danielle Juarez Maguire began her dance training in Boston, Massachusetts with Boston Ballet. After training with Boston Ballet for four years, she was given the opportunity to expand her dance education at Rosalie Woodson Dance Academy in Aiea, Hawaii. Several years later she began dancing with The Dance Studio in Austin, Texas under the direction of Lucretia Lomax Alvarez. She has been fortunate to train with Melanie Kregel, Patricia Hall Loring, Svetlana Krylova, Amanda Booth-Neidhardt, and most recently, Latisha Coffey. In 2010 she became a resident artist for Austin Metamorphosis Dance Ensemble. Danielle now performs and choreographs for The Dance Project, a local non-profit dance organization. She enjoys working with local dancers and looks forward to her new opportunity as an instructor at the Round Rock Repertory Dance Center.
Zeke Zimmerman has studied the art of tap dance for 19 years in Austin, TX. He’s had the pleasure of studying at Tapestry Dance Company under a number of talented tap dancers such Acia Gray, Nicholas Young, Jason Janas, Matthew Shield, and many others. He is a graduate of the McCallum Fine Arts Academy where he majored in dance. He also apprenticed with Tapestry’s Professional Company from 2014-16 seasons where he appeared in the shows “Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Tap Nutcracker” and “In Your Shoes” under the direction of Acia Gray, and has performed in the 2015 Soul to Sole festival. He has performed and collaborated with a number of Austin musicians and groups including Tina Marsh & The Creative Opportunity Orchestra, Dr. James Polk and Centerpiece, Alex Coke, Randy Zimmerman, and many others.
Sarah Sofia Cantoran
Sarah is originally from Los Angeles CA. In California Sarah received dance training at Attitudes Dance Academy under the direction of Megan Hart and Joshua Romero. After moving to Texas she studied dance at Metamorphosis Dance Academy under the direction of Melanie Kregel and Mel Glouchkova. Sarah went on to join Austin Metamorphosis Dance Ensemble at the age of 12. Although only 19 years old Sarah’s choreography has been featured in Ballet Under The Stars and with The Dance Project. Sarah has performed with The Dance Project since August 2013.
Sarah graduated in June 2015 from Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville TX. She is currently teaching at Round Rock Repertory Dance Centre and hopes to share her love of dance with her students. Sarah plans to continue her dance training with a focus on choreography. Sarah will start working on a degree in Interior Design Fall of 2016.
Chris Barfield has been dancing since the age of 10. Starting off at Stephanie’s Dance Studio One in Katy, Texas, he moved to Austin and started dancing at Joyce Willet’s School of Dance. He had been dance under Quinton Weathers’ direction at The Dance Spot from 2007 to 2008. He has also had training from Cheryl Copeland while attending The Dance Spot. He has had formal training in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop and a little salsa. Chris has received scholarships from Tremaine Dance Convention and was in the highest scoring small group dance at Hall of Fame Challenge in Austin in 2008. At the age of 12, he was asked by Arletta Howard-Logan to play the part of Mowgli in the ballet version of “The Jungle Book” as well as a featured dancer in Randal Marks’ “Jazz and Tango” a few years later. He has also been active in the musical theatre department at his school, performing in musicals such as “Seussical,” “Les Miserables,” and “The Boyfriend.” Some of his acting skills have been put to use in plays such as “The Fisherman and the Mermaid,” “Pinocchio,” and “Teen Drama,” the latter being a special new play for UT Connections.
Chris recently graduated from film school in California where he also worked as a choreographer for the Buena Park Youth Theatre. He choreographed productions of “Guys and Dolls”, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”.
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. She is the Company Manager for the Youth Performance Company at the Palace as well.
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 including all of the visual and performing arts. It was associated with Dance for Life in Chicago to benefit those artists living with and dying from AIDS.
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.
Melissa began her dance training in San Diego at Ballet Center West focusing intensely on classical ballet. To broaden her dance knowledge she 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 Ballet Center 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 seasons. Additionally, Melissa has trained and performed through summer programs at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, Ballet Austin, and Northwest Dance Project.
She moved to Austin, Texas to 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 through performing with The Dance Project and teaching in Austin, TX.
Sarah has been teaching dance since 1996 when she started her own creative dance class for the tots in her home school co-op group. Her love for Pilates started around that same time, and she has been teaching Pilates since 2004. She holds a BFA in Ballet from Belhaven University in Jackson, MS. While she enjoyed dancing professionally for 10 years, with Ad Deum Dance company, Psophonia, and other dance projects, she also taught as a Pilates Specialist at Rice University and was an instructor of children’s dance for many years at the Houston Met Dance Center.
Sarah keeps busy with her husband and two lovely children when she is not teaching dance or Pilates.