Meet our Teachers, Choreographers, Creatives & Dreamers.
These are the people who create the magic at dance 101. Today they are names on a screen but soon some of these extraordinary people will become very important to you.
*To read their full bios, click on faculty's name

Pytron Parker

Class: Super Sub!
Location: Atlanta, GA

Pytron Parker is a Georgia native, building a life around the performing arts. She received her Bachelors of Arts degree in theatre with a concentration in musical theatre and dance from Brenau University. Exploring the arts while embracing the beauty life has to offer, Pytron loves creating artistic moments and nurturing hidden talents with the ultimate goal of making people smile a little more each day. Trained in jazz, ballet, modern, musical theatre, contemporary, and hip hop, Pytron has been changing dancers' lives for over 10 years.

Catherine Smith

Classes: Stretch & Alignment, Ballet Basics
Location: Alpharetta, GA

Catherine brings over twenty-five years of experience as an educator into her dance classes, and delights in making the joys of movement accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Originally trained as a ballet dancer in Houston, Catherine left the dance world after a serious injury, and did not dance again for twenty years. In 2010 she began taking adult jazz and ballet at Dance 101. In only a few years time she had discovered profound changes in her ability to process information and follow patterns, not just in class, but in everyday life as well. She sought out classes

Erick Uphoff

Class: Contemporary Unplugged
Location: Atlanta, GA

Erick is originally from Chapel Hill, NC. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA. He has just moved back east from Los Angeles, CA where he has worked in many facets of the field of entertainment. From Acting, to dancing, to singing, this "Tripple Threat" does it all, Both in front of the camera, and behind the scenes. Erick has danced on both stage and screen with the likes of Joss Stone, Heather Headly, Stevie Wonder, Mario, & Irene Cara. He was a "Top 3 Finalist" with his mother

Shama Lightwala

Class: Bollywood Madnesss
Location: Atlanta, GA

Life philosophy: Love yourself first! Dance Enthusiast by passion, and Management Consultant by trade! Born and raised in India, Bollywood's mesmerizing dance and song magic was love at first sight! Training for various forms of Indian dance, performing in dance competitions since the age of 8, choreographing routines for Emory Dance Company, competing with national collegiate dance teams, leading dance events for corporate health initiatives and international non-profit organizations, teaching group dance fitness...the journey has felt like a non-stop party! A dream that I have the fortune to live and share with those I come across! 

Luke Reid-Grassia

Class: From The Ground Up
Location: Alpharetta, GA

Luke Reid-Grassia grew up in Santa Fe, NM, where he studied with the National Dance Institute, Moving People Dance, and The School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. After attending numerous summer intensives including LINES Ballet and Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Luke went on to receive a BFA in Dance from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He has performed in New York, Boston, and New Mexico with various companies, including Prometheus Dance and Moving People Dance Santa Fe. He also works regularly behind the scenes as a light-board operator for dance concerts in the Atlanta area.

Ricardo Aponte

Classes: On Broadway, Jukebox
Location: Atlanta, GA

Ricardo is a professional director and choreographer for theater, industrials, and televised specials. Most recent theater credits include: Kiss of the Spider Woman (Actors Express), Ain't Misbehavin' (Atlanta Lyric Theatre), The Buddy Holly Story (Georgia Ensemble), Altar Boyz (Horizon Theatre), How I Became a Pirate (Theatre in the Square), Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer (Center For Puppetry Arts), Kiss me, Kate, Annie Get Your Gun, The Dinosaur Musical, (Aurora Theatre),

Rhonda Henriksen

Class: Beginner Contemporary 
Location: Alpharetta, GA

Rhonda Henriksen has danced professionally since the age of 19. She trained on full scholarship with Alvin Ailey , Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. She danced with world renowned dance companies such as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago, Elisa Monte New York and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Rhonda was a soloist for some of the great choreographers of our time such as Twyla Tharp, Danny Ezralow,  Margo Sappington, Sherry Zunker, Lou Conte, Mauricio Wainrot, Ginger Farley and Sam Watson. 

Rachel Zervakos

Classes: Classical Ballet Updated, Act II: Contemporary, Raise The Barre, Contemporary Ballet
Location: Alpharetta, GA

Rachel is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory, where she earned her B.F.A. in Dance, Magna cum Laude. She received her initial training at Tolbert-Yilmaz School of Dance in Roswell, GA. Her studies continued at Regional Dance America conferences and summer programs including American Ballet Theatre, Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. At The Boston Conservatory, Rachel studied a wide range of

Neeti Mehta

Class: Bollywood Beats
Location: Atlanta, GA

Neeti Mehta was born and brought up in the heart of Bollywood in Mumbai, India. Dance has been a constant in her life. As a child Neeti trained in Indian classical styles - Bharatnatyam and Kathak. Later, she trained in Bollywood-Jazz for several years at the Shiamak Davar Institute for the Performing Arts (SDIPA). This is where her love for Bollywood fusion grew. Simultaneously, Neeti choreographed dances for various weddings and events, performed at school and college events,

Shana Henning

Classes: Power Barre, Discover Cardio Jazz 
Location: Atlanta, GA

After an illustrious professional career in dance, Shana is excited to join the faculty at Dance 101 to continue and share her passion! Shana began her career in Orlando, Florida at Disneyworld right after graduating from the University of Oklahoma. After a decade of performing for Disney's Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios and Seaworld, she continued her travels to Asia alongside the opening cast of Hong Kong Disneyland as a dancer/aerialist. Shortly after finishing 2 back to back contracts overseas, Shana danced her way to the NBA as a team captain, MC and member of the Dunking Dancers for the Orlando Magic.

Monique Latalladi

Class: Stretch 
Location: Atlanta, GA

Since I was 4 years old, I have been involved in gymnastics and Latin dance, participating in several national and international competitions. Just before graduating from high school, I told my dad that I wanted to attend a performing arts school or study the culinary arts; I either wanted to be a really good dancer or prepare a monster soufflé. He said, “Um…no. You need a ‘real’ career. You are going to be an engineer.” So I am, just like he wanted. Suffering from the endless

Jared James

Classes: King of Hearts (hip hop), J-Roc (hip hop)
Location: Atlanta, GA

Jared was born April 1, 1990. Inspired by street dancers and poppers he started dancing at the age of 11, and that’s when Jared and his brother came up with the crew name Royal Flush. Throughout the years he continued to grow as a dancer and choreographer, despite the negative comments from his parents and his high school basketball coach. Now Jared has danced and choreographed for singing groups and danced in many videos. One of his biggest accomplishments

Ofelia de La Valette

Classes: Jazz 101, Dancer's Stretch & Conditioning, A Dancer's Stretch, Jazz Funk Remixed 
Location: Atlanta & Alpharetta, GA

Though a passion for dance has been with her since childhood, it wasn't until the age of 34 (in 1991), after the birth of her second child, that Ofelia de La Valette found her second calling through dance. After 10 years of intensive training in jazz, hip hop, ballet and modern, she was asked to teach an adult beginner jazz class at Emory University. Having learned to dance so late in life, Ofelia developed a unique method of teaching dance to adults in accordance with how adults process and apply information (very differently than how kids learn). 

Lauren Banks

Classes: Ballet Barre Fit, Inside Out, Barre Fit, Stretch, Ballet Fit
Location: Atlanta, GA

Lauren Banks began her dance training at Carla's Dance Factory in Fayetteville, Georgia, where she studied ballet, tap, and jazz. After graduating high school, Lauren taught for the Universal Dance Association (UDA), teaching middle school and high school students across the southeast. Following her UDA experience, she attended Kennesaw State University (KSU). She performed with the KSU Rhythm Dance Team and the KSU Dance Company. Under the direction of Ivan Pulinkala,

Trina Bordere

Class: The Ballet Condition
Location: Atlanta, GA

Trina Bordere began her dance training at New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts (NOCCA), where she studied classical ballet, jazz, Horton technique, flamenco and dance history. Her education also includes 3 musical theatre summer intensives with Ann Reinking (Bob Fosse's muse) and the Ailey School as a scholarship student. She later went on to train in ballroom dance (working as an instructor and performer) and has studied west african dance, hip hop, tap and argentine tango.

Q. Harper

Class: Q It Up (hip hop)
Location: Atlanta, GA

Q Harper, known for his diversity and footwork, has amazed crowds while preforming with Royal Flush. He showed off his wide range of styles, while performing on MTV's Americas Best Dance Crew. His combination of B-Boying, hip- hop choreography, and original tricks, has given him the opportunity to work with many artist such as T-Pain. He has performed on multiple TV programs, and taught at some of the top studios across the US. His down to earth charm, versatility, and experiences, have molded him into the well rounded creative he is today.

Jerylann Warner

Class: Modern
Location: Atlanta, GA

Jerylann has been teaching and choreographing dance in the north and southeast for many years. Her teaching credits for adults, children and professionals include many esteemed universities, studios and performing arts high schools. She has been a presence as a creator, writer and founder for many dance initiatives. Her modern dance class was cited by the AJC as "Top Class in Atlanta". Her company, Gathering Wild Dance was critics pick for Best Dance Company, 2001.

Erin Richardson

Class: Serpentine (bellydance)
Location: Atlanta & Alpharetta, GA

Erin first fell in love with Bellydancing watching the famous Bidasha Twins perform at a wedding. Captivated by this mesmerizing, sexy, snake-like dance, she began her Turkish Egyptian training at Nazeem Allal Studio here in Atlanta. Over the years, she has found a love for the American Tribal Style, which has a blend of Traditional, Greek, Latin, Gypsy, West African, Asian and Bolly. Her musical journey takes you from Middle-Eastern, Flamenco, Reggae, Dub, to Trap, Hip Hop and Elecrtronica.

Jenna Jackson

Classes: Broadway & Rhythm Tap, Broadway Jazz
Location: Alpharetta, GA

Jenna Jackson received her Bachelor of Science degree in American Dance Pedagogy from Oklahoma City University and has since enjoyed performing and teaching all over the country! Jenna danced alongside Kristen Chenoweth on the television show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in Long Island. She also performed overseas on the island of Guam in “Dream” at the Sandcastle Theater. While residing on the island, she taught ballet, tap, jazz, theater dance and creative movement to all ages from all over the world. Jenna most recently performed in the Georgia Aquarium’s Christmas production of “A Symphony of Snow”. Other credits include “Hairspray”, "The King and I", “The True Meaning of Christmas”, “Nutcracker” (Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara), “Copellia” (Swanhilda).

Barry Thomas

Classes: Tap (discover - intermediate)
Location: Atlanta, GA

Barry Thomas received his B.A. in dance at the prestigious Butler University. Several seasons in summer stock found him with his first job in New York and the world famous Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. After numerous shows in and around New York, Michael Bennett cast Mr. Thomas in the role of Don Kerr for the Broadway and International Company of A Chorus Line. He performed with the company for a year, where they eventually headed for Atlanta. He has worked at


Class: Flamenco
Location: Atlanta, GA

Fani is a flamenco dancer who comes via France and has been and can be seen at a variety of venues, including the Atlanta Opera’s recent production of Carmen, Tablao Flamenco at the Atlanta Cuban Club, or, more recently, Siento at Emory University. She has taught flamenco dance in Atlanta, since 2008. Fani, who dances in the style employed by Spain’s most popular women artists, lived in Madrid where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the Universidad

John James

Classes: Hip Hop 101, Hip Hop 201
Location: Atlanta, GA

John James is a native of Atlanta, GA whose life has centered around music and dance.

Since birth, John has been surrounded by vocalists, producers, and musicians which naturally helped him develop both a love and understanding for the entertainment industry. At a young age he studied instrumentation and music performance from some of the best directors in the southeastern United States. After becoming a singer/artist at age 16, John realized that his truelove lie in dance.

D. Norris

Classes: Discover Hip Hop Fit, NRG (hip hop), Discover Reggaeton, Fuego!
Location: Atlanta, GA

D. Norris is a native of Atlanta, GA. He obtained a degree in Business Management from Alabama State Univ. He started choreographing in high school. D. has choreographed and danced for numerous theater and stage performances across the globe, including Miami, San Diego, Montreal and Mexico. He has worked with various artists, including Mary Mary and Dirk Chaney (R.I.P.). Culture Shock Atlanta, Infinite Movement Dance, CHOSEN and Contagious Entertainment

Tara McCurley

Classes: Ballet Center, Ballet Fundamentals
Location: Atlanta, GA

Tara began her training at age 3 in Enola, PA, later dancing with the pre-professional Cumberland Dance Company and studying at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. At 15, she was invited to study on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet in New York City, where she danced principal roles in Allegro Brillante, Concerto Barocco, and Flower Festival for the school’s workshop performances, as well as principal roles in Symphonie Concertante and Serenade for the New York

Mallory Hazen

Class: Discover Contemporary
Location: Atlanta, GA

Mallory has been performing since the age of 3, but it wasn't until she began choreographing in college that she discovered her passion for teaching and sharing the arts with others. Mallory holds a B.A. in Theatre and Music, and is currently studying for her Masters in Nutrition. She is the choreographer for Dad's Garage Theatre Company, has set works on Gotta Dance Contemporary Company, was the 2015 drawing board choreographer for Dance Canvas and taught ballroom dance for 2 years. Mallory has performed with Gathering Wild, Zoetic Dance Ensemble, Collective

Lindsay Thiel

Classes: Tap (beginner - advanced) 
Location: Atlanta, GA

Lindsay Thiel danced with the Atlanta DanceWorks under the direction of Barry Thomas and J. Patrick McCann from ages 3-18. While at UGA, Lindsay Thiel founded and led the UGA Tap Dawgs, danced with the UGA Red Hotz Competitive Dance Team, took classes and performed with UGA's Dance Department, and performed with the DanceFX Company and taught tap at DanceFX. She was a featured tap dancer at a CD release party for REM in Athens. She has also

Katrina Beek

Classes: Ballet Basics, Discover Contemporary, In Parallel 2nd, Floor Barre, Ballet Barre Beautiful
Location: Atlanta & Alpharetta, GA

Katrina is a North Carolina native who began her dance career at the age of 4 in Chapel Hill, at Bounds Dance Studio. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, flamenco, and pointe. Katrina attended the summer program at the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts, where she was accepted into their year-round program, majoring in ballet. During her time there, she danced in their productions, notably The Nutcracker as Tea (Chinese). She also attended numerous summer

Momchil Mladenov

Class: Euro Ballet
Location: Atlanta, GA

Momchil Mladenov was born in Bourgas, Bulgaria. He was trained in the Vaganova Method at the National High School of Ballet in Sofia, Bulgaria from 1984 to 1993. In 1997 he earned a Bachelor of Arts from the Ballet Department of the National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria. From 1993 to 1999 he was a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Bulgaria. Mr. Mladenov’s honors and awards include Laureate of “Arabesque” Competition and prize for best performance in P.I. Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, Perm, Russia in 1998, Laureate of Masako Ohya World

Amber Thompson

Class: Breathe (contemporary)
Location: Atlanta, GA

Amber is a native of Atlanta who has been dancing all her life. She received her BFA from Point Park University, where she trained in the technique and repertory of Hubbard St. Jazz Dance Chicago and worked with several choreographers such as Doug Bentz, David Storey, Margo Sappington and Kevin O’Day. Amber currently plays a big part in the non profit dance ensemble Zoetic where she performs as a company member, teaches an open company class and contributes to

Monica Noble

Classes: Hip Hop Flow, E'mote'
Location: Atlanta, GA

Originally from Augusta, GA, Monica "Mo" Noble began training in modern and ballet at John S. Davidson Fine Arts School. After moving to Atlanta to attend Georgia State University, she was introduced to hip hop while dancing on Dancers On Point Dance Team. She choreographed several of DOP's dance pieces and also performed at some of Atlanta's hottest venues and events. Mo has choreographed and performed for the UniverSoul Circus tour, danced for David Banner on Ludacris'

Tanya Leake

Class: Hip Hop Shakedown
Location: Alpharetta, GA

Tanya Leake is a dancer, performer, choreographer, certified group fitness instructor and health coach.  Tanya has been a certified fitness professional for more than 14 years and has been dancing all of her life.  She believes dance is one of the most fun and effective ways to achieve improved physical, mental AND spiritual health.  She has an unbelievable energy and brings unique choreography fusing all of the styles from her dance experience (including Afro Brazilian, samba, salsa, tango, West African, hip hop) to her classes.  

Beth Del Nero

Classes: Barre & Stretch, Jazz Cabaret
Location: Atlanta, GA

Beth originally hails from the Detroit area and moved down south to Atlanta after completing her bachelor's degree in architecture. After working several years with local architecture firms, Beth felt there was something missing from her life: DANCE. Though she enjoyed some gymnastics and drill team in her youth, her real training began as an adult, beginning with ballet. As the obsession with dance grew, so did the areas of study as she branched out into pointe, jazz, and modern dance.

Ashley Allen

Classes: Red Hot Jazz, Contemporary, Beg. Hip Hop, Stilettos
Location: Atlanta & Alpharetta, GA

Originally from Arizona, Ashley has trained extensively for over 22 year in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, and Hip Hop through schools such as the University of Arizona and L.A.‘s Edge Performing Arts Center. Her specialty skills include Pointe, Partnering, Ballroom, Lyra, Hammock/Silks, and Sway Pole. Ashley was a featured dancer/ensemble in Musical Theatre West's performance of The Wedding Singer. She has worked with artist including Colbie Caillat and Victoria Justice. She performed

Ashleigh Hughes

Classes: Dance Fitness, Body Sculpt
Location: Alpharetta & Atlanta, GA

Ashleigh does not come from a dance background but discovered it only by trying to "lose the baby weight". She went to a dance fitness class back in 2009 after her second son was born and became hooked! The baby weight started to melt off and it was a release, it was fitness and it was fun! She continued to go to that class until she moved to Colorado in 2011 where she became a certified fitness instructor herself. From there she taught different formats of dance fitness, barre,

Emily Vanderkley

Classes: Pure Ballet, For The Love of Jazz
Location: Atlanta, GA

Emily recently retired from a 12 year professional dancing career having performed all over the world. Before taking on her 7 years with Royal Caribbean International Productions, she performed with the Atlanta Ballet and Bacchus Productions. She began, on full scholarship her senior year, to the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education under the direction of Sharon Story. Then after graduating High School, performed for an additional 3 seasons with the company taking

Bryn Chafin

Classes: Ballerobica, Stretch
Location: Atlanta, GA

Bryn has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She trained in a number of different styles including ballet, jazz, modern, character, and flamenco with the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. As a teenager and a pre-professional with the Atlanta Ballet, Bryn was given the opportunity to perform roles with the professional company in ballets such as "The Nutcracker" and Michael Pink's world premiere of "Romeo and Juliet". Also during high school, Bryn attended many Summer

Ash & Jess

Class: Dance Fitness
Location: Atlanta, GA

What happens when you mix kindness, charisma, an excellent playlist and a 'side' of swagger? Jess and Ash's Dancefit class! Jess aka "Chief Booty Boss and Ash, aka 'Senior Squat Officer" bring their humor and exuberance to their class each and every time.  Jess moved here from Cleveland and found a path into teaching dance.  Ash had heard about this great class and decided to try it out.  Soon enough they were working as a duo.  Jess lives with her husband Chris and two children, along with a mini farm (not really but kind of) in Decatur. 

Kevin K'Smoove Maddox

Classes: MADD-X Fitness (dance fitness) & MADD-Xpressions
Location: Atlanta & Alpharetta, GA

Kevin is an established fitness instructor, originator of MADD-X Fitness, Hip Hop choreographer, founder and Executive Director of Culture Shock® Atlanta (a nationally recognized professional hip-hip dance organization that, among other things, produced some of Dance 101's most popular dance teachers: Elaina Whitehead, Kevin Tyson, D Norris and Jeremy McShan). Kevin is considered the most influential pioneer of Dance Fitness in Atlanta, being one of the first trained dance

Camille Huang

Class: Cardio Mix
Location: Atlanta, GA

Originally from Maryland, Camille has been dancing since age 3. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Health Fitness Specialist and a minor in Dance. She later earned her master's degree from Auburn University in Physical Activity and Health. She has experience in leading physical activity for ages 3 to 85! In addition to teaching dance, Camille is currently a certified exercise physiologist, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and Registered Yoga Teacher in the Atlanta area.

David Norwood

Classes: Balletronic, Thread, Jazz Funk, Morning Air, Metropolis, BpM, Jazz Basics 1 & 2
Location: Atlanta, GA

Visionary, Artist, Storyteller.
David Norwood is a artist choreographer. David Norwood has a creative style known as TripHop that is progressive and disarming. Commercially, Mr. Norwood has choreographed for such notable companies as Ford, Nike , Apple, Volvo, Reebok, and Armani as well as directed Television shows in Tokyo, London and Belgium. For the stage David has worked with Atlanta Ballet, Charleston Dance Project, Idaho Ballet, David has taught nationally and internationally master classes and workshops David sees himself as more of a visionary artist than a choreographer.