As the owner and operator of her own successful dance studio for the past 14 years, Ms. Blake has secured a solid reputation for her professional teaching style and true commitment to her students. Concurrently she has maintained a Master Teacher staff position, touring around the United States and Canada, with Dance Olympus’ Fall and Summer Tour for over 14 years. As a Master Teacher, Amy has worked with dancers all across the country at various colleges, dance studios and conventions. Mrs. Blake is an adjudicator for competitions and has judged for Dance Masters of America, Hawaii International Dance Festival, Dance America and numerous others.
Amy’s formal training was under the close direction of Shelly Power’s Academy of Dance and the Houston Ballet Academy where she has also worked as a guest instructor for their Summer Intensive Program. Amy has received many scholarships and trained with numerous teachers and choreographers in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Professionally, Amy danced with Houston Grand Opera in such productions as Annie Get Your Gun and Attila the Hun. just to name a few, as well as Texas Dance Theater, Joan Karff’s New Dance Group, World Jazz Dance Congress and Kountry Fever in Las Vegas.
Mrs. Blake continues to give back to the community by presenting her biannual performance of The Nutcracker which is performed in local hospitals, nursing homes and shelters.
Amy’s mission is to not only educate, but to inspire the love of dance and passion for the arts in each student that she has the privilege of teaching. As such she mentors her Senior Company members, who desire to further their dance education in college, through the audition process. Former Amy Blake students have been accepted to dance programs at Southern Methodist University, Loyola Marymount-Los Angeles, Marymount Manhattan College and others.
Nicole Bishop was born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona where she received her formal training at the Tempe Dance Academy in Tempe, Arizona. Nicole had the honor of dancing with the International Dance Alliance in several European countries including France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. During this time, Nicole also performed three consecutive seasons with Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker as Arabian in Phoenix, Arizona.
She received additional training from the renowned Rockette Summer Intensive in New York City for two years, Steps on Broadway, and Idyllwild Arts Academy where she received a full summer scholarship. At the age of 18, Nicole moved to New York City to train and work at Broadway Dance Center as an intern; her focus was Jazz and Contemporary under the mentorship of Derek Mitchell. During her tenure, she was awarded best choreographer and her piece was selected to perform at the Choreographer Canvas in New York City. Nicole’s success in New York allowed her to perform on Good Morning America and work for an entertaining company performing at multiple events. She then moved to Las Vegas to perform in Don Arden’s World Famous “Jubilee!” as a Bluebell Showgirl. While in Las Vegas, Nicole also danced in a variety of commercials and shows including Guys and Dolls at the Las Vegas Hotel, Paul Mitchell, Canada’s Dodge Dart National Commercial, Heartlyn Rae’s music videos, and many more.
Nicole then moved to the island of Guam where she performed in the show ‘Dream’ as a Showgirl and a Magician Assistant. Currently, Nicole lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and is pursuing a college degree. She is very excited to teach and share all her experiences with Amy Blake’s Academy of Dance.
Charisse Craft-Barry, was the studio co-owner and an instructor at Dance Moves in Seabrook, TX for twelve years. She was raised in Alexandria, Louisiana and received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1997. While earning her degree, she performed as a soloist with the La Danse Company and studied the Vaganova method of ballet. Charisse was an original member of Ballet Alexandria in Alexandria, Louisiana and danced with the company for five years. During this time, she also studied at the Cenla Academy of Performing Arts and completed a training tour throughout the Ukraine and Moscow. Performing with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company for over two years, Charisse taught ballet at Sullivan’s School of Dance, Houston Metropolitan Dance Center, and West University Dance Centre. She also performed with Dorrell Martin Dance Company and completed a tour through Mexico. Charisse continues to guest teach at studios and conventions like tHe beaT, Georgia Dance Conservatory, Red River Dance, Starsteppers, and others. She is excited to be on board with Amy Blake.
Caitlin began her professional career at 18, kicking eye-high at Radio City as a New York City Rockette. Select performing credits: TUTS productions of Urban Cowboy, White Christmas, Annie staring Sadie Sink, Spamalot, A Chorus Line, also Houston Grand Opera’s Show Boat and 7 seasons with Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre. Choreo credits include Figaro 90210 (Assistant Choreo, Off-Bway,) Thoroughly Modern Millie, Grease, Annie, Music Man.
Caitlin directed and choreographed the successful web series, Who Could Ask For Anything More. As an instructor, she has taught at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center in NYC. So grateful to be a part of the Amy Blake dance family since 2017! For Mackenzie.
Keith Cross believes great dancing is a blur of good training in all the elements of dance. Together Ballet, Modern and Jazz dance training has helped him create a new and fresh way of utilizing choreography. By using these dance forms, it has given him the understanding of the versatility a dancer can have. He believes that it is imperative that a dancer have the broad training with which the quality and level of dancing is endless.
Keith Anthony R. Cross: Artist in Residence Kinkaid School; Founder of Teundu Inc.; Artistic Director of Texas Dance Theatre (1990-1998); Master Teacher for Cross Jazz Tours; Consultant for American Dance Convention.
Mr. Cross has worked for such organizations as: Frank Fuher International, Texas Association for Physical Education Recreation on Dance, Texas Association of Teachers of Dancing Inc., The Peoples Workshop, MECA, Texas Commission on the Arts, Ft. Bend Arts Council, Shreveport Regional Arts Council, The Jewish Community Center, Houston Parks and Recreation Dept., Young Audiences of Houston, Dorace Allais for Houston Center League, Dance St. Louis, Mississippi Dance Association, Dixie Associations of Dance Masters, Dance Masters of America Inc., Dance Olympics of New York, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Okaloosa- Ft. Walton Community College, Pensacola Jr. College, University of Houston, Sam Houston State University, Houston Community College, San Jacinto Jr. College, Louisiana State University, and Rice University. Mr. Cross’ teaching experiences include: The Jazz Dance World Congress, The International Ballet Festival, Tulsa Ballet, Ballet Met, Jazz Met, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, City Ballet, Western Arkansas Ballet, Metropolitan Ballet, Allegro Ballet, Academy Lupec’s Mexico, Berry Stephen’s Academy of Dance Amsterdam, Uptown Dance Center, Amy Blake’s Dance Academy, Dancescapes By Joyce, City Dance, Pointstation Inc., Images Dance Ensemble, Delia Stewart Dance Co., Joseph Holmes’ Chicago Dance Theatre, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Third Coast Jazz, Claude Marchant Dance Theatre Sweden, Dance Explosion Rick Odems Paris, Opus One The Netherlands.
Keith’s television credits include: The Sammy Awards, Houston Grand Opera’s “Tremonisa”, NBC Chicago Emmies and Star Search 1990. He has worked with such talents as: Debbie Allen, Hinton Battle, Maurice Hines, James Brown, Luigi, Matt Mattox, Frank Hachett, Joe Tremaine and Gus Giordano.
Keith has been called the ballet dancer’s Master Jazz Teacher.
Ms. Grywalski was trained at the renowned Houston Ballet Academy, Houston Texas under the direction of Ben Stevenson and Principal Teachers Anne St. Paul, Nicholas Polajenko and Nina Popovich along with additional training and coaching from legendary teachers from the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Michel Pannieff, and Natalie Krassovska. Ms. Grywalski joined the Dallas Ballet under the direction of George Skibine and Marjorie Tallchief dancing in classical and contemporary ballets as well as guest performances with Columbus Grand Opera and Columbus Dance Theater in Ohio.
Additional performing opportunities include working with jazz pioneer Gus Giordano in Chicago, Illinois and Dino Anderson of JazzDance Columbus.
Judith began teaching at BalletMet Dance Academy, Company School for BalletMet Columbus in 1991 under the direction of John McFall in Columbus Ohio, teaching in the lower school and adult programs working alongside respected teachers George Boft of the Bolshoi, Daryl Kamer and April Berry of the Alvin Ailey Company. In 1995 David Nixon became Artistic Director of the company and the school. Judith was invited to teach in the PreProfessional Program teaching technique and pointe under the direction of Prima Ballerina Yoko Ichino. Ms. Ichino developed a holistic approach to classical ballet training including floor exercises and set combinations to increase muscular understanding of turnout, flexibility, and extension. Additional teaching experience was working at Columbus City Ballet- Shir Li Wu Artistic Director- Formerly Hong Kong Ballet.
Ms. Grywalski is currently teaching at Galveston Ballet, Galveston, Texas, and Amy Blake’s Academy of Dance in Friendswood, Texas.
Lori Guerin danced at Amy Blake’s Academy of Dance for 10 years before attending Sam Houston State University where she earned a BFA in Dance in May 2020. During her time at SHSU, Guerin explored dance through the lenses of performance, choreography, pedagogy, administration, and lighting design. She has performed in works by Andy Noble, Dionne Sparkman Noble, Gabrielle Lamb, Travis Lake, Jorrell Lawyer-Jefferson, and Jared Doster, among others. Since 2018, Guerin has worked as Assistant Lighting Designer for David J. Deveau and Bryan Ealey in Houston and New York theaters.
She is now the Administrative and Marketing Manager for NobleMotion Dance and an apprentice with Ad Deum Dance Company. She is excited to be returning to Amy Blake’s Academy of Dance to share her love of dance with her ABAD family!
Dorrell Martin is founder of the jazz and contemporary dance program, LEON Dance Arts that is associated with LEON Contemporary Dance Company, of which Martin is the Artistic Director. Martin is a full time faculty member at the St. John’s School in Houston, TX. He is on staff at the Amy Blake’s Dance Academy and West University Dance Center and continues to guest teach and choreograph throughout the U.S.
Martin is creator/former director of the Jazz and Contemporary Program at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City and former Artistic Director of Houston Metropolitan Dance Company in Houston, TX.
Martin has a solid professional training and performance background. He was a soloist for the national and international touring company “A Few Good Men Dancin” and has danced in shows such as Aida, West Side Story, Lion King, Swing and appeared in the movie ENCHANTED. Martin has also performed with numerous professional companies, including Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Arch Dance, Locke Contemporary Dance, Elliot Feld Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Richard Rivera’s PHYSUAL as well as Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular. He has performed in venues such as Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Joyce SoHo, Blaktino at BAAD in the Bronx, Riverside Theatre and American Dance Festival with some of New York’s emerging choreographers. Martin appeared on the talk show THE VIEW with singer Emma Bunton of the Spice Girls. He has performed with recording artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Pink, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna and Debra Cox.
He received Honorable Mention for Choreography at the World Jazz Congress in Washington D.C. 2000. In 2003 he founded Dorrell Martin Dance Fusion in Houston, TX, and the company made its international debut in Veracruz, Mexico, performing at the Festival Danza Cordoba. Martin graduated from The High School for the Performing Arts in Houston and continued his training at the North Carolina School where he received his BFA in Dance Theatre. Additional study included prestigious centers for dance such as Paul Taylor School, Feld Ballet, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, New York State Summer Intensive with the New York City Ballet and with various schools and companies throughout Europe. Martin has taken his experiences of working with such notable artists as choreographers Sean Curran, Daniel Ezralow, Kevin Wynn, Liz Imperio, Pattie Obey, Margo Sappington and others, to explore and find his own voice in movement. As a teacher, choreographer and director, Martin teaches jazz and contemporary dance throughout the country and has set works on colleges, universities, dance companies and schools, such as Belhaven College, Hope College, Lamar University, Muhlenberg College, Harrison High School in Michigan, Urban Soul Dance Company, SET Contemporary dance, High School Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX, Ballet Forte.
Hannah Schmiegelt graduated with her Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Dance at Sam Houston State University in 2013. Since graduating, she has had the opportunity to dance for Amy Llanes with Rednerrus Feil Dance Company while also being the Director of Dance for a studio in League City, Texas. During her time at SHSU, Hannah had the opportunity to study under Andy Noble, Dionne Sparkman Noble, Dana Nicolay, and Jennifer Pontius. Throughout her dance career, she has taken master classes with artists such as David Justin, Enzo Celli with The Celli Contemporary Ballet in Italy, Dominic Walsh with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, and Jane Weiner with HopeStone Dance, to name a few. In 2009, she earned her Associates Degree in Dance from San Jacinto College South in Houston, Texas. While dancing there, she had the privilege of performing at the American College Dance Festival in the adjudicated and informal concerts. She has taught dance from ages 3 to adult in varying styles such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, and Creative Movement. Hannah has a big heart for children and teaching; one day she hopes to own a studio so that she may share her passion for dance with others.
Katie Trevino Lammers received an Associate of Arts Degree in Dance at San Jacinto College South in 2008. She was a part of the San Jacinto College Dance Performing Arts Company for two years and participated in the American College Dance Festival. She received a scholarship to the Bill Evans Workshop in Brockport, NY, the Joanna Friesen scholarship from the University of Houston Dance Faculty, and a scholarship to the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. She was a part of the UH Dance ENSEMBLE Company for two years and the Young Audience Touring Company. She earned her B.A. Degree in Dance in 2012 from the University of Houston. She has continued her dance education by taking dance classes in the Houston area and various summer and winter dance intensives.
Katie has been teaching at various dance studios in southeast Texas since 2006. She teaches all levels of ballet, pointe, modern, contemporary, jazz, and progressions.
Katie has guest performed in two of FrentiCore’s shows; there is no answer as to why me: A Dance Tribute to David Rakoff in 2013 and Quench in 2014. Recently, she has performed for Opera in the Heights, ReFine Arts production of WITCH and Frenzied Phony, and Rebecca French’s Bodies of Light at the Glass Crescent. She is the Artistic Director of the Pre-Professional Dance Company, artistic edGe. They have performed Katie’s choreography at the Houston Fringe Festival: Anything Goes, Project Dance, Comedy Dance Festival, Merging Forces, An Evening of Praise and Thanksgiving, Mind the Gap 11.0, and they were selected for Houston Fringe Festival 2017. She has danced with Uptown Dance Company for six seasons and continuing with artistic edGe in their sixth year.
John Andrew Ruth proudly celebrates his 25th season with Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theater (BAHBT). Companies include, Houston Ballet, Houston Jazz-Ballet, City Ballet of Houston, Space/Dance/Theatre, National Ballet of Cuba, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, and BAHBT.
John has danced the full spectrum of ballet repertory including The Nutcracker (Snow Cavalier, Nutcracker Prince, Spanish, Arabian, Sugar Plum Cavalier, Drosselmeyer), Coppelia (Mazurka, Franz, Dr. Coppelius), Giselle (Prince Albrect, Peasent Pas De Deux, Hilarion), Dracula (Sandor, Dr. Van Helsing), Cinderella (Prince, Father, Stepmother), Peter and the Wolf (Peter, Grandfather), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon), Tristan and Isolde (King Mark), Gaiety Parisienne (Billiard Player), The Sleeping Beauty (Rose Cavalier, Puss n Boots, Bluebird), The Seasons (Winter), The Merry Widow (Mazurka), Edward Scissorhands (the Creator), Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried, Von Rothbart), The Firebird (The Wizard).