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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Lexi Blake is a Point Park University graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (Magna Cum Laude honors). Her love of dance began at the age of three; and, as a high schooler, was accepted to attend Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX. There Lexi was selected to to play a lead role in the Parson’s Dance classic repertoire, The Letter. Throughout her years at Point Park, she also performed and was selected to be in concerts with works by John Heginbotham, Kiesha lalama, Crystal Fraizer, and Colleen Hooper. Prior to studying at POint Park University, Lexi was a member of the pre-professional program Houston Repertory Dance Ensemble under the direction of Keith Cross.
Lexi has set choreography on local studios in the Houston area, and has had several professional performance opportunities, such as a hired dancer for the Mary Kay Seminar under Larwell Productions in Dallas, TX for two consecutive summers. Lexi’s goal and vision consists of making connections within the dance community while sharing her passion for dance in an authentic way.
Maddie Medina is from Houston, TX where she trained at Vitacca Dance Project from 2015-17. Maddie then trained at The Juilliard School working with renowned choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Andrea Miller and Brian Arias. There, she also performed repertoire by Bill T. Jones and Trisha Brown. She has worked professionally with Brett Ishida in new works titled ‘longing floats around you’ and ‘dream of black’. Maddie graduated from The Juilliard School with a bacherlor’s degree of Fine Arts and is now dancing professionally at Vitacca Ballet in Houston, TX as well as teaching at ABAD.
Born in Houston, TX, Cameron received training from The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later continued training at The Ailey School in New York City. He has performed numerous works from Mr. Ailey’s repertoire, including Revelations, Blues Suite and Memoria at Lincoln Center with the first company. Cameron debuted and opened the Adrian Alicia fall collection in New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center in “the Seed of Adrian.” Cameron has performed Rocka my Soul in the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He has taken classes, assisted and performed with Dancescape by Joyce in the production “Into the Woods.” Cameron has performed and was featured in “These Feet Were Made For Walking,” the Pride exhibit at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston during Pride month. Cameron has been choreographing since 2017, and teaching at James E. Law Elementary since 2019, where he works with preK-5th grade students as the artist after-school coordinator and resident choreographer.
Lorraine Hancock began working as the Office Manager at Amy Blake’s Academy of Dance in July, 2013. As Office Manager, Lorraine maintains the studio software, is responsible for accounts payable & receivable, manages all student off-campus PE waivers, assists with all recital-related schedules and procedures, and helps dance families determine class schedules for their dancers.
Prior to working at ABAD, Lorraine has worked as a stay-at home mom (where she held just about every possible PTA position), owned her own Computer Moms franchise, and supported NASA back in the Space Shuttle days as an engineering contractor with Lockheed Martin. Lorraine has thoroughly enjoyed working with Amy and her staff and looks forward to many more fulfilling years at the studio!
Holly Conrad began working for ABAD in January, 2015. As Company Adminstrator, Holly assists with coordinating choreography week; registering our Companies for various conventions/competitions; managing all Company-related fees; and sizing, ordering and distributing all costumes (for Company members as well as studio-wide for the year-end recital).
Prior to working at ABAD, Holly was a substitute teacher in CCISD, taught preschool for 7 years, was on many PTA and band booster club boards, and enjoyed volunteering/directing with the Kids Hop Mentoring program. Holly enjoys watching our ABAD dancers grow and succeed in dance.