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Originally from El Paso, TX, Ada attended the University of Texas at El Paso on full scholarship, graduating Cum Laude with a BFA in Ballet Performance, and a concentration in Creative Writing. She was the recipient of the Theater and Dance Department’s award for "Outstanding Major". She continued her higher education at New York University, receiving the Dean's Opportunity Scholarship. She holds an M.A. in Dance Education with a certification in American Ballet Theater® Pedagogy. While in NYC, Ada studied with the faculty, accompanists, physical therapist, and choreographer of ABT’s® Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.


Ada has performed at Universita di Roma, the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Italy, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, AMEBA Acrobatic and Aerial Dance, Elements Contemporary Ballet in Chicago, Firebox Dance Theatre from Scotland, DTM2 Improvisation Ensemble from California, Ballet Nacional de Cd. Juarez, Peoria Ballet, Ballet El Paso, UTEP Ballet, El Paso Opera, El Paso Symphony, and the UTEP Dinner Theater.


Ada taught for The Washington School of Ballet, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, National Dance Institute NM, Chicago’s Having a Ball Dance Program, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, & NYC’s Building Educated Leaders for Life. She is a former faculty member of UTEP’s Department of Theater and Dance, El Paso Community College’s Continuing Education program, and Peoria Ballet Academy.

Ada founded DANZA in January of 2016. She was most recently named 'Trailblazer' of the year, being recognized as a noteworthy Austinite for her excellent service in the arts field; and was featured in Voyage Austin Magazine's 'Hidden Gem' series.

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Melanie began her piano instruction in McKinney, TX with Dr. Mary Humm and continued her education with Dr. Terry Hudson at Baylor University, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance with a secondary emphasis on piano. While at Baylor, she taught voice and piano lessons and performed with Baylor Opera. Currently, she plays piano at Providence Church. 


In addition to music, Melanie studied ballet for 10 years in Dallas and McKinney, Texas. A highlight of her dance training was taking classes with live piano, and she has been interested in dance accompaniment ever since. 


Melanie celebrates her 6th year of being part of the DANZA team, where she uses her background in bookkeeping and administration in her role as Operations Manager, where she oversees the online system as well as operations for both the children and adult program.


Cecile graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in International Studies. Before becoming a photographer, she spent a decade as a technical headhunter, and was a personal chef in the Austin area.


Born in Vietnam, Cecile spent most of her life in the Northern Virginia area but has also been shaped by her time in Guam and Malibu, California. She has been a photographer based in Austin for the past 7 years and credits the colorful and diverse culture of the city for shaping her creativity and signature style. Her work has been featured by Billboard, Univision, NPR, CBS News, Austin American-Statesman, Austin Monthly, Texas Exes, record albums, and national food labels. Her clients have included award winning musicians and producers, local entrepreneurs, non-profits, and countless families across Austin.

Cecile has been capturing the events and classes at DANZA since its inception, and loves her dance family!

Her work can be found at: (& on our site!).


Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Anna received her training with the Cincinnati Ballet Academy, studying under notable faculty such as Sarah Hairston Berkley. Years later, as Anna turned her role to teaching, she became an assistant for summer programs and other classes at the academy. Additionally, she worked with the nonprofit, Princesses Ballet. While coordinating and choreographing for their yearly productions, as well as teaching weekly technique classes, she learned how to present ballet as an expressive art form with emphasis on accessibility and non-exclusivity.

Anna has explored her love of teaching and passion for dance through her career as a preschool teacher at the Children’s Academy of Mason. Instructing the extra-curricular classes there, she found a way to incorporate dance and creative expression into her daily curriculum.

Anna came to Austin in the fall of 2021 as a Registered Behavioral Technician within an ABA company, and is now excited to return to teaching dance. As DANZA's newest team member, she began her position in January of 2023 and each day looks forward to sharing her love of dance with another young generation of students.


Since joining DANZA 5 years ago, Jennifer has graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with her Bachelors, and an  Associate degree in graphic design from Parsons The New School.


In NYC, Jennifer was employed by a boutique design agency and real estate company in their internal design department. Here she worked on their seasonal ads, brochures, and marketing campaigns. She specialized in design for luxury retail, working along the director creating catalogs and ads for products made by brands such as Lancôme. Additionally, while in NYC, she worked on design for a  non profit, IBREA Foundation, an umbrella organization under United Nations.

Upon returning to Austin, Jennifer held an internship with Austin Monthly Magazine in their graphic design department. She's created several logos for a local hair salon, reiki/taro card healer, and physical therapist.

Jennifer most recently completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India. She has also trained and studied another mind body practice of energy movement, ki gong, in Sedona. Her yoga training was the greatest gift of self love to herself after passing her one year post kidney transplant. Her classes have a unique touch, mixing a bit of ki gong with hatha and Tibetan sound healing.


Valeria is in middle school and started her dance journey with us 5 years ago. This year she was promoted to her very first pointe shoes! She has been accepted to Joffrey Ballet's summer program and will be attending her first intensive with them this summer season.

She enjoys being a student at DANZA because she sees the possibility of what she can be in the future, and feels encouraged by her ballet friends. As an assistant, she wants to help students continue to dance as they remind her of herself as a little girl. Her younger sister has also been inspired by her dancing, and has now joined classes, as well.

Her favorite ballet dancer is the majestic Skylar Brandt. 


When Valeria is not at DANZA, she loves playing her flute and painting.


Erin is in middle school and has danced for 7 years now and has been a DANZA student for the past 5 1/2 years. This year she was promoted to her very first pointe shoes!

What she loves most about DANZA are the people she gets to see and learn from each week. As an assistant, she sees herself in the youngest of students and wants to help them grow and love being a part of DANZA just as much as she does.

Her favorite role thus far has been dancing The Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, and her favorite dancer is Maria Tallchief. 


When Erin is not dancing, she enjoys acting, drawing, and writing. She is also on her school cheer team, where her dance skills are also put to use.


Cathy Chen began her dance training at the age 9 after participating in DANZA's “The Young Artist Camp”.

Her favorite part about DANZA is the family it creates between the students and teachers, one that will always be there for you. She also loves "the moments that are more precious than gold"; including, dancing with her friends, performing on stage, and teaching the younger students the principles that she herself has learned.

Cathy was has been dancing on pointe for one year now, and this year she has been accepted and will be attending Colorado Ballet's summer intensive.


Her favorite role thus far has been the Python from “Carnival of the Animals”. To her, it is an experience she’ll never forget.


Besides dance, her passions are playing the violin and reading.

DANZA is always looking to collaborate with experienced and talented dance, music, and theater teachers for substitute positions, guest teaching, or for our Summer Camps, Children's Program, and Adult Program. Interested candidates may send a resume to:​

Now that you've learned about our staff, go to the 'Gallery' to meet our students!

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