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George and Devon opened Elite Dance Academy to provide high-skilled dance classes to enhance the overall development of the student. They along with their staff work to provide a safe and child-centered environment to encourage our students to explore dance with qualified, nurturing teachers.

 

They believe that the art of dance training encourages young people to develop a positive self-image as they increase awareness of their physical being. Along with improving coordination skills and developing muscular awareness, dance classes give children the freedom to express themselves through movement.

 

The highest educational standards are expected from all Elite Dance Academy faculty members. T hey are lifelong learners who continue to educate themselves through certification programs, teacher-training schools, conferences, and other learning opportunities

Shelbie grew up dancing off and on since the age of 2. She joined Elite Dance Academy her freshmen year of high school and started dancing competitively for them her Sophomore year. She was a part of her high school dance program for 3 years at Mt Whitney high school before transferring to VTEC high school where she then took dance classes at COS.

 

Through Shelbie’s years of dance, she has been trained in various styles including ballet, tap, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and jazz. She started assisting classes at Elite Dance academy her sophomore year in high school. You will now find Shelbie on her 5th year of working the front desk where she is answering calls, registering students, and sizing them to find the perfect dance shoe.

 

Shelbie has a continuous love for dance and hopes to share that with all the students that she registers at Elite Dance Academy.

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Growing up, Amanda Tobin was a competitive gymnast. After retirement at 16, she immediately began coaching. She has been coaching now for over a decade and has enjoyed every minute of it. She has a passion for teaching back and front walkovers, aerials, and other acro skills. Amanda is excited to be apart of the Elite Dance Academy team!

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Briana has over 20 years of comprehensive dance training and on-stage experience. Working under numerous Central California and world-renowned teachers, she has studied ballet, pointe, contemporary/lyrical, hip hop, tap, Jazz, and Progressing Ballet Technique. She received the soloist roll as “Dorothy” in the “Wizard of Oz” in 2001 For Exeter City Dance Company, and she was a member of Kings Dance Center’s Dancers Unlimited Team 2005-2008 at which time she received the “Most Graceful” ballet award. 

 

She has performed as a soloist at several year-end productions, Home town community events and national dance competitions. In addition to receiving several Hollywood connection scholarships (Pre-qualified for the Laker Girls and cruise ship auditions, and Hollywood Connection’s makeover photo shoot.), Briana is a 2008 High Point Soloist, winning 1st place awards from Hollywood Connection and Starbound National Talent Competition.

Briana was a member of “Altered Modalities” contemporary dance company 2008-2016, Under the Direction of Martha Kelly-Fierro, with which she has performed all over California, including guest performing in the Miss California Pageant. Briana also participates in continued education several times a year and maintains her dance technique, performance, and teaching skills. 

 

She has been teaching dance since 2004, is currently a choreographer/coach for a few award-winning competition teams. She is committed to excellence and teaches the importance of stage presence, body awareness, and self-confidence to her students. Briana has won Multiple Choreography awards  from “Move Productions” “Spotlight Dance Cup”, “Starbound National Dance Competition” “Starpower” and “Velocity dance convention”. As well as guest choreographed for the “College of Sequoias” And “Sahuarita Dance Center” in Arizona.

 

Briana got her certification in “Progressing Ballet Technique” (PBT) program by Marie Walton-Mahon in 2018, And her Levels 1-3 Certification in Building “Blocks of dance” (BBD) program by Richard Elsey.

 

Additionally, Briana Received her CA State Cosmetology license in 2010 and now resides in Lemoore, CA with her Husband Michael, and Daughter Kimberly, and teaches at Multiple Dance studios around the Central Valley.

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Jessica has been dancing for nearly 15 years. She was trained at Dancers Edge where she competed and focused on Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Lyrical. In high school Jessica was on Mt. Whitney’s Dance Team Elevate, where she also assisted for the Intermediate and Advanced classes, and Varsity Cheer.

 

While at Mt. Whitney Jessica was also a featured dancer for the musicals Footloose, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Annie, and Greece. After high school Jessica attended Sonoma State University where she received her Bachelor’s in History and Minor in Jewish Studies.

 

Up north she taught tap, jazz and lyrical at The Dance Center in Santa Rosa. She is now working on getting her Elementary Teaching Credential to hopefully teach for Visalia Unified. Jessica couldn’t be more thrilled to get back into dancing and sharing her passion with the dancers at Elite Dance Academy.

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Marissa’s love of dance started at the age of 3 at Central California Gymnastics Institute (CCGI). At 4 years old, she began competing on CCGI’s dance team, the “Pink Ladies”. She then continued her love for dance at The City Performing Arts on dance team for 2 years.

 

Marissa has trained in various styles such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip hop, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Contemporary, Jazz Funk, Acro, Modern, and Pom. As a competitive dancer, she’s taken many master classes from several high-profile choreographers, such as Twitch from So You Think You Can Dance, Lindsey Allen from the Pussy Cat Dolls, Kenny Wormald from Footloose, and Misha Gabriel form Step Up Revolution.

 

When Elite Dance Academy started in 2012, Marissa has been on their dance team up until last year at the age of 16. Marissa also was a part of Golden West High School Illusions Dance Team for all 4 years of high school. Marissa has almost completed her high school career, and has plans after college on becoming an Occupational or Physical Therapist.

 

For the last several years, Marissa has assisted class, but has since now become an official dance teacher. Her passion for dance continues to increase as she now gets to watch her students grow in the art form. Marissa teaches all levels, styles, and ages. She is currently choreographing for Elite’s Dance Team and cannot wait to see what the future holds for all of the dancers. Marissa is so excited to be a part of our Elite Dance Academy staff and faculty.

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Over the last 12 years, Ashley has danced competitively and has trained in every style of dance, with emphasis on acrobatics, hip hop, gymnastics, and jazz. She has won several awards, primarily for her work in jazz and acrobatics.

 

Ashley also participated in cheer and was proficient in tumbling and stunting. She trained most recently at Ruby Slippers and Stars Dance Studio. Ashley has also worked with children by assisting in classrooms and was a member of the Blind Babies Foundation through her church.

 

She is majoring in Biology and is currently studying at College of the Sequoias and hopes to become a veterinarian. Ashley is super excited to be a part of the Elite Dance Studio and looks forward to teaching everyone!

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Janelle Gonzalez is 19 years old and started dancing at the age of 3. She grew up dancing at various studios around Visalia such as Dance Arts, Dancer’s Edge, Kids Edition and lastly Elite Dance Academy. Her training consists of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical and contemporary.

 

Janelle has been part of our elite family since she was 14, spending 3 years on the competition team. While attending high school at Mt. Whitney she spent all 4 years on the dance team, 2 years as a teachers assistant and her senior year as team captain and that’s where she found a passion for choreographing and teaching dance.

 

She is now attending COS to get her general education, in hopes to transfer out to California State University of Fullerton or University of Southern California. Although her major is undecided, she still hopes to continue a career in dance. The studio is her happy place and she is so happy to be on staff this year!

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Chelsea Cusack was born in New York and grew up in Littleton, Colorado. She attended Denver School of the Arts, majoring in Dance, and graduated with honors. After graduation, she spent a year training at the Joffrey Ballet and dancing with Urban Ballet in New York City. She returned to Denver in 2009, and became a company member at Ballet Ariel in Denver for two seasons as well as performing with Kim Robarts. She then ventured to Rochester, New York where she apprenticed for a season with the Rochester City Ballet. She returned to Ballet Ariel in 2013 and continued dancing with them through 2017. Some of her favorite roles were Lilac Fairy, Cobra, The Phantom, Fairy Godmother, and Sugar Plum. Since then, she started guesting with different companies including Thrive Ballet. Recently, Chelsea has been invested in teaching and choreographing at Dance Institute of Denver. Through the past six years teaching with them, she has choreographed and helped with their Nutcracker. In addition she won several competition awards including two Regional Champion for her pieces. She has had the chance to teach during outreach opportunities in Hope, Maine, Juarez, Mexico, and Santiago, Argentina. At the end of the day, Chelsea loves all things encompassing dance, and is so excited to be joining the staff at Elite Dance Academy!