Artistic Director/Owner PYBT Artistic Director, Ballet Levels 1-6, Jazz and Contemporary Classes, Pre Professional Program, Qualified member of Dance Educators of America, Cecchetti Level 1 and 2, CPR Certified
Samantha received her formal dance training while attending Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts, a conservatory for dance and academics, in West Palm Beach, FL. Samantha has studied jazz, ballet, modern, lyrical, tap and acrobatics for over 20 years. Samantha’s heart was stolen by the beautiful art of ballet she became a part of Boca Ballet Theatre Company, in Boca Raton FL, in 1994 where she trained under Dan Guin and Jane Tyree. Samantha has danced various corps and lead roles alongside principal dancers, such as Angel Correla from American Ballet Theatre and Heather Sanders from Southern Ballet Theatre (Orlando Ballet), in the following ballets: Les Slyphides, The Nutcracker, La Bayadere, Raymunda, Coppeila, Romeo and Juliet, Frankie and Johnny, Giselle, Con Amore, Sleeping Beauty, Serenade and Swan Lake. Since 2003, Samantha has been teaching jazz, ballet and other technique classes where her love for children, a passion to teach and need to pass the flame of dance, inspired her to open her own studio, Arizona Dance Artistry, in Phoenix, AZ in July 2008. Samantha was featured as one of Arizona’s “35 Entrepreneurs 35 and Under”, an annual list of the state’s top young business owners compiled by The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. She has also been featured in national dance publication, Dance Teacher Magazine, in an article on “Dance Studio Owners Under 40″ as well as seen on ABC 15 News and Fox 10 News for Arizona Dance Artistry and Phoenix Youth Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker Suite”. Miss Sam also serves on the expert panel for DanceStudioOwner.com and as Studio Owner Consultant for Shovation.com, a recital ticketing company. In addition to owning, operating and teaching full time at the studio, she is the founder and director of, Phoenix Youth Ballet Theatre, a non-profit program housing a dance scholarship program and a community youth ballet company. Her passion for teaching and sharing her love for dance history has made Arizona Dance Artistry a true center of the arts honoring dance in the past, present and future.
Faculty and Curriculum Director, Competition Team Coordinator, Pre Professional Program, CPR Certified
Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary
Melissa Satyavelu is a native of the Midwest and trained traditionally in Tap, Jazz and Ballet since age four. At age twelve she began training with the Kansas City Ballet School where she trained under the direction of Karen Brown, Andrew Carr, and Sean Duus. She remained at the school until age seventeen when she became an Apprentice with Kansas City Ballet’s professional company under the direction of the late Artistic Director Emeritus Todd Bolender and Artistic Director William Whitener. Melissa began furthering her Contemporary and Modern training at age fourteen with the late Paul Chambers and members of Paul Taylor’s company. At twenty-one Melissa moved to Pittsburgh, PA to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance. While studying at Point Park she received training from Dana Arey (former Ballet Mistress of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre) Kiesha Lalama-White (choreographer for Houston Metropolitan Dance Theater, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Company, and River North Jazz Dance Chicago) Ron Tassone (former Julliard graduate and choreographer on Broadway) and Pearlann Porter (Artistic Director of The Pillow Project). In three years she completed the program, graduating Summa Cum Laude with her BA in Dance with a Jazz Concentration. Melissa danced professionally with Phoenix Contemporary Dance Company for 3 seasons as one of the founding members from 2012 until 2015. In 2013, Melissa became a full apparatus certified Pilates instructor through Balanced Body. In 2016 she opened her Pilates studio, Mindful Motion, housed inside Arizona Dance Artistry. Melissa has been teaching children and young adults for 15 years. She is overjoyed to be starting her fifth season as Faculty and Curriculum director for Arizona Dance Artistry.
Office Manager and Princess Pirouette™ Instructor, CPR Certified, Fingerprint Clearance Level 1
Mikayla Hudson (Office & Account Manager, Princess Pirouette™ Instructor) became AZDA’s Office Manager in the Summer of 2014, having worked as the lead office assistant for the 2013-2014 dance season. Mikayla studied Physiology and Dance at the University of Arizona until 2013, when she returned to Phoenix to pursue her degree in Biology at Grand Canyon University. Mikayla has studied various styles of dance since the age of three, including Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical and more. As a former student of Samantha Gobeille, Mikayla received many awards while dancing on AZDA’s competition team as well as performing in the annual Nutcracker production. She also trained actively with Boulder Creek High School’s pom team and eventually joined the school’s varsity cheer team. In July 2014, Mikayla participated in the Dance Teacher Web Live conference, where she worked side-by-side with today’s top dance professionals, teachers and studio owners. In addition to her dance education, Mikayla is CPR Certified, a Certified EMT, and has vast experience working with children. She is thrilled to continue working with the families of AZDA.
Amber Kessler is entering into her junior year at Arizona State University. She is a Business Administration major, planning on going back for Interior Design. She is a Phoenix native, but Flagstaff is her favorite place in the state. When she is not working or doing school, she enjoys hanging out with her boxer named Ruger, family, and boyfriend. She loves to take spontaneous trips to Sedona, and taking Ruger out to play. Amber danced for four years in high school, and looks forward to learning more about the beautiful art and joining the Arizona Dance Artistry team!
Office Staff, CPR/First Aid certified, Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card
Kendra Spencer studied Education and Psychology, graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies from Arizona State University. After college, Kendra signed up for the AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer service program, where she did volunteer coordination and program management for valley nonprofit agencies while learning about the impact of poverty and building resources for low-income communities. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and two stepdaughters.
Princess Pirouette™ Fairytale Ballet Instructor and Ballet,CPR Certified, Fingerprint Clearance Level 1
Susie started dancing at age four. She was a member of the Delaware Regional Ballet Company via the Northeast Regional Ballet Association. Susie has attended many dance conventions and competitions where she won several scholarships and awards including Harkness Ballet Scholarship, Young Choreographers Award, and was the first runner up in Junior Miss Dance. Susie spent time in New York, auditioning for Broadway and Television. She filmed two commercials, and was a dance lead in Pat Benatar’s video “Love is a Battlefield” for MTV. While in New York, Susie was also a preschool teacher, trainer, and dance instructor.
Ballet and Pointe, Pre Professional Program, CPR Certified, Fingerprint Clearance Level 1
Elizabeth grew up in Port Huron, Michigan and earned her BA in Dance from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Following graduation she danced professionally with the Grand Rapids Ballet. Some of her favorite ballets that she performed while dancing with the company are: “Little Swan” in Black Swan and White Swan , Learning How to Write, and Serenade. Elizabeth then went on to teach all of the levels at the Grand Rapids Ballet School, as well as taking on the position as the School Administrator. She also had the great opportunity to teach ballet to over 2,000 students the inner city schools of Grand Rapids through the Dance Immersion program with the Grand Rapids Ballet.
Hip Hop, Jazz, CPR Certified, Fingerprint Clearance Level 1
Vanessa Bosell is an Arizona Native who has been in the cheer and dance industry for the past 15 years. She was a part of the Phoenix Suns Dance Team, the The Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad, and the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team. She has also choreagraphed for various Jr. High and High schools throughout the Phoenix and Los Angeles area, as well as the Jennesse Silver Rose Gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel for domestic violence, Phoenix Suns, Jr Suns, and Created and DirectedThe NBA E-League E-Kidz dancers in Los Angeles. When living in Los Angeles she performed for local events, appeared in the hit reality show Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Slamin Samon, Street & Smiths Pro Basketball Magazine, UPN 45, and local news commercials. She had the opportunity to perform for The Middle Eastern International Film Festival in Dubai for 2 weeks at The United Arab Emirates Palace. She also has coached high school pom squad at Campbell Hall in Studio City, CA and at LeConte Middle School in Hollywood, CA. Since returning to she has judged the Denver Nuggets Dancers, The Phoenix Suns Dancers, ASU Dance Team as well as for local high schools.
Office Assistant, Princess Pirouette™ Fairytale Ballet, Lead Teacher Assistant, Arizona Dance Artistry Alumni, CPR Certified, Fingerprint Clearance Level 1
Aubrey Ingram is an alumni of Arizona Dance Artistry and Phoenix Youth Ballet Theatre. Her training began at the age of four continuing through the styles of ballet, jazz, tap, acro and hip hop. After spending 5 years being a part of the competitive dance world, Aubrey joined AZDA and was able to perform roles in the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, as well as many contemporary works. Currently, she is a student at Grand Canyon University, pursuing her degree in Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine as well as a minor study in Dance. Through the GCU Dance Department, Aubrey has ongoing training with people such as Sean Dahlberg, Valery Lantratov, Dr. Padmaja Suresh and many more. While being apart of the GCU’s Ethington Dance Ensemble, she was given opportunities to perform as a guest artist for Phoenix Contemporary Dance Company. Aubrey also works with other non-profits within the community to fight human trafficking and has traveled to Thailand and Cambodia to witness the work being done there to save victims of trafficking. Alongside her studies, Aubrey’s hope is to work with Arizona Dance Artistry’s students to help them achieve their goals in and outside of dance.
Princess Pirouette™ Fairytale Ballet, Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Pre-Professional Program
Hailey Apligian began her dance training in Texas at the Academy of Dance Arts, where she soon advanced to company member of the Dallas Repertoire Ballet. While training with DRB, Hailey was selected to tour with Tremaine Dance Convention as a member of the Tremaine Performance Company- demonstrating for dance masters such as Liz Imperio and Doug Caldwell. Hailey was chosen on two separate occasions to represent the United States as one of the “Stars of Tomorrow” Tanszommer European Jazz Tour. In 2006 she continued her dance education at the University Of Arizona School Of Dance, which is ranked as one of the top 10 dance programs in the nation, accepting only 25 of the 500+ dancers who audition each year. She earned a dance scholarship and received extensive training in ballet, modern and jazz from acclaimed instructors such as Melissa Lowe (Principal Dancer with PNB), Doug Neilson (Batsheva, Gus Solomons, Pearl Lang) and many more. After receiving her BFA, Hailey continued her performance career. She was a featured dancer in an Olay commercial and was awarded agency representation from Clear Talent Group in LA. Hailey has worked for production companies including Larwell Productions, as well as Stiletto Entertainment where she performed on Holland America’s most elite ship The Eurodam. Hailey was also a member of the inaugural cast of BBC’s Dancing With the Stars: at Sea, which gave her the opportunity to train in ballroom and dance alongside several ballroom professionals from the hit TV show performers and personalities. Hailey has a love for performing; however, teaching young dancers is her true passion. She’s has had the privilege of teaching at several establishments around the nation, as well as at the renowned Pineapple Studios in London, England. Hailey enjoys teaching all styles of dance to all levels and ages!
Teacher Assistant, Office Assistant, AZDA Faculty Training Program
Miriam recently moved to Phoenix from Spartanburg, South Carolina where she trained and competed in ballet, contemporary, jazz and hip hop. She is a student at Grand Canyon University where she is on track to graduate with honors in 2018 with a degree in Dance Performance. She is now continuing to study technique in ballet, jazz, modern and tap through GCU. Her favorite place to be is on stage, and she has been chosen to perform in many of the dance concerts at Grand Canyon University with Ethington Dance Ensemble. Since she has been a part of Ethington Dance Ensemble, she has had the opportunity to perform as a guest artist for Phoenix Contemporary Dance Company. She has also studied under people such as Yannick Lebrun (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre), Sean Dahlberg, Joyce Herring, and Valery Lantratov. Miriam loves working at AZDA and watching all of the students grow. She is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of their training.
Hip Hop, Contemporary, Tap
Leo Gallegos began dancing at the age of 3 under the tutelage of his mother who along with his father owned a total of 9 dance studios during his youth. During this time he was trained in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and modern. At the age of 16 he began teaching at his parent’s studios as well as guest teaching at many others. While attending the University of New Mexico and late University of Nevada Las Vegas he continued guest teaching in New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. In 2009 Leo opened Switch Performing Arts which has continually had a reputation for high quality, instruction, cutting edge faculty, and unique performances. He has choreographed for Bud Light during the “House of Whatever” 2015 Super Bowl promotional event with artists including Nicki Minaj, Diplo, and Steve Aoki as well as for FOX TV Phoenix, the Arizona Sundogs Dance Team and more. Leo instructs at numerous studios around the valley and enjoys bringing his style of teaching to eager and hard working students.
Princess Pirouette Ballet 1-7, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Dance History, Fingerprint Clearance and CPR Certified
Shannon Dooling-Cain was born in New Mexico, grew up dancing in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and moved to Phoenix in 2016 after spending six years in the Washington, D.C. metro area. While in D.C., Shannon worked for the National Dance Education Organization, was an adjunct professor in the dance program at UMBC, and taught dance at both K12 schools and studios. She holds an MFA in Dance from University of Maryland College Park and a BA in Dance from DeSales University in Pennsylvania. She trained at Princeton Ballet School, where she was a member of their pre-professional program and the American Repertory Ballet Workshop student company. Later, Shannon danced professionally with Repertory Dance Theatre, a regional ballet company in PA, and with several modern dance companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Her choreography has been showcased at venues from New York City to D.C., including the Triskelion Arts Center, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and Dance Place in D.C. She has written several articles on dance education, including a feature article for the U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education Newsletter. She is thrilled to join the staff of AZDA, where she enjoys teaching, staffing the front desk, and working on curriculum for the Princess Pirouette and Fundamentals classes.
Angelica was born and raised in Arizona, where she began her dance training in multiple styles at a young age. She was later inducted into the National Juniors Honors Society for Dance Arts during high school and was the caption of the performance team that traveled to NYC to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Angelica is now pursuing a degree in Dance Education at Grand Canyon University with an honors in dance as an active member of the National and Student Dance Education Organization. Through being a member of the Ethington Dance Ensemble since 2013, Angelica has performed in numerous faculty, student, and community performances. She has additionally trained with multiple modern dance companies throughout the valley. Aside from performing and creating, she enjoys teaching dance and has an extensive history of working with children. She spends her weekends leading a dance-therapy based class for StreetlightUSA, a holistic residential center for traumatized victims of sex trafficking. As a strong advocate for dance education, Angelica aims to provide her learners with the technique, artistry, and appreciation in dance. She is intrigued with the power of movement as a way to promote critical thinking, creativity, and self-esteem. Her classes generate a safe, fun, and challenging atmosphere in which students can fully express and build their movement abilities. She is enthusiastic to be a part of the wonderful team at Arizona Dance Artistry
Teacher Assistant, and Instructor
Grace is a dance major at Grand Canyon University and has a wonderful joy for teaching. She loves working with children of all ages and is passionate about dance. She will be assisting in several classes weekly and serving as a substitute teacher.
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Cassie is a high school student at Sandra Day O’Connor and is part of their dance department. She excited to be assisting our faculty, watching our students grow and working in dance environment. She is very motivated to help our young dancers in class!
Substitute Faculty- Hip Hop and Contemporary
Taylor Axelson has been teaching in the Valley for two years. Growing up in Chicago, Taylor was exposed to many different styles and choreographers. Trained as a classical dancer, at 14 she became more focused on urban styles. Taylor won her first national choreography award at 16 and never looked back. Attending The University of Iowa, while gaining a degree she also started and lead The University of Iowa Dance Club. By the end of her four years, the club had taught and mentored over 400 dancers. Now being in the Valley, Taylor continues to spread her knowledge and excitement for the urban styles of dance.
Substitute Faculty and Guest Artist
Originally from Indianapolis, Ashley began her dance training at an early age. She studied under Lynn Herrick, Artistic Director of Artists In Motion, and spent her summers training extensively with elite teachers and choreographers across the country. She attended the nationally acclaimed University of Arizona on a dance and academic scholarship. In 2009 Ashley received a BFA in Dance, and immediately began her professional career as a world famous Radio City Rockette. Some of her numerous performance opportunities include Kanye West’s Dark Fantasy Tour, The Tianjin Dance Festival (China), American Dance Company’s “Mixed Emotions,” and working with world renown choreographers Joe Tremaine, Frank Chavez, Linda Haberman, and Lee Martino. Ashley has appeared in a variety of industrials, commercials, professional DVD’s, print and more. Ashley continued her education with PSC’s Pilates Teacher Training Course and the Burn At the Barre Master Trainer Program. This was the perfect way for her to blend her love of dance and fitness. Ashley has always had a passion for teaching, and travels across the US and Canada teaching master classes and choreographing. She is proud to be a motivating teacher, inspiring students of all ages through the art of dance and fitness!
Substitute Faculty, Contemporary, Jazz and Acro
Growing up in Las Vegas, the live entertainment capital, Jenna Lyn Myers trained as a competitive dancer under Robert Contreras and danced with Culture Shock Dance Troupe. She moved to Phoenix to attend Arizona State University where she earned her bachelor’s in Fine Arts and Business. Jenna has been the Artistic Director of Celebrity Dance Competitions for 5 years. Throughout the past 5 years, she has choreographed numerous pieces for Celebrity Shows, taught for the Celebrity DanceDown, and has had the pleasure of encouraging the next generation’s rising stars from across the country. Currently, Jenna performs nationally with EPIK Dance Company and Halo Movement Collective. Jenna can be seen on So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 when she was put straight through to Las Vegas. She was recently invited to audition for Cirque Du Soleil and was added to their database for potential performers. She specializes in contemporary, jazz and aerial dance but has a passion for street styles as well. Alongside performing, Jenna hopes to inspire dancers to achieve their highest potential by highlighting their individual gifts!
Ballet Guest Instructor and Master Teacher
Joseph Cavanaugh pursued his professional training at the Virginia School of the Arts, and later graduated with honors from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division. He has worked with and performed for such choreographers as Dwight Rhoden, Jordan Morris, Alejandro Cerrudo, and Alexei Ratmansky. Since joining Ballet Arizona in 2001, Mr. Cavanaugh has originated featured roles in Ib Andersen’s Elevations, Mosaik, 2B, Play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in Interplays by Vladimir Angelov. He has danced soloist and principal roles in Swan Lake, Giselle (Hilarion), Twyla Tharp’s The Golden Section, Dwight Rhoden’s Ave Maria, Jerome Robbins’s In the Night, and Polyphonia by Christopher Wheeldon. His Balanchine repertoire includes principle roles in Agon, Serenade, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Movements for Piano and Orchestra. Mr. Cavanaugh has been teaching around the United States and Canada for the past 12 years. He is currently working as a Ballet Master for Ballet Arizona in addition to his teaching. Joseph teaches at Arizona Dance Artistry’s annual Summer Ballet Intensive and several master classes throughout the season.
Jazz Guest Instructor, Nutcracker Guest Artist
Jose has taught and performed with Arizona Dance Artistry in our annual production of The Nutcracker Suite as a guest artist since 2011. Jose has danced the roles of Snow King, Sugar Plum Cavalier, Flowers Cavalier, Lead Candy Cane(tumbling), Arabian and Spanish Chocolate. He is best known for his high flying jumps, crowd pleasing performance quality and outstanding tumbling skills.
At Arizona Dance Artistry, our goal is to offer quality dance training that contributes to a child’s life in a positive way encouraging confidence, poise and a passion for dance.