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TRAVIS KELLEY - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Before assuming ownership of RAFA, Travis enjoyed an extensive professional dance career. During this time, he danced as a Principal with Dayton Ballet in Ohio, on Broadway in Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp's Tony Award-winning Movin' Out, Showboat at Carnegie Hall, Candide at Lincoln Center, the First National Tour of Dirty Dancing, as the Principal role of "Ephraim" in the First National Tour of Seven Brides for Seven BrothersGuys and Dolls at AMTSJ, a featured dancer in The 2006 Kennedy Center Honors on CBS, commercials, music videos, films and many other wonderful experiences along the way. He brings with him all of this real world experience and industry knowledge to help guide and inspire this next generation of young artists at RAFA. 

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angela hendrickson - ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Angela Hendrickson began her classical training at RAFA under the direction of Lynette Mason Gregg, Richard Monroe, and Suzanne Longley, followed by Soili Arvola, Leo Ahonen, Olga Kostritsky, and Louis Fuente. She was the 1991 NYC Scholarship recipient, which afforded her the opportunity to train with the Joffrey Ballet Academy. She attended the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, and Houston Ballet Academy where she was able to work with Clara Cravey and Steven Brule. Angela studied Modern Dance at Alvin Ailey in their professional division. Angela is invaluable to our program and has been shaping generations of young dancers at RAFA for over 15 years. 

 
 
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KATHRYN MORGAN - INSTRUCTOR

Katie danced with New York City Ballet from 2006 to 2012 (as a Soloist 2009-2012). In that time she performed lead roles in the works of George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, August Bournonville, Peter Martins and Jerome Robbins. Additionally she has performed as a guest artist with ballet companies all around the world.  Her awards, feature roles, and achievements as an internationally renowned artist and teacher are too numerous to list here, but may be found on her WEBSITE. Katie now dedicates her time to advising and educating young dancers to give them the tools they need to pursue their dreams, and is happy to call RAFA her home.  

 
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cara shanks - instructor

Cara trained at a variety of schools before finding her true dance home at RAFA in 2006. Cara became Artist in Residence with BAHBT under Luis Fuente and performed in various productions including The Nutcracker, Firebird, Carmen, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Grease. She choreographed original works for BAHBT and Regional Dance of America where she received the Monticello Emerging Choreographer Award twice in 2009 and 2011 for her pieces Intentions Within and 5 Last Minutes. She was invited to the Craft of Choreography Workshop in Seattle with only 10 other choreographers from around the country. In 2011, she became a Rockets Power Dancer while attending the Bauer School of Business. She recently performed with Pitch Me This Productions (PMT) in The Rocky Horror Show and choreographed and performed in MIDTOWN: LIVE! 2016. Cara is the Community Outreach Director, Co-Choreographer, and Dancer for Juxtapose Arts Collective.

 
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dwain travis - instructor

Dwain joined RAFA at age 9. At 12 he joined the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC, during which he performed The Nutcracker, Giselle, Die Puppenfee, The Little Humpbacked Horse, and La Fille Mal Garde. He's worked with Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Houston Dance Theatre, Galveston Ballet, League City Ballet, and Beaumont Ballet Theatre. He spent 4 years as Principal and Artist in Residence with BAHBT under Luis Fuente and Lynette Mason-Gregg where he performed the titular role in Dracula, Escamillo in Carmen, the Sugar Plum Pas de Duex, and others. His piece Dearly Departed, was selected for the RDA/SW Dance Festival, the 2010 Craft of Choreography conference, and later awarded the RDA Choreography Connection Grant and the chance to choreograph on the Canton Ballet in Ohio. Many of his original works were chosen for the 2012 RDA National Festival in Montreal. He is Choreographer and Founding Member of the Juxtapose Arts Collective in Houston.

 
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kristen shiver - instructor

Kristen Shiver began dancing at the School of Memphis Ballet in 1995.  In 2003 she attended Houston Ballet's Summer Intensive on scholarship and later joined the Trainee Program at Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. In 2006 she joined the Nashville Ballet and performed in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Lizzie Borden, Dracula and Cinderella. In 2008 she began her degree at Sam Houston State University where she was exposed to World Dance forms, Laban Movement Analysis, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Ariel silks. Upon graduation she joined BAHBT as an Artist in residence, under Lynette Mason Greg, and performed roles such as Prayer Variation in Coppelia, Arabian and Spanish in The Nutcracker, and Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty. Kristen expanded into Musical Theatre, performing in Sussical the Musical, Legally Blonde,  Bye Bye Birdie, Thoroughly Modern Millie, andThe Rocky Horror Picture Show. Kristen is a Founding Member of Juxtapose Arts Collective.

 
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melissa ludwig - instructor

Melissa Ludwig trained at the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, and in 2001 joined Grand Rapids Ballet Company as an apprentice. Upon graduation, she danced with Milwaukee Ballet II before being promoted to the company in 2003. Melissa then moved to Texas to join Ballet Austin II. In 2006, she was promoted to Ballet Austin’s main company and enjoyed a wide range of featured roles. With Ballet Austin, she performed Stephen Mills’ Touch and The Nutcracker, and works by Thaddeus Davis, Sidra Bell, and Gina Patterson. In 2010 Melissa joined Ad Deum Dance Company and BAHBT in 2012 as an Artist In Residence. Since joining, Melissa has performed the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, the Dying Swan, and Sugar Plum, Snow Queen, and Rose in The Nutcracker. She danced as a Guest Artist in the Masterworks Festival in Indiana in lead roles by Caleb Mitchell, Steve Rooks, and Charmaine Hunter, including Myrtha in Giselle and Firebird in The Firebird.


GUEST TEACHERS

 
ABI STAFFORD

ABI STAFFORD

Ms. Stafford entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, full time in the fall of 1998. At SAB, she performed the role of Clarinet in Jerome Robbins' Fanfare and a role in Christopher Wheeldon's Scènes de Ballet for the SAB's Annual Workshop performances. Ms. Stafford was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in November 1999 and joined the corps de ballet in January 2000. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in January 2002 and principal dancer in December 2007.

 
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JAMAL STORY

Recently a dancer on Cher’s Dressed to Kill Tour, Jamal has also worked with Madonna, Complexions, and Donald Byrd/the Group. He performed on Broadway in the original casts of both The Color Purple and Motown: the Musical. An advocate for arts education, Jamal serves on the SAG-AFTRA New York Board and co-chairs the National Committee for Dance in this newly merged union. With two degrees from Southern Methodist University, Jamal incorporates a firm basis in pedagogy and kinesiology in his teaching.

 
MATT DIBBLE

MATTHEW DIBBLE

Matthew Dibble began his training at the Royal Ballet School. After five years with the company he danced with K Ballet in Japan and joined Twyla Tharp Dance in the US where he danced roles on Broadway in Movin’ Out and Come Fly Away. Matthew also danced for the Scottish Ballet, Christopher Wheeldon and Benjamin Millepied. Today, he dances and sets works for Twyla Tharp around the world.

 
HEATER LANG

HEATHER LANG

As an actor, dancer, and performance-maker some of her favorite projects include: playing lead and featured roles in Happy We'll Be and Freddie Falls in Love directed by Al Blackstone, dancing in Remains choreographed by John Jasperse at the Brooklyn Academy of Music,  performing on Broadway with An American In Paris, working closely with Julie Taymor on Spider-Man: Turn Off the DarkGrendel, and Across the Universe, dancing as a Radio City Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, dancing at the Met Opera and playing an infected mutant in I am Legend.

 
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RYAN E. KELLY

Ryan attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts for dance. Credits include: Wicked on Broaday, Wicked 1st, 2nd national tours, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Nights on Broadway III, Cats, Sweet Charity, and Music Man, dance captain and assistant for Pippin at the Goodspeed Opera House. TV/Film credits: Saturday Night Live 8 epsisodes, Smurfs movie, Across the Universe, Nurse Jackie, Manhattan Love Story, Mozart in the Jungle, America’s Got Talent, Two and Half Men, Jimmy Fallon, A Night on of too many Stars on Comedy Central. Ryan loves helping young artists discover their individuality as performers and supports everyone in a positive way.