Instructors

Summer Intensive Instructors

Elyssa C. Arias - Owner/Artistic Director

Originally from The Bronx, New York, Elyssa was introduced to the art of dance at the age of four. She started her training at Fancy Feet Dance Studio in Bronx, NY and then excelled in the renowned Broadway Dance Center in the heart of Manhattan. Elyssa is trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern, contemporary, street jazz, and latin dance. Her unique style and unmatched talent has given her the chance to dance with the top choreographers in the country including "So You Think You Dance" choreographers Wade Robson, Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman and Brian Green among others. She has performed in numerous spaces in the New York Metro area and most notably on the Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney World and Hershey Park. While traveling, Elyssa has also won numerous dance competitions and has been offered Scholarships at “Jump” conventions by famous choreographer Dan Karaty. Having moved to Virginia Beach, Elyssa has set her eyes to take over the dance scene in the 757 teaching all genres of dance for the past 10 years. She has choreographed for the Grande Illumination parades in Virginia Beach and Norfolk as well as giving free community dance lessons in our area. With her love of children and studies of so many genres of dance, Elyssa has helped in creating some of the most well-rounded dancers in Virginia Beach who have been selected to join Salem High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Academy as well as Old Donation Gifted Visual Arts and Dance. Now opening her very own dance studio in 2018 Elyssa has set a goal to build a Legacy and create Legends here in the Hampton Roads area.

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Kimberly Lawver - Instructor

Originally from Ohio, Kimberly Lawver started her dance training at the age of three. She trained in local dance studios and at The Canton Ballet in Ohio. Kimberly went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Masters in Arts Administration from the University of Akron and was an adjunct faculty member teaching tap and jazz classes there for 12 years. Collectively, Kimberly has been teaching for 30 years to students ages 3 to adult. She has taught classes in jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, lyrical, musical theatre, stretch and flexibility, baton, and tumbling.
While at the University of Akron, Kimberly was also an instructor at the Dance Institute, a pre-professional dance program. She was the assistant coach and choreographer for the University of Akron Dance Team and the assistant director/choreographer for the University of Akron’s musical, Dames at Sea. Kimberly choreographed for the University of Akron Dance Company and was on the faculty for the American College Dance Festival Association. Additionally, Kimberly was the Artistic Director and manager of a dance studio and a non-profit children’s community theatre for five years, where she directed her own shows. She has also been the director and choreographer for her own performance/competition team. Her students have won national titles and scholarships and have performed internationally in Italy and Spain. In 2008, her choreography was chosen to perform at the World Dance Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Many of her former students have gone on to become professional dancers.
For over 20 years, Kimberly has been a judge for dance competitions and was also the regional director for the Dance USA Performing Arts Championships under the direction of Mark Marino. Her passion for teaching and choreography has led her to do projects for music videos, Disney, flash mobs, show choirs, various workshops, dance festivals, benefits and outreach programs that involve dance education in the community.

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Kyndra Leake - Instructor

Kyndra Leake began her training with Yuma Ballet Academy in Yuma, Arizona at the age of 4. During her high school career she spent summers on scholarship with Houston Ballet, Utah Regional Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and The International Ballet Competition where she also had the honor to perform in the opening ceremony, representing the entire pacific region.

Upon graduation of high school Kyndra joined Atlanta Ballet as a trainee. While with the company she performed works such as The Nutcracker, George Balanchine’s Serenade, John McFall’s production of Peter Pan and the world premier of BIG featuring American rapper Big Boi and singer Janelle Monae.
Taking a different turn in her career Kyndra became an aerialist for Tokyo Disney in Tokyo, Japan. There she performed at Tokyo Disney Sea in a Cirque Du Soleil inspired show.
Returning back to the states she then became a company member with City Ballet of San Diego whom she would retire with. While with City Ballet her most prized roles with the company were the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Rose in The Nutcracker, Myrtha in Giselle, Russian Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade and Calliope in George Balanchine’s Apollo.
Kyndra has been teaching during the course of her professional career as well as after. She hopes to inspire and prepare the next generation of artists to live out their dreams of dancing.

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Donna Mendez-Young - Instructor

Coming Soon

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Caitlin Morrison - Instructor

Caitlin Morrison is a Virginia Beach, VA native that started to dance and immediately fell in love at the age of 4. She has trained at multiple Dance Studios across Hampton Roads and The Academy of Classical and Contemporary Dance. She began competition team at the age of 13. First, with Elite Dance Team and then with Fusion Dance Team. She is trained in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz Funk, and Hip Hop. She has had the opportunity to dance with top dancers from “So You Think You Can Dance” like Tyce Diorio, Travis Wall, Comfort Fedoke, Ade Obayomi, and Melissa Sandvig.

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Aliayah Brunt - Guest Instructor

Aliayah started dance at the age of two and instantly fell in love. She has trained in all styles of dance for many years. Through elementary and middle school, she was part of ODC’s gifted dance program and was later accepted into Salem high school dance academy where she studied throughout high school. In high school Aliayah competed at many local and national competitions in solos, duos, trios, and groups. At these competitions Aliayah received many scholarships and special awards, including two scholarships to Broadway Dance Center, Dancer of the year finalist three years in a row, and Senior miss leap 2017. In high school Aliayah lead Salem High School’s academy dance company as part of the board of directors, and student taught and taught classes of all ages. Aliayah is currently a student in a nationally ranked program at the George Mason School of dance where she studies modern and ballet. Aliayah believes in hard work and dedication and hopes to inspire the next generation of dancers to be the best they can be.