Staff Biographies

Terrence "Taps" Bennett

Terrence began studying the art of tap dancing at the age of nineteen at Norma’s Academy. Within a year he moved from the Adult Beginner’s Class to the Advanced Level. Within two years he began performing with the Senior Company. He is available for private tap lessons as well as guest teaching opportunities. He even offers innovative online tap dance lessons & tap dance music recommendations!

 

Terrence's style relies on improvised steps that contain complex rhythmic and musical expressions. Students learn to utilize every part of the tap shoe to express their creativity. The focus of each class is on getting students to complete tap combinations with speed, clarity, style, and ease. Eventually, many students develop the ability to improvise their own solos in addition to strengthening their own skill at producing choreography. 

     

In addition to teaching, Terrence has accumulated extensive performance experience. He has worked as a regularly featured performer in Atlanta restaurants & clubs, where he stunned audiences each week with improvised solo performances. He has also performed well over 500 shows as part of the dynamic tap dancing duo known as "Tip Tap Two", on top of hundreds of solo performances in Texas libraries and schools. He was even called upon to perform for special events such as the Caribbean International Literary Festival in Antigua, the National Association of Energy Distributors Trade Show , & at the Sphatika Corporate Launch Party in the world famous "Rainbow Room" atop 30 Rockefeller Center.

Lexi Beriswill

Lexi grew up in Cedar Park, Texas where she was trained in various styles of dance. She was First Lieutenant for the Cedar Park High School Celebrities, and was a member of the Elite Company at The Dance Center. She received a scholarship to dance and compete as a member of the National Dance Alliance champions, the Blinn College Treasures. Ms. Beriswill was accepted into the Department of Dance at Sam Houston State University where she completed her BFA. While attending SHSU, she performed under the direction of award-winning choreographers Andy Noble and Dionne Noble of NobleMotion Dance, Dana Nicolay of Nicolay Dance Works, and Johnathan Charles. She was honored with the SHSU Choreography Award in 2014, and one of her pieces was nominated to compete in the American College Dance Festival.

 

While Lexi was completing her BFA she also worked as a Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Tech. She quickly realized that she has a passion for assisting in the process of physical rehabilitation and injury prevention education. Upon graduation, Ms. Beriswill studied to become a certified Pilates Instructor and taught Pilates to patients who suffer from various back injuries. Because of her background in the medical field, she values the importance of nutrition and injury prevention, and she stresses their significance to each of her students.

Lauris Blackwell

Lauris grew up singing and dancing!  After high school she attended Austin College, and then went on to New York, where she was a scholarship winner to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.  She stayed in NYC for eleven years performing professionally on and off Broadway and on many National and European tours.  Some of her favorite roles are the Narrator in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, Rose in “Bye, Bye Birdie”, Amnesia in “Nunsense”, Lily in “Annie”, and Rhetta in “Pump Boys and Dinettes”.

 

She has performed at the White House and the Kennedy Center for both the Bush and Clinton Administration in conjunction with the Children’s Literacy Program.  She performed in the Natchez Opera for ten years and was fortunate enough to be the soloist for then Governor George Bush’s Inauguration.

 

Since moving home to Texas, she has performed and Choreographed with Waco Children’s Theater, Temple Civic Theatre, the Public Domain, and River City Pops and many others.  She has choreographed for Buzz Productions, Akins High School, River City Pops, Austin Summer Musicals For Children, as well as served on the RCP and ASMC Boards.  She teaches tap, ballet, jazz, and musical theatre to all ages. She is the dance instructor and Choreographer for Christian Youth Theatre. When not dancing about, she spends time with her husband, James, and their wonderful son Dustin.  She is so grateful and blessed to be a part of all of her work “families”.

Jackie Coleman

Jackie is an Austin native who began her professional career at the age of 17 with Tapestry Dance Company. She was a principal dancer at Tapestry for 9 years, taught mixed levels of jazz, tap, and contemporary classes for the studio, and choreographed for their pre-apprentice company. Jackie is a founding cast member of Tapestry’s The Souls of Our Feet – A Celebration of American Tap Dance, which has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and China. In addition, she is a founding member of Tri-Tone Productions, a multi-form/body percussion company founded by Tasha Lawson, which has performed in multiple cities in the U.S. and Canada, most notably at the International Festival Danse Encore in Quebec.

 

She has taught ballet, jazz, tap, modern and contemporary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School (Austin, TX) for 7 years, where she also served as Assistant Director for their youth company, Chrysalis. At Metamorphosis Dance Academy (Round Rock, TX) she taught tap and jazz for 3 years. Jackie then relocated to Houston, TX and quickly became a principal dancer at Houston City Dance Company, which has allowed her to perform multiple times at the International Fringe festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) in New York City, NY. She has also taught mixed level ballet, jazz, tap, and modern at the studio for 4 years, working with kids to adults to ensemble youth companies. Her teaching mission is to pass on the knowledge of dance, while maintaining the integrity, love, and joy of the art form itself.

MJ Goerger

MJ started her training at the wee age of five at Julie’s Jazz Pizzazz in Tempe, AZ and continued her dance education with the McClintock Dance Company throughout high school. Upon moving to Austin, TX her senior year, she landed her first job teaching Hip Hop!

 

MJ continues to spread the joy of dance all over Texas and beyond as the Director of the youth performance company "StarDancers," and an adult performance company, "MJ’s FlyCrew." MJ is in a continuous state of dance evolution and bases her teaching style on building a foundation upon which the passion for dance may be ignited for anyone, regardless of previous dance experience. MJ is currently working on earning a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling at Texas State University, and plans to incorporate the performing arts into her therapeutic processes. From jazz hands to top rocks and tendus to shuffle steps MJ puts the FUN into the FUNdamentals of dance, teaching all styles for all ages!

Jared Hale

Jared started dancing at the age of 15 when he first got inspired by groups like JabbaWockeeZ and Kaba Modern from MTV's America's Best Dance Crew. He took a liking to their unique styles including popping, isolations, tutting and their emphasis on musicality. He taught himself the basics of hip-hop and started working on molding his unique form of freestyle-based hip-hop. He recently discovered his love for teaching and breaking down movements and concepts the their fundamentals. Jared's taken a fair share of masterclasses from world-renowned choreographers recently including Matt Steffanina, Ysabelle Capitule, JaQuel Knight, Marty Kudelka, Nika Kljun, and David Moore. 

Rachael Hanlon

Rachael was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She grew up training at the Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet. As a senior student in the academy, she had the opportunity to learn and perform professional roles in Cincinnati Ballet productions. She spent her summers training at Miami City Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and Colorado Ballet. Upon high school graduation, she began pursuit of her BFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. After two years at school, she decided to complete her degree via CCM’s online correspondence program to jump start her professional career. Her first season, she danced as a MB2 at Milwaukee Ballet and performed roles in Michael Pink’s La Boheme, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake. She then joined Ballet Met as a Guest Artist under Artistic Director Ewaard Liang. At Ballet Met she enjoyed dancing the large staple ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. She was most honored to dance Spring and Summer in Jame’s Kudelka’s The Four Seasons, as well as Alice #2, a soloist role in Gerard Charles Alice in Wonderland. She then began an apprenticeship at Ballet Austin with Artistic Director Steven Mills. She danced in Steven Mills versions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and The Firebird, as well as Nick Kepley’s premier of Season of Innocence. She is currently a choreographer and dancer for Austin-based band, Golden Dawn Arkestra. Her creations have been featured in music videos and performed in front of thousands. 

Rachael's secondary education includes her BFA as well as her 200 Hour RYT Certification. She traveled to Bali, Indonesia to receive her Yoga Teacher Training from Shayna Broadwell, owner of Core Essence Yoga. She has taught yoga and ballet from Ohio to Texas. Rachael is filled with gratitude for her family, friends, and teachers for their consisent love and encouragement. She teaches to pass on the lessons, love, and light that she has received.

Jason Miller

Jason took his first lesson in the fall of 2013 and hasn't stopped dancing since. He dances East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Charleston, and has recently begun learning Balboa. He has been teaching swing with Vanessa Shields for two years, and loves working with beginners and helping them discover the fun and enjoyment that swing dancing has to offer!

Lindsay M. Palinsky

Lindsay is a versatile problem solver with nearly a decade of professional office management experience. She has worked on teams to support facilities management, global logistics, bookkeeping, social media presence, and business development. In her most recent previous position, she was responsible for the planning, oversight, and editing of submittals to local, State, and Federal Requests for Proposals for multi-million-dollar energy engineering contracts.

She also brings 15 years of non-profit leadership experience to the table: in 2002 and 2003, she was the Youth Delegate to her temple’s Board of Trustees and sat on its Rabbi Search and Hiring Committee; from 2005-2007, she worked as the Communications Specialist for the National Council of Snowmobile Associations; in 2008, she was invited to represent the Michigan State University Residence Halls Association Alumni Association on the National MSUAA Bylaws and Governance Steering Committee; from 2009-2010, she was the Secretary of the Board of Directors of a Lansing, MI theatre company during a year-long period of restructuring; and recently finished a 5-year term (serving as President for the final year) of a local Elizabethan theatre troupe, where she was instrumental in leading the organization to gaining its own 501(c)3 status, negotiating audience and volunteer liability insurance contracts, developing brand standards, and participating in Amplify Austin for the first time in the troupe’s 14 year history.

 

Lindsay's dance experience extends over 25 years. She grew up in her family's studio in Michigan, studying both the Ceccheti and Vaganova methods of ballet, and taking on instructional roles in her teens. Throughout college, she was a private pointe and pre-pointe coach. She has been lucky enough to attend intensives and master classes with the Joffrey Midwest Ballet, the Dayton Ballet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Broadway Dance Center, Savion Glover, and Deborah Wingert. Via her theatre experiences, she has studied hand-to-hand combat, single sword, and quarterstaff with the Society of American Fight Directors’ first female Fight Director, Christina Traister, and sword-and-dagger with Dr. John Lennox, founder of Art of Combat International. She has served as Director, Producer, Stage Manager, Choreographer, Dance Captain, Fight Captain, Historic Movement Consultant, Costume Coordinator, Location Scout, and Hair and Makeup Designer for a number of short films, musicals, and plays in Michigan and Texas.

Matthew Shields

Vanessa is a professional dancer, entrepreneur, and educator who loves to teach. She has a bachelor's degree in education and has been teaching and competing professionally in dance for over 15 years. She specializes in Swing, Lindy Hop, Solo-Jazz, Blues, and Charleston. She also teaches Salsa and Two-Step and enjoys working with couples in preparation for their wedding dance. Vanessa enjoys working with students of all levels, and she seems to have a special knack for working with beginners. Her students say that she is patient, fun to be around, and is an outstanding teacher.

Vanessa Shields

Vanessa is a professional dancer, entrepreneur, and educator who loves to teach. She has a bachelor's degree in education and has been teaching and competing professionally in dance for over 15 years. She specializes in Swing, Lindy Hop, Solo-Jazz, Blues, and Charleston. She also teaches Salsa and Two-Step and enjoys working with couples in preparation for their wedding dance. Vanessa enjoys working with students of all levels, and she seems to have a special knack for working with beginners. Her students say that she is patient, fun to be around, and is an outstanding teacher.

Tanci Soulier

Tanci has been sharing her love of teaching dance for over 17 years. She grew up in Cypress, TX and began her dance training at the age of 5 with the Texas Ballet Academy of Houston. She expanded her Ballet training at The Ballet Center of Houston as well as performing with the Houston Repertory Ballet Company.

 

During her high school years Tanci taught for Laura Smith at the Fairfield Dance Center in Cypress, TX. She was a dance instructor, competition team director, and choreographer at the F.D.C. At the same studio, she was a choreographer and performer for the Round Rock Entertainment Professional Dance Company. She performed at numerous events throughout the Houston area including the Mayoral Christmas Tree Lighting and the Woodlands Christmas Wonderland. Tanci attended Texas Tech University where she majored in Exercise Sport Science and minored in Dance. There she choreographed several pieces and performed in many TTU dance shows including Coppelia, Koreographer's Kick, and Raider Red’s One Acts. She was also a dancer and choreographer for the Cotton Kings Hockey Team in Lubbock, TX. In 2002, Ms. Soulier was honored with an invitation to become an instructor for United Spirit Association, a company based in Los Angeles, CA. There she trained in superior dance education and had the opportunity to travel all over the country to share her love of dance.

 

Tanci has worked with many Austin area middle and high school dance programs and dance teams including McCallum Blue Brigade, Cedar Park Celebrities, Lamar Fine Arts Academy, and Murchison Baby Belles. She has choreographed competition solos, duets, and trios for dancers on Austin area dance teams such as Anderson Trojan Belles, Stony Pointe Tiger Dancers, Westwood Sundancers, McNeil Majestics, Lamar Middle School, McCallum High School hopefuls, and St. Dominic Savio Cheer.

Beth Steinke

Beth’s dance training began in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio. She has studied various forms of dance, including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip hop, hula, and Tahitian among others. She grew up attending dance conventions and competing on dance teams. She enjoys all dance styles but is particularly fond of tap, and thus, she began focusing her energy on rhythm tap in 1996. Beth studied with members of Dayton’s professional tap dance company “Rhythm in Shoes” for approximately eight years and was an understudy for its production of “Nova Town” in 2000.


When she moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2005, Ms. Beth began studying tap with Becky Hoag. She joined the Columbus Tap Project! one year later and performed with CTP! in “Tappy Holidays” in New York City in 2006 and 2007. In 2012, Ms. Beth moved to Austin and began studying with Ms. Brenna. Most recently, she has taken classes from Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker, Nicole Hockenberry, Jay Fagan, Max Pollak, Derick Grant, and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards at tap festivals such as the Soul to Sole festival in Austin, the True Sound Rhythm festival in Houston, and the Third Coast Rhythm Project festival in San Antonio.

Beth has taught dance to adults and children of all ages. Her previous teaching experience in Ohio includes teaching at Powell Dance Academy, Mitchell Aaron Productions Centre of the Arts, and Pamela Woodie School of Dance, with occasional teaching for Rhythm in Shoes, Becky Hoag, and Dublin Dance Centre and Gymnastics. In addition to teaching recreational dance classes, Beth has choreographed duet, trio, and small group competition tap routines. Her 2011-2012 duet and small group both received Platinum awards and placed in the Top 5 at Nationals. In addition, she has choreographed high school productions of “The Sound of Music,” “The Music Man,” and “Bye, Bye Birdie.” Beth currently dances with the Austin Tap Ensemble where she has been a member since its inception in 2013. She especially enjoys participating in ATE's community outreach projects and is excited to take on the role of Rehearsal Director for ATE's 5th season. Beth is thrilled to be a part of Art Beat Dance Center's first year and is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with its students!

Michael Stevens

A native of San Antonio, with deep central Texas roots, Michael is a bassist, percussionist, and music clinician based in Austin. Known at skilled improvisation, "good(rhythmic) time", candid communication, and creative collaboration, he became a professional bassist age 15 and, 35 years later, hasn't stopped yet! Informal studies (on the job training/gigs) and formal studies (UT Austin, Howard University) prepared him for the many opportunities he's taken to perform, record and create with fellow musicians, artists, and dancers in multiple styles, traditions, and genres. 

Michael first met Brenna Kuhn in 2008 when he began rehearsalswith Tapestry Dance Co. in preparation for the national tour of Acia Grey's Souls of Our Feet. During the tour the 2 of them "stumbled" into the moment that gave birth to the tap+bass improv duo FootNotes. Locally you can see/hear him perform with Dr. James Polk, Pam Hart, the Austin Jazz Workshop, Devan Jones and the Uptown Stomp, Dave Madden, Will Taylor, and Strings Attached, along with many other local/regional performers in a variety of genres and venues.

Heather Tarman

Heather (RYT-200) is a native Texan and long-time lover of all things yoga and dance. She has been a dancer for over thirty years and has practiced Hatha and Vinyasa yoga since she was a teenager. Originally drawn to yoga for its meditative effects, she enjoys the link of breath to movement that flow practices offer. Heather is the mother of two children, and became certified in Children's Yoga in April 2014 through Karma Kids Yoga in New York City. She completed her Hatha 200 Hour Training through Yoga Yoga in Austin later that year and is certified through the Yoga Alliance. Passionate about bringing yoga to people of all shapes & sizes, she then became certified in Curvy Yoga in May 2015, and is the only provider of Curvy Yoga services in Austin, TX. When not on the mat, she also maintains her own catering/personal chef services company and is a Fashion Consultant for LulaRoe. 

Kasey Treybig

Born the daughter of a dance teacher in Austin, Kasey was eager to begin dancing at the early age of 2 years old. Her younger years were spent dancing at Shirley McPhail School of Dance (SMSD). Kasey was blessed not only to take classes at SMSD while growing up, but she also attended classes and was a member of performing companies at several dance studios in the Austin area. Kasey began teaching dance herself as a teenager and at age 16, she was chosen for an apprentice with Leslie Garcia assisting her in Hip Hop at the American Ballet Theater Intensives hosted by Ballet Austin at the University of Texas. During High School Kasey was a three year member and an officer on the Cedar Park Celebrities Dance team under Stacy Danielson & Samantha Cockerham. Upon graduating from CPHS in 2010 Kasey attended Texas State University where she was a member of the world famous Strutters’ dance team. In May of 2014, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts in History & Political Science.

 

In her first year out of college, Kasey had the opportunity to travel the country as an Educational Leadership Consultant for her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta. Upon finishing her travels, Kasey returned home to Austin and SMSD as a teacher and The Dancer’s Den Mesa Manager, before accepting her current role with DivaDance Company. Kasey is a Senior Instructor & Brand Development Specialist for DivaDance, as well as the Austin Studio Manager. When she isn’t #SLAYING with DivaDance, she loves to foster the growth of tiny dancers through her lifelong developed passion and skills! 

© 2017 Art Beat Dance Center

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