Beverly Williams is a dedicated educator of the Fine Arts. She holds a M.F.A. from the University of Houston Clear Lake, and has continued studies in Humanities at UHCL, and in dance at Sam Houston State University. She is currently a dance instructor and professor of the Arts at the University of Houston Clear Lake, and continues to teach dance in Houston, Texas.
Ms. Williams has a reputation of being a high energy and inspiring educator. Her career began as professional dancer and choreographer in classical ballet, film and other dance genres. The travel that Ms. Williams enjoyed as she trained, studied and performed dance enabled her to experience the Arts in many collaborations, techniques and styles. It became her mission to teach and to share the Arts in the studio, theater, behind a camera and in the classroom.
As an educator, Ms. Williams has taught in private and public schools, American schools abroad, colleges, universities, private dance studios and for professional dance companies. She was previously Director of Dance at the Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas for sixteen years, has created Arts curriculum for the Clear Creek School District, and is well known dance teacher and choreographer. Her latest projects include: guest teacher for Sam Houston State University, City Ballet of Houston, Royal Academy of Fine Arts C.L., London, Scotland and Wales tour 2005, and a London study with the Royal Academy in London, England, 2010. Her continued passion is to write textbooks that help educators to integrate the Arts into academic curricula.
Ms. Williams contributes her joys and successes in her life to her family, and to the students and artists she has had the pleasure to work and share with. Their successes and accomplishments are the driving force that propels the energies to always believe in the journey of discovery that the Fine Arts provide us all.
Amber Thornton has been an active choreographer, dancer and instructor in the Houston dance scene for over 25 years and has studied and performed with various companies and dance masters throughout the nation. She started training at a young age under the direction of Ms. Beverly Williams who helped by to cultivate her passion for dance and introduced her to the professional dance world where she became a soloist for Delia Stewart's Jazz Dance Company (currently the Houston MET). She served as the Contemporary Director for Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Assistant Director for almost a decade and taught,and choreographed for Shawn Welling’s, Planet Funk for many years. In addition, she had the opportunity to be on staff with Millennium Dance Complex until the Houston area location closed in April 2016. Ms. Thornton is going on her 5th season with Master Class Dance Company where she teaches, choreographs and consults for dance programs with public and private schools throughout the southwest. Amber is also entering her second season as the Rehearsal Director and Artistic Consultant for the National Award Winning Champion pre-professional competitive company, MECKKA Dance Project.
A National award winning choreographer, Amber was the recipient of the 1998 Monticello Scholarship for her choreographed work, "Unzipped Entropy", at the Regional Dance America Festival where her works have been performed numerous times. Amber has been honored for her choreography "Portraying Picasso" in 2002 as well as her 2004 adjudicated work, "Twenty-Nine" which were both selected as the best overall choreography in the Southwest region and placed on the National Choreography Plan, which is a National Endowment of the Arts program to recognize and support artistic and choreographic excellence.
In 2005, Amber was a selected commissioned choreographer for JCC’S “Choreographer’s x 6” and she has created and directed choreography which have been performed in various venues including eight full length BAHBT contemporary concerts directed by Ms. Thornton, Dance Houston, Dance Month at the Kaplan, Regional Dance America, Twin City Ballet, Big Range Dance Festival, Planet Funk, Houston Dance Theatre, Galveston Ballet, Fusion Contemporary Dance Company, Bay Area Arts Conservatory, MECKKA dance project, Dancescape Benefit concerts, Master Class Dance Company and Millennium Dance Complex to name a few as well as serving as the on set choreographer for a Disney inspired television show, “The Wannabes”. Her choreography has been performed at many benefits, music videos and films, fund -raising venues, fashion shows, and festivals.
Amber’s passionate about her students and helping them to reach their goals and find their place through creating and teaching the art of movement. In addition to her love of dance, she is so grateful for her amazing parents and children, Hudson and Savannah.
Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Jazz
Kristen has been involved in the arts from a young age. She was a gymnast early on, medaling at state a number of times. Later, Kristen was a professional ski instructor during her high school and college years. She also was a dancer with her High School Drill Team, serving as co-captain her senior year. She went on to study dance at West Texas State (now A&M), and after joining the college ensemble as a company member, she was immersed in the world of performance. They were awarded honors multiple years at the American College Dance Festival and even received an invitation to dance at the State Capital. Subsequently, she auditioned for and became a core company member of Lone Star Ballet under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Hess, dancing numerous roles as a soloist her last two years. She was moreover cast as a dancer in *TEXAS*, the Musical Drama, in the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon, also directed by Neil Hess, being honored with one of the two soloist roles. Mr. Hess was well known for training dancers that went on to Broadway and world renown companies such as ABT, NYC Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet.
Due to an injury, Mrs. Edmunds had to step aside from dance, and attended Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, earning her advanced degree in Physical Therapy. In Houston, she resumed dance training with Houston Ballet company members in HB's adult advanced class program. She also trained at The Met, and with Kathleen Lobue and Randall Flynn of Ad Deum Dance. She joined Sugar Creek Baptist Church Dance Company and was Co-Director for three years. In addition to her dance training, Kristen gained advanced certifications in PT, including becoming a fully trained PHI Pilates Mat Instructor and a certified Core Barre Instructor. Through her training and extensive research, Kristen has developed an Injury Prevention Workshop for Dancers. Her passion for promoting health in the dance industry fuels her enthusiasm in dance education. She has been able to use her knowledge and skills as a physical therapist to train dancers in kinetically sound movement through proper alignment, safe and effective strength and flexibility training, and fluid and graceful movement from a sound, stable core.
Advanced Ballet and Pointe
Cuban born, raised in the province of Camagüey, Estheysis began her ballet training in the Vocational Art School "Luis Casas Romero", in 1999, continuing onto the Academy "Vicentina de la Torre”.
In 2007 Estheysis was invited to join the National School of Ballet, under the guidance of Ramona de Saá and other outstanding professors. She quickly became worthy of important distinctions in competitive events, among them:
1st Place Category, Variations (2005),
1st Place Category, Pas de Deux (2008), in the International Encounters of Academies for the Teaching of Ballet Competitions, Havana, Cuba.
In 2008 she was awarded the Special Prize of the Jury in the Competition Rome Award, Italy, and the Prize to the Best Couple, in the Competition of Reggio Calabria, Italy.
In 2009 she was Guest Artist to the Festival "Women in the Dance", Quito, Ecuador.
In 2012 Estheysis was promoted to First Soloist of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.
In 2014 she was invited to work under Alicia Alonso's artistic-technical direction, during which time, she performed a repertoire of classical and contemporary works. She danced the principal roles in traditional collections such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppélia, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.
In 2015 Estheysis was promoted to Principal Dancer of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and she was awarded the UNEAC, Female Interpretation Prize 17, National Choreographic Concourse from Cuban National.
D'Ann Shaver-Gimenez founded the Laeral Dance Academy in 2010 with a desire to establish a professional training facility for aspiring dancers and to enrich the overall atmosphere of the community. Having been involved in dance since the age of 3, D'Ann has trained under the direction of Lynette Mason-Greg during her primary years at Royal Academy of Fine Arts for 15 years.
D'Ann has danced in companies including Royal Ballet Theatre of Texas, Ballet San Jacinto and Lone Star Jazz Ballet Company. She has also coached Elite Level gymnasts for International Competitions and High School Dance Teams. D'Ann is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Missouri City Ballet Company.
Star Program Director: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop
Graduate of Morton Ranch High School, student at the University of Houston, involved in drill team and musical theatre; dance has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember; attended numerous competitions and conventions. Classically trained in ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, musical theatre, pointe, tap, and acrobatics; certification in acro/gymnastics. In order to pay for dance, she began teaching at only 14 and quickly discovered her love of it. She has worked with guest artists: Travis Wall, Tokyo, and Houston Ballet’s Janie Parker. She danced for University of Houston and recently made her Broadway debut on Wicked in New York City and NCAA March Madness Tour, where she opened for Jason Derulo, Conrad Sewell, and Twenty One Pilots. She is excited to be part of the Athletic and Performing Arts Center!
Native Houstonian Lauren Anderson danced with Houston Ballet from 1983 to 2006, performing leading roles in all the great classical ballets, appearing across the world to critical acclaim, and in the process, becoming one of Houston Ballet’s most beloved stars.
In January 2007, Ms. Anderson assumed her new role of outreach associate in Houston Ballet’s education department where she teaches ballet classes at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy, conducts master classes at area schools, and lectures to students on dance and her historic career as one of America’s most distinguished African-American ballerinas.
She trained exclusively at Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy from the age of seven. She joined Houston Ballet in 1983 and in 1990 became the first African-American to be promoted to principal dancer at Houston Ballet – and one of the few African-American ballerinas at the head of a major ballet company anywhere in the world. In addition, Ms. Anderson received the Special Jury Award at the 1990 International Ballet Competition as well as the International Critics Award in Chile.
Ms. Anderson danced leading roles in numerous classical ballets. Her repertoire included works by George Balanchine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Christopher Bruce, James Kudelka, and Trey McIntyre. Ms. Anderson created the title role in Ben Stevenson's Cleopatra, and her performance as Cleopatra received accolades from international critics. Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times compared her to the great Italian actress Eleanora Duse, and Christine Temin of The Boston Globe pronounced her "a powerhouse in interpreting the role that Stevenson created on her." Ms. Anderson performed across the world as a guest artist, appearing in New York, Chile, Moscow, and Chicago.
In April 1999, Ms. Anderson was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine. She has also been featured in the magazines People and Pointe, as well as on the television programs "A&E Breakfast With the Arts," "CBS News Sunday Morning," and the game show, "To Tell the Truth." She has been honored by The Martin Luther King Foundation, Coalition of 100 Black Women, YWCA, by the Urban League, Delta Gamma Foundation, Texas Woman’s Chamber of Commerce, Houston City Council, and the Texas Legislature. Ms. Anderson is also an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Ms. Anderson was awarded the Jefferson Award for Community Service in 2011.
Ms. Anderson is the proud parent of Lawrence Bell Fitzgerald Turner.
Herman Charles III has worked for the likes of Mathew Knowles, manager of Destiny's child, and Kim Burse, Beyonce's creative director, as a choreographer & creative director @ Music World. He has worked with artists such as Frankie J., Solange Knowles, Tri-ni-tee 5:7 and J. Holiday to name a few. Herman has also choreographed for Pro Teams: Houston Rocket Power Dancers, Comets Aeros and Dynamo Girls.
Herman has also staged and choreographed musicals such as The Wiz, Grease, Bye Bye Birdie, Annie, The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella.
He is in current production of his latest piece, A Tribute to Michael Jackson, whom he credits as his greatest inspiration!
Jazz, Tap, Leaps & Turns
With 17 years of teaching experience, Chasity Moore joins our dance family. A former company member of Reni Antley School of Dance (Sugar Land, TX) Chasity began her dancing career at the age of 5, and studied ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical. She is a graduate of University of Houston, Honors College. After college, Chasity moved to Atlanta, GA. There she began teaching and choreographing for numerous studios and has won many awards for her creative choreography. Chasity realizes it is very important to keep up with the ever changing moves of dance. She has studied with Chuck Maldonado, Mia Michaels, Tabitha & Napoleon, Mandy Moore, WildaBeast and many others.
Chasity's students are continually updating her on their careers. You can see many of her former students performing as dancers for Usher, Katy Perry and Lady Ga-Ga, as well as performing on TV, including Glee, the Emmy's, and the Superbowl. And most recently, she has students performing in the Cirque du Solei Michael Jackson One show in Vegas and in Hamilton on Broadway in NY!
Since returning home to Houston, Chasity has continued to share her love of dance and choreography with her new students, eager to see where dance will take them! Chasity teaches ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and lyrical/contemporary dance. Her favorite styles to teach are Lyrical/Contemporary, Jazz and Tap, or, in other words, pretty much everything.
Paige McFarlain is trained in ballet, pointe, contemporary, tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop since the age of three. She has been classically trained under principal dancers such as Lauren Anderson and Jillana. She was a principal dancer with the pre-professional company Missouri City Ballet for several years, performing a variety of roles such as Swanhilda in Coppelia, the Snow Queen, Mouse Queen, and Dewdrop Fairy in the Nutcracker, and Madge in La Sylphide. She currently performs with the Sugar Creek Dance Ministry. She has worked with children all her teenage years from babysitting to the children’s worship ministry at Sugar Creek Baptist Church to Alpha Omega Gymnastics and Dance.