Staff

Marisa Mailhes
Founder & Director

dance studio owner

Marisa trained at Cherrilane School of Dance in Dallas, Texas for 13 years in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical & hip hop. She has also studied contemporary, modern, theatrical dance, and pointe. Marisa began her performance career early as an actress on the Barney and Friends television show as Hannah. She danced and sang on the show as a regular cast member for three years. This experience encouraged her love for performing and opened the doors for many other opportunities throughout her childhood both in the dance, acting and modeling world. She went on to study dance at Texas A&M University where she graduated with the first ever University Studies, Dance Concentration degree from A&M with a focus on classical modern dance as well as the art of teaching. She also obtained a minor in both communications and business. While in college, she was a principal member of the EmSu Dance Company and took master classes from many of their guest artists. Marisa also attended ACDF, American College Dance Festival all 4 years and was selected to perform at the festival in f


aculty works several years. While in College Station she also professionally danced with the Armstrong Bergeron Dance Company, a modern based dance company. During College, she found her passion for contemporary dance and choreography. Marisa loves to find new and inventive ways to move and interesting themes and stories to portray through her dance.

Marisa began teaching in 2004 and has always had a love for children. As her dance career grew, shecould never let go of teaching. She has taught at various studios throughout Texas as a lead instructor as well as teaching workshops for out of town studios. Expressions Dance and Music in College Station became her home studio for many years and she attributes Expressions with where she grew the most as a dance educator and choreographer. She became the director of several of their competitive dance companies and won various awards for choreography throughout the competition scene.

Marisa opened Red Door Dance Academy in 2010 to bring her passion for dance to the Wylie area. Red Door Dance was opened to create a place with high quality dance educators where dancers can fall in love with the art, be inspired, and have fun while learning. Marisa lives in Plano with her supportive husband, Trey and 3 beautiful children. Her daughter, Colbie, and twin boys, Asher & Hudson, have started dancing at Red Door!


Lauren Howard-Celis
Artistic Director of Company Inspired, Leveled Program Director & Dance Instructor

dance teacher

Lauren began dancing at age five at Forcher’s Dance Center in Irving, TX where she studied classical ballet in the Balanchine style under Jacquelyn Ralls Forcher.  At age 11 she was accepted to the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet and studied with the Debbie Allen Dance Academy summer intensive and Fort Worth School of Ballet programs. After competing with Forcher’s Dance Center Company for several years she began studying at various studios throughout the Metroplex.  She landed at Rhythm Nation Studios for 4 years where she began teaching at age 15.  She performed with their professional company at venues such as Six Flags Over Texas and local festivals as a featured dance and vocal soloist and choreographer.  At 18, Lauren began to dance with Momentum Dance Company in their professional pointe and contemporary companies where she danced in the corps de ballet and as a demi-soloist for two seasons.  During college, Lauren was a member and served as an officer of the Texas A&M Dance Arts Society that allowed her to continue to perform and develop her choreography skills.  Lauren is currently serving as Artistic Director of Momentum Dance Company and just brought their 16th Nutcracker season to a close while also performing as Waltz of the Flowers and Waltz of the Snowflakes Princess and Marzipan principal dancer.

Lauren graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M with a BA in Spanish in 2008, an MA in Linguistics in 2010 (Whoop!).  While at school, Lauren began working full time at Expressions Dance and Music Studios.  She became the Artistic Director of Competitive Dance for four of her five years there.  Under Lauren’s direction, the competitive teams and soloists won First Overall titles and placed Top 3 at regional competitions and Top 5 in national-level competitions such as Showstopper, American Dance/Drill Team, Crowdpleasers, Open Call and Encore.  Her award-winning choreography has been recognized both regionally and nationally, as well.  Several dancers under her direction have gone on to become officers of their high school dance and drill teams, as well as the Kilgore Rangerettes.  Several long-time students of hers were accepted to the New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theater summer intensive and year-round programs, as well as the Houston Metropolitan, New York City Dance Alliance and Debbie Allen Dance Academy summer intensives.

As Artistic Director of Company inspiRED, Lauren is in charge of choreographing, recruiting for, organizing and developing the competition dance team program at Red Door.  As Leveled Program Director, she develops and trains staff on our curriculum to ensure each student is receiving excellent dance technique instruction.  Lauren has a deep passion for dance and looks forward to passing on this love of the art to her students.  She considers her job as a dance teacher to be one that comes with the responsibility of not only teaching impeccable dance technique and performance quality, but also helping to form strong self-esteem, confidence and sportsmanship in her students.


Jamie Williams
Shining Stars Program Director & Dance Instructor

dance teacherJamie started her dance career in eighth grade drill team, which led her to four years of drill team experience in high school with the award winning Ford High School Blue Belles in Quinlan, TX. It was there that she built experience in choreography, event participation, and leadership, as she was named Lieutenant her junior year and Captain her senior year.

Jamie graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Psychology and Performing Arts. As a dancer at UTD, she performed in showcases on campus under the direction of Micki Saba, head of the dance department at UTD. Jamie also had the good fortune to study with Michelle Hanlon of Elledanceworks, and Jennifer Mabus of Robert Battle’s company in New York, Battleworks. While at UTD, she participated in the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) and worked with many prestigious choreographers from around the nation.

Jamie has choreographed for UTD showcases, a multitude of local high school drill teams, a variety of high-scoring competition solos, and even the musical “Beauty and the Beast” for Colleyville Covenant Christian Academy. She currently coaches junior high and varsity cheer at Wylie Preparatory Academy. She enjoys performing and choreographing on her own time whenever possible, and in continuing her education as a dance professional, she attended Rhee Gold’s DanceLife Teacher Conference in 2008 and 2019, The Pulse in New York in 2010, and Dance Teacher Summit in California in 2017. At these conferences she was able to work with such choreographers as Joe Lanteri, Jo Rowan, Joe Tremaine, Mia Michaels, Andy Blankenbueller, and learn from prominent dancers such as Desmond Richadrson, Dave Scott, Lauriann Gibson, and the list goes on.

Jamie continuously strives to grow as a choreographer and dance educator in learning new techniques and styles. She is proud to be Red Door’s Shining Stars Director. She currently lives in Wylie with her husband, Blair, and their son, Carter.


Taylor Waters
Dance Instructor & Marketing and Public Relations Manager

dance teacher

Taylor started dance at the age of three at KJ Dance in Plano and continued her dance education at Morrow’s Performing Arts Center from age four on. She has competitively danced since she was eight and began teaching her own classes at age 14. During her competitive dancing years, she won awards such as “raw emotion”, “most potential”, “best feet”, and numerous first place overall scores. While she enjoyed the completion side of dance, she always stayed true to her roots: ballet. Ballet is the foundation of all styles of dance and Taylor realized that from an early age. Her favorite thing about ballet is the discipline it teaches and how that can translate to many other areas in a dancer’s life.

In high school, Taylor was the inaugural 1st Lieutenant at McMillen High School in Murphy. Upon graduating from Plano East Senior High school, Taylor moved to College Station to attend the best university on Earth: Texas A&M. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics in May 2018. While in College Station, Taylor worked at Expressions Dance and Music. This is where she was able to grow as a dance teacher and unlock her true passion for teaching. She was in charge of the Pointe program and wrote curriculum and tests. She assisted the Artistic Director with all aspects of the company and competitions.

As the Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Taylor handles all things social media, graphic design, website, and more!

Taylor is so excited to teach at Red Door and share her passion and love for dance. She enjoys motivating her students to reach their full potential and encouraging them to be the best they can be as dancers and as people too!


Jesslynn McCully
Administrative Manager & Dance Instructor

dance teacher

Jesslynn grew up right here in Wylie where she began dancing at a local studio. At the age of 9 she trained in jazz technique classes before adding on drill team at school. She started her high school career as a Wylie Pirate Pacesetter before moving on to be a member of the Alpha class of Wylie East and the Sapphires. Jesslynn served as Lieutenant for all 3 years where she helped lead the team to win various awards at competitions throughout Texas including Runner Up Grand Champions for their Officer Line. She was also invited to HTE’s Kick Academy and Dance Academy, and had the pleasure of traveling to Paris, France where she was able to further her dance education. Jesslynn was also awarded Miss High Kick during her time with the Sapphires. After high school she continued her dance education at Collin College for 4 years while working on her Associates Degree. At Collin College she studied ballet, modern, jazz, improv and pilates, and was selected to perform her choreography at their Choreography Showcase. After receiving her Associates Degree, Jesslynn transferred to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX where she completed her Bachelor’s in General Business and graduated in May 2018! In 2019 Jesslynn married her husband, Rider, and joined two daughters, Kyleigh and Kimber, into their family. In continuing her dance education, Jesslynn is trained and certified in Acro Arts.

Jesslynn has worked at Red Door since graduating high school and has grown to be the office manager! As office manager she handles all main communication, billing/accounts, student attendance, recital planning and more! She loves her dance family at Red Door and is excited to continue growing with the students!

 

 

 

 


Marianne Kuers
Studio Administration and Costume Management 

Marianne is in her second career as an employee with Red Door Dance. She is excited to be working with her daughter (Marisa Kuers Mailhes). Marianne’s business experience includes over 30 years in the mortgage banking business. She retired from Bank America in 2015, decided to join the Red Door Dance team and has enjoyed every day since.

Marianne has the experience most important to the operation of a dance studio – she has 25 years as a Dance Mom for both a girl and a boy. She has worked with every aspect of preparing children for dance class from clothing to scheduling and preparing that essential dance bun. Marianne has also been a back stage manager for every Red Door Dance recital since it opened. She is no stranger to the art of dance either, as she is accomplished in country, ballroom and swing dance. She has performed on stage at the Majestic Theater in Dallas.

As Costume Manager Marianne plans, coordinates and implements all things related to costumes for Company, Teams and Recital.  She works to make costume season easy for parents.  Marianne loves helping dancers feel confident and look great on stage.

Marianne balances her work at the studio with family time involving her three children and 7 grandchildren. She loves helping children and their parents in managing the difficult task of time management so essential to the lessons, costumes, and recital preparation that every family must coordinate. She loves all children, especially dancing children! A plaque above her desk at home proclaims “Why walk, Mama, when you can dance?”, a phrase Marisa would proclaim as a young child.


Emily Thomas
Dance Instructor

dance teacherEmily was born in Virginia and moved to Texas when she was 5. She  has always had a passion for dance since the day she could walk, from living room dance parties ,to dancing in the grocery store. She began her official dance journey with Wylie Drill Team in 5th grade. She continued drill team at Cooper Junior High and then went to Wylie High School where she was a member of the Wylie Pirate Pacesetters. Her junior year she was a Lieutenant and her senior year she held the position of the team captain. From there she went on to dance at Collin College where she was a part of their modern dance company, Collin Dance Ensemble,for 3 years. While at Collin she was trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Improvisation, Dance Choreography, Pilates for Dancers and Laban Studies. She had many opportunities to perform at the American College Dance Festival where her and her company were honored with many awards. Along with her performances with CDE, Emily had the opportunity to take master classes from wonderful dance educators such as Debra Knapp, Darby Wilde, Matthew Henley, and Anjali Austin.

After her 3 years at Collin College, Emily transferred to The University of North Texas, where she recently finished her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. While at UNT she continued her training in ballet, modern, and jazz, as well as Kinesiology, Dance Pedagogy, Stage Production, Principles of Dance Performance, Music for Dancers, and Choreography. Emily also had the privilege of being casted as a soloist in a piece Bill Evans choreographed. Bill selected a small group of dancers at UNT and the dance was performed at the American College Dance Festival. Along with the soloist position, Emily also preformed in many staff and student choreographed dances throughout her journey at UNT. 

While in Denton, Emily was a dance teacher at Silhouette Dance Company  for 3 years. She taught many classes alongwith being the Dance Team(the non-competitive dance group) director for the studio. When she teaches her goal is to educate her students about their bodies and how to efficiently use their muscles , as well as create a safe environment for them to learn. She is energetic, encouraging and bubbly, but expects the best from her students. She has a huge passion for teaching and she is so excited to start her journey here at Red Door Dance Academy!

 


Montana Rowe
Dance Instructor

dance teacherMontana began dancing at the young age of 2 taught by Gwen Owens at the London School of Dance in Garland Texas and was a student there for 5 years. She then moved to Wylie and began perusing competitive dance. From the first competition Montana was hooked! By the age of 10 she had decided that dance was her passion and would one day be her career. Montana became part of the Red Door family in 2011 at the age of 13 where she studied ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and dance acrobatics while continuing to dance competitively through the Burnett Junior High Sweethearts as their Captain. The following year she participated in the Wylie East High School Sapphire’s as well as being a member of the Company InspiRED competitive team here at RDDA. This was the year Montana fell in love with teaching when was invited to be a part of the STAR program at RDDA to be a student teaching assistant. Throughout her journey teaching and competing in high school Montana won various platinum and overall placement awards for her solos, full and half scholarships to various competitions, as well as “intensity”, “story-teller”, “beautiful emotion” and a range of other performance special awards. 2016 was a big year for Montana, she graduated from Wylie East High School while being a member of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, she continued to win platinum and overall awards for her solo as well as a full scholarship to Dance league conventions. The summer of 2016 is when her journey as a an RDDA teacher began and she has loved every minute of it.

Currently Montana is attending Colllin College pursing an associate of arts degree and a minor in developmental psychology. She is continuing her dance education while being a member of Urban Dance Company directed by Stephen McMaryion as well as dancing recreationally at Contemporary Ballet of Dallas.

Montana Is thrilled to get to share her love of dance with the student at Red Door Dance Academy. She is enlightened and inspired by every student she has the pleasure of teaching, and is excited to see what each new dance season has to offer!!


Lily Jones
Dance Instructor

dance teacherLily has been dancing, singing, and studying theatre since the age of 11. Originally from Greenville TX, she started her journey in the arts through a community theater in Rockwall, having done one show with her older sister. Interest growing in the direction of dancing, she started taking a Ballet class at Timbrel School for the Arts, and from then on immediately added more classes, such as Theatre Dance, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap, and later, Pointe. She was also a part of the studios Lyra Company, dancing at conventions, events, and a few competitions. She continued and progressed in all her classes and was offered a place in the Assistant Teacher program, where she began learning teaching skills. She assisted multiple classes at the age of 13, and at 16 was given her own class. The next year she took on an employed position as Dance Instructor of Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Theater, & Contemporary. While continuing to teach at Timbrel, she started branching out in her area, and choreographed a few numbers for The Greenville Christian School’s Choir play in the spring of 2015, and Greenville Family Theater’s Fundraiser in the fall of 2015. She taught a semester of Ballet for the Vocal Students of Texas A&M Commerce Music Department that same year. In the Spring & Summer of 2017 she choreographed Greenville Family Theater’s “Singin’ in the Rain” which featured many dance numbers such as Tap, Ballet & Jazz.   She has a love of singing as well, and started taking vocal lessons in Dallas with several instructors such as Barbara Doubt, Patricia Ivey, and most recently Dr. Jennifer Glidden at Texas A&M Commerce. She attended and placed in vocal competitions in Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth & Oklahoma City University. She has a background in Musical Theater, doing multiple shows in the Dallas area. She did many shows in her hometown of Greenville including Fiddler on the Roof (as Tzeitel), Hello Dolly! (as Dolly Levi), and Meet Me in St. Louis (as Rose Smith) to name a few. More recently she was featured in Allen Community Theater’s Production of “Young Frankenstein” as Inga. Lily is thrilled to be part of the Red Door Dance Team!


Heather Brown
Dance Instructor

dance teacherHeather started dancing at Whistle Stop Dance Company at the age of 3 in 1987 and performed as a ‘Superstar’ in her first recital, Broadway Beat. In junior high Heather started drill team as a Liberty Junior High Belle and a Talent ‘N More Shining Star, and in high school she was a Berkner High School Bandolera. She has competed in many competitions over the years including Starmakers, American Dance/Drill (ADTS), and Showstoppers, just to name a few. Heather continued her training at Whistle Stop through high school and began teaching at Whistle Stop in 2002. Heather has also trained at Richland College, the University of Texas at Dallas, and Collin College as a part of the Collin Dance Ensemble, Collin College’s resident modern repertory company. She has judged competitions and try-outs for Dallas Select Football League, Spirit Event Coordinators, and at many junior highs, middle schools and high schools in the DFW metroplex. Heather has served as Dance Captain for several church and community musicals and taken part in many community performances including Wildflower! Festival, Candlelight at Dallas Heritage Village, Plano Balloon Festival, as well as many others. In 2009 Heather became a member of the Texas Association Teachers of Dancing, Inc. (TATD). She is also a member of the Dance Council of North Texas and a former member of the Shufflin’ Shoes cloggers, a clogging team hosted at Studio 3 Dance in Plano. Heather has previously taught classes at The Dance FX Studio in Garland, KC Dance & Cheer Center in Sachse, and is currently on staff at Talent N’ More Dance Centre in Richardson. Heather’s heart and soul go into her dancing and teaching as she loves to see a student’s face light up when they achieve a goal or walk onto the stage. She loves passing on an art form that she has such a passion for.

Heather works for St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Student Ministries. She is excited to be a part of the staff at Red Door Dance Academy!

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique,
they are great because of their passion.”
-Martha Graham


Alexis Dover
Dance Instructor

dance teacherAlexis began dancing at age 3 studying ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, and contemporary. She moved to the DFW metroplex and began competitively dancing at age 8. She was a drill team officer at Forney High School for 3 years, helping her team to win multiple awards including a “Tops in Texas” and “Grand Champion” title.

After graduating from high school she moved overseas with her husband to Okinawa, Japan where she began teaching in 2017. Alexis greatly enjoyed being the Studio Manager and Team Director at FootLoose Dance Studio where her dancers and choreography won multiple awards in international competitions and festivals.

Alexis recently moved back to the metroplex and is thrilled to continue enriching the lives of students through dance.


Alissa Powell
Dance Instructor

dance teacherAlissa began dancing at the age of 10 at a local studio in Rockwall, TX. She began her drill team journey at Cain Middle School where she was a Mustang Dancer and held the position of 1st Lieutenant for both 7th and 8th grade. She then went to Rockwall-Heath high school where she served as 1st Lieutenant of the JV Starstepper drill team. Her freshman year she had the amazing opportunity to perform at the XLV Super Bowl half-time show featuring The Black-Eyed Peas. She then moved up to the varsity Highstepper team. Her junior year she was a Junior Lieutenant and her senior year she held the position of 1st Lieutenant. During her years as a Highstepper, she took many master classes from artists including Kent Boyd, Matt Luck, Cyrus Spencer, Mallory Mills, and Tiffany Maher. She was also able to participate in the London New Year’s Day Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while in high school.

Following graduation, Alissa attended Sam Houston State University for two years where she studied ballet, jazz, and modern. In 2016, she participated in the Disney College Program where she lived and worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. After returning home from Disney, she transferred to Stephen F. Austin State University where she continued her dance studies in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, musical theatre, hip hop, and improv, as well as kinesiology, stage/dance production, dance pedagogy, Pilates for dancers, and choreography. While at SFA, Alissa was part of the modern repertory dance company. While on the company, she attended and performed at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) conference and was able to take classes from great dance educators. While at SFA, she was also part of the organization Dancers Against Cancer (DAC) where she was on the Leadership Team and held the position of Historian. Alissa graduated from SFA in 2019 Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Dance Performance and Choreography and a minor in Mass Media. 

Alissa is currently working on getting her Texas teacher certification in dance 6-12. She works as a judge and camp teacher/choreographer with American/Dance Drill Team (ADTS) and is so excited to begin her journey with Red Door Dance Academy!


Kyndel Lee

Dance Instructor

Coming Soon!


Halle Braswell

Dance Instructor

Coming Soon!


Kimberly McPherson

Front Desk

Kimberly started dancing in 2006 at the age of 5. She was with Ambassadors of Dance for 6 years before starting at Red Door Dance. At Ambassadors of Dance, she learned Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Pointe. In 3rd grade, she started in Wylie Drill Team and continued with drill team through 6th grade. When she started at Red Door, she focused more on Ballet and Pointe, until her senior year when she added Contemporary.

Kimberly was raised in Wylie and she graduated from Wylie East in 2019. In high school, she was part of the Pride of the East Marching Band for three years as a flutist. She is now studying at Collin College to get a major in Criminal Justice, while also studying dance. Her goal is to become a Crime Scene Technician and to be a dance teacher. 

Kimberly is excited to be a part of the Red Door family!

 


Jessica Bolton
Director/Co-Owner of Red Door Dance in Texarkanaimg_6293

Jessica is a Texarkana, Arkansas native and studied at Judith McCarty School of Dancing for fifteen years. At the age of fourteen she began teaching classes and working to obtain her dance teachers certificate from her hometown studio. During her time at Judith McCarty’s she was an active member of the Texarkana Community Ballet and has performed numerous roles in The Nutcrackeimg_6309r that include the Dew Drop Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy, as well as Coppélia, a friend of Swanhilda, and Prayer soloist in Coppélia. Jessica grew up attending the Texas Association Teachers of Dancing (TATD) convention, and studied under many choreographers including Jay Fagan, Leslie Scott, Mandy Moore, Keith Clifton, and Rhonda Miller. She was a both a Ballet and Merit Scholarship recipient as a student at TATD, and she is currently studying to become a member teacher of the organization. Jessica has attended many summer intensive programs including The Radio City Rockette’s, Ballet Magnificat!, and Ballet Austin.

Jessica obtained her B.S. in General Studies from the University of Mississippi and during her time in Mississippi she taught ballet, tap, and jazz at Grenada School of Performing Arts. After college she moved to Louisiana to teach high school English and coached the varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders. Under her instruction the Varsity team qualified and danced in the Disney Christmas Day parade in Orlando, Florida. Jessica has coached cheerleaders that have gone on to cheer on squads at Grambling State University, Northwestern State University, and University of Louisiana at Monroe. After getting married to husband, John in the summer of 2015 she moved to the Dallas area and has been with Red Door since. Jessica has recently moved back to Texarkana to be near family, where she now directs and runs a Texarkana, TX location of Red Door Dance Academy!