Staff

 

Marisa Mailhes
Founder & Director

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 faculty 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.

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Marisa began teaching in 2004 and has always had a love for children. As her dance career grew, she could 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, has started dancing at Red Door and her twin boys, Asher & Hudson, are not far behind!

Heather Brown
Dance Instructor

Heather 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

Jesslynn Grigsby
Administrative Manager & Dance Instructor

Jesslynn grew up right here in Wylie and started dancing at age 9. She took classes at a local studio, training in jazz technique before adding on drill team at school. She was a Sapphire Lieutenant for 3 years at Wylie East High School, 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 the Kick Academy and Dance Academy during HTE camp and had the pleasure of travelling to Paris, France with them to perform. Jesslynn was also awarded Miss High Kick during her time with the Sapphires. She recently studied dance at Collin College for 4 years while working on associates degree. Jesslynn then transferred to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX where she completed her Bachelor’s in General Business and graduated in May 2018! She loves being a part of the Red Door team!

Lindy Hockaday
Dance Instructor

Lindy started dancing around the age 10, when she realized, that to be good at theatre, you had to dance! She started out taking basic classes at local theatre in Houston, her hometown. She has studied Tap, Ballet, Jazz, and Musical Theatre. She also studied at Houston Family Arts Center, now, Stage-works Theatre Inc, and took classes from esteemed teachers such as Dana Lewis, and Ellen Dyer. While in high school, she started teaching Tap classes with her mentor, Miss Dana, as well as pre-ballet, creative movement and jazz.

Upon graduating high school, Lindy attended Shenandoah Conservatory and recently graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre, dance emphasis, and worked with several teachers such as Broadway’s Jacob Brent, and Mary Robare. While in school, she participated in several musicals, many of which she was the Dance Captain. While in school, she also taught Pre-Ballet, Creative Movement, as well as Tap for Mercier School of Dance, and regularly subbed for Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy. Lindy was also invited to attend a 2 week dance exchange program, that sent her to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and studied dance at Shu Te University. She studied styles such as Ballet, Kung Fu, Modern, and Tai Chi, and was the first American student to be invited to the program.

She has worked professionally as a dancer for several summer music theatres, and some of her favorite roles include being an Ancestor in the Addams Family, and getting to Tap in Mary Poppins as a Chimney Sweep!

Lindy is thrilled to be back in the state, and she is thrilled to be joining the Red Door Team!

 

Lauren Howard-Celis
Artistic Director for Company Inspired & Instructor

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 performing with Momentum Dance Company in their 12th Season as Waltz of the Flowers and Waltz of the Snowflakes corps de ballet and Arabian 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.  Several student under her direction have toured with the Tremaine and Intrigue conventions’ Apprenticeship Companies and have gone to work professionally in music videos for Beyonce, Brian Friedman and Shawn Welling, and perform with choreographers Tokyo and Alicia.

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.

 

Marianne Kuers
Studio Administration 

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.

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.

 

Alexandra Murray
Dance Instructor

Alexandra Murray began her dance career at the age of 4 under the direction of Talani Torres at Dance Space Studio in Miami, Florida. At 9 years old, she was accepted into the Dance Magnet at South Miami Elementary where she worked on a plethora of styles which included Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Afrocuban. During middle and high school she remained on both the Arvida Middle School Dance Team as well as Robert Morgan Educational Center’s Dance Magnet and Dance Team. After the closing of Dance Space she moved to Miami’s renowned Focal Point Dance Studios under the direction of Natalya Hall and Amanda Tae. During 9th grade, Alexandra decided to use her talents in more creative ways and began a non profit 501c3 program at miami’s downtown homeless shelter then known as Chapman Partnership for the Homeless. The program began as an hour and a half class held on Thursday’s and quickly grew to incorporate an Annual 2 week summer camp program as well as an Annual Christmas Drive. In 2012, Alex was awarded Volunteer of The Year by the Children’s Trust. It was then that she discovered her passion to work with children and her ability to connect with people through dance. Alexandra is currently pursuing a degree in non profit business management while teaching at RDDA . She is excited to bring her talents to Red Door!

Montana Rowe
Dance Instructor

Montana 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 Smith
Dance Instructor

Lily 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!

 

Amanda Stevener
Dance Instructor

Amanda has oAmanda Headshotver 30 years of dance experience and has been teaching dance throughout Texas and California for the past 17 years. She has a background in many styles of dance; including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical/contemporary, musical theater, and hip hop, as well as tumbling, gymnastics, and cheer training. She began her dance training in Bryan, TX at Jane Lee School of Dance, which she attended from ages 3-18. She was also a member of the Bryan High School varsity gymnastics team for 3 years and competed in floor, beam, and bars at regional and state levels. Amanda attended college at Texas A&M University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in English. During her time in college, she was Assistant Director at Sharon’s Dance Center, where she attributes most of her growth as a dancer and teacher. She has trained students that have gone on to be protégés with The Pulse On Tour, as well as work with some of the top choreographers in LA. She moved to Southern California in 2004 for a change of scenery and to further her dance knowledge. With her passion for sharing dance with the younger generation, she created EnTour Dance Academy in 2007, which provided dance classes in preschools and private schools throughout Orange County and continued that business for 8 years.

Amanda is excited to be back in her home state of Texas and for the opportunity to continue teaching and sharing her love for dance with the students at Red Door Dance Academy.

Taylor Waters
Dance Instructor

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 dancers 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.

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

 

 

Jamie Williams
JUMP! Director & Dance Instructor

Jamie started her dance career in eighth grade drill team, which led her to four years of drill team experience in high school with the Ford High School Blue Belles in Quinlan, TX. It was there that she built expJamie Headshot_2013erience in choreography, event participation, and leadership , as she was named Captain her senior year. During her time with the drill team, Jamie performed in Terrell and San Antonio, TX, as well as at Disney World and with the Carnival Cruise Company.

Jamie is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Psychology and Performing Arts. As a dancer at UTD, she was able to participate in numerous classes including modern, jazz, ballet and hip hop. She has performed in showcases at UTD, as well as “Sprung”. Not only has she worked with Micki Saba, head of the dance department at Jamie_2014UTD, 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 choreographers from Texas and around the nation. Jamie’s own choreography has been presented at UTD showcases, a variety of high-scoring competition solos, as well as with the YMCA and other teen groups with which she has devoted her time. 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 The Pulse in New York in 2010. At both 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, and Lauriann Gibson. Jamie recently had the opportunity to choreograph the musical “Beauty and the Beast” for Colleyville Covenant Christian Academy. Jamie also coaches the 3rd-4th grade dancers for Wylie Drill Team.

Jamie continuously strives to grow as a choreographer in learning new techniques and styles. She currently lives in Wylie with her husband, Blair, and their son, Carter.

 

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!