Instructors

Paula Alford

Paula Alford

Paula Alford started dancing when she was 3 years old and has danced ever since. She has her NC licensure to teach dance in the NC school system and has taught various genres at various private studios over a period of 24 years. She is also a public high school teacher and tutors at The Hill Center.

Meghan Antol

Meghan Antol

Meghan Antol began studying dance at the age of five with Chamber Ballet in Williamsburg, Virginia. She continued her training at the Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts and the School of Richmond Ballet. Meghan had the opportunity to train with artists such as Heidi Robitshek, Sandra Balestracci, Adrienne Dellas Thornton of the Kirov Academy of Ballet and Julie Job of the School of Richmond Ballet and attended several training intensives with companies such as Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Richmond Ballet. She trained and performed with the Duke University Dance Program during college and currently enjoys collaborating with various individuals and companies in the Triangle area to perform both ballet and contemporary works. Meghan loves fusing her background as an elementary school teacher with her passion for dance to create structured yet fun classes for a wide range of ages.

Elizabeth Bailey

Elizabeth Bailey

Elizabeth Bailey (she/her/hers) is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher from Goldsboro, NC. She graduated from East Carolina University with a BFA in dance with a concentration in choreography and performance as well as a minor in Natural Science Composite. Elizabeth is a company member with ShaLeigh Dance Works since 2023; she also performed at the American Dance Festival in the Footprints Concert. Last summer, Elizabeth had the opportunity to travel to Nairobi, Kenya where she was a part of a dance exchange. Elizabeth’s main goal in her classes is for students to love what they are doing and how they feel when doing movement. She encourages her students to not only understand what they are doing in the classroom, but why they are doing it.

Sarah Bowdoin

Sarah Bowdoin

Sarah Bowdoin recently moved to Durham from Charleston, SC, where she danced professionally with and taught for several classical ballet companies, including Palmetto City Ballet, the Unbound Ballet Project, and the Ballet Academy of Charleston. Sarah is also certified in Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga and works in marketing for the American Dance Festival.

Casey Brown

Casey Brown

Casey Brown is a trauma/emergency department nurse whose passions are saving lives and dancing like there’s no tomorrow. She found dance in her mid-twenties, starting with Zumba in 2016 and progressing to hip-hop fitness. Group-certified, she loves lifting weights as much as cardio. When not dancing or nursing, she is reading, eating too much or caring for her 14 pets!

 

Cristal Chinchayan

Cristal Chinchayan

Cristal Chinchayan was born and raised in Trujillo, Peru and has lived in the Raleigh area for the last ten years. She is trained in modern dance and Afro Peruvian folklore and has been training and teaching samba for the last several years. She serves as assistant director for the NC Brazilian Arts Project and currently travels throughout the east coast performing and showcasing Samba No pe´ at various festivals and events.

Payton Chopp

Payton Chopp

Payton Chopp  is a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer with two decades of experience in classical ballet, contemporary and modern dance. She is a company member with Black Box Dance Theatre, a nonfiction modern dance company, and currently continues her own training with Rainbow Dance Company and American Dance Festival. Payton is also a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied Psychology, Human Development & Family Studies, and Social & Economic Justice with a concentration in disability justice. In her classes and personal practice, Payton explores improvisation, process, and play in partnership with her passion for technique. Photo credit: Michelle Chopp

Christina Conley

Christina Conley

Christina Conley began dancing at age three, focusing her training on jazz, tap, and modern. She holds a BA in modern dance from the George Washington University and is certified in yoga, Pilates mat, and Pilates apparatus. Christina has taught in the Triangle since 2006 and has performed with Killian Manning, Ava Vinesett, for the UNC-G graduate dance department, and recently at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. She also practices massage therapy in Chapel Hill.

Mauri Connors

Mauri Connors

Mauri Connors is an artist from Rockbridge County, VA and has a degree in dance from Connecticut College. From 2018 through 2021, Mauri was the Artistic Director of Halestone Dance Studio, located in Lexington, VA.She currently teaches dance to young movers in the Durham area and is also a writer, choreographer, and childcare provider. PC: Alex Maness @tothemoon.alex

Lulu Diaz

Lulu Diaz

Lulu Diaz has a dance background in Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Ballroom dance. She started dancing Salsa when she was little, but it wasn’t until 2014 that she started learning Afro-Latin dances more formally. She is currently living in Chapel Hill, NC and she is the director of Baila Beats Academy, founded in 2019. Her goal is to help people heal and feel alive through dance.

Tracey Durbin

Tracey Durbin

Tracey Durbin recently moved to Durham from Portland, OR, where she has been an integral part of the Portland dance scene for 25 years. She has choreographed and taught for Northwest Dance Project, BodyVox Dance, Oregon Ballet Theater and Reed College. Most recently, Tracey was one of four choreographers chosen for the Northwest Dance Project ‘Chopin Project’ with acclaimed pianist Yekwon Sunwoo and she is also a featured artist in the book ‘Beauty Is Experience: Dancing 50 and Beyond’ published by Stance on Dance in 2017.

Caroline Dyar

Caroline Dyar

Caroline Dyar is a Black Belt Nia teacher who was introduced to Nia in 1999 and began her teaching journey in 2008. Her Nia practice guides her to be aware of sensation, to open her mind to endless possibilities, to allow emotions to flow and release, and to listen to and embrace her unique spirit. Caroline delights in applying what she has learned from Nia to every aspect of her life, and she loves to share the Joy with everybody! Contact Caroline and read the story of her Nia journey by visiting her NiaNow profile: http://www.nianow.com/carolinia

Rachelle Feldman

Rachelle Feldman

Rachelle Feldman grew up studying and performing ballet at Maryland Youth Ballet with national acclaimed teacher Hortensia Fonseca, and modern dance with Anne Waugh Allan among others . She also served as Ballet Mistress for Columbia Dance Theater and taught creative movement, modern dance, and ballet to children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts – Dance at the University of California, Berkeley where she received the Julia Payne Award for Dance Scholarship and Choreography. Rachelle danced for various modern choreographers in the San Francisco Bay Area and taught ballet and contemporary classes for adults at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center before moving to Durham in late 2016.

Katie Fulks

Katie Fulks

Katie Jo Fulks is a performer, arts administrator, and researcher originally from Huntington, West Virginia. She recently moved to Durham from WV, where she was a dancer and arts administrator with the West Virginia Dance Company. Katie studied at Elon University, obtaining a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a BA in Arts Administration. Through Katie’s work on and off stage, she strives to emphasize the power and necessity of art.

Nia Galas

Nia Galas

Nia Galas began studying dance at Durham School of the Arts and minored in dance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has also completed a 500-hour Yoga teacher training and  has integrated many modalities of movement into her teaching. Nia has been working with children for twenty years, mostly in schools, recreation centers, and nannying; she is most excited to share her experiences with children because of their uninhibited energy and natural kinetic curiosity.

Rachel Gathercole

Rachel Gathercole

Rachel Gathercole has taught music, dance, movement, and other creative arts to children, teens, and adults for 30 years. Her dance training and teaching has focused primarily on ballroom and other social and couple dances, but she is also an award-winning clogger and loves all types of dance. She enjoys teaching and sharing the joy of dance with students of all ages!

Kaitlyn Hao

Kaitlyn Hao

Kaitlyn Hao began dancing at the age of three but ended up falling in love with the athleticism and discipline of rhythmic gymnastics. She competed nationally and internationally for years, holding multiple titles in the Midwest, and most notably placing 2nd overall at Junior Olympics in her age division. Since her retirement from the sport, she has transitioned into dance and fallen in love again, but this time with the expressiveness and creative potential provided by dance. She is trained in classical Russian ballet, contemporary, jazz, jazz funk, and hip-hop and has dabbled in other styles as well. She was a captain of her high school Varsity dance team, competed with a nationally-ranked studio, and danced with an all-women dance company at Duke. Nowadays, Kaitlyn enjoys applying kinesiology to her dance practice, learning how to maximize flexibility and strength training by understanding the natural movement capabilities of the human body.

Helen Hickey

Helen Hickey

Helen Hickey is a teacher, choreographer, and performer. While growing up in Chapel Hill, she studied tap with Gene Medler and was a member of The North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble for five years. She performed at venues around the country with NCYTE, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. After receiving a BFA in Dance from UNC-G, she attended Sarah Lawrence College where she received her MFA in Dance. Helen enjoys teaching all ages and specializes in Tap, Contemporary, Improvisation /Composition, Modern, Jazz, and Musical Theater. She is also the Director and founder of Helen Hickey Dance Company and has been a Company Member with Footnotes Tap Ensemble. 

Daisy Hodge

Daisy Hodge

Daisy Hodge is a dance teacher, choreographer and Pilates instructor. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Dance Studies and Commercial Photography and completed a 450-hour comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Program at Drexel University. She has taught Pilates mat classes at numerous studios and schools in both Philadelphia and Durham. Daisy will empower you to explore new and familiar ways to move your body with attention to breath, strength, and flexibility.

Katie Hyde

Katie Hyde

Katie Hyde has studied flamenco for many years in Durham, Santa Fe, NM and Sevilla, Spain. She’s grateful to have learned from many inspiring teachers including Carlota Santana, Cihtli Ocampo, Rafaela Carrasco and El Torombo. Studying with both dancers and musicians, she finds the endless depth of flamenco to be exciting and humbling. Katie enjoys performing with Flamenco Carolina and loves teaching students of all ages.

Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez

Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez

Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez has a life-long love of dance, studying ballet and dancing in musicals and summer stock while at university. She has choreographed and danced for the Kansas City and Orlando Lyric Operas, as well as for Epcot Center and other venues. Her flamenco and Spanish dance studies began in NYC at Ballet Hispanico. She has studied in Spain with Milagros Mengibar, Raphael Campallo, Isabel Quintero, and in the U.S. with Carlota Santana, Belen Maya, Anna Menendez, Carmela Greco, and others. Jeanie endeavors to share her enjoyment of the dance with her students.

Tiffany Johnson

Tiffany Johnson

Tiffany Johnson is an operating room nurse whose love for dance fitness began with hip-hop abs and Darren’s Dance Grooves; remember those?! As her fitness journey progressed, Zumba became a staple, then after a pause, she found Turn Up Dance Fitness and was hooked! She is excited to share the community and joy with any and everyone! Apart from her work & dance, she’s a self-proclaimed foodie, loves to travel and read! She’s so ready to hit the dance floor with you!

Sadé Jones

Sadé Jones

Sadé Jones is an award winning dancer, actress, choreographer and movement director. Her work lives in the interdisciplinary praxis of psychology, theatre making, culture and the healing arts. Her training is rooted in Laban Movement Analysis and Ballet and then professionally grew into Horton, Graham, Dunham, West African, Afro-Cuban, and Jazz.

Sadé holds a graduate degree in Social Psychology and is a 2025 candidate for a Master’s of Fine Arts at Duke University where she will be studying Dance as Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis.

You can check her out at her website: www.sadeizm.com and Instagram: @sadeizmbemoved

Laylianah Mahasin

Laylianah Mahasin

Laylianah Mahasin has been devoted to the art of Belly Dance for over 11 years. She has studied many styles of belly dance with world-renowned instructors, and is excited to share her knowledge and passion with her students. Laylianah emphasizes the importance of correct technique, while providing a fun and supportive atmosphere for students who are just discovering what amazing belly dancers they can be!

Killian Manning

Killian Manning

Killian Manning has been teaching dance to people of all ages since 1988. She first taught, performed, and choreographed in Boston, where she was a member of Susan Rose and DanceWorks, serving on the faculties at Radcliffe, DanceWorks and the Boston Conservatory. As Artistic Director of killianmanning/noforwardingaddress, her award-winning choreography has been presented in Salt Lake City, Boston, Chicago, Alabama, and North Carolina. Killian has also taught yoga for many years, as well as guided meditative movement.

Siatta Mansaray

Siatta Mansaray

Siatta Mansaray is an award winning dance artist specializing in the styles of belly dance and soukous. Her love of international dance styles was planted at the early age of six by listening to diverse styles of music and watching powerful dancers such as Yondo Sister, Aurlus Mabele, Fifi Abdou and Soheir Zaki. Through dance, Siatta hopes to influence women to plant seeds of reclaiming personal power while also showing the diversity of dance in Africa and the MEHNAT (Middle Eastern,Hellenic, North African and Turkish) region. Tiktok:@rvintldance8

Angelo Marin

Angelo Marin

Angelo Marin hails from New York City, where he studied various dance styles for five years. His specialty is hip-hop, and he has taught his choreography to others in informal settings. And, yes, he and Angel are twins.

Dee Mathews

Dee Mathews

Dee Mathews (they/them) picked up swing dancing as a hobby in high school and fell in love with vintage jazz music and dancing and has been hooked ever since. They began competing and teaching lindy hop, balboa, and solo jazz in 2010, winning awards from national events such as Camp Hollywood, All Balboa Weekend, California Balboa Classic and teaching events both nationally and internationally. They run and teach local swing events throughout the triangle focused on introducing new dancers to the movement and history of vintage swing. They can be found on Instagram at @dmbalboa.

Kathleen O'Melia

Kathleen O'Melia

Kat O’Melia started tap dancing at the age of 12 with her teacher and mentor Gene Medler. She is an alumna of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble and an active member of the Southern Open Rhythm Collective Leadership group. She loves sharing her passion for tap with her students.

Crystal Parker

Crystal Parker

Crystal Parker has taught Pilates since 2009. While firmly rooted in Classical Pilates, she is an enthusiastic learner and also a certified yoga instructor, prenatal yoga instructor/teacher trainer, and children’s/family yoga instructor. Her classes are approachable, playful and challenging.

Ife Michelle Presswood

Ife Michelle Presswood

Ife Michelle (Choreographer, Dancer, Artistic Space Maker, Black Culture Educator) is a native of Charlotte, NC. Her dance training began at North Carolina Performing Arts Academy and continued through college, with her primary styles being Traditional West-African, Contemporary, Horton Modern Technique, Hip-Hop, Stilettos, and Couture/Vogue dance. Ife currently teaches at Duke University (Professor of Dance in Hip-Hop) and Fayetteville State University (Professor of Dance) in addition to teaching various community classes, where she is invested in dancers’ self-exploration and expression through Afro-Diasporic/Black/Queer dance genres.

Danielle Rainville

Danielle Rainville

Danielle Rainville has been a lifelong student of dance and earned her undergraduate degree in Dance from the University North Carolina at Greensboro. She enjoys merging her passion for movement with her work as an occupational therapist and has been certified as a Mark Morris Dance for PD teacher and as an RYT-200 yoga instructor. She has been studying flamenco since 2016 and is currently participating in a year of deep flamenco exploration through Flamenco Vivo’s Developing Artists program.

Steven James Rodriguez Velez

Steven James Rodriguez Velez

Steven James Rodriguez Velez hails from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, where he began his movement studies with the martial arts. While a student at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, he studied ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance intensively and performed and choreographed with HINCAPIE and ANDANZA dance companies. He has performed with with several area dance companies, including Black Irish, Blackbox Dance Theater, and OM Grown Dancers, though is is currently based in Puerto Rico.

Liz Sanford

Liz Sanford

Liz Sanford is originally from Mebane. She earned her BA in Dance from UNC Charlotte and then performed professionally with Kinetic Works and Room to Move Dance companies, as well as in musical theatre productions. She spent a combined 8 seasons dancing and singing at Six Flags Over Georgia, Sesame Place, and Carowinds theme parks. Most notably, she performed around the country with two national tours of Sesame Street Live!, where she originated the puppetry role of Maya Monster. Liz recently moved back to North Carolina and is enjoying teaching, as well as dancing with Raleigh-based Black Box Dance Theatre.

Danielle Segretto

Danielle Segretto

Danielle Segretto has been teaching dance for more than 20 years. Trained primarily in classical ballet, she also holds a Bachelor’s degree in contemporary dance performance from Winthrop University. She has trained with many well-known artists, including Gelsey Kirkland and Cynthia Gregory, and has performed professionally in Seattle and NC. She has an early childhood education certificate with the State of NC and taught preschool for four years.  Danielle is very excited to be working at Ninth Street Dance again!

Nischitha Shetty

Nischitha Shetty

Nischitha Shetty is a well-known Bollywood choreographer in the Triangle. Her experience spans over 20 years, and she has been teaching dance for the last 10 years. She was introduced to Indian classical, folk and Bollywood dance styles at a young age. Her passion for Bollywood kept on growing because of the versatility it offers. She choreographs and performs regularly at various events – from small private parties to big international festivals. She likes to incorporate different dance styles like Indian folk, Indian classical, contemporary and hip-hop into her dance routine. She works well with adults, children and dancers of all levels. Her classes are clearly structured, well researched and fun!

Nicole "Pinky" Thomas

Nicole "Pinky" Thomas

Nicole Thomas, affectionately nicknamed “Pinky,” embodies the roles of Dancer, Choreographer, Educator, Ethnographer, and Cultural Ambassador. With roots based in St. Louis, Pinky has immersed herself, since the age of 5, in a diverse array of techniques such as Ballet, Dunham Technique, Jazz, Tap, West African, and Musical Theatre. An educator for over 25 years, Pinky’s fluency in multiple techniques encompasses historical lineage, grounding movement in its cultural context. With a passion for working and nurturing creative growing minds, Pinky encourages students to embrace all forms and aesthetics of movement and music to become diverse communicators.

Jillian Wasick

Jillian Wasick

Jillian Wasick’s passion for dance began early, fed by frequent viewings of Dirty Dancing and 90s hip hop and R&B music videos. Jillian first studied and performed ballet, but she has trained in other dance styles and currently teaches salsa, Dance-phoria, and Zumba. She is a member of the Pink Beats Salsa Dance Team in Durham. Jillian strives to create inclusive spaces where students can find joy, a sense of community, and release through movement!

Lori Weiss

Lori Weiss

Lori Weiss has always had a passion for dance and fitness, so dance fitness was a natural fit. Lori has been teaching dance-inspired fitness classes since 2010. She is an AFAA (Athletics and Fitness Association of America) certified group exercise instructor and she holds speciality certifications in Barre Above and Balletone fitness. When she is not dancing, Lori works as a math education specialist, serving students in grades K – 12.

Chania Wilson

Chania Wilson

Chania Wilson is a dance artist, dance filmmaker, and educator. She received her BFA in Dance at UNC Greensboro with a concentration in Performance and Choreography and is a first-year MFA in Dance student at Duke University and a 2023 NC Dance Festival Artist in Residence.

Instagram: @chaniawilsondance

Sadie Zimet

Sadie Zimet

Sadie Zimet is a music teacher, dance teacher, and performing musician. She has taught ballroom dance, music, and movement to children and adults of all ages since 2014. She believes in delight-driven learning and likes to encourage her students with positivity and a spirit or gumption and fun.