Cindy McGee – Artistic Director, Ballet, Jazz, Creative Movement, Musical Theatre
Ms. Cindy brings a wealth of teaching and performing experience spanning 38 years. She began dancing at the age of three, and trained at the prestigious Ruth Page School of Dance in Chicago, with Dolores Lipinski and Larry Long. She also trained at the Lou Conte Dance Studio with Lou Conte and Claire Bataille. She began teaching at the Lou Conte dance studio in 1981 and has continued teaching throughout her career. She turned professional, when invited to tour the country in the Broadway show “The Wiz” during her senior year in high school. She made her Broadway debut in the role of Dorothy shortly after joining the cast. Her next step was dancing in her hometown of Chicago with the highly acclaimed Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. After many years of touring and performing with the troupe she auditioned and was cast by Sydney Poitier in one of the lead roles in the dance movie, “ Fast Forward”, bringing her to Los Angeles. Ms. Cindy returned to school and graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Northridge, BA Music. Ms. Cindy recently earned her Elementary Teaching Credential at CSUN. Her greatest desire is to inspire students to be their very best. Her love of teaching has now expanded to academic arenas, and her love for inspiring students and helping them grow continues.
Gabriela Arias – Administrative Assistant
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Ms. Gabby brings to Ciara great focus, determination, and desire to be of service. She has worked for LAUSD the past several years, where she had multiple opportunities to display her ability to organize and implement policy. She is currently attending Cal State University, Northridge as a Business Management major with a Dance Performance minor. Ms. Gabby brings an array of skills to the office. Ms. Gabby also loves to perform with her Folkorico Aztian de CSUN troupe. This is Ms. Gabby’s first, fabulous year assisting in the office at Ciara Dance and she is excited and happy to join the staff and bring her best to the Ciara community.
Sarah Murphree – Administrative Assistant
Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Ms. Sarah graduated Summa cum Laude from The University of Tennessee with a journalism degree and a double minor in theatre and film. She used her skills as a journalist and dove into the non-profit world. Sarah worked as an administrative assistant, advisor and team leader for a handful of non-profits overseas before she made the move to Los Angeles. In her free time, she co-led a dance program called “Girls Night Out” where teenagers with disabilities gathered together each week to dance for fitness and fun in a supportive community. She started dancing when she was twelve with a focus on modern and African dance. In her free time, she enjoys taking dance classes and is an active yogi. This is her first, fantastic year at Ciara Dance. She is thrilled to be on staff and use her skills to help serve the Ciara dance community.
Kiera Hansen – Ballet, Pointe, Variations
Born in Hayward, California, Ms. Kiera received her training from Victoria Turner. She studied and performed with the Berkeley Conservatory Ballet. At 18, she was offered a full scholarship to the Milwaukee Ballet summer workshop, which eventually led to her professional career with the company. Ms. Kiera also danced with the Boitsov Classical Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago and finished her career with the Nevada Ballet Theatre, dancing some of her favorite roles including “The Sugar Plum Fairy” from the Nutcracker, “Kitri” in Don Quixote and “Gretel” in Hansel and Gretel. While pursuring her professional career she also taught ballet to all levels. She was a guest teacher/choreographer for the California Ballet Academy in Martinez, CA. (1997-1999). Miss Kiera has been living in Los Angeles for the last 15 years where she has taught extensively over this time. Her goal is to inspire students, share the joy of ballet, and build a strong discipline that will benefit them in all areas of life. This is Ms. Kiera sixth, splendid year teaching at CIARA DANCE.
Ricky Cushing – Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical
Mr. Ricky is an aspiring dancer, choreographer and teacher. He began his dance training at the age of 9 in Boston, MA. Over the past many years, he has been intensely studying Tap, Jazz, Jazz Funk, Lyrical, Contemporary, Ballet, Modern and Hip-Hop. Mr. Ricky has received several awards such as the “Future Star Award” presented by Dance Spirit Magazine and “Young Choreographer of The Year” at the American Dance Awards. Ricky studied dance arts and choreography at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. After training at Marymount, Mr. Ricky decided the Los Angeles dance industry would be the best fit for his work. He choreographed for singer/songwriter, Kate Nash whose music has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance. He looks forward to continuing his training, while sharing his love and knowledge of dance with his students. This is Mr. Ricky’s sixth, stunning year teaching at CIARA DANCE.
Lindsey Lorenz – Tap
Born in Louisiana, Ms. Lindsey moved to Los Angeles 2001. She joined the Performing Arts Center Apprentice where she trained for 3 years. Lindsey has since performed in several shows, GI events, American Choreography Awards, and Choreographer’s Carnivals. She was dance captain for the Mark Goodman Tap Company and performed in “Seal With A Kiss” and “Red.” She also assisted Jerry Evans on Disney’s “Block Party” and the Hollywood Bowl‘s “Roaring 20‘s.” A consummate tapper, this is Ms. Lindsey’s sixth, fabulous year teaching at CIARA DANCE.
Jacquelyn Shaw – Ballet, Aerial Arts
Ms. Jacquelyn has been dancing since she was 21 months old. At the age of 4, she started tap dancing competitively and then started competing in Jazz shortly after. In Middle School she started to focus more on ballet. Ms. Jacquelyn attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where she studied modern, ballet, pas de deux and Philippine dancing. In college, she took variations and pas de deux classes. During that time she was also a member of Media City Ballet and then later San Pedro City Ballet. In both companies she performed several different ballets such as Nutcracker, Don Quixote and Swan Lake, in several different roles. Throughout High school and College she performed with different burlesque/cabaret groups and Hip Hop group in Los Angeles. She began training in Aerial and Circus arts and has been working with Dream World Cirque. She has trained, taught, and performed Tissue, Lyra/hoop, Hammock, Static Trapeze, Stilt Walking, Pole, Trampoline, and Cyr Wheel. She has also performed on stage during live performances of famous performers like Macy Gray and Snoop Dogg. This is Ms. Jacquelyn’s sixth, stunning year teaching at Ciara Dance.
Emmy Frevele – Tumbling, Jazz, Ballet
Ms. Emmy is a professional dancer and choreographer, an artist whose passion is to inspire others by means of performance art. She has worked alongside some incredible artists, including Kenny Ortega, Nappytabs, Joel & Ethan Coen, Marguerite Derricks, and Daniel “Cloud” Campos, amongst others. She can be seen on the hit ABC Series “Bunheads,” in music videos for Olly Murs, LMFAO, Bella Thorne, and more. She can be seen in commercials for Best Buy and American Apparel. This is Ms. Emmy’s third, spectacular year teaching at Ciara Dance.
Kathy Conaway – Tap, Ballet, Jazz
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Ms. Kathy began studying ballet at the age of five. She trained under many teachers including such luminaries as Michele Gaines and veteran teacher, Sallie Whalen. Ms. Kathy owned her own dance studio during the 80’s. She was the dance specialist at several private schools for many years, where she taught several genres of dance. Her students have gone on to performing with touring Broadway shows, and starring roles in Disney series. In 1995 a group of her students performed for President Ronald Reagan. She loves to expose her students to the gift of dance. This is Ms. Kathy’s second, stunning year teaching at Ciara Dance.
Leizel Marie – Hip Hop, Jazz-Funk, Jazz
Born and raised in Los Angeles Ms. Liz has always had the heart and love of dance since she was three years old. With extensive training at Art of the Dance Academy in ballet, tap, and jazz, she fell in love with the culture of hip hop while pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology Dance at Cal State Northridge, which began her teaching and choreography career. She choreographed for the Los Angeles WNBA Sparks, Anime Impulse, Carnival Choreographers Ball, Club Jete, World of Dance, & Urban Street Jam, dancer for Universal Studios Hollywood, toured with Antics Dance Company across the world, taught at Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, Orange County, Studio School, Cal State Northridge, Zulu, and Boogie Zone. She continues to grow as a dancer, director, and choreographer through teaching her students and directing her company Project LaVaude. She has worked with aspiring music artists such as Chocoquibtown (Latin Award Winner), American Idol Jessica Sanchez, Chris GoLightly, growing music artist Derek “DHX” Jordan, Alexa Friedman and Lanita Smith. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Art in Education and hopes to touch and inspire others with her voice through dance and theatre. This is Ms. Liz’s first, phenomenal year teaching at Ciara Dance.
Shannon Grayson – Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Conditioning
Ms. Shannon is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She began her professional dance training at Howard University, where she received a BFA in Dance and also summer scholarships to Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre. She continued her training with scholarships to Jacob’s Pillow Jazz/Musical Theatre Program, Jacob’s Pillow Choreographers Lab, and Nathan Trice Summer Dance Intensive. She relocated to Chicago as a Lou Conte Dance Studio (LCDS) scholarship student, under the direction of Claire Bataille, and performed with Muntu Dance Theatre and Winifred Haun & Dancers. Her Chicago training experience furthered her development artistically as a dancer, dance educator, teacher, and choreographer, leading to a full time teaching position for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) with the LCDS, HSDC Youth Dance Program, and HSDC Education & Community Programs. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago and Dominican 012University, River Forest, IL. Ms. Shannon is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and continues to train and teach extensively in Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Ballet, and Conditioning classes. This is Ms. Shannon’s first, fantastic year teaching at Ciara Dance.
Ayaka Green – Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Tap
Originally from Sacramento, Ms. Ayaka began training in dance at the age of nine. Her extensive dance training includes ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical, and contemporary. Once accepted into California State University, Northridge, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her college career, focusing on Psychology and Kinesiology. Her goal is to earn a PhD and become an Art Therapist. Along with her studies, she is currently volunteering for multiple programs and also working full-time at a restaurant. Her life in LA has brought her many opportunities to dance and perform: at CSUN, she was a part of Dialogues in Dance and Kinesis; community events and gigs, which included Los Angeles WNBA Sparks, Carnival Choreographers Ball, Anime Impulse, and World of Dance; and even had a chance to go on tour across the United States. She also met her mentor, Ms. Leizel Marie, which opened many doors for her in the dance industry. Ms. Ayaka’s main passion and purpose in life is to inspire, aid, and touch people’s hearts – especially through dance. This is Ms. Ayaka’s first, amazing year teaching at Ciara Dance.
Bella Boo – Studio Mascot and Nutcracker performer
Bella Boo was born in the San Fernando Valley in 2009. Her path crossed Ms. Cindy’s when they met at a dog rescue, and found one another. She can often be seen sitting in a chair at the front desk or curled up in her bed in the office. She loves being on stage and has found her most defining role as the “Nutcracker Dog”. Ms. Bella might bark on occasion, but she is a gentle dog at heart. She loves watching dance class and being the studio mascot. This is Ms. Bella Boo’s eighth, tail-wagging year as Ciara Dance Studio’s Dancing Dog.