Teachers

Meet Our Teachers

Our instructors are highly qualified, experienced and passionate, providing a high level of technical instruction and fun to all ages and abilities. We not only teach technique, poise, rhythm, and grace, we also teach dedication, cooperation, team work, and discipline. With over 240 combined years of teaching, it is our goal to provide a dance environment for our dancers to gain the greatest combination of dance and life training. We are proud to announce all PDC instructors are CPR and First Aid Certified.

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Mrs. Brianna Leake

Mrs. Brianna is the owner and director of Premiere Dance Center. She purchased Fusion Dance Company in 2009, creating Premiere, a family friendly facility where she trains not only great dancers, but great people. She has been an instructor and choreographer for over 26 years. Mrs. Brianna initiated her professional dance career in Los Angeles, California touring with Spanish children’s entertainer La Chilidrina throughout California, Legends of Las Vegas in China and Tokyo’s Wizards at Ikspiria in Japan, along with performing in numerous show regionally. Mrs. Brianna began to focus primarily on her love for teaching and choreographing in 2000. Her students and choreography have received several awards both regionally and nationally, including being featured in Dance Teacher Magazine’s “Top 50 Studios on the Move.” Her students have received multiple scholarships and awards and have gone on to work as professional dancers in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Mrs. Brianna strives to educate and build confident dancers so they may have many opportunities to perform and love what they do!

Brianna 2019

Mrs. Cinnamon Balkman

Cinnamon Balkman is a magna cum laude graduate of Sam Houston State University, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in dance with a minor in psychology. While attending college she performed nationwide with Spectrum Dance, Raven Dance Project and the Cindy Carpenter Dance Company. She was also a member of Chi Tau Epsilon dance honor society, Who’s Who among American college students and received several other academic awards.

Upon graduation, Cinnamon made her home in Austin where she has performed with Kinesis Dance Theatre, Mosaic Dance Body, Wicked Cricket Dance and several independent choreographers in the area. Cinnamon has taught and choreographed ballet,tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern and creative movement for several studios, schools, drill teams and dance companies for over 27 years now. Mrs Balkman also enjoys judging for Showbiz/Primetime dance competitions, teaching creative movement at Shepard of the Hills Presbyterian preschool and is an active member of the Cecchetti Council of America. Most recently, Cinnamon was asked to share her knowledge of dance education with other instructors, as a presenter for both the Round Rock ISD dance program and the Texas Dance Educators Association in Houston.

Cinnamon has been blessed to share her love for dance with others and has been honored to be on staff with Premiere Dance Center since its opening in 2009.

Cinnamon 2019

Mrs. Jamie Gregoire

Mrs. Jamie grew up in Austin dancing at Ballet Austin Academy and was fortunate to learn under the direction of choreographers and teachers such as Lambros Lambrou, Stephen Mills, and Michelle Martin. During her time at Ballet Austin, Jamie performed yearly in productions of The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Four Last Songs, Peter and the Wolf, and original choreography works. She was also selected to dance with The Royal Ballet of London during their US tour. Jamie’s love of teaching began at Ballet Austin when she assisted with children’s classes.

In addition to ballet, Jamie broadened her dance experience to include competitive dancing in high school and was selected to be part of an elite dance group. While on the team, she competed in and won awards for duet and group dances at various competitions. During this time, she also began teaching dance. Jamie continued her studies in dance during college and returned to teaching once moving back to Austin.

Jamie has enjoyed teaching for more than 17 years, and continues to share her passion for dance with children of all ages.

Jamie 2019

Ms. Sara Arnold

Sara began dancing at the age of 3 in Rochester, Michigan. Dancing competitively since kindergarten, Sara has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, and Cecchetti. She moved to Austin in 2004 and still calls it home today. While her passion for dance began in pre-school, her love of choreography began in 8th grade when she founded the Lake Travis Middle School Jazz Company. Sara was a member of the Lake Travis High School Cavalettes, where she served as an officer for two years and captain her senior year. Upon graduation, she attended The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Elementary Education. Throughout her tenure at UT, she served as both co-captain and captain of The Texas Pom Squad. She has choreographed for many dance and drill teams across the state of Texas. Sara is currently a first grade teacher in Lake Travis ISD and is thrilled to share her love of dance with all the students at Premiere Dance Center.

Sara 2019

Ms. Cinda McCullars

Cinda began her passion for dance watching her mom teach at Joel’s House of Dance in Little Rock, Arkansas. She started dancing at the age of 3, and studied ballet, jazz, pointe, modern, and tap (her favorite!) for 16 years under the mentorship of Joel Ruminer. Her senior year of highschool she was presented the prestigious Outstanding Senior Dancer Award. After graduating she was honored to travel with the nationally known Joel Ruminer’s Dance Camps as a Dance Camp Kid where she had the opportunity to train under many top masters such as Al Gilbert, Jimmy Peters, Mary Lou Barnes, Marcus Alford, and many others. Cinda started teaching dance in high school and continued through college teaching at several studios around Arkansas. In 2002 she moved to Austin, and in 2005 had twins Eyan and Chloe. After being “dance mom” for a few years she got the itch to teach dance again, and now is thrilled to join the Premiere Dance Center family along with her daughter Chloe!

Cinda 2019

Ms. Eva Gonzales

Eva Gonzalez is originally from Monterrey, Mexico. With many years of training in numerous dance styles, she pursued a BFA in dance at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). She has also completed her Mat and Reformer Pilates training through Balanced Body, and is currently earning her Apparatus training hoping to become a comprehensive Instructor within the next year. While working on getting her certification in Pilates, she has found ways to enhance her way of teaching dance technique. Her ambitions to help the community led her to become Vice President (2017-18) and Social Chair (2018-19) of Chi Tau Epsilon, the dance honor society at SHSU. Gonzalez has performed in Mind the Gap and Barnstorm at The MATCH Theatre in Houston, the ACDA Southern Conference, and multiple times in Danscape at the Hobby Center in Houston. She has been a dance teacher for seven years and a choreographer for five years, having her choreography win judges awards, teacher awards, and high point awards in Dance Showcase USA, Star Systems, Stage One, Legacy, VIP, Kids Artistic Revenue (KAR) and 8 Talent dance competitions. She enjoys sharing her love of dance and hopes to inspire and challenge her students while helping them reach their goals!

Eva 2019

Mrs. Anna Freemyer

Anna grew up training and performing with Incarnate Word Ballet School, Texas Ballet Concerto and Ballet San Antonio.  She continued her studies as a Presidentially endowed scholarship student at UT Austin Theatre and Dance dept.  After graduating with her BFA in Dance she pursued teaching full time.  During her 25+ years of teaching she has enjoyed directing and choreographing for competitive dance teams as well as creating a youth ballet performance group. She is honored to teach at Premiere!

Anna Freemyer

Mrs. Jennifer Hagen

Jennifer Hagen began dancing at 3 years old, training at various Studios in the New Braunfels and San Antonio area. While in High School she was a member of the Canyon High School Aristocats, and served as both Major, and Colonel. After High School she attended Sam Houston State University on Scholarship to be a part of the Ballet Company. After a year she decided she missed the Drill team life and transferred to Kilgore College, where she was honored to be a part of the “World Famous” Kilgore College Rangerettes.  As a Rangerette she performed at several Bowl Games, on a Carnival cruise ship and at the inauguration of President George W. Bush in Washington DC.
 

After completing two unforgettable years at Kilgore, Jennifer attended and graduated Cum Laude from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education. It was at this time that her love for teaching flourished as she taught at several dance studios in the New Braunfels and Kyle area. She was also a part of Tri Costal Ballet Theater and was a guest instructor for their summer intensive in 2009.

After college Jennifer taught at South Garland High School for two years, where she was Director of the Dixie Darlings. She then became the Director of the John Paul II High School Cardinal Belles. During her three years in the Dallas area she was chosen to choreograph and judge for many different schools, as well as being selected as a performer for the XLV Super Bowl Half Time show. Jennifer then returned to Austin to serve as the Assistant Director to the James Bowie High School Silver Stars.

Having been a Drill team director for 7 years, Jennifer then transitioned to studio teaching and was overjoyed to begin teaching at Premiere Dance Center, while also getting her yoga teaching certification. She took a few years off to have two beautiful baby girls, but now she is ecstatic to be back at Premiere doing what she loves!

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Mr. Trevor Parmentier

Trevor Parmentier is a Southern California native. While living in California, Trevor worked and performed with several dance organizations and companies along the Pacific Coast line. Now living in Austin Texas, Trevor shares his passion for life and dance by teaching all around the United States. He has been on staff with Dupree Dance and Dance Revolution touring the country on the convention circuit.  

In 2010, Trevor was a member of ILLovation crew who placed 1st overall at the World of Dance competition in 2010. In 2013, he starred as lead actor and dancer in Fryars music video “Cool Like Me”. 

He has taught in over 20 states around America, and continues to expand outside of the country, including Guatemala City, Guatemala. 

Whether it is teaching at conventions, or teaching a small class for kids after school, Trevor always has the same goal in mind, and that is to spread a positive light and influence in the dance industry where it is typically hard to find. His goal is to not only teach students how to move, but to love dance and to let it be a part of who they are.

 

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Ms. Hayes Harkins

Hayes began her dance career in 2003 when she was 3 years old at Premiere’s predecessor, Fusion Dance Company in Austin as one of Miss Cinnamon’s students. She continued her dance training at Dana’s Studio of Dance in Keller, Texas, becoming a founding member of MOVZ Dance Company under the direction of Bri and Nick Zbrowski. She trained in Paula Morgan Technique along with styles of dance including tap, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, and modern. Hayes was the recipient of MOVZ Dance Company’s Director’s Dancer of the Year Award in 2013. 

Hayes was a member, line officer, and captain of the national and international award winning Timber Creek High School Sky Dancers. Following graduation, Hayes began attending The University of Texas at Austin and was honored to become a member of The Texas Pom Squad. As a Texas Pom she cheered for crowds of up to 100,000 fans in Darrell K Memorial Stadium and at Big 12 men’s and women's basketball games.

Hayes has performed professionally in the chorus of Toderick Hall’s stage production, Oz. She was a dancer and actress at the Gaylord Texan in the production of their Summerfest Wild West Show. Most recently, Hayes shared the stage with Third Eye Blind at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, back up dancing in front of thousands of people.

She is currently studying youth and community education at The University of Texas in Austin. In addition to her private training, Hayes has studied dance through her high school arts and in college dance courses in several styles.

Hayes is a fourth year staff member at Crowd Pleasers Dance where she travels within Texas and the surrounding states providing camps, training, choreography, leadership, and competition for Junior High and High School Drill and Pom Teams. Hayes is thrilled to come back home to Austin and be part of the dance community where her love of dance began.

 

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Mrs. Caitlin Kinney Foley

Caitlin Kinney Foley got her start through acrobatic dance training at C & C dance studio in Maryland, then began to seriously study ballet at Baltimore School for the Arts and The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory. Caitlin joined the Charlotte Ballet upon graduation and performed many notable ballets including La Bayadere, Paquita, Balanchine’s Rubies, Walpurgisnacht, and Stravinsky Violin Concerto, as well as contemporary works by Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, and Dwight Rhoden.

She jump-started her film career as the featured ballerina in Step Up and became a top 12 finalist on season five of So You Think You Can Dance. Caitlin’s film and television credits include America’s Got Talent, The Academy Awards, Hit the Floor, No One Lives, Day 665, Zola Jumped In, Stash House, The Fresh Beat Band, and Parental Guidance. Caitlin has starred in commercials for Diet Coke, Progressive, Heineken, LaFuma, and Semir. She has danced and choreographed for many artists such as Paula Abdul, Kanye West, Calvin Harris, Death Cab for Cutie, Kinney and David Archuletta. She is currently on faculty with Hollywood Vibe Dance Convention as their ballet instructor and is a Co founder of the global online dance education platform, CLI Studios.

Her passion is teaching, “Every brain and body is different, it is our job as teachers to give students the tools to most efficiently use their individual instruments.”.

 

Caitlin Foley-Kinney

Mr. Clay Eaves

Clay grew up in Houston, Texas and competed gymnastics all the way through level 10.  Since then he has coached Ninja, Preschool Gymnastics, Tumbling, Cheer, and Competitive Gymnastics.  He spends his free time in nature, playing with his dog, and eating food.  Clay has a strong love for acrobatics, and is excited to bring that passion to Premiere Dance Center!

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Ms. Ellen Thomas

Ellen Thomas developed a passion for dancing at a very young age where she was a member of Barbara Scott Dance Company, where she studied Ballet, Tap, and Jazz.  Ellen continued her dance education throughout high school and graduated from Sam Houston State University where she received her BA in Dance with a minor in Spanish.  She was a 2 year member of Chi Tau Epsilon dance honor society.  While attending college, she was a guest artist with Aimed Dance (formally known as Rednerus Feil dance company), Kista Tucker Dance Co, Spectrum Dance, Max Zanadux, and Hilary Brian. 

After graduating, Ellen moved to Austin where she performed with Borealis Dance Co, Dragoween, and studied under the direction of Danny Herman and Rocker Verastique.  While studying under Danny and Rocker, she directed musical theatre workshops and was assistant to producer in multiple musicals.  

Ellen has 15 years of teaching experience, where she specializes in all levels and styles of dance training.  She worked with Synergy Dance Company for 11 years, where she developed a love and passion for students of all ages.  She continues to educate herself by taking classes.  Ellen is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique and is the current resident choreographer for Bastrop Opera House! 

Ellen is excited to be part of the Premiere Dance Center team and can't wait to share her love of dance with her students!

Mrs. Madison Scoggin

Madison Scoggin, a Texas native, started dancing at the age of two.  Her youth and high school years were spent touring the competition and convention circuits, including summer intensive programs such as ABT and Hubbard Street Dance Company.  She was also Hollywood Vibe's Dancer of The Year and crowned Miss Encore.  Madison also toured with iHollywood and Hollywood Vibe as part of their crew and choreographer's assistant.  She’s studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where she got her Bachelors in Fine Arts at the age of 20.  You can find her on TV shows such as The Late Night Show With James Corden, This Is Us, So You Think You Can Dance and American Horror Story.  As well as an ESPN/AT&T commercial and The Greatest Showman Live Commercial.  She is thrilled to be teaching dance at Premiere.
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Mrs. Claire Wilcox

Claire has loved dance and musical theatre since the young age of six, when she made her debut as a puppy in a production of 101 Dalmatians. Since then she has performed in countless plays and musicals, with her favorite being A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theatre. Throughout middle and high school, she trained intensively in dance, singing, and acting as a part of ZACH Theatre’s education department in their Acting Conservatory and Pre-Professional company, as well as various dance studios. She is a student at Texas State University working towards her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre. Claire is an extremely passionate artist and is firm in her belief that she has the power to inspire others and make change through her art. She loves passing on her love, joy, and passion for dance to others, and is incredibly excited and grateful to be a part of the Premiere Team!
 
Claire 2019

Mrs. Jessica Benesch

Jessica Benesch is an international master teacher and adjudicator, teacher trainer, choreographer, and business consultant with 25+ years’ experience in the dance industry.  Hailing from Los Angeles, Jessica trained under Master Teacher Gregg Russell. After college, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to become a professional dance teacher, choreographer, and studio director where she repeatedly led teams to national titles.  Jessica’s students have gone on to study at prestigious university dance programs (including Fordham/Ailey, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, UCLA, USC, Chapman), as well as perform in TV and movies (Glee, SYTYCD, Dancing With The Stars, Academy Awards, MTV’s VMAs, Hairspray, national commercials), professional companies (Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet San Jose, Ate9 Dance, cloude.nyc, SoulEscape), and pro teams (San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Clippers, San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors). As a dance teacher trainer and dance business consultant, Jessica integrates best practices from the fields of dance pedagogy, education, psychology, child development, and business strategy and operations to support dance professionals in their career paths. Jessica is also the Assistant Director at Tap Into The Network, where she travels the U.S. sharing her passion for tap dancing with the next generation.

Dance School and Classes. Dripping Springs, TX

Ms. Taylor Almanza

Taylor Almanza’s passion for dance came early—she started dancing when she was 2 at Jo Ann Neal Dance Studio in San Antonio, Texas (now known as Dance Infinity SA). At first, dance was an outlet for her energetic and creative personality. Upon entering high school, she realized how much she loved dancing and decided to pursue her dance career more seriously. She became the youngest member of the Warren HS Majestics Varsity Dance Team for three years, two as an officer and captain! In her time as a Majestics, she earned several group and individual awards, including 5th place at state and 1st at regionals for her senior year self-choreographed solo. High school is also where she began to venture into other areas of dance, including tumbling and acrobatics. She trained at Powerhouse Gymnastics before taking it upon herself to self-train as a result of her increasingly busy schedule. Taylor has been teaching dance for about three years now and is currently studying Psychology and Sociology at UT Austin. When she entered college, she wanted to challenge herself with something new and decided to become member of the award-winning Texas Gymnastics team. Though she missed out on competing at NAIGC (nationals) due to several injuries, she was on track to compete as a level 8 in floor (her favorite), bars, and beam. She has several dance achievements, such as being a member of the acclaimed Showmakers of America staff, being on Spurs Teen Elite, a junior NBA team, performing in South by Southwest for Lizzo, and choreographing competitive and recreational routines for all genres and all ages from San Antonio to Austin. Working with others and dance are two of her greatest passions—she aims to utilize these passions and make a positive impact on everyone, especially dancers!

 

 

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