Faculty and Staff
Stephanie Ochoa began her dance education at eight years old, studying Ballet and Jazz with Paula Magee of Silverton Ballet & Performing Arts Co. While earning her B.A. degree at Western Oregon University, she extensively studied Tap, Hip-Hop, African, and Modern dance.
Stephanie began teaching in 2001, instructing young children in Ballet and Jazz at the Silverton Ballet, and in 2004 she taught Vagonava Style Ballet at Corvallis Academy of Ballet.
In September, 2005 she realized her dream of sharing Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Hip-Hop with the wonderful students of the West Valley, opening Dallas Ballet & Academy of Dance.
Dallas Ballet & Academy of Dance celebrates 15 years in Dallas this Fall, so thank you West Valley. Come and join us for spirited instruction, serious training, fun classes and a lifetime of learning. Enjoy participating in full length professional level performances in shows like Cinderella; A Fairy Tale in Tap, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and our annual Nutcracker.
Come Dance with Us!
Do you folks know about Miss Veronica? She is Magic. Just her presence instills calm and devotion amongst our little students. We are so grateful to work with her!
Veronica Williams has four children, three of whom are old enough to take class at the studio and one tiny tot who is rarin’ to join next year when she’s three. They are: Ariannah, a Ballet lll, Tap lll, and Hip Hop ll Student. Bayden, a Tap ll Student. Xander a Tap/Jazz l
Student, and baby Briella who can't wait to start Creative Movement next fall!
Miss Veronica has taught for 12 years at Dallas Ballet, as both a substitute and a regularly scheduled teacher. She is a Faculty Member, the Costume Mistress, the Backstage Manager, and provides office support.
Miss Veronica describes herself as “A Domestic Engineer by day and a Dance Teacher by night.”
She currently teaches Tap and Creative Movement.
When asked her Favorite part of The Nutcracker, Miss Veronica said “The whole thing! Ours is my favorite as it changes and evolves every year. There is always something new to see.” See? I told you she was awesome.
Ok folks, let’s talk about my baby. No, not Rubí, Elizabeth Sutton.
Ok, she’s not my baby. She is the amazing daughter of Catherine and Tony Sutton, and they share her with me.
Lizzie took her first dance classes the very first year our program started, and she has never left. She’s never missed a show, never missed a Picture Day, never missed an opportunity to learn all she could. Lizzie was a natural student, and it was a no-brainer to build our teacher training program on her process. Now your children get to experience a teacher who has only ever been trained by our program- Lizzie is all method.
Miss Lizzie is our newest Faculty Member, and she teaches Creative Movement and Ballet Classes. In The Nutcracker she will perform as a guest artist in residence as a Polichinelle and a cast member in the Exhibition Dances. She also fulfills additional roles as understudy support and stage demonstrator.
Lizzie is a full time at Western Oregon perusing a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Dance.
When asked for her Favorite part in our Nutcracker she said: “watching the Advanced Hip Hop and Advanced Tap!”
Next up, my girl Spencer Schrock.
I met Spencer when she was a sophomore at Dallas High School. She was an extremely talented dancer from another studio who was looking for new connections in the dance community. What began as a teacher-student relationship has blossomed over the last 10 years into a friendship with a grown up woman who pushes me, respects me, and helps me always. I am so grateful.
Spencer is one of our first milestones too- she’s the first student to graduate, start a family, and then bring the new generation back to take classes. Nowadays Miss Spencer describes herself as “Refusing to leave, even while working stage left and/or sporting a PICC line.”
Spencer co-teaches some of our Ballet and Hip Hop classes with Miss Stephanie, and functions as one of our Picture Day Boss Ladies. In addition to all of this, Spencer has danced as a guest artist in many of our past Nutcracker performances.
Previously a full time 911 Dispatcher for five years, Spencer is now a stay at home mom of two children, which she says is way harder. She has retained the call-taker “it’s not optional” voice, so she comes in VERY handy when I need a bulldog to stand in the gap for me and make sure things get handled.
When asked about her Favorite part of The Nutcracker Spencer said “The way the music gets me all giddy every. single. year. Tchaikovsky, you magnificent musical beast.” Because she is hilarious. Did I mention that? You don’t expect it when you’re looking at her beautiful young self, but she has a witty and ironic sense of humor that makes me guffaw on a regular basis. Here’s the proof- this is how she finished her interview:
(Unrelated - Ballet puns are so my spiritual gift. When we start our studio coffee shop, let’s feature a “Dirty Chai-kovsky.)
See? I told you.
This is Katelyn M. Ledford. She is a student at Western Oregon University, studying music. She is also Miss Veronica’s niece! Joining us this fall, Katelyn has been training under Miss Veronica to teach our Tap IV class!
Katelyn’s Favorite part of the "Nutcracker" is “that it is a completely new and educating experience. I'm learning a lot about the story and about dance itself.”
This is our newest Faculty Member, Jenesa Ross.
Miss Jenesa grew up in the Portland area, and came to Polk County as a college student to attend Western Oregon University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, emphasizing in Pre-med and Botany. She also holds an associates degree in Early Childhood Education. While at WOU, she studied Hip Hop, Modern and Ballet, and performed with The Triangle Alliance’s Drag Show.
Miss Jenesa has also spent 8 years in the child care and preschool environment, working with children of various ages. She still lives in Monmouth, and is married to her high school sweetheart. They had their first baby in April 2019, her name is Henley and she is a DOLL.
I was so grateful when Miss Jenesa reached out summer 2019 and offered to help in the studio- I took her on at once, and haven’t looked back. She is a valued member of our wolf pack and I can’t wait to see all the things our students learn from her! Our Hip Hop I, Hip Hop II and Hip Hop III classes will begin having her as their primary instructor starting Friday January 31st. We have been slowly making that transition, and I can’t wait to see the final phase come to fruition.
Michael Rentz, “Mr. Michael"or "Michael” to his students, has been dancing for more than 20 years, training in a range of styles including Tap, Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Classical Pas de deux. Michael grew up dancing at Hosanna Dance Studio in Eugene, training under such instructors as Jennifer Knight Dills, Katherine Cook, Nicole Elliot and Tiese Morgan. While dancing in Eugene, he was a part of The Hosanna Youth Performersand performed in a range of performances all over the Eugene area.
In September of 2012 Michael moved to Monmouth to persue a Bachelor of the Arts in Dance from Western Oregon University. While attending WOU, he has worked with guest artists Paula Weber and Brain Enos and has also had the opportunity to travel to The American College Dance Festival in both Cedar City, UT and Missoula, MT. He has also attended the Ballet Magnificat Summer Dance Intensive in Jackson, MS, where he worked under the instruction of Kathy Thibodeaux and Jiri Sebastian Voborsky.
In the fall of 2012 Michael began work at Dallas Ballet and Academy of Dance, where he currently teaches Hip Hop and Tap. He also performs for the studio in various male roles including The Knave of Hearts in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, and the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier in The Nutcracker. Michael has been teaching for over 10 years, teaching a wide range of ages from 2 years old to 40 years.
Miss Meredith has been dancing at Dallas Ballet and Academy of Dance since the age of 10, and she studies Ballet, Jazz and Partnering. She is also part of our Teacher Training Program, and assists in multiple Ballet classes, as well as Assistant Teaching within Ballet IV/V and Jazz III. She is a priceless partner in teaching, and I can’t overstate how much I rely on her.
Meredith has performed in Exhibition Dances, Snowflake Waltz, as Mother Ginger with her Polichinelles, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and as Arabian within The Nutcracker.
When asked about her favorite part of Nutcracker, Mere said, “...the magic and joy that comes with it as well as all of the laughter we share and memories we create while preparing for the show.”
Whew. Mere, so glad you’re making memories instead of plotting my demise because I’ve changed Flower Waltz again. #ihaventchangeditatallthisweek #itsonlymonday #imteasingillleaveit #ihavefeelingsaboutmywaltzes
Let's meet Yvette Geissinger, our Costume Manager! She is also drafted to laugh at Miss Stephanie's jokes so that other people know she is being funny.
In real life, Vette is a homeschooling mother of three, and her daughter Kala played Marzipan in our 2019 production of The Nutcracker. While her family hasn't been with our studio for long, this is by no means her first foray into dancing and theatre! She has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to theatre tech, and we take full advantage of it at every opportunity!
This is our lovely Crystal Parsons...
This is my girl DesaRae. Or as like to call her (in my head) “Sweet D”.
DesaRae is a studio parent, her daughter Kenley Rurak is in Ballet III and will dance in both casts as a “Clara Friend” this year. Her family joined our community 6 years ago, as soon as Kenley was old enough to take class. Three years ago she was asked to take on a pivotal volunteer role, and now she coordinates students between the House (auditorium) and backstage throughout each and every one of our shows. We couldn’t do this without her!
“In Real Life” DesaRae is a book keeper and hairdresser, and she just recently accepted the job of “Financial Accounts Goddess” here at Dallas Ballet. I am so grateful!
When asked about the Nutcracker, DesaRae said, “Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the magic of The Nutcracker. The lights, the music, the story, and the Ballet have all been a part of my life since I was a very young girl. Watching our own children participate in the production of something so wonderful makes it even more enjoyable and magical for me.”
She’s a keeper folks.