Owner, Artistic Director
Michelle Denny, B.A., early childhood education, is the founder of Dance Discovery, the Central Dance Theatre Performance Teams, and Avery Ranch Dance & Music. She has over 30 years of dance training and has been teaching dance & music for 24 years. She is a registered Music Together® Teacher and early childhood specialist. Michelle developed the STORYTIME DANCE™ curriculum used by instructors of young children to captivate the creative spirit of young dancers in order to develop dance technique. This foundation provides for strong, versatile dancers who not only develop precise dance technique, but also hold on to their ability to dance from the inside out. The aim is to preserve young dancers’ passion throughout their technical training. Many years of experience with competitive dance teams, balanced with her classical ballet training has also given Michelle the expertise needed to train students of all ages in precision jazz, tap, modern, musical theatre, ballet and pointe. Her balanced approach ensures that students graduate from Dance Discovery prepared to enter the professional dance community as both versatile dancers and original creative choreographers.
Cherami, Fine Arts Academy Director, has been dancing for 32 years. Cherami trained at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She went to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond on a full scholarship and received a B.F.A. in dance/choreography. She has danced professionally all over the country. The most recent professional companies she has danced for are Wideman/Davis Dance from New York, Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company & Circuitous Dance from Austin. Cherami has a very nurturing way with the children as she motivates them to work diligently to express their passion for dance. She has been working with children for the past 15 years as a dance instructor, nanny, and Montessori assistant. Cherami is the director of the Fine Arts Academy at Avery Ranch and the Petrichore Company at our Central Studio.
Karina Lucio is the General Manager of Dance Discovery studios overseeing the Central Studio, the Avery Ranch Studio, and all onsite school locations as well. Karina holds a Masters degree in Communications and has been with Dance Discovery for over 7 years. She works with our families and schools on a personal level coordinating everything from recitals to Dance Team vacations. For your convenience, Karina is available at both studios throughout the week.
Lisa was a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Doug Elkins Dance Company in New York and she currently dances professionally with her own Dance Company here in Austin. She has been teaching for 35 years and dancing professionally since 1978. Lisa holds a BA in Dance from Sam Houston State University. Lisa is truly inspiring to her students while maintaining a positive, genuine demeanor that children gravitate towards. She believes studying dance can provide a practical understanding, that most of what is deeply fulfilling in life takes commitment, effort, time, and regular practice. Lisa teaches all levels including our pre-professional Company at our Central Studio location and onsite schools.
Rene has a B.A. in Theatre from City University of New York, Hunter College. She is the Musical Theatre Director. Rene moved to Austin from New York City where she has worked as an actress for the past 18 years. She has performed all over the country and is proud to be back in her home state of Texas. Rene is thrilled to be sharing her experiences and knowledge of performing with the aspiring young musical theatre stars of tomorrow. Her mission is to provide a supportive, fun environment where young people can be creative, expressive and improve communication skills that enhance one’s life, as well as put on a rockin’ good show!
Kathryn Emily has been studying dance for 20 years in Texas. She has 15 years of experience working with youth as well. Kathryn Emily studied at Belhaven University, Jackson, MS for her BFA in Dance with an emphasis on Modern. She also danced professionally in Jackson, MS with Front Porch Dance Company. Kathryn Emily’s classes focus on strong technique and a personal connection with her students. She is the company Ballet director at Dance Discovery’s Central studio.
Jessica began dancing at a young age; her passion for movement inspires her to continuously seek opportunities to explore and develop as a dancer, teacher and artist. She received her BFA in Dance from the Ohio State University. She had the great pleasure of studying with and performing for faculty members Bebe Miller, Susan Hadley, Meghan Durham-Wall and MFA Alumni Abby Zbikowski. Jessica has attended the American Dance Festistival and studied dance for a semester at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taipei, Taiwan. Jessica is happy to back in her hometown and is thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful dance community in Austin. She teaches all levels at our Avery Ranch studio.
Stacey graduated from Oklahoma City University in 2009 with a degree in Dance Management. After graduating, Stacey went on to dance internationally with Royal Caribbean International on the Navigator of the Seas and The Vision of the Seas. Stacey also performed with the National Arena Football League with Oklahoma City Yard Dawgs. While in college, Stacey was a part of the American Spirit Dance Company, as well as director of the Spirit of Grace Liturgical Dance Company. Stacey has a strong passion for helping individuals meet their fitness goals, overcome injuries, and grow as dancers. Stacey has over 10 years experience in teaching Jazz, Hip-Hop, Ballet, Contemporary, and Tap. Along with teaching, she holds her Crossfit Level 1 certification as a Personal Trainer, and is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. Stacey is our Performance Company director at the Avery Ranch studio.
Laura West is the Avery Ranch Dance & Music Manager and Sales Manager for Dance Discovery. Laura has a Masters Degree in Teacher Leadership and over 20 years of management and business experience. As a trainer for over 15 years, she provides support for the dance instructors and parents to ensure everyone has the best experience possible. Her love for children that drove her to become a teacher now can be seen in her passion to cultivate the joy of dance for children of all ages. She’s happy to help you choose classes best for your children and assist you in navigating your child’s dance education.
Rachel has studied dance for 15 years including: ballet, jazz, tap, modern, Afro-Haitian and creative dance She attended San Francisco State University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and she also holds a Master’s degree in Geography from UT Austin. Rachel is the mother of three children, ages ten, seven, and four. For the past 11 years she has been a stay-at-home mom. Rachel enjoys sharing her love of dance with children and families. Rachel teaches Baby & Buddy Creative Dance Classes for infants and toddlers up to age 23 months and their caregivers.
Kaylee DeMetrotion holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Sam Houston State University. She has 15 years of training in various dance styles including aerial, ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, improvisation, pointe, modern, and Gaga. She has danced professionally in Dallas and New York City with the Positive Space dance company and in Houston with Nicolay Dance Works and NobleMotion Dance. While at SHSU she performed in many faculty and guest artist works including solo and ensemble, and received several awards and scholarships such as The Nancy GaertnerPerforming Arts Scholarship. She has also experienced dance on an international level by attending Dance Italia, a summer dance intensive, in Lucca, Italy.She dances professionally with Blue Lapis dance company here in Austin. She has 11 years of experience teaching children.
Morgan (Moe) Hollingsworth, Musical Theatre Director and dance instructor, has been a performing actress and vocalist for 18 years who has performed in over 20 productions in professional and community theatre as well as working backstage in over 15 productions. She has studied dance for over 10 years. She started acting and singing at 5 years old and studied Music Education at Temple College and Musical Theatre at West Texas A&M University. Moe has studied in multiple areas of performance: Musical Theatre, Opera, Jazz Improvisation, Choral Studies, Dance, Technical Theatre, etc. She has also worked for The Walt Disney Company on the Disney College Program, so magical is just one way to describe Moe! She has been teaching children for 7 years with the mission to mold young minds into hard-working, goal driven, and ambitious young adults in the working theatre and dance community.
Maya has 18 years of dance training. She danced competitively for twelve years as a member of Ashland‘s Affirming Arts Studio and West Brook Stars Drill Team. With 7 years of experience working with young children, Maya is a master when it comes to breaking down steps in a way that children can be successful! She is currently working towards a BSA in Mathematics with a minor in Religious Studies at the University of Texas. Maya loves sharing her passion for dance with her students and helping them to discover their creative potential!