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 licensed to teach grades PreK-6 and she is an experienced kindergarten classroom 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, Curriculum Coordinator & Teacher Support 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.
Master Teacher & Visiting Choreographer: 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.
Jeaninne has 7 years of experience working with children. She got a Bachelors in Interior Design and a Masters in Sustainability Design at UNT and minored in Dance because dance has always been her passion. She has 15 years of dance training and 7 years of gymnastics/tumbling training. She enjoys seeing the students express themselves through movement and seeing them work together to explore different ways of telling stories with their bodies. She was part of many faculty and student choreographed concerts in college and has performed at the American College Dance Festival. Her greatest accomplishment as a dancer has been to recognize how much dance can help a person express themselves. After stepping away from the dance world for 3 years to pursue graduate school, she realized just how therapeutic dance could be for an individual!
Kathryn Emily has been studying dance for 20 years in Texas. She has 15 years of experience teaching young children in the studio and in the classroom. She has been a kindergarten assistant and she helped to homeschool her four younger siblings. 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 is a natural teacher that comes from a family school teachers. Her classes focus on strong technique and a personal connection with her students. She is the company Ballet director and the Kindergarten Teacher at Dance Discovery’s Central 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.
Natalie, Musical Theatre Director
After earning a BFA in dance from Marymount Manhattan College in NYC, Natalie danced professionally at theme parks and on international cruise lines for many years. Before relocating to Austin, TX from Honolulu, HI, she was the director of Castle DanceForce and resident choreographer for the internationally recognized Castle Performing Arts Center. For 10 plus years, she directed theatre education programs and choreographed shows at Diamond Head Theatre, most recently, the Hawaii premiere of Matilda in 2019. In 2010, she won a Hawaii State Theatre Council award for choreography for her work on the Hawaii premiere of the musical, Zombie Prom. At The McCallum Fine Arts Academy in Austin, she is the Co-Director of The McCallum Youth Dance Company and Resident Choreographer for MAC Theatre. She has received multiple nominations for the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards, winning the award for best choreography in 2019 for 42nd Street.
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!
Carla has been dancing for over 20 years. She began the Pre-professional program at CBT at the age of 13 and studied under acclaimed choreographer Nell Hacker, Alisher Suboruv (former dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet academy and Moscow Ballet), Sally Hart (former dancer with Joffrey Ballet), and Julie Miles (founding member of the Washington Ballet). In her professional career she performed with the Manassas Ballet Company and in 2017-2018 was a member of the Au Deum II dance company. Carla has a B.S. with emphasis in Sports Medicine and Exercise Science and a Minor in Dance from Belhaven University. Carla has been teaching children for 15 years and she loves watching each student find their strengths as a dancer and grow in their love of the art form.
Ashleigh Milton is the Office Manager at the Central studio for Dance Discovery. Ashleigh holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology from Texas A&M University, Whoop! She has been with Dance Discovery for over 3 years and loves being part of this dance family. She has over 15 years experience working with kids in a personal and professional manner. Ashleigh danced growing up so she loves being back in the dance world seeing kids passionate about dance as well. She works with our families and schools on a personal level helping them find classes that fit best for their children and to ensure everyone has the best experience possible at Dance Discovery. Ashleigh is here to help you with whatever your need may be.