MEREDITH LEE (OWNER/INSTRUCTOR) – Meredith’s started performing at age 5 and by the following year she had been featured in the international television special “A Family Christmas.” Two summers later she played the role of Sarah in the Canadian film Sarah and Alex, and never looked back. Meredith received much of her training from Patrick Franz (Ballet), Margueritte Derricks (Jazz), Gregg Russell (Tap) and Dee Caspary and Ryan Heffington (Contemporary). She’s performed along side Bob McGrath in Sesame Street Live, starred in a segment on Unsolved Mysteries, sung the National anthem at a Clippers game, and danced principal roles in productions of The Snow Queen, Mongrels, The Nutcracker and several LA Carnivals (Razberry Jam) to name a few. Her credits also include directing, staging and choreographing Los Angeles productions of Annie Jr., The Brothers Grimm: Out of Order, Grease, West Side Story and many others.
Meredith started teaching in 1995 and within a few years was instructing dozens of weekly classes and choreographing for several award-winning competition teams. She has since energetically taught technique and appreciation to thousands of students and her competition choreography has been nationally recognized. In 2002, Meredith opened Got Rhythm in Thousand Oaks and is grateful for the opportunity to relocate to Ventura in 2013. Meredith emphasizes a strong technical foundation, but also believes that knowledge of history and vocabulary, understanding of musicality and appreciation for the discipline itself are equally as important as just learning steps.
TYLER CRITELLI (TAP/HIP HOP) – The relationship Tyler has with dance and music began before he was even born. His mom was a choreographer and studio owner, and taught while she was pregnant with Tyler until she no longer could. He grew up dancing in her studios, and by 12 years old, he was teaching, competing and even choreographing. While attending college, Tyler was approached by the director of the dance department of Santa Clara University and he began teaching at her studios as a part time job. During that time he was majoring in music, and once he realized that for him dance is the human embodiment of the music, the physical, emotional, and musically specific aspects became an integral part of his creative process. It was then that Tyler also realized that he had been treating tap solely as a dance style instead of a musical instrument, and he shifted his perspective from “tap dancing” to “playing the tap shoes.”
Laura Canon-Mensendiek started her dance training at the age of 32. She’s studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and contemporary. In addition to performing for the past 20 years, Laura has 14 years of experience choreographing for local productions including the Oceanview Pavilion’s & Ojai Art Center’s rendition of “A Christmas Carol” and several Ventura College dance concerts. Since 2011, she has performed in Ventura College dance concerts and was associate producer for the Fall 2013 production and assistant director for the Fall 2015 concert. When she is not dancing, Laura teaches 7th grade honors math at Cabrillo Middle School in Ventura.
PAACH ANDRADE (HIP HOP) Paach Andrade is a 24 year old choreographer and freestyler. For the past seven years, he has gained invaluable performance experience participating in numerous competitions and events including Bodyrock International and World Of Dance. Throughout his dance career, Paach has been a member of several teams, namely Academy of Villains, BYA, The Faction, Locals Only Dance Company and Channel Islands High School.
EBONI MORROW PAYNE (GUEST INSTRUCTOR) – Eboni became a serious student of classical ballet while training under Homer Bryant, Dance Theater of Harlem and Larry Long at The Ruth Page Center of the Arts. She performed as a guest principal, soloist and corps member with Ballet Legere for six years and as a corps de ballet member of Bryant Ballet. She attended the prestigious Ventura School of the Arts where she trained under David Keener, Petrus Bosman, and Keith Lee, former Alvin Ailey Principal dancer. Eboni graduated with honors with a B.F.A. in Dance from Wright University. During college she was a full time company member of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II. In 2000, Eboni was awarded a scholarship to the The Ailey School and was later selected to perform with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during their City Center Season as well as in The Ailey Student Showcase Group. Eboni has danced for Walt Disney World Entertainment in the National Broadway tour of The Lion King. She is currently a member of Aloft Dancetheater.
BYRON BUCAO (GUEST INSTRUCTOR) – Byron started dancing in an all – male hip hop group called Full Effect in 2000 then later became a part of the National Title Winning Channel Islands High School All-Male Dance Team. Byron then spent two years dancing and choreographing competitively for Cal State Long Beach Pac Modern. He also danced with Non-Stop and Mavyn Dance Company. Byron was a private instructor for the children of Metta World Peace formerly known as Ron Artest, and has choreographed for numerous high school and college dance teams, studios and crews. He is eager to help better others as well as himself to become a stronger person and dancer. Currently Byron runs a 160-member dance company in Oxnard called The Alias, a program he created 12 years ago. The Alias has won multiple championship titles all over California as well as appeared on America’s Got Talent, Dancing With The Stars and Chris Brown’s Yeah 3x music video.