Faith Gardner- Owner/Director
Faith Gardner is the owner/director/ and founder of Dance Elite All Stars and has been teaching dance for over nineteen years. She opened Dance Elite in July of 2004 as the sole teacher of over 25 classes per week in a small one room studio in Granite Bay. Since then Dance Elite has grown into the largest dance studio in Rocklin and is one of the fastest growing studios in the United States. Faith graduated from CSU Sacramento Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Dance under the direction of Dale Scholl, Linda Goodrich, and Nolan T’Sani. Faith has also trained extensively in all dance styles under Barbara Crockett (Ballet), Pepper Von (Hip Hop), Renette Zappetini (Jazz/Hip Hop), Keith Goings (Jazz/Lyrical), Carrie Pereira (Jazz), and April Cabrera-Co (Jazz/Hip Hop). She is a former member of the national champion CSU Sacramento Stinger Girlz Dance Team, the Sacramento Kings Fastbreak/Royal Court Dancers & former instructor for NCA Danz where she traveled across the United States teaching dance and judging regional and national competitions. Faith is excited to share her extensive knowledge of dance with the community and has assembled a team of talented instructors & professional desk staff to make the Dance Elite experience a positive and friendly one for all dancers and their families.
Anne Merino – Ballet Director:
Anne Merino was trained by the Danish ballerina, Marika Raju, and went on to dance for such notable companies as ABT (American Ballet Theatre) in New York, Stuttgart Ballet in Germany, the London Festival Ballet, London Contemporary Ballet (Principal) and the Fort Worth Ballet in Dallas/Fort Worth (Principal). Anne has been the Artistic Director of Ballet 21st Century in Los Angeles, The Arlington Ballet in Virginia, Humblestone Ballet in Washington D.C., and Ballet Los Angeles. She has earned critical praise for her choreography: Los Angeles Times – “Picture perfect choreography”, Arts International – “Merino’s ballets should be required viewing for all new choreographers”, Ballet News – “Merino’s The Chessboard works on every intricate level — literally daggers to the heart” and has won the Vanguard Award for Choreography. Ms. Merino has also worked with a variety of musical artists from Nigel Holton to David Bowie and Marilyn Manson. Anne has developed the ballet program at Dance Elite from the ground up and produces two 30 minute short ballets each season with dancers of all ages and abilities.
Jynece Avery first got inspired to dance after watching her two sisters perform in numerous competitions and performances. She has now been dancing for 8 years, and started dancing at Dance Elite in 2005. Since then she has been a part of Dance Elite’s company teams and has been trained in various styles such as jazz, lyrical, ballet, musical theater and hip hop. While attending Roseville High School she was involved in its dance program, Dancin Fete, all four years. Her junior and senior year she became a teacher assistant and assisted the beginning and intermediate level dance classes. Even after being graduated she still stays involved in Roseville High School’s dance program, by helping behind the scenes at both their shows and teaching routines to the dance classes and Roseville’s dance team. She has recently found a love for teaching and started assisting/teaching hip hop, ballet/tap and lyrical classes and hopes to further express and share her love for dance with students. She will be starting her junior year at CSU Sacramento this August.
Danielle has been dancing for nearly 12 years and has trained in various styles such as jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, and now specializes in contemporary/modern. During her childhood she was always surrounded by dance, given she has grown up into a dance family and is truly blessed to share such an amazing gift with her mother Jeannine. Danielle has studied in numerous studios in the Sacramento area such as O’sullivans Dance Academy, Northern California Dance Conservatory, Step 1, and is now enjoying her time on the Pre-Professional company at Dance Elite. While attending Oakmont High School she was highly involved with the dance program and became an instructor/ teachers assistant during her junior and senior year. In addition, she has performed at many dance competitions, conventions, workshops, and studio dance shows. Danielle finds peace and freedom through the art of dancing and believes dancing is like dreaming with your feet.
Jeannine has taught dance for over 20 years and has worked with children and adults in all genres and all settings from musical theater, local schools, industry shows and benefit programs to competitive dance teams. She studied extensively in Jazz, tap, ballet and Hip Hop, training with the Berkeley Ballet
Company, Ann Garvin, Dance/10 and Tremaines in Los Angeles. Her credits include numerous music videos, a touring group to Japan in “High Steppin”, Disneylands’ “Show Biz Is” and the 1984 Summer Olympics performing with Lionel Richie. Jeannine also studied acting at ACT (American Conservatory
Theater) in San Francisco which lead her to perform and choreograph numerous musical theater productions throughout the Bay Area. Her passion for dance has kept her involved in the community where ever she goes and she looks forward to teaching her second season at DEA.
Adrianne Moss has taught dance to children for over twelve years and her specialty is jazz dance. Adrianne studied modern/lyrical dance under Paulette Shafransky at California State University Northridge. Adrianne is also certified Aerobics and Fitness of America instructor and well as a certified Zumba instructor and has a passion for sharing her love of dance and fitness.
Carrie has been dancing for over 33 years with training in tap, jazz and ballet. Carrie attended CSUS where she was involved with their dance performance group, and graduated with a degree in Dance Commercial Training. Carrie also received her Vocational Credential in “Dance”. Carrie’s dance experience includes being selected as a Sacramento Kings Dancer throughout 1987 to 1997 and was the captain for 9 years. Carrie continued working with the dance team through 1997 to 1999 as the Dance Team Director. Carrie represented the NBA dancers on a tour of NBA players throughout Asia, and also was sponsored by Pepsi-Cola and performed throughout England at the Garden Festival. Carrie taught for United Spirit Association for 13 years, CSU Sacramento for 8 years, American River College for 8 years, and owned and operated a dance studio for 15 years. Carrie currently owns and operates “Starstruck Showcase”, a dance program that is brought into the Elementary Schools where she teaches thousands of children each year.
Mercedes Royce is a Whitney High School graduate and former member of the Whitney High School dance team. She was also an active member of the WHS dance program under the direction of Amber O’Brien and was a student director there. Mercedes has been a member of the Dance Elite competitive teams for the past five years where she won several regional and national titles in Hip Hop. Mercedes has been training in jazz, lyrical, ballet and hip hop dance and is looking forward to continue her growth and passion in dancing and teaching.
Jeni Van Horn:
Jeni Van Horn has been a member of the Dance Elite teaching staff since 2005. Before teaching Jeni trained extensively in jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, and pointe work under the direction of Darcy Sellers, Jean Fulton, Faith Gardner, Summer and Keith Turk, and Erin Judd. She was also a member of the nationally ranked Rocklin High School “Rhythm in Blue” dance/drill team for four years. Jeni was also a student director of dance in high school, where she had the opportunity to teach to all ages and levels including mentally challenged dance students. Jeni specializes in teaching dance to children and teens and her passion for teaching Dance Elite’s future stars certainly shows. Jeni also directs some of our company teams and is a highly sought after choreographer for solos, duos & trios. In addition to teaching dance Jeni is Faith’s personal assistant and is attending school to obtain her bachelor’s degree and teaching credentials.
Ryan “Loco” Villalobos:
Growing up training at Step-One Dance Studio and Fitness, Ryan has always been inspired and driven to learn as much as he can about the art of dance. At age 11 he started off as a hip –hop halftime performer for the Sacramento Kings as his career has only grown, offering him opportunity’s to share his gift and inspire others. He has trained under talented choreographers and teachers such as: Misty Kline, Rocco Kline, Keith Turk, Phil Tayag and The Boogie Monstarz. The style that he brings to Dance Elite is something that many people feel and enjoy because of the connection he has with the music. Ryan has traveled to Los Angles and New York City, auditioning for the hit TV shows “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew”. One of his biggest accomplishments is selling out the “CREST ” Theatre twice with shows Lets Go! And Public Display 6. At age 24, he now feels like he’s only got a taste of what the industry has to offer him. During his first year at Dance Elite, he started teaching at local high schools such as Whitney, Rocklin, Del Oro, and Roseville. In addition, Ryan’s soloist and competitive teams have won national titles and have left with the confidence to achieve their goals. He is currently the choreographer of two crews, EMPIRE (Dance Elite’s Pre-Professional Hip Hop Crew) and TCYGBC and looks forward to what the year has to bring. Ryan’s personality and talent has infected the hearts of many and he will continue to share his love of dance with the world.
Jennifer has been dancing for 24 years with training in jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap, technique, and musical theater and lyrical. Jennifer started her dance training with Linda Parker’s School of Dance in Fair Oaks for 4 years and then moved to Carrie’s Studio of Dance in Citrus Heights for 10 years. While training under Carrie Pereira at Carrie’s Studio, Jennifer progressed in technique and performing and joined the “Carrie On” dance company being a member for 6 years. With “Carrie On”, performances included various competitions, Kings games, California State Fair, Great America showcases/Main St. Parade in Disneyland & California Adventure, local parades and a Royal Caribbean cruise. In 2003, she joined Perpetual Motion and taught there for a year and continued training in character and choreography classes. In 2004, Jennifer joined the Co. Dance All-stars at Cast & Company Dance Alliance in Roseville. She was a member of this company for 5 years as well as taught hip hop, jazz and tap for 4 years with the studio. During this time she choreographed her own lyrical solo and received a Diamond and Gold award at local competitions. In 2010 she joined Premiere Dance in Rancho Cordova; where she enjoys teaching, performing and working as the competition team choreographer. In 2011 Jennifer had the opportunity of choreographing soloists who competed for the Miss Sacramento and Miss Mendocino titles. Jennifer currently works with Milhous providing dance therapy to young men and women in group homes; helping rebuild social skills and self- confidence. Jennifer’s dance experience has given her great opportunity to work with top choreographers at conventions and in workshops- that include the Sacramento Area Dance Alliance, Co. Dance and Pulse. Jennifer is currently working for Starstruck Showcase; an enrichment program that brings dance to elementary/middle schools.
Jennifer graduated from California State University Sacramento in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies and a concentration in Human Development. Besides dance, Jennifer loves sports and staying active; she has coached Varsity High School softball for the past 2 years. She enjoys working with children and helping others. Jennifer is very excited to share her love of dance with you!
Lynsey Allen began her dance career at age 3 in Hayward, California. She has studied all forms of dance, but has a special passion for tap, jazz and ballet. Lynsay has worked for the United Spirit Association, an organization that has been at the top of the dance/cheer business for decades and prides itself on the instruction of children and young adults nationwide. Also having a love of entertaining and performing for an audience, Lynsay began dancing professionally at the age of 15 at such well known venues as the World Trade Club and the Olympic Club in San Francisco, CA. She then joined the Sacramento Kings Dance Team in 1996 as a dancer and went on to assistant direct the team in 2003.
Lynsay’s second love is children. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Child Development. Since graduation, she has always been involved in working with children and adults of all ages through teaching the art of dance. She has participated in and choreographed for many shows throughout California including the Miss Contra Costa County Pageant and the Miss California Pageant, all part of the Miss America program.
Amber O’Brien has been studying dance since the age of three, and teaching multiple genres of dance, cheerleading and tumbling since 2002. She has trained in almost all areas of dance including: tap, jazz, contemporary, ballet and hip-hop. Amber began her studio dance training in Brentwood, CA and continued to study dance when she attended college in North Carolina. Amber was a member of the competitive DK Dance Company throughout her childhood and teen years where she garnered various first overall awards and titles such as Miss Showbiz, Ms. Starbound and Top Dog. Also, during high school she was a member of the National Champion Pyramids All Star Dance Team. She has been lucky enough to train with teachers such as Joe Tremaine, Gregg Russell, Tap Dogs, Mia Michaels, Lisa Thompson and various other LA based instructors from her trips to the EDGE in Los Angeles.
During her time as a college student, Amber was a member and captain of the Elon University Co-Ed Cheer Team. This provided her the opportunity to perform during Halftime shows that were featured on Fox Sports and ESPN. After graduation, Amber rediscovered her passion for dance when she was given the opportunity to dance for a professional football team. Presently, she continues her passion for dance at Whitney High School where she is the full-time dance teacher, and director of the competitive and award winning Dance/Drill Team. During her tenor at WHS, Amber’s dancers have received many first place awards in the areas of hip-hop, jazz, pom and solo categories. During the summer and winter months, Amber enjoys being on staff for the National Dance Alliance where she teaches youth and high school dance camps, and judges NDA Dance Competitions. In her spare time, she loves working out and spending time with her husband, family and her yellow lab, Max.
Dawn Edwards – Studio Manager:
Dawn earned a Bookkeeping & Accounting Certificate at Academy of Business College in 1981. Her employment background includes 23 years experience in both private and corporate business. In the private sector, she provided administrative support for a home school physical fitness class, and ran a successful daycare. As an employee, Dawn managed single-employee offices, and worked in the accounts payable, payroll, and subcontract administration departments of a multi-million dollar corporation. Her strengths include administration, child management and communication! Other accomplishments of note include homeschooling her children beginning in kindergarten throughout high school, and serving as chairperson of the Visions in Education Home School Charter Governance Board for three years.
Michele Dabalos- Office Staff:
Vanessa Petty began dancing at the age of three and has never looked back! She is trained in numerous genres of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and musical theater; in fact, she has trained at many studios throughout the Sacramento area including Crockette/Deane Dance Center, Hawkins School of Performing Arts, Roseville School of Dance, and Lines School of Performing Arts. Growing up, Vanessa had the wonderful opportunity of training in workshops and performing in numerous ballets with Sacramento Ballet. Also, she had the amazing privilege of dancing the lead roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop, and the Snow Queen in local productions of “The Nutcracker”; in addition, Vanessa was able to compete in many dance competitions throughout California and Nevada and has achieved many significant awards alongside the dance studios of which she was a company member. Vanessa’s love for dance introduced her to the world of musical theater at a young age; as a result, she grew up performing in many musical theater productions throughout the Sacramento Valley including “Oklahoma”, “The Music Man”, and “The Wizard of Oz”. Moreover, she went on to work and perform professionally at Sierra Repertory Theatre and had the incredible chance of performing in such shows as “The King & I”, “All Shook Up”, “White Christmas”, and “Hairspray”.
At the age of fifteen, Vanessa had the opportunity to begin teaching dance. She has taught for many years now and has instructed and choreographed pieces for Roseville School of Dance, Lines School of Performing Arts, Natomas Charter School of Performing and Fine Arts Academy, The Conservatory of Dance, and Summerville High. Vanessa enjoys instructing all different ages and styles of dance as well as being able to share her love and knowledge of dance with others.