Dance Elite Staff 2016-2017
Faith Knappenberger- Owner/Director
- Faith Knappenberger is the owner/director/ and founder of Dance Elite All Stars and has been teaching dance for over twenty 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.
- The Director of the Dance Elite Ballet department.
- She was trained by the great Danish ballerina, Marika Raju, and went on to dance for such notable companies as American Ballet Theatre, The Stuttgart Ballet and the London Festival Ballet.
- Anne has been the Artistic Director of the professional companies Ballet 21st Century in Los Angeles and The Arlington Ballet in Virginia A prolific choreographer — specializing in dramatic narrative ballets — she has earned critical praise for her work and has won the Vanguard Award for Choreography.
- Her students have gone on to dance for such companies as ABT, The Joffrey, Bejart’s Ballet of the 20th companies.
- Ms. Merino did traditional theatrical training at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and Second City with Del Close and John Belushi. She also trained under Alan Rickman at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, UK.
- As an actress, Ms. Merino has performed with The Groundlings and The Actors Gang in Los Angeles. Century, Eliot Feld Ballet and other notable ballet
Lyrical/Contemporary Director, Jazz Instructor
- 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 at DEA.
- As well teaching at Dance Elite Jeannine has recently started her own photography business.
Tap Co-Director, Jazz Instructor
- Carrie has been dancing for over 33 years with training in tap, jazz and ballet.
- She attended CSUS where she was involved with their dance performance group, and graduated with a degree in Dance Commercial Training. She 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.
- She continued working with the dance team through 1997 to 1999 as the Dance Team Director.
- Carrie taught for United Spirit Association for 13 years, taught dance at CSU Sacramento for 8 years, and American River College for 8 years.
- She also 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.
Tap Co-Director and Instructor
- 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 joined the Sacramento Kings Dance Team in 1996 as a dancer and went on to assistant direct the team in 2003.
- Lynsay graduated from California State University Sacramento with a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Child Development.
- Lynsay 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.
Assistant Director – Media , Parent & Instructor Liason, Jazz, Hip Hip, & Zumba Instructor
- Adrianne has taught dance for over twenty five years. She has taught ballet, lyrical, hip hop and her specialty is jazz dance.
- She studied modern/contemporary 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.
J. D. Frazier
- J.D. has been dancing for 24 years and teaching for 11.
- He is one of the three creators of Jedi Assassins, a part of Trybe, a Press P.L.A.Y. Alumni dancer, and former Artistic director of Funky Fresh.
- J.D. has trained groups and dancers such as, The Art of Teknique (TAT), and Sarah Lilminiphoenix.
- He has also trained with and learned from numerous dancers and crews, such as Jabbawockeez, Lando Wilkins and Boxcuttuhz, Kevin “Konkrete” Davis, Brandon Greathouse, Members of Fallen Kings and UGF.
- J.D. loves to teach and share this wonderful gift he has been given from GOD and feels that as long as he can inspire one person every time he dances, he has done his job and is satisfied!
Lyrical/Contemporary, Jazz Instructor
- 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.
- 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 being a Sacramento Kings Dancer.
- 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.
Hip Hop Instructor
- 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 was 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.
Ryan “Loco” Villalobos
Hip Hop Instructor
- At age 11 he started off as a hip –hop halftime performer for the Sacramento Kings
- 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.
- 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.
Tap, Jazz Instructor
- Jennifer has been dancing for 24 years with training in jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap, technique, and musical theater and lyrical.
- 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.
- Jennifer had the opportunity of choreographing soloists who competed for the Miss Sacramento and Miss Mendocino titles.
- Jennifer graduated from California State University Sacramento in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies and a concentration in Human Development.
Hip Hop Instructor
- Brandon started his dancing at Roseville High School.
- He started teaching at Dance Elite in 2015 teaching peewee, mini, and youth hip hop alongside dance Instructor Camille Curtis.
- He has performed at Kings halftime shows, at community events and as well as birthday parties.
- Brandon looks at the future with high hopes and potential for the dance community.
Ballet, Jazz, Tap Instructor
- Trained in workshops and performed in numerous ballets with Sacramento Ballet.
- Danced lead roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop, and the Snow Queen in local productions of “The Nutcracker”.
- Competed 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.
- Performed in many musical theater productions throughout the Sacramento Valley including “Oklahoma”, “The Music Man”, and “The Wizard of Oz”.
- Performed professionally at Sierra Repertory Theatre and had the incredible chance of performing in such shows as “The King & I”, “South Pacific”, “All Shook Up”, “White Christmas”, and “Hairspray”.
- 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 School.
- Enjoyed Tapping at age 4…..Today at 50 I love the adult tap class here at Dance Elite.
- Room mom and Box Top Coordinator at Twelve Bridges Elementary……the middle schools no longer need us parents.
- I love the title “Dance Mom”-both kids love their world of Dance!
- Currently, I enjoy purchasing Garden Decor and Jewelry for our Carmichael ACE Hardware, love working the front desk here at Dance Elite and love every challenge in being a mom.
- Love capturing the moment on my camera………”life is a ride”……live it!
Lyrical/Contemporary, Tap Instructor
- Jamie graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts from CA State University Sacramento.
- She worked for The United Dance Association in 1999 as an instructor and judge.
- She was also the Artistic Director of Impact Contemporary Dance Company from 2007-2010.
- Jamie was a member of Jazzee Dance Company in 2001.
- She has been a Dance Instructor and Director of competitive dance teams for twenty years.
- Erin Judd has been dancing for over 25 years with extensive training in many genres such as Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Tap.
- She has danced for several semi-professional companies in and around the Sacramento Area. She has been awarded scholarships from several organizations and spent a summer at Millennium Dance Complex in North Hollywood on a Co. Dance scholarship taking class from top choreographers like Shane Sparks and Wade Robinson.
- She also was a staff member for USA, United Spirit Association, for 3 years. Erin has been teaching for over 15 years and it is her true passion.
- This is her 8th season with Dance Elite and is excited to build a well-rounded, technically sound, and stage fierce dancers after taking a 4 year break to start a family.
- When she isn’t carting around her two kids to their activities Erin also owns a home business selling health and wellness products called It Works! and enjoys being a housewife.
Tiny Tots, Pee Wees, Tap, Jazz Production Instructor
- Sarah has trained as a student at Dance Elite since she was nine years old, from 2006-2015; competing in groups, productions, and solos at regional and national competitions.
- She has studied ballet, lyrical/contemporary, tap, hip hop, and jazz; her specialty style is tap.
- Sarah is currently attending college, studying liberal studies and education, with plans to study dance and business, in the future.
Lyrical Contemporary, Jazz Instructor
- Shelley Crowley began her dance journey when she was seven years old, and her mom enrolled her in her very first ballet class. She was classically trained in both Royal Academy (English), and Vaganova (Russian) styles of ballet, studying with San Francisco Ballet, and other renown Bay Area studios. Her professional dance career started at age 14, dancing soloist and principal roles with Santa Clara Ballet Company, Pacific Dance Theatre, and Peninsula Ballet.
- Before attending UCLA as a Dance Major, Shelley was introduced to the Jazz and Lyrical genres of dance. She performed throughout Southern California in shows and industrials as a dancer while going to school.
- She founded Roseville School of Dance in 1990, where she was Artistic Director until 1998 when she decided to focus more of her energy on her then growing family. Shelley is the proud mom of three amazing individuals, and feels very blessed to be a part of the DEA teaching staff.
Hospitality Co-Director, Tiny Tot and Pee Wee Instructor
- Alicia is also part of the front desk staff, acting as the Parent Volunteer Coordinator for the twice annual Dance Elite Showcases.
- She has worked for Dance Elite for a total of seven years.
- She developed a love for dance in high school.
- Alicia thoroughly enjoys teaching the little ones!
- Alexis has competed with Dance Elite All Stars as a student for 6 years on Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet and Hip Hop teams.
- She attended Whitney High School and is a former member of their dance team.
- Alexis started her dance journey as a hip-hop dancer but found a love for jazz and lyrical when she enrolled at Dance Elite All Stars.
- She has been a teacher’s assistant and a substitute teacher at the studio for 4 years and is very excited to take on some of her own classes and grow as an instructor and a dancer.
- Started dancing tap and jazz at age 8.
- Is excited her kids have enjoyed the love of Dance as well!
- Started teaching an after school dance program from high school and took a break to enjoy her family.Is also a cake decorator, enjoys cooking and can’t wait for the next performance during the dance year!
- Spent 12 1/2 years as a competitive gymnast – was a 4-time state champion on beam and vault
- Has coached recreational and team gymnastics for the past 3 years
- Is a Communications major and Honors Student at CSUS
- Is an officer of the Sac State Gymnastics Club
Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, Musical Theatre Instructor
- Kassie has been dancing for 21 years and was the #7 student at Dance Elite All Stars upon its opening.
- Kassie has trained in various styles such as jazz, tap, hip hop, musical theater and Lyrical. Additionally, she has attended numerous dance conventions both as a student and as a competitor.
- As a 3-year member of Boise State University Mane Line Dance Team Kassie was awarded a dance scholarship. Kassie has performed at three Bowl games and competed three years at United Spirit Association College Nationals in hip hop and jazz.
- Kassie has been a successful instructor and choreographer for jazz, lyrical and musical theater. In addition, she coached the Roseville High School Dance team 2014-2015.
- Dance is Kassie’s passion and her happy place and she looks forward to sharing her passion with her students.
Hip Hop and Breaking Instructor
- Michele has been working at Dance Elite for five yrs. She loves her job and the kids!
- She has been married for twenty-five years, and has two children, Bradley who is in the military with the US Air Force and Madison who is a high schooler and has been dancing for seven years and a company team member with Dance Elite for five years.
- Michele is proud to be part of such a wonderful studio!
Tiny Tot/Pee Wee Director, Jazz Instructor
**Not Pictured – Risa Jensen