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MEET OUR CONVENTION TEAM

Our faculty can be seen on the sets of SYTYCD, America’s Got Talent, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and World of Dance. You can see their amazing performances on awards shows, in today’s top music videos, movies, commercials, Broadway shows, and ballet companies. *Not all teachers will be at every convention*

 

NEW!
ABOUT HANNAHLEI

Hannahlei Cabanilla is a dancer, teacher, and the Season 15 winner of SYTYCD. After her win, she performed in the SYTYCD Live! tour. Hannahlei was a dancer in Rent Live! on Fox. She has performed with several artists including Little Big Town at the ACM’s, Selena Gomez at the AMA’s, in Sia’s music video “The Greatest”, and in Taylor Swift’s music video for “Me!”. Hannahlei has also performed at The Dizzy Feet Foundation’s Celebration of Dance Gala, at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards, on Live with Kelly and Ryan, and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She has also been seen on the cover of Dance Spirit Magazine, Inside Dance Magazine, and Modern Luxury Magazine. Hannahlei teaches at her home studio and assists her mentor, Amy Berokoff, at studios and high schools around the U.S.

@hannahleidazle

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ABOUT MARK

Mark Villaver is a dancer, teacher, performer, and choreographer. Mark finished in the Top 10 on Season 14 of SYTYCD. He toured internationally with Taylor Swift on The Red Tour, The 1989 Tour, and The Reputation Tour. Mark has also worked with artists including Ariana Grande, Ricky Martin, Ari B, and Demi Lovato. He has performed in numerous award shows including the VMA’s, Billboard Latin Music Awards, American Billboard Awards, The Grammy Awards, and The Brit Awards. Mark has performed on television with America’s Got Talent, Good Morning America, iHeart Radio, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Season 11 finale of American Idol, and as a backup dancer on X-Factor. Mark was recruited to be a member of the Emmy award-winning group and two-time America’s Best Dance Crew champion, Quest Crew.

@markvillaver

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ABOUT GREG

Greg Chapkis is a dancer, choreographer, creative director, producer, and studio owner. Greg has competed on SYTYCD, America’s Got Talent, and NBC’s World of Dance. He has choreographed major productions for companies including Disney, Nickelodeon, Six Flags, the Golden State Warriors, Volkswagen, and Dell. His choreography can be seen on world tours, awards shows, television shows and music videos with recording artists like Daddy Yankee, Anuel AA, Katy Perry, Ciara, Ozuna, Jessica Mauboy and more. Greg has also produced over 40 shows all over the U.S. and abroad as well as traveled to over 30 countries to teach within the past 5 years. He is the founder of one of the most respected dance studios and teams in the country, Chapkis Dance Family.    

@gregchapkis

 

ABOUT JEN

Jen Garaffa is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She has taught tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and acrobatics for 14 years. Jen has been a professional dancer at the Walt Disney World Resort for nine years dancing in parades, shows, and special events including Disney Channel Rocks, Main Street Trolley Show, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Mickey’s American Streetbeat, Countdown to Fun Parade, Monster’s University Hometown Homecoming, and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. Jen is part of the Walt Disney World entertainment training team and is a teaching artist with Disney Performing Arts. She appeared as a dancer on BBC, ABC and Disney Channel, to name a few.

ABOUT ARIELLE

Arielle Elonys is a dancer, choreographer, actress, model, and singer. Arielle earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Loyola Marymount University. She has appeared in numerous television shows and movies including Nashville, Making Moves, SYTYCD and Nerve. Arielle has choreographed and performed in national commercials and music videos with McDonald’s, Jon Bellion, Kane Brown, Kill the Noise, Brendon Urie, Tim McGraw, and Panic! at the Disco, among others. She is also a writer for the Showstopper Magazine. Arielle is a guest teacher at Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles and other prominent studios across the country.

ABOUT ANGEL

Angel Roberts is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and costume designer with over 20 years of dance and production experience. Angel was awarded an Emmy for her costume design work on That ‘70s Show. She is also the founder of the national dance movement and studio Peace Love Hip Hop located in Charleston, SC. Angel’s studio is now one of the largest and most respected hip hop studios in the country. Her competitive hip hop groups compete at national dance competitions. She tours the country teaching a positive message with her creative choreography and energy. Angel is also the costume designer and stylist for Showstopper Magazine.

ABOUT KYLE

Kyle Van Newkirk is an award-winning choreographer, dancer, and concert pianist. He won the Operation Tap Choreography Challenge and the World Championship of Tap title, the first to win with perfect scores. Kyle competed on Season 1 of NBC’s World of Dance and toured with WOD for their 2017-18 season. He performed with the Dizzy Feet Foundation for National Tap Dance Day, at the 2016 International Dance Gala in Austria, at the Capezio Ace Awards, and with the Indianapolis Symphony. Kyle also performed at numerous festivals including the Big Apple Tap Festival, American Tap Festival, and Boston’s Tap United, among others.

ABOUT ELIANA

Eliana Girard is a dancer, choreographer, and actress. At age 17, Eliana joined the Joffrey Ballet before getting a full scholarship to The Ailey School. She began her career with Cirque de Soleil for their Viva Elvis show in Las Vegas. Eliana won Season 9 of SYTYCD and then performed with the SYTYCD LIVE! tour. She also toured internationally with Taylor Swift on the Red Tour and appeared in her music videos for “Red” and “22”. She has performed at the VMA’s, Brit Awards, CMAs, Billboard Music Awards, and the Grammy’s. As an actress, Eliana has appeared on the TV shows Glee and Bones.

ABOUT MARY ANN

Mary Ann Lamb is a dancer, choreographer, performer, and Broadway legend. She toured the world with The Las Vegas Follies and performed in The Follies television special in Paris. Mary Ann’s Broadway credits include The Visit, Curtains, Contact, Seussical, Fosse, Chicago, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Song and Dance, Goodbye, Starlight Express, and more. In film, Mary Ann appeared in the Oscar Award-winning picture Chicago as well as Portrait of a Show Girl, The Muppets, and Rock of Ages, among others. Mary Ann choreographed for SYTYCD and other companies and productions throughout the country. She is frequently a guest teacher at Broadway Dance Center. Mary Ann Lamb is a jazz and ballet dancer and performer. She toured the world with The Las Vegas Follies and performed in The Follies television special in Paris. Mary Ann’s Broadway credits include The Visit, Curtains, Contact, Seussical, Fosse, Chicago, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Song and Dance, Goodbye, Starlight Express, and more. She also performed in numerous off-Broadway productions. In film, Mary Ann appeared in the Oscar Award-winning film Chicago as well as Portrait of a Show Girl, The Muppets, Rock of Ages, and more. Mary Ann also choreographed for SYTYCD.

ABOUT GEV

Gev Manoukian is a hip hop and break dancer, as well as a world-renowned ice skater. He danced his way to the Top 10 on Season 4 of SYTYCD. Gev performed as a principal dancer in several movies and TV shows such as Disney’s High School Musical 2, Glee, and the MTV musical American Mall. He also danced on DWTS and America’s Got Talent. Gev has performed with numerous artists including Ludacris, Whitney Houston, LeeAnn Rimes, and P!nk at the 2010 AMAs. He has also appeared in several music videos for artists like Fresh Beat Band, Big Time Rush, and Figure It Out, among others.

ABOUT GEO

Geo Hubela is a choreographer, dancer, teacher, and producer. He is co-owner and director of ICON Dance Complex. Geo has choreographed internationally for numerous productions, movies, and commercials. Some of his most recognized national commercials include Old Navy, Best Buy, Campbell’s Soup, to name a few. As a performer, Geo has danced with stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, P!nk, Britney Spears, ‘NSYNC, Jessica Simpson, Selena Gomez, and Michael Jackson, among others. He has danced on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew and America’s Got Talent. Geo’s ICONic Dancers perform professionally at the Apollo Theater, Madison Square Garden and on Nickelodeon and MTV.

ABOUT JANELLE

Janelle Issis is a world- renowned belly dancer, choreographer, teacher, actress, and model. She studied belly dancing as a protégé to Aziza of Birmingham and earned a bachelor’s degree in dance at the University of Alabama. As the first belly dancer ever on the show, Janelle danced her way to the Top 6 on Season 9 of SYTYCD. She has performed with numerous artists including Derek and Julianne Hough on Good Morning America and with J Balvin in an international T-Mobile commercial. Janelle currently teaches at Broadway Dance Center, Ailey Extension, and several others. Janelle also has her own unique line of Janelley Belly Dance Wear.

ABOUT ALEXIE

Alexie Agdeppa is a dancer, choreographer, and actress. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UCLA in world arts and cultures, dance and choreography. Alexie danced her way to the Top 5 on Season 7 of SYTYCD. She appeared in numerous commercials with Disney, Nissan, Nordstrom, and Reebok. Alexie danced in music videos with Prince, Nelly Furtado, Macy Gray, Daft Punk, Pharrell, and The Pussycat Dolls, among others. Alexie’s film and television credits include the 64th and 84th Academy Awards, America’s Got Talent, X-Factor, Disney’s Camp Rock 2, and Glee. When she was a LA Laker Girl, she appeared on The Jay Leno Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, and Entourage.

ABOUT AARON
Aaron Burr is a world-renowned tap dancer and founder of the Palmetto Tap Intensive. He performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, receiving a five-star review. He performed on America’s Got Talent, America’s Most Talented Kids, with the group Rythmatic on Season 1 of NBC’s World of Dance, and was given the title of America’s Most Talented Kid on Good Morning America. Aaron toured internationally with Tap Dogs and performed with ten-time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune on the national tour of Dr. Dolittle. Aaron has performed with numerous theaters including Merry Go Round Playhouse, The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, and Hershey Park, among others.

ABOUT HALEY MAC

Hayley Mac is a nationally-recognized choreographer, director, teacher, dancer, designer, and motivational speaker. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University in Liberal Arts with a focus on theater and a master’s degree in instructional leadership. Hayley was mentored by legends Henry LeTang and Gregory Hines. She has starred in musicals such as 42nd Street, and danced for national commercials and networks including MTV, CBS, Fox, and many more. Hayley has also performed at numerous events for professional sports teams and with celebrities. She choreographed for the Emmy-nominated Showstopper American Dance Championships, several Top 10 dancers on SYTYCD, and prestigious companies and universities across the country. 

@hayleymaccooper

ABOUT JESSICA

Jessica Walker is a dancer, choreographer, and actress. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University at The Ailey School. Jessica has performed in numerous Broadway productions including Movin’ Out, Paramour, and Hair. She has also performed in the original Phantom of the Opera: The Las Vegas Spectacular, the first national tour of Wicked, Carnegie Hall’s West Side Story, and The Radio City Christmas and Spring Spectaculars. In film and TV, Jessica appeared in Dirty Dancing (2017), recurring role in Season 2 of SMASH, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, America’s Got Talent, The Blacklist, and Lovestruck: The Musical.

ABOUT BRANDON

Brandon Norris is a world clogging champion. He won numerous titles at the Clogging Champions of America (CCA), including seven CCA Team National Titles, six CCA Duet National Titles, and nine CCA Solo National Titles. He appeared on SYTYCD Season 3 as a special guest performer, the only clogger to ever perform on the series. Brandon led his team Dynamic Edition to a Top 5 finish on Season 3 of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. He travels throughout country teaching clogging and hosting numerous clogging competitions. Brandon is also known for his unique view on clogging and modernizing this traditional style of dance.

ABOUT NATHAN

Nathan Trasoras is a dancer and choreographer with his own unique style. He danced his way to the Top 5 on Season 6 of SYTYCD. Nathan performed on The Voice, Glee, 90210, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, America’s Got Talent, and The Jay Leno Show. He performed with Janet Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, The Pussycat Dolls, Wyclef Jean, Will.I.Am, Rihanna, and Christina Aguilera, among others. He also made appearances in commercials for Nike, Cadbury Chocolate, and Red Barron Pizza, to name a few. As a presidential scholar, Nathan performed a solo at the Spotlight Awards and in New York for Mikhail Baryshnikov.

ABOUT JULIAN

Julian Thorn is a host, actor, singer, and teacher who has been with Showstopper for over 35 years. He has toured internationally with numerous productions including the European tour of Bubbling Brown Sugar, Broadway Magic, Hello Dolly, La Cage aux Folles, My One and Only, Evita, Showboat, Phantom of the Opera, at the Opryland USA, and in the national tour of Legends in Concert where he portrayed the artist Little Richard. Julian produced, directed, and starred in his own educational children’s dance video. During the Showstopper season, you can find Julian hosting competitions or teaching his voice and acting class at conventions.

ABOUT SAM

Sam Picart is a dancer, performer, teacher, and choreographer. Sam started off by studying urban street styles and west coast funk styles of dance. He began his formal ballet training at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City at age 18 and earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornish College of the Arts. Sam was the chosen winner of Ellen DeGeneres’ Dance Off competition. He then had the opportunity to be a featured guest and performer on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Sam’s dance videos have gone viral on YouTube, including his dance-off with the Harlem Globetrotters. He has danced featured roles in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Jose Limon’s “Psalm”, and Camille A. Brown’s “New Second Line”. Sam currently travels the country teaching and choreographing at dance studios.

@sampicartis2much

ABOUT SALLY

Sally Glaze is a dancer, singer, actor, teacher, choreographer, and college-prep coach. She earned a Bachelor’s of Performing Arts degree from Oklahoma City University in Dance Performance. She has toured nationally with Dirty Dancing as an understudy for Penny and Vivian and in the Broadway-bound show Paint Your Wagon as Emily. Sally has performed with numerous other productions including Oklahoma, Monty Python’s Spamalot, An American in Paris, The Will Rogers Follies, and Singin’ in the Rain. She has also performed outside of musical theatre with Omaha Symphony’s Christmas Celebration and The Muny’s Centennial Gala Performance. Sally has performed as a featured dancer/singer/spokesmodel with Mary Kay Cosmetic’s Summer Seminar. She appeared in HBO’s Vinyl, and as a principal dancer in Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

@sallyglaze

ABOUT DENA

Dena Rizzo is a teacher and choreographer with over 30 years of teaching experience. She choreographed award-winning performances for MTV and VH-1. Dena ran her own multi-genre dance studio for 20 years. She also taught for 15 years in New York City for Destination Broadway summer intensives. Now, she travels across the country to teach hip hop classes at dance studios, competitions, and conventions. Dena produced four of her own instructional hip hop videos. She has also appeared as a featured dancer in the movie Black Knight with Martin Lawrence. Dena has choreographed for numerous national music videos, commercials and theater productions.

ABOUT TAYLOR

Taylor Quinn is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, model, and actress. She danced for FireWALL Dance Theatre run by Elisa Alaio, and is one of Showstopper’s all-time top scoring soloists. Taylor tours with the contemporary dance company Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers, traveling to schools in California that do not have dance programs to educate kids about dance. Taylor has worked with several artists and bands including Kill the Noise, Phillip Chbeeb, Alyson Stoner, and Dillon Francis, among others. She has appeared in national commercials for companies like McDonald’s and modeled for the cover of Alex Linares’s book The Art of Dancing. Taylor recently began directing, dancing, and producing her own dance projects. 

@taaaylorquinn

ABOUT RJ

RJ Higton is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, singer, and actor. He is currently a student at the University of Michigan within The Department of Musical Theatre, renowned as one of the top musical theatre programs in the world. RJ is one of Showstopper’s all-time top scoring soloists from the West Coast. RJ is the founder of MPIRE Productions at the University of Michigan, a community centered around providing performers with educational opportunities, an artistic platform, and a voice. In 2018, he was named Artist of the Year for musical theatre performance by the Orange County Register. RJ has shared the stage with artists such as Mathew Morrison, Krysta Rodriguez and Tony Award-winning Actress Ali Stroker.

@rj_higton

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