Dance Studio Owner/Artistic Director

Christine Hays

Christine Hayes began dancing like many little girls at the age of three. Growing up in the Austin area, she studied and performed with several local dance companies, including Tapestry Dance Company. Christine studied theater and dance at the University of Texas in Austin and also holds a Psychology degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. While in Corpus Christi, Christine was privileged to teach and choreograph for the Corpus Christi Ballet. Christine always had a passion to be a dance educator and has now been teaching dance for over 20 years for many different dance companies throughout Texas. Christine has developed a comprehensive dance curriculum and strongly believes in teaching sound technique in a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

Christine opened her first dance studio, Central Texas Dance Academy near Waco, Texas and served as Owner/Artistic Director. In May 2008, she sold Central Texas Dance Academy and returned to the Austin area to be near her family. Christine opened The Dance Gallery in 2009 and is dedicated to bringing the HIGHEST level of dance education to students in Round Rock and the surrounding areas. Christine continues her training by attending numerous dance conventions throughout the year where she can work with some of today’s leading professionals in the dance industry. Christine is married and is the proud mother of two children, Emily and Evan.

Dance Gallery Staff

Jenna Ciernia, Office Manager/Instructor

Jenna Ciernia graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in dance. Shortly after graduation she moved to L.A. where she was a work-study at the world famous Millennium Dance Complex. Looking for adventure Jenna moved to Seattle where she taught and had the opportunity to perform with Seattle dance companies. Jenna then moved to Chicago where she created and implemented a dance program at Chicago Athletic Clubs and performed with numerous dance companies including, Chicago Reviews top rated company, Matter Dance Company. Now back in Texas, Jenna is also still performing, most recently with the dance company Woven Feet for the band Sorne. Jenna is very excited to be a part of The Dance Gallery for the 4th year.

Nancy Bain, Instructor

Nancy Bain has been a dance instructor for over 35 years and holds a M.A. Degree in Dance Education from New York University. She taught in NYC as a licensed dance teacher in public schools, including LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts and as a teaching artist for several arts organizations. She was an adjunct dance faculty member at Queensborough Community College. In New York, she performed with Greenhouse Dance Ensemble, Shimazaki & Dancers, and directed her own professional company, IdeaDance/Nancy & Co for 13 years. Nancy studied with legendary modern choreographer, Hanya Holm, as well as Hawkins, Graham, Limon and Horton techniques, and spent a year studying at the Royal Ballet School in London. In Austin, her choreography has been seen through Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin, Leander Drama Dept., and in choreography showcases. Currently, she is a teaching artist for Forklift Danceworks, and coordinates and teaches free dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease in Austin and Georgetown. She has been invited to co-teach an arts integration course at UT for the Fall 2015. Nancy is married and the mother of 2 adult sons. This is her 6th year with Dance Gallery.

Lindsey Jo Gardner, Instructor

Lindsey Jo Gardner has been dancing as long as she can remember! She grew up dancing in Round Rock, studying under Susan Babcock and Desi Ray for 14 years. As a member of a performing group for 8 years, Lindsey Jo enjoyed performing at competitions and community events, as well attending conventions and workshops all over the state of Texas. She has worked with many widely known choreographers including Rhonda Miller, Pattie Obey, and Desiree Robbins, and taken class from Joe Tremaine, Wade Robson, Mandy Moore and other amazing dancers/choreographers. Lindsey Jo’s own choreography has been recognized state-wide as well as nationally. Lindsey graduated in 2008 with a degree in Elementary Education from The University of Texas at Austin. Lindsey Jo has been teaching dance for over 10 years and this will be her 7th year with The Dance Gallery.

Calvin Hilpert, Instructor

Calvin Hilpert was born in Florida and raised in Austin, Texas. He started dancing at the age of 12 with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School and shortly thereafter transferred to the San Francisco Ballet School. Calvin has performed with the Donlon Dance Company in Germany, The San Francisco Ballet and has been a contributing artist with the Kunst-Stoff Dance Company, working with them locally in San Francisco, and on national and European commissions and tours. Calvin is excited to be a part of The Dance Gallery for the second year!

Tiffany Lynn, Instructor

Tiffany Lynn comes to The Dance Gallery with over 15 years dance training in the areas of ballet, tap and jazz. Tiffany studied at the Kansas Dance Academy and went on to attend the University of Oklahoma on a ballet scholarship. She is excited to share her passion and love for dance with today’s young students. Tiffany is married and is a proud mother of two children, Logan and Madison. This is Tiffany’s 6th year with The Dance Gallery.

Staci Sill, Instructor

Staci began dancing at the age of 5 in Austin. She studied and performed throughout the Austin area for many years. Staci taught for several studios in the Austin and surrounding areas before moving to North Carolina in 1998. While in North Carolina, she taught and took professional classes at North Carolina Dance Institute under the artistic director Kirstie Spadie. After moving back to Texas in 2006, Staci took some time off to go back to school and is now a Registered Nurse. One interesting side fact…Staci and Christine danced together in a ballet production many years ago when they were teens. The dance world is small indeed! Staci is the proud mom of 2 children, Cade and Emma. Staci is excited to be a part of The Dance Gallery staff for the 4th year.

Stephanie Staggs, Instructor

Stephanie Staggs has been dancing since the age of 5. She grew up dancing in Round Rock studying under Susan Babcock, Beth Hickman, Joni Starr, and Desi Ray. She is a member of The Texas Association of Teachers of Dancing, Inc. and received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Dance from The University of Texas in Austin in 1996. At UT, she worked with Heywood McGriff, Lathan Sanford, Yacov Sharir, Jose Bustamante, Densie Prasky, Lynne Grossman, Sondra Lomax, Sharon Vasquez, and Llory Wilson. She had the opportunity to take master classes from Savion Glover, Karen Herbet, Robert Christopher, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, The Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Company, The Martha Graham Dance Company and The Ghana Dance Ensemble. Stephanie is married and is a proud mother to her little girl, Gabriela. This is Stephanie’s 5th year with The Dance Gallery.

Anna Warr, Instructor

Anna Warr combines her tremendous love for both dance and children in her teaching. Growing up in Round Rock, she was an officer with the Tiger Dancers at Stony Point High School. Anna has been a dance instructor for 6 years and her background includes teaching children’s combo classes, hip hop, lyrical and jazz. She continues her dance education by attending teacher’s conventions and dance workshops throughout the year. Recently Anna took on a new adventure when she started Epic Dance and Cardio. This fitness program is taught at local recreational centers to provide an opportunity for children to learn to appreciate physical fitness through hip hop dancing. She is currently working towards finishing her degree in early childhood education. Anna is married and is a proud mom to her two girls, Adisyn and Ashlyn. This is Anna’s 5th year with The Dance Gallery.

Natalie Ferriera, Guest Instructor

Natalie Ferriera discovered her love of the stage early on at the age of 7. She gained most of her dance training in the California Bay Area and performed with the American Musical Theatre, DeAnza College Dance Dept., San Jose State University, Tap Explosion, and Culture Shock. In 1996, Natalie joined Visual Rhythm Dance Company as a dancer and choreographer and later became the company’s Artistic Director. Natalie moved to New York City in 2002, and continued her dance education at Broadway Dance Center. In 2004 she moved to Round Rock, TX with her husband, Jay, and began attending classes at the University of Texas at Austin in the Theatre and Dance Department. Natalie is married and is the proud mother of two children, Amanda and Trevor. Natalie taught and choreographed for The Dance Gallery for 5 years and is now taking some time off from teaching but will be visiting us as a guest instructor.

Michelle Gomez, Instructor

Michelle Gomez grew up in Mountain View, California and then moved to Round Rock, TX around the age of 11 where she began dancing for All-Stars Unlimited at Westwood High School. Michelle became a member of the McNeil Majestic’s during her high school years as well as Hip Hop Club Captain her senior year. After graduating high school, Michelle joined a professional dance company called the Austin City Showgirls, while attending community college and teaching hip hop at a local austin studio. She performed in four music videos, two commercials, one TV show and was a back-up dancer for multiple performers such as Gloria Trevi, Elvis Crespo, Andres Cuervo, Aj Castillo, and 8 Segundo’s. Michelle has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Texas Tech University with a minor in Media Strategies and French. During her college career she studied abroad in Paris, France for two months while interning at a hip hop dance school named Juste Debout. Once she graduated, she moved to Los Angeles to continue her education in dance studios such as Movement Lifestyle, Millennium Dance Complex, and the Debbie Reynolds studio. Michelle is back in Austin and ready to begin her first year teaching at the Dance Gallery.

Katya Welch, Instructor

Katya Welch was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She began dancing at age three, and hasn’t stopped since! She received her early dance education at many different studios in the area, but began training with The Dance Gallery in 2009. Katya was a member of The Dance Gallery’s award-winning performing troupe for two years before graduating from high school. In addition, Katya was privileged to take master classes from industry professionals such as Nick Drago and Desiree Robbins, just to name a few. During her time as a Dance Gallery student, Katya assisted with many of the children’s dance classes and became a substitute teacher. Recently, Katya has been involved with The Georgetown Palace Theater’s productions of The Music Man, CATS, and Shrek, The Musical and plans on continuing to work in musical theater. This is her second year as a teacher at The Dance Gallery.

Carolyn Herrera, Instructor

Carolyn Herrera is a seasoned dancer and teacher from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received her degree in Dance and Theater specializing in contemporary at the University of New Mexico in 2011. Dance became her passion at an early age of 3 and has continued her whole life. She trained at Center Stage School of Dance for the majority of her youth and has also danced with Fusion Dance company, The University of New Mexico and DXS Dance Company. Carolyn’s joy for dance also translates into a huge joy in teaching the next generation and creating meaningful choreography. Carolyn has been teaching for the past 10 years at competitive studios in Albuquerque and is now excited to be teaching in the Austin area. The best part of teaching for her is being able to see the changes every day in her students and being a part of their growing process. This is Carolyn’s first year at The Dance Gallery.

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