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

Elizabeth Winieck, Office Manager/Instructor

Elizabeth Winiecki was born and raised in Stow, Ohio where she started dancing at the age of 10. Elizabeth has studied a variety of dance styles under incredible choreographers such as Kristen Messner, Brian Marcum, Dejan Tubic, and Jo Rowan, and has completed her Level V certification in Cecchetti ballet. Elizabeth went on to pursue dance in college at Oklahoma City University where she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Dance Management. After college, she lived in Chicago and worked for On The Grind Management, a music management company as an Artist Manager/Booking Agent. Elizabeth is a proud mom to Harper, and is very excited to join The Dance Gallery family for her 2nd year!

Jenna Friedheim, 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 6th year.

Lindsey Jo Gardner, Instructor/Dance Troupe Director

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 9th year with The Dance Gallery.

Michelle Gomez, Instructor/Hip Hop Crew Director

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 3rd year teaching at the Dance Gallery.

Tiffany Lynn, Instructor/Petite Performing Team Director

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 8th 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 6th 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 7th 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 7th year with 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. 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. Katya recently returned from New York City where she trained in the Broadway Dance Center’s student intensive program. This is her 4th 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 3rd year at The Dance Gallery.

Laura Ground, Instructor

Laura Ground was born in San Marcos, TX. She began training in ballet at the age of 8, and later found her love for other styles and started dancing competitively. After moving to Austin to pursue her training, she started dancing with local companies such as Reverence Dance Project, Verge Dance Company, and Third Coast Contemporary. As much as she loves the stage, Laura’s true passion is in the studio. She’s had a desire to educate and choreograph from the beginning of her dance journey. After teaching in Austin for a few years after high school, Laura decided to take her training further and move to Los Angeles. After spending two years in LA, dancing, working, and training in the Debbie Reynolds Scholarship Program, she is back in Austin focusing on her choreography, and educating the artists in the Austin area. Her goal as a teacher is to encourage her students to break outside the box, and find their own unique voice. This is Laura’s 6th year with The Dance Gallery!

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