co-founded Grace Studios in 2002 with her longtime friend Stephanie (Roth) Bogrett. Their vision was to create a studio where dancers could grow as performers, artists and individuals in a fun, loving, creative and supportive family-style environment; and to celebrate life through dance. Christy strives to make every class she teaches challenging, enjoyable and rewarding for each and every dancer in the class; and for each student to walk away from class with a smile on their flushed faces, and an uplifted spirit. Christy has been teaching dance locally since 1994. Her choreography is inventive, creative, challenging and always age-appropriate; and has scored highly and received many choreography and judge’s choice awards at local and national competitions. Christy is a member of the International Tap Association, the Colorado Dance Alliance and the Boulder Arts Alliance. Before opening Grace Studios, Christy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Psychology from CU, Boulder; taught pre-kindergarten, then kindergarten, ran the school’s creative movement and dance programs; and developed, managed and was Lead Teacher for the school age summer camps there. Christy is enthusiastic and energetic about teaching dancers of all ages. She is a Colorado native and lives outside Boulder with her husband David and three their daughters. Email Christy
BRITTNEY KIRKPATRICK – Lead Instructor / Choreographer A native of Boulder, CO, Brittney Kirkpatrick grew up training in a wide variety of dance styles including jazz, lyrical, ballet, tap and hip hop at her studio in Longmont, CO. Her studio gave her the opportunity to teach dance classes and she found great joy in teaching kids as well as choreographing. Once she graduated high school, Brittney continued her dance education at The University of Colorado at Boulder. There, she was able to work with world-renowned artists such as Erika Randall, Michelle Ellsworth, Gabe Masson and Rennie Harris. She graduated cum laude with a BFA in performance and choreography. After graduation, she completed a season dancing for Deeply Rooted Dance Theater as a member of their Emerging Artists Ensemble in Chicago, IL. While in Chicago, she had the honor of training with artists such as Kevin Iega Jeff, Gary Abbott, Nick Pupillo, and Jessica Deahr. She also worked as a freelance dancer and, through her work ethic in class, was offered a work study position at Visceral Dance Center. Since moving back to her home state, she’s had the pleasure of teaching for many studios and workshops across Colorado. Brittney has also performed with many local companies including Interweave Dance Theatre, Louder Than Words Dance Theatre, The Schiff Dance Collective, and Rogue Co. Currently, she is a lead instructor at Grace Studios School of Dance, where she has taught for 5 years, as well as the manager at One Big Yes Productions. She also co-directs Grace Studios’ Resident Professional Dance Company, Industrial Dance Alliance, with Lindsay Dighero and Jessica Pittman (both also on faculty at GSSD).
HANNAH LARSON – Instructor/Choreographer, originally from Houston, Texas, Hannah began her training at Rowland School of Ballet under the direction of Sheryl Rowland. From a young age, she studied ballet, modern, jazz, and tap. She trained with the pre-professional companies, Kingwood Dance Theatre and Kingwood Jazz & Co. Here she worked with choreographers such as Jessica Hendricks, Peter Chu, Virginia Hendricksen, John Adamson, and Rob Davidson. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Dance, and a BA in Information Science and Arts. During her time at UA, she worked with choreographers such as Sherry Zuncker of River North, Tammy Dyke-Compton, Sam Watson, Michael Williams, Douglas Nielsen, and Elizabeth George. She was also able to show many of her own works at various shows featuring student choreography. During her time as an undergraduate, she joined Art.If.Act Dance Project in “The Great American Dance Tour of China”, where they traveled across China for five weeks, performing over twenty shows. She also performed in the winning dance of Jazz Dance World Congress 2012 in Pittsburgh. Hannah continues to dance, teach, and choreograph nationally after graduating, and has recently returned from studying several months from various industry leaders in LA. Hannah has taught for GSSD for the past 5 years, and our dancers genuinely love and admire Hannah…she fits in perfectly as an instructor and choreographer with Grace Studios.
KELSEY KEMPFER – Instructor/Choreographer – Kelsey is a Boulder Native who started dancing at the age of three. She grew up studying with Expressions Dance Company and Grace Studios School of Dance, then continued her education at the University of Colorado where she received Bachelor Degrees in Dance and Sociology in 2009. While at CU, she was awarded the Jamie Kellam Redmond Scholarship and the Talent and Creativity University Dance Award, along with being a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and the National Scholar Honor’s Society. Kelsey has extensive performance, competition, and choreographic experience and has been trained in the various styles of Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Hip Hop, Tap, Ballet, and West African dance. She has performed professionally in over 50 shows within the US, and over the years she has had the privilege of working with many nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. Kelsey is currently a member of Moraporvida Contemporary Dance, New Breed Dance Company, and Interweave Dance Theater. She is a proud graduate of Grace Studios, and has had the honor of teaching there for nearly 15 years. Her choreography has been given top awards at multiple regional and national dance competitions around the US. When she is not dancing, Kelsey works as a Long Term Care Manager for Adult Care Management, Inc. where she helps elderly and disabled adults access community resources and in-home assistance through Medicaid. She also enjoys hiking, horror movies, tequila, and bunnies.
JESSICA PITTMAN – Instructor/Choreographer was born October of 1991 in Grand Rapids, MI. Dance training began at the age of six, and the first eleven years were spent training at a competitive dance studio to be versatile in many styles including jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, hip hop, lyrical and ballet. Receiving a Bachelors Degree in Dance and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting in 2014 from Grand Valley State University , she has expanded her knowledge of both technical and performance training. Through the Grand Valley Dance Company she has studied with renowned guest choreographers such as Lauren Edson, Autumn Eckman, and performed with the Thodos Dance Company of Chicago. Jessica has choreographed for various shows including Open Space 2014 and 2015, Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop Student Showcase, countless undergrad shows, and represented GVSU at the 2013 ACDFA with her senior group piece, Let “Only You” Go. She has performed with Denver companies Louder than Words, Davis Contemporary, and Boulder companies Third Law and The Schiff Dance Collective. Jessica is in her fourth year teaching with GSSD, and we just adore her!
LINDSAY DIGHERO – Instructor/Choreographer Lindsay Dighero grew up in Thornton, Colorado training in many styles including ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and lyrical/contemporary. Lindsay enrolled in the Dance Division at Colorado State University where she has trained in ballet (Vaganova), modern, choreography, and dance pedagogy. Lindsay has had the opportunity to perform with CSU’s Tour Dance Company and served as the Technical Director and Assistant to the Director. During her time at CSU, Lindsay added a double major of Health and Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine and served as a Student Ambassador for the College of Liberals Arts. Since graduation, Lindsay has worked as a Rehab Aide for Physical Therapy Clinics. She has also been certified through the University of Northern Colorado Cancer Rehabilitation Institute as a Clinical Cancer Exercise Specialist and ACSM as a Certified Exercise Physiologist. Currently she is an instructor at Grace Studios School of Dance and working full time as a Personal trainer, Exercise Physiologist, and Cancer Exercise Specialist with her self-owned company, Recover and Revive Fitness.
Before Alison moved to Africa in August 2012, she was teaching Modern, Jazz, Ballet, and Hip-Hop to students from thirty-eight different countries at the international high school Wasatch Academy, located in Mount Pleasant, Utah. In 2011, Alison received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance Education from James Madison University, where she was actively involved in JMU’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble. Alison is in her third year of teaching with GSSD, and we love her fresh modern style and her infectious smile!
ANNIE BLAKENSHIP – Guest Instructor, began her training in Plano, TX, under Dance Industry’s owner and artistic director, Christy Wolverton-Ryzman, where she spent seven years as a member of the performing company. After graduating high school, Annie was chosen as one of twenty dancers to participate in the Edge Performing Arts Center’s scholarship program in Los Angeles. While on scholarship she trained extensively with some of the biggest names in the dance world.
Annie has performed with Rhianna at the MTV Video Music Awards, as well as in in the Academy of Television and Arts and Sciences TV MOVES! Live Show, Dancing Under the Stars Choreography Festival, Pasadena Dance Festival, and appeared in a season one episode of John Chu’s The LXD. Annie currently lives in Denver, and she teaches both elementary school and dance. She is on faculty with Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop and is a member of Rogue Co. Dance Company.
TORY RATERMAN – Guest Instructor, grew up in Colorado. She began taking dance classes and competing in all styles from a young age, training at Rocky Mountain School of Dance, and later at Artistic Fusion Dance Academy. After high school her dance career took her to Boston, MA to continue her studies at Dean College, where she earned her BA in dance and choreography. Tory’s credits include performances in the 2018 Flight to Luxury Benefit and the National Jewish Health Beaux Arts Ball, William Evans’ 2017 Spring Concert at Festival Ballet Providence, American College Dance Association Regional and National Conferences, the 2015 NFL Patriots Season Opener and Sport Accord with the Rocky Mountain Silhouettes. Since graduating in 2017, Tory has enjoyed teaching Contemporary, Jazz and Tap to students throughout Colorado. Tory is currently a member of Rogue Co. Dance Company, under the Direction of Meghan Lawitz, and an instructor at CorePower Yoga.
KELLY DEMELIO – Guest Instructor, was born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado, Kelly Demelio began her well rounded dance education/training at the age of 3. Early on, it became very clear that her love and passion for dance would always be a part of her life. Growing up, Kelly trained at several different Colorado based studios and competed at numerous competitions and conventions locally and nationally. She also spent a year traveling and performing with The Silhouettes. Over the years, Kelly has had the privilege of working with many renowned teachers and choreographers including, Justin Giles, Will Johnston, Alan Salazar, Jen Osorio Pendleton, Dana Wilson, Jessica Starr, Jason Ambrose, Andy Pellick, Maurya Kerr, LeeWei Chao, Cory Finn and David Mann, as well as many other local Colorado teachers and choreographers, all of whom have impacted her life not only as a dancer but also as a person. Since her graduation from High School in 2014, Kelly attended Belhaven University as a dance major and has participated in numerous intensives and training programs including, Alonzo King LINES. Kelly thoroughly enjoys dancing for Rogue Co Dance Company, in Boulder, Colorado and has also worked extensively with the Dallas based company, SoulEscape and the LA based company, MuseEffect. Kelly is an award winning, sought after teacher and choreographer in the Denver Metro area. Additionally, Kelly is known for creating short dance films featuring many of her students. Kelly finds great joy in mentoring and working with younger dancers and not only sharing her love and passion for dance with them, but also encouraging them to be strong, confident individuals with high moral values and integrity.
HELEN ESTRELLA – Guest Instructor, was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of her youth was spent in the rigors of competitive artistic and rhythmic gymnastics through which she found her love of dance. She can be seen in print and commercial work for Sola Optical Lenses and 2000 Olympics. In 2002 she found her way back to Sonoma County where she directed local competitive companies until the birth of her own, Estrella Dance Company and The Dance Room. Helen is currently a faculty member of CampMe, the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop, Theater Arts Preparatory School, Talent on Parade Dance Directive Convention, and judges for Talent on Parade. She is a nationally recognized instructor and choreographer who travels extensively teaching master classes and setting choreography on various dance companies. In 2010 Helen relocated to Colorado and now resides in Denver where she is the owner of Motion Dance Center.
MIKEY MESTAS – Guest Instructor, is a Colorado Native who began dancing in high school at Bantaba in Boulder. This is where he first gained appreciation for B-Boying, Rocking, House, and West African Drum and Dance. From there he battled into Affiliated Dance Crew, which inspired him to co-found Street Stylez, a Hip Hop Dance Crew with the goal to cultivate the development of ‘all styles’ and ‘all elements’ of Hip Hop Dance. With this background, he continued his dance education at the University of Colorado, where he received a BA in Integrated Physiology and an MFA in Choreography and Performance. Mikey now teaches and shares his cumulative experience in the dance program at Soar Charter School in Denver. He has had the privilege of performing and battling across the US as well as China and Guinea, West Africa.
KEVIN O’KEEFE – Guest Instructoris one of Colorado’s original Hip Hop teachers. Kevin has an extensive background in all Hip Hop styles. He received training from industry pioneers: Clyde Evans, Eric Finn, Quickstep and Rennie Harris. He has performed with: Don Campbell Lock jr , Electric Boogaloos , Lady Jules of the Beat Freaks , and the late Gary Kendall of the Jabbawockeez , and is a former member of Motion UnderGround’s Hip Hop company EOM. He has been a guest artist at: the Arena in Switzerland, the San Francisco Hip Hop Festival, the Colorado College Dance Festival, the Breaking Point in Montana, CU Boulder, and CSU Fort Collins, Red Rocks Community College and Front Range Community College. Kevin brings this unique flavor to many studios in Colorado, and is the Founder/Director of True 2 Form Dance Group. For years, he has been spreading a fire about the history of Hip Hop and a vision for where it could go. At this time, Kevin is a member of Street Stylez B-Boy Crew, performing core member with Machinez Remainz popping crew, and Rennie Harris Grass Roots Project, which has just finished a small performance tour of the East Coast.
CHANEL VELAZQUEZ-HOARD – Yoga Instructor
Chanel began her yoga journey in 2006. After a serious ankle injury, she decided to make yoga a part of her daily life; at first to strengthen the ankle, but then on a much deeper level as well. The more she practiced and studied the more she began to realize that the wonderful feelings she was feeling on the mat had begun to step into her life on the mat as well. After years of practicing, Chanel decided to deepen her practice receiving her YTT 200 Certification at the Lotus Pond of Tampa! Soon after earning her certificate she began teaching students of all ages, sharing the practice of yoga with children and adults, from preschools to studios to parks and offices, sharing the practice of yoga with all who want to learn and truly feels that yoga is for everybody! During Chanel’s free time she enjoys reading, being out with nature, hiking and playing upside down!
ALLISON BLAKENEY – Guest Instructor is a dancer, performing artist, choreographer, and a lifetime student. She is a Colorado native and has been dancing for over 20 years in Colorado, Los Angeles, and New York City. In 2009, she completed the Scholarship Program at the Edge Performing Arts Center. From there, she moved to Boulder, CO where she danced with The Schiff Dance Collective, Rogue Co. Dance Company, and Nancy Cranbourne. During this time she also taught and choreographed at studios throughout Colorado and completed Bachelor of the Arts degrees in both Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She currently dances with Interweave Dance Theatre and has had the opportunity to choreograph for professional shows with The Schiff Dance Collective, Rogue Co. Dance Company, and Interweave Dance Theatre. Allison is currently pursuing an MA in Dance and Identity at New York University through the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies.
MICHAELA MOORE – Instructor/Choreographer, was born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO. There, she began dancing at the age of 2 and has been dancing ever since. She is trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Musical Theater, Contemporary/Lyrical, Hip Hop and Pom. Her dance education has come from Robin’s Danceworks in Colorado Springs, The Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management Program in Oklahoma City, and the BFA Program at CU, Boulder. In December 2015, she graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. Some of her accomplishments include high honors at local and national competitions, and being invited to and attended a summer tap intensive in New York City for two years called, TapKids. She has been a part of the American Spirit Dance Company for two years in Oklahoma City, a member of the prestigious CU Dance Team, and recently has become a proud member of Rogue CO Dance Company. Aside from performing, Michaela also love to choreograph, and has choreographed numerous group routines and solos, including her BFA concert at CU Boulder. She is currently a part time dancer teacher, and a part time retail employee at Alex and Ani.
MIMI FERRIE – Guest Instructor is a native of Fort Collins, CO. where she trained as a competitive gymnast and dancer. While in high school, Mimi performed with companies such as Impact Dance, High Performance Dance Theatre, and Opera Fort Collins. Mimi graduated with her BFA in Dance from the University of Colorado in 2007. While at CU, Mimi performed in over 50 works by students and faculty including Gabe Masson, Onye Ozuzu, David Capps, and guest choreographers Susan Marshall, Rennie Harris, and Kevin Wynn. Mimi recently co-founded Peekaboo Sole Productions, a performing arts organization committed to providing artistic exchange and performance opportunities for artists in the Boulder/Denver area. Mimi has extensive training in modern, jazz, lyrical, ballet, african, and hip hop, and dance pedagogy. Mimi’s classes include a strong emphasis in technique and creative development. She has been teaching with Grace Studios since 2007, and is proud to be a part of the GSSD family.
MELISSA RUMSEY – Guest Instructor began dancing at a late age and fell in love from the first moment. She has worked with The Schiff Dance Collective, Evolving Doors Dance, Danca Nova Dance Company, Rouge Co. Dance Company, BRIAH Danse and had the honor of performing in Florence, Italy through Alambrado Studio. In 2009, Ms. Rumsey was awarded a scholarship through the Colorado Dance Alliance, and in 2011 was the winner of the Jessica Karrat Dance Scholarship. She currently dances for The Schiff Dance Collective, Rouge Co and BRIAH Danse. Ms Rumsey teaches for Production Company Dance Centre, The Schiff Dance Collective, Kinetic Arts Dance and has won awards for her choreography. Ms. Rumsey strives to impart a love of dance as well as a strong grasp of technique and proper body mechanics in her students.