Leigh Simmons is the director of Tarrytown Dance. She started dancing at the age of seven, and received most of her dance training from Frances and Bruce Lea in Fort Worth, Texas. She was a member of the nationally-recognized Bruce Lea Dancers who performed all over Texas. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has taught all forms of dance for 30 years. In 1982, Leigh won the Joe Tremaine Dance Scholarship in Los Angeles, and became the head of the jazz department for the Frances Lea Dance Center. Leigh has studied with renowned instructors and choreographers such as Doug Caldwell and Voight Kempson (jazz); Barry Lather, Fusion, Ludacris and Tabitha and Napoleon (hip hop) Marcea Lane and Liz Imperio (jazz/lyrical) Frances Lea, Larry Howard, Ted Levy, and Mike Minery (Tap). She has been in numerous live performances, industry videos, and TV commercials.
Randall trained at the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, the Tidewater Ballet, and on full scholarship with Joffrey Ballet. Studying with Susan Boree, Irtha Kitt, Edward Villela, Gene Hammet, Pat Sorell, and Robert Steele, he was given featured roles in Graduation Ball, Concerto Borrocco, Don Q Pas de Deux, and Copellia. As an apprentice with Pennsylvania Ballet, he trained under Lupe Serano and Benjamin Harkave. Randall was soloist with Connecticut Ballet, invited to dance with Finis Jung's Ballet, and was principal with Atlantic City Ballet. He was acclaimed as the Green Boy in Les Patineuers and as the Prince in Swan Lake and other pieces including George Balanchine's Valse Fantasie, August Bournonville's Flower Festival Pas de Deux, and Stuart Hode's Abyss. Invited to dance at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival he then became principal dancer with Ballet Austin. His featured roles included Allegro Brillante, The Fairy's Kiss, Rhythmetron, and EleKtra. He was a member of the New York City Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company and with New York City's Dennis Wayne Dance Company he toured across the US and overseas. Randall was invited back to Ballet Austin and then accepted a position with Tapestry as resident choreographer/principal dancer. Joining forces with his wife, Jeanne Marie, he began a partnership that took him around the US and on board some of the finest six-star cruise ships performing many of the classic pas de deux. His dancing has taken him to over 62 countries and his teaching method blending Bournonville, Vaganova, and the French styles has gained him teaching positions at some of the leading academies throughout the United States.
DanceForce Competition Team Director Tap/Jazz/Musical Theater/PreDrill/Cardio Dance
Kerin began studying tap, musical theatre, jazz, and ballet at the age of seven in northern California. She was a varsity dance line member and choreographer for both her high school and junior college dance teams. She began teaching tap at the age of sixteen at the Katherine Wheeler Dance Studio in Santa Rosa, California. At eighteen she was hired as a drama and dance instructor for the prestigious West County Theatre Arts Guild in Petaluma, California. For two years, she danced with the hip hop performing group Defiant, and her choreography for this group was chosen to be featured at the San Francisco Dance Center Showcase in 2002. She has studied at the Lines Dance Center and the Dance Mission Theatre in San Francisco, and the EDGE performing Arts Center and the Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles. Before moving to Austin, Texas, she lived in Anaheim, California where she performed dancing, singing, and character rolls in parades and stage shows at The Disneyland Resort, which was a dream come true. Her favorite rolls included dancing in Fantasmic! (2003),Parade of the Stars (2003), and the Mickey's Christmas Fantasy Parade(2003-2004). Since her arrival in Austin, Kerin has been part of the faculty at Tarrytown Dance. She is currently a director of the award-winning DanceFORCE competition team.
Ryan comes to Tarrytown Dance from Chicago, Illinois, where he performed with the Thodos Dance Company. He performed with Thodos at the Busan Korea International Festival, Spring Into Dance St. Louis, and Jazz Dance World Congress, among others. Ryan received his training from Nan Giordano, Jon Lehrer, and Alberto Arias at Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. He also trained at Patti Rutland Jazz, where he was the winner of the Leo's Gold Show award for choreography. Ryan started studying dance at the age of seven with various studios in Florida and Louisiana.
Kelly Mercer began her dance training with the Rock School West and the Brandywine Ballet Company outside of Philadelphia, PA. She went on to Muhlenberg College and studied dance under various nationally recognized artists including Karen Dearborn, Shelley Oliver, Charles O. Anderson and Nicholas Leichter. During her junior year Kelly studied abroad at Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy where she trained with multiple European artists and performed with the company Teriaca, under the direction of Gianni Bruschi. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Muhlenberg College with a degree in both Business Administration and Dance, Kelly moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and joined the Cangelosi Dance Project for the 2010-2011 season.
Gabriel "blitz" Mendez
Gabriel aka "Blitz" has taught through numerous studios from L.A. to Texas and showcased on-going spectacular performances for The Harlem Globe Trotters, Mentos, Nike, Rock Steady Crew and the Wu-Tang clan. He is self taught and has danced since the age of 8 as a street break dancer, which progressed to an outlet of many other culture styles such as Hip Hop, House, African, Salsa and many more to be named. Twenty years of experience has inspired this man's dream to pass the knowledge and techniques to loved ones that enjoy the culture of urban dance. His classes encompass an energetic cardio world of listening and doing because without these words, "Live, love, life" there would be no way to express dance freedom.
Ballet-Tap Combo/Mini Hip Hop
Taylor began dancing at the age of 4 in Florida. She studied jazz, ballet, hip-hop and tap. She continued dancing at various studios throughout the years. During her freshman year she joined a competitive cheer/dance team. She earned the position of captain on the squad. In 2009 she competed with West Austin Dance and was awarded 1st place high gold in the Hall of Fame Dance Competition. As a senior at Lake Travis High School, she began assisting and teaching in her dance classes. After graduation she furthered her study in dance at Austin Community College obtaining more knowledge on technique, choreography, improvisation, and modern dance. She also began teaching and assisting classes at Tarrytown dance in late 2009. She is currently studying at Texas State University and dancing for the Texas Stars hockey team as an Ice Girl in cedar park.