EDC FULL TIME FACULTY

Christina Davenport - Owner and Director

Elite Dance Center was opened in September of 2011 by Christina Davenport who has been training, teaching, and choreographing in the Fort Wayne area for several years.  Christina began dancing at the age of two and has developed a well-rounded repertoire of dance training throughout her career.  Christina has taught and choreographed professionally for several years and has won numerous awards for her choreography around the country.  In 2008 she began the Young Choreographer Showcase in Fort Wayne where she gave young dancers the chance to choreograph and create original pieces and perform them for an audience at the Allen County Public Library.  Christina has taught at several different dance studio’s in Fort Wayne and has always had a goal of opening and developing a studio where dancers can train and perfect their skills in a flexible and professional learning environment.  With a degree in Elementary Education and Mild Intervention from the University of Saint Francis, Christina understands that every child learns and develops differently and she is able to take her background in education and use it to meet each of her student’s specific needs. 


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Alexa Dietz - Assistant Director/Instructor

Alexa Dietz has been involved in dance since the age of 5. Her training extends to all styles, including jazz, tap, ballet, modern, contemporary, musical theater, and hip-hop. Upon graduating from High School, Alexa moved to New York City to train professionally at Broadway Dance Center as part of the Professional Semester program. Alexa then attended Ball State University where she completed a BFA in dance performance with a minor in technical theater.  Her professional credits include a west coast tour of Broadway Christmas Wonderland, Le Grande Cirque, and Spirit of Christmas with Spirit Productions. She was a member of Odyssey Dance Theater, where she spent two months in Utah, training and touring in their production of Thriller. Throughout her time in New York City, Alexa was actively auditioning under the representation of Lucille DiCampli Artists Representation. She is so excited to start her next chapter in Fort Wayne teaching for Elite Dance Center this year! #GoBlue


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Andrea White - Style Director/Instructor

Andrea White grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana and was an original dancer of Elite Dance Center when the studio opened in 2011. Since graduating from Carroll High School in 2013 she has received her cosmetology license and is working at the Forum Hair Salon. In the past year Andrea has choreographed several award winning solos, duets, and group dances. Andrea has also had the pleasure of performing in the Fort Wayne Dancing With the Stars charity event as a "professional dancer." Andrea teaches Jazz, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, and Ballet to recreational and competitive level dancers at EDC.


Katie Decker -  Creative Director

Katie Decker got her start in dancing at the age of three in Fort Wayne, IN. She trained competitively with studios in Indiana and Illinois, and studied under many well-known choreographers. Katie graduated, as one of the founding members, from New American Youth Ballet and Conservatory. After graduation she studied at Alonzo King LINES Ballet Year-Round program and eventually the BFA program in San Francisco, CA. Katie decided to move back to Fort Wayne, IN to pursue a career in communication arts and graphic design at the University of Saint Francis. Katie graduated in May 2013 with a BFA in Communication Arts and Graphic Design and is an eMail Marketing Director for Lett Direct Marketing Firm. 


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Jacob Cox - Instructor

Born and raised in a small city in Kansas, Jacob Cox began his dance training at the age of 15 at the Metropolitan Ballet Theater of Topeka. He went on to study at the prestigious Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. After spending 3 years training in Pennsylvania, he became a member of Tulsa Ballet II and was with the company for 2 seasons. Jacob has danced all over the US and has performed lead roles in productions such as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Giselle, Cinderella, Raymonda, Serenade and Grand Pas Classique. Jacob continues to train but has found his love for teaching and has taught all across the country. His dancers have gone on to win numerous national titles and have had the privilege to work with world-renown choreographers. He is excited to continue to share his knowledge of dance and is committed to encouraging all dancers to strive for excellence as they pursue their goals and dreams.


Mary Root - Elite Dance Center Office Manager


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Charli Hagedorn

Charli started dancing at a young age of 3 and began seriously training at Elite at age 11. She is a part of EDC’s Full-Time Pro Level and is a Junior at Homestead High School. Charli has won multiple improv competitions as well as numerous awards for solos. She has been assisting at the studio for five seasons. Charli has an interest in elementary education and would like to further her experience with children at the studio. Additionally, she is considering universities with potential dance programs. Charli is so excited to teach Level 1 dancers this season.


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Reece Neuenschwander
Reece Neuenschwander began his dance career at the age of eight years olds. He has trained at many studios in the surrounding Fort Wayne area. In 2015, Reece became a full time dancer here at Elite Dance Center and has been dedicated to his training since. He has won various awards including scholarships and titles. In 2017, Reece was handed most promising dancer from his hard work and ability to strive every day in the studio. He graduated from Carroll High School as a mid term grad in 2017. Reece will be attending Purdue University Fort Wayne in the Fall of 2018, majoring in Biology. He is so thrilled to be teaching boys hip hop the summer of 2018 at EDC! 

 


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Kitty Thelen

Caroline Thelen, also known as Kitty, has been training in dance since the age of 3 and started training full-time at Elite Dance Center when she was 11. Kitty is a senior at Bishop Dwenger High School and is a full-time Pro Dancer at the studio. She has been an assistant for younger dancers since she was 12. Kitty has won multiple entertainment and high-point awards for solos and several scholarships at dance conventions. She hopes to continue her passion for musical theater in college and to pursue a career on Broadway. She is so thrilled to become a member of the EDC faculty, teaching Level 2 Ballet and Jazz!


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Natalie Konow

Natalie Konow is a former dancer at EDC and recently graduated from Carroll High School. She is attending Purdue University Fort Wayne to receive a degree in psychology. Natalie started dancing at a young age and began her training at Elite in 2014, since then she has received numerous awards and scholarships from conventions including, The Pulse, Intrigue, and Velocity. Natalie has gotten the chance to train at Project Ballet and also performed in the Fort Wayne Ballet’s Nutcracker. Natalie is beyond excited to be apart of the EDC faculty and share her passion for dance with others.

 


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Schyler M. Straessle

Schyler Straessle is a graduate of Mercyhurst University in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Dance. She began her dance training at a very young age of 3 years old. Schyler began training at a more serious and rigorous level at Project Ballet, formally the New American Youth Ballet, at the age of 12 and continued throughout high school. At Project Ballet, she trained and preformed in ballet, pointe, and modern. Every summer while at Project Ballet, Schyler traveled to various states to expand on her dance training. She studied at The Rock School of Dance, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Houston Ballet, Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, and Carolina Ballet. Schyler also danced at various dance studios in high school including K. Monique’s Studio of Dance, Sheekristyle Academy of Dance, and Elite Dance Center. At these studios, she trained and preformed in jazz, tap, contemporary, and hip hop. While in college, Schyler continued her dance training at the Mercyhurst Dance Department. During her time at Mercyhurst, she studied ballet, contemporary, and modern. She also was given multiple opportunities to preform in these styles. Schyler will be continuing her education at the University of St. Francis to complete a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Schyler has always had a love for dance as well as children. She is looking forward to combining her two passions and sharing her knowledge of dance with young students.


EDC GUEST FACULTY


Madi Heckler

Madi began dancing at a young age and trained until 13 years old at various studio around the Fort Wayne area. She began her serious dance training at EDC in 2012. Since then Madi has moved through our Full-Time training program is now in EDC's Pro level. Madi has been assisting at the studio for three seasons. She not only is one of EDC's most award winning dancers she also won our Young Choreographers Showcase in 2015. Madi is a decorated soloist and has received full scholarships to train at Broadway Dance Center's summer intensive in New York City the last two season. She is also on scholarship with Intrigue Dance Convention for the 2016-2017 season. Madi hopes to continue her dance education in college and pursue a career as a choreographer. She is happy to be teaching Level 1-2 dancers at EDC this season!


Emma Leininger

Emma began dancing at an early age in Fort Wayne IN and starting her training at EDC in 2012. Emma is a Junior at Homestead High School and is a part of EDC's Full-Time Pro level of training. Emma's favorite styles of dance are Lyrical and Musical Theater and she has won countless Top 10 overall awards as well as performance and technique awards as a soloist around the country. Emma plans to continue her dance education in college and pursue a career in Musical Theater. Emma is thrilled to join EDC's Faculty and will be teaching Level 1-2 dancers


Elizabeth Mikautadze - Instructor

Elizabeth Mikautadze has been dancing since the age of three.  She became a serious student when she joined the Movement Laboratories Youth Ensemble in Lancaster, PA.  Under the direction of Judy Williams Henry she trained in Ballet, Modern and Jazz .  Elizabeth was chosen to study abroad at the Hungarian Ballet School prior to graduating high school.  She was later accepted into The Boston Conservatory where she earned her BFA in Dance. Before graduating, she studied at The Milwaukee Ballet. Elizabeth continued her training in NYC at the Paul Taylor School, The Alvin Ailey Dance Center, and at The Martha Graham Dance Center.  She was accepted as a Martha Graham trainee and later as a Martha Graham Ensemble member. Elizabeth danced professionally with Mereminne Dancers and Buglisi/Foreman Dance Company.  Her experiences have inspired her to create her own dance works.  She has presented choreography at The Boston Conservatory Dance Theater, and WAX Works, Brooklyn NY. She has taught Ballet and Modern technique classes and workshops at The Fort Wayne Dance Collective,  New American Youth Ballet, and Tri -County Dance Academy(TC Dance).  She is a professor of Ballet and Modern dance at IPFW andbecame artistic director and founder of a contemporary dance company, Mikautadze Dance Theatre, in May 2008. Elizabeth is excited to be teaching the Advanced Ballet class at EDC!


Stacey Root - Instructor

Stacey Root is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and received her extensive dance training at multiple studios and programs around the Fort Wayne area. Stacey began dancing at the age of 3 and trained as a competitive dancer until the age of 18. Stacey's eclectic training includes many styles of dance such as Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary, Hip-Hop and Pointe. Stacey spent her career as a competitive dancer competing at multiple regional and national dance competitions and conventions around the country. She has won countless awards and scholarships for her Jazz, Lyrical and Contemporary dancing. At the age of 14, Stacey joined the New American Youth Ballet and Conservatory program as one of the schools founding students. Here she studied Ballet, Pointe, and Modern for five to eight hours, five days a week. In 2008, she graduated from NAYB as valedictorian and began studying English at The University of Saint Francis. In 2010 she moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue her education in film and writing at the New York Film Academy. While in Los Angeles, Stacey trained at The EDGE Performing Arts Center in Ballet, Jazz and Hip Hop. While in LA, Stacey worked as in administrator for Undefeated, Stussy, and Supreme (clothing companies based in the LA area). In 2012, Stacey moved back to Fort Wayne to complete her schooling and teach at Elite Dance Center. She has since earned her English degree from the University of Saint Francis with high honors and is currently working as the Editor of Michiana Business Publications Inc., which publishes Business People, Fort Wayne Living, BusinessWomen of Northeast Indiana, Planning Your Wedding, and numerous other publications. Stacey could not imagine her life without dance and looks forward to every chance she gets to teach at EDC and work with its amazing students. She teaches Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical and Pointe technique to Intermediate and Advanced level dancers at EDC.  


Chelsea Dumas - Instructor

Chelsea Dumas began her training in Fort Wayne, IN t several studios around the area and in high school trained primarily in Ballet at the New American Youth Conservatory. She then spent a year studying ballet at Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music. Chelsea has spent summers at The Chautauqua Institution and The School of American Ballet. Some of her favorite ballet’s to perform have been Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land, Balanchine’s Serenade and Who cares?; and Dwight Rhoden’s Piece Peace. She is now in her third season with Charlotte Ballet in North Carolina. Prior to joining the company she spent one year as an apprentice with Charlotte Ballet.

 

 


Lead Assistants 2018-2019:
Isabella Bruns
These selected dancers at EDC are in training to be teachers at EDC. They assist and substitute teach at the studio 2-4 hours a week.

 

Internship Program 2018-2019:

Interns 2018-2019: Chloe Castetter and Zoey Waterman

Each season EDC chooses 1-2 high school aged dancers to intern for the year. Interns are chosen based on age, commitment to the studio, and must have an interest in pursuing a career as a dance teacher, choreographer or studio owner. The interns are responsible for assisting the EDC faculty in studio events, office management work and daily class assisting. Dancers involved in our internship program can acquire school credit hours within this program if they choose to.