We expect excellence, by providing excellence.
At Studio 9 Dance Academy, our faculty is comprised of like-minded, highly trained employees serving the core values of the academy. All teachers and staff are hand selected by the Directors after an in-depth interview process, background checks, and trained on the standards published within our Employment Policies & Procedures.
Owner, Business Director
Heather Elliott, a Colorado native, began her study of dance at the young age of three. As a dedicated student to the art, she attended numerous dance conventions and competitions throughout her adolescence, and had the opportunity of taking master classes from world-renown choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Henry La Tang, Denise Wall and Doug Caldwell.
After graduating as Salutatorian from her high school in 2001, Ms. Elliott attended the University of Denver on the Chancellor's scholarship. While there, she studied at the prestigious Daniels College of Business, was captain and founding member of the DU Dance Team, began instructing and choreographing for local dance studios, and performed with local dance companies.
Ms. Elliott graduated Cum Laude from the University of Denver in 2005 with a BSBA in Statistics and Economics. She then began her five year employment with the firm Alvarez & Marsal. While there, she traveled the United States working as a Business Consultant to high-profile clients such as Vail Resorts, Jacob's Entertainment, and Black Creek Capital.
In 2009, she changed career paths to work full-time as a dance instructor and Director of a pre-professional dance company. To date, her choreography has won numerous awards including Outstanding Choreography, Most Entertaining, and Overall High Point at both local and national dance competitions.
Ms. Elliott is excited to merge both of her passions: business and dance instruction, into the ownership of Studio 9 Dance Academy, with her close colleague and friend Lesley Henry. She is also a proud mother to her two sons, Noah and Carter, and daughter Brielle with her husband Jason.
Instructor / Office Manager
Carrie Parker is a Colorado native and has been dancing and performing for over 25 years. Her training includes ballet, tap, jazz, funk, contemporary and lyrical. Growing up, Carrie attended many competitions and workshops and had the honor of working with artists such as Barry Lather, Joe Tremaine, Marcea Lane, Steve Condos, Tony Coppola and Gregory Hines. She’s had the privilege to perform in Washington D.C. on the White House Ellipse, Disneyland, Queen Mary, at Baltimore’s Harbor Place and in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Following high school she attended Metropolitan State College of Denver and graduated in 1997 with a degree in Sociology and Psychology a minor in Spanish and a certification to teach K-6. Currently, Carrie teaches for Douglas County School District where for the last 20 plus years she has taught Kindergarten. All the while continuing to teach young children the art of dance.
After College she continued her passion for dance and teaching while working for two local studios choreographing for recreational students as well as pre-professional dance companies. While doing so she has won many awards and accolades for her choreography.
In her spare time Carrie continues to take classes and provide taxi service to her four children, Baily, Emma, Sadie and Zackery who have also found the love of dance. Carrie’s most gratifying and rewarding experiences have been when she sees the students she teaches perform and accomplish their goals and dreams.
Instructor / Outreach Coordinator
Rebecca ‘Becca’ Schreurs was born in Stuttgart, Germany into a military family and began to develop her passion for dance at the young age of five. After moving to Colorado, Becca trained in all styles of dance and joined a pre-professional dance company at the age of 10. Over the years, she has had the opportunity of training under industry professionals including Savion Glover, Corey Finn, and Mandy Moore. She also had the opportunity to dance nation-wide while competing in numerous regional and national competitions. As a pre-professional company dancer, Becca was awarded countless national awards for her dancing, including her personal goal of achieving the National Title Ms. Spotlight.
At the age of 12, she realized her goal of becoming a dance teacher and began assisting dance classes. Now, with over 15 years of teaching experience she continues to create high energy, unique and exciting classes for students of all ages. Expanding her professional teaching skills beyond the studio, she enjoys working with local high schools coaching Varsity Poms teams, choreographing school musicals as well as show choir performances. She is also passionate about establishing well-known children’s programs at local dance studios, creating classes for the youngest of dancers. She is currently combining her passion for dance with her interest in fitness, introducing dance to the youth members at Lifetime Fitness as an Academy Instructor. In the near future, Becca plans on integrating even more cross training for dancers though yoga and zumba based classes.
Becca is dedicated to conditioning her dance education though seminars, classes and workshops. She spends her free time with her husband Tyson, their son TJ, and step-daughter Kaden. She is very excited to be apart of the Studio 9 family, helping to create a positive environment for every dancer to thrive in.
Jessica Mariner is originally from Chicago, IL. She began dancing at an early age and trained at Dmitri Roudnev School of Ballet, Salt Creek Ballet and at the Studio Company of Ballet Chicago under the direction of Daniel Duell. While at Ballet Chicago she performed some notable ballets including George Balachine's Serenade, and Who Cares. She also spent summers training at Miami City Ballet, and Orlando ballet. She then continued her education at the University of Utah, obtaining a B.F.A in Ballet Performance. While at the university, she danced with the performing company Utah Ballet performing such as Gisselle, La Bayadere.
After graduation, she began her professional career dancing as an apprentice with Ballet Nebraska and then joined Missouri Ballet Theatre as a full company member performing soloist roles in Cinderella, Nutcracker and contemporary works by Robert Philander. Jessica is currently dancing with Ballet Ariel and Ballet 5280, performing soloist and corp de ballet roles in classical and contemporary ballets. Over the past year she has had the privilege of performing the classical ballets of Les Sylphides, The Nutcracker, Cinderella and La Fille Mal Gardee.
Jessica has had the opportunity to teach in Omaha, St. Louis and Denver and loves the art and discipline of ballet!
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Stefan began his ballet training in 1985 at Ft. Collins High School in Colorado. He danced with Canyon Concert Ballet in Ft. Collins until moving to Mississippi. He worked with various ballet companies in Mississippi and Louisiana, most notably Ballet Theatre South in Gulfport, MS and Ballet Hysell in New Orleans. He performed in the inaugural season of The Santa Fe Music Hall in Santa Fe, NM. He returned to Colorado and has danced, taught, and choreographed for Studio 9 since 2017.
Audrey Russo is a dancer, teacher, and student. She has been dancing since she was four years old and continued to dance through her college career. Audrey had the opportunity to dance competitively for 10 years and was on the Eaglecrest Poms Team in high school. Upon moving to Fort Collins for college, she became a part of the CSU Golden Poms team for four years. Audrey has taught at Contemporary Dance Academy in Fort Collins and is now starting a full time teaching career at Eaglecrest High School. She loves working with children and cannot wait to share her love of dance with everyone at Studio 9!
Kennedy grew up in Colorado and sparked her passion for dancing at the age of three. She continued her passion through an array of styles and joined the competitive world at a young age. Within the ten years of being a competitor dancer, she had the opportunity to attend conventions and master classes with world renowned choreographers and artists. She was a member of the Cherokee Trail High School poms team for two years and went on to further her dance career in college. Kennedy was a member of the University of Colorado Boulder dance team for two years. Through this, she competed nationally as a division one athlete and participated in numerous community events. As of now, she continues to share her passion for dance through teaching and remains a full time student.
Owner, Artistic Director
Lesley Henry was born and raised in Colorado where her love of dance began at an early age and has continued ever since. Ms. Henry attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts on a trustee talent scholarship and earned her BFA in Dance, graduating with honors.
Ms. Henry went on to dance professionally with Ballet Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa before returning to Colorado. Back home, she continued her professional career dancing with Boulder Ballet, Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet and David Taylor Dance Theater. She has had the privilege of working with many renowned choreographers such as Robert Sher-Machherndl, John Prinz, Dominic Walsh, Milenko Banovich, David Taylor, Ana Claire and Peter Davison. Ms. Henry has danced many leading and featured roles in both classical and contemporary ballets. Some of her favorites include Clara in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Nikaya in La Bayadere, and the Wolf in Peter and the Wolf.
Ms. Henry has over 18 years of teaching experience working with dancers of all ages and abilities. She has taught for various professional companies and schools. Ms. Henry has choreographed and staged full-length ballets as well as group competition pieces and has won awards for her choreography.
It has always been a dream of Ms. Henry’s to open a dance studio and together with co-owner and friend, Heather Elliott, she is thrilled to see this dream become a reality. Ms. Henry is very excited to share her passion for dance with the students of Studio 9 Dance Academy and can’t wait to see the new heights they can reach. She is also excited to share this new studio experience with her two daughters, Jordan and Carsyn, and husband Scott.
Instructor / Office Administrator
Alyssa Howell is Colorado native, who started dancing at the age of three. Alyssa received her BA in Dance, from Colorado State University in Fort Collins where she was awarded multiple merit scholarships. Upon graduation in May of 2014, she was awarded the Faculty Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Department of Dance. Alyssa also received her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education at Metro State University of Denver in May of 2017. She is entering her third year as a third grade teacher at Vanguard Classical School.
Alyssa’s training includes numerous master classes and guest artists in residence at Colorado State University, Walnut Hill Conservatory of Dance Summer Program on partial scholarship, American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive Programs, and multiple dance studios within the Denver Metro area. Alyssa was also lucky enough to train under Lesley Henry. She has had the pleasure of performing variations from Paquita, excerpts from Swan Lake, ensemble work from Don Quioxte. Some of her favorite roles include Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Clara, Snow Queen and Russian Lead in the Nutcracker, and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.
She has over 8 years of teaching experience for students of all ages and backgrounds. Alyssa is beginning her second year as Assistant Pom Coach for Smoky Hill High School. Alyssa served as the primary choreographer for three of Poudre High School’s musical productions, and also Kids Do It All for Colorado State University for three years. Alyssa had the privilege of teaching throughout the Poudre Valley School District with the ASK after school care program and Teaching Creative Movement for Children. Alyssa is currently dancing as a guest performer with Industrial Dance Alliance, where she is focusing on Lyrical and Contemporary technique and performances.
Alyssa is thrilled to be combining her passion of dance with her passion of teaching. She is very excited for the many opportunities Studio 9 has to offer, not only for herself but for the students.
Morgan Buchanan is from Houston, Texas. She trained at Ballet Center of Houston as well as Houston Ballet Academy. She joined Colorado Ballet studio company in 2009 and the main company in 2011. She was promoted to soloist in 2016. In addition to dancing at Colorado Ballet and teaching students across the Denver Metro area, Morgan attends college at the University of Colorado Denver. She also enjoys cooking and hiking in her spare time.
Instructor / Office Administrator
Holly O’Rourke was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado. She acquired her love of dance at the young age of four. She has training in Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Modern and Lyrical. During her adolescent years she spent over a decade as a competitive dancer, where she was awarded several convention scholarships and competition titles. Throughout her dance career she travelled all over the country attending master classes such as the Miami Dance Festival and attended classes at Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles. Holly is an alumni of Denver School of the Arts where she majored in Dance. There she had opportunities to work with local choreographers such as Hannah Kahn, Cleo Parker Robinson, and Kim Robards. By the age of 14, she was an apprentice in a Denver based modern company Louder Than Words and was a junior member of Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet in Boulder. Holly also had the privilege of training under Studio 9’s own Lesley Henry.
In recent years, Holly has danced professionally as a Denver Nuggets Dancer. She performed at numerous events on and off the court and participated in several community service events around the community. Holly has spent the last eight years as a dance teacher; she has a true passion for sharing her love of dance with her students. In her free time Holly continues to take class and attend master classes around Colorado. Holly looks forward to sharing her new journey with her beautiful daughter Valyn and husband Josh. She is excited to work under Heather Elliott and Lesley Henry as a part of the Studio 9 family.
Jordan Lefton, a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, graduated from The Juilliard School in 2015 and moved on to dance professionally with James Sewell Ballet for three seasons. Jordan started dancing at Thomas Dance Studio from the age of five, and later attended Alexander W. Dreyfoos High School of the Arts where he was able to further his training.
Over the years, Jordan has trained in ballet, among many other techniques including Limón, Horton, Gaga, Graham, contemporary partnering, contact improvisation, and tap. He has worked with many talented teachers and choreographers including Lawrence Rhodes, Risa Steinberg, Lar Lubovitch, Loni Landon, Troy Powell, Andra Corvino, Francisco Martinez, Alphonse Poulin, and Larry Keigwin. Jordan loves teaching and has done so for the past decade. He plans to keep spreading the art of dance to as many people as possible.
ANDREA COFFEY… started dancing at the age of three in Aurora, Colorado, and started competing at the age of nine. She trained in Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary, and Jazz along with her specialties: Tap and Hip Hop. At the age of thirteen, she participated in a week long tap intensive under the instruction of Jason Samuel-Smith, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, and Elka Samuel-Smith, and performed her solo in the closing showcase at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theater in Denver. Andrea has trained through a hip hop scholarship program at Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in Los Angeles and has also studied tap at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Andrea majored in Sociology and Communications at Arizona State University where she was also a dancer and Co-Captain of the ASU Hip-Hop Coalition whom she performed with during the halftime show from the Phoenix Suns and at the 2009 ASU Commencement with guest speaker President Barak Obama. In 2011, Andrea was also featured in the Just Dance commercial. She has also performed with Tap 24/7 in their annual National Tap Dance Day show and in the Motor City Soles Showcase at the Motor City Tap Festival in Detroit along with performers such Chloe Arnold and Gregg Russell. Andrea has taught master classes and/or set tap choreography in Washington, Arizona, Missouri, Kansas, Virginia, Texas, Orlando and throughout Colorado. Currently, Andrea is judging for Starquest International where she has judged regional and national competitions, as well as teaching Hip Hop, Tap, and Jazz Funk Master Classes. Andrea has received awards and accolades for her choreography regionally and nationally. She loves sharing her passion of dance with children and strives to train dancers to be their best selves inside and outside of the studio. Andrea is excited to join the elite staff of Studio 9!
Thea began the start of her love for dance at the age of 7 just outside of Atlanta with Roswell City Dance under the direction of Beth Mason and Nancy Whitehead. Upon relocating to North Carolina, she continued her dancing with multiple educators throughout the Raleigh/Durham Triangle including Missy Blackburn of Carolina Dance Center, Gene Medler of North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble, and Christy Curtis of CC & Co Dance Complex. During these formative years, she was awarded full scholarship to Ohio’s BalletMet, Los Angeles EDGE Performing Arts Center, and she performed a featured character role in Cheryl Lee’s original production of “Recipe for Love” at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. She also of had the opportunity to train under and present the choreography of Lauren Adams, Sonya Tayeh, Peter Chu, Eileen Juric, Mandy Moore, Martha Nichols, and Melissa Jackson during her senior year of high school.
Upon graduating, she moved to NYC where she began working at Broadway Dance Center and training under choreographers such as Finis Jhung, David Howard, Matthew Powell, Brice Mousset, Sidra Bell, Loni Landon, Joshua Bergasse, Sheryl Murakami, Michelle Dorrance, Mishay Petronelli, and Shelly Hutchinson. She began mentoring under Calen Kurka and Chris Hale where she focused heavily on kinesthetic movement – anatomy, biomechanics, injury prevention, yoga, improvisation, Pilates, Gyrokinesis, and nutrition classes were the fundamentals of their company Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance, where she trained and performed their collaborative work “Beyond the Waves” at Manhattan Movement Arts Center, and Frederick Loewe Theatre.
Upon returning to North Carolina, Thea continued her education in going on to become a certified group fitness instructor via Margot Martin of BalletBurn, and completing her aerial pole teacher certification via Dakota Fox of Aradia Fitness. She performed under the direction of Leah Wilks and Jon Haas’ Durham based multimedia modern company VECTOR, where she presented the original living installation of “(in)Habitus” at Manbites Dog Theatre, and the premier evening length work of “Habitus” at Cordoba Arts Center. She was on faculty with American Dance Festival, St Mary’s High School, Arts Together, Raleigh School of Ballet, Barriskill Dance Theatre, and as a resident guest instructor for North Carolina State University, and Enloe High School. She is currently residing in Denver, Colorado and is on faculty with multiple local studios and is leading a successful weekly adult movement collective; she also continues to hold choreographic residencies and functional anatomy workshops for numerous studios throughout both the East Coast as well as Colorado, including Denver School of the Arts. In addition, she has taught dance and creative movement residencies within the Denver Public School systems, and has toured with multiple dance conventions & competitions as both an Adjudicator & Master Teacher. As of the Summer of 2019, Thea is a finalist in the top 10 percent of artists chosen for the opportunity to curate her own exhibit in Meow Wolf’s brand new soon-to-be Denver location.
Thea’s classes focus heavily on sound anatomical structure, kinesthetic intention, strength training, injury prevention, authentic self-expression, and musical specificity. Her passion lies within helping dancers and movers of any medium come to deeper understanding within the mechanics of their own unique bodies, and cultivating an environment for movement to be explored, dissected, reconstructed, emoted, inverted, and exciting to each individual human in their own experience. Thea asks for any dancer present in her class to examine their core beliefs, who they are with them and who they may be without them; to be open to the invitation of examining experiences and egos through multiple perspectives in hopes of gaining an ever curious sense of self awareness and ultimately, an inclusive compassionate community of dancers who make just as much space for others as they do for themselves.