Alisa Laraway


With DC: From the beginning! We thank her for giving us this wonderful workplace!

Dance History: Alisa was born and raised in Dallas where she began her dance studies at the age of 2 in 1972 at her mother’s dance school. While at her mother’s studio, Alisa was a member of Dallas Dance Elite, later becoming Artistic Director and Choreographer. In 1988 Alisa was honored with a scholarship to Patsy Swayze’s Dance Studio in Los Angeles. Along with training at her mother’s dance studio, Alisa has also studied at Chamberlain School of Ballet, Buster Cooper’s School of Dance, and Dance Etc. She has studied many genres of dance, ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, musical theater, not to mention twirling and gymnastics! Alisa has received many additional achievements and scholarships for her performances and choreography for several major productions around the world. In 1996 Alisa founded Alisa’s Dance Academy in Westlake and Austin’s Dance Elite, the youth performing company. Verge Dance Co. and BA Productions were founded through the academy in 2001. Today, she continues to direct the Westlake and Lakeway Academy locations. Alisa is a Member of The National Dance Association (NDA), American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), ASCAP and SESAC and is American Dance Certified (ADC).

Styles of Dance (studied or taught): Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Pointe, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Musical Theater

Favorite Historical Dancer/Choreographer: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines, Twyla Tharp

Favorite Current Dancer/Choreographer: Travis Wall, Chelsie Hightower

Shelley Hale

General Manager & Teams Specialist / Westlake & Round Rock

With DC: Since August 2002

Dance History: Shelley first started dancing at the age of 15 in high school as a member of the dance team. She attended Texas State University and received her degree in Dance and Education in 1997. Her training while at Texas State was modern intensive, training primarily in the (Erich) Hawkins technique. She holds a Lifetime Texas Teaching Certificate in Dance. After teaching and directing dance teams in the central Texas area for several years, and producing several award winning teams, Shelley moved to Austin and has been with DC ever since!

Styles of Dance (studied or taught): Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Lyrical & Modern. As a HS dance director she taught all styles and choreographed most team pieces.

Favorite Historical Dancer/Choreographer: Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham

Favorite Current Dancer/Choreographer: Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, Tabitha & Napolean

Carla Gleason

Sales Associate / Westlake

With DC: Since October 2015

Dance History:  Carla began her ballet studies at the age of three in Brazil, and never fell out of love with dancing.  At 13 she began her pre-professional training under the direction of Cynthia Donavin, Nell Hacker and Alisher Suboruv at Classical Ballet Theatre in Herndon, Virginia and gained acceptance to renowned summer intensive programs at Colorado Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Palos Verdes Ballet as well as the Richmond Ballet Trainee Intensive. During her studies, she had the privilege of performing Jean Paul Comelin’s Daughters of Mourning, Colorado Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty, Nell Hacker’s Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Peter and the Wolf and the works of many other acclaimed choreographers.  During her senior year in high school Carla danced for the Manassas Ballet Company where she performed in several pieces including Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.  In 2012 she graduated from Belhaven University with a Bachelor of Sports Medicine Exercise Science and a Minor in Dance.  During her time at Belhaven University she studied under the direction of Cynthia Newland, Caleb Mitchell, Laura Morton, Erin Scheiwe Rockwell, Ravenna Tucker, Stephen Wynne, Britta Wynne and performed various works by choreographers and staff in both classical ballet and modern dance. Carla takes pride and enjoyment in helping others, especially when it comes to choosing the perfect pair of tights or a leotard! She also currently works for Alisa's Dance Academy as the Lakeway studio office manager.

Styles of Dance (studied or taught): Ballet, Pointe, Pas De Deux, Variations, Modern, Lyrical, Jazz, Salsa

Favorite Historical Dancer/Choreographer: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Julie Kent, Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison

Favorite Current Dancer/Choreographer: Sara Mearns, Travis Wall, Alonzo King

Kaorra Holliday

Lead Sales Associate / Round Rock + Merchandising Coordinator

With DC: Since August 2012

Dance History:  At the age of 11 she began praise dancing in the church. A few years later she joined the Round Rock Stony Point Tiger Dancers and became 2nd lieutenant. After graduating High School in 2010 she attended Austin Community College where she had classes in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Improv and Choreography. She holds an Associates of Art degree in Dance from ACC and a Bachelors of Science degree from Texas State University in Fashion Merchandising, with a minor in Business.

Styles of Dance (studied or taught): Liturgical, Modern

Favorite Historical Dancer/Choreographer: Isadora Duncan

Favorite Current Dancer/Choreographer: Darla Johnson

Betsey Lipp

Lead Sales Associate / Westlake

With DC: Since November 2016

Dance History:  Betsey grew up in Saratoga Springs NY where she began her classical ballet studies at the age of 4, attending Phyllis Latin’s American Dance Center. Between taking classes and the ADC company rehearsals, her training quickly developed into dancing at least 30 hours a week. By the time she was 10, Betsey was accepted into many intensive pre-professional summer programs. Dancing at prestigious institutions such as Hubbard Street, Joffrey Ballet, Interlochen Arts Academy and Northwestern University. She studied Visual Communication at FIDM in Los Angeles and graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art. Betsey recently moved to Austin and is continuing to follow her passion for the creative arts.

Styles of Dance (studied or taught): Classical Ballet, Pointe, Pas De Deux, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Modern, Musical Theater

Favorite Historical Dancer/Choreographer: Gene Kelly, Robert Joffrey, Mikhail Baryshnikov

 Favorite Current Dancer/Choreographer: Misty Copeland, Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, Sergei Polunin

Cinda McCullars

Sales Associate / Westlake

With DC: Since September 2017

Dance History:  Cinda began her passion for dance at a very young age watching her mom teach. She started dancing at the age of 3 under the mentorship of Joel Ruminer. Her senior year of high school she was presented the prestigious Outstanding Senior Dancer Award. After graduating she was honored to travel with the nationally known Joel Ruminer’s Dance Camps as a Dance Camp Kid where she had the opportunity to train under many top masters. Cinda started teaching dance in high school and continued through college teaching at several studios around Arkansas. In 2002 she moved to Austin, and in 2005 had twins Eyan and Chloe.  In 2015, after spending 7 years as a dance mom, she joined the staff at Alisa’s Dance Academy and now has joined the team at DC!

Styles of Dance (studied or taught): Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Pointe, and Lindy Hop

Favorite Historical Dancer/Choreographer: Ginger Rogers, Gregory Hines

 Favorite Current Dancer/Choreographer: Mandy Moore, Gaby Diaz

Krista Robinson

Sales Associate / Westlake

With DC: Since August 2015

Dance History:  Krista grew up in the Midwest where she started dancing at age 3, studying jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop and tumbling.  Hailing from northern Illinois she danced and competed with Contemporary Dance Expressions and Midwest Performing Arts Center into her early 20s.  In college, she studied modern and ballet at Northern Illinois University, from which she graduated in 2009 with a BA in English. With over 10 years of teaching experience, she recently moved to Austin in order to build a career here.  She is currently dancing with Verge Dance Company and is also an instructor, and the office manager, at Alisa's Dance Academy.

Styles of Dance (studied or taught):  Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip Hop

Favorite Historical Dancer/Choreographer: Lester Horton, the Nicholas Brothers, Gregory Hines, Debbie Allen

Favorite Current Dancer/Choreographer: Kevin Wilson, Marcel Wilson, Sonya Tayeh, Mia Michaels

Melissa Torres

Sales Associate / Round Rock & Westlake

With DC: Since October 2016

Dance History:  Melissa started dancing when she was 15 when she joined color guard/ winter guard at Katy High School in Katy, TX. She participated all 4 years. During her time in winter guard her group were TCGC state champions her freshman and sophomore years. She is  currently a junior at Huston-Tillotson University seeking a major in political science and minor in pre-law.

Styles of Dance (studied or taught):  Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip Hop

Favorite Historical Dancer/Choreographer: Jack Cole, Gene Kelly

Favorite Current Dancer/Choreographer: Joaquin Cortes