Madi Bowen – Office Manager
Emily Hatch – Owner, Ballet & Company Director
Emily Hatch fell in love with dance at the age of eight as she began her training at Boni’s Dance and Performing Arts in The Woodlands, Texas. During that time, she earned several lead rolls in large performances, including the rolls of Clara in The Nutcracker, Cinderella in Cinderella, and The Snow Queen in The Nutcracker. Emily also danced on their Company known as Boni’s En Toure, which participated in performances around the community, as well as multiple competitions each year. In addition to Boni’s Dance and Performing Arts, Emily was a cheerleader at The Woodlands Christian Academy, eventually becoming captain of the squad.
Upon graduating from The Woodlands Christian Academy, Emily continued her education at Baylor University in Waco, Texas where she desired to pursue both dance and cheer. She received her degree in both entrepreneurship and dance, while joining Baylor’s Co-Ed Cheerleading Squad. While on the Co-Ed Squad, Emily became captain in her third year and had the unique opportunity to lead the team at the Women’s NCAA Final Four, the Men’s NCAA Elite Eight, and the Texas Bowl. In order to fuel her passion for dance, Emily worked at a local dance studio, Joy’s School of Dance, providing her with her first opportunity to teach kids.
Once Emily graduated from Baylor, she continued to teach dance in San Antonio at Heather Stolle’s School of Dance. However, after marrying her husband Scott in 2014, Emily moved to Dallas, where she obtained a full time position with Frisco Dance Studio. She taught kids from ages three and up, including adult ballet. In her final year at FDS, she became a Company instructor, teaching a team of fifteen girls. In addition to this, she taught a couple of duets/trios, winning best choreography for one of her duets.
Emily and Scott recently made the move to Rockwall where the Lord has blessed them with the unique opportunity to open Rockwall Dance Academy. Dance has always been Emily’s passion and she is excited to share her passion and experience with kids and provide them with the same opportunities that she was provided. Emily currently teaches ballet, jazz, contemporary, acro, stretch, technique, Pointe, and combo classes, in addition to being Company Director for RDA.
Keeli James – Company Instructor & Tap Director
Keeli James has been performing, teaching, and choreographing in the DFW Metroplex for 20 years and it all began with ballet, tap, and jazz dance classes at the age of 3. Growing up in Lubbock, TX, she studied at Barbara Thompson’s Dance Academy and began performing in church musicals. She also started private voice instruction at age 15. She went on to pursue her undergraduate studies and performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC with the DBU Chamber Singers, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Dallas Baptist University, and is certified for All-Level Music. Throughout college she taught private voice and while also teaching dance instruction at The Studio Upstairs in DeSoto. After graduation she received a scholarship to AMDA (American Musical & Dramatic Academy) in New York, but opted to settle down and start a family.
In 2005 after being blessed with 2 beautiful daughters and teaching music in Mesquite ISD, she began her professional performance career as an Actor in Sweeney Todd at Lyric Stage Theater Company in Irving, TX, where she was featured as a dancer. Since then she has She has performed principal and supporting roles in Regional Theatre Companies throughout the DFW metroplex, such as Lyric Stage, Garland Summer Musicals, Rockwall Summer Musicals, and has been a featured soloist in concert with Pfamily Arts and The Plano Symphony Orchestra. Some of her favorite roles include Anna in The King & I, Laurie in Oklahoma!, Grace in Annie, & the Baroness in The Sound of Music. Her absolute favorite shows are tap shows like Anything Goes, Forty Second Street, and Thoroughly Modern Millie! She was most recently seen on stage with the Brick Road Theatre Company playing the role of Susan in Sondheim’s Company (February 2016) and was featured from the show as a soloist on Nancy Churnin’s Dallas Morning News Program with Janelle Lutz and Jason Bias.
The past few years Keeli has taught at the prestigious Park Cities Dance in Dallas where she has been an instructor of Singing and Acting, Private Voice Instruction, Vocal Technique, Broadway Intermediate Tap, and Broadways Babies Summer Camps. Before that she taught at a local studio in Rockwall for 8 years where her daughters began their love of dance.
Keeli is married to Blake James who is the Market President for Rockwall/Hunt Counties and together they have a beautiful blended family with four children between them. They love the city of Rockwall and are heavily invested in its commmunity and both have served and continue to serve on various boards for organizations that help raise awareness for those in need. She has served with the charitable organization Bow and a Blessing as an entertainer for terminally ill children at Plano Children’s Medical Center, and also for the Children’s Cancer Fund Gala in Dallas. She has served on the Rockwall County Arts Alliance Board and also as President of the Guild for Rockwall Summer Musicals. During the school year she teaches private voice instruction at 5 secondary campuses, and also at her private home studio where she also holds semi-private musical theatre classes.
In April 2016, she cast an ensemble of students called the Triple Threats (sing, dance, and act) that performed two musical theatre medleys, (Matilda and Mary Poppins) conceived and choreographed by Keeli James. Together they entered Rockwall’s local talent competition Rockwall’s Got Talent. Out of 27 other acts The Triple Threats executed their routines and won! They took home the first place prize winnings of $1000.
Keeli is also an AEA membership candidate and loves instilling her love and passion for the arts disciplines in her children as well as her many students. She gives the glory to God always for giving her talents, opportunities, and the fulfillment in knowing she uses them to help others follow their hearts and pursue their dreams!
Kristen Knapp – Drill Team & Company Instructor
Kristen grew up in Waco, TX where she was trained in classical ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop at Joy’s School of Dance from the ages of 3 to 18. At Joy’s school of Dance she was a company member for 6 years as well as performed special roles such as Clara in the Nutcracker and soloist for other ballet productions, such as Waltz of the Flowers. She graduated from Texas Christian Academy in Waco, TX where she cheered all throughout middle school and high school as well as served as co-captain her Sophomore year and Captain Junior and Senior year.
After graduating from Texas Christian Academy, Kristen auditioned and was accepted to join the McLennan Community College’s competitive Dance Company under the direction of Sandy Hinton. Kristen was apart of the MCC Dance Company from 2005-2007 where they won ADTS National Championships both years and placed 3rd at the NDA Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida both years as well.
After graduating with her associates degree from MCC, Kristen transferred to Baylor University where she auditioned and was accepted to be apart of the Baylor Dance Company. She was a BDC member from 2007-2008 as a part of her Dance Minor at Baylor. The following year, she auditioned and was accepted to be apart of Baylor Pom Squad (aka songleaders). As a songleader in 2008-2009, Kristen was able to perform on the football field, basketball court, as well as travel with select members from the Spirit Squads to the Women’s basketball final 4 in North Carolina as well as perform for the Men’s NIT tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In May of 2009, Kristen graduated from Baylor University with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Dance.
Kristen obtained her teacher certification and taught middle school Math for 5 years. While teaching Math, Kristen continued her love of dance through teaching dance classes as well as serving as assistant director and interim director for the Royse City Golden Debs drill team.
Kristen had the opportunity to gain semi-professional experience in 2011-2012, as she auditioned and became apart of the Texas Legends Dance team under the direction of Jennifer Contreras (former Dallas Mavericks Dancer and Drill Director at Next Step Dance in Frisco). After serving a year as a Texas Legends Dancer, she was allowed a professional opportunity to audition and become apart of the Dallas Mavericks Dancers in 2012-2013, under the direction of Mallory Mills (former Dallas Mavericks Dancer and owner/director of MPACT Dance Company). During her time as a Legends Dancer and Mavericks Dancer, she was able to perform in front of thousands, attend community events, and visit with fans.
Since beginning a family of her own, Kristen has opened her own business where she teaches private dance lessons, as well as choreographs for drill teams and competitive dancers. She has had the opportunity to see many of her students to success and win or place at multiple competitions. Along with her other dance experience, she has served as a judge for multiple cheer/dance competitions and auditions, as well as served as emcee for a dance competition.
Kristen is currently in her second year of teaching at Rockwall Dance Academy and serves as one of the Company instructors, as well as teaches Drill Prep, Jazz 3/4, Intermediate Technique, Advanced Hip Hop and Advanced Technique at RDA.
Abigail Jenkins – Ballet & Combo Instructor
Abby Jenkins began dancing at the age of 6. She studied Ballet at the Dallas Ballet Center for ten years and joined the Dallas Ballet pre-professional dance company in 2010.
She studied modern and jazz at Eastfield College where she earned her Associates of Arts degree and also completed two years of training with Light of the World professional Christian Ballet Company.
She is thrilled to be a part of RDA and for the opportunity to pour into young dancers.
Raina Lopez – Hip Hop & Jazz Instructor
Raina has many years of experience in dance, cheerleading, gymnastics, musical theater and fitness. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Early Childhhood and Special Education. For the past 12 years she has taught Cardio Dance/Zumba, (Eclipse and Results Fitness) and Aqua Dance (Rockwall Water Fitness). She has taught dance and creative arts for kids, and has choreographed shows including Annie, Oklahoma, Grease, West Side Story, and Shrek for local theaters and schools. She was a dancer in Garland Summer Musical’s My Fair Lady and Rockwall Summer Musical’s Oklahoma, Gypsy (Electra), Anything Goes and West Side Story and has performed and choreographed for Rockwall Community Playhouse. She danced for two years with Solidify Dance Company, a lyrical praise dance team. She is a member of National Charity League with her daughter, Brenna, and is also a member of the M.O.M. Crew in Dallas, a performance hip-hop dance team comprised of moms of all ages. She lives in Heath with her husband, daughter and three step-children.
Kerry Ann James- Studio Instructor
Born and raised in Hollywood, California Kerry began her dance training at the world-renowned Roland Dupree Dance Academy and continued at the Edge Performing Arts Center.
She studied and worked with progressive and well-known choreographers who were establishing the current dance trends for tours and videos for big named artists:
Tina Landon (Janet Jackson), Jaimie King (Prince), Alex Magno (Madonna), Jerry Evans (Paula Abdul) and Randy Allaire (Michael Jackson/Fame TV Series). Those experiences have given her versatility in many areas and styles of dance along with a desire to work from a level of excellence in all that she does.
She co-hosted Reebok City Jam, the first hip hop workout program on TV for ESPN2, and worked with many R&B and hip hop artists including Will Smith and Bryan McKnight. Along with touring and performing with artists like Deborah Cox and Latin recording artist Chayanne, she was cast in the first-ever interactive musical that Prince produced called Glam Slam Ulysses. She was also cast in a featured role opposite Gene Anthony Ray (original cast of Fame) in a live show he choreographed in Los Angeles.
Her TV credits include the Soul Train Music Awards, the Lady of Soul Awards, the Martin Lawrence Show, the popular German TV show Wetten Das, where she appeared with Phil Collins, and as the assistant choreographer for the TV mini-series Rhythm & Jam. Kerry has danced in fashion shows for Skechers, LA Gear and Hi-Tec shoes, where she was also the assistant choreographer.
With a gift for teaching and coaching individual and group performances she was blessed to receive numerous invitations to be the guest artist/teacher in residence for studios in Milan, Rome, Verona, Calabria, Sicily, Vienna, Slovenia, and Costa Rica.
As a Believer in The Lord Jesus Christ, Kerry enjoys creating a nurturing and fun environment for students of all ages using her gifts to educate and empower children to dance with love, joy and purity. She also enjoys teaching adult classes and many genres of dance including ballet, tap, lyrical, jazz, and musical theatre.