FACULTY

All of our faculty are trained dancers from an early age. Most of them are currently involved in the dance industry and are able to pass their knowledge onto the dancers they are training. They understand that no two dancers are alike and will work with your dancer to get the best out of their training.

Mario Velez Jr.

Mario Velez Jr.

Director / Hip Hop

Mario Velez Jr. is a International Hip-Hop choreographer and dancer/performer. Mario has toured and worked with artists such as: Taio Cruz, Mike Posner, Omarion, TLC, Rock Steady Crew, Fergie, My Chemical Romance, Brandy, Boyz II Men, & many others! Mario Velez is currently traveling as a Master Teacher for Kar Australia, Kar Dance Convention, Danza Dance Intensive and Showbiz/ Primetime Talent. Mario just finished a six week tour in Australia teaching and choreographing. He has currently trained stars of the show “ANDI MACK” Sofia Wylie aka “BUFFY” and Asher Angel aka “Jonah Beck. He has also toured with the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters! Mario was recently performing and choreographing for the National Recording Artist Yasmeen, Young Gage and for Automatic Response Dance Crew, which was featured on the show’s first season of “America’s Best Dance Crew!” He has also done work with the NBA and WNBA Teams which consist of: The Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns Dance Team, The Seattle Supersonics, The Golden State Warrior Girls, The Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Mercury Hip-Hop Squad. He has trained dancers that have worked with artist such as:  Justin Bieber, Willow Smith, Lady Gaga, The Jabbawockeez, Jason Derulo, David Hallberg the principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet and many others. Now Mario spends most of his time teaching and judging for conventions and competitions around the United States. Mario has also started an exciting and very passionate Dance Studio called Diverse Elements Dance Studio. His diversity also includes choreography for shows, Splash and Bottoms UP in Las Vegas NV, and Jubilation in Reno, NV, and producing his own show every year at The Orpheum Theatre. All this has been possible because of his long time partner and wife Melissa Velez.

Mario has one saying that he lives by-"Hip-hop is not just rapping and music, it is a culture, a way of life!

Melissa Velez

Director / Technique / Company

Melissa began her dance training at the age of three.  She has been trained in all genres of dance.  Melissa owns a dance studio in North Phoenix, AZ for the past thirteen years and many more to come.  She has been an adjudicator for the past 9 years at multiple national touring competitions and loves it.  She has choreographed regionally and nationally winning competition numbers.  Melissa also coached a multiple State winning/National scoring High School Pom team for many years.  She was a WNBA dancer for 6 years with the Phoenix Mercury and danced professionally in Las Vegas.  With over 20 years of professional dance experience, the knowledge and training she shares with dancers today is something every dancer will benefit from.  She has a real hunger for continued training and inspiring young dancers to reach their full potential through positive criticism. Her motto is, "You are never too good to take a beginning class."  Dance is not just an art; it is a way of life!

 
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Taylor Shultz

Contemporary / Tap

Taylor is a principal dancer for Los Angeles professional dance company MusEffect and also spends her time touring with the teaching staff of Muse Dance Company. Taylor’s choreographic works can be seen across the globe on both stage and screen alike. Taylor is best known for her storytelling abilities and creating works that focus both on the artistry and athleticism of her dancers. In class Taylor builds an encouraging and supportive atmosphere necessary to inspire confidence and growth. Her unique approach to bridging dancers from the world of education into the industry makes her sought after worldwide. In addition to choreography Taylor uses Writing workshops, acting classes, and adjudicating at various competitions as a  means to empower young artists. When Taylor is not traveling she is most happy to be home working with her students in Arizona.

Karina Ericsson

Karina Eriksson

Jazz / Company

Karina Eriksson has been assisting and teaching for six years around the country, assisting in setting choreography and teaching master classes for schools, professional sports dance teams, dance studios and dance conventions. She will be going on her fourth year as a teacher at Diverse Elements Dance Studio. She has also taught for Danza Dance Convention and Competition. Having danced for nine years and competed for seven, she has trained in all dance styles.

Karina has learned from lots of different choreographers in the industry, and the Diverse Elements Faculty. She also has worked for Showbiz National Talent Dance Competition for three years going on her fourth. She is very excited for this new year full of opportunities and growth.

Albert Cattaffi

Albert Cattafi

Ballet

Albert was raised in northern New Jersey of Italian descent, his artistic journey began at theage of five thanks to his sister, Eléna. Ten years after his first dance class, Alber began training at the world renowned Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, simultaneously continuing his studies in all dance forms at a studio in New Jersey. This well rounded understanding of movement would prove to be beneficial throughout his career. Upon high school graduation, Albert won the prestigious title of Mr. Dance of America and shortly after, he was honored to receive a full scholarship into the dance program at Montclair State University; he attended for only 48 hours when he departed to begin his professional life.

In the years following, Cattafi enjoyed an illustrious performance career appearing in several episodes of Saturday Night Live, as a guest artist on So You Think You Can Dance, and was featured in an international Coke Zero Commercial. He has performed on the Video Music Awards for Florence and the Machine, and on the American Music Awards with Kelly Clarkson and much more. Choreographically, Albert Blaise was the assistant choreographer on Franco Dragone’s INDIA. He has assisted some of the country’s top choreographers, including Emmy Award winner, Mia Michaels, and Broadway ’s Tony Award winning, Sergio Trujillo, just a name a few.

Currently Albert Blaise Cattafi is a faculty member of Los Angeles based dance convention, L.A. Dance Magic, and is the Resident Choreographer for the Phoenix Ballet.

Ashley Parcell

Ashley Parcell

Ballet

Ashley Parcell started dancing in the competition dance world at the age of six. At the age of eight, Ashley decided to focus her training towards ballet where she was under the instruction of former Principal dancer for Ballet Arizona, Astrit Zejnati. In 2007, Ashley received the main role of Clara in Ballet Arizona’s, The Nutcracker, under the direction of Ib Anderson. From there, Ashley went on to become one of Master Ballet Academy’s first pre-professional ballet students where she competed in multiple Youth American Grand Prix competitions, placing in the top three and qualifying for finals in New York City. Throughout her ballet training, Ashley continued to compete in many regional and national dance competitions where she consistently placed in the top overall position with her self choreographed solos and duos since the age of twelve.

Ashley concluded her ballet training at Scottsdale School of Ballet under the elite direction of former Balanchine dancers, Donald and Sibylle Dadey. Ashley received many merit scholarships, some of which include… the 2012 Cynthia Murphy Ballet Scholarship from the West Valley Conservatory of Ballet, full merit scholarship to the Washington Ballet Theatre summer intensive under the direction of Kee Juan Han, who was named the number one ballet teacher in Spirit Dance magazine, and full scholarship to The Rock School summer intensive. Ashley has performed various lead roles and variations in ballet productions such as Esmerelda, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, La Bayadere, Giselle, Raymonda, The Nutcracker, and Don Quixote. Upon high school graduation, Ashley pursue education at Arizona State University, where she went on to graduate in May 2016 with Magna Cum Laude honors. Alongside Ashley’s ballet and pointe training, Ashley still continued her dance training in various styles and is a well rounded dancer in the styles of tap, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. Throughout college, Ashley found her passion for teaching and enjoys being able to share her love for the art of dance to her students.

 
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Terin Christopher

Jazz / Technique

Terin is originally from Fort Collins Colorado. He moved to Phoenix Arizona in 2016 where he now teaches all levels of dance at Diverse Elements Dance Studio. Terin is currently dancing with MusEffect, a non profit dance company based out of Los Angeles. He is so excited to be touring and teaching with Muse Dance Company at studios across the country. He recently auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance and was so honored to have made it into the top 50. Terin is so excited to be on this amazing journey and can't wait to see what the future holds!

Brianna Bishop

Brianna Bishop

Lyrical / Technique

Brianna Bishop grew up in Tucson, Arizona where she trained for 14 years at Tucson Dance Academy.  In addition to dancing competitively, Brianna participated in her high school's dance team and won 4th in the nation at UDA her senior year.  She relocated to Scottsdale in order to attend Arizona State University as a psychology major.  While at ASU, Brianna danced for the ASU Spirit Squad.  Currently, Brianna performs with EPIK Dance Company and Halo Movement Collective in Arizona.  She specializes in jazz, contemporary and ballet and enjoys teaching young dancers how to follow in her footsteps!

Rachel LiPuma

Rachel LiPuma

Tap

Rachel was raised in Fort Collins, Colorado and has been dancing since the age of three. In 2015 she moved to Phoenix and became a part of Tap 24.7, a professional tap dance company directed by Suzy Guarino-Hall.  She has worked with many well known choreographers such as Sarah Reich, Gregg Russell, Suzy Guarino-Hall, Jenefer Miller, and Leah Silva. Rachel has performed in various different shows and events including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Motor City Soles, Dancinspiration, The Big Apple Tap Festival Showcase, and The Tap 24.7 Annual Show. She has assisted Suzy Guarino-Hall in teaching her tap classes at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and has done assistant choreography for Tap 24.7’s annual show. Along with performing, Rachel teaches at several studios in the Phoenix area and has choreographed numerous high scoring competition pieces. She has worked with students from all over the Phoenix area and strives to not only teach tap but also teach her love for tap. Rachel loves to teach and share her passion for tap with students of all ages!

Sherrie de Soysa

Sherrie de Soysa

Jazz Funk / Hip Hop

Sherie started taking dance lessons at the age of 3. She started competing at the age of 8, starting with just breaking and moved into other styles later on. By the age of 11, she started traveling around the country as an assistant at Hollywood Dance Experience. She also was an assistant for LA Dance Magic and Celebrity Dance Competitions as well and worked closely with a lot of choreographers within the dance industry.  Her favorite experience was being chosen to be a part of Celebrity Dance Competitions Nationals at Sea where she learned dance numbers to perform on a cruise ship in one week. She has been choreographing since she was 16 and really loves watching the growth that students make throughout the year. Sherie enjoys teaching dance to every age group and welcomes any level of experience in her classes. She is very excited to be part of the Diverse Elements faculty and is ready to see what the year has in store.

 
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Edson “Bboy House” Magana

Breakin'

With over 24 years of lived experience as an active student and practitioner of Hip Hop Culture (specializing in Breaking and Aerosol art), “House” continues to be blessed with opportunities to share his experiences internationally through education, competing, judging, and community events around the world.

His stage work has led him to a 29 city tour in Japan,as well as representing team USA in Red Bulls London “Beat Battle”, New Zealand’s X-Air games and in Germany for “Battle of the Year” to name a few. House has lead the Furious Styles Crew for the past 25 years, with major chapters around the world such as Barcelona and Copenhagen, Denmark

As an Asu graduate with a B.A. in Psychology / Sociology, he can be seen teaching and lecturing at Universities, schools and community centers Internationally. As his dance career is in continual growth and has most recently received his Masters in fine Arts with a focus in Urban Arts.

His work has most recently been selected by the U.S. department of State to participate in the 2017-2018 Next Level program and spent two weeks overseas in Morocco to lead art and dance workshops that engage local artist and young people, encourage entrepreneurship, and promote conflict resolution. The Next Level program is designed to share America’s deep Hip Hop music, dance and visual art contributions to the global cultural scene as it fosters cross- cultural communication and people to people connections to global audiences. You can find him serving his communities as an educator in Hip Hop dance, history and producing events across the country through the lens of an artist.

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Sean Martel

Dance Tricks / Tumbeling

Coming soon...

Alyana Davis

Alyana Davis

Contemporary / Hip Hop

Alyana is an Arizona native whose passion for dance began at the age of three. For the last 15 years she has trained in all genres of dance with an emphasis on on hip-hop contemporary and tap. She received a majority of her dance training at Diverse Elements where she was a member of the competition team. She has attended numerous dance conventions  where she was recognized and was the recipient of dance scholarships. She has continued the mastery of her art by attending classes at Millennium,  Edge and Playground dance studios in the Los Angeles area. Alyana is currently pursuing a degree in Fine Arts-Dance to continue her journey in becoming the finest choreographer and dancer she can be. She is so excited to now be a part of the DE family as a faculty member and share her passion for dance with students. 

Madison Stevenson

Combo

I am Madison Stevenson. I am 25 years old. I am a mom to the sweetest little girl. I am loud, fun, and a touch of crazy. I started dancing when I was 8 years old and absolutely fell in love with it. I was on the Pinnacle Pom Team throughout high school and participated in an after school company team. I now am a certified High Fitness instructor, where I get to combine my love for dance and fitness. I love kids and feel grateful to have the opportunity to share my love of dance with them.