Kim Bertrand has been dancing since the age of 2 1/2. It is her first love and passion. The training that made her into the dancer and teacher she is today came from Melissa Robinson, who became Kim’s teacher and mentor when she was 14. Kim has trained in all genres of dance, but is most comfortable in her tap shoes. She is best known for her high energy tap style. Most recently, Kim was named the American Tap Company's South Regional Director, an honor she is very proud of. Kim was able to take her dancers to The World Tap Dance Championships hosted by the International Dance Organization in November of 2019 in Riesa, Germany. Her students, as part of Team USA, competed against dancers from all over the world and came home with a gold medal in Children’s Duet Division, 5th place world title in Children’s Solos, and 5th place world title in the Junior Group Division. In 2018, she had a soloist, a duet and a group take home the gold medal in their divisions at the American Tap Championships in San Diego, California.
Over the last two decades of teaching, Kim has been awarded many regional and national choreography awards. Her students have won numerous group and individual high point honors on the regional and national level as well. She is very proud of the impact she has on the students she teaches. Many of her students go on to pursue professional dance careers and can now be seen on Broadway, dancing on cruise ships and along side some of the biggest names in pop culture such as Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Usher, and Ne-Yo.
Kim graduated Magna Cum Laude from Houston Baptist University with a double major in Business Administration and Management. She is blessed with a loving and supportive husband and two beautiful children.
Opening The Dance Kollective is a culmination of many years of teaching and being inspired by the students in her classroom. Kim has worn many hats in the dance world- dancer, teacher, choreographer, director and dance mom. She is excited to start this new journey as a studio owner and share her love of dance with all that walk through her doors.
Melissa Robinson has been dancing since the age of three. Growing up in the Houston area, Melissa trained in all genres of dance. She began teaching over 32 years ago. She founded Masters of Dance in 1995 in Sugar Land, Texas training recreational and competitive dancers for 10 years. Melissa's passion has always been in preparing dancers for the stage and performance. After closing Masters of Dance to start a competition only studio, she founded the highly successful Masters Upper Level in 2005. After selling Masters Upper Level in 2007, she remained on faculty as an instructor, choreographer and Artistic Director from 2007 - 2019. Several decades later, she has trained thousands of dancers. Melissa's passion for dance helped her grow one of the most successful competitive programs in the country. Many of Melissa's alumni have gone on to dance in college and pursue careers performing on cruise ships, Broadway and with top names in entertainment such as Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Missy Elliot and more. Many of her students have gone on to pursue dance careers as teachers, choreographers and studio owners. Melissa's choreography and students have won hundreds of high score awards and honors over the last 30 years.
Marrisha Babineaux has been studying and competing in all styles of dance since the age of five. Marrisha performed as a principle dancer for Lamar University under the direction of Brixey Blankenship. Prior to and during this time, Marrisha performed in shows produced by Beaumont City Performing Arts, danced at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance in New York City at their summer intensive program, and also participated as a contestant on the national hit show Showtime at the Apollo as a representative from Houston after winning the spot from numerous contestants across the city. As a result of this notoriety, she landed a position for McDonalds as a company representative at conventions across the nation. Marrisha’s dance accolades are numerous. Most memorably, she won the Scene Interactive Award where her video and headshot were posted for a year for choreographers in search for dancers, and also the DDO Artist Agency Award which allowed her to be represented and contracted by DDO as a dance professional at the age of 18. Upon graduating from Lamar she began her career at Masters, the Upper Level(MUL) as a teacher/choreographer under Artistic Director Melissa Robinson. During her time there, her students won numerous first place regional and national championships; her most recent was the Mini Large Intermediate Group Ultimate Challenge and Choreography Award of 2019 at the Hall of Fame Nationals. While Miss Marrisha teaches a variety of ages and levels, she is also contracted with the Universal Dance Association for Collegiate, Secondary and Primary Students, teaching and choreographing for local high schools. In 2019 her students won numerous top awards for regional school competitions. Marrisha is excited to work closely with dancers at The Dance Kollective!
Lexi Lee grew up in Alabama and began dancing at age 3. After moving to Texas in 2005, she continued her competitive dance training at Prodigy Dance and Performing Art centre studying Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary and Hip Hop. In her youth, Lexi traveled all over the nation competing as a group member and soloist winning numerous overall and standout awards from various competitions and conventions including NUVO, Star Power, Jump, NYCDA, Hall of Fame, and Dance Awards Studio of the Year to name a few. Lexi received her BFA in Performance and Choreography from Texas State University. She had the honor of working with various choreographers from all over the world as a member of the Pre-Professional Dance Company, Merge Dance Co. Lexi was also a company member and the financial director of Orchesis Dance Company throughout her college career. During this time, she had the opportunity to train at multiple studios such as Broadway Dance center, Peridance Capezio Center and Gibney Dance in New York. Her Senior year of college Lexi was awarded the Karen Earl Scholarship for Choreography and Performance - one of the highest honors a dance major can receive at Texas State.
Lexi's passion for performing is only matched by her passion for teaching dance. Lexi began assistant teaching at age 15 and has continued her teaching career ever since. Lexi has taught and choreographed all styles of dance and has received numerous winning choreography awards both regionally and nationally. Her versatility and energy in the classroom is unparalleled. Lexi is thrilled to share her love for dance teaching at The Dance Kollective!
Brooke Barnes-Meeks graduated from The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), and now Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where she received “The Most Outstanding Dance Major Award”. Mrs. Barnes-Meeks received dance training from Margo Marshall School of Ballet, Houston Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Santa Fe Dance Foundation, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. She has danced classical and contemporary works with Houston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Sandra Organ Dance Company, The Lula Elzy New Orleans Dance Theatre, Leanna Sparacino and Company Dancers, Dorrell Martin Dance Fusion, Psophonia Dance Company, Second Generation Dance Company, Kuumba House Dance Theater, Houston Grand Opera where she has performed as a dancer and featured dancer in “Mefistofele”, two productions of “Aida”, “Prince Igor”, Florencia en el Amazonas”, “Eugene Onegin”, “Samson and Delilah”, and “La Traviata”. Mrs. Barnes- Meeks has also danced with City Dance Company where she has completed two European tours, and Michele Brangwen Dance Company where she has completed two Sweden tours. Mrs. Barnes-Meeks has performed in Univision Television’s “Selena Vive!”, at The Apollo Theater as a guest performer, and with Regina Belle as a guest dancer. She has choreographed productions for University of Houston Downtown’s Theatre Department and has appeared in and choreographed touring theatrical productions with Thomas Meloncon’s Truth Theater Productions, I’m Ready Productions, Express Theatre, and has choreographed and appeared in theatre productions as well as films with So-Mee Productions. Mrs. Barnes-Meeks is an HSPVA consultant and has directed and choreographed musicals for HSPVA’s All School Black History Productions, taught classes, directed and choreographed musicals for the theatre department, choreographed various productions for the vocal department, taught ballet, creative movement, and choreographed musicals for Westbury Christian School, taught ballet at Texas Academy of Dance Arts West (TADA), as well as taught ballet, other forms of dance, and choreographed for many other schools, dance studios, dance companies, arts programs, and various organizations including the all male a cappella chorus, Houston Tidelanders Chorus! She absolutely loves spending time with her wonderful and supportive family! Mrs. Barnes-Meeks is so very happy for Kim Bertrand on this incredible journey that will be nothing short of amazing, and completely overjoyed to be a part of The Dance Kollective!
A recent newcomer to Houston by way of Nashville and New York City, Emily Tello Speck is an Associate Professor of Voice and the Musical Theatre Coordinator at Houston Baptist University. Emily received her Masters of Music in Vocal Pedagogy, as well as her Bachelors of Music in Musical Theatre from Belmont University in Nashville.
Mrs. Speck has worked for over a decade as a musical theatre performer, director, and choreographer, from cruise ships and summer stock theatre to major regional theatres and national tours. She has worked with numerous Tony-award winning directors, actors, designers and choreographers and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association, The National Association of Teachers of Singing, and is eligible for the Screen Actors Guild.
After living in New York for many years, where she met her husband, Jake, they decided to move to Nashville to raise their family. They are now the proud parents of identical twin boys, Nash and Noah, and youngest son Leo.
Upon returning to Nashville, Mrs. Speck appeared in numerous television commercials, radio spots and music videos. She worked as the resident choreographer and company member of Studio Tenn Theatre Company, Middle Tennessee’s award-winning equity theatre company. With Studio Tenn, Mrs. Speck has worked with Broadway and recording stars such as Eden Espinosa, Steven Curtis Chapman, Melinda Doolittle, Johnnyswim, Anthony Crivello, Chuck Wagner, Heather Headley, Jodi Benson, BeBe Winans, and many others.
Mrs. Speck has directed and choreographed over 30 productions in her career, both in professional theatre and at Belmont University where she served as full time faculty in the musical theatre program. Her most recent project was directing and choreographing A.D. Players production of West Side Story, to much acclaim. She is currently scheduled to choreograph A.D. Players upcoming production of Mary Poppins, which will open next summer.
Nicole had dance imprinted in her soul at a very young age. Her mother, a former ballerina with Houston Ballet, noticed early on that her daughter belonged in the dance world. Nicole was enrolled in ballet classes at six years old, and was featured in the pilot for the series Ballet Kids of America and danced at Jones Hall. From there, she saw the spectacular Lord of the Dance, which began her love affair with Irish music and dance. She continued to take classes and compete around the country for several years. At 14 years old, she found her true passion; Latin ballroom dancing. After years of private lessons from world renowned coaches, she began to compete around the country with Rhythm inc. Dance Studio. At age 21, Nicole started professional training in Latin and ballroom when she was invited to teach and perform for Rhythm inc. Dance Studios. She specializes in Latin ballroom, but is also trained in country western, swing, salsa and many more. She has since performed for Mario Lopez, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Roger Clemens, Hp, Exxon Mobil, Google, HP and countless others. Nicole now focuses on her career as a professional performer and choreographer. Though she specializes in competitor training, Nicole shares her love of dance with students of all ages and levels. She is exceptionally passionate about developing students' understanding of advanced technique and musicality, and how to become a truly dynamic dancer.
Some career highlights include:
Finalist - Texas Challenge, 2009Semi-finalist - Holiday Dance Classic in Las Vegas, 2010Semi-finalist - Ohio Star Ball, 2012
Finalist - Manhattan DanceSport, 2013
Marlon Grigsby began his dance training at the Dancer’s Workshop in Baton Rouge, LA. He graduated in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University. Professionally, he has been featured in operas, festivals, and concerts, including productions with Opera in the Heights, City Ballet of Houston, Juxtapose Arts, Baton Rouge Ballet Theater, Of Moving Colors Dance, and Movement Workshop Group. He has had the pleasure of working with Sandra Parks on several projects, including the NYC Dance Arts Festival, Crossroads in Boston, MA, and Romeo and Juliet in Philadelphia, PA. He was a company member with Uptown Dance Company in Houston for 3 seasons. Grigsby teaches ballet and modern dance and is excited to share his knowledge and love of dance with The Dance Kollective.
Xinyi Zhang grew up in China and began dancing at age 3. She started professional training at the age of 11 at the Beijing Dance Academy. At the age of 21, she received her BFA in Performance and Education from Beijing Dance Academy. She studied ballet and modern choreography at the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music as an exchange student. In 2016, she came to Houston to begin her teaching career. She has taught master classes at the University of Texas and San Jacinto College. Xinyi is a certified teacher of the American Ballet Theatre as well as Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT).
She is an energetic dancer with years of experience performing with highly talented dance groups in different parts of the world. As a dancer, she is confident and driven with exceptional flexibility and endurance. A talented choreographer & instructor, well-versed in posture, dance techniques, specific moves and rhythm sensitivity. She is a positive and upbeat team player with dedication to performance quality. She is currently a Main Company dancer for the highly acclaimed Ad Deum Dance Company. Xinyi is passionate about dance to tell stories and provide beauty in the world. Xinyi is excited to work closely with the dancers at The Dance Kollective!
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ben Delony spent summers at Ballet Austin, Harid Conservatory, and Hubbard Street before matriculating through the ballet department at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Upon graduating with a performance bachelors degree, he had been featured in numerous works ranging from George Balanchine to Agnes DeMille, Twyla Tharp, Frederick Ashton and Joshua Bergasse. He spent multiple seasons with Ballet Memphis and Ballet Nouveau Colorado and later formed a strong relationship with Houston Grand Opera, where he was a regular dancer since 2013. Regional theater credits include the Arvada Center Theater, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Central City Opera, and Boston Early Music Festival. He is a former member of the ballet chorus at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City as well as former faculty for Ballet Academy East, Rioult Dance Center, and New York University. He is a dance educator based in Houston, TX on faculty at the Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts and the University of St. Thomas.
Angelica is a native Houstonian who began dancing at the age of eight and has been training with Rhythm inc. Dance Studio for 13 years in Latin and Ballroom dancing. She began assistant teaching at age 15 and has continued her teaching career ever since. Throughout her years of training, Angelica has taken every opportunity possible to compete nationwide. Angelica was also a part of Rhythm inc. Dance Studio’s Pure Rhythm dance company that competed in regional competitions like Showstopper, KAR and In10sity, placing first in the open teen categories. Angelica has had the chance to also perform in various shows that have included Mario Lopez, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harlem Globetrotters, and Dancing with the Stars’ Karina Smirnoff. Angelica’s vision is to create and build an open environment for all levels of dancers and give them the ability to show their passion and love for dance.
2016, 2018 - First place - Millennium Dancesport Championship
2016 - Opened for karina Smirnoff - Lone Star Ball
2016, 2017 - Showstopper Dance Competition
2017 - KAR National Dance Competition
2016, 2017 - in10sity National Dance Tour
2018 - Ohio Star Ball
2019 - Vegas Open
- Harlem globetrotters