Jill Maltos: Owner / Business manager
Jill’s background is in nursing and healthcare administration. She received her nursing diploma from Rockford (Illinois) Memorial School of Nursing, her Nurse Practitioner Education at the University of Arizona and her Bachelors and Masters degrees in business from the University of Phoenix. She spent 35 years in the healthcare field as a nurse and as a top level healthcare administrator, specializing in quality and risk management, prior to “retiring” to open the studio with her daughter Megan. Jill was familiar with Danswest prior to becoming an owner, having driven Megan to dance for many years, and participating in events and travel as a “dance mom”. She shares Megan’s passion for music, dance and the arts.
Megan Maltos: artistic director / tap / preschool
Megan Maltos began dancing at the age of four in California. She began dancing at Danswest, then owned by her mentor Frank Trent, at the age of 9 where she continued to train until she graduated from CDO in 2001. After graduating from the University of Arizona with her BA in Business management with a focus in dance in 2005, she and her mom Jill Maltos took over Danswest from Frank upon his retirement. While at the U of A, Megan had the privilege of studying Modern, Jazz, Ballet, and Tap with Amy Ernst, Michael Williams, Sam Watson, David Berkey, Nina Janik, and Susan Quinn and was also selected to perform at Gus Giordano’s Jazz Dance World Congress in Buffalo, NY. In addition to theater dance, Megan has worked in music video, TV, and film. In recent years, her love of tap has grown into more of an obsession; spending more time in her tap shoes than regular footwear! Her award winning tap choreography has been performed internationally; at regional and national dance competitions, National Tap Dance Day showcases, and other community dance events. She has been a proud member of the all-tap company; Tap 24.7 directed by Suzy Guarino and Jenefer Miller since 2010 where their unique style is featured in tap dance festivals all over the country. While still pursuing a professional dance career outside of Danswest, the studio is where her heart is. Her love of teaching is visible whether she is teaching a preschool dancer or an advanced class. There is no place she would rather be than in her shoes with her students.
heather harrison: jazz / lyrical / ballet
Heather began her early training in Yuma, Arizona at Dancemakers studio where she became a teacher in 2002. While in Yuma, she was a member of Dancemakers Performing Arts Company for nine years and a guest artist at Ballet Yuma. She choreographed works that have been performed in the annual Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase and the Yuma Dance Festival. She has performed in various competitions through out as well as the Jazz Dance World Congress and with the Arizona Repertory Theatre. Heather attended summer programs on scholarship hosted by The Joffrey Ballet, Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. She has been graced with the opportunity to perform in Las Vegas, San Antonio, New York and Italy.
In 2003 Heather was awarded a scholarship to attend the Giordano Dance Center but decided to pursue her education at the University of Arizona. Heather was a performing member of the UofA dance ensemble and in 2007 she received her BFA as a dance major. In 2011 she did a 16 city tour in China with Artifact Dance Project.
Dance is her passion and it shows! Heather has been teaching at Danswest since 2007 and looks forward to helping you reach your dance goals.
bailey sadowsky: combo classes, preschool
Bailey started dancing at the age of 4 at Danswest in preschool classes then joined company shortly after. Bailey was a part of the Danswest company for 16 years until the age of 18 when she graduated from Catalina Foothills High School. She has been an employee at Danswest for over two years now working in the Danswest Danswear store and at the front desk of the studio. Bailey spent the summer of 2016 teaching numerous preschool classes and training as a preschool teacher and is thrilled to be joining the faculty of amazing teachers at Danswest. Bailey is trained in all styles of dance including ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, contemporary, modern, lyrical and pointe. Throughout her competitive years at Danswest, Bailey won numerous awards at competitions including the “Dare to Be Different” award and numerous 1st overalls. Bailey participated in the University of Arizona Jazz Showcase from the ages of 9 to 19. She has performed pieces at the U of A Jazz Showcase and in the Dance For A Cause show as a guest performer two years in a row. Along with competing with Danswest, Bailey was on her high school pomline team for three years and was captain her last year learning leadership and responsibility skills. She currently attends the University of Arizona and is in the process of getting her BFA in Arts, Media and Entertainment. Bailey is extremely excited for this year and everything that will come with it. Bailey has a strong passion for dancing and teaching and is extremely excited to watch her young students grow.
Marquez johnson: jazz/ballet/modern/contemporary
Marquez Johnson holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance degree from the University of Arizona as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. He has been able to perform works by Jose Limon and Ohad Naharin while also being a rehearsal assistant for Miguel Perez and Michele Gifford in the re-staging of “The American” by Charles Wheeldon. Not only has he performed works by faculty at the University of Arizona’s School of Dance, he has also been able to step-in for the role as Baby Face Nelson in Artifact Dance Project’s, (ADP), premiere of “Dillinger”. Under the direction of Michael Williams, he has participated as a co-host for the Arizona Jazz Dance showcase while also completing his thesis work entitled Forecast. Currently, Marquez is a guest artist for the Barbea Williams Performance Company performing and choreographing Africana centered excerpts. Also, during ADP’s Summer Intensive 2017, he will be teaching contemporary and premiering a new work. Marquez is excited for the opportunity to share his passion in all aspects of dance with Danswest.
Mirela Roza: modern / ballet
Mirela Roza was born in Fortaleza, Brazil, where she received most of her dance training with Tatiana Leskova from the Original Ballets Russes. She performed for four seasons at Ballet Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro under the direction of Jean-Ives Lormeau, former étoile of Paris Opera Ballet. While performing with BTMRJ, she had the opportunity to perform in full-length classical ballets in the company’s repertoire including The Sleeping Beauty, Daphnis et Chloé and Les Présages. She has also performed in a national and international tour with Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, which contributed to her versatility in different dance styles and techniques.
Ms. Roza received her intensive education at The University of Arizona, earning a B.F.A in Dance and a B.A. in Psychology. In May 2015, she received her Masters degree of Fine Arts in Performance and Choreography. During Mirela’s education at the U of A, she performed works by nationally recognized choreographers, including James Clouser and Doug Nielsen.
Ms. Roza serves as Adjunct Faculty at Pima Community College. In her short time there, she has found that her background in education, performance, and choreography has helped her contribute to the activities and culture of the department. She looks forward to many future seasons of work with the dancers at Danswest Dance!
erika columbi: jazz/ballet
Erika Julian Colombi believes that dance is generous and healing; she uses these beliefs to inspire her work with chronically hospitalized children for the non-profit arts in medicine organization, Beads of Courage. Most recently is developing a program, STEP UP, to provide quality dance education to underserved children in Southern Arizona. She has performed professionally for Ballet Idaho, Idaho Dance Theater, University of Idaho, and Corpus Christi Ballet. Erika has an extensive teaching career that includes teaching for the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. Erika earned her Masters of Science in Physical Education (2001) from the University of Idaho, and her Masters of Fine Arts from University of Arizona (2014). Erika is also an instructor at the University of Arizona and is excited to now be able to share her passion for dance with the students at Danswest!
christopher compton: ballet
Christopher Compton began his dance traning at the age of 18 at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Andrew Pap. After earning his BFA in Ballet, Christ moved on to train with Marcia Dale Weary at the famed Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. While at CPYB, Chris was offered contracts with various ballet companies across the U.S. with companies such as Colorado Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and others, but chose to pass on those opportunities to see if he could land his dream job… working with Twyla Tharp. In December of 2003, Chris got his wish when he began working in the 1st National Tour of Twyla Tharp and Billy Joel’s Tony-Award Winning “Movin’ Out.” In 2007, after “Movin’ Out” had ended its run, Chris began working on the North American Premier of “Dirty Dancing” in Toronto. Chris was honored to perform the role made famous by the late Patrick Swayze until the show’s close in April of 2009. Chris has now holds an MFA from the University of Arizona where he is an adjunct professor. He teaches Ballet Technique, Ballet Repertory, Partnering, Men’s Technique, Modern Dance, and Theatre Dance. He, and his wife Tammy, also co-direct the dance program Perry-Mansfield in Steamboat Springs, CO.
Ashley Breault: Ballet
Ashley Breault has over 20 years dance experience. She began dancing at age six in Montpelier, Vermont. She moved Arizona when she was nine years old and her love for dance was ignited when she saw her first performance of the Nutcracker. She began to study ballet with Sierra Vista Ballet and performed in many shows including Paquita, Les Sylphides, Les Patiners, The Ice Queen, and eventually she performed in her first leading role as Clara in the Nutcracker. She moved to Tucson when she was nineteen years old and studied dance at Pima Community College. She was a member of the Shake It Up Dance Club and choreographed many pieces to be performed and danced in many student choreographed pieces as well. Ashley also taught at Limelight Productions while she was in school and found teaching to be a great passion of hers. She loves watching students grow in their technique and thrive in the world of dance as well as in their lives with the principles of discipline, self expression, and confidence that they learn in class
lois black: ballet
Lois Black-Unkrich began her dance training with her mother at the age of three in her family’s dance school in Des Moines, Iowa.
After moving to Scottsdale in 1968, Lois attended The Phoenix School of Ballet under the directorship of Kelly Brown and his wife Isabel Mirrow, both American Ballet Theater alumni.
Lois attended summer programs with partial and full scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet, Stone and Camryn School of Ballet in Chicago, the School at American Ballet Theater, and the School of American Ballet’s summer program at Juilliard.
Lois danced professionally as a guest artist with the Corpus Christi Ballet and the Yuma Ballet, and toured with Young Audiences while studying at the Houston Ballet under Ben Stevenson. She was a member of Ballet Arizona for the 76-77 season under the directorship of Steven and Elizabeth Wistrich and from 1979-1986 held a contract with The Des Moines Ballet Company under directors Jorge Samaniego of The Nederlands Dance Theatre, and from 82-86 under Stephan Laurant.
After leaving Iowa and The Des Moines Ballet in 1986, Lois danced a season under director Jean Paul Comelin in Tucson’s Arizona Dance Theatre, and from 1987 through 1994 was a member of Mary Beth Cabana’s Ballet Arts Ensemble, where she met, danced with, and in 1994 was married to her husband of now 23 years, Carl Unkrich.
Lois began teaching ballet at the age of 16 in her family’s dance school in Iowa and has been teaching ballet to adults and children locally since 2007. Her choreography credits include an original Alice in Wonderland, and a restaging of Jorge Samaniego’s Christmas Carol.
Lois successfully completed the ABT® National Training Curriculum in 2010 from American Ballet Theater’s JKO School in New York and is certified from Primary through Level 7 and Partnering.
erin mcbride: tap
Erin started taking tap and ballet lessons at Danswest before her 3rd birthday and performed in her first recital a few months later. Erin has worked with and taken classes from tap masters such as Frank Trent, Mark Goodman, Lisa Hopkins, and Jason Samuels Smith. She has attended many tap workshops and intensives around the United States such as Totally Tap, LA Tap Fest, and TapKids Summer Intensive. She is currently a member of the Phoenix, Arizona based tap company, Tap 247 that performs around the country. She competed in all dance forms for 10 years, and loves being on stage. Erin has received choreography awards at dance competitions, and continues to teach locally while choreographing for competitions and performances.
austin twaits: hip hop
Austin Twaits was born in Tucson, AZ. He was inspired to start dancing at the age of seven by his older sister. Since then, he has danced with the Danswest Dance Company competing in many competitions, and winning awards such as the Fred Astaire award, and countless 1st overalls. Austin is trained in all styles of dance, anything from ballet to tap, to hip hop. Austin had the honor of dancing in the Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet at the age of thirteen, along with performing for National Tap Day in the show: Sounds of the Soles of the Southwest, performing his tap solo for Kgun9 news, and dancing at the U of A Jazz Showcase five years in a row. At the age of ten, Austin started dancing with the hip hop performance group, The Human Project.He performed in numerous performances around Arizona including charity events such as SAAF. He has been asked to perform in shows at the Grand Canyon University and ASU and competed in freestyle battles such as Vendetta. After dancing with The Human Project, and graduating from the Danswest Dance Company in 2010, Austin started dancing and choreographing for Fluxx Dance in 2011. Fluxx Dance has put on many local shows, and has been featured in events around Tucson, such as Hotel Congress, Tucson Art Gallery, etc. Austin has danced back up for local artists; Chezale and Anton Smith and has danced in music videos with both artists. Along with teaching at Danswest and other local studios, Austin has also taught at Compass High School. He has taught master classes for Sahuaro Dance, and continues to teach classes at Salpointe High School as well. Austin’s biggest strengths are choreographing hip hop and tap. His choreography has won judges awards, entertainment awards, and choreography awards. Austin’s love for dance and teaching continues to grow and his goal is to become a well known choreographer in the future.
natalie clevenger: modern/jazz/contemporary/ballet
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Natalie Clevenger began her dance training in a local studio at a young age. She has studied ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, acro-dance, modern, and contemporary dance styles. She has competed all around the United States and holds several national titles with competitions such as Showstopper, World of Dance, and Tremaine Conventions. In addition, Natalie has taught dance to students since 2011, and she has choreographed numerous recital routines, competition pieces, scenes from The Nutcracker, and show choir pieces. Currently, Natalie is a dance major at the University of Arizona, where she is perfecting her technique and choreography skills. She believes that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. She also takes pride in her versatility, and she supports the belief that being a well-rounded dancer is invaluable.
kristina zamora: tumbling / cheer!
Kristina Zamora is currently a student at the University of Arizona working towards her degree in Nutritional Science. She was selected to join the UofA Cheer team in 2016 and can be seen promoting Wildcat spirit at pep rallies, community events, and athletic events. When not in school she teaches recreational level gymnastics and leads Summer and Winter cheer camps for kids. Danswest is very excited to be able to offer CHEER! For the first time and we are happy to have Kristina joining our team!
alex meyers: tumbling
Alex Myers and has been a cheerleader since he was 14 years old. He’s competed at nationally recognized competitions such as NCA, Wolrds, UCA and many more. Alex also cheered with an All-Star squads known as Arizona Thunder Elite, which is now Top Gun All Stars. He have been coaching Tumbling for the past 5 years and have been certified to spot up to level 5 skills. He is very excited to start helping out the studio to ensure that all athletes are maxing out on tumbling during their routines and looks forward to this amazing season!
Tara has been dancing since the age of 5. She has trained for over 13 years in various types of dancing such as Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Modern, and African, with the main focus being in tap. She trained under the amazing, Frank Trent for more than half of her dancing career, and then had the opportunity to train with Megan Maltos for the remaining of her career.. At the University of Arizona, Tara had the opportunity to dance and train with Michael Williams, a very well known instructor/dancer, for a year of her college career. As a freshman in college, she worked with Barbea Williams, and was part of her performing company. She was able to perform with the company and all dance majors at the University of Arizona’s Spring Collection. Tara has worked with various dance greats such as, Scott Benson, John Sloven, Zetta Alderman, Artie Stone and Susan Quinn. More recently she has enjoyed working with professional tap company TAP 24.7 and teaching a choreographing for both dance studios and pageants.