Amani Jae

Amani Jae is an all around gifted entertainer and artist from Phoenix, AZ who has been making quite a name for himself in the entertainment industry for the last decade. This entertainment entrepreneur is known to have many talents that have led him to owning a professional business now known as Amani Jae Entertainment.

Amani Jae has been a rapper performing on stage with hip hop legend Krs-One, to a music producer remixing Disney classics and other popular music for clients across the world to djing the hottest parties around as a high energy Dj and MC. It’s safe to say that Amani is a man of many talents, but hip hop dancing was always his first love.

In 2002, Amani, along with 3 other members, formed a dance crew known today as the Elektrolytes, who went on to win MTV’s Season 7 show America’s Best Dance Crew.

In 2006, Amani Jae began traveling the United States as a drummer and dancer with a drum and dance fusion company called “Street Jam”. Shortly after, Amani Jae tried out for and made the hip hop squads for both Phoenix Suns & Phoenix Mercury dance teams. During his 5 years working in game entertainment for the NBA and WNBA, Amani Jae routinely performed during timeouts and halftime shows. He also gained experience with the pregame shows as a Dj and MC.

Since then Amani has built his business up by continuing to work with dance teams across the nation preparing their mixes or choreographing their award winning routines. Amani continues to Dj (for weddings, corporate events, sweet 16s, bar mitzvahs, etc.), produce music for Hip Hop, Pop and R&B artists, as well as perform as a recording artist himself.

Stacie Hammond

Stacie has studied dance since the young age of 6. She studied under the instruction of Rendee Combs and Geri parker from their small studio in Buckeye called “R& G Dance”. The company has since grown and became “Desert West Dance Academy.” During high school she was co-captain of her high school’s dance team. Upon graduating high school she studied dance at EMCC and also GCC. During college she obtained her BA Degree from ASU in Early Childhood Education. Her passion and love for kids has brought her to become a successful Kindergarten Teacher and also dance teacher.

Rachel Hyde

Rachel started dancing when she was 8 years old at DWDA in Buckeye, where she grew up.  Her second year of dancing she was asked to be in the performance company.  She has studied several forms of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, pointe, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, and tumbling.  Throughout her years at the studio she attended many conventions and workshops, where she learned so much.  She was also able to be a part of the Elite Competition Team where she competed many group dances as well as solos. She won the title of Miss Encore 2015 her senior year.  She was then able to attend the National competition where she placed 15th overall with her solo.  She has done performances all around the valley with the company performance group including dancing in Fiesta Bowl Parade.  Dance is her passion and she loves teaching and is glad to be a part of the DWDA family.

Josh Allen

Josh Allen was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Tucson, Arizona. He has been involved in the entrainment business for over 18 years and going. Since the early age of 5 Josh had a passion to learn how to play music instruments, breakdance, gymnastics, music production acting, acting, modeling, DJing and photography. Starting with piano Josh explored the different melodies and harmonies leading to the advances experience of recording. In addition, Josh extended his skills by performing in local churches, plays, and small productions. Move over Josh experienced playing other instruments such as the recorder, drums, trumpet, guitar, and xylophone. Throughout the years Josh was inspired to read music, record, produce and write songs, and build his own “B2k”, Laura Ann Kesling from 2008 movie Bed Time Stories, Tonisha Weiver from Wizards of Waverly Place and Coproducing with Warner Brothers Matt Wong. Other Highlights included the appearance in the 2012 Pepsi commercial as an extra, as an extra on the 2010 show Greek, 2010 Batman’s Bad Day movie preview, 2009 Kool Smiles dentist commercial, and modeled for the 2005 JCPennys catalog. Josh has always been fond of the dynamics of dancing. He started with breakdancing at the age of 11 leading to a renowned career with performing, teaching, choreography, and producing dance shows throughout Cali and AZ. Josh also has experience other flavors of dancing such as salsa, country line dance, country two-step, swing, ballroom, tango, pasa doble and cha cha. Josh’s accomplishments inspire him to teach adults and children on professional level. Above all, Josh is motivated to help others achieve greatness. As an entrepreneur, Josh currently disk- jockeys for Grand Canyon University, weddings, elementary events, high school proms, parties, including photography for talent scouts. Overall, Josh has been instructing for 13 years and enjoys contributing to the success of others.

Christyn Copeland and Jennifer Jacks

Buti Instructors
Christyn Copeland (Buti Certified Instructor) and Jennifer Jacks (Buti RYT certified, Booty Barre Certified Instructor, XY Workout Certified Instructor and Holy Yoga Certified)

Jennifer and Christyn both come to Desert West Dance from Prescott Az.  They both were members at the same gym and were Buti Certified together in 2014.  After moving to the valley they reunited and grew a lasting friendship and decided teaching classes was something they enjoyed and the west valley needed some women focused classes.

Joining forces, they formed a perfect team and now teach at the studio offering a range of class formats and creating a class group that is known as a Tribe.

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Andrea Hieser

Andrea was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She began dancing in her living room from the time she could walk. At the age of three she began training at Bonnie Ardelene’s school of dance where she studied all forms of dance. In 2005, at the age of 12, she moved to Prescott, Arizona and joined The Dance Studio’s pre- professional company. She participated and received platinum and diamond awards at regional and national competitions along with scholarships and titles. In 2009 she began teaching at The Dance Studio and has participated in and taught master classes and summer intensives around Arizona, Utah, and Chicago.

Andrea has choreographed award winning groups numbers, solos, duos, and trios and loves to see her students shine on stage! In 2015 she moved to Waddell, Arizona and began teaching at Desert West Dance Academy. She is excited to continue sharing her love for dance with her students at DWDA!

Curtis Walker

I was born in Columbus Ohio to a military family, my father served in the U S Air Force my mom served in the Arizona Air National Guard and as a child, my two brothers and I moved around until I was 6. I am divorced with three children one girl 23 (in college), two boys 18 (graduated high school this year) and 16 (a high school junior).  I’ve lived in Arizona since August 1978 and have always had a love for different activities exerting my body such as break dancing, gymnastics, soccer and the martial sciences.

In 1991, I and five friends were dancers for Royal Dance Works and formed the group called “North Side Crew” we were blessed to be dance contestants on Star Search with Ed McMahon. Yes! We won our 1st round with 3 ¾ stars and lost our 2nd round to a group with more experienced.

Over the years I began to develop my skills in all of my areas of interest and as time passed I incorporate them into my life style as a young adult. I began teaching dance and tumbling at dance studios, gyms and schools.  I’ve been a cheer / tumbling coach for over 26 years, four of which was a head coach working with male and female youngsters in each age category.  Working with over 50 elementary and high schools as well as junior colleges in Arizona, Nevada and California.  I’ve always put my student’s safety first and I have gained the trust of their parents by doing so while still being professional.

Even though I taught dance for a few years, during my long career, I realized early on my passion was tumbling and cheer.  Over the years seeing dancers, student athletes, cheerleaders and yes, I do believe cheer is a sport, achieve their goals; I also realize I’ve done my part to inspire; to motivate;  and to help them look beyond where they are to where they can be and see their future self.

I am honored that their parents trust and allow me to be a part of their children’s journey to adulthood. A number of my former students contact me on my Face Book Page sharing where they are in their careers, what their next goal is and to just check on me.  I will always remember the one student that said, “I was the voice of reason that kept her out of trouble”.

I do what I do because I love what I do and it is a gift God wants me to share.

Mikhael Devore

Mikhael was born in Upstate New York where she grew up in her aunt’s dance studio. She trained under her aunt for 17 years and competed in various competitions on the east coast. When she graduated high school she pursued a degree in Massage Therapy from Morrisville State College. It was there that she took classes involving the study of muscles, the nervous system, the skeletal system and much more. She fell in love with understanding how the human body works and this information fueled her desire to translate what she learned into more artistic movement. She would find herself in NYC taking classes at studios such as the Broadway Dance Centre, Peridance Centre and Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. After college she began teaching part time at Northern NY Dance Academy where she would stay for 5 years. She quickly fell in love with teaching the art form to students of all ages and began developing a method of teaching structured improv with a heavy emphasis on Modern Technique. It was during her time in NY that she won several awards for her creative and innovative storytelling through choreography. In 2013 she moved to Tucson, AZ and began teaching classes at Creative Dance Arts. There she taught classes to all age levels in everything from contemporary and jazz to improv and conditioning classes. She continues to educate herself on different techniques and loves to implement new challenges in the classroom. Nothing fuels her more than watching her students grow and discover who they are in a safe and supportive environment.

Daniel McKeon

Daniel McKeon started dance at the age of 3 with an overwhelming love for dance. During his childhood years he took lessons at Betty Johnson’s school of dance where he studied with Suzy Gurino and Jennifer Miller in the dance form of tap. From there he went on performing at various venues such as numerous appearances at the Orpheum theater and Herberger theater. He is currently involved with Suzy Gurino and Jennifer Millers tap group called TAP 24.7. The crew travels and performs in multiple states. Some other Tap dancers the he has studied with are Chloe Arnold, who has had appearances on “So you think you can dance” and works as Beyoncé’s double. Also, Gregg Russell who has worked with Michael Jackson. At the moment Danny is studying music at PVCC and once graduated, he will continue his studies at USC or ASU to pursue a degree in composition. Danny’s motto comes from the gifted composer Beethoven, “Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets for it and knowledge will raise men to the divine.” Danny believes that with just the right amount of passion and perseverance any goal can be achieved.

Dennielle Shelton

It wasn’t until I was seven years old when I fell in love with dancing. I started my career at Desert West Dance Academy, blessed to be taught by Rendee, Amy, and Lindsay. When high school came around, I became captain of their Pom Line. During my senior year, I departed from Pom and decided to pursue my passion in bigger ways. I tried out for a Professional Football team, The Arizona Rattlers. I was blessed not only to become a Professional dancer but to be able to call myself a Sidewinder too. Although I enjoyed it very much, I knew my dance home would always be DWDA. I am very grateful to now be apart of their wonderful staff. I enjoy watching the students not only grow into amazing dancers but as young adults as well.

Amanda Malek-Ahmadi

Amanda Malek-Ahmadi began dancing in the womb, but formally at age 5.   In High School Amanda was in Colorguard, she was a soloist and the Captain for 3 years.  Amanda received her BA in Elementary Education and Minor in Dance at the University of Arizona.   Since graduating she is proud to say that she has taught dance to the entire K-12 spectrum, and has taught Modern and Ballet at PVCC.  Amanda is also a graduate of the Dance Master of America 4 year Summer Teacher Training School.   Professionally Amanda has danced for PoweNow LLC  and Busch Gardens, Tampa.  Amanda currently dances for Center Dance 2, a modern dance company that performs at the Herberger.    Amanda loves sharing her passion for dance with all the students at DWDA.