Cathy Arellano has been an educator for 45 years. She spent 26 as a dance drill team instructor, and was known for her prop and creative routines such as "cockroaches" and tap routines including staging encompassing the entire basketball court. Cathy became an administrator for 14 years as an asst./ assoc. principal and head principal of 9th grade wing. She has been the proud owner of MDDTTEXAS Dance Competitions for 23 years and co owner of BattleGround Dance Competition Company.
Her accolades include:
Texas Dance Educator Association - Hall of Fame, Director of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Charter Member, President of TDEA 2 years, 9 years of TDEA Board of Directors.
MaryLou Johnson is a fine arts product of Clear Creek ISD. She is a graduate of the University of Houston with Art and Dance Certification. She also attended Kilgore College were she was a member of the Kilgore College Rangerettes and Swingsters. She taught art and dance for twenty years at Clear Creek and Clear Brook High School were she developed the first dance department curriculum, was the first director of the Clear Creek Cavalier dance team and helped design a strong foundation for the district visual art program. During that time, MaryLou also choreographed and created set design in many school districts and community musicals and has been nominated twice for the choreography award with the TUTS Tommy Tune award. She is a past president of the Texas Dance Educators Association as well as received the 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the TDEA Hall of Fame in 2008. MaryLou is a juror for the Texas Art Education Association Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE), a dance adjudicator at the state and national level and the state assessment with TDEA-Dance Educators Assessment of Learning (DEAL). While working at the University of Houston, she taught methods classes and supervised fine arts student teachers. After completing her Mid-Management degree at the University of Houston Clear Lake, MaryLou became an Assistant Principal at Pasadena Memorial High School were she supervised all of the fine arts programs. To continue her joy of teaching, she owned and was the director of curriculum at Starlight Studio in League City. In 2010, MaryLou was given the honor of Culture Shapers Administrator of the Year after she was nominated by her visual arts instructors in her district. Just recently, MaryLou was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award for the Clear Creek Educational Foundation in her community. She currently is a member of the Board and Directors for CEDFA (Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts). MaryLou was given a great opportunity to come back to her educational roots and was the Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts for Clear Creek ISD. Since her retirement in December 2014, she has continued to support fine arts programs across the state of Texas.
Angela Seward Hayes is a lifelong dance educator. She recently retired from public education after 30 years, most of which she spent as the director of the award-winning Dulles Dolls Dance Team. Angela is the founder of Danceable Thoughts, a resource for dance education, consultant, choreography and clinician services. Angela is a curriculum writer, workshop presenter for many organizations, and an adjudicator. She is proud graduate of TCU! Her past honors include TDEA Director of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
Favorite dance team memory:
Simply can't condense a lifetime of dance team into a single moment but I can speak to the feeling that is most prevalent in my memories: Satisfaction! "Satisfaction" at the end of a long practice. "Satisfaction" when I see students hugging it out before they take the field. "Satisfaction" when a creative thought becomes a brilliant performance! "Satisfaction" when a student becomes a leader!
Kristine Copeland is a passionate educator who sees dance as a vehicle to help students learn valuable skills for life. After graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Dance, Kristine spent 20 years in the Houston area directing the Clements Stars and Seven Lakes Sapphires dance teams. In these dance programs, she fell in love with teaching young adults not only the art of dance but also the skills needed to be leaders in the organizations in which they were involved. Kristine retired from directing dance in 2013 to become a school administrator. Since then, she has focused on mentoring dance educators from an administrative perspective and helping them develop successful dance programs. Kristine has been an active member of the Texas Dance Educators Association, serving in several board positions including President in 2010. She is excited about the opportunity to continue mentoring young people and directors through the vision of Dance Surge.
Courtney has been a dance educator for 15 years.During this time, she was a full-time dance teacher and Dance/Drill Team Director at Jersey Village High School, Elkins High School and Austin High School. As a dance educator, Courtney focused on sharing her love of many different dance genres with her students as well as helping them grow as young men and women. Courtney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Dance from the University of Houston. She currently resides in Tomball, Texas with her husband, Brett and two children, Madison and Eli. She is extremely excited about the Dance Surge family and continuing to share her passion for leadership through dance education.
Marka Wood is a born and raised Houstonian and started her dance career at the age of 3 at Jill Rauscher’s School of Dance. She studied many genres growing up, including but not limited to Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip hop, Modern, Contemporary and Musical Theatre. In high school, she was a member of the Clear Brook Celebrities Dance Team and was honored to be a member of the Jazz Company. Her Senior year she was a part of the Studio 03 Dance Company where she danced competitively. After high school, Marka earned a dance scholarship to Blinn College where she was an officer of the nationally award winning Blinn Treasures and earned her Associates of Science degree. Marka was offered another dance scholarship to Stephen F. Austin State University where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Education with a minor in Kinesiology. While at SFA she was a member of the award winning SFA Pom Squad and the Repertory Dance Company. She performed at NDA Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida and the ACDFA Dance Festival in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Marka started teaching dance at Bonis Dance and Performing Arts Center after student teaching at the Woodlands High School and fell in love with teaching all ages. She made her way back to League City in 2013 where she became the Assistant Director of the Clear Springs Silverados and went back to school to earn a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Instructional Technology from Sam Houston State University. After two years at Clear Springs, she moved down the street and became the Director of the Clear Creek Cavaliers. She spent 8 years teaching in CCISD and loved sharing her love of dance with her students. Marka now resides in Spring Branch with her fiancé, Ty and her sweet fur baby, Lexi. Marka is super excited to be a part of the Dance Surge family and can’t wait to continue sharing her passion for dance.
Raeauna is a graduate of Klein Oak High School, where she was a member of the award winning Klein Oak Strutters Dance/Drill Team, Klein Oak Dance Company and the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. Raeauna continued her education at Sam Houston State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Event Planning along with numerous leadership awards and titles. For 4 years, Raeauna served as the dance program director at C. E. King Middle School, where she founded the Sapphires Dance Team and grew the program to serve 3 levels of dance. Most recently, she has served as the Assistant Director of the Eisenhower High School Golden Eaglettes for 2 years. Raeauna has danced for 2 semi-pro teams and is a 2 year veteran of the Houston Texans Cheerleader, having served for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Some of the highlights of her professional dance career include performing on stage with Grammy award winning artist, T-Pain, being named HTC's Most Valuable Teammate and choreographing the 2020 HTC Junior Cheer Halftime Performance.
Raeauna is our mentor for the junior high division and one of the choreographers.
Staci Russell is a San Antonio native who grew up dancing and playing sports. Going into her Junior year of high school, she made the decision to audition for her high school drill team. She was a Samuel Clemens Belle her Junior year and served as a Major her Senior Year. After graduation, Staci headed to Texas State University in San Marcos to pursue her passion for dance education. During college, Staci took every opportunity to dance in student and faculty run productions. She was also an original member of Merge Dance Company. In May of 2011, she graduated with a BFA in Dance Education. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Austin and began working for several dance studios and worked as a substitute teacher for Austin ISD. In April of 2013, she and her her husband moved to Spring, TX and she quickly began filling out application to become an assistant dance director. Staci was hired on as the Assistant Dance/Drill Team Director at Klein Forest High School. During her three years as the assistant, she taught dace classes, worked with the JV Goldduster Drill Team, and ran Gold Revolution Dance Company and Outbreak Crew. In 2018, Staci was asked to become the Head Dance Director and head of the dance program at Klein Forest High School. She served another three years running the dance program and working with her dance students to focus on work ethic, mindset, and compassion. In 2021, Staci made the very difficult decision to leave education and focus on a new career goal, real estate. In 2018, the same year she stepped into the head director role, she was pregnant with her first child. Overall, her decision to leave the classroom was to be able to spend more time with her son and husband. Although she no longer teaches in the classroom, Staci makes it a point to stay active in the dance community. She continues to attend TDEA and promote MDDT Texas and Dance Surge, works dance contests, serves as a staff member for Dance Surge, frequently judges dance auditions, and was asked to be the Instructing Choreographer for DEAL in March of 2022
Darby Boyd Wiles is a native of Houston where she began her training in dance at Rodriguez Dance Academy and the Houston Ballet. In high school, she was an officer of her dance team and a competitive soloist, placing first at the regional and state levels. Darby earned a dance scholarship to Southern Methodist University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance. At SMU she studied under Bob Beard, Karen Kriete, Joe Orlando and Nathan Montoya. Her choreography was selected to appear in five “Brown Bag” productions, and Darby was honored with the 1996 Meadows School of Arts “Above and Beyond Award”. Mrs. Wiles was also a member of the 1994-1995 SMU Pom Squad. As a pom squad member, she was awarded the NCAA All-American Collegiate Dancer Award. For over 20 years, Darby has taught dance at studios and high schools in Houston and the DFW area. Her freelance choreography has appeared in dance concerts and shows, musicals, video productions, and was highlighted at a Dallas Mavericks game. Darby Boyd Wiles has directed dance programs at Irving High School, Haltom High School (both in the Dallas/Fort Worth area), and Taylor High School (Katy, TX). Under her direction, her dance programs have earned top awards, including four national champion titles. Mrs. Wiles has also written, choreographed, and directed five original dance production shows with her Taylor High school dancers: Adventures in Paradise (2010), Journey Under the Big Top (2012), The Crown, The Wand, and The Cloak (2014), Earth Forgotten (2016), and Stronger than the Storm (2018). Additionally, the Taylor Dance Program was featured in the 2016 January/February Spotlight section of Inside Dance magazine. Darby created the first public high school aerial dance program in the nation while directing the program at Taylor High School. She developed and wrote aerial dance curriculum. During the program’s eight years, Darby trained over 100 dance aerialists. Darby was honored as a seminar presenter at the 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2016 Texas Dance Educators State conventions where she shared her philosophy of dance curriculum, choreography techniques, and show productions.
In 2013, Darby was a Semi-Finalist for the Texas Dance Educator’s Association Director of the Year Award, and in 2017 Darby was voted by TDEA’s membership as the Director of the Year. She additionally has served as a Houston Regional Representative for TDEA for six years and served on TDEA’s Executive Board. In 2014, Darby was the lead writer for dance lesson plans for Katy ISD and has choreographed three Katy ISD Partners in Education videos that have placed first in the state. For two consecutive years, 2015 and 2016, Darby was the High School Dance Presenter for the Center for Educational Development in Fine Arts (CEDFA) State Summit in Austin, TX. Darby is additionally a Fine Arts Training Cadre for CEDFA. At the TAHPERD (Texas Association of Health, PE, Recreation and Dance) State Convention in 2018, Darby Boyd Wiles was honored with the Shining Star Award. This award is given annually to the individual the organization feels is most contributing to dance in the state of Texas. In 2019, Darby will launch her new Houston based performance company, Mariposa Dance Arts. MDA has been a dream of Darby’s for many years and she is working diligently to bring it to life. The company will be a collaboration of performance artists with the vision of creating cutting edge visual showcases for the City of Houston.
A graduate of the Elkins HS Elite Dance Team, Heather served as Co-Captain and 2nd Lieutenant. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!) where she completed her minor in dance. Heather was a two year member of the National Champion LSU Tiger Girls Dance Team and served as choreographer and dancer for the LSU Dance Ensemble for 4 years. Heather has been a staff member of MA Dance and dancer for the Houston Dynamo Girls. As a graduate student, Heather received her Masters of Education in Educational Administration from Houston Baptist University. She has served as assistant director at Hightower HS, head director at Bush HS, and director and assistant director Manvel HS. Heather served as Fine Arts Department Head at Manvel HS and an Assistant Principal at Stafford HS. Currently, Heather is completing her doctorate at the University of Houston main campus researching the Impact of Dance Education on Black Girls in the K-12 setting. She currently serves as a USASF Worlds Coach’s Liaison and member of the USASF Leadership Team. Heather specializes in pom, jazz, professional development, and leadership and travels internationally working with educators and dancers. Heather is married to her best friend Larry and they have two children, Nadya and Larry Jr. is honored to be a part of the Dance Surge family and their vision of inspiring, enriching and encouraging young dancers and leaders to follow their dreams and passion.
Vicky has served as a tireless advisor to MDDT Texas for 26 years. She emcee in the solo area as well. Vicky is the former director of the Nimitz Drill Team and retired after 25 years as a director. She is a wonderful camp site co-ordinator who provides you with a quality experience with your stay at the City Place Marriott.