Kristen Morris started dance at the age of three with Trudy's School of Dance and then moved to Bill Graham Dance studio at the age of 7 where she feel in love with staff and friends and created memories to last a lifetime. She continued her education in Ballet, Jazz and Tap from numerous and well respected instructors in the community; such as, Bill Graham, Barbara Bernard, Janet Rayburn and Patricia Dillehay. She also matched her passion of dance with her athletic nature in basketball and thrived on how far one could push beyond their physical limits. Performances include Will Rogers Follies as a Follies Girl with Jewel Box Theatre, LA Dance Force and various venues around OKC while continuing to maintain her goals as an athlete. She attended the University of Oklahoma and pursued a degree in Public Relations and joined the Delta Gamma Fraternity. This is where she met her husband of 20 years and have three amazing boys. Kristen understands while many students will not pursue a career in dance but hopes they learn the strength and discipline to not only use those skills in life but give them confidence to reach their dreams.
Leslie began her dance career at the early age of 2 ½ under the direction of Gerri Stretz-Meyer and Yvonne Meyer-Hare of the Professional Dance Center in St. Louis, Missouri. She has participated in numerous dance competitions and conventions since she was 4 years old. While at the Professional Dance Center Leslie was also trained as an assistant teacher. She has taken master classes from Tony Parise, Mike Minery, Gregory Fuller, Jeff Hancok, Kyle Coffman and Mark Goodman to name a few. She has worked private events as a hostess, dancer and entertainer, under the direction of Mary Strauss of St. Louis’ own Fabulous Fox Theater. Leslie attended Oklahoma City University (OCU) where she graduated with a degree in Dance Performance. During her time at OCU she was a member of the American Spirit Dance Company performing in both their annual Home for the Holidays and Spring Shows. After graduating she began teaching and choreographing. Her choreography has won multiple regional awards, including the MOVE award from the Soul de Soul dance convention. She looks forward to continuing to share her passion for dance through teaching and training our wonderful Encore students.
Maggie Turner began dancing at the age of 4 at June Landrith’s School of Ballet in Topeka, Kansas. She then studied at the Kansas Ballet Academy under the direction of Stephanie Heston and Alexander Smirnov. There she had the opportunity to perform lead roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Peter and the Wolf, Le Corsaire, and Paquita. She focused on studying ballet, specifically the Vaganova Method, but traveled to summer intensives such as Atlanta Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet, where she trained in ballet, contemporary, jazz, and musical theatre. After graduating from high school Maggie, joined the Oklahoma City Ballet’s trainee program for the 2017- 2018 season, and was then promoted to the Studio Company for the 2018-19 season. There she had many opportunities to work alongside the main company and train with their established staff and choreographers. She is very excited to teach at Encore this season and work with their talented students!
Veronica has been an Encore dancer and EDC company dancer since 2013. Veronica is established in ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical. She has assisted multiple dance classes through her career as an Encore Dancer and is now an Encore Instructor as she continues to share her love of dance with the younger students. She also continues to help organize Encore events and shows. Veronica is a graduate of Putnam City Original High School and is attending Oklahoma City University to further
her dance education as an Entertainment Business Major on a full scholarship.
We are proud to have Veronica to instruct at her home studio at Encore and continue our traditions!
Kaileah Long is from Denver, Colorado and began dancing at age 3. She grew up training at Colorado Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Julia Wilkinson Manley. Kaileah attended summer intensives at Joffrey Ballet Chicago, American Ballet Theatre in New York City, Houston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, BalletMet, and Orlando Ballet. Her senior year of High School she moved away from home to attend Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Pre-Professional Program on scholarship. After graduation, Kaileah has gone on to dance at Ballet Arizona, BalletMet, and now Oklahoma City Ballet. Kaileah is looking forward to her second year in the Studio Company and is excited for another year of performing. She has received amazing opportunities to dance in Edwaard Liang’s Giselle, George Balanchine’s Serenade and Concerto Barocco, Septime Webre’s Alice (in Wonderland), August Bournonville’s La Sylphide, and Walker Martin’s Hansel and Gretel. Kaileah is also a certified Yoga Instructor and has a passion for teaching dancers and athletes yoga. Kaileah is very excited to be teaching and sharing her knowledge with the wonderful students at Encore!.
Cynthia (Pictured with Gregg Mitchell) began her training at the world renown June Taylor School of Dance in New York City and then continued her education at the Luigi Jazz Center. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Adelphi University in New York, she furthered her studies with masters such as Gabrielle Taub Darvash, Maggie Black, Alfredo Corvino and the Jose Limon Company.
Her performing experience includes the Jacobs Pillow Dancers ("Capriccio Espanol" Monolo Vargas) Adelphi Dance Theater, Disney on Parade (replacement chorus / step out) and Shekinah Company. (Toronto, Canada).
Cynthia was also a demonstrator and performer at the Dance Masters of America in NYC (Bill Gary) for tap at the young age of 14. She then broadened er experience by teaching and choreographing for the New York Christian Theater, The AD Players and Manning Dance and Gymnastics Studio. Her choreography has been used by Gregg Mitchell (Juilliard, Eliot Feld Ballet and Broadway) and Jacqui Marshall (American Ballet Theater).
Cynthia chose to retire in order to raise and homeschool her five children. Now she is returning to share a lifetime of knowledge, experience and the many educational benefits of dance to the next generation.
Natasha Brooksher grew up in Woodbury, CT where she received her Vaganova based ballet training at Nutmeg Ballet under the tutelage of Sharon E. Dante and Eleanor D’Antuono. She graduated Valedictorian of her class, both in ballet and academically from Nonnewaug High School. Brooksher received honors in competition on the local, national and international levels at ARTS Recognition and Talent Search, IV New York International Ballet Competition, IV Paris International Ballet Competition, and the 20ieme Prix de Lausanne, Switzerland. Preparing for these competitions was just as valuable as the experience of the competition itself; the work and preparation, both physical and mental, were a major part of her growth as a young and developing artist.
Brooksher also attended summer workshops at Boston Ballet, School of American Ballet, and the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MI, and served as demonstrator for Vaganova Pedagogy Teachers’ Workshops at Nutmeg Ballet. Natasha danced as a professional artist with Boston Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, and Ballet Arizona where she enjoyed working with choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Elisa Monte, Elliot Feld, Lyla York, Trey McIntyre, and Graham Lustig. She performed leading roles in American Classics such as Rodeo, Billy the Kid and Company B and Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, as well as premiering Merce Cunningham’s Breakers at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Natasha’s extensive classical repertoire includes Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Abdullah and Raymonda Glazunov Classique. Mrs. Brooksher also danced many Balanchine roles in some of the choreographer’s masterpieces: Serenade, Symphony in C, Mozartiana, Who Cares?, Theme and Variation, and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, among others.
Brooksher was coached by some of the world’s great teachers: Natalia Dudinskaya, Sergei Berejnoi, Eleanor D’Antuono, Cynthia Gregory, Tatiana Legat, Suki Schorer, Vladimir Kolesnikov, Vadim Desnitsky, Caroline Llorca, Suzanne Farrell, Cynthia Gregory, Terry Orr, Tatiana Terekhova, Vicki Simon, Elise Borne, Ben Stevenson, and Francia Russell among others. Mme.
Brooksher has extensive teaching experience, having taught for Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts as guest teacher and coach, Residential Assistant and coach for the 1996 New York International Ballet Competition, and guest master teacher around the United States. Most recently, Mme. Brooksher is a founder of, and serves as Artistic Director for, Brooksher Ballet, and is involved in all aspects of running a successful professional level ballet training program. Her students have gone on to attend prestigious academies and conservatories on scholarship, as well as university positions and professional companies throughout the world. Brooksher serves as the Arizona State Representative of the Classical Dance Alliance, an organization created to promote the highest of standards for classical ballet in the United States through teacher training programs and educational awareness of the importance of pedagogical training. Most recently she has been named as a member of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization International Dance Council.
Rebecca is a long-time member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and also serves as a national and regional adjudicator in musical theatre. She has recently completed coursework in Estill Voice Training and is working towards her Figure Proficiency. She has been seen on stage at Lyric Theatre, the Pollard Theatre, the UCO Jazz Lab, and at Southern Nazarene University. She has music directed shows at Lyric Theatre's Thelma Gaylord Academy and Poteet Theatre. After nearly a decade immersed in musical theatre, Rebecca made her operatic debut in December of 2017 as the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors.
She made her Carnegie Hall debut in April of 2018. Rebecca is currently pursuing a double master's in Vocal Pedagogy and Vocal Performance at the University of Central Oklahoma. Graduates of Rebecca’s studio are attending some of the finest musical theatre and acting institutions in the country - NYU, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Rutgers, OCU, OU, and UCO (just to name a few). When Rebecca is not teaching, you can find her spending time with her family of 8, reading, memorizing new music, or volunteering!
Alyssa Bland started dancing at the age of 3. She began to take her talents to the next level when she started dancing at Applause studios at the age of 7. She was a competitive dancer from age 12 through graduating high school as well as being on the Southmoore Highschool Pom Team and getting the privilege to be co-captain and captain her junior and senior years. She was proud to earn the title of OSDTDA Senior Solo State Champion in 2011. She then went on to college at the University of Central Oklahoma where she was a member of the UCO Pom Team for 5 years, being a captain her last 2. After graduating in 2016, Alyssa became an Oklahoma City Thunder Girl for two amazing seasons before she moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where she was honored to be chosen as a member for NBA Pelicans Dance Team for two seasons from 2018-2020. She is now back in Oklahoma and excited to see where her dance journey takes her next. To say she is passionate about dancing and performing would be an understatement. Alyssa is so excited to to be a part of the Encore family and get to share that passion and love for this art with their students!
Daylee Cowart was born and raised in SW Oklahoma City. She was a student under Penny Capps at The Pointe Performing Arts Studio in high school, as well as a student of Kelsey Self-Williams with the Southmoore High School Varsity Pom Squad. A graduate in 2017 from the University of Oklahoma, she earned her B.A. in Communication and Health and Exercise Science. While at OU, she was a member of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma and was the lead choreographer for many events including recruitment skits, U-Sing, Scandals, and Homecoming performances. She was also the assistant coach of the SHS Varsity and Junior Varsity Pom Squads and taught at the Studio of the Sooner Theatre in Norman. She has many years’ experience in teaching jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and pom style classes. Daylee is currently in her second season as an Oklahoma City Thunder Girl. In addition to her Thunder Girl responsibilities, Daylee also works at Chesapeake Energy Corporation full-time and will soon take her NASM-Certified Personal Trainer certification. When not working, Daylee really enjoys traveling (on pause due to Covid-19), spending time with her family, and trying new restaurants.