Sara began dancing at the age of six in Lake Jackson, Texas. She has had the opportunity to train with professionals and dance in many productions such as The Nutcracker. Her teaching experience ranges from pre-school aged children to junior high and adults. Sara has been working with school age children for the past 15 years. The goal of River Oaks Dance is to create a knowledge and love of dance at young age and foster an interest in the art that will last a lifetime. Sara believes that dance can help children grow in so many areas such as coordination, confidence, presence and imagination.
Sara is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Sara is also a certified master teacher through the Leap n Learn early childhood development and dance program and continues learning from and about children every year during classes and through continued education training. Sara is a member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church and lives in Montrose. She loves seeing her little ballerinas around town “in real life”!
Maria Angeles Crovato
Maria Angeles Crovato is an enthusiastic ballet instructor with over 20 years of experience in ballet and dance as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Ms. Maria is a former professional ballet dancer for a ballet company in Paraguay, South America where she also owned her own studio. In addition to her experience teaching dancers of all ages, Ms. Maria is a certified instructor in the Leap n Learn early childhood dance curriculum and is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Ms. Maria also holds a Bachelor degree in Nutrition.
Holda began her training in Mexico City under the direction of Paloma Zepeda Novelo. She began her classical training in the cuban technique and then moved into the Royal Academy of Dance program. She has coursed through the Royal Academy of Dance graded exams from Pre-Primary to Advance 2. Holda was a dancer with Allegro Ballet of Houston under the direction of Glenda Brown, Peggy Girouard and Vanessa Brown. Allegro gave Holda the opportunity to dance regionally and nationally at the Regional Dance America Convention and internationally with Young Tanzsommer tour in Austria. She has had the opportunity to perform professionally with regional companies in the Greater Houston area and the U.S., as well as work with world-known Master Teachers such as Laura Alonso, John Magnus, Thom Clower, Jennifer Medina, Paula Weber, Lynn Wallis, Ana Jurado, Albert Cataffi, Leslie Jane Pessemier. Holda completed her Certificate for Ballet Teaching Studies (CBTS) Programme in 2014 under the mentorship of Rocio Braggiato, and is now a Royal Academy Certified Teacher. R.A.D TC 797370. In April 2017 Holda completed the Progressing Ballet Technique teacher certification course taught by the PBT founder Marie Walton-Mahon. Holda is also an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Jessica Nieto, Ballet Instructor
Jessica Nieto is a native Houstonian and a graduate from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Under the direction of Karen Stokes, she received a Bachelor of Arts in dance and minor in Spanish from the University of Houston where she graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors. Jessica was a core company member of Karen Stokes Dance performing in works such as, Vine Leaf Dances, Framing Dance: A Discovery Series, Gallery Constructions and Dance, Film & Conversation. Jessica has worked with exceptional instructors and choreographers including Becky Valls, Theresa Chapman, Stephen Koplowitz, George Staib, LuAnne Carter, Janie Carothers, Jodee Engle, Jeanne Doornbos and Naomi Glass Schwiethale. Additionally, she has studied at the American Dance Festival and acquired international performance experience at the Staibdance summer intensive in Sorrento, Italy. Jessica’s choreography has been presented at the University of Houston, Frenetic Fringe Festival and various events sponsored by the Houston Independent School District.
Jessica is an advocate in arts education having spent time working for Houston’s Society for the Performing Arts to bring artists from around the world to Houston’s schools and communities. She is certified to teach within the Houston Independent School District and has led dance programs at Sharpstown High School and Edgar Allen Poe Elementary. While working as an educator, she had the opportunity to teach dance as education to hundreds of students each year and collaborate with local artists including Jane Weiner with Hope Stone Dance.
Jessica enjoys sharing her knowledge in dance with young artists and she is excited to continue her journey with River Oaks Dance.
Valerie Contreras, Dance Instructor
Valerie Contreras grew up in Mexico City. Since she was little she loved dancing Hip Hop so much that she became a self-taught dancer. At an early age, she received a full scholarship for the All-Star cheerleading team named Cardenales. She was part of Cardenales for Five years where she gained experience in tumbling and cheer dance. At the age of fifteen, she moved to the U.S where she focused just on dancing and trained at Millenium Dallas Complex and was part of her high school drill team. After graduating High school, she started teaching kids and teens at Park Cities Studio as well as the Mini Hip Hop Company. In her free time, she choreographs and directs music videos and concerts for local artists like Seysei, Nio Amesty, and award-winning Lorena Tassinari. She also gets the pleasure to perform on stage with them and be in their music videos. She has performed at the house of blues, the bomb factory, seasonal festivals, and other concerts. She also had the pleasure to be invited to perform with DCR&B at the Cowboys Half Time show. Valerie felt the need to learn more about that that she decided to study abroad in London for half-a-year, and was the Hip Hop Director and Teacher of City, University of London. She also trained in the most well-known studio in London Pineapple where she learned new techniques and styles of dancing. When she moved back to the U.S, she began teaching kids, teens and adults at Contemporary Ballet Dallas, where she created an adult class named Slay femme funk focusing on confidence and presence, as well as becoming the new Director of their Hip Hop Company. Valerie is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in Marketing. She is excited to join River Oaks Dance as a hip-hop instructor and assistant in the ballet classes.
Carolina Salomon, Dance Instructor
Carolina Salomon Simon
Carolina Salomon began and her dance training at age four at the Houston ballet under the guidance of Pricilla Nathan Murphy and Cheryne Busch. There, she fell in love with the movement and poise of classical ballet and decided to pursue a career in dance. She performed in various works choreographed or re-choreographed by Stanton Welch including Nutcracker and Spring Show. Upon graduation, Carolina continued expanding her movement language by training in a Bachelor’s degree program at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In her time at the Conservatory, she has trained with teachers such as Adriana Suarez, Joy Davis, Brian McGinnis, Kurt Douglas, and Tai Jimenez. In addition, she has worked with contemporary dance choreographers such as Stephanie Martinez, Jon Olstad, Gregory Dawson, Robin Aren, and Adam Houghland. Carolina has also performed in student works choreographed by Natalie Cecchini, Brittany Brown, and Laila Franklin. Finally, she has gained teaching experience by working with kids with special needs, kids in middle school, and professional dancers with her Royal Academy of Dance teaching certificate, and under the guidance of Maggy Gorrill, Jim Viera, Gemma Williams, and Kurt Douglas. Carolina graduated from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee May 2019 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Performance and Pedagogy.
Carolina continues to teach and choreograph at Flashdance Studio in Mexico City. In 2019, her choreography won “STOP THE CLOCK!!” recognition at the 24seven dance competition in San Diego. In addition, she received a choreography and style award at Sheer Elite.
Carolina’s two favorite ballets of all time are Nutcracker by Marius Petipa and Jewels by Balanchine. She can’t wait to share all of the wonder of ballet with her students!