A fresh new take on dance competitions. Our mission is to provide dancers of all levels with a fair and positive venue to showcase their talents. These weekends should be about so much more than a trophy; it’s about an experience where feedback and growth are just as important as a score. We are here to inspire and ignite your passion and love for dance!

More Than Just a Trophy
Judges
  • Brandon Leffler
    Brandon Leffler
  • Bobby Amamizu
    Bobby Amamizu
  • Christine Ivy
    Christine Ivy
  • Garrett Minniti
    Garrett Minniti
  • Eddie Garcia
    Eddie Garcia
  • Kenny Jezek
    Kenny Jezek
  • Erin Marino
    Erin Marino
  • Melissa Miles
    Melissa Miles
Brandon Leffler

Broadway and Off Broadway credits include: On The Town (Tom, Gabey u/s) Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Dance Captain), Wicked, Trip of Love (George), Fanny, The Golden Apple and Anyone Can Whistle. Brandon has also traveled the USA with the national touring companies of Wicked, A Chorus Line (Larry, Paul u/s, Mark u/s, Mike u/s), Cats (Tumblebrutus, Mistoffelees u/s) and the upcoming 1st national tour of My Fair Lady.

Dance Labs and pre-Broadway workshops have given Brandon an inside look at the creative process of many Broadway shows including: The Cher Show, Clueless: The Musical, Carousel, On The Town and Cinderella.

Concert dance has been a major part of Brandon’s journey. Companies include: Ballet Austin, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Collage Dance Collective, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, dre.dance, Dancing Wheels, Verb Ballets and Neos Dance Theatre.

T.V. credits include: 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Gossip Girl, the Tony Awards, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Instagram: @brandonleff

Bobby Amamizu

Bobby Amamizu is a graduate from Orange County High School of the Arts and holds a BFA in Dance Performance from UC Irvine. Currently he is represented by Movement Talent Agency in Los Angeles as a professional dancer. Stage credits: Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis (original cast), Freelusion, Industry Dance Awards, Tokyo the Company, Unity LA, Loving The Silent Tears (original musical), International Ballet Festival of Miami, Laguna Dance Festival, National Choreographers Initiative. Film: Fame, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, Dear Dumb Diary. Television/Commercials: Home Joy, Dancing with the Stars, Miss Universe, Strictly Come Dancing, Fiona Apple music video “Paper Bag,” Jerry Lewis Telethon. Industrials: L’Oreal, Mattel, and Morinda. He has also judged and taught at conventions/companies/Studios including: Cirque du Soleil, Edge Performing Arts Center, The Houston Met, OCSA, Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre, Tremaine Dance Conventions, LA Elite/Elite Dance Conventions, and West Coast dance Explosions. He also served as a rehearsal assistant to Jodie Gates to set an original ballet for Kansas City Ballet.

Christine Ivy

Christine holds an extensive and diverse background in Stage Direction/Production, Choreography, Talent/Event Management,  Teaching, Dance Performance, and Pilates Education. She is a current Lead Producer/Director for commercial powerhouse Zen Arts,  is the Owner/Founder of Ivy House Productions, and is Owner/Founder of  Balance & Grace Pilates Studio. Formerly a long time Producer, Choreographer, and Core Member of  global cirque troupe Lucent Dossier Experience, stage credits include numerous national and international  performances at notable venues such  as Coachella, Lightening in a Bottle, Electric Picnic (Ireland), and Boom (Portugal), along with multiple performances at the historic Palace Theatre (Los Angeles) and Liberty Theatre (NYC).  She can be seen in music videos for Avicii (“Super Love”), Of Monsters and Men (“Mountain Sounds”) and is featured in Pharrel Williams’ single, “Come Get it Bae”,  featuring Miley Cyrus. Commercial credits include Big Lots and Reliant Energy. Musical theatre roles include the Into the Woods (Baker’s Wife) and The Robber Bridegroom (Salome). Whilst being Lead BASI Pilates Instructor at  Balance & Grace Pilates, her  commercial fitness credits also include two dance fitness videos from fitness icon Tracey Mallet,  DanceFuse CardioBurn and DanceFuse CardioLean,  in which she is both featured and for which she was a contributing choreographer. And as a current student under the mentorship of Lolita San Miguel, who is one of only two Pilates Master Teachers ever to be certified by Joseph Pilates,  Christine will become a 2nd Generation Master Pilates Teacher in 2018. Her B.A. in Dance/Dance Science (CSULB) further equips her to give back to the community through her current work with the dancers at Santa Ana High School ( Assistant Dance Director) and with non-profit performance academy Top Billing Entertainment. She and choreography partner, Eddie Garcia, are represented by Go To Talent Agency. You can learn more about Christine at  http://www.wix.com/mamasladybug/christineivy,  or by visiting her Pilates studio home at www.balanceandgracepilates.com. She is a firm believer that life is journey best taken together and her mission statement is, “Take no prisoners. Leave no regrets. Bring everyone along for the ride”.  She appreciates this opportunity to pay it forward by joining the talented staff of ACT 1 and is excited to share her passion for authentic living and dancing.

Garrett Minniti

Garrett “Spaghetti” Minniti found his happy feet on stage at the age of 8 singing and dancing with the West Coast Musical Theatre Co mand by age 10 he was performing all over southern California. By the age of 14 it was clear that dance would be his destiny. His ever present smile, charm, and passion were methodically trained while performing with numerous song and dance troupes, competitive dance teams, and main-stage musicals at Orange County High School of the Arts and West Coast School of the Arts. After less than a year at UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film & Television, Garrett hit the road when he was cast in international tap dance sensation Caution: Men at Work Tap, and quickly jumped to tours of Broadways SWING! and 42nd Street. Other credits include Mike (A Chorus Line), Danny (Grease), Cosmo (Singing in the Rain), The Great American Songbook, Starring Ed Ames and Carol Lawrence (Branson, MO), and the world premier production of GIDGET, A New Musical written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Garrett is the co-Artistic Director and co-Founder of New York based In It For Life Productions. In It For Life has produced 11 showcases and original productions Off- Broadway and 17 dance workshops across the country since it’s inception in 2007 which have featured some of the industries most sought after choreographers, educators, and dancers. In 2013 Garrett and business partner Ahkai debuted The Breakthrough Outreach & Peformance Co; an international dance company, school, management company, and outreach program, and perhaps more importantly, a movement.  Check out www.iaminitforlife.com for more info and find us on social media!

Currently Garrett is supervising a NEW atmosphere show Tap Worx, which he created for Universal Studios Hollywood, teaching for the EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, Ca and adjudicates and teaches annually through Western Canada with Showtime Dance Promotions. He has taught for STEPS on Broadway (when in New York), as well as numerous other events, schools, conventions, festivals and studios nationally and internationally. Garrett is also the co-founder of MPower Dance Workshops (www.mpowerance.com), which focuses on helping students connect the disciplines learned in the dance studio to finding success in any aspect of life.  Currently MPower Dance and In It For Life are working together to create Flash Mob performances nation wide to promote STOMP Out Bullying, the nations largest anti-bullying campaign.

Garrett constantly strives to provide quality, energetic, and memorable dance educational experiences to students of all ages and levels, and to pass along the exceptional training and inspiration that he has received from his mentors. “Decide what type of dancer and performer you want to be, take charge of your training, and never miss and opportunity to get better!”

When not in the dance studio, in front of the computer, or on a plane, this proud Italian American enjoys cooking, taking “triple D” road trips with his beautiful wife, running, playing Wii, and watching Anime. He is very grateful for and thanks God for all of his blessings and accomplishments.

“Sometimes in life when nobody opens the door, you just have to knock down a ywall!” -Garrett  Minniti and Ahkai Franklin

Eddie Garcia

Eddie Garcia is an accomplished director, choreographer dancer and multi-faceted entertainer with a solid reputation for choreography built upon decades of performing internationally alongside many of today’s most celebrated stars.

At just 16 years old, Eddie’s incredible dancing style and technique delivered him to the world stage via many projects with Janet Jackson. He danced in some of her most iconic videos and performances of all time, including “Nasty”,”What Have You Done For Me Lately”, “When I Think of You” and the classic “Control” on the American Music Awards.

By the time Eddie turned 17, “The King of Pop” himself, Michael Jackson, hand picked Eddie to join him. This began with “Smooth Criminal”, still considered one of the greatest videos of all time, and continued with other well known videos like the “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Speed Demon”. Eddie spent the next five years dancing with Jackson on the record-breaking and internationally acclaimed “Bad” and “Dangerous” Tours.

It was during those invaluable years of touring and working on countless sets where Eddie fine-tuned his innate ability to direct, produce and choreograph. He has since lent his talent to collaborations with well known artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Paula Abdul, Queen Latifah, Jane’s Addiction and many others.

Eddie Garcia’s artistic fingerprint has made him one of the most sought after names within the world of dance and choreography. He continues to enjoy engaging in new creative adventures and collaborations with the artists of today and tomorrow.

Kenny Jezek

Kenny has performed, choreographed, directed and staged productions of all types. Feature films, television, music videos, commercials, theatrical productions, Kenny has literally done it all. While starring as Lars Englund on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” he did much of his own choreography. He has performed in the Los Angeles companies (1st National Touring Co.) of two Tony award winning Broadway musicals; “Cats” and “42nd Street”. Some of his other stage credits include, “Anything Goes” with Chita Rivera, and “Paint Your Wagon” with Gordon Macrae. Live theatre choreography credits include; Fleeing Down to Rio (a spoof on Flying Down to Rio), Johnny Bugle, Mystery At Windemere Mansion, Rocky’s Place and In Command of The Children. Kenny has lent his talents for dance and movement to stars like Gloria Loring and Michael Jackson. He has worked with and learned from some of the top choreographers and instructors in the industry including, Joe Tremaine (whom he was on full scholarship with and assisted throughout the country), Kenny Ortega, Jeffrey Hornaday, Marcea Lane, Rick Atwell, Dame Gillian Lynne, Jackie Sleight, Bill Prudich, Ben Lokey, Joe Bennet, Doug Caldwell, Jaime Rogers, Arlene Phillips, Bill Goodson, Jerry Evans, Michael Peters, Barry Lather, Helene Phillips, Vincent Patterson, and many others. He has performed with such stars as Jermaine Jackson, Dianna Ross, Olivia Newton John, Chita Rivera, Alice Cooper, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Travolta, Dinah Shore, Gordon Macrae, Leroy Reams, Nana Visitor, John Cipher, Gloria Loring, Michael DeLorenzo, Molly Ringwald, Sydney Poitier, Eva LaRue, Millie Carlucci, and Kim Fields, to name a few.

An all around dancer Kenny, worked constantly in the entertainment industry As a tapper Kenny has tapped with and learned from some of the very best in the business including Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr. Hinton Battle, Fayard and Howard Nicholas, Chloe Arnold, Sarah Reich, Rusty Frank, Louis DaPron, Benny Smith, Paul DeRolf and Tony Coppola. It is this knowledge and performance expertise that Kenny brings to all his choreography and teaching. Being well versed in Jazz, Lyrical and period dancing he can add movement and entertaining dancing to just about any production, be it theatre, T.V. or film. Kenny also holds black belts and Master certifications in several different martial arts styles and has often been called on to choreograph fight sequences for stage and film. Currently Kenny and his lovely wife Karen (also an accomplished actress with a long list of professional credits) head up their production company; Command Performers and have produced numerous stage plays, an independent feature film, a Ford Mustang commercial and several music videos including the latest for International Pop Star Autumn Allen.

Kenny’s movie credits include lead roles in three independent feature films “Karla Faye Tucker – Forevermore”, “Come What May”, and “Jack Phoenix” the latter of which he also served as Co-producer. Two other film credits are “Fast Forward” Produced and Directed by Academy award winning legend Sydney Poitier and “Pretty in Pink” starring Molly Ringwald. Among his numerous television credits, he has also had guest starring roles in several TV shows including “Hill Street Blues”, “St. Elsewhere” and “FAME”.

A true Master Jazz and Tap teacher, Kenny currently teaches dance and acting at four Arizona studios all while managing and developing projects through his production company. Along with his friend and fellow industry teacher Helene Phillips his “Master Class – Intensives” is taught at studios throughout the country with an emphasis on training dancers in performance jazz and helping them truly know what it takes to be a successful working dancer in the industry (both Hollywood and New York) and how to sustain that career. He is on faculty with Just West Of Broadway and Phoenix Tap Festival. And he serves as an adjunct judge with Act 1 Talent, Encore Performing Arts, Step Up 2 Dance and Nexus Competitions. Kenny also is an Adjunct Professor for Dance, Acting and Martial Arts thru the Maricopa Community College system and has served as a special guest choreographer for many of their dance shows. More recently, Kenny had the privilege of opening Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding concert at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix with a routine he both choreographed and performed in. And he was honored to teach at an intensive for Ad Deum Dance Company in Houston two years ago for his good friend Randal Flynn. In addition to all this, Kenny also teaches master jazz and tap workshops throughout the country.

Kenny career has run the gambit of acting, dancing, choreographing, directing and producing in all avenues of the professional industry including film, television, stage, commercials and music videos. And he continues to be heavily connected to his colleagues in the industry in Hollywood and New York. It is this knowledge, experience, passion and joy that he brings, not only to his performing but also to each and every one of his classes to further equip a new generation of gifted and enthusiastic dancers to move the art forward and to achieve their own dreams of becoming a professional entertainer.

Erin Marino

Erin Marino is the Founder and Director of the Debbie Reynolds Scholarship Program hosted by Legacy Studios, TMilly TV and Movement Lifestyle in North Hollywood, CA. Since the start of DRSP in 2015, she has provided a pathway for dancers to build a solid foundation in LA and jumpstart their careers within the dance industry. Alumni from the Program have gone on to tour and perform with artists such as Beyonce, Drake, Pharrell, Chance the Rapper, Quavo, Camila Cabello, Halsey, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Becky G and Saweetie as well as dance in commercials and on industrials for brands such as Target, Disney, Lululemon, Reebok and Adidas and on major network television events including the Latin AMA’s, the Latin Grammy’s, the Primetime Emmy Awards and Hairspray Live on NBC.

For the past ten years Erin has been working as an assistant to Choreographers and Directors. She has worked on various television shows including SYTYCD, Glee and Lip Sync Battle, music videos and live performances for major artists, and commercials for companies such as Hasbro, Madden Football, Target, Capital One and DisneyWorld.

Erin’s true passion lies in teaching and giving back to the community- to inspire others, and in return, be inspired. Her focus as an educator is to provide a platform for you to build a solid foundation by enhancing your attention to musicality, developing a keen eye for the detail and energy of steps, and encouraging the storyteller from within to shine through their movement. As a Program director and coach, she believes that dance training carries outside of the classroom and treats every moment as an opportunity to develop not only your artistry in the classroom. but habits in your day to day mindset and work ethic. She is a prominent figure in the Los Angeles training community that is cultivating a new generation of dancers in the professional industry through her techniques, programming and coaching.

Melissa Miles

Melissa Miles is a jazz, lyrical, and contemporary choreographer and instructor. She’s traveled the world teaching master classes and workshops including Broadway Dance Center in Tokyo and Let’s Dance in Italy. Most recently, she was asked to be the first technical instructor and judge for World of Dance (WOD) Panama. As a dancer, some of her credits include; American Music Awards with Chris Brown, Ludacris, and Swizz Beatz, Mtv Movie Awards, Sony Playstation, Adidas, Dish Tv, and the tv shows Penny Dreadful, Carpool Karaoke, and 90210. She currently teaches at The EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, CA. @1MelissaMiles

  • Nichelle Bane
    Nichelle Bane
  • Marissa Rustowicz
    Marissa Rustowicz
  • Ashley Barnett
    Ashley Barnett
  • Michelle Elkin
    Michelle Elkin
Nichelle Bane

As a dancer, Nichelle was a member & soloist with the Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo by the age of 14. In 1990 she left San Luis Obispo to become a line captain & featured dancer on Princess Cruise Line. Since moving to Los Angeles some of Nichelle’s credits include Friends, Clueless, Austin Powers 2, Totally Blonde, Divine Design, and Her Last Chance MOW. She has appeared in commercials for Mervyns, McDonalds, Bacardi, and NBC. Nichelle has worked with the likes of Doug Caldwell, Marguerite Derricks, Mia Michaels, & Vincent Paterson.

As the founder and artistic director of the LA based Reflections Dance Company. Nichelle has been bringing inspiration to the stage through all genres of dance. The choreography brought to life by Reflections crosses the boundaries from commercial to theatrical. Reflections has been invited to participate in many reputable events. The Mix Match dance festival, Dancing For NED, The Mc Callum Choreography Festival in Palm Springs (2011-2014) & presenting around Southern California.

Nichelle was brought on as resident choreographer for Astra Dance Theater in 2012. Where she helped bring unique dance shows to the stage. “Eleanora” an Edgar Allen Poe story & “The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari” a 1920 German silent horror film. Caligari was presented at the Booking Dance Festival, at Jazz at Lincoln Center NYC in 2015 and 2016. Nichelle continues to work with Astra creating new works for stage and screen.

Marissa Rustowicz

Marissa Rustowicz is a dance educator with experience in all aspects of the industry. For 13 years she resided in Los Angeles training and working as a professional dancer. As a dancer in film, television, theatre, industrials and music videos she has worked with stars such as William Shatner, Tracey Ullman, Calista Flockhart, Usher, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley MacLaine, Cloris Leachman, Arthur Duncan and Debbie Reynolds just to name a few. Behind the camera, she has worked as an assistant choreographer, assistant casting director and is an experienced and enthusiastic stage manager. While in LA, she taught at the Performing Arts Center in the Youth and Adult Programs for 12 years and was the Tap Director from 2010 –2012.She was also a founding creative member and instructor of Dance Power, with the National Children’s Leukemia Foundation (NCLF), a program in which children and siblings whose lives are affected by cancer learn the healing powers of dance and movement.In addition to being on faculty at the renowned Tapestry Dance Academy and guest teaching around the country, Marissa has worked for Tremaine Dance Conventions for over 10 years as Administration Associate Director & Performance Program Coordinator. As a wife and mother, she is grateful to be able to honor those who trained her and share her love and passion for dance with her students and their families through all mediums of dance.

Ashley Barnett

Ashley Barnett is an award winning choreographer and an in-demand master class teacher. She has an extensive technical and performance background in dance and is also a certified Pilates instructor. A native of Southern California, with a degree from UCLA, Ashley’s work in the entertainment industry includes commercials, television shows, music videos and live performances. She has worked for prominent companies such as Disney, Kodak, NBC and MTV to name a few. Currently she devotes her time to teaching and choreographing for numerous dance studios across the country. Ashley has a true passion for dance and wants to share this love with performers everywhere.

Michelle Elkin

Michelle Elkin has served as Choreographer for Sutton Foster and Jonathon Groff Live At Lincoln Center for PBS, the TV series Younger, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Young Sheldon with Jason Alexander. She also choreographed the tv show Me and My Grandma with Rhea Perlman, as well as a Southwest Airlines commercial spot. Select Theater credits include The Goodbye Girl (MTG), Hunchback Of Notre Dame (Broadway World Awards Nominee- Best Choreography) Sister Act The Musical (Broadway World Awards Nominee – Best Choreography) Little Shop Of Horrors (Straz Center in Tampa, FL) Children Of Eden (Broadway World Awards Nominee- Best Choreography). Michelle created musical numbers featuring Sutton Foster and special guest Joshua Henry for the National Symphony Orchestra at Kennedy Center, the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and the Houston Symphony at Jones Hall. She was the Associate Choreographer for such projects as Dancing With The Stars, Sister Act The Musical at the Pasadena Playhouse, as well as the Emmy Awards with Conan O’ Brien, the Emmy Awards with Jane Lynch and Academy Awards with Hugh Jackman. Michelle also served as the Associate Choreographer of the Broadway show Wonderland at the Marriott Marquis Theater. Currently on faculty at The Performing Arts Center in LA, AMDA and co-owns Nexgen Artists In Studio Workshops.

www.michelleelkin.com

Instagram: @michelleelkin

More Than Just a Trophy