Meet Our Teachers
Lisa Tran - Owner/Dance Instructor
Miss Lisa has been teaching dance for over 10 years, beginning in Boston, MA and eventually moving to Los Angeles, CA. During her performing years she was a member of BCDP, a contemporary company in Boston, and Static Noyze Dance Company, also in Boston. But more importantly, as a dance educator she has spent years creating and perfecting youth curriculums and training methods in order to help her dancers develop their artistry, strength, and technique. No matter how much or how little natural ability a dancer has when they first walk through her studio doors, if that student has the desire to dance and the willingness to try their best in every single class, she will make it her mission to see that student excel and grow, year after year.
Lauren Anderson - Dance Instructor
Lauren has been dancing since the age of three, and has spent the last decade performing professionally and teaching children of all ages. Teaching dance is a source of great joy, and a passion for Lauren. She is trained in the genres of tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, musical theater, kick line, and hip hop. She has competed nationally in her youth, as well as in the collegiate dance circuit. Performing in Minneapolis with Collide Theatrical Dance Company as a multi-season soloist has been a highlight of her career. Her accomplishments as a choreographer and teacher in the current competition world are of note as well. Her choreography and coaching has earned numerous specialty awards, choreography awards, overall placements, and grand champions. Lauren has a track record of instilling a love of dance in her students, while fostering their knowledge and understanding of dance. She is thrilled to be in Los Angeles, and to share her talents and energy with the students of West Valley Dance Academy!
Mariah Grissom - Dance Instructor
Mariah began her dance journey at a young age and is trained in jazz, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, hip hop, tap, musical theatre, and pointe and started teaching when she was fourteen. In addition to teaching, Mariah is also a coach for a competitive dance team. Her choreography has achieved several Judge's Choice, high point placements, and choreography awards over the years as well. Mariah began choreographing for Kismet Kids Musical Theatre in 2014 as well as musical theatre programs at local elementary schools. Mariah's main goal is to help people of all ages express their passion for dance, and to use the art as a creative and progressive outlet! Mariah is thrilled to be a part of the WVDA family!
Dana Harris - Dance Instructor
Born and raised in Clearwater, Florida, Dana Harris began dancing at the age of two and never stopped. At age 19, after moving to LA to study under Edge Performing Arts Center's prestigious commercial dance program, Dana was quickly sought after and signed by Bloc Talent Agency. She has appeared on Netflix's original series One Day at a Time, danced behind artists like Dom Marcell, FJ, Gwendalyn Smith, Elva Hsaio of Taiwan, and Disney's Skylar Steckar, and assists world renowned choreographer Sheryl Murakami on projects for major artists including Beyonce and Pitbull for their world tours. She also has had opportunities performing in many major live productions, including a Las Vegas New Year’s event, a Lamborghini release, and more.
Dance education being Dana's first love and ending career goal, she has also been sought after from numerous studios and is teaching and choreographing all over central Florida multiple times a year. She is on staff as an adjudicator for Hall of Fame Dance Challenge, and is working to build a traveling commercial dance workshop geared towards commercial jazz and jazz technique. Dana is thrilled to be teaching at West Valley Dance Academy, and hopes to pass on her knowledge to the professional dancers of the future.
Rony Jacques - Dance Instructor
Rony Jacques is a Hip Hop dancer, choreographer, instructor, and freestyler. He currently teaches regularly and instructs master classes all over the New England area as well as California. He first started dancing while studying at Tufts University. He was a choreographer for their dance troupe, Spirit of Color, and captain of their all male step team, Blackout. Once he graduated, he became a member/choreographer of three professional dance teams; Iconic Movement, an all male step team, Static Noyze Dance Company, who were featured on season 5 of America's Best Dance Crew, and Concept Artists, one of Boston’s premier hip hop teams. He has trained and learned from dedicated and renowned instructors/choreographers such as Dave Scott, Cris Judd, Luam, Kelly Peters, Laurieann Gibson, Hamilton Evans, Havic, and Gil Duldulao. He has worked with various R&B/Pop artists such as Makio, Kenzie, and Erene and his dancing and work has been seen/featured on SYTYCD, Boston Kiss Concert 2013, Billboard.com, and Ghostbusters 2016.
Namona Lewin - Dance Instructor
Namona Lewin is a native of Miramar, Florida. Her dance career spans over 10 years and she has performed from Miami, Florida to Amsterdam, Holland. Her training consists of Modern Dance, Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop. Her professional dance career began at Luigi's Jazz Centre in New York City where she performed the original works of dance legend, Eugene "Luigi" Faccuito and has been the assistant choreographer to Jazz Dance Master, Francis J. Roach. In 2012, Namona returned to South Florida to share her dance experience with her local community. During her time there, she created the Lady K Dance Series, performed as a principal dancer on Starz Networks Magic City, and choreographed the 2012 AT&T Young Stars Showcase. In 2013, Namona choreographed and produced her first jazz dance musical, Lady in Satin: A Tale Told Through Movement, with much success at the Miramar Cultural Arts Center. Upon moving to Los Angeles, California, Namona has been afforded the opportunity to dance on LA's popular performance stages, dance in several music videos, teach community dance classes, and choreograph for local artists.
Credits: NAFCA Awards (African Oscars), Fred & Adele Astaire Awards, Music Mash, Dreamgirls (regional theater), Carnival Choreographer's Ball, Malynda Hale, MAJOR, Andre DePriest, 8th Wonder, Starz Network, LaFemme Film Festival
Kate Newham - Dance Instructor
Kate Newham was born and raised on the beautiful Gold Coast, Australia, where she trained in every style of dance as well as Music, Drama and Singing. After completing Diplomas in Musical Theatre, Commercial Dance and Dance Teaching, she then went onto complete many professional Dance Contracts around the word for companies such as ‘Norwegian Cruise Line’ and ‘Warner Brother’s’. Over the past 8 years Kate has travelled around the world as a Professional Dancer and Choreographer and has performed in countries such as India, China, USA, The Bahamas and Australia and has danced on TV shows such as ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, and ‘Australia’s Got Talent’. In between performing and traveling the world Kate has found a passion for Dance Teaching and has taught all over Australia as well at the US winning numerous choreography awards! This soon led to many Dance Judging opportunities for Local and National Dance Competitions for elite and pre-professional dancers all over Australia and now the US.
Kate moved over from Australia and has been living in Los Angeles for the past 2 years to continue to peruse her professional Dance, Choreography and Teaching career and currently performs and works alongside some of LA’s top Entertainment Companies.
Desirée Simons - Dance Instructor
Desirée is a performer, instructor and choreographer devoted to all things in movement arts and fitness. Desirée graduated from Belhaven University with a degree in Dance. Upon moving to Los Angeles she was granted a dance scholarship at Athletic Garage, performed “Ibuki” with Diavolo during their Winter intensive and volunteered as a guest dance instructor for Girls Inc. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to complete Zumba training with Gina Grant and work at Victorious Inc. as a live fitness performer.
Currently Desirée trains and performs Salsa under the direction of Desi Jévon and Samba under Jonia McClenney. She enjoys taking Contemporary, Ballet and Jazz from renowned instructors LA has to offer. In her spare time she works at a studio in MidCity marketing a new dance activity called Jazzo. You can find her in Northridge giving Circuit Conditioning and HiiT classes at Fitness Unlimited. She looks forward to continue sharing the love of movement and dance with as many people as possible this year.