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 12 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. River Oaks Dance uses multiple modalities in dance movement and music to encourage cognitive, emotional and physical development in dance students.
Sara is 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 class and through continued 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”!
Ellen Dyer Smith
Ellen grew up dancing in Sugar Land, TX at Kathleen Parker Dance Studio and Ballet Forte. Ellen has danced in The Nutcracker and Swan Lake among other ballets. Ellen has been teaching ballet, tap, jazz and choreographing in the greater Houston area since she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in 2008. She has loved teaching for River Oaks Dance since August 2009! She is Leap N’ Learn certified. Ellen also teaches musical theatre and is a member of the Actor’s Equity Union and has performed all over Houston including The Alley Theatre, Theatre Under the Stars, Main Street Theatre and with Broadway producer, Stuart Ostrow. This past spring, Ellen enjoyed performing at Unity Theatre in All My Sons and Main Street Youth Theatre in Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. In her free time, Ellen enjoys spending time with her husband escaping the Texas heat by the pool!
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 obtaining her certification with the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum pre-primary through level three in New York this summer. Ms. Maria also holds a Bachelor degree in Nutrition.
Ms. Maria is highly motivated in helping students reach their ballet and dance goals while creating an energetic, positive atmosphere. In her off time Ms. Maria enjoys cooking and spending time poolside with her husband.
Lauren grew up in Beaumont, Texas, training at Marsha Woody Academy of Dance and iRule Dance Studio. She continued taking dance on a collegiate level at Belhaven University and then at Lamar University, graduating with a B.A. in English and a minor in Dance. Post graduation, Lauren became a member of Ad Deum II Dance Company and danced with them Spring 2014 – Spring of 2016. Lauren has performed works by Randall Flinn, Shizu Yasuda, Durell Comedy (former company member of Limon Dance Company), and Dani Hammack (former company member of Martha Graham). While a company member of ADII, Lauren performed nationally at Project Dance Houston and NYC. Her international performance experience includes cities throughout Spain and Hungary, where she performed and taught in children’s homes, juvenile detention centers, prisons, and churches. As a choreographer, Lauren has choreographed for multiple musical productions, including Seussical the Musical Jr., 101 Dalmatians Jr., and Willy Wonka. Lauren has also spent several years teaching dance, working with a wide age range of students in varying classical techniques. It is now her pleasure to to come and be a part of River Oaks Dance!
Hilary is a New Orleans native who is happy to be in Houston. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama in May of 2014, where she earned her BA in Dance, was a member of the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre and had many of her original works showcased in DanceAlabama!. She has since worked as a guest artist performing in works with Hope Stone Inc. and Noble Motion Dance, as well as an Apprentice with Frame Dance Productions for two seasons.
Hilary has enjoyed teaching creative movement, ballet, tap and jazz classes all around Houston and loves getting to see every student grow in their love of dance. She is found smiling and teaching at “Dance for Kidz” with Elizabeth Schlitzberger, Claire School of Dance with Roxanne Claire and with Hope Stone Inc.’s “the Hope Project” with Jane Weiner, sharing the love of whole-hearted, total-body movement in her classes of young students. One of her favorite Texas-sized projects was choreographing the field show for the Travis High School Marching Band in their 2016 season. You can also find her teaching classical Pilates at Control Studios while working towards her Real Pilates Teacher Training, practicing and learning calligraphy or working out in any fitness class around town.
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 enjoys teaching and seeing her students be successful not only in dance but in all aspects of their lives. In her free time, Holda enjoys spending time with her family, walking her dogs Korra and Shine, or working out at the gym.
Tara grew up dancing in her mother’s dance studio in Sealy, TX starting at the age of three. She has trained in all styles of dance. She attended the University of Houston studying Marketing and Dance and HCC for Business Management. Tara has taught ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and contemporary for over 20 years and led the competitive dance teams to success as The Dance Factory Team Director for 15 years, she was also the Director of the Duchesne Divas Dance Team. Her choreography has won numerous awards worldwide. She choreographs and teaches technique to several local dance teams including Langham Creek Bailadoras, Cy-Ridge Dazzlers, and Cy-Springs Panteras to name a few. Since 2008, Tara has been traveling all over the United States as a dance competition judge for Hall of Fame Dance Challenge, League of Champions, Kids Artistic Revue, Rainbow Dance Competition and Bravo Dance Competition. She loves teaching all ages and all styles of dance and is very excited to be a part of River Oaks Dance!