Meet the Basin Arts Teaching Artists
Gina Aswell / Adult Ballet (open level), Monday 9:30-10:45am|
Gina, a native of Opelousas, began her studies with Hebert Dancentre and Lafayette Ballet Theatre, where she was a company member for nearly a decade. She studied with the Joffrey Ballet School in New York for a year working with Trinette Singleton, Eleanor D’Antuono, David Howard, Rebecca Wright, Kathy Posin and John Magnus and later acquired her BFA in Dance from UL. Gina has 15 years of experience teaching ballet working with a range of students from beginner to advanced in both Mississippi and Louisiana and has been a choreographic collaborator with Cathy Hebert on several works such as Swan Lake, Paquita, and Don Quixote across Acadiana.
Julie Carson / Contemporary Jazz (open level), Monday 6:30-8:00pm|
Julie began her dance training at the age of five in southwest Louisiana. She has received training in ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, hip-hop, and contemporary over the past 20+ years. Julie has been filmed for music videos with artists Norka and Ariel Rose and for the MTV show “Made”. She has performed in venues throughout South Florida and Southwest Louisiana. She has danced professionally with Impulsik contemporary company in South Florida where she was featured in an original show and locally as a ULL Ragin’ Jazz Dance team member. She has choreographed for dance teams in Sulphur, LA and is a guest instructor at Katy Kress Dance Revolution. Choreographer Clare Cook cast Julie in the collaborative project “Firebird” with the Acadiana Symphony. She has been teaching adults contemporary dance for the last 2 years. Julie received her BS in biological studies and her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy.
Clare Cook / see full schedule for Clare’s classes!|
Clare is a choreographer, teacher, and collaborator from Lafayette, Louisiana. After a decade of living and working in NYC, Cook has returned to Lafayette to build a homebase for her professional work while still choreographing and teaching throughout the United States and abroad. She is the Artistic Director of Clare Cook Dance Theater, a professional project-based dance company established in NYC in 2011. CCDT has presented work at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, DanceNOW Festival at Joe’s Pub, Triskelion Arts’ Split Bill Series, NY Theatre Barn’s Choreography Lab, and MuSE Festival in Long Island City. In Lafayette, CCDT presented Stravinsky’s Firebird with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Touching Loss at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Her theater choreography credits include: choreographer for the National Tour of Bullets Over Broadway, re-setting Susan Stroman’s Tony-Nominated choreography, Ars Nova’s ANT Fest, HERE Arts Center, Fringe NYC, Berkshire Fringe Festival, Planet Connections Festival (Best Choreography Award), the Bohemian National Hall and JCC in Manhattan with productions for Opera Slavica, as well as productions at NYU (Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program), Columbia University and The New School for Drama. She is a member of The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. As a dancer, Clare has worked with ChristinaNoel & The Creature, Yin Yue Dance, colectivodoszeta/Carlos A. Cruz Velazquez, Yoo & Dancers, expandance, Christopher Williams, Ivy Baldwin, Kay Cummings, Jim Martin, and Raw Delivery/Carrie J. Brown, She has performed across NYC at Dance Theater Workshop, St. Mark’s Church, Joyce Soho, La Mama, Duo Theater, Webster Hall, Bushwick Starr, John Ryan Theater, and The Tank, among other venues. Before living in NYC, she performed extensively for the Cangelosi Dance Project. Her early dance training was at DeLarue Dance Centre in Lafayette, then at Louisiana State University under the direction of Molly Buchmann, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and The Ailey School in NYC. Clare holds an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has been on faculty at Louisiana State University and NYU Tisch Dance, worked as Education Director for the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and was a teaching artist for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Dancewave in Brooklyn, and DeLarue Dance Centre in Lafayette.
|Kristin Daniel / Contemporary Jazz (intermediate level), Wednesday 6:45-8:00pm|
Kristin became enamored with performing at a very young age. Knowing she wanted to pursue her passion for the arts, she moved to Los Angeles after graduating from UL-Lafayette in Business Administration to work as a professional dancer. Working between Los Angeles and New Orleans, Kristin earned several credits, including: GLEE, Grey’s Anatomy, Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” music video, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. She worked as Choreographer for ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club and Assistant to choreographers Tyce Diorio and Lindsay Nelko on the hit show “So You Think You Can Dance?”. Along with traveling the country choreographing and conducting master classes, Kristin also acts as the Artistic Director of a competitive studio company in Louisiana. Constantly immersing herself into her craft, she is thrilled and excited to continue furthering her career as an artistic force in the industry.
Gina Hanchey / Adult Ballet @ The Ballet Academie (open level), Monday & Wednesday, 7:15-8:45pm|
Gina has been teaching ballet for over 20 years, having trained in Lafayette at Dance Conservatory and with Madame Darvash and The Joffrey Ballet in New York. As a contracted dancer she performed alongside esteemed dancers from companies such as the New York City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Expanding her career in the performing arts, she trained as an actor in Los Angeles with Larry Moss and at the legendary Groundlings School. Experienced in stage, film and television, Gina is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). As a writer and director, she has received top nominations from The Slamdance Screenplay Competition and The Los Angeles Filmmaking Competition and has had her films screened at the Egyptian Theatre and The Director’s Guild of America in Hollywood. She and husband Matt are founders of the local filmmaking group, Acadiana Filmmakers Collaborative. Gina’s first love has always been ballet, and she is excited about sharing her knowledge and passion with her students and the community in which she was raised.
Whitney Willis Hebert / Hip-Hop (open level), Tuesday 7:35-8:35pm|
Whitney has been dancing in the Lafayette area for 25 years. She has served as a teacher and choreographer for 13 years, working six of those years as Assistant Artistic Director and now Assistant Director for Morgan Street Dance Company in Broussard. Her training includes 13 years of ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop at Morgan Street; and 4 years of ballet and modern with UL Lafayette where she obtained her minor in dance. At ULL she also performed in several State of La Danse concerts and performed and choreographed for An Evening of Dance. Whitney also works as a freelance choreographer for various organizations and events including Iberia Performing Arts League and Academy of Sacred Heart’s Dancing with the Stars.
Rayshard Keys / Hip-Hop/Street Jazz (open level), Saturday 11:15-12:15pm|
Rayshard is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi but raised here locally in Lafayette. Rayshard began his training at Lafayette High School with the performing arts academy! He had the wonderful pleasure of discovering ballet, and since then he was driven to discover more dance techniques. Rayshard has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern, Contemporary, Lyrical, Bollywood, and Musical Theater. Rayshard is very excited to be the Street Jazz instructor of Basin Arts!
Kiri Meche / Power Yoga, Tuesday 6:00-7:00am|
Kiri is a 200-hour RYT through the Baptiste Institute. Kiri began her journey with yoga at Oui Power Yoga and immediately felt connection and community that she knew she had to share with others. Her teachers, Dee Dee Lantzy, Alyson Giuffreda and Deborah Forbes inspired her to sign up for her first teacher training. Kiri completed her teacher training under Master Baptiste teacher, Leah Cullis. In the summer of 2016, Kiri lead a Backyard Yoga Series to bring yoga to Acadiana residents in the comfort of their backyards. Yoga has helped Kiri to be gentler with herself and with others, has allowed her to become mindful of her body and what it is capable of, and has surrounded her with a supportive community and group of friends. Kiri is committed to creating connections through sharing her yoga practice and invites you to roll out your mat and become a part of the magic.
Monti Smith / Family Dance (ages 2-5 +family members), Saturday 9:00-9:50am|
After starting dance at a young age, she captained the National Champion STM Sparklers, danced and choreographed with the Ragin Jazz dance team where her hip-hop choreography placed in the Top 10 at UDA Nationals, and taught dance at Dance Warehouse. After graduating from UL with a degree in Psychology she moved to L.A. studying dance at Millennium Dance Complex and EDGE Performing Arts Center. She has performed in music videos and national commercials including Coca-Cola, Yoplait, McDonald’s, Wrigley’s, National Rental Car, and Nuvaring as well as a few independent movies, training with esteemed acting teachers; Steve Eastin, Carolyn Berry, John Rosenfeld at Lesly Khan and Co., and Brad Heller. She also studied improv at the famous Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB). Monti has taught and performed internationally with Universal Dance Association in India and China. After many years in L.A. and then Nashville, Monti and her husband returned to Lafayette to raise a family. Monti’s love of the arts and helping others have led her to pursue a career in counseling; she is currently a graduate student of UL’s Counselor Education program where she is studying to work as a School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor. Her belief in the power of creativity to connect and heal drives her efforts to incorporate the arts into her work with people and families of all ages. She is thrilled to be back in her hometown and a part of the Basin Arts family of artists.
Esther Tyree / Sing and Play music class (ages 0-5), Friday 10:00-11:00am|
Esther earned her Bachelor’s of music education from Loyola University and completed her Master’s in vocal music education at McNeese. She has a passion for teaching music and welcomes students of all ages into her studio. She is Suzuki and Kodaly certified and is fond of quoting Dr. Suzuki, “You’re rarely too young and never too old to Twinkle.”, when asked what age a student is able to start lessons with her.