Meet Our Instructors


Kris Mueller—Owner of Kids ‘N Dance ‘N Theater Arts, Kris is involved in everything related to our curriculum development, administration, teacher support and training, technical support, set design and, in her free time, each session she produces four different Musical Theater productions at the Oakland facility. She genuinely believes that performing arts can be transformative and strives to have her program support the growth and development of the whole child. She completed a BA in Dance and a BM in Music (vocal) from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville , and a MFA in Dance from Mills College. She has choreographed for The School House Theater, Benicia Old Town Theater, Galatean Players and was nominated for a Shelly Award in 1998 & 1999. Kris has also danced professionally with The Dance Brigade and Six Thumbs Dance Theater. She has taught children’s dance and musical theater for over 25 years, K-6 music for Saklan Valley and was the drummer her own band “Flip Sally”.
IMG_2635-1Marielle Cammarata—Marielle joined the family business after eleven years teaching middle school for San Leandro Unified School District. Purchasing the Oakland facility opened up the possibility of starting an after school program and she jumped at the chance. As the Director of the after school program, she strives to provide a well blended hybrid between a nurturing relaxed experience found at home, an academic learning community found at school, and camp-like fun found during the summer. She has a BA from Mills College in Philosophy and a teaching credential specializing in Early Childhood Education from Mills College as well.
Click Here to hear a message from me Katie Van Drake – has enjoyed teaching children dance and gymnastics for the past seventeen years. She received her training in musical theatre and dance at The Boston Conservatory of Performing Arts. Since then, she has had lead roles in various theatre productions. In 2001 she won a Shelly Award for her portrayal as Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls.” She has trained in ballet, tap, and jazz. Her most extensive training has been in ballet. Katie has also been a voiceover artist and sang lead in various bands. She enjoys teaching children and watching them learn and grow.Click here to see Katie teach
Megan McGrath – is a teaching artist with 15 years of experience working in the Bay Area with StartingArts, California Shakes, Playful People Productions, CMTSJ, and San Francisco Playhouse. She holds BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in directing from California State University- Fullerton and practices positive discipline theory. Megan is trained in jazz, tap, ballet and has recently choreographed Disney’s Cinderella, Annie Jr., Starmites, Aristocats, Aladdin Jr., and Schoolhouse Rock Live! She has a passion for directing/choreographing youth and delights in the opportunity to give students the chance to discover something that is individual, special, and distinctive about themselves.
Megan Amal Rogers -is a dancer and scholar working towards her Masters in dance at Mills College. For years, she was a highly competitive gymnast. She has taught and practiced modern, contemporary, ballet, Afro Cuban, West African, East African, hip-hop, and musical theater. She has taught dance in pre-schools and loves working with young children. Megan has performed in Florida, Norway, Paris, London, Morocco, and California. She is an amazing storyteller and a committed and passionate teacher.
Sophia Colmenarez– first started dancing in her family’s garage. Her first performance, at age three, was with a ballet folklorico troupe her parents put together. She has since then studied classical ballet in the Vaganova and Royal Academy of Dance methods, jazz, hip hop, ballroom, and contemporary dance. Sophia has been performing all over California for ten years, as well as touring in China and Mexico. Her passion for performing took her all the way to Mills College, where she studied modern dance, choreography, improvisation, dance history and completed her Bachelor’s degree. No matter where dancing takes her, Sophia enjoys seeing her students develop and learning from their sense of creativity and curiosity. She is so thrilled to become a part of the Kids’N Dance team!
Ariel Litzsey–is a young and energetic dancer, who started out taking tap at the age of 5. As she grew, so did her love for dance. She began training in various dance styles such as ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, and african. She has taught music and dance at Allen Temple Music, was a cheer coach for Young Champions of America, and is currently a preschool teacher during the week.  Ariel’s fun-styles of teaching mixed with her love for dance give her the drive to continue working with children of all ages who share the same gift as her…Dance.

See Chelsea teach

Chelsea Bardellini – has been dancing her entire life, training in ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, hip-hop, ballroom, latin dance and musical theatre. She got her first job teaching dance when she was fourteen and fell in love with it! Since then she has been an instructor/choreographer for the University of Southern California, the Piedmont Ballet Academy, the Borgata Music House, the K.Y.D.S. program with the LA Unified School District, Performing Arts Workshops LA, Happy Feet School of Dance, Art and Soul Music and Dance, and Arthur Murray Walnut Creek and she has directed/choreographed over 25 musicals. She received her BA in Theatre and Dance from USC in 2009 and has performed with the Oakland Ballet, Woodminster Regional Theatre, Rage Films, the Piedmont Dance Ensemble, Act Out Productions, the USC Repertory Dance Company, Brand New Theatre, LIFE Productions, Vallejo Music Theatre, Belasco Theatre Co and several others. She also currently competes worldwide in Professional Ballroom and Latin Dance.

Marlena E. Zahm – originally from Massachusetts, has twenty-five years of experience as a dancer.  She attended a performing arts charter high school and and then went on to grauate with a BFA in dance & theater from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She then came to california and received her M.A./MFT in Expressive Arts Therapy from San Francisco, Ca. Marlena is a member of Glide Memorial Methodist Church Ensemble, has studied lighting design and stage production and knows American Sign Language.Marlena believes that children need creative outlets to express their feelings, hopes, and fears. Through the creative process children can enrich self-understanding and compassion. She finds the Kids ‘N Dance progrm to compliment her beliefs about kids and expressive arts.

Click here to see Megan teach

Megan Meyer is a performer, director and multimedia producer based in Oakland, CA. She studied classical vocal performance at the University of Minnesota and went on to study contemporary dance at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon in France. Her theater and dance experience began in the late 1980s — over the years she worked in acting for stage and film, ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, release, musical theater, improv, butoh and African diaspora dance traditions. She recently served as stage director, choreographer, vocalist and video artist for local composer Andrew Jamieson’s chamber opera. In 2010, Megan transitioned from broadcast radio production for National Public Radio and Indiana Public Media to voice acting for children’s video games and audiobooks. The non-profit writing organization 826 Valencia gave her their 2012 annual award for outstanding volunteer work in teaching kids the craft of storytelling. In 2013, she was the recipient of Bay Area Dance Watch’s Spirit of Dance award.

Emily Steelhammer has been dancing since the age of 3 and has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and improvisation.  She has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine where she also studied dance and theater and was a member of several vocal ensembles.  Emily’s experience with youth includes Greenleaf Elementary Afterschool Program and Camp Galileo.  When not dancing and teaching, she enjoys yoga, reading, baking, and exploratory walks.


Natalie Rutiezer- has had a love for dance and theatre all of her life. She began studying Bellydance at the age of 15 and since then has studied Flamenco, West African, Persian, Ballet and Modern. She continues to take classes at Lines Ballet and ODC dance center in San Francisco. She is a member of The Zenotope Collective (Modern and Contemporary Dance), Deshret Dance Company (Middle-Eastern Dance), and the Director of her own dance company, Adhara Dance Company (Contemporary and World Fusion dance styles). She loves teaching classes for both children and adults and can’t wait to share her passion and love of dance with her students.

Nicole Dial- is a professional performer and dancer working with theater and dance for over a decade. She has been acting in musical theater in the bay area since she was a child. She is also a playwright and writer with published performances. She has performed and choreographed in dance styles such as samba, capoeira, swing, blues, ballroom and jazz. She has been teaching musical theater and dance, to kids in the bay area for the last 3 years.

Hannah Gauthier-completed her Bachelor’s of Art in Interdisciplinary Studies and minor in dance from University of Alaska Anchorage. She was fortunate to discover and perform modern dance and the start of her choreography career at UAA. Hannah spent two years instructing dance in Anchorage, as well as choreographing musicals and modern/contemporary pieces. She has choreographed in Anchorage, San Francisco and Chicago.  Hannah has danced with Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and is currently attending Mills College to obtain her MFA in Choreography and Performance. Hannah has experience in many different dance forms including: modern; lyrical; ballet; contemporary; hip-hop; jazz; musical theater, improvisation and African. She is excited to be teacher at Kids ‘N Dance.

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