Kathleen Connolly
Artistic Director , Company Director & Owner

Kathleen began teaching dance in 1973. She is a graduate of the High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, with a concentration in dance. She became a certified member of the internationally accredited dance organization, Dance Masters of America in 1988, and has served on its board. In 1990, she opened Connolly Dance Arts at her Westheimer Road location and had a successful 21 years. She brought her love of dance to students in the Katy area in 2011. Kathleen opened her current location at the Villagio in Cinco Ranch, and is proud to be part of the Katy community. Kathleen has directed her students in many dance productions and competitions. She is the Artistic Director for the award winning CDA Company, whose members have won numerous awards and titles.

Dorena Battaglino
Tap instructor

Dorena studied Broadway-style tap, jazz, and ballet for thirteen years at the Shirley Wolfe Dance Studio in Plano, Texas, beginning at age four. While earning a Chemical Engineering degree, she choreographed annual musicals: Damn Yankees, Oklahoma!, Sugar, and the Faculty Follies. In the San Francisco Bay Area, she was active as an actor, improv artist, dancer, and choreographer in the local community theatre scene. Choreographing tap-rich 42nd Street was a personal favorite. She was also the inaugural Resident Staff Choreographer of the Oakland Lyric Opera and staged Amahl and the Night Visitors with guest artists from San Francisco Opera.

Dorena discovered the world of rhythm tap while studying with Karen Callaway Williams in NJ. Since then, she continues her professional development by taking class regularly with masters at tap festivals.

While living in Scotland for three years, she studied Scottish step dancing. Among her performances, she was invited to dance at Natalie MacMaster’s Aberdeen concert.

Dorena returned to Texas in 2015, and wants to share a passion for tap dance with youth and adults by teaching rudiments, choreography, improvisation techniques, music theory, and history.

Dance Instructor

Coming Soon!

Kiki Fernandez
Company Director/Dance Instructor

Kiki was born and raised in Houston. She started dancing at the of three at Connolly Dance Arts, where she continued to dance for the next 14 years. She started dancing for the company at age seven and competed for 8 years. Kiki danced for her high school dance team, Inertia, all four years of high school and was captain her senior year. Her high school dance team was asked to perform at numerous competitions around Houston and Kiki won 1st place at the HISD competition for her solo her senior year. She is currently attending the University of Houston, where she is going into her sophomore year. Kiki is excited to be teaching at the studio she has grown up with, and hopes to make the students experience as great as hers was.

Sondra Gordman
Dance Instructor

Sondra began dancing at the age of three. She has performed in regional theatre productions in New York. She holds a college degree in dance and received an academic scholarship award in dance. Sondra has been a dance educator and choreographer for the past 24 years at seven New York dance school. Her teaching styles include ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern, lyrical, musical theater and hip hop. She was a high school dance team coach for five years, leading her team to numerous first place wins and Long Island dance championships. Her team was invited to perform at the 1997 Major League Soccer All-Star game and the 1998 Florida Citrus Bowl. Sondra was the Dance Director at the Great South Bay YMCA for five years. She then owned her own dance studio for twelve years in New York. Her Dance Power Dance Company was invited to perform at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Disney World, Carnival Cruise line, Universal Studios and New Jersey Nets basketball games. Sondra has worked with special needs students at both the elementary and high school levels. She is very excited to be joining the CDA staff!

Melissa Vann
Nutcracker Director/Dance Instructor

Melissa was born and raised in Iowa. She has been dancing and performing since the age of three. She began her dance training in Marshalltown, IA at age three. She moved to Holstein, IA at age seven and began training at the Francie McKee Dance Studio in Ida Grove, IA. She took lessons and performed in the areas of ballet, tap, pointe, jazz, modern/contemporary, and lyrical. Melissa was a member of her high school dance/cheerleading team for four years and was head captain in her senior year. After graduating high school, she attended UNI her freshman year of college and was a performing member of the International Dance Theatre. She transferred to Iowa State University for the remainder of her college years and was a member of Orchesis I Dance Group. Melissa was also the Secretary for the Orchesis I Dance Group. In Spring 2012, Melissa performed at the National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 2005, Melissa moved to Katy, TX to teach in an elementary school. She has been a teacher for 10 years. Melissa taught Preschool and Level I dance classes at Connolly Dance Arts from 2011-2013. She lives in Katy, TX with her husband, 3 children and cat. She continues to work as an elementary school teacher and is excited to be teaching Preschool and Level I dance classes at Connolly Dance Arts again!

Ally Meacham

Hip Hop Instructor

After training at Starstruck Dance Academy in Denver for 12 years, Ally left for Los Angeles to earn her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Dance and Theater at Loyola Marymount University.  She began her professional career performing in 2006 as a Los Angeles Laker Girl and Lakers TV Host.  In 2007, Ally toured internationally as one of only two principal female dancers for multi-platinum recording artist, Rihanna.  Since then, she has been a dancer, actor, and model in many successful music videos, commercials, movies, TV, print and runway. Some of her resume includes working with artists: Gladys Knight, Wayne Brady, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige, and Jay Z, as well as being a part of the MTV Movie Awards, BET, TRL, NBC’s “1 vs 100”, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Seventeen Magazine, and commercials for Academy Sports, Wells, Fargo, Star Furniture, Aldi Grocery, and so many more.  Professionally she’s excelled in web design, sales, fundraising, social media, merchandising, publicity, videography, and podcasting for many organizations.  She is also heavily involved in her family’s nonprofit work; rescuing needy women and children in Uganda, called The Vine.  Above all else, Ally is most passionate about her faith, and carrying a culture of love and servanthood everywhere she goes.  She now lives in Katy, Texas with her two crazy kids and still enjoys choreographing and teaching along with other sales and marketing work throughout Houston.

Mia Angelini

Dance Instructor

Originally from Jefferson, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Point Park University with a BFA in Dance. While at Point Park, she had the opportunity to dance in the International Choreography Competition as a part of the Jazz Dance World Congress. Upon graduating, she became a company member of METdance, in Houston, Texas. During her 7 seasons with the MET, she performed works by many renowned choreographers at various local venues in Houston, as well as the Inside/Out Series at Jacob’s Pillow, Spring to Dance in St. Louis, Women in Dance in Baton Rouge, and the Dallas Dance Festival. She has been teaching and choreographing for competitive studios, drill teams, and pre-professional programs for the past 10 years, while also adjudicating for dance competitions across the U.S. Mia is excited to continue sharing her love for movement at CDA!

Kenny Louis

Hip Hop Instructor

Kenny Louis is an entertainer based in Houston, TX. He is currently the coordinator for the Houston Rockets Launch Crew and is a principal dancer for Fly Dance Company. At 14 years old he began breakdancing and has been performing since. In high school, he entered Inertia Dance Company which helped him enhance his skill and explore the possibilities of dance – he performed in symphonies, parades, musicals, concerts, and won first place as Dance Champion at MA Nationals. After graduating high school, Kenny continued to study dance at the University of Houston and decided to peruse dance as a full time career. In 2013 he joined the Houston Rockets Launch Crew and solidified his place as captain three years later. 2013 was also the year he joined Fly Dance company, which has allowed him to travel the United States as well as entertain audiences abroad in over 12 countries. For the past three years, Kenny and his breakdancing crew “RAD” have hosted an annual entertainment event for the community called “The Ether,” bringing in around 450 people from across the U.S. Despite his love of performing, Kenny has always retained a passion for teaching and started his role as a teacher in 2010. He worked for HISD as a dance teacher for Jane Long Middle School. He also teaches for Houston Healthy Hip-Hop.

Sarah Jenkins

Nutcracker Director/Dance Instructor

Sarah Jenkins  is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, receiving a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a minor in Business Administration. Sarah is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, where she started her dance training emphasizing in Cecchetti ballet. Sarah has attended workshops and intensives nationwide, studying both commercial and concert dance from companies like Ballet West, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, SALT Contemporary Dance, Grand Rapids Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and Millenium Dance Complex. Since moving to Kansas City, Sarah has performed locally with three hip hop crews, danced in the 2019 Worlds of Fun “Grande Carnivale”, and for the past two years has been working and traveling with Quixotic Cirque Nouveau, a cirque-fusion company, on several amazing performances. Sarah is excited to be moving to Houston to pursue more professional dance opportunities and is thrilled to be joining the CDA family!