Kathleen Connolly

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.

Stormie Holmes  Hip Hop Instructor

Stormie Holmes is a professional dance artist, instructor, choreographer, blogger, and entrepreneur as well as a wife and mother. Stormie has over 20 years of experience training and performing in jazz, musical theater, ballet, heels, contemporary, and hip hop. Stormie graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe where she received a BA in Communications and a Dance Minor. During her collegiate career, Stormie was a member of the ULM Repertory Dance Ensemble and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority where she served as president. Theater credits include Guys & Dolls, CHICAGO, West Side Story, Cabaret, Mamma Mia, and Liberators: The Musical. Dance credits include The Pilot Dance Project, Creative Movement Practices, Catastrophic Theatre, Alvin Ailey, BET Hip Hop Awards, Tobe Nwigwe, Sincerely Lenora, Houston Fringe Festival, Mind the Gap Festival, Groundwork Studios, Stageworks Theater, and the Collective Four. Stormie is the owner of the fashion, dance, and lifestyle brand So Stormie – which includes a blog and boutique under the same name. Stormie’s also the co-founder and co-choreographer of The Collective Four – a Houston-based dance collective. Stormie aspires to inspire other female multi-passionate creators like herself to live out their dreams. When she’s not creating, teaching, or working on her brand – Stormie enjoys shopping, reading, watching tv, and spending time with her husband David and their daughter Amara.

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/Nutcracker Choreographer, 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!

Keeley Dunnam/Nutcracker Choreographer/Dance Instructor

Keeley Dunnam received her M.F.A at Sam Houston State University in 2022 where she is studied under Dionne and Andy Noble, Dana Nicolay, Jennifer Pontious, Adele Nickel, Francisco Graciano, Evelyn Toh, Colette Kerwick and Joshua Manculich. While at Sam Houston State University she taught Modern 2 & 3, Ballet 2 &3, Jazz 1 and Choreography 3. She received her B.F.A. in Dance focused in choreography and performance from the University of North Texas in 2018 where she studied with Shelly Cushman, Robin Lakes, Amiti Perry, Whitney Geldon, Karen MacIntyre, Claudia Howard-Queen, Sue Collins, and Mary Lynn Babcock. Keeley originally started dancing at four years old at The Dance Academy and trained in a variety of styles including ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, tap, musical theater, and hip-hip. In 2008, she danced with Lone Star Ballet and performing the roles of Spanish corps, Waltz corps, Snow corps, and Arabian corps in the Nutcracker in 2009-10. Most recently Keeley has had the opportunity to perform with Company XV, Pilot Dance Project, and PDC Works. She performed two years with AmpDance and the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra in Transfigured Night, and Appalachian Spring. Keeley danced with imPULSE Dance Project (under the artistic direction of Anastasia Waters) for two seasons from 2016-2018, and performed various works at Dallas Dance Fest, 254 Festival, and Brazos Dance Festival. Her work, “NArrow is the Way” was showcased in imPULSE Dance Project’s annual summer show in 2018, “Same but Different but Same” was showcased in Mind the Gap in 2022, and “Interrelational Transactions” in Mind the Gap in 2023. Keeley was selected to be an Artist in Residence for Dance Source Houston in 2023. Keeley continues to focus her choreographic works towards building community by using movement as a means of communication, and to create meaningful interactions between art and the public.

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!

Holly Gibson/ Dance Instructor 

Holly S. Gibson is a graduate from Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU), where she
received two Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and Dance Performance/Choreography.
While at SFASU, she was a 4-year member of the Repertory Dance Company where she learned
and trained under all the dance faculty and guest artists. Her undergraduate research project,
focusing on Dancer’s Self Esteem in modern day America, was chosen as the 2023 Top Scholar
for the Mickey Elliot College of Fine Arts. She is currently continuing her research with
professional and pre-professional dancers to create awareness of low self-esteem in dancers.  She was also an award-winning dancer while on the Connolly Dance Arts Company.  Holly is excited to be working and sharing her love for dance at Connolly Dance Arts!

Sarah Jenkins/ Nutcracker Choreographer, 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!