Jennifer McCamish – Owner, Director of Programming and Training
Jennifer has over 30 years of dance experience with training from legendary institutes in New York City, London, Los Angeles and New Orleans. She received a B.A. in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin (Dean’s List) and was a professional dancer in New York City for thirteen years. She danced at Radio City Music Hall as a Radio City Rockette performing in numerous productions of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Fifi Awards and the NYC Christopher Columbus Day Parade.
Jennifer also served as a PR representative for Radio City where she was seen in nationally televised interviews and promotional segments such as Extra and The Early Show. During her nine years of employment at the Music Hall, she worked as a dance instructor for the Rockette Experience, served as the Rockette’s Make Up Artist and was a volunteer spokesperson for Madison Square Garden’s Cheering For Children Foundation. She has worked and/or performed with many well known celebrities, shows and publications including: Nicole Kidman, Dick Clark, Nicole Richie, Tony Danza, Rascal Flats, Brandi, Amy Yasbeck, The Jordanaires, NYC Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, The Today Show, Good Morning America, E! Entertainment, Fox Good Day New York, Will Roger’s Follies, Pippin, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Miracle on 34th Street, Big, In Touch Magazine, Good Housekeeping, and United Way.
Jennifer has Athletic Training in Injury Prevention for Dancers from Radio City Entertainment, is a Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer, STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor including Injuries and Special Populations, IDEA Fitness and Wellness member, and is certified in CPR-First Aid.
Toussaint Biondi - Assistant Director of Training and Lead Instructor
Toussaint grew up in North Carolina where she studied ballet and contemporary dance at the North Carolina School of the Arts. During summers, she trained at the Joffrey and Boston Ballet schools where she was introduced to the Pilates method for conditioning and injury prevention. Pilates became an integral part of maintaining Toussaint’s fitness level for her dance career, while she also learned how to connect mind, body and movement through breath. In 2007, Toussaint became a certified Pilates instructor through Stott Pilates and has since enjoyed creating unique training curriculum for dancers and non-dancers alike.
Most recently, Toussaint graduated with a B.S. degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas. She is currently pursuing a career as a physical therapist and has interned at Spine Austin and St. David's Hospital. There, she collaborated with physical therapists to develop exercise and rehabilitation programs for patients following spinal injuries and stroke . With her passion for exercise science and physical therapy, Toussaint is always exploring current fitness methods that incorporate strengthening applications but also provide joint and spine protection. After trying the Dancers Shape technique, she was immediately impressed with how the class encapsulated each of these effective methods.
Toussaint completed her Dancers Shape teacher training and is excited to apply her knowledge in exercise science to help educate clients on biomechanical awareness and to help build strong, healthy bodies – all through the fun and dynamic medium found at Dancers Shape. CPR-First Aid Certified.
Beverly Theodore - Instructor
Beverly received a BPA in Dance Performance from Oklahoma City University and was a member of the 63rd line of the Kilgore College Rangerettes. As a Rangerette, she had the opportunity to perform in multiple televised events such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Indy 500 Opening, and the Dallas Cotton Bowl halftime performance and was a featured dancer in their High Kick Technique DVD.
While at OCU, Beverly's passion to become a healthy dancer led her to the health and wellness profession. After graduating, she moved to Las Vegas and danced professionally at several shows and special events throughout the city and acquired multiple fitness certifications while performing. She is currently a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a Certified Pilates Instructor through The Pilates Studio Las Vegas, and a Certified Les Milles Body Flow Instructor. She also holds CPR-First Aid certificates. Beverly taught in several private studios in Las Vegas as well as the Las Vegas Athletic Club. Eventually, she re-located to Austin to work with Rowan Health Concepts, a wellness company offering holistic services and in-home personal training.
Beverly completed the Dancers Shape Teacher Training Program and feels right at home embracing the DS philosophy of integrating dance and fitness to provide an intense, safe, and exciting workout for all body shapes and levels.
Mariclaire Gamble - Instructor
Mariclaire received her BFA in dance from the University of Texas at Austin, and is a recipient of the Heywood “Woody” McGriff Endowed Scholarship in Dance. She has had the honor to perform and have her choreography featured at respected institutions such as the American College Dance Festival, the Tanzsommer Dance Festival in Austria and the Stephen F. Austin Dance Department. She continues to choreograph and perform locally with companies such as Kathy Dunn Hamrick’s Dance Company and Romulus Ate. Mariclaire is also a local recording artist and her EP, “Clouds, Boys, Etc.,” can be found on ITunes.
During her studies with the Theatre and Dance Department, Mariclaire cultivated a passion for physical wellness and the biomechanics of the body. Under the guiding hand of the dance faculty at UT, she studied and completed a special Pilates Program that focused on a variety of somatic techniques including Pilates, Feldenkrais and Bartenieff. Mariclaire has a deep appreciation for the mind/body connection and a growing interest in the study of anatomy and health. She has additional Pilates courses scheduled through 2011 and a continuing education plan beyond.
Mariclaire has completed her Dancers Shape two month teacher training program and is excited to be a part of the team. Through her training, Mariclaire has experienced positive changes in her own body and enjoys sharing her experiences at Dancers Shape with others.
Michelle Thompson - Instructor
Originally from San Francisco, Michelle trained with the San Francisco Ballet for nine years. She joined Ballet Austin II in 2001, and is now entering her eighth season with the main company. Some of Michelle’s favorite performances include Ballet Austin’s Don Quixote (Kitri), The Nutcracker (Sugar Plum), Hamlet, Nine Sinatra Songs and Liquid Eyes. She has also enjoyed touring with the company to New York, Washington D.C., and Europe. Currently, Michelle has been choreographing her own works in Austin and San Antonio and is a recent graduate with a B.A. degree in Dance and Humanities from St. Edwards University.
Michelle found that practicing yoga helped her strength, flexibility, balance, focus and breath in her professional and personal life. She obtained her 200 hour certification plus 100 advanced hours through the Yoga Alliance, and completed an additional advanced yoga training program from Dharma Yoga. She currently teaches and has hosted yoga classes for prestigious schools and organizations such as Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School, the Active Life Movement Festival and the SafePlace Organization.
Being a fitness and dance enthusiast, the Dancers Shape barre technique was a perfect fit for Michelle's teaching repertoire. She recently completed her teacher training at Dancers Shape and is excited to extend a message of fitness and health through her classes at the studio.
Carissa Topham - Instructor
Carissa is an Austin native and received her BFA in dance from the University of North Texas. She was named “Outstanding Senior” and “Best Choreographer” in her graduating class. During her time in school she participated in residencies and master classes with major dance companies and choreographers from around the U.S., including Bebe Miller and Ailey II to name a few. Her choreographic work, Consuming Civilization, was presented in the adjudicated American College Dance Festival, and had the opportunity to participate and perform in the festival for four years. She has continued her choreography with a competitive dance team called Envision that has won choreography awards at VIP and Talent on Parade competitions. Carissa is currently enjoying her third season performing with the Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company and teaches classical and contemporary techniques at the Cedar Park Dance Company.
Through her studies in anatomy and dance kinesiology at college, Carissa developed a deep interest for fitness and the rehabilitative bodywork of Pilates, yoga and the Feldenkrais technique. While training in these methods, she experienced first hand the benefits of Pilates and building proper core engagement and joint strength to protect from injuries. As she improved her own biomechanics, she began to notice body improvements like ease of control during performances as well as old running pains beginning to dissipate. Upon her first visit to Dancers Shape, her experience was like most – the shake and burn was intense, but she loved the athleticism mixed with fluidity built into a solid foundation of joint and spine safety.
Carissa recently completed her Dancers Shape instructor training and is looking forward to furthering her education through additional Pilates certifications set for this year. “I am honored to be part of the DS team and thrilled to be pursuing my passions for dance and fitness in my local town.”
Emily Boykin - Instructor
Emily Boykin holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin. She danced in various performances produced by the department and participated in master classes taught by esteemed dance companies, including Batsheva and Merce Cunningham. While in school, Emily toured with a children’s theater company that combined puppetry, music and dance. Br’er Wood received popular reviews and gained success in elementary schools throughout the city by teaching life lessons and interpersonal skills through animated productions.
This experience of reaching out to children through dance naturally led Emily to teaching after graduating. She was selected to lead summer dance camps at Galaxy Dance studio, where she created a curriculum for children that introduced ballet and jazz technique and staged choreography for camp productions.
Emily also trained in the University of Texas’ Pilates program where she quickly saw the benefits of the mind-body connection. She immediately began seeking opportunities in a career that blended dance and fitness. She found Dancers Shape before their doors opened and started interning, eventually working into front desk staff. While working at the studio, Emily trained in the Shape technique and witnessed a dramatic improvement in her strength and endurance. But more importantly, she saw how the instructors’ and the studio’s family feel touched client’s lives. She had found her passion for helping others through fitness and set a goal to become an instructor at Dancers Shape, completing her training Fall 2012. Emily is proud to call herself a Dancers Shape instructor and has a continuing education plan for additional fitness certifications.
Lauren Menasco-Davis - Instructor
Lauren received a B.S. in Zoology with a minor in Dance, as well as a M.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University where a large part of her studies focused on anatomy and physiology. Through her Minor in Dance, she had the opportunity to perform at the American College Dance Festival, and take master classes from established choreographers and dance companies such as Kathy Dunn Hamrick, Jane Weiner from Hopestone Dance, and Core Performance Dance Company. Lauren also taught at a local dance studio throughout college. While at Texas A&M, she trained to become an EMT and worked for several primary care physicians and physical therapists. Through these experiences in healthcare, she became passionate about preventive care through active lifestyles and became a group exercise instructor for the A&M Campus Recreation Center.
This passion for health and wellness brought Lauren to Austin to pursue dual master’s degrees. She is currently working toward a Master of Public Affairs and a Master of Public Health at the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas Health Science Center. For the past four years Lauren has been a teaching assistant in anatomy and physiology at Texas A&M, and now at UT. She also teaches group exercise classes at Lifetime Fitness and the UT Campus Recreation Center. Lauren is an AFAA certified group exercise instructor, and holds specialty certifications in Zumba, Zumba Toning, QiForze, Schwinn Cycling, Piloxing, and TRX.
Upon Lauren’s first visit to Dancers Shape, she was amazed by how seamlessly the technique mixes dance and athletic movements to create a safe and challenging workout. Lauren is extremely excited to complete her training at Dancers Shape and be a part of a great team. As a self-proclaimed fitness fanatic Lauren cannot wait to share her love of fitness with the Dancers Shape community. CPR and First Aid Certified.
Emily McLaughlin - Instructor
Emily is originally from Plano, TX where she began studying dance at the Hathaway Academy of Ballet. She continued her training on full scholarship in Florida at the HARID Conservatory and received her BFA in 2010 in Ballet Performance from the University of Utah. While attending college, she became a member of the Utah Ballet and performed roles such as Odette from Swan Lake, Act II and the lead in La Vivandiere. She was also honored with the opportunity to tour with the company to Seoul, South Korea as part of an exchange program with Kyung Hee University. During her senior year of college she was hired at Ballet Austin as an apprentice where she spent two years with Ballet Austin/Ballet Austin II working with choreographers Thang Dao, Jennifer Hart, and Stephen Mills. She later moved to Houston to perform with the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in works such as Walsh's Madea, Time Out of Line, and The Whistling. She also enjoys being a guest in Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s The Nutcracker each winter.
While performing with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, she started a consistent yoga practice and fell in love with the physical and mental benefits. This inspired her to become an instructor so she completed a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification from The Yoga Institute in Houston, TX. Shortly after being certified, she was introduced to Dancers Shape. She was attracted to the strength and joint stability that the method provided and immediately saw how the benefits would transfer to her dance and yoga practice. She most recently completed her Dancers Shape training and is excited to couple her fitness and dance backgrounds together to offer a well-rounded experience to the DS community.