Kelsey King: Owner and Artistic Director
Kelsey began dance training extensively in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, hip hop, and pointe at a young age. She quickly gained recognition for her strength, flexibility, and stage presence, which she now works to instill in her students. As the Artistic Director, Owner, and Head Teacher at Maryland Performing Arts Center, she uses the knowledge she gained through her professional-level certification with Dance Masters of America to provide her students with the best education possible.
The award-winning choreography she continues to set on her students, both individually and in groups, has made her a recognized choreographer and a sought-after master teacher in studios statewide, from companies such as Broadneck High School Dance Company, the Anne Arundel County Dance Ensemble, and the Anne Arundel County School system. She actively choreographs for our East Coast Dance Company and also directs and performs with Essenza, our resident traveling professional dance company.
In addition to her love of dancing, Kelsey also loves to sing. She received her vocal training from the renowned Peabody Conservatory and from Eric Arceneaux, recording artist and founder of the “Arceneaux Approach,” a company he created to offer vocal coaching to singers worldwide. In 2010, Kelsey toured with Arceneaux and others as a backup dancer.
For the 2016-2017 school year, Kelsey has been chosen as Stevenson University’s Head Coach for its esteemed Dance Team. She conditions the team, recruits dancers, and sets choreography on them regularly for events like the annual homecoming game and national competitions.
Kelsey is Zumba and Zumba toning certified and has even designed and patented a unique Barre class for adults called "Barre 360." It is because of her versatility, dedication, dance training, and love of her position that she has developed such strong, genuine relationships with each of her students, who are her motivation to continue to move, educate, and grow.
Kristy Cooke: General Manager
Kristy has been part of our dancing family since 2009. She has taken on multiple roles throughout the years, and during her time as a teacher, she attended 3 American College Dance Festivals in order to grow as a leader and bring back new knowledge and choreography ideas to her students after spending time with professionals from all over the United States.
In 2013, Kristy graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a degree in Dance Education. She then completed 2 years of teacher training through Dance Masters of America at Buffalo University and is certified to teach Zumba to both children and adults. In addition, she was formerly a member of Anne Arundel Community College’s Dance Company and spent many years performing with MPAC’s professional dance company, Essenza.
Kristy was promoted to General Manager in 2015. As a result, she has grown close to many of our dance families. She loves interacting with our students and parents on a daily basis and to her, our studio is a home away from home.
Anton Wilson: Director of Ballet Curriculum
Born in Annapolis, MD, Anton T. Wilson began his study of dance with Anne Waugh Allen and Edward D. Stewart before receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, from the North Carolina School of the Arts. He has performed with: Ballet Theatre of Maryland; Parnassus Dance Theatre, Japan; Djazzex, Holland; Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; Martita Goshen’s Earthworks; Jennifer Muller/The Works, New York, among others.
Anton has taught, choreographed and toured internationally for twenty-eight years. He is a 2007 and 2009 recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award for choreography. He was one of four choreographers selected to initiate the Four Steps Forward choreography project in The Hague, Holland. Locally, he has choreographed productions for: the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Opera Vivente, among others.
In addition to workshops and master classes, Anton currently teaches at the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Kirov Academy of Ballet, as well as maintaining his lifelong involvement in equestrian competitions.
Hannah Lafrance: Musical Theater Director, Dance Director Asst.
Levels: Beginner & Up
Hannah’s journey began when she was 10 years old in an Irish dance class. She began dance training in other genres such as ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop at local dance studios at the age of 15. Her love for dance solidified when she auditioned for a part in Arundel High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast,” and when she was cast as the “Enchantress” and a dancer in the “Can Can” and the “Tango,” she found that she thrived onstage. Upon graduating high school, Hannah came to us to study under Kelsey King, whom she had long admired as both a director and a dancer.
It was here that Hannah learned that she could sing. After receiving intense one-on-one instruction from Eric Arceneaux for 2 full years, Hannah began to teach musical theater classes that combined dancing, singing, and performing. She also became dance assistant to Kelsey and her students, and has been proud to perform with the MPAC Dance Company at functions such as the Ladarius Webb Charity Event.
Hannah has actively furthered her dance training and development over the years, specifically as a member of the Anne Arundel Community College Dance Company under the direction of Linda Fitzgerald. She has spent much time attending the college’s dance program and also completed a Theater course during her time at the school. She is a certified Zumba instructor and enjoys attending Master classes.
In addition, she was chosen by Megan Morse Jans, director of the Dragonfly Experience, to teach the Dare Dancer program, an after-school event for students at Mills Parole Elementary School in Annapolis. Because of Hannah’s success with her students, she was chosen to teach the PVA program at Bates Middle School and Park Middle School for 2 years. Hannah’s love for the arts, performing, and MPAC encourage her to continue to expand her knowledge of dance and to design fun-filled classes for her students.
Rebecca Voelpel: Assistant Director
Levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Ballet, All Genres
Assistant Director Rebecca Houseknecht has spent the majority of her life dancing and training in ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance. She was accepted into the world-renowned Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC, at a young age, where she excelled in her classes and received a first-rate education in classical ballet. She continued her training at the Maryland Youth Ballet in Silver Spring, Maryland. Rebecca was immediately offered a position with the Washington Ballet after graduating high school. During her time with the company, she performed soloist roles in “The Nutcracker,” “Le Corsaire,” and “Sleeping Beauty.”
Soon after, Rebecca attended Towson University and became a co-captain of its acclaimed dance team. During her time as captain, the team won its 15th, 16th, and 17th consecutive national championships. She graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management and a minor in both Business Administration and Psychology in 2015, and is currently working towards her Master’s degree. Rebecca has earned numerous awards and is widely recognized for her dancing achievements:
- Position as a Finalist in the Youth American Grand Prix
- American Dance Awards National High Score Winner
- Granted Dance Spirit Magazine’s “Future Star” Award
- Winner of the Young Arts Program of the National Foundation for the Advancements in the Arts
- Featured Dancer In the Award-Winning Dance Documentary, “First Position”
Maya Basik: All Levels and Genres
Maya Basik, a Baltimore native earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Muhlenberg College. She spent her junior year studying abroad in Arezzo, Tuscany, as a student of the Academia Dell’Arte Conservatory Program. There she had the privilege of learning from esteemed Italian and International Dance and Physical Theater artists and professors.
In 2014 and 2016, she danced professionally with the DC-based Contemporary Dance Company “ClancyWorks,” under the direction of Adrienne Clancy. ClancyWorks provided Maya the opportunity to complete the Dance Educator’s Training Institute, which she accomplished successfully.
In addition to her love for dancing, Maya also has a passion for yoga. She has completed the 200-hour level Yoga Teacher Training through YogaWorks (formerly known as Charm City Yoga) in Baltimore under Kim Manfredi. Maya has come to us with knowledge of both, which has led to improvements in our students’ flexibility, strength, and collaboration abilities.
Ben Prescott: Acrobatics Instructor and Fitness Coach
Ben Prescott earned his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and his Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion with a concentration in Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention from the University of Maryland. He is the Assistant Director of the University’s Gymkana Troupe, a gymnastics-based performance and outreach program in the School of Public Health.
In addition, Ben is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has more than a decade of experience in teaching gymnastics and acrobatics. During his time here, he has trained our students, maintained their safety, and prevented injury, making him fully qualified to be our acrobatics instructor.
Angie Prescott: Aerobics Instructor and Physical Therapist
Bio coming soon!