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Just Dance is Central Louisiana's premiere dance studio. We offer a variety of dance subjects including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, Tumbling and Creative Dance, which are taught in a positive atmosphere with a direct emphasis on the education. Just Dance accepts students ages 18 months to adult with beginner, intermediate and advanced classes. We keep our class sizes small in order to offer more personalized, individual attention to each student. Our dedicated staff consists of well-trained, motivating dance educators who specialize in the style of dance they teach and take great pride in the work they do.
Owner / Director of Company and Jazz / Instructor (Jazz, Tap & Ballet)
Jennifer Rachal, owner and dance educator, is a native of Alexandria. She studied dance under the direction of Michelle Friede at the former The Dance Experience in Pineville, LA. As a student, Jennifer performed and competed in and out of state starting at the age of eight. She performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1989.
Jennifer was the choreographer and a performer for the Alexandria Warthogs Pro-Am Ice Hockey dance team, “The Thunderbolts,” in 1999 as well as for the Rangers Pro-Am Indoor Arena Football Team’s cheer/dance team, “The Rangerettes,” in 2000. She was the choreographer for the Alexandria Senior High dance line from 2000 to 2004, winning regional, state and national titles.
Jennifer was the coach and choreographer for “Dance Team 2000” at Vicki’s Dance Studios from 2000 to 2005, winning numerous awards at Showstoppers, Dance Makers Inc., LA Dance Magic, Applause, and International Dance Challenge, as well as national titles at both Universal Studios in Orlando, FL in 2002 and at the Cashman Convention Center in Las Vegas in March 2003. The National Dance Alliance awarded her the Grand National Champion Choreography Award in 2003.
Jennifer choreographed and performed for Royal Caribbean’s “Stars at Sea” in April 2004. She has taken many master classes from some of the world's greatest dancers, including classes at Broadway Dance Center in New York. Jennifer, along with Kayla Riché Fung, choreographed for Louisiana Tech’s competition dance line in 2005, winning first place at nationals. She has been the choreographer for the Distinguished Young Women of Louisiana (formerly known as Louisiana Junior Miss State Program) since 2005. Jennifer is married and is the proud mother of three and step-mother of two.
Director of Ballet, Pointe and Lyrical / Instructor (Ballet, Pointe & Lyrical) / Director of Just Dance for a Cause
Kayla has been dancing since the age of three. Her love for dance has taken her many places, including Florida, New York, South Carolina, Nevada and Texas. She says that dance has instilled poise, technique and discipline and has helped make her the person she is today.
At a very young age, Kayla realized that her favorite subject in dance was ballet. It is the one subject that has motivated her and that she has devoted all her time to practicing. She is proud to have the opportunity to pass on her knowledge of ballet to her students. As Kayla grew up, she found another style of dance that she was passionate about: lyrical. She says that she enjoys all areas of dance, but ballet and lyrical are her absolute favorites.
Kayla's dance career has afforded her many opportunities including performing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, competing in national competitions throughout the United States, and choreographing ballet and lyrical numbers for her students at Just Dance. She lists being the Director of Ballet, Pointe and Lyrical at Just Dance as one of her greatest accomplishments.
Kayla is also proud to have taken classes from some of the world's greatest dancers including Joe Tremaine, Doug Caldwell, Frank Hatchett, Jerry Rose and Desiree Robbins. These great teachers/performers have instilled in her a passion to continue to learn and to dance. It is that same passion that she wants to give to her students. She hopes that they will keep trying and continue learning as long as they can!
Director of Tap / Instructor (Tap)
Rená is a native of Alexandria. She is the daughter of Frank and Marie Crooks. She has been dancing since the age of two. Rená studied dance under Susan Hussey, Talent, Inc. for approximately 12 years. She was a member of the Junior Company for two years and the Senior Company for four years. They won numerous awards at conventions all over Louisiana. In 1989, they were elected to compete in New York City for a National Title sponsored by the Dance Educators of America. They won first place in the tap and choreography divisions and also received the overall highest score. While in New York, the Senior Company had the opportunity to dance with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.
Rená was Susan Hussey's teacher's assistant for her last six years of dance before going to college. She graduated from Alexandria Senior High School and was on danceline for three years. In 1988, the Alexandria Senior High Danceline won the opportunity from Universal Dance Association to compete on ESPN in Orlando, FL in both Kickline and Jazz Divisions. Rená taught dance at Northwestern State University in the Theatre Department during 1990 and 1991.
Rená went on to graduate from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice, minoring in Psychology and Sociology. She is married to Cody Saucier and has two beautiful children, Madison and Cody Michael. Rená is currently working at Pinecrest Developmental Center as a Team Leader Coordinator in the Psychology Department. She has worked for the State of Louisiana for 18 years.
Director of Teeny Tiny Dancers / Instructor (Teeny Tiny Dancers & Jazz)
Lissie Heard Theriot was born in Jennings, Louisiana, and moved to Alexandria at the age of five. She began dance instruction under the direction of Millie Sanders and continued her training throughout her junior high and high school years with Rita Barton School of Dance.
While in high school, Lissie was a member of Bolton High School's dance line and served as co-captain her junior and senior years. After high school, she received a dance scholarship to Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, LA.
Dance took a back seat for many years while Lissie took employment at Alexandria Country Day School and began her family. During those years, she had the opportunity to fulfill her love for dance and music by choreographing many numbers for both children and adults in such events as Calvary Baptist Church's Annual Singing Christmas Tree and Showtime. She was also able to incorporate her love of music by working with children's choirs, singing in various ensembles, and traveling with a southern gospel singing group throughout Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Kentucky.
Later, Lissie got the opportunity to quit her full-time job and get a taste of the three things she enjoys the most – working with children, dance, and music. Lissie worked from 2004 to 2005 at Vicki’s Dance Center in Alexandria, and then joined the faculty at Just Dance in February of 2006.
Lissie is married to John and has one daughter, Katie. She owns and operates two small businesses and loves anything that involves being creative!
Director of Wee Dance / Instructor (Wee Dance, Ballet & Creative Movement) / Public Relations
Katie is a native of Pineville and graduated from Pineville High School in 1993. She began her dance training at the age of three under the direction of Carol Swilley at Pineville Dance Academy. Katie later performed and competed as a company member at The Dance Experience in Pineville under the direction of Michelle Friede. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University at Alexandria.
Katie's love for dance is rivaled only by her love for children. She has spent many years caring for and interacting with children, both as a childcare provider and as a mother. Katie is very excited to have the opportunity to pursue two of her greatest passions at the same time in her Wee Dance, Tap & Ballet and Creative Movement classes.
Katie is married and the mother of one. In addition to dance, she teaches drama classes and summer camps for children ages three, four and five. She has also served on the Board of Directors for The Rapides Exploratory Education House (T.R.E.E. House). Katie is currently enrolled in Aviva Romm's Certified Women's Herbal Educator Distance Learning Program. In her spare time, Katie enjoys traveling and reading about dance and dance therapy, child development and psychology, childbirth and midwifery, herbalism, vegetarian cooking, and futuristic utopian societies with fatal flaws (dystopian fiction).
Director of Hip-Hop / Instructor (Hip-Hop & Jazz)
Mandy has been dancing since the age of three. She began her training at Cenla Academy of Performing Arts under the direction of Rita Barton, later continuing her training at Just Dance under the direction of Jennifer Rachal. Mandy has accomplished many things thus far in her dancing career, including dancing in parades, at conventions, in talent shows, in competitions, and even with the LSU Tiger Girls. She has learned from professionals such as Dave Scott, Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo and Shane Sparks. She was awarded a dance scholarship by Tyce Diorio.
Mandy attended Holy Savior Menard Central High School, where she participated in both junior high cheer and varsity danceline. Mandy then transferred to Alexandria Senior High School, where she danced as a Troydoll for two consecutive years. As an ASH Troydoll, she received the title of American All-Star at dance line camp. This included an invitation to dance in Italy. Mandy is a 2009 graduate of ASH. After high school, Mandy danced as a member of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin' Jazz dance team and taught hip-hop at ULL's recreational sports gym. Mandy is a graduate of Louisiana State University at Alexandria.
Mandy has always enjoyed choreographing dance routines for individuals, groups, and junior high and high school dance teams. Mandy, along with Jennifer Rachal, coached the Alexandria Senior High Troydolls danceline to a National Championship in 2013. Mandy was also the talent choreographer for the first runner-up of Louisiana's 2013 Distinguished Young Women.
Mandy is thankful that her mentor, Jennifer Rachal, has given her so many opportunities, including the opportunity to teach. Dancing is something she loves to do. It is her passion and she would love to continue it for many years.
Instructor (Jazz & Tap)
Sarah is a native of Alexandria and has been dancing since the age of three. Dance became her passion at a young age and has always played a significant role in her life. Over the course of 15 years, Sarah studied a combination of ballet, pointe, lyrical, tap and jazz. She received scholarships and various other accolades for her performances.
Sarah attended Alexandria Senior High School where she was a member of the ASH Troydolls for two years. She completed her high school career at Pineville High School, where she was awarded numerous dance roles during her participation in the PHS theater department.
Sarah graduated from Northwestern State University with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. During her time at NSU, Sarah continued to follow her passion for dance by studying ballet, tap, jazz, theatrical dance and practicum in dance. She also performed in many pageants and a variety of assemblies. It was at that time that Sarah found a true love for tap under the instruction of Susan Hussey.
Sarah is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her love for dance and looks forward to many years of teaching. For her students, she strives to challenge, inspire, and encourage them to never lose sight of their dreams!
Nathan found his passion for dance later in life. Since childhood, he enjoyed watching tappers like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Nathan wanted to dance just like they did. Sadly, in Louisiana in the 1980's, dance was not a widely promoted activity for boys. When Nathan's daughter began dance classes, Nathan's love for dance was rekindled. It took him a couple of years to realize that he wanted - no, needed - to tap.
Nathan spent a few years in intense study of his new passion. He took private tap lessons with Rená Crooks-Saucier, supplementing those lessons with additional knowledge from Rod Howell, Terrence "Taps" Bennett and Eli Newsom. He was a teacher's assistant at Just Dance for two years and continues to assist with upper-level tap classes.
Nathan's tap influences vary widely: from the Nicholas Brothers and Gene Nelson to Savion Glover, Gregory Hines and the dancers of Rhythmic Circus. He is the founder of Cenla Tap Alliance, a local group dedicated to spreading knowledge and appreciation of tap dance. Nathan's goal is to share his enthusiasm and love for tap with this generation of young dancers.
In addition to dance, Nathan also enjoys participating in local theater productions. Nathan likes working on props and sets for stage performances and helping backstage, making an occasional foray onto the stage itself.
Nathan is a successful artist, web designer and developer, and graphic designer. He owns a local design company, Bedhead Creative. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys spending time with his family, drawing, traveling, cycling and playing video games.
Instructor (Jazz & Hip-Hop)
Jess started dancing before she could even walk! She began formal training at the age of three at Arts of the Dance Centre in Vineland, New Jersey. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, Hawaiian, pointe and lyrical. Jess and two fellow dancers were invited to dance with the Philadelphia Ballet Academy for their performance of the Nutcracker.
Jess attended Alexandria Senior High School and was an ASH Troydoll for four years, serving as Co-Captain her senior year. She won numerous awards: National Dance Alliance (NDA) All-American, NDA Drill Downs, and Universal Dance Association (UDA) All-Star - 2 years. Jess was invited to dance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and at several bowl games. She graduated from ASH in 2005.
After high school, Jess went on to dance for Louisiana Tech's Regal Blues. While on the team, she was invited to become a UDA instructor and also helped coach several junior high and high school dance teams. While in college, Jess found her passion for styling hair and decided to follow that passion to Paul Mitchell The School in Houston, where she graduated in 2009. She then moved to Philadelphia and taught at a Paul Mitchell school.
While in Philadelphia, Jess taught jazz, hip-hop and contemporary for two years at Sandie Mulie Dance Studio. As an instructor, she brought several of her students to New York City for a day of learning. Jess is now back in Louisiana, the state she calls home. She currently works as a stylist at a local salon and could not be happier to join the Just Dance family!
Pam is a native of Alexandria who graduated from Bolton High School. She continued her education at Louisiana State University at Alexandria, majoring in Business Administration. She is a devoted wife and mother of three. She enjoys spending time with her family and helping all her Just Dance girls and boys. In her spare time, Pam likes to garden.
Just Dance is proud to announce Just Dance for a Cause 2014! We will be dancing and raising money and awareness for Cenla Down Syndrome Association! While there is no charge to participate, the rewards are huge! Your child will learn and perfect new skills and use those skills to help some amazing local children and their families. Each JDFAC dancer will participate in a special performance at the 2014 Just Dance Revue. If you would like to make a donation to Just Dance for a Cause, please contact us at the studio.
Classes begin on August 11, 2014.
45 minute classes are $43/month
60 minute classes are $47/month
25% discount for additional classes
25% discount for siblings
Wee Dance is a 45 minute class that promotes bonding between children ages 18 to 35 months and their adult caregivers. This class provides an introduction into the dance studio setting in a relaxed environment, utilizing a structured yet fun and creative approach.
Wee Dance incorporates the use of music, movement, simple acrobatics, partnering activities and props to encourage the development of rhythm, coordination, balance, flexibility and spatial awareness. Age appropriate activities help build self-confidence and increase social, communication and listening skills.
One adult caregiver - mom, dad, a grandparent or nanny - is required to stay with each child for the duration of the class.
Our Teeny Tiny Dancers program is uniquely designed to teach some of our youngest dancers the basic techniques of dance through creative instructional methods.
Children ages 3 & 4 will be introduced to foundational skills in the areas of tap, ballet and tumbling while developing natural rhythm, motor skills, and music appreciation. The creative teaching methods used will encourage self-expression, confidence, and a love for dance!
This is a great combination class that we strongly recommend for our 5 to 8 year-olds. This class will establish a solid foundation in both tap & ballet and prepare students to enter our tap and/or ballet program by the time they reach the age of 9.
Creative Movement is a class for girls and boys ages five through eight. Students will learn the basics of movement terminology as they use music, props, and their own bodies to explore the elements of time, space, and energy through locomotor and non-locomotor movement. Students will participate as individuals, in pairs, and in groups as they develop rhythm, balance, coordination, and spacial awareness and enhance their body awareness and communication skills.
Creative Movement places a heavy emphasis on fostering children's imagination and their creative use of movement skills. Although elements of jazz, tap, ballet, and modern dance are utilized, formal dance technique and choreography are not the focus of this improvisational class. Creative Movement students will use their newly-acquired movement vocabulary and skills to choreograph a group performance piece for the 2014 Just Dance Revue.
Basic skills, technique and terminology of jazz are introduced and mastered. This class will lay the foundations of strength, flexibility, balance and agility - the backbone of a strong dancer.
A continuation of skills, technique and terminology from Apprentice Jazz. This class will take students to the next level of strength, flexibility, balance and agility.
A continuation of skills, technique and terminology from the two previous levels. Dancers will increase flexibility, balance and agility as well as develop stronger leg and core muscles.
A continuation of skills, technique and terminology from the three previous levels. Focus is placed on mastering more advanced moves as well as the ability to learn and execute choreography at a faster pace.
A continuation of skills, technique and terminology from the four previous levels. Choreography is technical, strong and bursting with passion and energy.
Students must know basic tap terminology and be able to execute basic tap movements at the barre as well as center floor to enter into the first course of our tap program. Student progression into the next course will be based on teacher recommendation.
Tap I - Emphasis on musicality, clarity of tap sounds and proper technique.
Tap II - Mastery level of technical skills will escalate as well as speed.
The foundation of dance, the center and basis for every subject in dance. Without the technique and discipline learned in ballet, none of the other subjects would be possible. Ballet teaches control, stability, poise and grace - characteristics every dancer should assume.
Ballet I - Basic principles of ballet are taught in this class. Positions of the feet, arms and head are reviewed every week. The dancer learns his or her barre routine, which is continually rehearsed to instill the above principles. Center floor and across the floor work are also part of this class. The dancer is able to take what he or she has learned at the barre and apply it to the routines without using the barre.
Ballet II - This is a continuation of the Ballet I class. Barre work is done every week with the emphasis on challenging the dancer's speed and memory. Dancers are expected to be able to perform everything learned at the barre in their center floor routines, doing so with grace and poise. This class is taught at a faster pace than the beginner class.
Beginner Pointe - The basic and fundamental techniques of ballet are reviewed with the dancer. She is taught, in depth, the theories of balance and how to use core muscles to drive dance movements. She will need to have many years of experience in previous ballet classes. Dancers are evaluated by the teacher for placement in this class.
Advanced Pointe - A continuation of beginner pointe, with the expectation that the dancer has mastered balancing and understands proper us of core muscles. Placement for this class is evaluated and decided upon by the teacher.
This class teaches dancers to think on their feet and learn to dance from the heart. Dancers are able to interpret music and dance according to how the music makes them feel. Across the floor work is performed so the dancers can work on advanced leaps, jumps and turns. A solid foundation in ballet is required for this class.
These classes are relatively fast-paced and challenging and allow students to emphasize their creative rhythmic talents. Hip-hop encourages students to create their own style of expression to music. This style of dance is not as thoroughly structured as most dance subjects. Therefore, all students are required to have previous experience in jazz or hip-hop before enrolling in this class. Basically, hip-hop should be viewed as a supplementary class for an experienced dancer.
The Just Dance Company is composed of a limited number of dancers who have that competitive edge. Dancers are required to travel to two out-of-town conventions per year. These dancers are required to take a minimum of four classes per week - jazz, ballet, tap, and technique. Company members are required to attend several additional practices scheduled throughout the year. Students are chosen for Company based upon their attendance, participation, ability and personality in class. Placement is by invitation only, depending upon availability. New or transfer students will be scheduled for an audition, again, depending upon availability.
Please call the studio office for questions regarding fitness level, previous dance experience requirements, recommended shoes/equipment, and pricing for adult classes.
4212 Michiels Drive, Suite A
Alexandria, LA 71301