David Roxander Biography | Elyse Roxander Biography
David & Elyse Roxander
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, husband and wife, David and Elyse Roxander, have been teaching dance, directing and choreographing for over 30 years. They have trained and worked with children of all ages and abilities - from those seeking and attaining a professional career to those simply enjoying the process and the pride that one feels from working on an art form and achieving their goals.
With a grand opening on September 9, 2009, this state of the art dance and movement arts academy is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Roxanders mother, Jody White. Before her passing a promise was made that she would never be forgotten and that all of the children who came through the doors of Studio Roxander would know her. A dance teacher herself of over 55 years, she was and, through the Roxanders, will continue to inspire and educate thousands of children. It is our greatest wish that our studio environment will aid in instilling in our students a great respect and love for all art forms. With a strong background in classical ballet and performing arts, both David and Elyse bring a tangible joy and love for the theatre into the classroom.
David and Elyse were recipients of the Outstanding Teachers Award at the Youth America Grand Prix competition in Seattle, Washington in 2016 and in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2018.
Mary fell in love with ballet at age two, when she first saw 'The Nutcracker' on TV, and has been dancing since age three. She has been training with Studio Roxander ever since they opened in 2009, with the exception of one year where she lived and trained in Southern California. She has twice been Studio Roxander's Sugar Plum Fairy. It is only recently that Mary has considered teaching, but now that the idea has taken root, she is very excited to be sharing her passion for dance with the younger generations of dancers and looks forward to helping them achieve their dreams.
Kristen DeBellis has a background in dance, voice, and theater. She has been seen on stage in various venues with credits including Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, and others. After training at All That Jazz from the age of 12, Kristen became an Advanced Production member, choreographing her first nationally award winning piece for the group, "Sleep Now", when she was only 18 years old. That same year, she was named top senior dancer and earned an EDGE scholarship from Urban Jamm National Dance Conventions. Her piece, "Marrakesh" captured the highest national award for excellence in choreographic achievement, and the Performers of the Year title for All That Jazz at the LADF finals in 2002. Her choreography has also been seen at the Craterian Theater in numerous "It's About Dance" concerts, and on other stages across Oregon, Washington, California, Florida and Europe. Kristen is known for her creative, "out-of-the-box" choreography, and cutting-edge style which has the predictable quality of drawing her audiences into the stories she tells through movement.
Simultaneous with her dancing career, Holly studied American History at Columbia University, where she graduated Cum Laude in 2018.
Melyssa Williams began dancing at the age of five, after her mother took her to see a production of The Nutcracker. It was love at first sight and she begged for ballet lessons. Her passion for dancing led early on to a love for teaching and Melyssa began assistant teaching as a young teenager. Because she was homeschooled, Melyssa was able to travel across Oregon, Idaho and Washington for auditions and rehearsals and train under several teachers including Afshin Mofid, Deborah Friedman, Rueben Edinger, and Shanna Bereska.
Melyssa joined the Idaho Shakespeare Festival as a featured dancer in their production of Twelfth Night. She also joined and performed with a flamenco troupe under the direction of Nisa Torreon-Thebo. Her homeschooling again came in handy when she graduated early and enrolled at Boise State University where she began performing professionally with Idaho Dance Theater, a contemporary dance company, under the direction of Alfred and Marla Hansen. When Ms. Hansen recommended her to a fellow teacher in the area, Melyssa's love for teaching children the art of dance was reignited. Melyssa has taught children ages 3 through adult and enjoys all levels and ages. She especially loves keeping in touch with her former students and seeing where their love of ballet has taken them.
In 1998 Melyssa married an opera singer, and as a result, they now have three highly dramatic, theatrical children! Besides dancing, Melyssa loves reading and writing and writes a regular column for Home Educating Family Magazine - a leading home education magazine. When she isn't dancing, Melyssa is an author and magazine columnist.
Evette DeMarco Swinson
Evette DeMarco Swinson started her ballet training in Riverside with Mary Lynn Waterman and Clinton Rothwell of the National Ballet of Canada. She was awarded a Ford Foundation Scholarship from the School of American Ballet at the age of 12 and studied with the Harkness House for Ballet Arts with David Howard in New York at the age of 15. After returning from New York she joined the Los Angeles Ballet also at the age of 15 under the direction of John Clifford, former Principal Dancer with the New York City Ballet where she danced professionally from 1974 until 1985. She was also a Principal Dancer with the Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, South Coast Ballet, and California Riverside Ballet under the direction of David Allen. She has also performed as a guest artist with many Southern California companies, has appeared in movies and on tv, and has shared the stage with such celebrated artists as Merrill Ashley, Gelsey Kirkland, Alicia Alonzo, Darci Kistler, Peter Martins, Jorge Esquival, Damian Woetzel and John Clifford, and danced professionally for over 20 years. She began teaching at Inland Dance Academy (formerly known as Noerr Dance Academy) in 1985. Upon retiring from dancing in 1996 she has continued to teach at many Southern California schools including the University of California Irvine, DeFore Foundation for the Arts, California Riverside Ballet Company, Riverside Dance Academy and Performing Arts and has been a guest teacher for Ballet Prejlocage of France and Rambert Ballet of England. Evette became Ballet Mistress at Inspire Dance Complex when Inspire opened in Corona. She has also coached professional dancers from the San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and The New York City Ballet. She was the owner of Inland Dance Academy for 17 years and has devoted her career to training Inland Empire students who go on to pursue careers in all areas of dance. Evette has been Ballet Mistress/Choreographer for Inland Dance Theatre's production of The Nutcracker for 33 years as well as Artistic Director for Inland Dance Theatre's Coppelia. She has directed numerous "Young Artists' Showcase" productions, featuring the students of Inland Dance Academy. In 2012 Evette created a new full-length ballet "Alice in Wonderland" which received rave reviews. She accompanied ballet students to the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix Competition in which she has had many students perform in the New York City YAGP Finals Competitions. Most recently Evette was hired to teach at the Idyllwild Arts Academy under the direction of Ellen Rosa-Taylor and Jonathan Sharp. Evette's students have been accepted to every major ballet school in the United States and Canada. Many of her students have become members of various professional companies including the San Francisco Ballet, Oregon Ballet, Ballet Met, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Inland Pacific Ballet.