Meet Our Visionaries
We want to introduce you to the artists behind the work created on our platform. Learn more about them, connect with them on social media, & be on the lookout for the many projects they'll be creating for season 4.
It all began with a mouse…. Carla first fell in love with dance after seeing her cousin perform as Minnie Mouse at the age of five. After begging to study dance for an entire year, her parents finally relented and her fate was sealed. Years later, Carla graduated from the Pinellas County Center for the Arts’ dance program before moving to New York City where she graduated from The Juilliard School with a BFA in Dance. At Juilliard, Carla’s training included intensive study of ballet technique (Vaganova, Cecchetti and Bournonville), modern technique (Graham, Limon and Taylor) and dance composition with several highly regarded teachers in dance, including Benjamin Harkarvy, Ethel Winter, Carolyn Adams, Linda Kent, Alfredo Corvino, Hector Zaraspe, Doris Rudko and Anna Sokolow. While there, Carla performed works by Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Jose Limon, Alwin Nikolais, Anna Sokolow, Mark Morris and Doris Humphrey, including Diversion of Angels, Esplanade, Missa Brevis, Tensile Involvement, Rooms, Beautiful Day and the role of Mother in Day on Earth. After graduating from Juilliard, Carla toured the country for 8 years with the Avodah Dance Ensemble and Omega Dance Company as a performer and teacher of modern dance. In 2001, she returned to Florida and started her next great adventure – motherhood. Her passion for teaching dance led her to return to the dance world where she became the Modern Dance Director of New Tampa Dance Theatre. From 2005 – 2019, Carla taught modern and ballet technique to hundreds of students and choreographed more than 50 works for New Tampa Dance Theatre and Dance Theatre of Tampa. In 2020, Carla joined the ballet faculty of Contempo Dance Studio in Lutz, FL and first became involved with the Central Florida Choreographers Collaboration (CFCC). Carla was selected as a Project Choreograph for CFCC’s 2020 Dance Film and 2021 Dance Film. Her CFCC 2020 Dance Film project, Path of Resistance, was selected for the Moving Currents New Grounds Dance Festival (2020), FilmFest by Rogue Dancer: L’enfant Showcase (2021) and Lift-Off First-Time Filmmaker Showcase (2021). Her CFCC 2021 Dance Film project, I’m Not Okay, was selected as a Finalist for the Accord Cine Fest (2022). In addition to her professional dance career, Carla has more than 25 years of experience in sales and business development, including 13 years as a professional fundraiser, and she is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Carla is currently the Director of Philanthropy at Gulfside Healthcare Services where she leads a small-but-mighty development team that is responsible for securing annual, major and planned gifts, as well as producing special fundraising events. Previously, she has been the Director of Corporate Giving and Sponsorship at the Straz Center for Performing Arts, the Associate Publisher of Stage Directions Magazine and the Operations Manager of pointe shoe manufacturer Gaynor Minden. Proud to be a 6th generation Floridian, Carla is a graduate of both the Leadership Tampa and Leadership Pasco programs. She currently serves as a Board Member of Leadership Pasco and is a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary. In addition, Carla is a 1st degree black belt in tae kwon do and was a national champion at the US Open for Martial Arts in 2012 and the Battle of Atlanta in 2013. Carla has been married to her husband Robert for 20 years and she has two teenage children, Naomi and Joshua, who are her pride and joy.
Emma Mulé is currently studying at the University of Florida to receive a BFA in Dance. She has trained in a variety of styles including Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern, Ballet, Tap, African, and African Diaspora. Emma enjoys exploring movement through many lenses. Emma is hoping to further her dance career after college and explore choreography at another level.
Anna Smith began taking ballet classes at the age of 5 in Brandon, Manitoba. She fell in love with ballet and continued her training in Tucson, AZ at Arizona Ballet Theatre under Cecily Winslow Bressel, Norman Walker, and Rochelle Zide-Booth. Anna is a graduate of Mercyhurst University where she received her BA in dance with a choreography concentration under the direction of Tauna Hunter. While still in college, Anna was a company member with Lake Erie Ballet where she performed solos in The Nutcracker and various contemporary ballets. Anna has performed with Charlottesville Ballet as a trainee and Tampa Ballet Theatre as a professional artist. Currently, Anna teaches ballet and coaches dance teams in Lutz, FL while also continuing to perform professionally with Brandon Ballet.
Kaylee is from Wellington, FL. She is currently in her sophomore year of college at the University of South Florida. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance with a modern concentration. Kaylee has training in Modern, Ballet, Jazz , Improvisation, Pointe, and Hip Hop. She attended Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of The Arts while training at Precision Dance Conservatory. Recently, Kaylee attended the Flock winter program and presented choreography at the 2023 USF Student Dance Concert. As a collegiate dancer she has been casted by Sadie Lehmker, Marc Brew, Michael Foley, Dr. Merry Lynn Morris and John Parks for dance concert pieces at the University of South Florida.
Claire Prigge’s early pedagogy in Dallas and Tampa consisted of both classical and competitive training. She received supplemental education at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Joffrey Ballet School, and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. In 2019, she joined the only hip-hop adult company in Tampa, VYB Dance Company, where she trained in street styles such as popping, whacking, vogueing, breaking, house, locking, heels and contemporary. In 2021 she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Modern Dance BFA and journalism minor from the University of South Florida. Claire has also professionally danced for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Universal Orlando Resort. She currently professionally dances for the Orlando Magic on their co-ed hip-hop NBA Dance Team ("407"). Right now, Claire is looking to explore her artistic side while continuing to perform professionally across the state.
Emily Schwartz pursued dance at a young age. She attended Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts and Florida School for Dance Education in her high school years where she trained under Jan Hanniford, Maria Konrad, Michele Zehner, Jerry Opdenaker, and Ronda Johnson. In her performance focus, she received opportunities to be in pieces set by Jennifer Archibald, Margo Sappington, Solomon Dumas, Levi Marsman, and Melissa Rector. She attended various summer programs as well, including Hubbard Street Dance and University of the Arts, where she learned and performed reparatory pieces in her training. In high school, she also found a love for choreography, setting pieces for Future Stars, Reach (A Dance Collective), and the Dreyfoos Senior Showcase, along with choreographing solos for recitals, YoungArts Auditions, and peers' college auditions. She began her university career attending the University of South Florida as a dance major where she performed in BFA showcases and Student Dance Production Board concerts. She later switched majors and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Forensices Behavioral Healthcare. Through her college career, she continued to choreograph and pursue dance opportunities through Golden Bulls Dance Team, Latin Dance Club, USD Dance Marathon, and Student Dance Production Board. Emily currently works as a Team Leader in the Visual Graphics & Media department of McKinsey and Company. She channels her creative side through her work, selling art commissions, and continuing to take hip hop, contemporary, and ballet classes in her free time.
Hailey Nicole Rogers
Madison Jane Ruff
Teri Lea Ahlswede
Hailey Nicole Rogers
Cory-Jeanne Murakami Houck-Cox