Our Team

Athena (Yutong Zhang)

FOUNDER & CHOREOGRAPHER

Athena  is a famous contemporary dance artist and producer with more than 35 years dance experience. She is a famous choreographer, and Oscar winner of the dance art industry: Lotus Award.——A dream chaser in the spirit of dance art.

As the founder of the Athena Dance Academy, she always pursues a love for the spirit of art in her dictionary. “Dance is a living art, dance art is an interpretation of internal personality, artistic spirit, and quality. The artistic spirit and quality of dance are the beginning source of dance art. “—— This is her artistic spirit and the best interpretation of Athena Dance Academy

Samuel Rodriguez

BALLET INSTRUCTOR

Samuel Rodriguez was born in Atlanta, Georgia and began his ballet training at the age of fifive at the Maryland Youth Ballet under the direction of Michelle Lees, Christopher Doyle, and Rhodie Jorgenson. He was selected as a Finalist in the Kennedy Center Master Class Series from 2012-2014 along with the Be OnStage Prix at the IBStage Gala in Barcelona. Samuel joined American Ballet Theatre as a Studio Company

Member in 2014 before joining the Houston Ballet in 2016. Since joining the company Mr. Rodriguez has performed leading roles in Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker and La Bayadere as well as Tim Harbour’s Filigree and Shadow

Rachel Stevens

BALLET, TAP, CONTEMPORARY, JAZZ, MUSCIAL THEATRE, POINTE INSTRUCTOR

Rachel Stevens is very excited to be part of Athena Dance Academy.  She has been dancing since she was 5 years old.  She trained under the late Lynette Mason Gregg at Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Feijoo Ballet School under Lorna Feijoo, Nelson Madrigal, and Lorena Feijoo.  Rachel has extensive training in Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz, and Musical Theatre.  Rachel was a company member for 4 years at Bay Area Ballet and Theatre and has performed in many BAHBT productions including Dracula, Swan Lake, Cinderella Coppélia, Bye Bye Birdie, The Sleeping Beauty, and 7 seasons of The Nutcracker. Other previous productions include Seussical, Little Shop of Horrors, A Chorus Line, Into the Woods, and The Wizard of Oz.  Rachel continued her passion for dance and has been teaching ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and musical theatre for the past 3 years.  Rachel is very excited to work with young ambitious students that are passionate about the art of dance. 

Sinclair Sledge

BALLET, TAP, HIP HOP, MUSCIAL THEATRE, POINTE, GYMNASTICS INSTRUCTOR

Classically trained in ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, musical theatre, pointe, tap, and acrobatics with a USAG certification in acro/gymnastics, Sinclair has danced for as long as she can remember.  In order to pay for dance, she began teaching at only 14 and quickly discovered her love of it. She has worked with guest artists: Travis Wall, Tokyo, and Houston Ballet’s Janie Parker. She danced for University of Houston and recently made her Broadway debut on Wicked in New York City and NCAA March Madness Tour, where she opened for Jason Derulo, Conrad Sewell, and Twenty One Pilots. She has been a guest performer for the Harlem Globetrotters, Houston Dynamo, and Houston Dash, and has attended numerous competitions and conventions all over the country.

Member in 2014 before joining the Houston Ballet in 2016. Since joining the company Mr. Rodriguez has performed leading roles in Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker and La Bayadere as well as Tim Harbour’s Filigree and Shadow

Alyssa Battad

TAP, HIP HOP, CONTEMPORARY, JAZZ INSTRUCTOR – NBA DANCER FOR THE HOUSTON ROCKETS

Alyssa Battad is from Houston, TX and She has been dancing since she was 3 years old! She grew up training in various styles of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop.  She have also had the opportunity to travel across the country to take part in various competitions and conventions. 

Aside from being a dance choreographer and instructor, Alyssa is currently living her dream as a NBA Dancer for the Houston Rockets, where she has been able to perform in front of thousands of fans and meet new people! She is  so excited to join the Athena Dance Academy team and looking forward to getting to work with amazing students!

 

Linda “Lynn” Cantu

BALLET, HIP HOP, JAZZ, KPOP, CONTEMPORARY INSTRUCTOR

Linda “Lynn” Cantu began training in ballet and jazz at a ballet school in Katy at age 2 after her family discovered her love for music and performing for family members. When she was 13 years old, she developed her passion for hip hop performances. As she moved on to high school, she was accepted to their dance team as an Elite member.  Her experience includes the following: performing with the Houston Rockets Power Dancers; performing in numerous festivals; dancing with the award-winning crew “Riot Squad”; managing multicultural performances; and choreographing several winning numbers for dance competitions around Houston. Because of her leadership, creativity, and passion, her students have successfully earned scholarships and awards for dance conventions in Los Angeles. Lynn is also currently a member of Houston’s Kpop dance crew “Wonderbox”. Music and dance will always be her first love and she will continue in the industry for a lifetime.


Lena Yeh

FOLKLORIC, BALLET, CONTEMPORARY, TECHNIQUE INSTRUCTOR

 

Yuling Yeh has a diverse background, coming from her homeland Taiwan to the State to seek for further exploration in her artistry. She got her BFA in Dance in August of 2019. With her authentic background, she also has a wide knowledge of skill sets, ranging from choreography, ballet, modern, and traditional Chinese, to the martial art. During school, Yuling has the honor to work with Erin Reck, Andy Noble, Dana Nicolay, Mike Esperanza, Joshua Manculich, Nicole Von Arx, and Elijah Gibson. Yuling also was invited to went to Lucca, Italy to participant in Dance Italia where she exposed to Gaga technique, counter-technique, and Kidd Pivot Rep. Yuling also had experiences with costume design and production, she was studied under Barry Doss for her entire college career alongside with Shannon Stone. Her most recent design including Dana Nicolay “Alice in Wonderland”, Erin Reck “Whisper in Darkness”, and Jennifer Pointus “Pa De Duck”.

Jessica Figueroa

JAZZ, FLAMENCO, MODERN INSTRUCTOR

Jessica Figueroa is graduating with a BFA degree in dance from the University of Houston. She was trained in flamenco for 8 years in Cuba and later focused on modern and contemporary styles. Figueroa is president of the Dance Student Association for the second consecutive year and a 3rd year member of UH Dance Ensemble. She was also a part of Young Audiences Touring Company (YATC) and performed around the City of Houston integrating arts and science. Figueroa is currently an apprentice for the dance company 6 Degrees which performed at the Women’s March, and Psophonia Dance Company performing in their latest show “Colony” at the MATCH. She has also performed in works choreographed by John Beasant III, Karen Stokes, Becky Valls, Teresa Chapman, Toni Valle, and others. She has taught in studios for the last 3 years and is the marketing distributor for Dance Source Houston. She hopes to continue performing and choreographing after college and create work that showcases her culture and experiences. 

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