Where the Passion Begins
Nikole Thomas was born and raised in Arizona and began dancing at two years old. She has training in jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap, contemporary, and lyrical. Falling in love with movement at a young age, she found her passion for creativity and quickly realized dance would be part of her life forever. Throughout her career, Nikole trained under various choreographers and teachers around the world, winning multiple scholarships to Broadway Dance Center, Steps, Millennium dance Complex, Monsters of Hip Hop Intensive in L.A., and more. Under the training of Devin Moss, Nikole also earned 5 years of her Cecchetti Ballet Certificates.
She spent most of her young adult dance career, performing with a professional dance company; Automatic Response, whose credits include: Phoenix Fashion Week, Ed Hardy, Fergie, M.E.R.G.E and State of Emergency. Nikole also originated and directed an all female hip hop performing and competing crew; Lipstik Crew. Credits include Hip Hop International (HHI), Barrett Jackson, and Jordin Sparks. Nikole and her husband have worked closely on creating Hip Hop Dance-icals over the last 10 years that have resulted in sold out shows and leaving people inspired. Throughout her 17 year teaching career, Nikole has had the opportunity to choreograph all over the world, creating countless award winning pieces and loves being able to mold and shape kids into becoming the best person they can be through dance.
Creative Director/Hip-Hop Director
Originally from Moreno Valley, CA but now resides in Arizona, Chris started dancing at age 17 at his church for the dance ministry “Step it Up”. He was given the opportunity to sub classes at his home studio, and by the age of 18 was already a full time staff member. Chris trained under highly respected and innovative choreographers throughout the LA county, gaining respect as both a dancer and a young choreographer. After 3 years of competing, Chris turned professional, teaching and choreographing all over Southern California, while auditioning with MSA dance agency. He joined the dance crew “Elektrolytes” and went on to compete and win MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew season 7. Chris has appeared in a number of national music videos, commercials, and industrials all over the world. He has developed a style of dance that he believes to be unique and diverse. The goal for any dancer working with Chris is simple; to see a dancer go above and beyond what they believe they’re capable of and exceed their potential. Over the last 17 years, Chris has choreographed all over the world, creating numerous top award winning hip hop pieces, along with originating, writing and producing multiple Hip Hop Dance-icals. His credits include: Randy Jackson’s America's Best Dance Crew Season 7 (Champions) and Season 8, So You Think You Can Dance Season 10, Disney's Shake It Up, Globoforce, Shout!, Ever After: The Story of Jack & Jill, Eden XO, Tilted Kilt, SPDR Golf, THQ, Shut up Stella, He and I, L-Ray, Pearl Drops, Vee Quiva Casino, Casino Del Sol, Sadler's Wells Flash Mob Tour U.K, The 13th Annual Latin Grammy, A License to Thrill Lagos Nigeria, and Arizona's very own, Yasmeen.
Katlynn was born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona and has been dancing since she was two years old. Growing up, she trained at one of the Valley’s top studios in hip hop, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, ballet and tap. She fell in love with competing at the age of five and throughout her competitive career, Katlynn received many overall awards and scholarships. Some of her most memorable accomplishments were being invited to be a member of Encore’s “Elite Dancers” and being offered scholarships to prestigious training facilities such as Steps on Broadway in New York. In addition to her extensive studio training, Katlynn is very grateful she had the opportunity to work with various industry choreographers like Nick Florez and Mandy Moore, along with many others. From 2010-2012 Katlynn was a member of Lipstik Crew, an all-female hip hop crew here in Arizona. Lipstik Crew performed at many shows and competitions, along with opening for Jordin Sparks in 2012. They also placed 7th in the US at Hip Hop Internationals (HHI). After graduating high school, Katlynn attended Arizona State University where she was a member of ASU’s Hip Hop Coalition and performed in LA's Choreographers Ball Carnival. She graduated from ASU in 2014 with a BA in Elementary and Special Education, then taught in Gilbert Unified School District for five years. Over the last ten years of teaching dance, Katlynn has choreographed many routines that have received multiple overall and high score awards. Her students are her inspiration and teaching is her ultimate passion. Her most valued accolade is being able to be part of the journey to see her students grow, not only as talented dancers, but as incredibly well-rounded people. Having a piece of those results are her most cherished moments!
Dance Team Training
Kaitlyn Conley began dancing at age 2 and has extensively trained in jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, tap and ballroom, under many teachers including Natasha Louis and Slawomir Wozniak from Master Ballet Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. Kaitlyn earned the title of JUMP’S “Senior National Female VIP Winner” at age 16, and began touring with JUMP:Break the Floor Productions all over the United States, as the main demonstrator, with judging and teaching opportunities, assisting the top choreographers in the industry. While earning her degree in Business Law at Arizona State University, Kaitlyn enjoyed dancing for the school’s nationally ranked, two-time UCI World Jazz Champion and top 3 in the country dance team, performing for numerous events including the XLXI Super Bowl pre-game and half-time show. As the team’s choreography captain, Kaitlyn choreographed for college football and basketball halftime performances and ASU’s jazz routines for Varsity’s UDA College Dance Team Nationals and UCI Worlds Competitions, continuing after graduation as competition coach and choreographer for ASU’s dance team. Kaitlyn is now a UDA Master Class instructor teaching master classes at various high school and college dance team camps around the country. She is a Varsity Pro faculty member, Varsity’s new exciting branch for NFL/NBA Pro Cheerleaders/ Dancers. Kaitlyn travels throughout the United States, Canada and Costa Rica teaching master classes, judging and setting award-winning choreography for various dance competitions/ conventions, competition dance studios, high school dance teams, University dance teams, and NBA dance teams. Kaitlyn is currently beginning her 3rd season as the head coach of the NBA Phoenix Suns Dancers.
Melissa was born in Southern California and raised in Arizona. She began dancing at 3 years old under the training of Heather Hester for 11 years. When Melissa began dancing in high school she met and trained under Nikki Fox. Nikki was not only her dance teacher, but also her lifelong mentor. Melissa started teaching when she was only 12 years old by assisting other teachers at the dance studio. At age 17, she was already choreographing her own competition dances. Her passion for the art of dance and all that it has to offer, is what drives her forward. She absolutely loves using dance to build confidence in her dancers and help them believe in themselves. In a time that makes it so hard for young dancers to be themselves and grow, Melissa strives to be someone who builds them up. She loves being able to watch her students grow and progress, and is always proud of their accomplishments. Melissa’s career as a choreographer has earned her many award winning performances, however having the opportunity to train dancers and instill confidence in them, not only in dance but also in life, is her biggest achievement.
Born and raised in Arizona, Alyssa has been involved in competitive dance for the majority of her life. Under the direction of Chris and Nikole Thomas, Alyssa has been trained in jazz, contemporary and hip hop. After closing out her competitive dance career, Alyssa seamlessly transitioned into teaching, choreography and creating musical/dance productions. Since 2011, Alyssa has taught different levels of hip hop classes. Her hip hop companies have successfully competed on a national level. Alyssa has won several hip hop choreography awards, both locally and nationally. From 2010-2012 Alyssa was a member of Lipstik Crew, an all-female hip hop crew here in Arizona. Lipstik Crew performed at many shows and competitions, along with opening for Jordin Sparks in 2012. They also placed 7th in the US at Hip Hop Internationals (HHI). While Alyssa loves all of her students, she has a special place in her heart for children with special needs. She has been certified by Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, which takes the popular Hip Hop Made Easy Program and re-imagined it for use as a clinical modality to be used alongside existing therapies to integrate children with special needs and learning differences into inclusive dance classes. Alyssa is a proud graduate of Arizona State University, where she received her degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in dance and communications. She was also a member of ASU’s Hip Hop Coalition and performed in LA's Choreographers Ball Carnival. When she is not at the studio, Alyssa works at New Way Academy as a teacher and administrator.
Rachel was raised in Fort Collins, Colorado and has been dancing since the age of three. In 2015 she moved to Phoenix and joined Tap 24.7, a professional tap dance company directed by Suzy Guarino-Hall. She has worked with many well known choreographers such as Sarah Reich, Gregg Russell, and Charles Renato. Rachel has performed in various different shows and events, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Motor City Soles, The Big Apple Tap Festival Showcase, and also tours with Tap 24.7’s annual convention. Rachel is on faculty and also tours with Wing It Tap Intensive and Competition, as well as a Stage Manager for Spotlight Dance Cup.
Rachel has assisted Suzy Guarino-Hall with teaching and choreography at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Rachel teaches and has worked with several studios and students in the Phoenix area. She has choreographed numerous high scoring competition pieces at regional and national competitions. She strives to not only teach tap, but also teach her love and passion for tap with students of all ages!
Michaela Bell was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She began dancing at age 3 and is trained in jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, and hip hop.
At a young age Michaela fell in love with movement by story telling and expressing her feeling through dance.
She danced competitively until graduating high school. After signing with a talent agency in Los Angeles, California she began dancing professionally. She has performed under Talia Favia in her Difference Between company for 2 seasons. She has danced nearly a decade with one of the world’s largest entertainment corporations, The Walt Disney Company, as well as performed on one of the United States most successful TV shows, GLEE, and other various TV/ film projects. She has extensive training in health and wellness, achieving certifications in personal training, nutrition, and soon to be pilates.
Michaela has a heart for teaching young dancers and loves educating them through the movement of their body. Michaela is honored to be on staff and apart of the Platform family.
Born and raised in Arizona, Holly began dancing when she was three years old. She trained extensively in tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop and competed until she was 18 years old. Throughout her competitive career, Holly received multiple scholarships, including Radix Convention Core Performer Winner in 2017, Hollywood Vibe Individual National Winner in 2015 and Adrenaline’s Hip Hop Crew MVP Winner in 2015. She has had the opportunity to work closely with industry known choreographers, such as Merissa Gassel, Nick Bass, Hailee Hoffman and Tina Caspary. She has also assisted Dee Caspary, Dennis Caspary and Talia Favia.
Holly has had roles in Chris Thomas’ Hip Hop Dance-icals and danced professionally at Disneyland Resort. She has since returned to Arizona, to pursue her college degree and is very excited to have the opportunity to share her passion and love for dance with the next generation of dancers.
Ashley was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and has been dancing since she was three years old. Growing up, she trained and competitively danced at the award winning, Pulse 31 Dance Studio. Ashley trained extensively in jazz, contemporary, ballet, hip hop and tap. She had the opportunity to train under some of the industries best, such as Laura King, Liz Imperio, Jerry Evans and many more. Throughout her competitive career, Ashley received numerous awards and scholarships.
Ashley graduated Summa cum laude from the University of Arizona, with a BFA in dance. While attending the University of Arizona, she performed as a featured member of the prestigious UA dance ensemble. She trained diligently in ballet, modern, and jazz. Ashley also obtained choreography teaching methods in dance history and injury prevention. Credits include working with; Mia Michaels, Sherry Zunker, and Paul Taylor. She was awarded the Creative Achievement Award, and was featured in Dance Spirit magazine. Ashley toured, performed and taught across the country with Fusion Dance.
With 20+ years of instructing and choreographing experience, Ashley has received multiple awards for top choreography and loves having the opportunity to train dancers of all ages.