Teaching Artists

Local teaching artists have been selected to work in a variety of programming presented by The Smith Center including Southern Nevada Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts, Disney Musicals in Schools, and performances and residencies in schools and community centers. These artists have professional experience in dance, theater, vocal music, instrumental music, and storytelling. Our teaching artists are also available for performances and residencies in schools and community centers designed to meet educational goals.


Early Learning Through the Arts


Steve Clark

Steve Clark is a percussion professional with over 35 years of experience as a touring artist and instructor for both traditional and special needs students. He has delivered music workshops for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults, parents and teachers of homeschooled pre-K students in collaboration with The International House of Blues Foundation. Steve has recorded over 100 released songs and has performed on stages around the world. He founded Junior Drummer Music Education and authored The Junior Drummer Kit. Steve is affiliated with the Percussive Arts Society and the Vic Firth Private Drum Teacher Program. In 2000, he was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Lisa Davis

Lisa Davis has enjoyed an eclectic career combining her passion in theater, children’s education, and programming. She founded the Kentucky Fried Theatre, an improvisation troupe based in Los Angeles. Lisa went on to perform cabaret shows in Chicago, Palm Beach, Minneapolis, Miami and New York City at Lincoln Center. She became the first Director of Education and Family Programming at The National Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Most recently, she served as Director of Education at The Magik Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.

Ms. China

Ms. China specializes in theater, spoken word, and African dance and drumming. She has written, directed and performed in fourteen original productions showcasing social, racial, and political issues of women. Ms. China co-founded programs with a focus on rites of passage for girls ages 10-22 and currently facilitates a young women’s mentoring program. In addition, she is involved in the annual programming of the African American History Celebrations for the City of Las Vegas and the West Las Vegas Library Theater. In 2009, Ms. China received the Channel 13 Jefferson Award for performing great public service.

Karla Huntsman

Karla Huntsman is a drama specialist, actor, and storyteller with over 25 years of teaching experience at universities, high schools, junior high, and elementary schools across the country. She has presented seminars, workshops, in-services, and residencies at festivals, conferences, conventions and schools. Karla directed and acted on stage in Camelot, See How They Run, The Crucible, and 110 in the Shade. Her lively storytelling programs include singing, guitar, autoharp, djembe drum, washboard, and puppetry.

Ms. L.A.

L.A. is an accomplished percussionist, who has performed around the world with notables, such as Eubie Blake & Lenny Godfrey, Winton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson. L.A. performed for Nelson Mandela at the United Nations World Summit, accompanied Maya Angelou, and performed as a solo act for Oprah’s 50th birthday tribute. She currently serves as the musical director of the Austin Dancers Academy and has developed a musical percussion program for autistic youth and adults.
 

Troinetta Nikki

Troinetta Nikki is a dancer who holds a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in Chicago. She performs and choreographs in multiple idioms, including hip-hop, punk, ballet, West African and modern technique. Ms. Troinetta has taught creative movement in child care centers and led dance fitness education classes across the country.
 
 
 

Kate St-Pierre

Kate St-Pierre is a versatile vocal performer known for her grunge-like belt, operatic tone, and ethnic phrasing. She sang in Cirque Du Soleil’s Ka and is the original singer in Le Reve. Kate can be heard as featured vocal soloist with heavy metal band, Solace, and as guest soloist on works by Jon Anderson, Carvin Knowles, and film trailer composer Thomas J. Bergersen. Kate worked as Assistant Director of Education and Community Outreach Programs for The Los Angeles Opera, where she worked with 15 elementary schools to produce an opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Currently, she is a music instructor and licensed Music Together teacher.

Marcia Raquel Robinson

Marcia Raquel Robinson has a background in opera and dance. She performed in Treemonisha at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Jubilee and Hallelujah Hollywood in Las Vegas, and performed with the world famous vocal group The Platters. Her passion is researching African culture and philosophy, and its influence and positive character building effects on African American youth. Marcia received her Masters of Fine Arts in Theater from the University of California, San Diego and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Shana Tucker

Shana is a singer-songwriter and cellist who weaves stories of life and laughter through her infectious lyrics and melodies. She balances her artistic career with performing in “KA” for Cirque du Soleil at the MGM in Las Vegas. Shana is a recipient of the Nevada Arts Council Artist Fellowship. She is pleased to serve as a mentor to young string players who aspire to perform in non-classical environments.
 
 

Shaquida Vergo

Shaquida is a California native and moved to Las Vegas to obtain her BA in Dance Production Management. She graduated from UNLV, Spring 2014, and is now a part-time instructor in the Dance Department. She also teaches at District Arts, is choreographer for Chaparrel High School’s musical theater program, is a yearly Assistant Stage Manager for Camp Broadway Las Vegas, and is an employee at The Smith Center. Additionally, she is completing training to become a Southern Nevada Wolf Trap Teaching Artist. She has been training in dance since age eleven and is also a lighting, sound, video, and costume designer.

Marcus Weiss

Marcus Weiss is a professional actor who has worked extensively in theater, film, television, radio, and voice-overs across the America and Europe. Some of his screen credits include: Life is Beautiful, All My Children, 21, and Scrubs. Some of his stage credits include: Mame, Candide, Music Man, Curious George, and Me and My Girl. Previously an original cast member of Blue Man Group Las Vegas and actor in the sketch comedy show, The Second City, Marcus can now be seen performing in Le Reve. He is also a faculty member of The Las Vegas Performing Arts Intensive. Marcus received his Bachelors of Arts in Drama from Dartmouth College and a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from Temple University.

Patrick Worley

Patrick is an award-winning, multi-faceted guitarist. He spent a decade working in Nashville, sharing the stage and studio with some of the music industry’s great artists and songwriters. Patrick holds a Bachelor’s degree in music business and in guitar performance from Middle Tennessee State University, and an Master’s from UNLV. He serves on the music faculty UNLV and Dixie State University in Utah.
 
 


Disney Musicals in Schools


Ms. China

Ms. China specializes in theater, spoken word, and African dance and drumming. She has written, directed and performed in fourteen original productions showcasing social, racial, and political issues of women. Ms. China co-founded programs with a focus on rites of passage for girls ages 10-22 and currently facilitates a young women’s mentoring program. In addition, she is involved in the annual programming of the African American History Celebrations for the City of Las Vegas and the West Las Vegas Library Theater. In 2009, Ms. China received the Channel 13 Jefferson Award for performing great public service.

Rachel Berman

Rachel Berman has had a diverse career in all aspects of the field of dance. Originally from Hawaii, she received her core training at the San Francisco Ballet School, and discovered her love of modern dance while earning her BFA at Purchase College. She went on to spend a decade performing principal roles with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. She has also performed with, among others, Ballet Hispanico of NY, May O’Donnell, The American Repertory Dance Company, The Joyce Trisler Danscompany, and in the hula companies of Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu and Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima O Nuioka. Ms. Berman has appeared in numerous television productions with the Taylor Company and was featured in the Academy Award nominated documentary DANCEMAKER. She has served as Associate Producer for Dancers Responding to AIDS, Company Manager for Company C Contemporary Ballet, Development Officer for the Taylor Company, and the Programs Manager for Dance/NYC, a dance advocacy organization. She is a freelance writer for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher and Dance Studio Life. Ms. Berman has re-staged Mr. Taylor’s works throughout the United States on companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre and Tulsa Ballet and on several University Dance programs. In addition to being a sought after master teacher, she has been on faculty, and created works for, the Joffrey Ballet/ New School BFA program, Mid-Pacific School of the Arts High School (in Honolulu), LASALLE-SIA Singapore College of the Arts, the American Dance Festival, University of the Arts, the Colburn Dance Academy, California Institute of the Arts, Mills College, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Taylor School. She earned her MFA from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival program while teaching full time. Currently Ms. Berman is developing the modern program for the new William J. Gillespie/ ABT school in Southern California and teaching at the College of Southern Nevada and at the Bunker Dance Center here in Las Vegas.

Bette Gaines-Snyder

Bette Gaines-Snyder has a deep rooted history in the entertainment industry with more than 25 years of experience traveling the U.S. and abroad performing in a variety of stage productions. Inclusive of Guys and Dolls starring Debbie Allen, Los Argentine Gauchos & Girls, Rainbow of the Stars Hilton Hotel and Siegfried & Roy Touring Japan and performing at Radio City Music Hall. In addition she has performed in Golden Rainbow’s annual show to benefit persons with HIV/AIDS. After her entertainment career Bette joined MGM Grand in 1993 and recently retired from a twenty-two career as Executive Director of Special Events. As a pioneer in the diversity effort for the Company, Bette led MGM Grand’s Diversity Council which was placed in the Top 25 U.S. Diversity Council Groups by the Association of Diversity Councils two years in a row. Bette was a key contributor to MGM Resorts International’s Inspiring Our World, a creative musical journey conceived and produced to convey the company’s mission and values. In 2014 Bette was the recipient of the MGM Resorts International’s first-ever “J. Terrence Lanni Award for Excellence” the highest honor bestowed on and MGM Resorts’ employee. Bette is currently the “Chief Talent Officer” for the Yellow Pants Project. Yellow Pants Projects is a non-profit anti-bullying education program which aims to bring high school students together through volunteerism, leadership and theatre.

Teri Nehrenz

Teri Nehrenz is a community and arts writer for the Mesquite Local News and just recently won the first place Nevada Press Association award for ‘Best Headline Writing’ for a community newspaper. She has been actively involved with the Mesquite Community Theatre and the Virgin Valley Theatre Group for nine years where she held the role of the group’s Artistic Director for six. She was Board of Trustees President from 2013-15. She has acted in dozens of productions including Plaza Suit, Cemetery Club, The Subject Was Roses, Agnes of God, Blithe Spirit and Spitfire Grill among many others. Her roles have primarily been character roles but she has taken the lead in Musicals as well as Dramas. Her love of theatre was so great that she spread her wings early on to include directing and stage design. She has directed many productions including Love Letters, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, My Three Angels and the original production of A Day at Emma’s, written by John D. Ward. In 2014-15 Teri facilitated and co-directed a year-long actor’s workshop which culminated in the original musical production of Fly Willie in May of 2015, which was written and choreographed by award-winning choreographer and performer Dan Nielsen. She also works as a professional character actor in Gino Venezia’s show Roadhouse and serves as stage manager for that and several other productions. She has built and designed sets for Venezia Production’s shows including The Ed Sullivan Tribute Show, Jump, Jive and Wail, Roadhouse, and The Attic.

Susan Schultz

Susan Schultz earned the distinction of Teacher of the Year for The Northwest and Idaho Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Middle School in 2007. A physical education professional with an extensive background in instruction and curriculum design, administration, coaching, and organization in related health, physical education, and recreational activities, Susan enjoys working with students and inspiring them to stay active. Presently retired in Mesquite, NV, she is an active performer with the Mesquite-Toes Tap Team, a performance tap and clogging ensemble. Additionally, she contributes to the Virgin Valley Theater Group as an actor, choreographer, and stage hand.

Tracey Langran Corea

Tracey is a director, choreographer, and writer. She started dancing at the age of 8 and was choreographing and teaching by the age of 14. She went on to become the Associate Choreographer for the Broadway production and eight international companies of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida as well as six international companies of The Who’s Tommy. Other choreography and consulting credits include: The Bourbon Room at the Venetian Casino, Rock Legends, one of the newest show on Holland America Cruise Lines, Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur Casino, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Buddy Holly Story, and Legally Blonde for Super Summer Theatre in Las Vegas. Tracey has taught at the University of Southern California and the Orange County High School of the Arts and has given master classes in the US and abroad. She is the creator and writer of Life After Life, a rock musical which has been accepted in the Festival of New American Musicals in LA, the NY Fringe Festival, and won second place in ANMT’s Search for New American Musicals.

Patty Coaley

Patty grew up in Las Vegas and joined the cast of Jubilee! at the MGM Grand at age 18 after graduating from high school. As a professional dancer, patty traveled to Japan, where she performed at the legendary Mikado Theater in Tokyo. She was also a member of the Folie Bergere cast at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. While performing on The Strip, patty attended UNLV where she earned a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.A. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Mass Media Research. After graduation, she began her profession her marketing. She has more than 20 years of experience in the gaming industry, where her career spanned from marketing executive to leadership roles, including Director of Marketing at Excalibur Hotel & Casino. Patty’s most recent position at MGM Resorts was Executive Director of Diversity & Inclusion Development. While in this position, she was the primary creative force in the development of the musical production Inspiring Our World, MGM Resort’s first-ever employee show aimed at education 62,000 employees on the company’s mission and core values, as well as its culture of diversity, philanthropy, and sustainability. Currently, Patty is a doctoral student pursuing a degree in Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

Louisa Lawson Lemos

Louisa Lawson Lemos trained as a ballerina until the age of 18 and went on to perform in musical theater. Throughout her career, Louisa has enjoyed many stage roles, including Ophelia in Hamlet, Molly in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Hedy LaRue in How to Succeed…and the Las Vegas company of Mamma Mia! Louisa recently worked with the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company to direct and choreograph Wizard of Oz and Cinderella. Currently, she teaches Pilates at Performance Health Center and dance and musical theatre at Soulfire Studios. Louisa received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theater Performance with a minor in Dance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has worked with Camp Broadway at The Smith Center as an assistant stage manager and featured player.

Kathy Ortiz

Kathy Ortiz has an extensive background in dance and theater. She graduated as Valedictorian with a BFA in Jazz Dance and Musical Theater from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and went on to perform for Epcot Center, Princess Cruise Lines, The American Gladiators, The Atlantis Resort and Casino, and Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana. Not only has Kathy performed in numerous local productions such as Hairspray, All Shook Up, West Side Story, and Peter Pan, she has also choreographed for local productions of Next to Normal and The Music Man. Currently, she is a Music Specialist and Musical Theater Director/Choreographer for Las Vegas Day School, an Assistant Stage Manager for Camp Broadway, and runs Parts for the Arts, a nonprofit organization which assists high needs schools in creating sustainable musical theater programs.

Rommel Pacson

Rommel has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from Towson University, MD. He began his dance career performing at King’s Dominion in Richmond, VA and King’s Island in Cincinnati, OH. He moved on to Orlando, FL, dancing at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center as a World Dancer and as a Kid of the Kingdom at the Magic Kingdom. He has performed in the US and abroad. His choreography credits include The King and I and Hairspray with Signature Productions, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with PSFX Productions, Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Wedding Singer, The Sound of Music, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Palo Verde High School, Urinetown at West Tech and Career High School, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Coronado High School, and Leader of the Pack with Super Sumer Theater. Both Hairspray and Leader of the Pack were nominated for best Off-Strip Show by Broadway World Las Vegas. His choreography was also featured in the Cirque du Soleil/Nevada Ballet Choreographer’s Showcase. He was dance coach for Cirque du Soleil’s Love at the Mirage and has taught at the Nevada Ballet Academy. Not included are the numerous commercial, industrial, and touring shows he has performed with various production companies including Elton John, Charo, CHAZZAM, Chicago Tourists Bureau, Amtrak, Met Life, and Wynn Resorts just to name a few.

Ann Marie Pereth

Ann Marie Pereth is a theater director and choreographer and has worked with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, and American Girl in New York City. Ann Marie acts as Guest Director for Rainbow Company Youth Theatre shows, such as Charlotte’s Web, Cheaper by the Dozen, and The Odyssey. Her recent directing credits include: Jewish Repertory Theater of Nevada’s The Diary of Anne Frank, Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s Rabbit Hole, and Glory in the Flower. Ann Marie is also Resident Acting Coach for JRS Media and works as an adjunct theater professor for the College of Southern Nevada. She received her Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Kate St-Pierre

Kate St-Pierre is a versatile vocal performer known for her grunge-like belt, operatic tone, and ethnic phrasing. She sang in Cirque Du Soleil’s Ka and is the original singer in Le Reve. Kate can be heard as featured vocal soloist with heavy metal band, Solace, and as guest soloist on works by Jon Anderson, Carvin Knowles, and film trailer composer Thomas J. Bergersen. Kate worked as Assistant Director of Education and Community Outreach Programs for The Los Angeles Opera, where she worked with 15 elementary schools to produce an opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Currently, she is a music instructor and licensed Music Together teacher.

Shaquida Vergo

Shaquida is a California native and moved to Las Vegas to obtain her BA in Dance Production Management. She graduated from UNLV, Spring 2014, and is now a part-time instructor in the Dance Department. She also teaches at District Arts, is choreographer for Chaparrel High School’s musical theater program, is a yearly Assistant Stage Manager for Camp Broadway Las Vegas, and is an employee at The Smith Center. Additionally, she is completing training to become a Southern Nevada Wolf Trap Teaching Artist. She has been training in dance since age eleven and is also a lighting, sound, video, and costume designer.

Anastasia Weiss

Anastasia Weiss started dancing at the age of 3 and currently teaches ballet, modern, contemporary, tap, hip hop, and stretch and tone to children of all ages. In 2013, she founded Magical Madness Dance Theater (MMDT), a contemporary/modern dance company based out of Las Vegas and also created Mini Movers, a creative children’s dance class held at Pinkpeas Birth Center. Anastasia teaches at Soulfire Studios and performs and choreographs with British National Theater America and Cockroach Theater. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Choreography and Performance from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Marcus Weiss

Marcus Weiss has been a professional actor for more than 25 years working extensively in theater, film, television, radio, and voice-overs across the country and in Europe. Some of his favorite screen credits include Life Is Beautiful, The Trust, All My Children, 21, and Scrubs. Born in New York and raised in Switzerland, Marcus received a B.A. in Drama from Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University. While working as an original cast member of Blue Man Group Las Vegas, Marcus simultaneously performed for the world-renowned improvisation and sketch comedy show, The Second City for over 7 years. He also received critical acclaim for his starring role in the Las Vegas premiere of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, winning a Best Actor nod from The Las Vegas Review-Journal. Marcus has taught improvisation for The Second City Training Center and countless classes and workshops in acting, movement, voice, and speech for students of all ages. When not onstage, Marcus is a Teaching Artist for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts’ Disney Musicals in Schools and Southern Nevada Wolftrap programs, a core faculty member of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Initiative, and an Acting and Improvisation Instructor for The College of Southern Nevada. He can currently be seen as a clown in Le Rêve–The Dream at The Wynn and O at The Bellagio. In between it all, Marcus enjoys juggling his family life, which includes his lovely wife, Anastasia and two nutty kids, Jacob and Lukas.

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