Studio Owner/Instructor- Larissa Humiston
Larissa Humiston’s background in dance began in 1987 where she was a student of ballet and jazz in Syracuse, NY at The Bennett Conservatory for the Arts. Once in college at Stetson University (BA 2004), Larissa began her love for modern, lyrical and contemporary dance and continued with ballet jazz, tap and hip hop.
Ms. Humiston has been teaching and choreographing all ages since 2000. She coached two high school dance teams and choreographed for many theatre groups while in NY studying for her Masters in Social Work from Syracuse University (MSW, 2006).
Ms. Humiston relocated to Central Florida in May of 2007 and founded Emotions Dance Company in August of 2007, a professional 501c3 non -profit dance company. She has won numerous dance awards, attended countless dance conferences, and has collaborated with many artists throughout her time in Orlando. Ms. Humiston’s work is locally and nationally recognized has been seen throughout Orlando and the Central Florida area.
Ms. Humiston spends her days as a therapist at her own private practice and countless hours after work choreographing, producing, and directing Emotions Dance Company. Ms. Humiston also teaches classes, master classes and workshops throughout the Central Florida and Central New York areas.
She is thrilled to start this next chapter of her dance career by opening Emotions Dance Studio and will teach a variety of classes.
Tara McGugin has been a professional in the dance industry for eighteen years. She has performed and choreographed for several Central Florida dance companies, including Emotions Dance Company, Blushhh Productions, and DRIP. She has also lent her skills to events for companies such as M.A.C. Make-up, Paul Mitchell, and Saco Hair. She even did a stint as a magician’s assistant for illusionist David Davinci, who currently has his own theater show. Tara really loves the teaching process and the student/teacher relationship. Being a dance instructor/choreographer has been her main focus for fourteen years, and she has taken many dancers on the journey from beginner to professional. She hopes to see many more! However, in the past five years Tara has branched out into talent judging, casting, and management for various projects and companies. Always continue to grow!
Jessica Harris was born and raised in Ormond Beach, Florida. She attended Father Lopez Catholic High School where she competed in national competitions with the Dancing Green Waves. After high school, Jessica attended Santa Fe College and began to get plugged into the dance community in Gainesville. After a year, she transferred to the University of Florida to pursue her BFA in Dance. At UF, Jessica trained not only in modern and ballet, but also in West African dance under the direction of Mohamed Dacosta. Other artists she has trained with include Kritsin O’Neal, David Dorfman, Tiffany Rynard, Tzveta Kassabova, and Orange Grove Dance. At Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Jessica grew an interest in Arts and Medicine.This interest prompted her to apply for and receive a scholarship to research the benefits of dance on recovering cancer patients. This opportunity has allowed her to work with multiple programs at the forefront of using dance and other arts as a form of recovery. Jessica plans to continue this research upon arriving to Orlando.
Courtney Luton has grown up as a part of the Central Florida Dance community. After graduating from Lake Mary High School, Courtney was a member of the University of Tennessee Dance Team, and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from UCF. Courtney is also a current senior company member of Emotions Dance Company.
Sara was born and raised in Western Massachusetts. She started studying dance at the age of four, beginning her training with ballet and tap. As the years progressed she continued her studies in local studios in different styles such as jazz, lyrical, hip hop, modern/contemporary, and pointe. She competed for many years, and won many awards, including Highest Overall Score in the Teen Solo Category in 2009. She attended Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School in South Hadley, MA and graduated in 2011 with a concentration in Dance. She was a member of the school’s pre-professional dance company, Catalyst Dance. After high school, Sara moved to New York to attend Manhattanville College for the next four years. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and Theatre, and a minor in Psychology. In the summer of 2014 Sara performed in a modern piece by Marta Renzi in Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival.
Willie Wimbush Jr.
Born in Tampa, FL, Willie Wimbush Jr. danced for Edge Dance Studios and now currently dances for Red Right Return Dance Company, Surfscape Contemporary Dance Theatre, and Emotions Dance Company. Willie also dances for Universal Studios and has performed in their Holiday and Mardi Gras parades.
Ashton graduated from Georgia College and State University in May 2015 with a BA in History and a double minor in Dance and Spanish. She began dancing at the age of 3 and has received training in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip hop, acrobatics, and modern from teachers such as Robert and Jennifer Mason, Tom Ralabate, Albert Cataffi, and Marcus Alford. She competed with the North Georgia Academy of Dance Elite Dancers for 13 years, where she won many awards including Miss Dance of Mid-South Dance Masters Ch. #41. With the NGAD Elite Dancers, she has been able to give back to the community through dance with many performances at local festivals and showcases. She was Lawrenceville’s Junior Miss for the Class of 2011 and received a Scholastics Scholarship at the state program. She has been a part of the DYWGA State Production Team for 2 years. During college she was inducted into Chi Tau Epsilon Dance Honorary and Alpha Psi Omega Theater Fraternity and has performed in multiple productions including Anything Goes, The Birds, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the annual GCSU Dance Minor Concert. She began teaching during her high school years and received her teaching certification in the areas of Tap and Modern from Dance Masters of America, Inc. in September of 2013. Her choreography on the NGAD Elite Dancers has won awards at regional level competitions.
Albena “Benji” Aleksandrova was born in Bulgaria 1981 and began her sports career in Sports Acrobatics/Gymnastics at young age. She earned a degree at The National Sports School followed by National Sports Academy of Sofia, Bulgaria . She has an international diploma as an Acrobatic/Gymnastics Coach and Physical Education Teacher
As a Part of The Bulgarian National Sports Acrobatics/Gymnastics team, Benji competed for many years worldwide.
She is a tumbling, aerial acro, hand balancing/contortion coach, an Entertainer and an actor/stunt double in The US since 2004.
Carrie (Moore) Crawford started dancing at the age of 4. What started out as an effort to correct her extremely turned in legs without using braces ended up not only working, but becoming her life long passion. She grew up dancing in Greenville, SC and upon graduation moved immediately to Los Angeles where she was accepted into the Apprentice program at The Performing Arts Center in Van Nuys. She spent 2 years training very closely with some of the best in the industry: Joe Malone, Jackie Sleight, Jerry Evans, Terri Yates, Doug Caldwell, Michelle Elkin, and Mark Goodman just to name a few. Training so closely with choreographers of such different styles has given Carrie a great deal of versatility in her own choreography now. She has a unique sense of how the body works and how to communicate that to her students so they understand which muscles control which movements and the importance of a solid foundation in technique. Her style is a refreshing blend of classic, even slightly “old school” jazz and lyrical/contemporary, but with a fresh and modern twist. Carrie always tries to stay current and exciting without ever abandoning her true love and respect for her roots. Musicality, style and body lines are always her top focus. Carrie has been performing, teaching and choreographing professionally across the country for 15 years. Currently based in Orlando, FL with her loving husband and new baby girl, Carrie is focusing on reaching out to students everywhere in hopes of spreading her knowledge, love and respect of dance as far as she can!
Kathy was raised in the city of Greenville, South Carolina. She began dancing at the age of 3 and became a competitive dancer at the age of 10. Her training that made her the dancer she is today, began at Dancers Corner in Greer, South Carolina, under the instruction of Carrie Crawford and Whittney Niemi. In addition to her home studio, she also trained at the Fine Arts Center, School of the Arts in Greenville, South Carolina, where she got the opportunity to further her training in concert dance. Once Kathy graduated from high school, she attended a national dance competition called Dancemakers Inc. At this competition, she was awarded the highest honor of being chosen for “The Collective”. As part of being chosen, you get to travel and assist the competition/convention for the upcoming tour. She traveled to 15 different states and was able to assist some of the most profound choreographers and teachers, such as Kathryn McCormick, Robert Roldan, Zachary Venegas, Brooke Paulson-Zelus and many more. After finishing the tour in mid-June, Kathy decided to the next big step in her life, and follow a dream she never thought would come true. She decided at the age of 19 to move to New York City. She was a part of the Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester Program where she was able to learn and train from some of the top teachers the dance world has to offer. Since finishing her program, she has choreographed over 20 pieces of stage work and has been able to perform countless times. She is now residing in Orlando, Florida and is a featured company member of the Crawford Jazz Project, a jazz dance company that is based out of Orlando, but gives Kathy the opportunity to travel and train under her childhood teacher, Carrie Crawford.