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We are Teaching Artists.

We are a team of educators that come from highly eclectic backgrounds, dance training, and experience.

Louie Marin-Howard

Interim Executive and Program Director

Louie Marin-Howard attended the University of Florida New World School of the Arts, under the direction of Daniel Lewis; on full scholarship. He received his B.F.A. with High Honors in 2005. Louie was a scholarship student of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, and Jennifer Muller/The Works School. He has performed with Dance NOW Miami, Freddick Bratcher and Co., Sasha Soreff Dance Theater, Amanda Selwyn Dance Theater, Paskal Rekoert/Flexicurve, Graham II, and Carolyn Dorfman Dance (CDD), for whom he continues to coach and teach. Louie has taught regionally, nationally and internationally; and is known for classes that explore the power, breath, speed, and passion of contemporary dance and the demands of today’s repertory. Locally, Louie has taught Masterclasses at Chattanooga Center for the Creative Arts, The Baylor School, Ballet Esprit, and Chattanooga Theatre Centre. Upon moving to Chattanooga 5 years ago, Louie has made it his mission to introduce the magic of DANCE to as many children he can reach. In the Spring of 2022, Louie was appointed Director of Outreach and Education for the highly acclaimed performance art non-profit organization, Pop-up Project (PUP). Under his leadership, PUP Youth Program has adopted “Speaking Through Dance”, CDD’s standards-based Pre K-12th grade Dance Curriculum. Together with his team of trained Teaching Artists, Louie is working towards connecting more communities to each other and the JOY of Dance.

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Marah Bates

Director of Program Operations

Marah grew up in Bloomington, IL and began taking ballet classes when she was 3. She continued her training in jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop, contemporary and ballet throughout her childhood. She graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre-Dance Performance in 2016. Later that year Marah moved to Nashville to pursue dance professionally. While in Nashville she trained with Travis Cooper and Roshunda Brown, Found Movement Group, MDC Nashville and ViShun Movement. In 2018 Marah received her 200hr Yoga Certification from Asheville Yoga Center in Asheville, NC. Marah and her spouse moved to Chattanooga in the summer of 2019. She is currently a dancer and choreographer with The Pop Up Project (TPUP) and a faculty member for TPUP’s Outreach Program.

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Ashley Tisdale

Teaching Artist

A Chattanooga native, Ashley Tisdale has loved dance since seeing her first ballet, Dracula, at the age of three.  She started her training at Ballet Tennessee under the tutelage of Barry and Anna Van Cura. Through numerous workshops and intensives, she gained additional training from various artists including Mel Tomlinson, Tome Cousin, Wes Chapmen, and Jennifer Archibald, and many others. As a dancer with The Chattanooga Ballet, she performed in works by Frank Hay, Karen Smith, Katie Kash, and Joellen Wojtowicz. Ashley has performed solo roles such as Clara in The Nutcracker, Red Riding Hood in The Sleeping Beauty, and Puck in the ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also had the opportunity to perform in works by The Pop-Up Project including the film The Light We Share and their immersive show, Romeo y Julieta. As a choreographer, Ashley has created pieces for various plays with the Shakespeare Festival, as well as independent works—most notably Strange Fruit, and Violent Delights. While studying at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga where she received her M.P.A, Ashley had the chance to perform not just ensemble parts as a member of the UTC Theatre Co. in Oklahoma and Chicago, but also as a soloist in the role of Jennyanydots in Cats. Ashley has worked as an instructor with both The Chattanooga Ballet and Chattanooga Dance Theatre.  Currently, Ashley is a free-lance instructor and company member/teaching artist with The Pop Up Project."

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Ryan Roberts

Teaching Artist

Ryan was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Chattanooga, TN. Ryan found his love of Hip Hop dance at the tender age of 9 years old and has been dancing ever since. To better his Hip Hop skills, he took several dance classes anywhere he could and love to watch live performances from his favorite artists. From 2013-2015 Ryan trained at WEAVE: A Conceptual Dance Company to help shape his Hip Hop style and learn other dance styles. Ryan has taught Hip-Hop at various dance studios and schools around Chattanooga such as Ballet Tennessee, Chattanooga Ballet, Modern Play, Divine Dance Studio, Raw Art Dance and Entertainment Corp, Baylor School, Girls Preparatory School, Chattanooga High Center of Creative Arts, and Tennessee Association of Dance. He is currently teaching Hip-Hop at Velocity Dance Center and D.Williams Dance Academy. He is also an instructor and company member of The Pop-Up Project and appeared in their dance film “The Light We Share”. Ryan preforms at different events and collaborate with local artists on special projects around the Chattanooga area.  

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A'mya Collins

Teaching Artist

A Chattanooga native, A'mya Collins graduated from Ridgeland High School. Her early training in musical theater and competitive cheerleading sparked her passing in pursuing more dance training. In 2021, A'mya was cast in The Pop-up Project's production of "Romeo + Julieta", and began her training with the company in various dance genres and on stage. Since then she has performed with Doetry (2022,2023), Juba Dance (2022), BEC Awards (2022,2023), as a model, and with local recording artists. A'mya looks forward to creating a safe space for students to learn confidence and freedom; teaching them to express their feelings and emotions within their bodies. A'mya is thrilled to be joining our Teaching Artist Team. 

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Jess Ortega

Teaching Artist

Jess Ortega holds a bachelor’s degree in Dance from Middle Tennessee State University, with a specialization in pedagogical theory. She currently teaches with Chattanooga Ballet, The Pop Up Project, and ProjectDance. Jess is interested in many movement modalities, having been trained extensively in ballet, modern dance, yoga, and Noyes Rhythm. She incorporates elements of these styles into her teaching and choreographic practices. In her instruction, Jess works to contextualize movement for students, situating technique in history and influence. 

In addition to teaching, Jess is active in performance with The Pop Up Project and Duncan Dance South. She has danced in a variety of settings, including immersive events, long form improvisation, and historical works.

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Hayden Turitto

Teaching Artist

Beginning their training in Chattanooga, Hayden danced with Chattanooga Ballet from 2004-2014. They are a graduate of Center for Creative Arts, being a dance major throughout middle and high school. With a heavy ballet background, Hayden also specializes in contemporary and improvisational movement. They continued dancing with various companies and college groups, all of different styles, until 2022 when they began rehearsing and performing with The Pop Up Project. They are now also a teaching artist for The Pop Up Project’s Outreach Program.


Andrea Tankersley

Teaching Artist

Began dancing at an early age in Monterrey Mexico, where she attended La Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey and studied different styles of dance with a main passion for ballet. After moving to the U.S she continued to pursue ballet in Texas and later danced professionally with Dance Theatre of Tennessee, Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, Ballet Esprit and has guested with Sterling Baca, Niccolo Orsolani, Travis Stancil and Casey Haywood. Andrea has acted as a liaison for Global Education Center and Casa Azafrán, Chattanooga Dance Theatre and Best Beginnings Early Learning, Ballet Esprit and Montessori Elementary and Wauhatchie Nature School. Aside from teaching dance Andrea is a certified PBT (Progressive Ballet Technique), Health and Life Coach and hopes to educate, support, and empower her students through their journey. She also stays current with her Adult, Child and Baby First Aid/ CPR/AED certification.

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Kate Caldwell

Teaching Artist

Kate Caldwell, M.Div. founded Awareness Arts Collective, LLC to help clients experience more joy and fulfillment in their lives by nurturing their personal growth. Her approach to spiritual care teaches clients skills for building awareness, self-compassion, and a sense of personal agency. The foundation of Kate’s therapeutic practice is to honor your innate
wisdom and power to heal and grow.


Kate’s rich and varied life experiences have shaped her approach to offering spiritual care to people from many walks of life, who face many different challenges. She studied world religions at Earlham College, before earning her Master’s of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. She has served as a hospital and hospice chaplain since 2017, earned her Rule 31 Mediation Certification in 2012, and has served as an advocate with individuals and families suffering from addiction for more than a decade. Kate has persisted in her study of spiritual philosophy by earning her 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification in 2020, and earning her Reiki II Certification in 2021. She is participating in the Trauma Center’s Trauma Sensitive Yoga 2023-2024 Cohort for her 300-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification.

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Matty Dangerfield

Teaching Artist

Bio coming soon!

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Professional Development

Our Teaching Artist team continues their own development as dance educators with recurring professional development to continually unpack, grow, and to be better suited to serve in the dance community.

Join our team!

3214 Brainerd Road

Chattanooga, TN 37411

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