Our Teaching Artists
Who We Are
Director of Outreach and Education
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.
Michael Dexter is a Chattanooga native, and a graduate of CCA (Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts). After receiving his Bachelor in Musical Theater from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, he quickly climbed his own beanstalk to the theatrical heavens in NYC with Wanda’s World (Originated Ethan: Off- Broadway). Michael is an Advanced Composer in the NYC Lehman Engle BMI Musical Theater Workshop.
He has appeared in Les Miserables (Jean ValJean), Eve Apart (Serpent), The Beth Falcone Songbook (Lincoln Center), Dreamgirls (Little Albert: Benefit Concert for ReVision Theatre, Asbury, NJ), Smokey Joe’s Café (Victor: Europe & Middle East Tours), and Finding Nemo, The Musical (Original cast: Disney's Animal Kingdom). Michael also holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Music Education, and a Master's in Education: Principal Licensure from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Michael teaches Theater & Piano at the Chattanooga Preparatory School. He is proud and excited to curate his own program at CPS. Cheers to the DREAMERS!
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."
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 and Chattanooga Ballet.
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.
Caroline Block Harden is a Native of Chattanooga, TN. She began her dance training at Chattanooga Ballet at age seven. She has studied with many Chattanooga based artists such as Frank Hay, Karen Smith, Cinnamon Halbert-Smith, Cathie Kasch, Laurel Zahrobsky, and Anna and Barry Vancura. After Graduating from Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts under the tutelage of Karen Wilson, Caroline studied Dance at MTSU. During this time, she toured with “Sharing the Legacy: Alwin Nikolai Centennial Project”. Ms. Harden transferred to North Carolina Charlotte where she majored in Dance Performance and minored in Theater. She performed original choreography by Sybil Huskey, E. Balcos, as well as Martha Graham Repertory restaged by former company member Kim Jones. She also performed in theater productions such as 4:48 Psychosis by Sara Kane, directed by Robin Witt and The Purple Flower and Other Plays, directed by James Vesce with guest artists Khalid Hill and Ricardo Foster. Since Returning to Chattanooga, Caroline has been able to share her love of dance by teaching for Normal Park Museum Magnet, Pop-up Project and Project Dance.
Kenny Alika Keawekane has been performing, teaching, and choreographing professionally for the past 13 years. Jack of all trades, master of none, he is constantly striving to be a better performer/artist, engulfing himself in other types and styles of venues and dance, learning what he can from music and video editing, costume and prop design to technical and stage direction. He loves all forms of art and creativity and loves collaborations with other artists or styles of art and dance. He has performed and assisted choreography for numerous theater shows including Rocky Horror Picture Show (choreographed and played Dr. Frankenfurter), Hairspray and Grease and has donated his time to numerous charities teaching dance or performing including Chattanooga Cares, American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, Tennessee Valley Pride, and many more. Being a part of “The Floor Is Yours” & “Wide Open Floor” at the Barking Legs Theater, he was introduced to his previous dance company, WEAVE, where he performed for the Chattanooga Roller Girls half time show and Palate to Palette Events. Through his dance crew, COMMIX, he has performed at the Hunter Museum and various other local gigs. And with the help of The Pop-Up Project, he has been part of some AMAZING experiences including the “Big 9 Art Bash” at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, “AmuseUm: License to Thrill” Fundraiser for the Creative Discovery Museum, the Abandoned Arts Project, “If These Walls Could Talk” and appearing in their dance film “The Light We Share.” He has appeared in music videos featuring Eric Paslay, Jon Mero from The Voice, Kindora Camp, and Call Me Spinster; commercials including TUL pens, Rezli, and Perception Kayaks; and has danced on stage for Lizzo, Mya, and more. He helps choreograph for Chattanooga Dance Theater and Coffee County High School’s Theater Program and “Center Stage Singers” Showchoir Program. He performs under the persona, “Panda,” and has helped host intermission games at DragRave at Wanderlinger Brewing Company, performs in Kreature Von Tonic’s “Kreature Feature,” and other alternative drag venues. His Queer House, “House of Quartz,” (Queer+Arts) is in the infant stage but part of their group has helped in the creation of “Tracing Abandoned Tracks” through the Barking Legs Theater. Born in Maui, Hawaii and raised in Pennsylvania, he currently resides in Chattanooga, TN. with his partner, Jesse, and their two fur babies, Chewie and She-Ra. He works as a land surveyor for Beginning Point Surveys. He has volunteered his time for local community planning groups including Southeast Community Planning Group and the MSM Taskforce, both groups geared towards educating and promoting positive sexual health in the local community. He is an Ambassador for CEMPA and helps his husband at community events for Choice Health Network. He currently holds the title of Mr. World Cub 2022 and has held the titles of Mr. Bear Bust 2018 & Mr. North American Bear 2018. With his titles, he represents and travels all over the US to educate, promote, and raise money for local charities. His current title year’s platform is striving to be a “superhero” and have the qualities of a S.U.P.E.R. - Service, Unity, Positivity, Education and Respect. His hobbies include crafting, folding origami, poi ball spinning and other flow art toys, playing video games, skiing, camping, tubing, going to festivals and events, binge watching TV Shows and MORE DANCING!