Kids Program Instructors
Mariah Day has had a lifelong love of dance and is trained in many styles, from ballet and lyrical to hip-hop and jazz. She was also the captain and lead choreographer of her high school dance team, which heightened her sense of teamwork and helped hone her sense of originality. Mariah is excited to be teaching contemporary/lyrical dance class at Gotta Dance! and we feel fortunate to have someone with her creative energy on our team. Mariah is also available to give private lessons.
Paige Holmes has been dancing since the age of 2, trained in all styles. Paige graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Dance, one of the top ten dance programs in the Country. She also earned a BA in Anthropology with a minor in Persian. Paige has been teaching dance for over 9 years and teaches a variety of dance styles but her forte is ballet. While not teaching dance, she provides respite care to children with special needs and is now completing a Master’s degree in special education at the University of Arizona. Paige has wonderful skills with our preschool classes and her ability to relate to our teen students makes her a favorite throughout Gotta Dance! dancers’ age spectrum.
Cali Poole, a native Tucsonan, Cali has been dancing since the age of 3. Having trained in multiple styles, including ballet, tap, jazz, acro, modern, pointe, contemporary and lyrical, she enjoys being well rounded in her craft. Cali has danced nationally at a competitive level since the age of 8 and has had the privilege of working one on one with accomplished choreographers including Stacey Tookey, Peter Chu, Desmond Richardson, Lauren Adams, and James Gowen. Cali’s dedication, hard-work and talent have led to multiple dance awards and scholarships with one in particular helping her attend the nationally top ranked University of Arizona Dance program as a dance major with a minor in Sports Nutrition. Cali is an experienced teacher and particularly enjoys choreographing on and working with young dancers as they pursue their dreams.
Christopher Gutierrez, was born and raised in Safford, Arizona and is trained in ballet, modern, jazz as well as hip hop and urban dance styles. He is currently pursuing his study of dance and psychology at the University of Arizona. Having been particularly inspired by the teaching of renowned commercial choreographer Galen Hooks, Chris seeks to teach his dance students in a manner that instills confidence with strong movement quality.
Born and raised in Tucson, Makenna Johnson has been dancing since she was three. Starting with the study of ballet, she has trained in ballet/pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, modern and contemporary. In addition to hours in the studio, as a high school student, she made the dance team all four years and served as Dance Captain for three of them. Makenna is a student at the University of Arizona, studying Special Education and Dance. She keeps her dancing fresh and up to date by taking classes at Breakout Studios. After four years of teaching dance, she has recently enhanced her teaching skills with various trainings, workshops and classes taught by dance and choreography icons including: Mia Michaels, Bonnie Storie, Liz Imperio, Travis Wall and Misha Gabriel. Makenna is thrilled to be part of the Gotta Dance faculty! She will be teaching all genres of dance!
Monica L. Cunningham began her dance training in Bettendorf, IA at the age of four. She studied with many dance professionals throughout the United States, including Gus Giordano Dance Company, Dance Masters of America, Tremaine, Dupree, and Stars. Monica’s professional performing career included SALOC (Southern Arizona Light Opera Company) in musicals including Mame, Music Man, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Gypsy, Paint Your Wagon and 42nd Street.
After studying theater arts and elementary education in college, Monica opened Monica’s Dance Academy in Plattsburg, MO. Back in Tucson, Monica is a board member and performer with a the non-profit ballet company the AACC (Arizona Arts Conservatory and Collective). She also enjoys working with children as a Bricks4kidz teacher part-time during the afterschool program in the Vail District.
Monica is married to her husband Michael and a mother to their 6.5 year old son Callin. With a child of her own, she understands the importance of positive feedback and encourages students to feel successful in their dancing as well as confident in themselves and relishes the opportunity to share her love of dance with everyone who is willing to learn.