team

Thea Francesconi

Owner & Dance Instructor

Thea began her journey with dance at the age of 2, where she trained with many studios in the surrounding areas in jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, hip hop, contemporary, and acrobats.  At the age of 16 she began teaching dance with the desire to bring out each client’s full potential. Starting her adult journey as a dance major at UL, since then, she has traveled as far as Europe to further her expertise and choreography in dance.

In 2012 Thea competed on  “So You Think You Can Dance” making it to the 4th round of choreography and top 100 of her audition.  With this experience, she was chosen to be featured on many of their commercials, as well as the cover of their website. Later that year, she was selected to choreograph and perform for NFL players Roman Harper and Kyres Hebert’s football, cheer, and dance camp. She got the opportunity to work alongside many professional athletes and dancers.

Thea is a Certified Teacher with Acrobatic Arts and CLI Studios and is always looking for ways to grow as an instructor. Now she is  a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through NASM, and uses these certifications to help better her knowledge of the human movement system and how it may affect dancers. Thea’s passion for dancing, teaching, and choreographing have been the focal point of her life. She is fun, energetic, and dedicated to teaching children and adults.

BRITTANY RENARD

General Class Instructor

Brittany Renard teaches ballet classes at Thea’s Dance Academy and St. Martin Academy of Fine Arts.  She graduated from St. Martin Academy in 2008 with twelve years of dance. After which, she continued teaching Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip-Hop while studying English at UL Lafayette.  Earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2011, she then moved to Southern California where she continued to study English at the University of California, Riverside. She completed her Master of Arts degree in 2013 and her Ph.D. coursework in 2015.

Now that she’s returned to Louisiana, Brittany works at South Louisiana Community College as the Assistant Director for Student Engagement.  While she’s a very busy woman, she’s happy to once again fill her spare time with the art of dance.

Jesse Hernandez

Boys Hip-Hop Instructor

Jesse Hernandez is a native from Maurice Louisiana and has been dancing for 24 years. Jesse travels with Universal Dance Association teaching high school and college dance teams routines for their football season. He has also taught dance with a company in London and Rome for their New Year’s Day parades. Jesse was the coach for the Louisiana Ice Gator Gator Girls cheer team for their 2015 hockey season and is currently in his second season with the New Orleans Saintsations. He has had the privilege of being one of the first male cheerleaders in the NFL. Jesse is excited to be a part of the staff at Thea’s Dance Academy and can’t wait to share his love of dance with the next generation of dancers here in South Louisiana!

Michelle DesOrmeaux Merrill

Primary Instructor

Michelle DesOrmeaux Merrill is a native and lifelong resident of Lafayette. She began her love of movement when she was only 2 years old. Not only was she a member of her highschool dance team, the St. Thomas More Sparklers, she was also awarded 3 National Titles. Upon graduating highschool,  she took part of the Ragin Jazz dance team in college. She graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Education.

Michelle continued to dance through college and was a dance teacher for 13 years at DeLarue Dance Centre. She was awarded the Val Salnikov Scholarship in 2007 and asked to perform in his rendition of Swan Lake in Gulf Port, MS. In addition, she has also been a certified fitness instructor for 21 years. She started teaching classes in college and went on to becoming the department head of the Intramural Aerobic Department at UL Lafayette.

She has taught fitness in multiple  gyms and studios in Lafayette over the years. Currently she instructs at Red’s, and prior owned and ran her own studio for 2 years, The Fit Room. She is now a Master Trainer for an international fitness company, POUND® Fitness with the duties of training and certifying new instructors. Michelle has been married to her husband, Robert, for 12 years and they have 5 FUR babies that they enjoy.

Chasity Theriot

Class Instructor

Chasity started dancing at the age of 8 for 12 years with Sugar n Spice Dance Studio. Then after, went on to teach for 1 year with the same studio. Chasity now works at Quest Pediatric Dentistry, in addition, teaches for TDA. She loves fitness and has a passion for dance that she can’t wait to share!

Alexandra Drouant-Vallejo

Class Instructor

Allie started dancing at the age of 3 at Sugar n Spice, then switching to Morgan Street Dance Company after 2 years. She Trained in Ballet, Tap. Jazz, Pointe, Hip Hop, and Pilates for 12 years with Morgan Street Dance Company. As well as participating in competitions for 4 years. Allie has experience in teaching Primary and Intermediate Ballet and Jazz students. In addition to attending MSDC, Allie also got extra training for Ballet and Pointe at Lafayette Ballet Theatre. Allie is so excited to get this dance year started with you all!

Hailey Richard

Pre-Primary Class Instructor

Hailey began dancing at the age of 3 and continued to dance for 12 years at Morgan Street Dance Company. Training in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and pointe as well as student teaching for 4 years. Hailey graduated in May of 2019 from Comeaux High School and was on Comeaux’s varsity cheer team for 2 years. She is currently enrolled in UL Lafayette as a nursing major. she is looking forward to spending her spare time sharing her passion for dance with the TDA dancers.

Rebecca Jordan

Ballet/Tap Instructor

Rebecca started dance at a young age and continued exploring her love of dance for 12 years at DeLarue Dance Center in Lafayette. Upon graduating from DeLarue in 2017, she completed three-course mastery classes in Jazz, Tap, and Ballet, as well as assistant teaching.

She continues her appreciation for dance through various events at UL while majoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Rebecca is employed at Fisher’s Early Childhood Development Center where she practices her passion for teaching children. She has a deep love for the arts and is eager to see that same love inside our dance studio!

Kimber Chataigner

General Class Instructor

 At four years old, Kimber found her passion in dance and tumbling at St. Martin Academy of Fine Arts. She performed, traveled, taught, and competed with St. Martin Academy for fourteen years. Having attended St. Martinville Senior High where she was cheer captain and choreographer during both her junior and senior year. She continued dancing throughout college by taking modern, jazz, and hip hop classes at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as well as performing as an alumni with St. Martin Academy of Fine Arts.

After participating in all of TDA’s adult dance classes and workshops, she has recently become a member of the TDA family. While finishing her Biology degree at ULL, she has once again filled her passion with teaching and performing at Thea’s Dance Academy! She can not wait for the chance to work with our dance studio again next year!

Sydia Robin

Tiny Tots Instructor

Sydia started dancing at 2 years old and trained for 16 years at Dance & Gym in Ville Platte, LA. She was a part of her high school dance team for 4 years and captain and choreographer both her junior and senior year. In addition, was also a basketball cheerleader for 2 years and captain for 1 year.

Sydia now works as a full time paralegal, and having a creative and expressive outlet like dance has been life changing. She enjoys kitchen dance parties with her husband, Daniel and 6 year old daughter, Nora on a daily basis. She is excited to share her passion with TDA!

Paige Kelley

Receptionist

Paige Kelley is currently a full time graduate student at ULL, getting her masters degree in Speech Language Pathology. With over 10 years of dance experience, she will be joining our team at the front desk. She is excited to meet all the new dancers coming into the dance studio!