April Coghill, an accomplished dance instructor who is also a professional social worker and a dance mom, dreamed about re-imagining the traditional dance studio with a focus on students and the culture of dance. She also wanted a studio where students were trained in proper technique from the beginning, parents were involved, and was community focused. In 2011 April shared her vision with eight other parents who were also frustrated with traditional dance studios. The group, excited about her vision, decided to open a studio that would provide a positive environment and the support their children needed, focus on their individuality, and offer high-quality instruction. They worked with businesses in the Cypress community who donated resources and put in hundreds of hours of their own time to build the facilities where their vision would be realized.
As the facility was being completed, the group laid out the plans for the operation of the studio. They were determined to share their passion for dance with the community and desired to make Cypress a better community through dance which included providing scholarships to economically challenged youth. These goals this led them to form a non-profit organization, a 501(c)3, with a Program Director and Board of Directors consisting of parents who volunteer their time. They also sought and hired highly trained, passionate instructorswho love teaching children. After 9 months of hard work, the studio on Jones Road opened its doors in June 2012.
The Creative Force:
CDP Program Director, April Y. Coghill, LMSW
The Cypress Dance Project is the brainchild of our inaugural Program Director, APRIL COGHILL, LMSW. Originally from the Los Angeles area, April began her dance training at the age of 5 in ballet, jazz-contemporary, tap and clogging. She trained and performed on stages throughout California and earned scholarships with Joe Tremaine and Danny Hoctor.
Her choreography has won top honors at national dance conventions and competitions such as Radix, Tremaine, The Streetz, Showstoppers, KAR, MOVE, StarBound and many more. Being a trained dancer, as well as a seasoned dance mom, is rare but it is done. What sets April apart is her extensive career as a professional counselor. She earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Houston and has proudly served area children and families for over 15 years in schools, hospitals, the city of Houston and local community centers.
In direct contrast to the dance teachers and moms featured on popular cable tv shows, April's decision-making and leadership approach ALWAYS navigates from the best interest of the child. She looks forward to partnering with you to facilitate the growth of your child as a dancer and a person. Above all, April cherishes her role as wife and mom to Lola, who is currently a professional dancer in Los Angeles and her son Lennox, who is a high school football player. April practices yoga daily and works as a contract behavioral support counselor. She is a founding member, teacher, dancer and choreographer at CDP.
CDP has created a positive studio culture and is building well-rounded, community-minded, confident, spirited dancers. The Academy classes are filled with students who are always encouraged to do their best and are guided in proper technique while having fun. They love their classes and instructors, can do their homework in the CDP Study Den between classes, make new friends who support each other and have developed discipline, confidence, and self-awareness that extend into their daily lives.
Students have danced at nursing homes and performed at numerous community events. The studio has opened its doors for events such as Parents’ Night Out and Truck or Treat and offered short summer sessions such as “Project Pop Star” to extend dance opportunities to the community.
Since its inception, the CDP Company, the competitive team, has won numerous awards for solos, duos, and group performances at both regional and national competitions. These include First Place Overall Small Group Recreational, Judges' Awards for Most Entertaining and Poetry in Motion, Choreographer of the Year, Studio or the Year, and National Grand Champion awards.
Parents from all walks of life continue to be actively involved and gladly volunteer their time to improve the dance studio life experience. They are united in the belief that children can receive quality dance education and achieve amazing results with supportive, compassionate instruction. The strength of our parent base is critical to enable CDP to continue growing and developing spirited dancers and maintain momentum and currency with the community.
Our amazing prop dads support our dancers every step of the way. From hand building and designing our props to setting them on stage at every competition these dads do it all! Shout out to our muscle team for their hard work and dedication every year.
PHOTO COMING SOON!
Not only is April Coghill the CDP Director, she is also one of the instructors and teaches classes in Technique and Jazz. April feels that dance is much more than technique. It is a way to build self-esteem, confidence, poise, great friends, and a second family and she believes the way to do this is by providing instruction in a positive studio culture that focuses on the whole child encouraging him/her to always do their best and to try new moves. She tells her students to "Think it until you make it" and wants students to leave each lesson proud of what they've accomplished, more confident, and bubbling with excitement.
April provides direction to the CDP Company and choreographs many of the solos, duos, and group dances. Hers choreography has won awards at both the regional and national level. She has also received best costume awards.
Her talent, creativity, and love of dance are being noticed by the community as evident by CDP's growth as we head into our eighth year. CDP is so fortunate to have you leading the way!
Scarlett has been teaching dance in the Houston area for over 20 years. She is a native Houstonian and second generation dance instruction. She began her training at age 2 at Banbury School of Dance, her mother's dance studio She spent many summers in New York City studying different styles of dance as such renowned studios such as David Howard, Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey and "Steps" on Broadway. Scarlett has studied with Houston Ballet's Andrea Vodehnal and, more recently, with Robert Underwood of American Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet. She has performed numerous times in the Houston International Festival, chosen for a part in Houston Grand Opera's Manon, Galveston's Dickens on the Strand, and a multitude of performances at Banbury School of Dance. Scarlett was introduced to the world of competitive gymnastics when she was hired to coach Ballet for elite level gymnasts on the Junior & Women's USA Olympic Gymnastics Team and it is there she had the honor of teaching Mary Lou Retton's daughters. Scarlett has choreographed for the floor show at ANICO's Mood Gardens Gala Celebration and has had students compete in Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition. She is a member of the Texas Association of Teachers of Dancing and Physical Mind Institute in New York City where she was certified to instruct Pilates. Most recently became an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher in Levels Primary through Level 5.
Scarlett is one of CDP's talented instructors and teaches ballet and pointe with an emphasis on technique. We're looking forward to our dancers becoming more technically proficient!
Desiree LaNiece begin her training when she joined the dance company at her intermediate and middle school which hosted a magnet program for fine arts. After joining her high school drill team, she became a dance officer her junior and senior year which gave her the opportunity to train under dancers from So You Think You Can Dance, cast members from the movie StepUp, and many others. In less than a month after graduating high school, Desiree became a professional NBA dancer for the Houston Rockets. She has had the opportunity to perform at Oprah's "Life You Want" tour, teach in MexicoCity, as well as backup dance for Capitol Latin Record's music artist J Balvin. Outside of the Toyota Center arena she began choreographing for local music artist and mainstream film director Michael Artis. Desiree continues to help open doors for performers in the Houston area and give dancers opportunities that are less likely to come often to Houston to help them achieve their dreams as well as becoming the "go to" hip hop choreographer of Houston. Desiree's choreography has received both regional and national dance awards. Desiree LaNiece teaches Hip Hop and Jazz Funk,
Joseph Stevens was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, later relocating to San Antonio.
Texas, where he attended Tom Clark High School studying vocal performance as well as training in dance. He continued his studies at the University of North Texas earning a degree in the Bachelor of Arts in Dance, while also gaining knowledge from a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program. In doing so, he studied under professors Shelley Cushman, Claudia Howard Queen, Mary Lynn Babcock, Robin Lakes, Erin Boone, Sue Collins, Karen Maclntyre, Whitney Geldon, and Lily Sloan. He also worked with guest artists and instructors such as Libby Rhodes, Carl Flink (Black Label Movement), Contra- Tiempo Urban Latin Dance Theatre, Joshua L. Peugh, Alumni Jake Bone Douge Varone & Dancers) and many others. Currently, he is continuing his exploration of dance performance, choreography, and pedagogical practices in Houston, Tx. Stevens just finished his 3rd year as a company dancer with Open Dance Project under artistic director/founder Annie Arnoult. He joined Noble Motion Dance Company as a new company dancer for their 2019-2020 season under direction of director/founder Andy and Dionne Noble.
Taylor Alcorn has studied all forms of dance, but finds her true love in tap dance. She has trained with professional tap dancers from around the world and has attended various tap festivals. Taylor has taken part in the Tap Kids Summer intensive for four years. She was able to train with several artists and trained in the apprentice program for the Tap Kids touring show. She is currently part of the professional tap company, True Sound Rhythm Project, directed by Tony Merriwether. This company performs around Houston, hosts an annual tap festival, and offers master classes.
Taylor's greatest inspiration is watching students grow and spreading her love to tap to others. Taylor has completed her classes at Texas A&M and teaches tap to dancers of all ages.
Caleb Durbin is originally from Newcastle, Australia. He has been dancing for 10+ years and trained at Marie-Walton Mahon Dance Academy and National College of Dance. During his training, Mr. Durbin received awards and competed in various competitions such as the Genee International Ballet Competition (Semi-finalist, 2013), Alana Haines Australasian Awards (2013), Australian Institute of Classical Dance Awards (2013), and Prix de Lausanne (2014).
He was a member of Houston Ballet II from 2014-2015. While in HBII, Mr. Durbin performed in John Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Stanton Welch’s Swan Lake, Blue, A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, The Long and Winding Road, Studies, The Gentlemen, and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra; Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker; David Lichine’s Graduation Ball; and Raymonda. Mr. Durbin joined Houston Ballet as an apprentice in 2015. We are proud to have Caleb as a new ballet instructor for our 2019-2020 season!