About Us

Founded in 1985, our Poway programs have made dance class accessible to literally thousands of local youth.

Our fun-filled, action-packed, musically inspired dance programs promote creative expression and instill a love for dance! Our classes provide the highest level of professional instruction at every level, supporting the development of each dancer's physical, social and emotional well being. Classes are held in a safe and nurturing environment that encourages friendships and family values. We leave competitions aside — focusing on the joy of dance and movement — creating well-balanced, happy and amazing performers!

Completing more than 30 annual recitals on the beautiful Poway Center for the Performing Arts stage, our students have experienced first-hand, the art of show making, complete with professional costumes, sets, props, lighting and stagecraft. Our philosophy of "Every Dancer is a Star!" has touched the lives of each performer, creating life-long memories of the excitement and sense of accomplishment that comes from stage experiences. A performing art provides one of life’s rare opportunities to stand before our peers and be applauded for a job well done. Our hope is to provide this amazing and life-affirming experience to many, many more students, for many years to come!

Bio's of Our Founder and Instructors

Ms. Debbora Childress

Debbora Childress has been instructing children in the art of dance for more than 30 years. Currently, Ms. Debbora directs/instructs the Tap & Ballet, Pre-Dance/Tumbling, Tap Dance for Adults and Dance Production classes for her Poway dance program, working in partnership with her adult daughter Kellie Childress-Nichols - who instructs the Ballet, Jazz and Lyrical classes. Ms. Debbora is the published author of "Kids Express!," a movement and music program for use in K-12 schools; is the creator/instructor of "Dance for Children - Creative Movement and Tumbling for Boys and Girls;" as well as creating and instructing her Poway dance program for 32+ seasons. Ms. Debbora possesses a Lifetime Credential in Children’s Dance.

Professional credits include choreography, costuming and staging of Aladdin, Aristocats,  Little Mermaid and Snow White for Georgia's Dance Studio; Annie, Lil' Abner and Wizard of Oz for Broadway Bound Youth Theater; Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Fern Gully, Jungle Book, Little Mermaid, Madeline at the Ballet, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Pinnochio, Princess and the Frog, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Princess, Thumbelina, Wizard of Oz and more, as well as creating more than a dozen individual show pieces annually for her Poway dance program. Ms. Debbora also teaches for several San Diego county private schools.

Additional instructor credits include providing the child performers for the internationally reknowned Moscow Classical Ballet's U.S. "Nutcracker" for 10 seasons.

Ms. Debbora is the mother of two amazing grown children, and the grandmother of five precious little ones! She resides with husband Guy, in Escondido.

Ms. Kellie Childress-Nichols

Kellie Nichols has been teaching dance for more than 13 years. Currently, Ms. Kellie instructs the Ballet for Kids, Fun 'n Funky Jazz for Kids and Lyrical for Teens classes for her Poway dance program. She also directs/instructs her dance program through the City of Temecula. Ms. Kellie has taught pre, beginning and intermediate ballet, along with jazz and hip hop for Ballet Society of Fallbrook, as well as for San Elijo Dance Academy and City of San Marcos.

Starting her dance career at age two, Ms. Kellie has more than 27 years of training in ballet, jazz, lyrical, acrobatics, point and musical theater. She has trained with the Broadway cast of Chicago, Patty Obey, Joe Tremaine and Smuin Ballet Company. In 2000, Ms. Kellie was awarded the American Academy of Ballet's Gold Performance Award. In 2001, she was selected from more than 500 applicants to tour the East Coast with Dance Olympus, as both a performing artist and assistant to such instructors as Mia Michaels (So You Think You Can Dance) and more. After graduating high school in 2002, Ms. Kellie returned to coach the Orange Glen High School's Competition Dance Teams from 2004-2007.

Ms. Kellie's professional credits include starring roles in Peter Pan (Wendy), Little Mermaid (Ariel), Cinderella (Stepsister) and The Nutcracker. She has toured with Palomar College as a member of the Encore Dance Company, performing at Palomar College Galas and other special events held throughout Southern California between 1997-2005. She has also been featured in a San Diego County Credit Union television commercial as a Dancing Bride!

Ms. Kellie enjoys the family atmosphere that teaching in the City of Poway offers, and has been so fortunate to join forces with her wonderful mother, Debbora. She has learned so much from Ms. Debbora, and is thankful for a lifetime of training that has allowed her to share her knowledge with her students.

Ms. Kellie currently lives in Escondido with her husband Michael, adorable daughter, Ruby Sue and little boy, Dexter Grey.

Ms. Yerika Tovey - Visiting Instructor

 

Yerika Tovey is from Mexico.  She began practicing Mexican Folkloric dances at a very early age.  It is an important curriculum in all elementary schools in Mexico.  She continued through middle school, learning regional dances from Durango where she is originally from.  Yerika represented her high school folkloric dance team, along with 70 other dancers.  They traveled to northern and southern regions in Mexico, where she was exposed to the diversity of dances from the entire state.  She danced “El son de la Negra,” and “Jarabe Tapatio,” which are the most famous dances from Guadalajara, representing Mexico at an international level.  She also danced the “Huapango,” from San Luis Potosi, “Sones and Zapateados” from Merida, Veracruz, Monterrey, Guerro, Oaxaca, and more.  

Folkloric dance, like the English term “folk dance,” means “dances of the people.”  This type of dance reflects the traditions, cultures and beliefs of people in different regions.  Folkloric dance expresses the life and spirit of people through its movements and music.  It is both historical and contemporary, preserving traditions, yet shifting with the current times.

Yerika has been teaching Poway children her dance culture for more than 7 years.  One of her biggest passions is introducing the diversity of Mexican Folkloric dances, choreographies and traditional songs, here in the United States.  She strongly believes that when little ones learn to dance, they strengthen their self-esteem, improve their academic and social skills, develop cultural pride and respect for other cultures.

©2018 by Ms. Debbora's School of Dance

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