Chara Dance Academy proudly employs professional, caring, and dedicated dance instructors who are active role models in the lives of their students.  Our instructors teach students technical skills, Christian values, and self-confidence that will guide them throughout their dance journey and within their everyday lives.  Many of our instructors have danced at a professional level and/or hold a university level degree in dance. Each instructor participates in continued education both within and outside of the studio to stay current in the field of dance.

Shanna KirkpatrickShanna opened Chara Christian Dance Academy in 2008 with the intent of combining her passion for faith, family, dance, and music and offering it up to the community in one faith based, professional dance academy. She attended Texas A&M University, receiving a BS in Sport Management and Minor in Dance and Business. In 2017 she and her husband Bobby, Associate Pastor of Friendswood Friends Church, started Part of the Art Foundation providing dance scholarships to deserving kids. Together they have three small children. Shanna enjoys serving on the FISD Education Foundation and Board of Directors of Family Promise. She is a certified business and personal development coach with More Than Just Great Dancing!®, helping other studio owners create businesses that serve their students and communities with excellence!

Meghan has been with Chara since 2014 and brings over 31 years of dance experience with her. Meghan grew up with a passion for dancing and was captain of her high school dance team and danced competitively with her dance studio. She attended the University of Iowa receiving a BA in Dance and a BA in Performing Arts Entrepreneurship where she was a part of the university’s pre-professional dance company. Meghan then moved to Kansas City to dance professionally with Kacico Dance.  Coming to Houston through Teach for America, Meghan previously coached dance and cheerleading teams at YES Prep Southwest and South Houston High School.  Meghan holds a Masters in Physical Education from the University of Houston and is now our full time School Director writing curriculum, developing choreography, developing our instructors, and so much more.

Nicole has been with Chara since 2011.  She spend 3 years training with Ingredients Dance Company in Dallas and had the privilege of touring the country with Dance Revolution Conventions.  Nicole received her Bachelor’s in Public Relations and minor in Business Management and later started her own dance company “Flight Dance Company” that has been performing in the greater Houston area since 2015. Nicole manages our competitive and recreational dance companies and is the Administrator for Friendswood Contemporary Ballet. She has a passion for people and works diligently to extend the Chara Culture by giving back to our community.

Susan KeebleShe earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from The University of Texas and a master’s degree in human resources and public policy from Carnegie- Mellon University. She spent over 30 years leading teams in healthcare human resources. Susan is a mom of a teenage boy and has been married to her husband, Craig, for 31 years. They enjoy going to Mustang and Longhorn football games, volunteering with the FHS Band and Boy Scouts, and serving at their home church, Friendswood Methodist. Susan finds her greatest joy at the studio in seeing the smiling faces of our dancers and their families!

Madison began her dancing in North Carolina at age seven. During that time she performed in works with Carolina Ballet, Graceful Expression Classical Ballet Company, and Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance in Georgia. She attended college at Belhaven University for Dance where she learned how to integrate her faith into dance; specifically, ballet. Madison has always had a passion to teach and rediscovered her love for teaching after an injury took her out of dance for a while. Madison is excited to be teaching at Chara Christian Dance Academy and she is thrilled to step in as the new Artistic Director for Friendswood Contemporary Ballet!

Ashlynn fell in love with dancing when she was 9 years old at Life Moves Dance Studio in Richmond Hill, Ga. She has performed various roles in several productions with The Columbia City Ballet such as “Sleeping Beauty”, “Cinderella”, and “The Nutcracker.” She is an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and teaches Pilates. Ashlynn enjoys sharing her love for God and passion for dance with all of the children she teaches and looks forward to it every week!

Brianna grew up dancing in the Houston area and graduated from Texas State University in 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Recreation Administration with a focus in Therapeutic Recreation. She, along with her husband, have been worship leading all around the Houston area for the last two years and she has a passion for the way that worship and movement collide. She is also a member of a Houston-based dance company called Flight Dance Company and a Chara Competitive Company Director.

Josh Cruz began dancing at the the age of sixteen after trying recovery of a spinal adjustment. Using dance as physical therapy and music as motivation, Josh began his journey as a self-trained dancer. For three years he was involved in kids programs at Grace Community Church including The Noize in which he choreographed and taught Hip-Hop with a fun, positive twist. Josh has an easy-to-follow style the energizes a room and inspires boys to experience the joy of dance!

Grace is a previous student of Chara Christian Dance Academy, and is a former member of the Chara Competitive Company and principal of Friendswood Contemporary Ballet. In the summer of 2015, Grace fractured part of her vertebrae in her lower back, which became a pivotal season in her life where she grew in her relationship with The Lord as well as began learning how to navigate through the obstacles of dancing with an injury. Grace’s greatest joy is pursuing excellence in dance where she can share her love for worship through movement. 

Leisha is a former Friendswood Wranglerette, Kilgore Rangerette, and member of the SFA Pom Squad. She is a certified teacher and currently the long-term sub for the Wranglerette’s. Leisha is excited to be working with the teams, students, and staff at Chara Christian Dance Academy!

Rachel ChapmanRachel is from the greater Nashville, TN area where she trained primarily in ballet and modern. Her performance experience includes dancing at the 2008 Dove Awards, on Premier Christian Cruises, on a VeggieTales Live! tour, and in professional music videos. In 2016 she received a BFA in dance and minor in Business Administration from Belhaven University. She is currently dancing as an Ad Deum II company member. Rachel has a passion for dance as ministry and sharing joy and excellence through dance with her students.

Jennifer Yarnold Jennifer is a busy mom of four, three girls and a boy.  Her and her husband, John, have been married for 21 years.  She is grateful for the opportunity to homeschool her four children.  She loves the Lord with all her heart and enjoys serving in the children’s ministry at Grace Community Church.  Seeing children understand who God has created them to be and encouraging them to follow their God-given dreams is her passion. Working at Chara gives her the opportunity to see so many dancers and musicians smiling as they go after their dreams.

Jillian is currently in her last year at Northwest University studying Ministry Leadership. She attends Life Community Church in La Porte and serves as one of the Classroom Coordinators in their children’s ministry and helps lead their young adult group as well. She is a former member of the Deer Park High School Escort Drill Team and enjoys using her love for God’s children and dance at Chara to help find each dancer the style of dance that matches them perfectly. Let them praise His name with dancing. Psalm 149:3

lori chara christian dance academyLori has been married to her husband Jim for thirty-five years, and is the mother of two daughters.  She spent many years serving in Children’s ministry at her church.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as traveling to new places.  Her favorite thing about working at Chara is making the young dancers feel at home in our studio, as well as making families feel welcome and comfortable.