Meet the Masters Upper Level Faculty
Melissa Hooks Robinson – Founder/Artistic Director, Company Instructor/Choreographer
Melissa Hooks Robinson, the founder and artistic director of Masters Upper Level has been in the dance industry for over 30 years as a performer, choreographer, teacher and judge. Melissa owned the studio until 2007 when she sold it to Mr. Glenn and Mrs. Shannon Bohny but remained on staff.
Her dance companies and innovative choreography have consistently won hundreds of regional, national and world team titles for the past fifteen years. Her dancers have gone on to perform on Broadway in Fosse and Footloose and in television, world tours and music videos with such artists as Janet Jackson, Usher and Lil’ Kim.
Melissa is sought after by dance organizations for her innovative jazz master classes and choreography. In addition, she has choreographed industrials across the United States for Carnival Cruise Lines, Body Wrappers and Taco Bell. She recently was named top teacher for 2009 by the Federation of Dance Competitions.She was recently recognized as top teacher and choreographer for 2010 at KAR nationals.
Kimberly Bertrand – Company Instructor/Choreographer
Kim has been dancing since the age of 2 1/2. It is her first love and passion. The training that made her into the dancer and teacher she is today came from Melissa Robinson, who became Kim’s teacher and mentor when Kim was 14. Kim has trained in all genres of dance, but is most comfortable in her tap shoes. Kim is known for her high energy tap style.
As a dancer, she won many solo regional and national awards. She was privileged enough to train with some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Savion Glover and Debbie Dee. As a teacher and choreographer, her students have won many group and individual high point honors on the regional and national level. Kim is also the recipient of many regional and national choreography awards. She is very proud of the impact she has on the students she teaches. Many of her students go on to pursue professional dance careers and can now be seen on Broadway, dancing on cruise ships and along side some of the biggest names in pop culture such as Shakira, Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, and Snoop Dogg.
Aside from her dancing, Kim graduated Magna Cum Laude from HBU with a double major in Business Administration and Management. She is blessed with a loving and supportive husband and two beautiful children. Masters the Upper Level is a big part of who she is and is proud to be part of its success.
Brooke Barnes-Meeks – Company Ballet Instructor
Brooke Barnes-Meeks graduated from HSPVA where she received “The Most Outstanding Dance Major Award”. She has danced classical and contemporary works with Houston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Houston Grand Opera, Sandra Organ Dance Company, The Lula Elzy New Orleans Dance Theatre, Leanna Sparacino and Company Dancers, Dorrell Martin Dance Fusion, Psophonia Dance Company, Second Generation Dance Company, Kuumba House Dance Theater, and completed two European tours with City Dance Company.
Mrs. Barnes-Meeks has performed in Univision Television’s “Selena Vive!” and at The Apollo Theater as a guest performer. She has appeared in theatrical productions with Thomas Meloncon’s Truth Theater Productions, I’m Ready Productions, Express Theatre, and has appeared in theatre productions as well as films with So-Mee Productions. Mrs. Barnes-Meeks has taught and choreographed for many schools, dance studios, dance companies, arts programs, and various organizations. Most recently, she performed in Houston as well as completed a two-part Sweden tour with The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble.
Currently, Mrs. Barnes-Meeks is teaching, choreographing, and directing productions at HSPVA, and is ecstatic about teaching at Masters, The Upper Level!
Florin “Adrian” Ciobanu – Company Ballet Instructor
Mr. Ciobanu was born in Cluj, Romania where he graduated from the Liceul de Choregrafie, Octavian Stroia with honors, under the direction of his father, Florin Ciobanu. He then went on to work with the Romanian Opera Ballet for one year before moving to the Hungarian Opera Ballet. During his five years there, Mr. Ciobanu was promoted to Principal dancer. He toured extensively throughout Europe including France, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, and the Czech Republic.
In 1996 Mr. Ciobanu moved to Sarasota and became a member of the Sarasota Ballet dancing many major Principal roles and creating many roles as well. His repertoire includes many major classical ballets, and many contemporary ballets by such choreographers as Robert North, Alberto Alonso, Katherine Posen, Steven Mills, Todd Allen, Ament Istvan, and many others. Since 2002 Mr. Ciobanu has been teaching and coaching for the Sarasota Ballet School, Dance the Next Generation, and many local and regional schools such as: Brandon Ballet, The Dance Center: Brandon, Fl., West Florida Ballet, St. Petersburg, Fl., Florida Ballet Arts, Alyson’s in Bradenton, Fl.
In 2003, Mr. Ciobanu was promoted to Principal of Academy, Sarasota Ballet. He has doubled the number of students and increased the budget significantly since his direction. He has staged many full-length productions for the Academy, such as: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker, La Boutique Fantasque, Paquita, and others.
In 2008 Mr. Ciobanu was promoted to Ballet Master of Sarasota Ballet and still worked extensively with the Academy. He worked with such stagers and choreographers as: Hans Van Manen, Monica Parker, Alexander Grant, Dominic Walsh, Sandra Jennings, Joyceanne Sidimus, Julian Moss, Andre Prokovsky, Gilles Maidon, Jackie Hollander, Donald Mahler, Margaret Barbieri, and others.
Marrisha Babineaux – Company Instructor
Marrisha has been studying and competing in dance since the age of five. She is a graduate of Lamar University where she was a principle dancer and also a principle dancer in numerous shows produced by Beaumont City Performing Arts. Also as a student at Lamar University she was Lieutenant for 2 year and captain for 1 year for their Dance Team. Marrisha presently works for Universal Dance Association as a team instructor for collegiate, secondary and primary students.
As a student in her formative years she has won numerous awards at both regional and national competitions under the direction of Melissa Robinson and Kimberly Bertrand at Masters, the Upper Level. Due to her ability to dance in various types of dance such as Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Tap this has enable her to become a well rounded dancer. During the years of competition Marrisha has won many titles and awards based on her overall performance such was Ms. IDC regional, Ms. Global Dance, Pacific Coast Regional Scholarships and Broadway Experience Award.
Marrisha’s most memorable award was when she won Scene Interactive Award where her video and headshot is posted for a year for choreographers in search for dancers. Marrisha also won DDO Artist Agency Award which allows her representation at the age of 18 to work in the dance field with DDO as her representative.
Marrisha has danced at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance in New York City at their summer intensive program. She also participated as a contestant on the national hit show Showtime at the Apollo as a representative from Houston after winning the spot from numerous contestants across the city. This led her in doing conventions for McDonalds as a representative for their company.
Her heart has always been with the Master’s Family and is excited in joining the team to develop great dancers and continuing a long and lasting relationship.
Emily Roy – Company Ballet Instructor
Emily Roy is originally from Louisiana where she trained at an early age with Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre. She graduated from Belhaven University with a BFA in dance and emphasis in modern dance technique. Through Belhaven Emily worked with artists such as Lauren Anderson, Stephanie Powell, Ryan Corriston, and Caleb Mitchell, and was featured in a National Telly Award winning music video. After moving back to her hometown, Emily danced professionally and choreographed for Of Moving Colors, Louisiana’s leading contemporary company, served on the Louisiana Arts Council, was featured in 225 Magazine and The Advocate newspaper, and taught throughout the capitol city. Her work in Louisiana was as broad as dancing on the runway for Avenue Rouge Runway Fashion Show to an extreme aerial harness performance for the Louisiana Blues Festival.
Since moving to Texas, Emily has worked with artists Beth Gulledge-Brown, Krissy Richmond, Tina Bohnstedt, Adrian Ciobanu, Priscilla Nathan-Murphy, Jennifer Mabus, and Seán Curran. She has danced for companies such as Uptown Dance Company (two seasons), FrenetiCore, Frame Dance Productions, and Houston Grand Opera. Her choreography has been featured on Uptown Dance Company II and performed for events such as the Fringe Festival, Project Dance, San Jacinto College’s “Evolve”, and “Mind the Gap”. Emily now spends her days freelancing and teaching throughout the Houston area!
Kristin Broussard – Company Instructor
Kristin Broussard’s passion for dance started at age 3 and has continued ever since. Her love for dance runs deep. Coming from a family of talented and successful dancers , Kristin has been choreographing and teaching for over 15 years. She was the former owner of Koenig dance school and director of the award winning and national title holding Koenig Dance Company. Kristin trained under many industry notables and graduated from Texas Tech university with a degree in Business Management and minor in Dance.
Kristin has extensive training in dance curriculum and management and enjoys fostering the love of dance in her students. Her dancers have won top honors for technique and choreography each year over the past 10 years under her direction. In addition, her students have continued their training both collegiately and professionally. Kristin currently continues her education training with the industry’s best.
When Kristin is not teaching she enjoys being on staff as an adjudicator for several competitions as well as training and choreographing many Houston drill teams. Kristin resides in Houston with her husband, Brad, and their three children, Westin, Tatum, and Bailey. Kristin is honored and excited to be joining the prestigious MUL faculty