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Meet the Company

Artistic Directors

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Ana Baer — Co-Director 

Christa Oliver — Co-Director

 


Performing Artists


Bayleigh Alexander

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Bayleigh Alexander is currently a sophomore at Texas State University where she received a full scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance, Performance and Choreography. Bayleigh is is a second year Müv Dance and Fitness Faculty Member. She is excited to be pursuing her dream of teaching and choreography alongside the best faculty. She is currently getting her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification under the instruction of Misti Galvan and Becky Jordan. At the end of her freshman year, Alexander was awarded the Karen Earl/Reed Parr Matching Scholarship as an Honorable Mention candidate for Outstanding Freshman Dance Major. During her next semester she will begin her journey as a teacher’s assistant for Dance Kinesiology alongside LeAnne Smith. Bayleigh has been dancing for the past 15 years. She has been a pre-professional dance company member at Müv Dance and Fitness for the past 8 years and is trained in styles such as Ballet, Point, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Hip Hop, Tap, Clogging, Lyrical, Kick, Pom, Ballroom, and Acro. Bayleigh has been a scholarship and title recipient winner from competitions and conventions. She has had the opportunity to be a part of many performance experiences with organizations such as Austin Youth Dance Festival, Dance to Breathe, Austin Spurs, San Antonio Spurs, and Matters of the Heart. She has spent many years assisting with teams like Kilgore College Rangerettes, Round Rock and Leander ISD, and Gateway College Preparatory School. She’s had the opportunity to travel to LA and NYC to further her dance training! Bayleigh joined the Round Rock Dragonettes Drill Team her sophomore year and went on to be a dance officer as well as a member of Legacy, a select group, for three years. Bayleigh is blessed to be a part of Merge and is loving every day so far!

 


Holly Bowling

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Holly Bowling is currently a Junior at Texas State University. She has been dancing for eighteen years and has trained at several different studios. Her training began at Melba’s School of Dance (2002-2008) when she lived in McAllen, TX, then Ballet Conservatory (2008-2014) when she moved to Highland Village, and lastly Paragon Dance Center (2016-2018) when she settled in Carrollton, TX. Holly is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop and musical theater. During her high school years she was a part of the Hebron Silver Wings drill team. Holly served as Sophomore Lieutenant, Junior Lieutenant, and Captain her senior year. She was accepted into the BFA Teacher Certification program at Texas State University. She was not done with her hats and boots just yet as she joined the Texas State Strutters. Holly was a part of Strutters her Freshman year, but decided to retire from drill team and move on to the next chapter of her life. This will be her second year on Merge Dance Company and she is beyond excited for this journey! Holly also recently became a member of the Texas Association Teachers of Dancing this past summer by taking her entrance exam in Ballet.


Lily Collier

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Lily Collier has been dancing since she was three years old and grew up dancing at Dancers Workshop in Austin, Tx. At her studio she was given the opportunity to be on a competition team and a pre professional ballet company, and trained in many styles including ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary. Throughout her high school career she traveled to many different dance conventions and trained at Edge performing arts center in Los Angeles during summers with her studio. Lily is currently a sophomore at Texas State pursuing her BFA degree in dance education. She is excited to be on merge to learn from amazing directors and grow alongside talented dancers. 


Izabel Cortinas

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Izabel Cortinas, from Round Rock, Texas, is a junior at Texas State University pursuing her BFA in Dance with an emphasis in Performance and Choreography. They have been dancing since the age of 3, training in various styles including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Modern. Izabel was a part of the competitive dance company at The Dance Gallery for 6 years participating in various competitions, conventions, and masterclasses where she won several awards and scholarships. Over the past 2 summers, Izabel has had the pleasure of teaching at their previous studio to wonderful groups of young dancers and has also had the opportunity to choreograph solos and group pieces for the company. Upon graduating, Izabel aspires to share their love for dance and choreography and work with dance companies across the country. This is Izabel’s first year on Merge and she’s so thrilled to begin working with brilliant artists and unbelievably talented dancers! 

 


Grace Crain

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Grace Crain is currently a sophomore pursuing a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography with a minor in Business Administration. She was raised in Houma, Louisiana and has been dancing since she was three years old. She trained under the instruction of Laura and Tara LeBlanc and choreographed and performed many pieces in various competitions, where she received titles and awards. She danced on her highschool dance team and competed at UDA Nationals in 2018. Crain has trained with the New Orleans Ballet Theatre, performed in their ballet Cinderella, and starred as Clara in their production of the Nutcracker in 2019. She studied under the instruction of the New Orleans Ballet Association and trained on scholarship at Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary summer intensive in Dallas, Texas. Additionally, Crain became a 200 hour Certified Yoga Instructor in 2021 under the instruction of Misti Galvan and Becky Jordan. Upon graduation, she hopes to go on to earn her masters degree in dance with aspirations of becoming a dance professor. Crain is so excited to begin this new chapter in her first year as part of Merge Dance Company.


Reisa DiNatale

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Reisa DiNatale, from San Antonio, Texas is currently a Sophomore at Texas State University. She has been dancing since the age of two, and has trained at multiple studios in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and most recently Texas at Kathy Marfin’s Dance School under the Leading Edge Dance Company. She competed at dance competitions for almost 10 years throughout her life, training heavily in ballet, modern, jazz and tap. Along with that, she participated in Summerge, performing in the first Semilla festival. Her personal favorite style is modern, having been taught with a focus in Hawkins and the Horton technique and is looking forward to the opportunity to dance within such an incredible modern dance company, and explore the diversities of dance itself. 


Alexus Galeana

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Alexus Galeana is a Junior at Texas State University where she is currently working towards her BFA in dance with an emphasis in choreography. She has been dancing since she was three years old and since then studied ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, tap and even some tumbling at Kathy Marfin’s dance school in San Antonio Texas. She competed with her studio at local competitions for seven years which helped her develop not only as a dancer but as a person. Alexus attended many conventions over the years and some summer intensives to further her growth. During Alexus’s last year at her studio she had the pleasure of teaching three to ten year old’s. Teaching really helped her dive deeper into her knowledge of dance. In the summer she works at Jen’s Dance Spot assisting Jennifer Trevino with camps and Choreography. Alexus has been in Merge for three years and has worked with highly qualified choreographers such as Rosely Cortez, Erica Gionfriddo, Bernard Brown, Christa Oliver, Ana Baer and more. Her ultimate goal is to join a modern company and travel the world doing what she loves most. Teaching and choreographing are also a huge passion that Alexus has and wishes to receive her masters at some point in her life where she can share all her knowledge and experience as a college professor. 


Ashley Kwasna

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Ashley Kwasna is currently a Junior at Texas State University where she is pursing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography, as well as a minor in Business. Ashley is a triplet that was born in New York and raised in Texas where she began her dance training at San Antonio Dance Academy at the age of three with her brothers. She has trained in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Pointe, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Modern, Tap, Flamenco, Musical Theatre, Folklorico, Ballroom, Pom, Kick, and Improvisation. At the age of nine, she became a member of the Revolution 360 Dance Company where they where invited to perform at many places such as Ksat12, San Antonio Rampage hockey game, Blue Skies of Texas (formerly Air Force Village 2) and the Arneson River Theatre. Ashley started competing at many conventions such as Jump Dance Convention, Velocity Dance Convention, and Radix Dance Convention. While competing at these dance conventions, she received various awards and scholarships. She also had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and Dallas to train with the Joffrey Ballet School for four summers on a full scholarship. While there, she received training from well known choreographers such as Kathryn McCormick and Mark Meismer. She went on to become a member of the O’Connor Dance team and served as Co-Captain her senior year where she received first place at many state competitions with her solo. She was also invited to be on ShowMakers of America Dance staff, which allowed her to teach middle school and high school students' new material to strengthen their abilities. Ashley has also choreographed over thirty solo and group routines that have received numerous awards. At the end of her Freshman year, she was awarded the Charlie and Joy Williams Scholarship for Outstanding Freshman Dance Major. For the past two years, Ashley has had the privilege of being Lee High Schools Dance Team technique teacher. Upon graduating from Texas State, she hopes to open her very own dance studio.


Arielle Mathis

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Arielle Mathis is a student, artist, and choreographer. The Los Angeles born dancer was raised in the Houston, Tx area, where her training began at the Sugarland Dance Center. She expanded her vocabulary and progressed her technique by attending various dance schools such as the Fort Bend Academy of Arts and Dance, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and the formerly known Laeral Dance Academy. 

Mathis has performed at the 2014 Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors basketball game, worked with Lynzy Lab for the 2019 Opening Door Dance Theatre concert, and co-founded the former Originem Dance Crew which was an urban dance team that highlighted various elements of hip-hop with inclusivity. Through youth programs in the San Marcos, Tx area, she has taught dance to young kids within the community. She has also danced in pieces created by numerous artists such as Christa Oliver, Ana Baer, Bernard Brown, Kim Olson, Natalia Reza, and Rocio Luna. 

Currently, she is a senior working toward her bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts in Dance (performance and choreography) and minoring in Mass Communication at Texas State University. As a 2nd year member Merge Dance Company, Arielle is always finding new inspirations as well as looking for ways to inspire others through movement.


Chloe Pudwill

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Chloe Pudwill is currently a sophomore at Texas State University where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education with the aspirations of becoming a high school drill team director and dreams of opening her own dance studio one day. Chloe was born and raised in Austin, Texas where she first fell in love with dance at the age of 2. She has trained and taught at numerous local dance studios in Austin where she has had the opportunity to learn and work alongside some of the best choreographers and performers in the business. At her home studio, DanceXplosion, Chloe was on the competition team and trained in numerous styles of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Pointe, Hip Hop and Acro. In high school, Chloe was a member of the Award-Winning Austin High Red Jackets Drill Team where she served as Junior LT and Captain her senior year. During this time, she won several awards and titles for her solos and team routines and was chosen to be a member of the All-City Austin Dance Team. Throughout this experience she learned how to properly lead a group of young girls, choreograph routines of all styles, and discover her lifelong passion for Directing and teaching dance. 
During her time thus far at Texas State, Chloe has received dance and academic scholarships such as the Karen Earl/Reed Parr Matching Scholarship as an Honorable Mention candidate for Outstanding Freshman Dance Major, and Texas State Academic Achievement Scholarship. She has made Deans list each semester and has become a member of outside organizations such as her sorority Alpha Delta Pi where she serves as Community Service Specialist. Chloe has also been lucky enough to work directly for the dance division as a work study student and loves her job. Thanks to the one-of-a-kind faculty here at Texas State, Chloe continues to see herself grow as a dancer, a choreographer, and an aspiring teacher. Chloe is honored to be a member of Merge Dance Company this year and is excited to learn and perform alongside some incredibly talented dancers.


Melody Reese-Petry

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Melody Reese-Petry is from San Antonio, Texas and has been dancing since she was 3 years old. Melody started her training at Heather Stolle’s School of Dance and attended The North East School of the Arts for high school while also competing with Echo Dance Company. She is trained in various styles that include Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern, Contemporary, Lyrical, Pointe, Tap, and Musical Theatre. Melody is a Junior at Texas State University majoring in Dance, Performance and Choreography. Her favorite styles of dance are Contemporary, Jazz, and Hip-Hop because she feels like she can be her true self when she dances in these styles and express emotions that she cannot convey with words. In Merge this year she is hoping to achieve more confidence when dancing and is so excited to dance with so many amazing people. 
 

Kali Reyna

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Kali Reyna, from Cypress, Texas, is currently a Senior at Texas State University pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, Performance and Choreography. Reyna began taking dance classes at age three at various studios in the Houston, TX area and has since received training in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Pom, Drill Team, Dance Videography, and Improvisational practices. In her younger years, Reyna gained competitive dance team experience and served as a Junior Lieutenant dance officer for the Cy-Fair Brigade drill team from 2016 to 2017.

In 2018, Reyna danced with a pre-professional performance company based out of Houston, Texas (Léon Dance Arts) under the direction of Dorrell Martin. During this time, she had the opportunity to work with professional choreographers (Andrea Ward, Eddy Ocampo) and performed their work at the Austin Dance Festival, Generation Dance Festival, and the Prelude for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Today, Kali is pursuing her third year on Merge Dance Company. By being a part of Merge, Kali has had the opportunity to work with and perform pieces from national and international choreographers that include Ana Baer, Christa Oliver, Rosely Conz, Roxanne Gage, Erica Gionfriddo, BodyShift Dance Collective, Natalia Reza, Bernard Brown, and Kim Olson. Reyna has also had the opportunity through Merge to teach dance classes to children and students in the San Marcos, TX area. She admires how Merge offers an inviting atmosphere that encourages dancers to explore their individuality and celebrate the unique ways that each dancer moves. In 2021 Reyna was awarded the Upper Level Scholarship from the Texas State Dance faculty and was also nominated to receive the Friends of Fine Arts and Communications Scholarship from The Department of Theater and Dance. 

Upon graduation, Kali plans to choreograph for surrounding studios, continue her dance training in NYC and open a dance studio or company of her own in Texas where she can share her passion and love for dance with others.


Lexi Skinner

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Lexi Skinner is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently a Junior at Texas State University. This is her first year in Merge Touring Ensemble, and she is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance and Choreography. Lexi began training in dance at age three and soon after auditioned & became a company member at the Renaissance International School of Performing Arts (RISPA), in which she trained in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Voice, and Musical Theatre for 13 years. By age 11, she had performed in two professional shows at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, "Annie" & "The King & I", through the theatre of the stars foundation. Lexi has also been given the amazing opportunity to perform in halftime shows for the Atlanta Hawks and has also trained under various broadway stars including: Billy Porter, Tituss Burgess, Quentin Earl Darrington, Alex Newell, and many others through the Broadway Dreams Foundation. Throughout her high school years, Lexi had the opportunity to teach children ages 3-18 in summer camps, weekly classes, company auditions, give private lessons, & choreograph numerous routines as well. This allowed her to increase her passion & drive for dance as well as to educate many young aspiring performers. She has attended various competitions and conventions with her studio as well as with her high school varsity dance team, on which she served as the co-captain. Lexi maintained the role of a mentor at her studio and upheld the role of company captain in her Jazz, Musical Theatre, Tap, & Lyrical companies throughout her years of training. In recent years, Lexi has pursued extra work in T.V. series's such as: "Legacies" as a cheerleader, "Kim of Queens", "Queen Fur" & was also cast in a commercial for Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church. Upon graduation, Lexi hopes to move to New York to dance professionally while also continuing her passion for teaching & sharing her love for dance with children all over the world. 


Alexzandria Turley

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Alexzandria Turley, from Moody, Texas, has been dancing since the age of three. She danced with Unity Dance Company for six years and with Ignite Dance Company from its founding in 2011 until the end of her senior year. She was also a member of Summerge and performed in Semilla Fest during its first year. She has trained in a variety of dance styles such as Jazz, Lyrical, Vaganova Ballet, and Contemporary. Her favorite dance styles are Ballet and Jazz. She is currently a junior at Texas State University and is pursuing a BFA in Performance and Choreography. She is looking forward to dancing during the season and having the opportunity to learn from a variety of choreographers.


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Photography by Avery Grant


Select Performance

Sur la Solitude et la Logique

"Sur la Solitude et la Logique" by Matthew Farmer