Performance Team Manager
Aimee comes to DAU with over 15 years of dance experience in the genres of Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Modern, and Contemporary. As a young dancer, she joined the competitive team at her studio and participated in conventions and competitions where she had the opportunity to take from various professional dancers and choreographers including Mia Michaels, and Travis Wall. In high school, she danced with her dance and song teams and attended USA Song Camps where she was awarded "Miss Super Sensational" for her dynamic teaching methodologies and charismatic stage presence, which would be no surprise to anyone who has experienced her bubbly personality.
She then went on to coach and choreograph for Los Altos, Monte Vista, and Fremont High Schools. While in college, she was an assistant teacher for Folsom Lake College's dance program as well as Assistant Director of a touring dance company that toured across the United States. While on tour, she had the opportunity to take classes from top dance studios in New York City such as Alvin Ailey and STEPS. Her professional credits include having the opportunity to perform as a local hire with the Moscow Ballet tour of The Nutcracker Suite in 1999.
Aimee's love of working with children has carried into her education at Pacific Oaks University where she graduated with a BA in Human Development with a specialization in Child Development. Aimee continues to bring her enthusiasm, passion for dance, and contagious energy every day she comes to the studio. She is thankful for the bonds she has formed with her fellow teachers and staff and has enjoyed watching her students grow over the years.
Customer Service Rep.
Ally is currently a college student at West Valley College. She has worked in a child care establishment for the last two years before coming on board with the office team at DAU. Ally has also worked as a front desk receptionist for the last year and prior to that she has worked as a coach at a children's sports camp for four years. Ally has 5 younger siblings and her all time favorite food is spaghetti! A Cupertino native, Ally is excited and proud to be an essential member of our operations team!
Social Media Manager / Advertising
Customer Service Supervisor
Crystal has always allowed her love of dance and children drive be a driving force in her life. A Cupertino native, Crystal graduated from Cupertino High School and began studying Communications and Child Development at West Valley College as well as at the University of Reno Nevada. A diverse dancer until the age of 17, Crystal unfortunately suffered some serious physical ailments that kept her from pursuing her dance career further. She then went on to utilize her experiences as a Preschool Teacher and Office Administrator at Little Oak Preschool. 3 years ago, Crystal began working as the Customer Service Supervisor here at Dance Academy USA. She has been thrilled that her passion for dancing and working with children has been rekindled here at DAU!
Jane Carter, Founder and Artistic Director. Ms. Jane was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina as the daughter of a three-war veteran---World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. She earned her Bachelor's Degree from San Jose State University where she was a member of the Spartan Spectrum Dance Team. At SJSU, she studied Human Performance/Fitness with a minor in Nutrition and Food Science.
In 1985, Ms. Jane was selected by Dole Corporation to be the company's ambassador to promote dance, modeling, and aerobics in Japan. That same year, she was on the very first dance team for the NBA Golden State Warriors that consisted of ten dancers. After two seasons with the Warriors, she went-on to dance for the San Francisco 49ers as a Gold Rush cheerleader. She frequently represented the Warriors and 49ers at charity events, promotional business, and television appearances. These unique experiences allowed Ms. Jane to be introduced to some of the best choreographers in the world.
More background. Ms. Jane has been featured in Fit & Runner's World magazines, Evening Magazine, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and several local papers. She also danced in a Jeep commercial as well as Super Bowl XIX. She was the Managing Director of American Spirit Association (ASA), which held 3-5 day dance camps at colleges all over the United States. Ms. Jane was also the Artistic Director of School House Sports (SHS); SHS was the largest dance studio outreach program in Northern California at one time and offered dance classes to pre-schools, public schools, and private schools. She is also the Former Director of the NBA Warrior Dance Team and former Creator and Director of Arena Football's, San Jose SaberKittens.
In 2013, Ms. Jane was awarded America's Dance Educator of the Year by Co. Dance.
In 2014, she won the most prestigious dance teacher award in the United States of America; Dance Teacher Magazine awarded Ms. Jane the 2014 Dance Teacher Award in the Private Studio/Conservatory Category. She was presented this extraordinary honor in New York City; there is no higher honor in the dance education industry.
Ms. Jane founded Dance Academy's USA's competition team in 1991; she named the team, The Production Company. The Production Company has grown from ten members to almost two hundred, and, regarded nationally as a California powerhouse. Ms. Jane's students have won awards and scholarships, received national titles, and attended a wide range of universities including Juilliard, American Musical and Dramatic Arts, UCLA, USC, NYU and many more. Ms. Jane has seen many of her students grow and develop into professional teachers, professional dancers, Broadway performers, and world-class choreographers.
On a personal note, Ms. Jane has been married to Jim Carter since 1988. They met in college where Jim played football and was awarded "All-American". Jim has been involved in the real estate industry since 1993 as a broker, syndicator, investor and now President of the Real Estate Coaching Organization. As somewhat of an empty-nester hobby, he has published two books: A Guide to MAKING IT in Real Estate (non-fiction); and, The Rip-Off (fiction-novel).
Jim and Jane are proud of all three daughters, Jessie, Jamie and Jodie. Jessie graduated from USC and is a former USC Song Girl, NBA Clipper Girl and NFL Charger Girl; she is a sales professional for EMC-Dell and will be starting, a post-graduate business program at Harvard in July. Jamie also graduated from USC and is a former USC Song Girl. She is currently finishing a Master's Degree in Finance (also at USC) and will be moving to Utah in August to work at Goldman Sachs. Jodie is graduating from UCSB in June and will be moving to Texas in August to begin a Master's Degree in accounting at University of Texas. She has a job waiting for her at PWC when she finishes her Master's Degree.
Ms. Jane is exceptionally proud of the DAU staff, parents and dancers for collectively making Dance Academy USA a place of warmth, friendship, encouragement and teamwork.
Operations / Merchandising Manager
Several years ago, DAU had grown to the point that it needed a full-time professional in the area of merchandising and costuming. We needed someone with experience in identifying current & future customer requirements, tracking budget expenses, strategic pricing analysis, vendor relationships, market knowledge, client relationships, market trend formation, online security measures, etc. Kim was the perfect fit!
Before coming to DAU (about three years ago), Kim was the Managing Partner of Jayne’s Hallmark shop at Valley Fair Mall. At one time, Jayne’s was one of the most successful Hallmark stores in the Bay Area – Ms. Jane and many DAU families were frequent customers. She co-owned and managed this location for over 15 years. As the Managing Partner, she handled everything from hiring, training and motivating employees; to purchasing & vendor relationships; payroll, scheduling, etc. As the economy changed and her family grew, Kim took a five-year sabbatical from the business/ workforce. Subsequently, as her daughter entered second grade, Kim was ready to re-enter the workforce – and DAU was excited to have her!
As DAU’s Merchandising Manager, everything relative to merchandise and costuming (primarily show related) moves through her desk. She has recently lead DAU through a complete overhaul of our costume ordering process. Our new process is now user-friendly, efficient and we think is a big win for DAU families, instructors, management and ultimately our students.
On a personal note, Kim was reared in the San Jose Area, is married and has a beautiful daughter (as mentioned) – that is enjoying her dance lessons and friends at DAU! Kim says “I have a work schedule that accommodates my daughter’s school schedule along with a very understanding and helpful husband who can pick her up from school and bring her to dance class for me. I have been part of the DAU Team now for about three years, and am very grateful to have such a fulfilling job working with amazing people and being a part of the lives of so many wonderful kids!”
Evening Operations Manager
The world of social media is growing at a ferocious pace. The complex nature of this field has required even the smallest of companies to: pay attention and learn, learn, learn! As we learn, the more challenging question(s) become: What is good for DAU and what is good for our customers and our staff (and subsequently - what do we do?). Lisa is leading this effort for DAU – however, we take an at large position on this topic at DAU – meaning, the entire Management Team is involved.
Lisa has demonstrated a unique ability to bridge the creative side of the business to the technical components of social media and blend the two into a coherent & cohesive plan that has improved DAU’s customer experience.
At its very core, DAU is a school and Lisa is very comfortable in this environment. She has been in and around the school/children environment her entire adult life. She has worked for Challenger School (as a pre-kindergarten teacher for nine years) and has been very active in her church where she worked as a teacher/bible study leader for the youth group, organized youth functions, Friday night fellowship, etc. She is also no stranger to retail/working with the public – she was the manager of Nine West in the Valley Fair Mall for several years. At Challenger and Nine West Lisa was involved in: developing lessons plans, responsible for monthly communications, mentored teaching methodology, staff selection & training, marketing strategy and store operations (and results).
Lisa’s background in education, teaching, retail, marketing, management, sales and advertising has made her a fantastic addition to the DAU’s Management Team. On a personal note – Lisa is married (to a fantastic guy who is an automotive industry executive) and has three beautiful daughters, all of whom have grown up dancing at DAU.
Production Company Manager
Loretta has been an important part of the DAU team for 11 years. Before coming to DAU, Loretta was a teacher for 18 years, assistant principal, principal and most recently the Assistant Superintendent of Moreland School District, where she was responsible for Curriculum and Instruction. She retired from this position and the state system in 2001. She holds a BA from University of Denver (Cum Laude, elected to Phi Beta Kappa) and a master’s degree in School Administration from California Lutheran University.
Loretta was the General Manager of DAU from 2001 to 2010. During that time (for 4 years), she was also a professor at San Jose State University in the School Administrative Master’s Program. Loretta’s unparalleled experience in education has allowed DAU to flourish by creating an infrastructure that is predictable and reliable (and based in good school fundamentals), and all the while supportive of the creative nature of the business - dance!
Most recently, Loretta has transitioned from a full-time position as General Manager to a part-time position as Competition Team Manager. She loves her job! She loves being around the parents, kids, teachers, and working with Ms. Jane on the competition team. This is a very important role because the competition team has grown to be the largest (and we think the most talented) in California. This is no small task and Loretta does a fantastic job!
On a personal note, she has three children and nine grandchildren, is an Elder (on the board) at her church, and a very active member of the Service Group at the Villa Montalvo.
Outreach and Social Media Manager
When Gabby isn't teaching or working on her role as Tap Director, she can be found managing the Outreach and Social Media aspects of DAU. Gabby graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance Performance from Chapman University in 2014. Along with a degree in the career of her choice, Gabby also left Chapman with a minor in English.
Her non-dance related work includes being an Administrative Assistant and working the front desk at places at Steps on Broadway and Design 2147 in New York. Gabby also managed all social media for dance company, SHIFT Dance Collective, while she was in Brooklyn. She is so happy to be immersed in all aspects of DAU and looks forward to bringing our community to a larger demographic of people.