About CAD – Coronado Academy of Dance
April 22, 2015

About CAD

sarah_young_01Coronado Academy of Dance has been providing quality dance education to our community since 1998. Our studio represents a positive learning environment where dancers can have fun, be creative, and experience the incredible world of dance. CAD encourages dancers to take the disciplines of dance into their everyday lives, helping to build self-confidence, poise, and self-esteem. The confidence gained through class work and performances will benefit the student in all aspects of their life.  We strive to achieve the best in all of our students and showcase all of their talents and abilities. We hope to not only build a solid dance foundation, but also to provide our students with priceless and memorable life experiences and friendships. Parents will see their children involved in a wholesome activity that contributes to the growth and development of their ability and personality.

The best education starts with the best teachers, which is why CAD employs instructors with a well-rounded background of training, performance, and teaching experience. Our teachers are passionate about the art and discipline of dance and we appreciate the opportunity to share our love of dance with each student. CAD is staffed by experienced, professional instructors who strive to inspire students with the love of dance and an appreciation for the arts.

Thank you for browsing our website. We also invite you anytime into the studio to view our classes and see for yourself why we are Coronado’s first choice for dance!

A star danced, and under that was I born.

 – William Shakespeare

Meet Our Staff

Dawn Tyler

Owner, Director

dawn_professional_640x798Dawn Tyler was born and raised in Coronado, CA.  She started dancing at age 7 in a local studio studying ballet, tap, and jazz.  At age 11, she expanded her training at larger studios in San Diego, including Ballet Society and California Ballet. Dawn danced 12 to 15 hours a week while holding the position as Cheerleader Team Captain during all four years at Coronado High School. In addition, Dawn performed regularly with California Ballet in their productions of The Nutcracker, Midsummer’s Night Dream, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Dracula, and La Bayadere.  During her senior year of high school, she took first place in the all-school talent show performing a lyrical solo to “Unchained Melody”.  That summer she was awarded a summer dance intensive scholarship to study with Joffrey Ballet School in New York.  The following year she was crowned Miss Coronado 1992.  Dawn’s passion and enthusiasm for dance led to teaching and directing positions at various studios. At age 25, her dream of opening her own studio became reality when she started Coronado Academy of Dance.  Over the last 19 years, Dawn has shared her love of dance with thousands of Coronado children, many of whom returned as CAD alumni to teach at her studio or enroll their own children!  “Miss Dawn” feels very blessed to teach not only the technical side of learning dance, but also to receive the truly rewarding gifts of watching young students blossom and grow with the strength, beauty, and confidence they learn through classroom discipline and stage performance.

Kristen Howarth

Instructor (Tap)

E5Kristen’s love for dance began at a very early age (before she could walk!) while dancing along to Michael Jackson as she pulled herself up in her playpen! At the age of 7 she joined a friend for “Bring A Friend to Dance” day at And All That Jazz Dance Studio. She loved it so much that over the next decade she went on to study tap, jazz, ballet, modern, hip hop, musical theater, clogging, gymnastics and hula as well as acting and singing at various studios, schools and companies in and around San Diego and Los Angeles. Kristen began competing in dance and singing at the age of 8. She has won over 500 awards for talent including California State Champion for hula, clogging and song & tap.

In High School Kristen was a dance major, a 4-year member of the award-winning Main Attraction mixed show choir and was a founding member of the all girl show choir, Dream Girls, of which Kristen was first soprano vocal section leader and assistant director. At the same time she was performing all over California with the San Diego Civic Dance Association “Company”.

Kristen has performed with Starlight Theatre in Balboa Park, Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista, Christian Community Theatre, Disneyland, Disney World and for the Disney Cruise Line. Her favorite roles include Marian in The Music Man, Columbia in Rocky Horror Show, Irene in Footloose, Cassie in A Chorus Line, Jeanie in Hair, Wendy in Peter Pan (w/ Adam Lambert as Captain Hook).

Over the years various instructors have molded Kristen. Her favorites include Donna Geiger (tap, jazz, lyrical, hula, clogging, ballet – Dance Carousel), Ricki Geary (tap – And All That Jazz), Dora Walker (vocal), Shirley Giltner (tap – In Motion), Javier Velasco (ballet – Chula Vista Middle School), Jack Tygett (drama/acting – Chula Vista High School & Starlight Theatre), Ray Limon (tap – APA, Starlight Theatre & Moonlight Amphitheatre), Colleen Shipkowski (jazz – Southwestern College), Debi Toth (ballet, modern – Southwestern College), Wade Robson (Hip Hop – Moro Landis Studios / now called Millennium Dance Studios), Andrea Feier (modern – SDCDA), Kirby Ward (tap – SDCDA)  and Don & Bonnie Ward (tap, theater dance/musical theater).

Kristen has been with Coronado Academy of Dance since 1998. The first year she was a substitute teacher. She went on to teach competition team dances in hip hop, jazz and tap and has taught both kids and adult tap, jazz, lyrical, musical theater, production and private lessons for the studio. Currently Kristen teaches tap classes.

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”

-Martha Graham

Trevor Van Orden

Instructor (Hip-Hop / Jazz)

Trevor Van Orden headshot_cropped_400w_medqual

Trevor Van Orden graduated from Onondaga Community College in 2011 with an Associates in Humanities and continued on at SUNY Potsdam with a Bachelors in Dance in 2013. Trevor was a part of the Hip Hop dance team Team NV, a member of the Caridanco Dance Company and FuturPointe II while at SUNY Postdam.

Soon after graduating he auditioned for FuturPointe Dance, a contemporary dance company in Rochester New York. There he became an apprentice, and relocated to the Rochester area. He Joined Borinquen Dance Theatre (BDT) in 2014 where he worked as a dancer, choreographer, peer instructor and an instructor for the Outreach program at School #9.

Making his way to San Diego in mid 2016, Trevor continues his dance journey with Unidentified Dance, a company he co-created with colleague and former Borinquen dancer, Margaret Moreno. Trevor has co-produced two shows in the San Diego International Fringe festival in 2015 and 2016 and has brought Dancers from BDT over to participate in the production.

Primarily self-taught and originally from Syracuse, New York, Trevor also has an extensive background in martial arts. His experience in martial arts strongly influenced a serious pursuit in dance. He hopes to continue to spread his love of dance and is excited to teach again this year.

Madeleine Schoch

Instructor (Ballet / Pointe)

Madeleine_Schoch_head shotMadeleine began training in classical ballet at the Milwaukee Ballet School and the Makaroff School of Ballet. She continued to study contemporary dance and choreography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After graduating summa cum laude in 2012, Madeleine attended the American Dance Festival as a scholarship student, where she premiered an untitled solo. From 2013-2016 she performed as a guest artist with Danceworks Performance Company and as a dancer for the Gina Laurenzi Dance Project. In 2014 her solo “See Me See You” was featured as a part of Danceworks’ Art to Art series, in collaboration with Ryan Hussey. In 2016 she produced her first evening length concert, “Up Close And…”. Madeleine is very excited to be teaching and dancing in the San Diego area!


Emily Dietz

Instructor (Contemporary)

Emily DietzEmily graduated from Butler University with a Bachelor of Science degree in  Dance/Arts Administration. She is originally from Mountain View, California, where she grew up dancing as a student with Western Ballet. She simultaneously participated in her high school’s dance program, Dance Spectrum, which first exposed her to styles of dance other than ballet. While her time in university primarily focused on classical ballet, she also received training in modern technique with Susan McGuire, a former dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. While attending Butler University, she performed in many contemporary works in addition to the classical ballets put on by Butler Ballet. She has been privileged to work with choreographers such as Lesley Telford, Alexi Zubiria, Marek Cholewa, Patrick Hinson, Derek Reid, Cynthia Pratt, and many others. In addition to ballet, modern, and contemporary she has trained in jazz, hip-hop, and character dancing. Emily is currently a dancer with City Ballet of San Diego.

Rachel Keener

Instructor (Kinder Combo, Boogie Babies, Twinkle Toes, DanceFUN)

unnamedAt two years old, Rachel would stand outside of dance class while her sister danced. Rachel would cry so hard because she wanted to dance, that her mother had to carry her outside.  A year later at the age of three, she got her wish and began taking Ballet and Tap from Miss Eva May Morris.  She continued to dance with her sister until her family moved to Cuba in 1981.  She had the opportunity to explore a variety of dance styles, she performed in festivals, and enjoyed unique venues while living in Cuba.  Six years later she returned to the states and once again returned to dance with the Eva May Morris School of Dance where she received her Graduate, Post Graduate and Artist degree. Rachel began to choreograph during high school, her first show was The Wizard of Oz.  Her experience grew with her being the Captain for such shows as Grease and Sweet Charity.  After graduating from high school, Rachel continued to take classes in multiple disciplines and began teaching for Parks and Recreation Centers.  She discovered her passion for dance teaching! Rachel moved to California, and was hired as the only dance instructor with the goal of developing Chula Vista’s Park and Recreations dance program.  The program grew rapidly in large part due to her integration into the community.  The style of dance, choreography, and the Recital all served to strengthen the dancer, their family, and the community where they lived.  Rachel loved this concept of dance integrating with the community and branched out to establish additional programs. From The Museum School, in San Diego to the San Diego County YMCAs to co-owning Adagio Dance, Rachel enjoyed seeing dancers thrive and embrace all forms of dance. Most recently Rachel has decided to step back in the role she has loved most, dance instructor. She loves the smiles from dancers as the learn new moves, overcome their fears, and truly enjoy dance.

Leasa Thernes

Instructor (Tap, Kinder Combo)

img_0372Leasa Thernes is a Teaching Artist and an award-winning Filmmaker and Choreographer. She is the Co-founder of Lost Artist Films and has written, directed, and/or produced five short films. Her film, Basket of Sane, won Awards for Best Surrealist 2006 and Best Experimental 2007 at the New York International Independent Film Festivals in New York City and Los Angeles, and was a participant in the 2007 Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner in Cannes, France. She has directed and choreographed numerous Ballets and Theatrical Productions, and her choreography won the Gold Medal for Group Dance and the Silver Medal for Solo Dance at the 2004 Maccabi Games (Jewish Olympics) in Boston. Leasa can be found teaching choreography and dance at several companies and studios in and around San Diego. She has been a Teaching Artist at San Diego Junior Theatre since 2004, where she teaches dance, acting, film and also directs and choreographs.

Natasha Archer

Office Manager

Tash bio pic 2016

Although not a trained dancer, Natasha comes to CAD with a unique skill set of her own. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication; Journalism with emphasis in public relations/advertising and a minor in speech communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Whether she is planning special events, laying out educational programming, coordinating and recruiting volunteers or designing and sending out monthly newsletters; communication and coordination are key elements that Natasha brings to our organization.

A military brat and military spouse with two kiddos and two furry kids at home, Natasha understands the crazy, ever changing family life that is a constant and contributing force to the dynamic face of our unique small-town Coronado life style. She loves the sun, salt life & tranquility of the sea and hopes to one day make Coronado her final duty station and permanent home.


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