Ms. Coker is a senior instructor in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Pointe, Modern, Pas de Deux, and Competition classes. She has Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in dance from Southern Methodist University (SMU). She is the founder, owner, and director of Avant Dance. She is the founder and former Artistic Director of the South Texas Dance Theatre, and a former officer in the Southwest Regional Ballet Association (Regional Dance America). She served on the committee for the National Choreography Conference for two years. Ms. Coker taught Dance and Stage Movement at the University of Texas Pan American for eight years during which time she twice orchestrated the hosting of the National Choreography Conference. She was also the founder, director, and former owner of the Edinburg Dance Academy and Cynthia Coker & Company. These schools were sold when she relocated to Corpus Christi. Her own training includes Nikita Talin (soloist with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and partner of Bronislava Nijinska), Luigi (father of lyrical dance), and Ethel Winters and Yuriko of the original Martha Graham Company. Cynthia teaches a Cecchetti based ballet technique as well as modern and lyrical dance. She and her husband, Chester, have three children, Ehren who leads a web design team in St. Louis, KC who is a cinematographer in Austin, and Arielle who is a professional dancer, model, actress, and singer in Los Angeles. Cynthia has trained dozens of dancers who have gone on to dance professionally in companies or as commercial dancers, directed dance companies, and have become choreographers and dance teachers in studios, public schools, and universities. Her motto is: "never let someone else define what you can or cannot do." Achieving the unexpected is a remarkable and wonderful thing. She herself is a testament to her own philosophy as she survived a near fatal auto accident and reopened the studio when she was not expected to survive or walk, much less teach dance. She believes that one should focus not on one's limitations but on one's strengths.
Artistic Director, Senior Instructor and Choreographer
Arielle Elonys Coker
Arielle is an Avant Dance Alumnus currently working in Los Angeles as a professional dancer, choreographer, singer, and actress. Arielle has choreographed commercials for McDonald's and choreographed or performed in musice videos by Jon Bellion, 3oh!3, Kill the Noise, and Brendon Urie. She modeled for 10th House Costume catalogue in 2017 and has modeled for multiple performance and fitness wear catalogues. She is currently employed by Showstopper Conventions and Competitions and tours throughout the United States as a teacher, hostess, and judge (as shown in the June 2014 and 2015 editions of Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, and Dance Studio Magazine). When in Los Angeles she teaches at Millinium. She starred in the short movie, "Where We Begin" which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, April 2015. Arielle has apperared on the television show "Nashville", filmed multiple commercials for Eureka vacuum cleaners, and danced as a back-up dancer and/or choreographed for multiple country and pop recording artists including Tim McGraw, Lost Trailers, and Alyssa Shouse. She acted in the web series "Johnny Dynamo" and was also seen on the series AXI (Avengers of Extreme Illusion). She has appeared multiple times on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" and was a runner up in the Dance Spirit cover model search 2008.She holds a BA in dance from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. As a Corpus Christi native, she returns to Avant Dance in Corpus Christi whenever possible to teach and choreograph. She has trained with Bruce Marks, Sonya Tayeh, Justin Giles, Chad Michael Hall, Scott Heinzerling, Tekla Kostek, Holly Johnston, Quest Crew, Box Cuttahz, Joe Istre, and Kim McSwain. Arielle received her early training at Avant Dance in Corpus Christi.
Charles, an Avant Dance alumnus, is currently working as a professional dancer in Los Angeles, but returns to teach and choreograph at Avant several months each year. He is employed by Showstopper Convention and Camps and tours as an instructor throughout the United States. He has toured in China as a modern dance performer and teacher for the dance company, ZiRu. Charles holds a BA degree in dance from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He was the receipient of the "Outstanding Performer" award at the National American College Dance Festival in 2012 and received high honors nationally at the ACDF nationals in 2010. Charles performed as a backup dancer for Rianna at MTV's VMA awards, has performed in Carnival at the Choreographers' Ball in Hollywood, at nationals in ACDF in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center, and was a Vegas qualifier for SYTYCD. The teachers he has trained with include Patrick Damon Rago, Rogelio Lopez, Holly Johnson, Tekla Kostek, Paige Porter, Mike Esperanza, Nick Long, Dan Karaty, Keith Green, Tre Holloway, and Fanny Pak. As an Avant Company dancer and instructor he has won awards in Showstopper and JUMP competitions, has performed off-Broadway in NYC for Shake N Break, and has been a JUMP scholarship winner. Charles (P-nut) is a graduate of Ray High School and was the leader of the Hip Hop team when he attended the school.
Andrew De Luna
Andrew is a professional dancer who has traveled the world performing with Princess Criuise Lines, Regent Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruise Lines, with Sheraton Walkerhill in Seoul, South Korea, Legends in Concert in Myrtle Beach, iCandy Production, Harrah's Hotel & Casino, and for Gary Musick Productions to name a few. He has performed in feature films, television commercials, and even a Chuck-E-Cheese video. As a concert dancer he has performed with Tapestry Dance Company (Austin), The Drawbacks Rhythm Tap Company (Dallas), American Spirit Dance Company (Oklahoma City), and Dance Grand Prix Italia International Showcase (Cesena, Italy). Although employed and touring as a dancer, company manager, and choreographer with Princess Cruise Lines, Andrew will be returning to Avant Dance to teach tap and musical theatre upon completion of his current tour. Not only is he a brilliant tap dancer, he is a highly skilled and inspirational instructor and choreographer. Andrew earned his Bachelor in Performing Art from Oklahoma City University specializing in Musical Theatre and tap dance.
Abby grew up dancing at Ballet Theatre School in Cullman, AL under the direction of Elaine Brown Willingham. She attended summer intensives at Birmingham Southern College, University of South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory, Alabama Ballet Center for Dance, and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She later began pre-professional training at the Alabama Ballet Center for Dance under the direction of former ABT principal Wes Chapman and former London City Ballet principal and ABT soloist Roger Van Fleteren. After two years with the school, she accepted a contract to dance professionally with the Alabama Ballet, dancing corps and soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and original works in Soul of the South. She went on to attend the University of Oklahoma on academic and ballet scholarships, where she joined the Oklahoma Festival Ballet and danced lead roles in Swan Lake and Roma. After leaving ballet to focus on academics, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing and a Master's of Library and Information Studies, while exploring other genres of dance, such as ballroom and Flamenco. She continued to perform and teach in Norman, OK before founding and opening Awen Academy of Ballet and Ballroom, where she taught all ages of students from 3 to adult. She has attended the Revolutionary Principles of Movement (RPM) teacher training, which helps students acquire limitless potential regardless of body type. Abby is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.