Instructors

Alyssa Duke

Alyssa Duke has been involved in theatre since her elementary school days. Some of her most favorite productions over the years include GODSPELL, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, and CAMELOT. She is currently working towards her BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Education at the University of North Texas. Alyssa has been working with Artie’s Playhouse since 2011, assistant directing and directing RUMPLE-STEAL-SKIN and CHARLOTTE’S WEB. She also owns a children’s party entertainment company where she performs as iconic, princess characters. Alyssa is so excited to be joining the Artisan teaching team!

Gina Gwozdz

Gina Gwozdz started her dance career as Miss High Kick and Lieutenant Officer of her high school dance/drill team. She continued to study dance over the summers at Broadway Dance Center in New York and in college at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, where she co-founded the Notre Dame Breakdancing Chapter. Since then, Gina has performed for Cirque Dreams Coobrila, Six Flags, and Casa Manana’s production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at the Bass Hall. Her breakout role in musical theater was playing Anita in WEST SIDE STORY at the Artisan Center Theater receiving her first nomination for Best Supporting Actress and winning The Column’s Chita Rivera Dance Award in 2009.

Last year, she was rewarded her second Column Chita Rivera Dance Award for her role as the Apache Dancer in Artisan’s JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOATGina is certified in Fitness and Nutrition, and Cardio Dance formats; such as, BodyJam and Hip Hop Hustle. Today she continues her education in teaching Mathematics and Dance to all ages.

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson more than anything is a veteran Mom. She loves kids, especially the small ones. She has served as the director of the children’s program in her church congregation for multiple years and has led and directed musical programs and theatrical performances.  She has six years of training in dance and theater and more than anything loves to watch the individual growth that comes from the stage and everything around it.

Jennifer Leyva

Jennifer has been teaching dance for over 15 years beginning in her home state of Oklahoma and teaching all over the US and Mexico. She has trained as a dancer since the age of three in various forms of dance including ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, lyrical, tap, hip-hop, theater dance, improv as well as African, Flamenco and Indian dance. She has studied with artists from all over the world including teachers with Hubbard Street Dance Company in Chicago, Mark Morris Dance Company, Alvin Ailey Dance, Texas Ballet Theater and Ballet Oklahoma. After studying dance in college, she moved to Maryland to choreograph and perform with Six Flags theme parks. Following many, many theme parks shows, Jennifer and her family moved to Michigan, where they spent seven years managing entertainment and performing at a dude ranch and golf resort. Surprisingly for a dude ranch, the entertainment department was wide and varied and included music and dance revues, children’s theater, improv shows, Wild West Whip Cracking Revues, stunt shows, Dinner theater and so much more.

Jennifer is now so happy to come to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and continue her career as a teacher and performer. She is currently a teacher at Bruce Lea Dance Factory and Arts Fifth Avenue and is so happy to be beginning a dance program with the Artisan where she and her family also direct, choreograph and perform.

Mady Malouf

Mady Malouf is a newcomer to the great state of Texas and the Artisan and couldn’t be more excited! She has always had a love for music and performing. She started with piano at age 3 and later ventured into singing and musical theatre where her love of being on stage really blossomed. Mady recently graduated from the Music Dance Theatre program at Brigham Young University. While studying at BYU, she taught private piano lessons, was on the Vocal Faculty for the Hale Center Theater Academy for the Performing Arts, and assisted with the Utah Valley Children’s Concert Choir, when they toured Mexico, Canada, as well as over 25 of the United States.

She also music directed the world premiere of a new musical: THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY. Mady was nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival where she competed last February. Some of Mady’s favorite acting credits include Naphtali’s wife in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, Silly Girl in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and Mrs. Spencer in MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG.

Mady has a passion for working with young students and seeing them reach their potential. She loves the safe and positive learning environment at the Artisan and is excited to contribute to it as she teaches eager young minds the importance of the arts, correct technique and helps them discover confidence in their abilities.

Melanie Lewis

Melanie Lewis has a BA in Theatre from Texas Christian University. She earned her teacher certification from the Masters program at University of North Texas. Melanie has taught Theatre for 6-12 grades and 7th grade English for 5 years in public and private schools. She could be seen playing Martha in THE PROMISE in Glen Rose, TX during this time as well. After the birth of her first child, Melanie chose to spend most of the day at home with her three kids, ages 2, 4 and 5. She’s spent the last 5 years of evenings and summers teaching acting and musical theatre classes in area theatres and after school programs. She has directed a plethora of shows for students ages 2-62 including THE SOUND OF MUSIC, LYLE THE CROCODILE, BABES IN TOYLAND, BUNNICLUA, THE LITTLE PRINCESS, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, FOLLOW THAT RABBIT, DISNEY’S JUNGLE BOOK JR. and many more.

Natalie Burkhart

Natalie has been heavily involved in theater since she was a small child, working virtually every position from acting to technical theater. She received her training from the University of North Texas, KD Studios Actors Conservatory and the La Jolla Playhouse Actors Conservatory in San Diego, California where she studied under former Artistic Director and two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff. Some of her acting credits include CITY OF ANGELS and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at FMPAT, THE TEMPEST at Dallas Shakespeare Festival and Teatro Dallas’ THE PRENTENTIOUS MAIDENS. She has also starred in SWING, WEST SIDE STORY, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, ALL HANDS ON DECK, and many others here at Artisan. Natalie has written, directed, and designed many productions and has received numerous Column Award nominations for acting and technical work. Directing credits include DISNEY’S MULAN JR, THE REINDEER WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS, DISNEY’S ALADDIN JR, DORA’S PIRATE ADVENTURE, DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR and WINNIE THE POOH. Natalie appreciates the importance of theater arts in a child’s life and has been teaching acting and musical theater classes for youth since 2003. She has served on judging panels for neighboring school districts since 2004 and has taught several high school workshops for junior and senior students.

Natalie came to teach at Artisan in 2008 and is currently working as Director of Artie’s Playhouse and Education for Artisan Center Theater. Natalie is also touring nationally as Betty Blake in ALL HANDS ON DECK! a new 1940′s musical.

Tania Mayes

Tania is delighted to be back teaching at Artisan Center Theater, where she previously worked full time for three years, as Director of Artie’s Playhouse and the original Director of Artisan’s Acting Academy. She has a BA degree in Theatre from Butler University and an MBA from Indiana University, but her first love is working with children. She has appeared in numerous theatre productions in Illinois, Indiana, and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and currently teaches Music and Drama to preschoolers at Trinity Early Childhood Learning Center in Arlington. The mother of two teenage boys, she enjoys attending their baseball games and activities, including serving as a volunteer for the Miracle League for special needs children.