Artistic Staff

Robin Smith

Robin has been in the dance education industry for 30 years. It has been a devotion to the Dance Arts that began at the age of three and continued through pre-professional trai ning and professional performing and teaching-directing experiences. Robin is the former owner of the Marysville Dance Center and was the Artistic Director at The Dublin Dance Centre for 15 years. Robin is one of the founders and owners of CDA. Robin trained in Cincinnati on scholarship at the Bonet Dance Studio and attended the College Conservatory of Dance and Music. In college, Robin majored in dance and theater at the University of Cincinnati and at The Ohio State University. She performed professionally as a feature performer, dance captain and assistant choreographer with Kings Production at Kings Island in the American Heritage Theater for six years. Robin was a featured teacher in the Dance Teacher Now magazine ten year anniversary issue. Robin was the coach of the award winning Hilliard Davidson Dance Team for five years.  Presently Robin is a coach/choreographer for the CDA Competition Dance Teams. Robin is presently a primary choreographer for Contemporary Ballet and Contemporary Dance in the CDA Company classes and the CDA Company concert, DanceScope. She has written and directed numerous dance productions and choreographed for community, college and high school musicals throughout the years. Robin feels that bringing the wonderful world of dance to students is rewarding and a fulfilling lifetime journey.


Rachel Gogolin

Rachel has dedicated most of her life to dance training and dance education.  She has trained intensively in all of the dance art forms and has been teaching and choreographing dance for the past 21 years to dancers of all ages.  She was formerly a DDC Senior Repertory member and performed in numerous feature roles in major productions during her years at DDC.  Rachel is the former Dance Captain of the Hilliard Davidson Dance Team where she won first place awards for her choreography.  Rachel continued her dance education at Otterbein College.  She has attended and performed in The Jazz Dance World Congress. Rachel has trained in Chicago at the RiverNorth Dance Intensive, the Gus Giordano and Lou Conte studios and in New York at Steps On Broadway, Alvin Ailey and the Broadway Dance Centre. She has trained in Tap with Jimmy Tate and Hip-Hop/Jazz with Dan Karaty and Tyce Diorio and was the scholarship recipient at Columbus Taps Festival 2009 for the Cleveland Tap Intensive.  Rachel founded and was the coach/choreographer for the CDA Dance Teams where she has been awarded numerous choreography awards and the teams have consistently swept highest honors.  Rachel presently is a primary choreographer for the CDA Dance Competition Teams.  She is a primary choreographer in Contemporary Dance, Jazz, Tap and Hip-Hop for the CDA Company classes and Company concert, DanceScope, as well as a primary choreographer for CDA’s holiday performances and year end productions. Rachel is a CDA curriculum advisor in Jazz, Tap and Hip-Hop for the academy classes.  Rachel is a full-time instructor at CDA and has been a teacher here since we opened in 2003.  Rachel was named the Assistant Artistic Director at CDA in 2005. Rachel loves bringing the joy of dance to her students of all ages and she has a special connection with them that she cherishes.

Artistic Director

Erin Hahn

Erin studied dance under scholarship at Ohio University where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. She has taught dancers of all ages and skill levels, including dancers in private studio settings, public schools, preschoolers at the Children’s Center of Austin (Texas), and college students at Ohio University. Erin’s enthusiasm for dance began at a young age and has grown into a passion that she shares with students at CDA as a teacher and as the mini and kinder program coordinator. She grew up training in dance and in high school devoted much of her time to an intensive program at The Westerville Academy of Dance where she studied many different dance art forms. Erin has studied Ballet, Pointe, Modern, and Jazz with The Lexington School of Ballet and has also studied in New York with Jennifer Muller: The Works, focusing on modern dance. She has danced at Steps On Broadway (New York), at The Columbus Taps! Festival, and at the Hollywood Vibe and LA Dance Force National Conventions. Erin has performed in original pieces of choreography by New York choreographers Mark Haim and Sean Curran and was a member of the Westerville Academy Performance Ensemble. Erin has been a full time instructor at CDA for seven years.  She is CDA’s Program Coordinator of the Mini/Kinder programs and the director of the Mini Show year end performances. She is a CDA curriculum advisor for academy classes in Ballet and Jazz and is the Program Coordinator for the Preparatory Program at CDA. Erin enjoys instilling her love of dance in her students at CDA.

Coordinator for the Mini/Kinder and Preparatory Programs

Renee Smith

Renee received her BFA in dance from Point Park University in 2008. Upon graduation she toured New England as the Lead Dancer for Latshaw Production’s Swing City Orchestra.  Based out of pittsburgh, Renee was a free-lance dance artist who was a  founding member of the Staycee Pearl Dance Project and performed with Attack Theatre, The Pittsburgh Oprah, and Shana Simmons Dance. Renee was the Co-Founder/Director/Choreographer/Performer of the Murphy-Smith Dance Collective, a modern dance company that performed regularly in Pittsburgh and New York City.  She has been a frequent guest choreographer for the Texture Contemporary Ballet Company and was the Director/Founder and one of the choreographers in the Pittsburgh Dance Junction. She taught and choreographed for seven years in the Pre-Professional Program at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and was a dance professor in the Performing Arts Program at Seton Hill University.  During her last six years in Pittsburgh she was also Co-Artistic Director at Dance Explosion Arts Center where she taught the Company and Advanced Ballet and Pointe.  Renee has studied and performed professionally in Ballet/Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary and Hip Hop. She has thorough curriculum building and teaching experience in ballet technique and classical variations as well as all other dance art forms.  Renee is a CDA alumni dancer who fully believes CDA’s program and philosophy creates well rounded professional and recreational dancers who are contributing members to society in both the arts and academic worlds. “I am so excited to teach in a dance academy that has programs I feel so strongly about. I have brought a little bit of CDA into every dance experience I have  ever had.” This is her second season with CDA!

Assitant Artistic Director

Melissa Brenner

Melissa discovered her love for dance at a young age, beginning with ballet and jazz classes and later dancing competitively for over nine years. Originally from the Dayton area, she began her pre-professional training at Terre's Dance Workshop where she was a member of the Miami Valley Dance Company and Terre's Dance Team. Melissa attended The Ohio State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, with a concentration on dance education and performance. During her time at OSU, she developed a greater passion and appreciation for choreography and creating movement.  Her senior project, “A Crowd is Not Company,” was featured in the senior concert and selected to be a part of the OSU Dance Department’s Spring Concert. 


Melissa’s past performance credits include; ensemble dancer in Cedar Fair Kings Island's 2008 live shows, Flashback Totally 80s and Hot Island Rhythms, company member of SMAG Dance Collective, and principal dancer with Seven Dance Company.  She choreographed and performed in numerous Seven productions including, Song of the Stars, which was featured on COSI’s Giant Screen Theater and PBS Broadcasting, and Oceans. In 2018 Melissa founded Cultivate Dance Project, a part-time, professional dance company, as a creative outlet for adult dancers in the Columbus, Ohio community. Since its formation, the work she has set on Cultivate Dance Project has been a part of local productions including Columbus DanceArts Academy’s DanceScope, Columbus Dance Alliance WORKS #2, Ten Tiny Dances Columbus, and the Columbus Arts Festival. Melissa also served as a summer dance camp instructor for AmeriDance from 2009-2012 and has been on the artistic faculty at Columbus DanceArts Academy since fall 2011. Melissa is thrilled to continue to be a part of CDA and is thankful for the opportunity to share her love of dance with students of all ages!


Madison Miller

Madison is originally from the Dayton area and has been dancing since the age of 3. She trained at Dayton Dance Conservatory in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, hip hop, and musical theater. During her 15 years at DDC, she danced competitively, student taught, and was a member of their pre-professional dance company. She received her B.S. in Psychology with minors in Dance and Criminal Justice Studies from Ohio State University in 2019. In 2018, she performed in the dance department’s Senior Dance Concert as a member of Anthony Milian’s senior thesis piece. During her four years of undergraduate studies at Ohio State, she was a member of and choreographed several pieces for Dance Connection, a student organization on campus. She served as Dance Connection’s Education Coordinator for two years. In this role, she organized master classes and other educational opportunities for the members and surrounding Columbus community. Madison has worked with youth in various roles and settings including as a preschool assistant teacher for three summers, a substitute teacher in districts around Columbus, and a Program Management Intern for Girls on the Run of Central Ohio. She is currently in the Masters of Social Work program at Ohio State University specializing in Child and Youth Services. This will be her third year teaching at CDA, and she can’t wait to see her students grow throughout the 2020-2021 season!


Catie Armbrecht

Catie Armbrecht is from Cleveland, Ohio and has been dancing since she was three years old, teaching since the age of 11, and choreographing since she was 16. She is currently a fourth year at Ohio State, pursuing a BFA in Dance, a business minor, and the pre-physical therapy track. She has trained and taught in styles of ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, and lyrical, with additional experience in choreographing for competition routines at studios. Her most recent involvements have been an invite-only summer intensive with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, a study abroad to Denmark with the Ohio State Dance Department, and performances in the Faculty Concert and Dance Connection Shows at Ohio State. In her future, Catie hopes to expand her performance and choreographic opportunities to other cities and get acquainted with other artists. She is passionate about the body, dance, and what it can bring to others, and is excited to be a part of the CDA staff!


Courtney Gee

Courtney, a 2014 alumni of Columbus DanceArts Academy, received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University in 2018. During her time at BGSU, she was a performer and lead choreographer for University Dance Alliance and was a member of the competitive urban dance team, Elem3nt. She also performed in showcases for BGSU’s dance department where she met studio owners in the area who were looking for teachers. Courtney began working as a Jazz and Hip Hop teacher and as a competition coach and instructor in NW Ohio. In the summer Courtney taught dance and yoga at a boarding school in Indiana. There she found a passion for fitness and became a school athletic director.


More recently, Courtney moved back to Columbus and started teaching in the Dublin City School District and has rediscovered her love of performing while dancing with Cultivate Dance Project. “I love that I’m able to combine my passion for teaching and my love of dance into one job; more importantly I enjoy being able to see my students have that same feeling of excitement when they come into my classroom.” This will be her sixth year with CDA and first season here as an instructor! 

Dance Instructor

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Student Teaching Staff

Sarah Ash

Sarah has trained at Columbus DanceArts Academy for 13 years, dancing 9-13 hours per week as an elite Company A dancer in all art forms. During her time at Columbus DanceArts Academy, Sarah has performed in numerous CDA productions including: Haunted Hip Hop, Holiday Shows, DanceScope, and year-end Fairy Tale productions.  She has enjoyed feature roles such as Iglora in Six Hidden Princesses, an elf in Nutty Nutcracker, the White Rabbit in Alice in Winterland, and had the privilege of serving as a Parade Captain for CDA’s Parade Team at the Dublin Fourth of July Parade. She has participated in CDA’s Dance Team for 4 years, competing award-winning solos the past 2 years. Sarah furthered her dance training by taking classes from internationally known, master dance instructors at Excel in Motion and CDA’s Weekend Summer Intensive. Additionally, Sarah participated in CDA’s Company trip to New York City to attend classes at the prestigious dance studios, Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center.


Sarah has been teaching at Columbus DanceArts Academy since 2019, with 3 years of experience as a TA and 2 years of experiencing working at CDA Dance Camps. Outside of CDA, Sarah applies her passion for teaching and helping others by participating in Girl Scouts for the past 11 years, serving as a Girl Scout Camp Counselor, assisting her school choir with group choreography, and forming a school club where students make cards for people in need.  She has continued to grow her teamwork skills and dance training by also performing with her high school’s dance team. Sarah loves having fun with her students and sharing the joy of dance with the next generation of young dancers!  

Student Instructor

Emma Casement

Emma has been dancing at CDA for 9 years and is currently trains at the Company AH level, the highest level in CDA’s Pre-Professional Company Program. She is also a member of Columbus DanceArts Academy’s award-winning Senior Dance Team and has competed as a CDA soloist at serval competition venues. Emma has had the opportunity to perform in CDA’s Holiday Shows, Haunted Hip Hop, the annual Company Concert, DanceScope, and year-end Fairy Tale productions.  Recently, Emma has danced the feature roles of Glitter Princess Doll in the 2020 CDA production of The Unknown City, the Robot in the 2019 holiday production of A December Wish, and the Icicle Fairy in the 2018 holiday production of The Nutty Nutcracker.  Emma broadened her dance training by taking classes from internally known, master instructors at Excel in Motion and traveling to New York City with CDA to attend classes at several prestigious dance studios.       


Emma is excited to pass on her love for dance to her students at Columbus DanceArts Academy this year. She has interned for 2 years with experienced CDA instructors and has spent the last year gaining further classroom experience by substitute teaching for classes of various ages and art forms.  Emma enjoys having the opportunity to mentor and inspire CDA students on their own dance journeys.

Student Instructor

Zoe Gertler

Zoe has danced at Columbus DanceArts Academy for 15 years and is currently involved in the Pre-Professional Company Program, training at the highest company level, Company AH, in all art forms. She has performed in CDA Holiday Shows, the annual Company Concert, DanceScope, and has danced many feature roles in CDA’s year-end Fairy Tale productions. Most recently, Zoe performed the lead role of Melaynie in the 2020 CDA production of The Unknown City.  Zoe has also performed with the award-winning CDA Senior Dance Team in numerous competition venues.  


Zoe has served as both an intern and teacher assistant for 3 years under the guidance of multiple CDA staff members. Her experience as a substitute dance instructor for various ages and art forms has acquainted her with the responsibilities of the classroom setting.  Zoe has furthered her experience working with children through babysitting, and serving as a camp instructor and VBS volunteer leader. For Zoe, dance is more than just a hobby; it is an outlet that allows her to forget the troubles of the world and find joy in movement. She feels blessed to have undergone such exceptional training throughout her years at CDA and finds mentoring young dancers a rewarding experience.  Zoe is excited to foster the same joy and love for movement in her students. 

Student Instructor

Elise Pierson

Bio coming soon...

Sarah Rothacker

Sarah has been dancing for 15 years and is currently a dancer in Company AH, the highest level in Columbus DanceArts Academy’s Pre-Professional Company Program.  During her time at Columbus DanceArts Academy, Sarah has performed in CDA’s Holiday Shows, year-end Fairy Tale productions, and the Annual Company Concert, DanceScope.  In addition to her performance experience, Sarah is also a member of CDA’s award-winning Senior Dance Team, competing in the team, duet, and solo categories.  She has furthered her dance training by taking classes with internationally known, master class instructors at Excel in Motion, JUMP, Butler University’s Virtual Summer Intensive, and CDA’s Summer Intensive.  Sarah attended CDA’s prestigious Company Trip to New York City, taking classes at both Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway.  Columbus DanceArts Academy has recognized Sarah’s efforts in her dance training with awards such as the Versatile Dancer Award and the CDA Golden Student Achievement Award.

Sarah’s passion for dance education began 4 years ago, when she first became a CDA Intern and TA.  Since then, she has been a CDA Summer Camp Intern for 3 summers and taught and substituted for 1 year.  She has furthered her experience working with children by teaching at Goldfish Swim School and volunteering and assistant coaching DYA girls lacrosse.  Sarah hopes to inspire her students to find the joy and excitement dance has to offer!

Student Instructor

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