top of page
Dance of Asian America.png

DAA Company Faculty

Since 2001, Janie has directed and produced over fifty full scale concerts at the Wortham Center, Hobby Center, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Jones Hall, Stafford Centre as well as on tour.  She trained with Houston Ballet and her mother Mitsi Shen.  She graduated on full scholarship from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Choreography.  Janie Yao led 20 dancers to the Quarter Finals of Season 8 of America’s Got Talent’s LIVE performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in 2013.  Under the direction of Janie Yao, DAA reaches over 50,000 people annually through over 50 free public performances and educational program.  DAA also provides advanced training for local dancers in all forms of dance and opportunities to perform live in professional settings.  DAA values dance as a tool for educating multi-generational audiences about Chinese history and culture and engage in international exchange to effectively bridge the gap between the east and the west.  Visit our website today to find out about our amazing free performances and educational programs or book us for an event.  In 2009, DAA was select as one of the 11 best dance companies in Houston to present the Dance USA’s Showcase – “The Power of Movement” – at The Wortham Center.

Janie Yao
Director and Co-Founder of Dance of Asian America
Mitsi Shen
International Coordinator & Co-Founder of Dance of Asian America

Mitsi Shen was former principal dancer and respected teacher of the Shanghai Dance Troupe and Shanghai Dance Academy. She was the Gold Medalist of the Pan-America Competition - Dance Fever - in 1983.  Mitsi Shen was the founder of Mitsi Dancing School and ran the school for 31 years (1984 to 2015) and led the School to the Quarter Finals of Season 8 of America’s Got Talent’s LIVE performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  

Amy Fote
Dance of Asian America Guest Master Instructor and Choreographer

Amy Fote was born in Manitowoc, WI and received her early dance training at the Jean Wolfmeyer School of Dance.  She attended performing arts high schools in both Illinois and Michigan before graduating with honors from the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, FL. The following year she became a trainee with Milwaukee Ballet where she danced for 14 years, rising to the rank of Principal Dancer. During that time, Ms. Fote was invited to guest the title role in Welch's Madame Butterfly with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The following season she was invited to join Houston Ballet as a first soloist and was promoted to Principal Dancer the following year. She danced with the company for 8 seasons before retiring in 2012. Ms. Fote's repertoire included leading roles in Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote, Manon, The Merry Widow, Onegin, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Anna Karenina (featured in the PBS documentary, Dancing Anna Karenina), The Magic Flute, La Fille Mal Gardee,  Carmen and Scherezade among others.  The diverse repertoire of both Houston Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet afforded Ms. Fote the opportunity to preform works by Sir Kenneth MacMillian, Jiri Kylian, Anthony Tudor, George Balanchine, Nacho Duato , Jerome Robbins, Glen Telly, Choo San Goh, Alonzo King, Christopher Bruce, Ben Stevenson, Christopher Wheeldon, Lynn Taylor-Corbett  and Mark Morris.  

Following her retirement from dancing, Ms. Fote accepted the position of ballet master with Ballet San Antonio.  Currently she guest teaches throughout the U.S. and at Houston Ballet, where she teaches both company and academy classes.

 Her goal is to help young and experienced dancers hone their technique while developing their artistry. 

Yeeree Bingham
Dance of Asian America Instructor and Choreographer

Yeri is a Korean dance/modern dance dancer originally from Korea. She started dancing since she was 5 years old. She graduated from the TOP Art Middle school and High school in Seoul and received a Bachelor's Degree of Dance at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul Korea. Yeri’s choreography received award at the Dance and People Choreographic Festival in Korea.  She received 2nd Place OVERALL at the Soonchunhyang University International Dance Competition in Seoul as well as the Best Dance Instructor Award at the Now Here Performance Academy in Seoul.

Sylvia Ngo
Dance of Asian America Instructor and Choreographer

Originally from Los Angeles, Sylvia Ngo studied Chinese classical and ethnic minority dances under Shin Yue Wang and the Shin Dance Academy for over 12 years. Sylvia continued her love of the arts in college and performed and showcased choreography with USC’s Repertory Dance Company and USC’s Traditional Chinese Dance Company. When she moved to Houston in 2007, Sylvia knew she would find home in Dance of Asian America. 

Michelle McKay
Dance of Asian America Instructor and Choreographer

Michelle McKay, originally from Houston, Texas graduated from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas with a BFA in Dance. During her time at SHSU she was a member of Chi Tau Epsilon, a Dance Honors Society that kept her involved in community service and outreach, which included incorporation of dance in local elementary schools. While at SHSU, she also gained certification to teach Mat 1&2 Pilates, which she fell in love with when discovering how much it facilitated her body’s strength and awareness while dancing. Michelle began her dance career with a focus in classical Vaganova ballet and later branched out to diversify her training with contemporary, modern, jazz, and more. She has trained coast to coast from California to New York, with choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Liz Imperio, Arturo Fernandez, Travis Wall, and more. Over the years Michelle attended many summer intensives and national dance conventions such as Ballet Austin, Joffrey Ballet School, and The Dance Awards, with the help of performance based scholarships. After being involved with competitive dance for a few years, Michelle began to choreograph pieces that went on to win overall high scores and choreography awards at regional competitions. She is always excited to learn new and different styles of dance, and share her passion with those around her.

Nao Kusuzaki
Dance of Asian America Instructor and Choreographer

Nao Kusuzaki is born in Ehime prefecture, Japan, and began her ballet lessons at 3 years old at Yatsuzuka Ballet school. After moving to the U.S. at age 10, she continued her training with The Washington Ballet School and Boston Ballet School. Nao became a member of Corps de Ballet with Boston Ballet in 2001. In 2004 she joined Houston Ballet, and was promoted to Soloist in 2009. She has danced numerous leading roles in both classical and contemporary repertoire. Some of her featured roles include: The Sugarplum Fairy and The Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Nikiya in La Bayadere, Madame Butterfly in Madame Butterfly, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort, Sinfonietta, and Falling Angels, William Forsythe’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, and Mark Morris’s Pacific. Nao is also active in the Houston community through producing Dance for Hope, a Benefit Concert in response to Japan Earthquake of 2011, co-creating TSURU with Asia Society Texas Center in 2015, and directing and dancing The 45th Anniversary Ballet Performance celebrating Houston and Chiba Sister City Relations, which premiered in July 22, 2017. Nao is Founder of Creative Minds Collaborative Inc., a nonprofit organization which seeks to create meaning across artists, educators, and supporters of the arts.

Jacquel Andrews
Dance of Asian America Instructor and Choreographer

Jacquel Andrews trained and graduated from the Ballet West Conservatory in Salt Lake City Utah. She danced professionally with Houston as a Soloist and performed all major roles such as Snow queen in The Nutcracker,   all fairies and Carabosse Sleeping Beauty, the Sylph in La Sylphide and so much more. 

Brittany Kirschner
Dance of Asian America Instructor and Choreographer

Brittany Kirschner is a passionate dance teacher and dancer. She is currently pursing a major in Dance with a minor in Education at the University of Houston. Throughout high school and college, Britany has taught numerous high school drill teams and dance for all ages in various schools throughout Houston. Brittany has high hopes for the future as she plans on continuing her career as a dance teacher and impacting the lives of her students. 

Victor Reyes
Dance of Asian American Acrobatics Instructor 

Raised in Houston. Victor comes from a background of martial arts since the age of 5, and then tumbling and acrobatics at 12 years old. Pursuing a passion in teaching and understanding movement, he attended Texas A&M University with a degree in Applied Exercise Physiology. Post graduation, he joined Cirque La Vie as a ground acrobat while coaching gymnastics in the Houston area. With an expertise in ground acrobatics and tumbling, Victor has over 10 years of teaching experience including various artists from competitive cheer, martial arts, ballet, and even Cirque du Soleil artists. Victor has commited to a full time pursuit in developing the next generation of artists and athletes for the Houston area.

Jasmine Seungyeon Yoo
Dance of Asian America Instructor and Choreographer

Jasmine Seungyeon Yoo is originally from Seoul, South Korea. She danced with Soo Dance Company when she was eight and came to the United States to pursue dance at age 14. Throughout her life, she attended mainly arts schools such as Nutmeg Conservatory in Torrington, CT, and Walnut Hill High School for the Arts in Natick, MA. For University, she graduated from Boston Conservatory with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Performance. While pursuing the BFA, there was an opportunity to join the Pneuma Theatre Ballet Company and perform internationally. After graduation, she worked with the Kelly Donovan's Dancers Company as a guest performer in 2018 and also performed and taught dance at many Christian conferences and churches. Since moving to Houston, she has been a principal dancer for Ad Deum Dance Company for the last four years. She is now in a state of transitioning to new opportunities as a teacher, a performer, and a choreographer. Thankful for having the opportunity to teach at DAA in the 2023-2024 season!

(832) 630-5048
bottom of page