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Carissa Songhorian
Ballet, Pointe, Advanced Contemporary, Conditioning

Carissa Songhorian, a BFA in Dance and Dance Composition graduate from California Institute of the Arts, began her training at Los Angeles Ballet Academy under the direction of Andrea Paris and Conny Mathot. Throughout her years as a dancer, she has performed professionally with Ate9 Dance Company, Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company (LACDC), Heidi Duckler Dance, String Theory Harp, Sarah Elgart | Arrogant Elbow, Strange & Elegant Dance, Voices Carry, Fabe Dance Company, Iris Company, and Dream Walker, as well as in works by choreographers and artists such as Danielle Agami, Christopher Bordenave, Gustavo Ramirez-Sansano, Troy Powell, Julie Bour, Ryan Mason, Laurence Blake, and Kira Blazek among many others. Carissa has also appeared in several short dance films, commercials and pilots for television, Solange Knowles’s “Metatronia,” and a movie that was produced by James Franco.

As a choreographer, Carissa has created multiple successful works for stage and film, including: Your Kingdom (2019, Iris Company + C3LA's Breath + Body), First Light (2019, Heidi Duckler Dance's Ebb & Flow Festival), Mixed Body (2019, "Best of" New Shoes, Highways Performance Space), Odes 1-2 (2019, Mashup Dance's Balance for Better - International Women's Day Festival, 2018, LAMusArt Winter Festival), Ghosts (2018, Hollywood Fringe Festival - in collaboration), Helmet | Goliath (2018, Highways Performance Space - in collaboration), Premiere (2017, Visual Artists Group), Ours is Malice (2017, Sharon Lund Theater), Habits (2014, Sharon Lund Theater), Dreamscape (2016, Valencia), Beneath the Tissue (2016 film), Dark Places (2016 film), and Ours (2016 film). Carissa has also received honorable mentions for some of her works, including her pre-professional work, Never Mess with Sunday (2013), and her work has been described as “intriguing” (LA Dance Chronicle). Currently, Carissa continues to create as a solo artist, as well as in collaboration with companies and artists such as Dream Walker, Misaq Eshaghi, Joan Padeo, Manuel Meza, Davy Sumner, and more.

Meet the Team

Songhorian has rigorously trained in RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) testing since the beginning of her dance career, and has performed pre-professionally with the Mariinsky Ballet, State Street Ballet, and Los Angeles Youth Ballet. This very strict lifestyle greatly influences her classical ballet teachings.

Carissa works as a Dance Specialist for Arts Integration Workshops for Public Schools and Educator Conferences; including conferences for Center Theatre Group's promotion of Matthew Bourne's Cinderella at the Music Center, Community Arts Partnership's workshop for LAUSD, and as a panel member for the LA County Department of Arts and Culture.

Learn more about Ms. Carissa at:

Meet The Team


Catrina Songhorian
Faculty: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Musical Theater & Accounts Manager

Catrina Songhorian was born and raised in Los Angeles California where she grew up acting, singing and dancing competitively. She is currently a Theatre major at California State University, Northridge. Through California State University, Northridge, Catrina has learned more about movement, costuming, and lighting design. Catrina hopes to be a lifelong learner and encourages the same attitudes from her students. Her goal is to create a cheerful and meaningful experience for parents, students and fellow faculty members.

Anneke Lam
Ballet, Pre-Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary/Lyrical, Tap

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Anneke Lam has been teaching dance, gymnastics, and voice for a little over a decade in the US (New York and LA) and Australia. Anneke moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to study dance at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy under Conny Mathot, Andrea Paris and many other renowned faculty members. She has completed Advance levels of training and testing in the Royal Academy of Dance ballet curriculum receiving Distinctions, as well as exams for Tap and Jazz in Australia also receiving High Distinctions. Anneke then completed an Associates degree from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Musical Theater (in both LA and New York) and then her Batchelor of Fine Arts with Honors from the New School in New York, learning from world class instructors and performers. Anneke has performed professionally in dance, acting and musical theater since childhood. She now is the founder, practitioner, and owner of Bodytech Neuromuscular Therapy, providing Advance Neuromuscular Therapy and Health Education to professionals, stunt performers, dancers, circus performers, singers, athletes and celebrities. Anneke is thrilled to be joining the faculty at The Dance School LA and pass on her love and knowledge of the Arts to the next generation of performers.

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Kyla Raya

Kyla Raya graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Dance Performance. Since the age of three, she has trained in a multitude of dance styles, performing in both exhibition performances and competitions. Her time at California State University, Northridge had allowed her the resources to create and the space to showcase unique concepts using dance as the medium. Kyla's goal in life is to create and facilitate dance related programs that aid in bringing awareness to social issues while also promoting a healthy and meaningful relationship with dance. 

Michelle Johnson 
Guest Artist


Michelle Johnson graduated from California State University with a degree in Theatre and a minor in Musical Theatre. Before transferring to CSUN, she studied dance at Pierce College, choreographing frequently for their semester dance show and acting as dance captain in their summer musicals. Michelle was invited by the Pierce College President to perform a solo en pointe for a banquet celebrating a departed administrator. She has also been awarded multiple scholarships for choreography and musical theatre performance. Michelle is an experienced musical choreographer and hopes to bring the love of dance and music to future generations. She believes that passion starts early in life and will grow if it is properly nurtured. She hopes to be that supportive figure in the lives of her students, ensuring their passion has the chance to grow. 

Sophia McKnight
Guest Artist


Sophia McKnight trained at Los Angeles Ballet Academy, where she was a company member in the Los Angeles Youth Ballet Theater and Theatrics Dance Company. Sophia started dancing at the age of two and has trained in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, and Musical Theater. She graduated with honors from California State University Northridge with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Dance. At CSUN, Sophia helped choreograph group, duet, and solo pieces for showcase. She is inspired by free-flowing, explorative movement that involves an awareness and deep connection to the body. She is currently working towards her doctorate in Clinical Psychology, and hopes to earn a certificate to administer dance therapy in the future. She strives to share her knowledge and love of dance, encourage personal growth, and promote freedom of expression.

Carmella Songhorian
Substitute Teacher


Carmella Songhorian was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She grew up training in all different modes of dance at one of the top dance academies in LA, before attending the University of Arizona to study Psychology and Creative Writing. Carmella now specializes in fitness and nutrition, as well as working in Los Angeles real estate. She keeps her love for dance alive by spending time at the Dance School LA. Carmella has a passion for body positivity and inclusivity, especially in the world of ballet, and hopes to set an example to the students of DSLA. 

Meet the Team
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