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Our Teachers

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Diane C. Ratley
Owner / Director

Diane Ratley was born in England and began dancing at the age of three. She was trained by the Royal Academy of Ballet, The British Ballet Organization and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.  Beginning at age five through to age twelve, she passed all her ballet examinations and grades with honors.  Ms. Ratley then studied with the great ESPINOSA, founder of the British Ballet Organization and one of the founding members of the Royal Academy. Studying tap with Espinosa, she went on to become a stage performer at an early age, as well as working on TV specials and film.  She was presented by the Duke of Edinburgh with a gold medal for her dancing achievements through his “National Award Scheme”, and was the holder of the “Aggregate Stage Dancing Cup” for five consecutive years. In addition, she held the winning title of the “All England Stage Competition” at age sixteen.  Her love of dance continued and she starred in and choreographed many musicals including “Oklahoma,” “Finian’s Rainbow,” “My Fair Lady,” “Carousel,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Paint Your Wagon,” and “West Side Story.” She became an Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and has now been teaching for over fifty years, as well as being a national adjudicator invited to judge competitions in many cities in the USA.  After moving to the United States, she trained with Joe Tremaine,  ballet masters David Howard and Finis Jhung and tap masters Roland Dupree and Tony Coppola.

Ms. Ratley’s goal as owner and director of The Dance Center is to impart as much knowledge as possible to her students, giving them the opportunity to train or become professional dancers.  She desires to help her students build their self-esteem with dance classes; discover the importance of proper dance etiquette; and have fun in a safe environment while learning to express themselves through dance and movement. The lifelong gifts that dance training offers is one of the most beautiful gifts a parent can give their child. Ms. Ratley wishes that all children who join The Dance Center will one day look back with the same cherished memories of going to dance classes with their parents, as she did!

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Keshia Simmons

Keshia Fields has been dancing with The Dance Centerfor over 22 years as a student and a teacher.  She is an extremely accomplished tap dancer and has been teaching tap to our students for about 10 years bringing them from beginners to advanced tappers.  Ms. Fields has trained under Diane Ratley  and Tap Masters Laurie Johnson and Angela Carter.   Her tap dance choreography has received the Highest Judges Awards at local dance competitions including Tremaine Dance Convention Competition, BravO! and Headliners.   She was always a popular dance student with her class members and teachers alike and she has a special gift for understanding children.   Ms. Fields graduated from CSULB with a BA in Psychology in 2009, and obtained her MA in Education in June, 2012.


Helena Poindexter
Ballet, Tots & Tutus

Helena took her first ballet class at the age of 3 and knew from that moment that she loved it. She danced/trained at Lauridsen Ballet Centre in Old Torrance until the age of 15. From there, she was invited to attend Boston Ballet School’s training program. She danced with Boston Ballet School for 2 years before becoming a trainee and then joining Boston Ballet 2. The next year she danced as a corps member for an additional year. Helena has also attended summer programs /danced with Houston Ballet, School of American Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet on scholarships. She is now back in her hometown attending school to become a teacher and has been teaching ballet locally for a few years. She gets so much joy out of being able to spread her knowledge and love for ballet with others, it is the most rewarding feeling ever.

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Kevin Le

Contemporary, Jazz

Kevin Le is a Los Angeles native and has graduated from UCLA with a B.A in World Arts and Cultures/Dance. He began his dance training at the age of twelve under Jessie Riley’s WESTSIDE Dance Project where had the opportunity to work with renowned dancers and choreographers including Jessie Riley, Will Johnston, Peter Chu, and Sonya Tayeh. During his undergraduate studies at UCLA, Kevin had the privilege of performing and touring throughout the U.S. with choreographers David Roussève and Kevin Williamson. Kevin has been teaching master classes and choreographing at various locations for more than six years. He teaches hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary ballet and is thrilled to be a member of The Dance Center faculty.

Lina Persson
Competition Coordinator, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet/Tap Combo

Lina began dancing at the age of four at The Dance Center in Torrance, California. Throughout her training, she earned several opportunities to dance with master teachers in ballet, tap, contemporary, musical theater, and modern dance techniques. She danced competitively from the age of twelve up until her graduation year in 2019. She received several dance scholarships and opportunities to compete nationally through these competitions and conventions. During high school, she spent three summers training with The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago for their International Summer Dance Intensive. Other companies she attended summer intensives for include American Ballet Theater (ABT) in California and Hubbard Street Dance Company in Chicago. Her extra-curricular activities during the school year at Peninsula High School included the varsity level dance team, Choreo Company, where she earned her spot all four years she attended. Through this team, she received the challenge and opportunity to lead student choreography workshops, and ultimately choreograph for the team’s annual showcase for three consecutive years. During her time in college, Lina was invited to be a part of UCSB’s Senior Dance Company where she toured Europe and worked with world renowned choreographers to put on full length productions and add to the dance program’s repertoire. Lina recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), earning her Bachelor of the Arts degree in Dance with an emphasis in Ballet and pedagogy. She is so excited to be part of this empowering and inspirational faculty at The Dance Center, and cannot wait to share her knowledge with many future generations of this studio. 


Kyla Chaney
Hip Hop, Contemporary

Kyla Chaney, a Los Angeles native, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Dance Choreography from the University of California, Irvine. At the young age of four, she quickly found a love for dance, training in classical ballet at Lauridsen Ballet Centre in Torrance, CA. At the age of 14 her love expanded to all forms of dance and she embarked on a journey of training in other styles, alongside ballet. Her summers were spent training with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company, Breaking Barriers, and Abraham in Motion. She has trained under the direction of Tiffany Billings, Anthony Burrell, Kyle Abraham, Antonio Hundell, Alonzo King, Maleek Washington, and many more. Chaney has also been a part of numerous training programs in Los Angeles, including Kolanie Marks & friends, and most currently with MOTUS the Company, under the mentorship of Diana Matos, Codie Wiggins, Paris Goebel, Toby Deedaran, Shay Latukolan, Rich & Tone and many more.


While at the University of California, Irvine, Kyla Chaney has performed works by Lar Lubovitch, Chad Michael Hall, Loretta Livingston, Dr. Ama Wray, Lindsay Gilmour, and Ariyan Johnson. In exploring her creative outlet, she has been presented with the opportunity of choreographing pieces for UCI’s annual shows, for live theater and for film works. Her hard work has rewarded her with the Fred Astaire Scholarship as well. Kyla Chaney is in the process of making a name for herself within the Los Angeles dance industry since graduating in June 2021. She has performed in Club Jete, numerous pieces in Choreographer’s Carnival, and in many video projects for jobs and creative concepts. She currently teaches to students of all ages, and continues to train to expand her artistry as a performer, choreographer, and teacher, striving daily to reach goals beyond the norm.

Master Teachers

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Jeff Amsden

Jeff Amsden is an internationally recognized teacher, choreographer and dancer.  He has performed with and choreographed for many of the most recognizable entertainers on stage and in film.  He has worked with Bette Midler, Brandi, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.  He is the creator, director, and choreographer of “A Few Good Men Dancin’” on Broadway and has received outstanding reviews from the New York Times.  Jeff has choreographed for operas, musicals, plays, television shows, commercials and movies.  Jeff is a master teacher for the Tremaine Dance Conventions and he happens to love our studio.   We are very fortunate when he can find time in his packed schedule to come teach our students.   His experience and expertise is something he willingly shares with our students and we love it when he comes to share his joy of dancing with us.  He is a master teacher.  He teaches Ballet, Jazz and Lyrical.

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