Carolyn Gresham
Dena Mabry

Owner/ Director

Earle Cobb Dance Studio

Teaching Staff Biographies

Dena holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance from Oklahoma City University. She danced for Norwegian Cruise Lines, and for Crystal Cruises in Japan and Australia. Dena also performed at Opryland in Nashville, TN and in four separate shows at Fiesta Texas. Dena has also had the privilege of performing with tap dancing legends including Sandman Sims, Charles Honi Coles, and Gregory Hines. Dena has choreographed all over the country for industrials, musicals, concerts, and symphonies.  Dena is a former Miss San Antonio and is currently the Co- director of  the North East School of the Arts, where she created the Dance Curriculum. She has been teaching at NESA since the school opened. She is the founder and Director of “Dena’s Dazzlers”.  Dena is proud to continue the legacy of her Mother and Grandfather in fostering a love of dance at the studio and throughout San Antonio. 

Drea Pena-Kocian

Drea came to Earle Cobb at the age of 14, and began teaching here at age 15. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio with a B.A. in Psychology and has earned teaching certifications in both Dance and English at the secondary level. Drea attended the North East School of the Arts and is a graduate of Antonian College Preparatory High School where she currently heads the Dance program and is the Dance Team Director for the National award winning Antonian Silver Dancers. Drea is a former “Dena’s Dazzler”, has danced professionally in the San Antonio and south Texas areas, and is a former choreographer of the Disney® dance group, “Savvy”. Drea has also choreographed for numerous competitive high school dance teams and collegiate dance teams around Texas and for the past two years has choreographed for the University of Texas at Austin’s Competitive Dance Team. Drea created the curriculum for our Hip Hop program here at Earle Cobb and is one of our most versatile teachers. Drea is thrilled to be a part of the Earle Cobb family for her 18th year and is truly blessed to continue to share her passion with her amazing students.

David Hernandez

David is a native of San Antonio, and began his training at the North East School of the Arts (NESA). He was seen in such productions as Beauty and the Beast (as the Pepper Shaker), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, On Your Toes, Footnotes: A Concert of Dance, and Steppin' Into the Holidays. He is a former “Dena’s Dazzler”. He attended Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA as a dance major where he was seen in the productions The Snow Queen by Doug Bentz, Pittsburgh Connections, Dance with Me by Ron Tassone, and Ursonata by Bill T. Jones (restaged by Roz LeBlanc). He has also done television, radio work, San Antonio Spurs Halftime performances, and charity events (Make A Wish Benefit and AIDS Benefit.) He was asked to assist for Allison Holker and also for Dance Intensity.  He has been teaching for Earle Cobb since 2006.

Ashley Olson

Ashley Olson has been a proud member of the Earle Cobb family since she was 3 years old. She joined “Dena’s Dazzlers” at age 6 and competed for 12 years with the team. She graduated from North East School of the Arts High School as a dance major. While in high school, she worked for Celebrity Dance Competition as an intern, where she danced on a cruise ship and assisted choreographers at the Celebrity conventions. She is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, gaining a degree in nutrition. She was a member of the UT Dance Team for 4 years, where she trained in jazz, hip-hop, and lyrical. She was Co-Captain her sophomore year, and Captain her junior year. She led the team through national competitions including National Dance Alliance (NDA), where they placed top 10 in Division 1A Jazz. Ashley eventually plans to go to graduate school to be a physician assistant. 

Hailey Austin

Hailey began dancing at Earle Cobb at the age of 3, was a Dena’s Dazzler for 12 years, and taught ballet and tap at the studio while she was in high school. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the North East School of the Arts where she was a dance major. Hailey graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Business Administration. While at A&M, she choreographed, costumed, and staged multiple dance numbers for sorority recruitment along with two 90 person production numbers for a university-wide competition which won $4,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Most recently, Hailey choreographed Madison High School's production of "Guys and Dolls" in Spring of 2019, and this summer she completed a tap residency under Chloe Arnold of Syncopated Ladies at Tap City in NYC.

Hailey is overjoyed to be back in her second home and is so excited for this new year of dance ahead of us!

Victoria Cox

Victoria Cox is a graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science in Education. Tori is certified by the State of Texas in Generalist EC-6 & Dance 8-12.  She is the proud director of the Brigade Dance Team at Highlands High School. Tori began dancing at age 3, joined Earle Cobb at age 10 and is a former Dena’s Dazzler. Her fondest memory growing up at Earle Cobb, was being chosen as Mrs. Sandra Mabry’s tap assistant!  She is a member of the Texas Association Teachers of Dancing (TATD) and Texas Dance Educators Association (TDEA). Tori is excited to be back for another year of “smiling and having fun” at Earle Cobb!

Meli Rosin

Meli Rosin is a graduate from Robert E. Lee High school and the North East School of the Arts dance department. Meli is a current student at University of Texas at San Antonio. She has been dancing since the age of 3 and was a member of Dena's Dazzlers since she was 8 years old. Dancing has been in Meli's family since her great great grandpa, Earle Cobb. She has performed in many events including Steppin' into the Holidays, Footnotes, Spurs games, and a Google commercial. 

Gloria "GL" Liu

Gloria “GL” Liu is thrilled to beworking back at the studio where she grew up!  Gloria received a BA from the University of Texas at Austin. Her career in the performing arts spans over many decades and productions.  She has served as a producer, director, stage/production manger, choreographer and oldest living chorus girl. GL has worked on the stages of the San Pedro Playhouse main stage and Cellar Theatre, Cameo Theatre, Harlequin Dinner Theatre, Colonies Theatre, Church Dinner Theatre, The Josephine Theatre, Casa Manana in Ft. Worth, Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre in Fresno, CA, McAllister Fine Arts Center, NESA, St. Philip’s College’s Watson Fine Arts Center, UTSA’s Downtown Theatre and the Alamodome.  In addition to her bookkeeping/tapping studio job, she does a little Zumba & Aqua Fitness to stay upright.  GL wishes to congratulate Dena on the NEW studio!  She is proud to be part of the Earle Cobb Team.

Maeve Armand

Carolyn holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance Management from Oklahoma City University.  She danced with the American Spirit Dance Company as well as in many industrials, conventions, and national events.  Carolyn has performed and taught workshops in Spain, France, and around the U.S. Carolyn is a certified dance teacher at the secondary level and is currently the Co-Director of the Dance Department at the North East School of the Arts.  She is also thrilled to be teaching at Earle Cobb Dance Studio and working with Dena's Dazzlers!

Sam Payne

Sam has been dancing since the age of 6. He holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance Performance from Oklahoma City University. He was selected to perform with the American Spirit Dance Company and was a featured performer in Home for the Holidays for many years. His choreography was featured in A Perfect Ten Choreography Show, Kiss Me Kate and his work has been seen all over the United States. He has also performed in Oklahoma’s Centennial Spectacular alongside Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, and Kelli O'Hara. He performed in Branson, MO with Andy Williams and in musical productions of Beauty and the Beast, Music Man, and Wizard of Oz, just to name a few. He is excited to be sharing his passion for dance with his students and the Earle Cobb dance family again this year. Sam has been teaching at Earle Cobb and working with "Dena's Dazzlers" since 2011.

Elizabeth Vick

Elizabeth is a 2008 Summa Cum Laude graduate of the North East School of the Arts and Robert E. Lee High School, where she graduated #3 in her class.  She has been a part of the Earle Cobb family for over 15 years and is a former “Dena’s Dazzler”.  She was also voted the “2006 Top Cat of the Year” at Clark High School.  Her performance experience includes numerous San Antonio Spurs half-time shows and the Fiesta Queen’s Coronation.  Elizabeth graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Business Administration, but decided she loved teaching children so much that she wanted to make it her full-time job.  She is certified by the state of Texas in Core Subjects EC-6 and Special Education EC-12 and loves working as an ALE teacher at the best elementary school in NISD (she may be a little biased)! Elizabeth is excited to be back for her 14th year of teaching dance in the positive atmosphere she loves here at Earle Cobb!

Cassidy Miller

Cassy started attending Earle Cobb after moving to San Antonio in 2002, and was an assistant teacher as soon as she was eligible. In high school, she was on the Top Cat varsity dance team and was a co captain her senior year as well as a substitute teacher here at the studio. She went on to Texas State University in San Marcos to study Biology and minor in Chemistry, where she was a member of the world famous Texas State Strutters dance team, and getting appointed to line officer after her first year. She helped bring tap dancing back to Strutters and continues to be their tap choreographer. She graduated after three years and now is back at the studio to have her own classes. Cassy is super excited to be home because Earle Cobb is her family!

Destiny Nedrick

Destiny graduated from the North East School of the Arts. She has been dancing since the age of 3 and was a member of Dena's Dazzlers for 7 years. She has performed in several musicals including CATS, as well as Steppin’ into the Holidays and Footnotes at NESA. Destiny received a scholarship for a two week dance workshop at Dallas Black Dance Theater and a scholarship for the Rockette summer intensive in New York City. She also teaches praise dance at her church. Destiny attends Northeast Lakeview College, majoring in Kinesiology, Exercise Science and plans on transferring to UTSA.

Kara Heinz

Kara Heinz is an honors graduate of Oklahoma City University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance Management. Kara is also a Summa Cum Laude graduate as a dance major of North East School of the Arts. Upon graduation from OCU, Kara traveled throughout Alaska, Canada, Central America, South America and Antarctica as an employee of Holland America Cruise Lines. Recently she performed for a corporate Chick-fil-A conference. Kara is so excited for another year here at Earle Cobb Dance Studio!

Payton Groff

Payton joined the Earle Cobb family at the age of three and is a former "Dena's Dazzler." She graduated from Lee High School as valedictorian where she was a dance major at the North East School of the Arts. Between Earle Cobb and NESA she has performance experience in numerous dance recitals, musicals, and Spurs games. Additionally, she was a finalist in the 2017 Las Casas Scholarship Competition in the dance category. She is now a student at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio where she will be studying to become a family nurse practitioner.  Payton can't wait to begin teaching and sharing her love of dance as a member of the Earle Cobb teaching staff.

Jordan Buril

Jordan Buril has been dancing since the age of six, training with the Morgan Scott Ballet Company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and local studios here in town. Jordan is also a Magna Cum Laude graduate as a dance major of North East School of the Arts, where she performed in numerous Spurs half-time shows, Footnotes and Steppin’ Into the Holidays. Upon graduation from NESA, Jordan studied Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio with a minor in Sociology, and landed her first dancing job at SeaWorld San Antonio. Jordan traveled throughout North America as a dancer and spokesperson for Sesame Street Live! Recently she was contracted with Walt Disney World where she learned and performed in various shows such as Disney’s Electric Parade, Festival of Fantasy, Discovery Island Carnivale, Festival of the Lion King and Princess Elena of Avalor’s Coronation. This past season Jordan traveled one last time with Believe National Talent Competition and is now back home in the Alamo city, excited for another year here at Earle Cobb Dance Studio!

Jordan Buril has been dancing since the age of six, training with the Morgan Scott Ballet Company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and local studios here in town. Jordan is also a Magna Cum Laude graduate as a dance major of North East School of the Arts, where she performed in numerous Spurs half-time shows, Footnotes and Steppin’ Into the Holidays. Upon graduation from NESA, Jordan studied Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio with a minor in Sociology, and landed her first dancing job at SeaWorld San Antonio. Jordan traveled throughout North America as a dancer and spokesperson for Sesame Street Live! Recently she was contracted with Walt Disney World where she learned and performed in various shows such as Disney’s Electric Parade, Festival of Fantasy, Discovery Island Carnivale, Festival of the Lion King and Princess Elena of Avalor’s Coronation. This past season Jordan traveled one last time with Believe National Talent Competition and is now back home in the Alamo city, excited for another year here at Earle Cobb Dance Studio!

Brenna Mahnke

Brenna started dancing at the age of 3 and continued dancing at Earle Cobb for the next 12 years.  She was a member of Dena’s Dazzler for 7 years. Brenna graduated from Tom C. Clark High School in 2009 where she was a Varsity Cheerleader and won NCA Nationals. Brenna coached gymnastics and cheer at Alamo Gymnastics for 7 years.  She was also the special events coordinator at Ariel Athletics for 4 years.  She is currently working in the NEISD school district.

Maeve has been a part of the Earle Cobb family since she was three and was a part of “Dena’s Dazzlers” for eleven years. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the North East School of the Arts where she was a dance major. She has performed in various productions at NESA such as Mary Poppins, Steppin’ Into the Holidays, Footnotes: A Concert of Dance, and Newsies. Maeve is currently attending Trinity University where she is majoring in History and minoring in Education. Maeve is so excited to begin her first year of teaching at Earle Cobb Dance Studio!

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