Cindy has been dancing for as long as she can remember. She started dancing at age 5 and in her teens performed with the New Mexico Ballet Company and Albuquerque Civic Light Opera. It was at that time that she also started teaching and realized how much she enjoyed working with children and choreographing. Cindy took great joy in sharing her passion for dance with younger dancers and watching her visions come to life on the stage. Throughout her career she has choreographed countless, award-winning group routines, trios, duets and solos and has received recognition for her choreography. In addition, Cindy has choreographed for a number of local events, including fashion shows, hair shows, to Christmas pageants and beauty pageants.In recent years, in addition to choreographing for her competitive dance team, Cindy has choreographed and performed in a number of local musical theater productions at the Albuquerque Little Theatre, including “Chicago,” “Fame,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Producers,” and “Cabaret”
In 2009, Cindy opened Triple Threat Performing Arts, with one goal in mind: To change the face of dance training in Albuquerque. Her goal was to provide dancers with professional training, experience and opportunities and prepare them for a career in the dance industry. To that end, she offers top notch, cutting-edge training and routinely brings out working professional dancers to teach master classes to her students. In addition, she has partnered with other industry professionals to produce dance videos, to use as educational tools for her students. Cindy is always trying to find new and innovative ways to train and bring opportunities to her students. She loves sharing her passion for dance with the next generation of dancers and creating opportunities for them to perform and showcase their talents.
Leslie K. Chant
Leslie, a native New Mexican, resides in Albuquerque with her husband and 2 beautiful children. Leslie has been dancing for over 30 years. She has been trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, floor tumbling, pom, tap, precision dance, and more. Growing up at Duke City STARS (now fusion Academy of the Arts) has opened many doors and has created friendships across the nation. Leslie has performed for such actor’s as David Hasselhoff, Mr. T., Pat Boone and was also given the opportunity to be a backup dancer for the Osmond Brothers during one of their 4th of July Spectaculars!
In addition to running a studio, Leslie enjoys involving herself with many other projects. She directed and choreographed for the Storm Chasers Dance Team (represented the NBA Development League) for 6 seasons, choreographed for the AIFA New Mexico Wildcats, directed and choreographed for the IBL Slam Dancers of the New Mexico Slam and managed, directed and choreographed for the New Mexico Stars Indoor Football League.
Another division within the studio is Mystique Entertainment Crew, an adult entertainment group that Leslie currently manages. Mystique has been involved in several local (Albuquerque & Santa Fe) music videos, contracted for go-go dancing and hired for local concerts and performances.
Leslie, a former NBA Denver Nugget Dancer, has been involved in the professional aspect of the entertainment world for over 15 years. She has been fortunate to travel to other states as a guest speaker and choreographer. Leslie has choreographed countless local, regional and national champion level routines for soloists, studio teams and school teams. Her routines have earned championships at Kids Artistic Review, Show Stoppers, Universal Dance Association, National Dance Association, UNM Spirit and STARS to name a few. Leslie has recently expanded her talents into the Television and Film Industry where she has had the privilege to work on such films including; MacGruber (May 2010), Disney’s Lemonade Mouth (April 2011), Fright Night (October 2011) and Ten Year (2011). Leslie has also worked on television shows including; In Plain Sight and Breaking Bad and choreographed for the Pilot Las Vegas with Director James Mangold. She’s appeared in Route 66 Hotel & Casino commercials, as well as in several Santa Ana Casino commercials.
Leslie’s dance experience and numerous years of coaching experience in the areas of dance and entertainment has made it possible for many of her student dancers to achieve their goals and obtain spots on NFL, MLS, NLL and NBA cheer and dance teams. Teams include; San Diego Chargers, Chivas USA, Colorado Mammoth, Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Each year Leslie continues her training by attending workshops in both dance and business with an emphasis on teaching skills. She also enjoys sharing her knowledge as a judge. She’s judged professionally in New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona for dance, beauty pageants and televised fitness shows.
Leslie is looking forward to many more years dancing and working within the entertainment industry and her community. She loves sharing her love for dance and watching crowds as they enjoy their entertainment that she has helped create!
Contemporary, Jazz, and Tumbling Instructor
A native to New Mexico, Vanessa Mathis has been dancing since the age of 7, training in a wide array of styles. Vanessa has been performing, teaching and choreographing professionally for a number of years. Her resume includes choreographing award-winning competition pieces, professional shows, music videos, as well as assisting well known choreographers such as Shane Sparks and Marty Kudelka . In addition to dance, Vanessa has a passion for mentorship and social work, in which she has her Associates Degree. Vanessa has established many credentials in her rising professional career as a dancer, instructor, and choreographer.
Jazz, Musical Theater Instructor
Phillip Hollis is a local talent who has been a part of our community’s dance programs for more than 15 years and has been a principal at Triple Threat since it opened in 2008. Phillip has received regional and National recognition for this choreography and was also a title- winning competitive dancer himself. Well rounded in all genres of dance, he is an asset to his student’s performance and showmanship.
Drake has been dancing since he was 3 years old and has trained in all genres of dance. In his teens, he developed a keen interest for not only hip hop dancing but also rap music and, since then, has focused his attention in these areas. Not only is a Drake an awesome instructor, he
is a talented performer with a knack for music production, writing, videography and the music business.
Valerie K. Kneifl
Director of Silver Stars
Valerie, originally from Laramie, Wyoming moved to Albuquerque when she was in the sixth grade. Valerie began dancing at a young age and quickly fell in love with the art.
Valerie has over 30 years of coaching experience. She was a part of the YAFL organization for eight years prior to joining the STARS Program. Her resume also includes being the Head Coach for the Highland High School dance team, as well as, Head Coach for the Del Norte Knights Varsity Cheerleaders.
In the early 80’s her oldest daughter began dancing for the Original Albuquerque STARS dance team, under the direction of Cathy Duggin. Valerie was soon asked to share her expertise and come on board as Assistant Director. In 1986, Valerie opened her first studio and has never looked back. Valerie’s life dedication to dance and the STARS Program has enabled her two daughters to dance professionally as well as many others! Valerie was voted Director of the Year by the Founder/President of the National Dance Program, in 2004.
Over the past 30 years, Valerie has had the privilege of working with excellent organizations locally, regionally and nationally. She is dedicated to the community and has donated countless hours working with organizations such as; Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Juvenile Diabetes, the Ronald McDonald House, the Salvation Army, Roadrunner Food Bank, various Homeless Shelters, Senior Centers and adopting underprivileged families during the holidays!
Valerie’s latest venture has been the Silver Stars dance team. This is a 60+ age group that practices faithfully 2 to 3 times per week. She was asked to create this team, in 2010, by the NBA Development League to add to the entertainment at their home games. The Silver Stars were an immediate crowd favorite and huge success! Although, the NBA-D League is no longer in New Mexico, the Silver Stars continue to provide excellent entertainment in New Mexico!
It is clear that Valerie enjoys what she does and hopes to continue to share her love for dance with the community for many more years to come!
Sylvia A. Large
Sylvia, a native New Mexican and proud mother of 3! Sylvia has grown up in the STARS Program giving her over 25 years of dance, performing and teaching experience. Prior to STARS, she spent several years as a cheerleader.
Her love for children, dance and teaching combined with her amazing talent has made her one of the best instructors at fusion Academy of the Arts (formerly Duke City Stars) and a fundamental component to the success of our studio.
Sylvia is no stranger to praise as her continued hard work and dedication was apparent to her teachers, family, and peers throughout her school years. Her intellect was never overshadowed by her beauty and that proved true as she was nominated weekly for the Outstanding Student of the Week Award. She loved school and continually earned several academic accolades throughout the years.
Sylvia attended Albuquerque High School and danced as a “Bulldoggie.” During this time, she was invited to France to dance as a selected All Star for Universal Dance Association. Sylvia’s coaches and teammates respected her selflessness and kind regard for others and adored by most everyone.
Although, Sylvia expects nothing less than a student’s personal best and hard work in every class, she urges her students to reach for the stars in a positive uplifting way. This has enabled countless dancers to achieve personal and team goals. Although, she has numerous championship titles under her belt, as a dancer, choreographer and instructor, she doesn’t lose sight of the big picture. She knows that it’s not about how many trophies one has or what place they receive but what was learned and taken from each moment. Trophies will be forgotten but the memories are forever! Sylvia says, “As your teacher, I will teach you correct dance technique and provide a non-threatening atmosphere that will allow each student to achieve their personal best.” Structured classes with repetition and positive reinforcement will enable students to work together, learn to dance, memorize movements, and gain self-esteem.
Deidre’ Michelle, teacher, professional dancer and a native New Mexican! Deidre’ began training at the young age of 4 in jazz, ballet, Pointe, hip-hop, and contemporary. She enjoyed performing and competing with her studio, which was recognized nationally in jazz and pom numerous time throughout the years!
At age 16, Deidre’ booked her first big gig dancing in the New Year’s Show in Paris, France. She continued to train and began choreographing and teaching for her hometown studio. She taught ages 3 to adult in a wide range of styles. At age 18, Deidre’ took over her high school dance team. Her choreography in both jazz and pom placed 1st and 2nd at the State Competitions.
After 20 years of dancing in New Mexico, Deidre’ decided to move to Los Angeles, California to pursue a professional dance career! She continued to train hard and landed a professional teaching job at Millennium Dance Complex, one of the most prestigious studios in L.A.!
Deidre’ has worked with a number of up and coming, international and main stream artists. She has had the opportunity to work on Beyonce’s “Run the World” video and Billboard Music Awards Show. She was the lead female dancer for Michael Jackson’s Tribute Tour “Dangerous” and Deidre’ was a back-up dancer for Kat Graham’s “Graffiti” Tour to name a few.
In 2007, Ladies in Lace, one of the most prestigious burlesque groups in the Los Angeles dance community invited Deidre’ to join their group in which she gladly accepted. In 2010, she was asked to teach by Madonna’s Home of Hope Orphanage “Raising Malawi Program” in Malawi, Africa. This amazing experience gave Deidre’ and new appreciation for teaching and a whole new love for dancing and sharing her talents. After several years on tour, dancing and teaching professionally and working in the industry, Deidre’ is now back home. Since she has returned to Albuquerque, she’s already started sharing her knowledge, experiences and love for dance with her community. Deidre’s passion for dance is evident and is focused more than ever on teaching and educating her students, youth and adults, with skills and styles at all levels! We are pleased to have Deidre’s energy, drive and enthusiasm at our studio and cannot wait to see what our future holds together.
Triple Threat Performing Arts
Mcleod Business Park
4900 Jefferson Street NE,
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Hours of Operation:
Mon 3 pm to 9 pm
Tues 3 pm to 9 pm
Wed 3 pm to 9 pm
Thurs 3 pm to 9 pm
Fri 3 pm to 9 pm
Sat 10 am to 2 pm