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THE ASCEND STUDIOS TEAM

Ascend Studios is proud to have passionate, well educated instructors with varying certifications and degrees in the field of dance & movement. Our team is dedicated to our student's safety, technical proficiency, and overall health & well being. Scroll down to get to know some of our instructors!

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JESSIE DOLEZEL

Owner  |   Director  |  Instructor

With a Bachelors Degree in Ballet Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma, Jessie Dolezel, the owner and creative force behind Ascend Studios, knows what it takes to become a true dancer. With over 16 years of training and professional dance experience Jessie brings a wealth of knowledge & passion to the studio. 
Jessie has taught ballet, jazz, modern & tap classes throughout her career. Sharing her love of dance with all students is her passion! Jessie served as a founding member of the Oral Roberts University dance program & throughout her training has had the privilege of working with professional artists from many companies including Oklahoma City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, New York City Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and others, giving her a broad range of experiences and rich background in technique.
Her performance experience includes roles with Oklahoma City Ballet, Oklahoma Festival Ballet, & Living Water Dance Company. Classical repertoire includes: The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Pas de Quatre, Paquita, Napoli, & Concerto Barocco.

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Carson Berry

Instructor

Carson Berry was born and raised in Austin, Texas and started her formal ballet training at the age of 6 at ONE Academy of Dance. Her dance education primarily focused on the Cecchetti method of classical ballet technique, in which she reached level 6 before graduating a year early and moving to Oklahoma City. While in high school, she competed in YAGP and the Cecchetti Classical Ballet Competition, and performed principal roles in Giselle, Cinderella, and The Nutcracker. In 2021 she joined the Oklahoma City Ballet Yvonne Chouteau School, and in 2022, was promoted to trainee. Some of her favorite ballets she’s danced in are Ryan Jolicouer-Nye’s The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Abbey Road, and Petite Seat, Maria Konrad’s Bolero, and George Balanchine’s Western Symphony. Carson’s teaching experience spans ages 3-18 at multiple studios in Oklahoma City, as well as assistant teaching back home in Austin. In her free time you can find her drinking coffee, listening to Taylor Swift, and painting! She is so excited to join the staff at Ascend this season! 

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ALISSA CARTWRIGHT

Instructor |  Social Media Coordinator  |  Ascend Ambassadors Director

Alissa is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Oklahoma City University with a Bachelors of Science in Dance and Arts Management. The Ann Lacy School of Dance and Entertainment at Oklahoma City University is consistently ranked as one of the top dance schools in the nation. While there, she intensely studied ballet, jazz, and tap with a sprinkling of musical theatre, lyrical, and hip hop under the direction of Jo Rowan and instruction of notable professors such as: Patricia “Fast Pat” Oplotnik, Brian J. Marcum, Diana Brooks, Kelli Stevens, Tiffany Van der Merwe, Tiffany Warford, and Alana Martin. She was a member of the American Spirit Dance Company, Spirit of Grace Liturgical Dancers, and cast in numerous student choreographed pieces. She was also given the honor of choreographing a lyrical piece for Project 21: A Multimedia Concert in coordination with the Wanda L. Bass School of Music.

In addition to her dance training, her degree also prepared her for the entertainment industry as whole. She took classes and completed hands on training in the fields of Non-Profit Management, Stage Management, Lighting Design, Technical Direction, Events Management, Accounting and Business Finance, and many other areas.

Since graduating in 2014, she have broadened her arena of expertise to the fields of teaching and choreography through employment at numerous notable dance studios in the Oklahoma City area as well as assisting at festivals and conventions. Her choreography has received choreography awards and high adjudications at national competitions. You can also see her as a demonstrator in Fast Pat Tap, a series of tap tutorial videos.

She is incredibly thankful for the opportunities she has been given and desires to share her experiences with the Ascend dancers!

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TACHANA COLE

Office Manager  |  DEI Manager  |  Instructor

Miss Tachana brings a range of experience to our team, from administrative experience that she puts to good use in our front office, to many years of dance experience. We are so excited to have Miss Tachana as a part of the team!

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JOSH OKPARA

Instructor

Joshua Okpara is a versatile and innovative teacher, dancer, and choreographer. Since 2009, he has brought arts education in the form of dance and creative movement to a wide range of populations in Oklahoma through, master classes, workshops, arts camps, staff development sessions, seminars, and guest choreographer positions. Believing that individuals learn best through the application of the arts in various formats, Joshua finds great joy in working collaboratively with artists of other mediums to bring multi-faceted arts curriculum to participants of all ages and abilities. In addition, Joshua is a director and member of Band of Misfits and has competed in international dance competitions such as World of Dance. He is a recipient of many studio dance competition awards and his performance and choreography has been a part of numerous concerts, festivals, theatre productions and events throughout Oklahoma, Texas, California and overseas. As a creative director for many performance arts organizations, Joshua enjoys expressing his love of dance by performing challenging choreography in many creative projects. Eventually Joshua was given the opportunity to tour overseas in Germany, France and Amsterdam with a non profit organization called HYPE (Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence). Afterwards, Josh teamed up with Project Elevate; another Oklahoma based non-profit organization that uses creative arts such as spoken word, skits, MCing, hip hop dance and freestyle, and motivational speaking that focuses on anti-bullying and suicide prevention throughout the school districts. Josh continues to stay heavily involved in the non-profit sector as a Director of Dance of Generation Why (GNWY), a non profit organization that uses the arts to inspire kids to find their “Why” and passion so that they are able to move forward in your life.

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JENNA MCWILLIAMS

Instructor

Jenna is so excited to be joining Ascend Studios for their 10th season! She was born and raised in Durant, OK and attended Oklahoma City University where she received her Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre. While at OCU she was also a part of the OCU Pom Squad where she won 2 National Championship titles in both Hip Hop and Team Performance. After graduating, Jenna began traveling and performing in various states and shows around the US. She has worked in many different theatre styles, been behind the scenes of productions, helped in casting processes, and worked hard to maintain her training along the way. She made her way back to Oklahoma where she is excited to start sharing her love for performing with kids who are dedicating themselves to training and growing! Jenna is excited to help build the Musical Theatre & Hip Hop programs at Ascend, and cannot wait to see what year 10 brings at Ascend Studios!

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AlICIA FOX

Human Resources & Systems Manager  |  Of

Alicia has a wide variety of skills she brings to the Ascend Team! With a degree in Human Resources, a military background, and her super organizational skills, Alicia helps coordinate and manage many of our office and behind the scenes tasks! You'll see Alicia at our front desk, checking in on dancers in the classroom, making sure everyone gets in and out of the studio safely, or being a dance Mom to her two children Annabelle & Lukas! We are so thankful Alicia came on staff in 2020!

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JOCELYN LEWIS

Instructor

Bio coming soon!

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ETHAN ZAMBRANO

Instructor  |  Scholarship Program Coordinator  |  Ambassador Training program Administrative Director

Originally from Minnesota, Ethan's love of dance began in junior high with partner swing dancing. He began his formalized training with Premiere Dance Academy at the age of 17. Ethan is a two-time graduate from Oklahoma City University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in American Dance Pedagogy in 2019, and his master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership in 2022. While in school, Ethan was involved with many student activities including Greek life, Relay for Life, Dance Marathon, American Spirit Dance Company, and Spirit of Grace Liturgical Dance Company. After graduating in 2019, Ethan performed at Frontier City as a singer, dancer, and magician. Ethan was the dance director at Harding Fine Arts Academy, a public charter school in Oklahoma City, for 3 years. He has also taught at various dance studios in the OKC metro. After his master’s degree program, Ethan interned with Make-A-Wish Oklahoma in their fundraising and events department. There, he developed a passion for nonprofit work and fundraising, especially which led to a full time job as a fundraiser at Oklahoma City University. This is Ethan's 3rd season with Ascend Dance Studios. In addition to teaching, Ethan is the Administrative Director for the Ambassador Training Program and the Scholarship Program Coordinator for Ascend Studios. "I am looking forward to having a variety of styles, including ballet! My hope for this year is to see our students grow not only in their dance technique, but also as people. I hope to encourage them to use dance to develop empathy, drive, resilience and creativity to help them navigate their journeys."

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ASHLEY UNTRAUER

Instructor

Ashley is an seasoned Oklahoma City based performer, dance instructor, and choreographer. Her love of the performance arts began at a very early age and began dancing at the age of 8. She obtained her degree in dance performance from the University of Central Oklahoma where she also had the opportunity to perform with the resident pre- professional dance company, Kaleidoscope. While in the company, Ashley had the privilege of working with many guest instructors and choreographers from around the world, some of which include; Andrew Palermo, Edwin Olvera of PILOBOLUS dance company, and Israeli choreographer, Idan Cohen. Since graduating, Ashley has taught and performed with Perpetual Motion Dance Company, lived in New York City where she performed in several small choreography showcases, and is now back in Oklahoma pursuing her career in choreography and dance instruction. Ashley has worked with numerous studios across the metro area as well as KA! Musical Theater where she fulfilled her role as a resident dance instructor and choreographer for their shows for the past 3 years. She is so excited to be back teaching at Ascend!

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