Owner and Artistic Director
Director of Elite Companies, Instructor of Dance I-V and Private Instruction
Mrs. Jennifer Forst is thrilled to share her passion and enthusiasm for dance through JDF Elite Dance Academy. She has gained experience in the dance community through both studio dance and dance/drill team and has now realized the goal of owning her own business!
She has been dancing and performing for 30 years and has been teaching for 17 years. She is versatile in ballet/pointe, jazz, musical theater, and lyrical with her specialties being drill prep, tap, hip hop and modern/contemporary.
Mrs. Forst was a high school Dance Team Director for 7 years. While under her Direction for 5 years, the Sam Rayburn HS Tex-Anns expanded their experience in various competitions including trips to New York and California. They earned National and Regional titles at various competitions. She also founded the JV Starlette Dance Team which has turned into a successful recruiting tool for the Varsity program. While at Rayburn Mrs. Forst was the writer of the Pasadena ISD Fine Arts Dance Department Dance I-IV curriculum as well as created hiring questions for dance director candidates of PISD. Before SRHS she was the Director of the Bryan HS Shy-Anne Dance Team and the 2006 National Champion Novice Team the Westbury HS Blue Diamonds Dance Team.
Before her experience as a Dance Team Director, Mrs. Forst was born in Irving, Texas and started dancing at the age of 2 at Dana’s Dance Academy. While there, she studied ballet/pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop and musical theater. She was a member of the Academy Dancers, which performed throughout the community and was chosen to attend the National Tap Convention. Jennifer also studied at Jill Regean’s Dance Studio as well as Riley’s Dance Studio.
She was a member of the Toy Tiger Drill Team at Irving HS for 4 years. While there, she served as a Lieutenant for 3 years and was a member of the elite jazz group, Swingers and Kick Company. She choreographed dances for Spring Show yearly as well as competed in the solo, duet, officer, ensemble and team categories at all dance competitions and placed. During her high school career Jennifer achieved the award of All Star Dancer which allowed her the opportunity to perform at the Florida Citrus Bowl and was awarded Who’s Who in Dance in 2000.
After high school, Mrs. Forst became a member of the professional dance company 5 Degrees of Dance out of Frisco, TX. She then attended Sam Houston State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a minor in Psychology. While there she studied, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern, choreography, musical theater, stage lighting and costuming. She was a member of the Spectrum Dance Company where she had numerous performance opportunities.
Jennifer has worked for the national dance company MA Dance for 12 years. She has held the position of Clinic Director, choreographer for camps and competitions, head dance instructor, and judge at regional competitions and staff auditions. Mrs. Forst has traveled to many different states working with high school and middle school dance teams. For the two years she has been asked to take on the task as a presenter for a Director’s Workshop at MA Officer Camp. She has also been a Judge for Dance Spotlight USA competitions.
Mrs. Forst has had extensive experience teaching at several dance studios. She has been an Instructor of hip hop, jazz, competition team and technique at three dance studios: Dana’s Dance Academy, Irving, TX, Dance Dynamics, The Woodlands, TX, and Memorial Dance Studio, Houston, TX. She has also been an instructor for Bonnie Siscoe School of Dance in the areas of Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern/Lyrical, Sr. Company, leaps/turns, solos and trios. She has also taught various styles at Dance Expressions.
As a professional choreographer, Jennifer has been a Master Class Hip Hop instructor for Texas City HS, hired to correct and clean routines for high schools in Dallas, choreographed dances for middle school and high school dance teams in Dallas and Houston, such as, Lanier MS, Irving HS, O’Connell HS, Westfield HS, and Dobie HS, hired to choreograph for many solos and duets for students on dance teams in Dallas and Bryan and she has been hired for the last 7 years by O’Connell High School to choreograph their competition dances.
Mrs. Forst’s other accomplishments are as follows:
She continues her education in dance by attending several conventions throughout the year including TDEA (Texas Dance Educators Association), Tremaine, West Coast Dance Explosion, JUMP, NUVO and The Pulse Dance Conventions! This enables her to enhance her dance curriculum and style by learning from premiere dancers and choreographers such as Shane Sparks, Mia Micheals, Brian Freedman, Wade Robinson, Dave Scott, Tyce Diorio, Sonya Teyah, Travis Wall and many more.
Ballet Director, Extensity Director, Competition Company Assistant, Private Lesson Instructor
Donathan started his dance education in high school with the Alief Jazz Ballet dance program under the direction of Anna Ashy. While in AJB Donathan studied a wide range of dance genres such as ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, flamenco, salsa and many other styles of dance. While attending hight school Donathan was also apart of a dance company called Dance of Asian America Dance Company under the direction of Janie Yao. There Donathan received training in ballet, modern, and chinese dance.
After high school Donathan began his teaching career with the dance company MA Dance. He has traveled all over the United States for the past 11 years teaching young dancers techniques and routines to help there knowledge of dance grow. Donathan also became the Assistant Director of Alief Jazz Ballet were he touched many future professional dancers lives.
At the same time Donathan started teaching he also began his profesional dance career with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company. It was there Donathan trained Dina Vail (Juliard), Naomi Glass (Houston Ballet), Richard D'Alton (National Ballet of Cuba, Orlando Ballet) and many other great teachers. Donathan was also a Las Vegas finalist on Season 4 of the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance. Donathan is the former Company Director of Fuzion Contemporary Dance Company and loved his role in training young dancers in all genres of dance.
Donathan is so happy to be back with his JDF family and is excited for all the great things to come in the near future.
Creative Movement Director, Mini Elite Company Director, Dance I-V, Private Lesson Instructor
At the age of 8, Naomi Hopkins began her love and career of dance studying and performing with several prestigious dance studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Coming from a family of 9 brothers and sisters, she began assisting barely two years after her start to be able to fund her own classes, and eventually build her own name as a dancer. Naomi has spent a total of 4 years living abroad in places such as Africa, Peru, and Spain performing humanitarian acts such as teaching dance and working with women who were victims of human trafficking by implementing her own system of what she entitles “dance therapy”. She has studied beneath many pioneers of the dance world such as Mandy Moore, Mia Micheals, Sharon Story, and Tyce Diorio. She has regularly attended dance conventions and puts a high importance on teaching and creating well rounded dancers. She teaches all types of dance including tap and jazz, but specializes in choreographing in the genres of ballet, modern, and contemporary. Teaching young dancers how to embrace the emotion and connection of dance is what Naomi lives to give.
Mrs. Kristen has been performing for 25 years and has been teaching for the past 6 years. She is certified in early childhood education which includes teaching children refined motor skills and creative movement techniques. She is an experienced teacher with multiple certificates and specialties. This year, she earned her Master's Degree in School Counseling and simultaneously earned her 2nd Master's Degree in Professional Counseling. At JDF Elite Dance Academy she specializes in cheer instruction, acrobatics, conditioning/stretching, and is currently the Director of both the creative movement and cheerleading programs.
Mrs. Kristen was born in Irving, Texas and started dancing at the age of 2 at Dana’s Dance Academy. During her childhood she studied ballet, tap, jazz, and musical theater. At the age of 4 she discovered her passion for cheerleading and began her training in gymnastics. She was also involved in many community drill teams and cheerleading teams including, Irving Pizzazz, Irving City Stars, and Irving City Sparklers. She was a Crockett Jr. High Cheerleader for two years, and a Blooming Grove High School Cheerleader for three years. While she attended high school, she served as a co-captain for 2 years and achieved the award of All Star Cheerleader. In addition she was an active member of many committees and clubs some of which include; Lions Club, Student Council, and the Theatre Department.
After high school, Mrs. Kristen attended Texas Tech University where she received her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. After graduation she immediately obtained her alternative teaching certificate and began teaching in Corsicana Texas. She worked with children ranging in grades k-5. In June 2011 she married and moved to Pearland Texas. She has been a staff member with JDF Elite for the last 2 years and she is enjoying sharing her passion of artistic movement with young children.
Latasia “Ms. Tasha” Turner is excited to join the staff at JDF Elite Dance Academy to share her dedication and passion for the art of dance. She is very versatile in jazz, musical theatre and lyrical with her emphasis in ballet/pointe, tap, hip hop, and modern contemporary.
Ms. Tasha has been a performer for 22 years and dedicated dance teacher for 12 years. Ms. Tasha attended Prairie View A & M University where she was a member of The Classic Dance Ensemble Company for 2 years. She then followed her passions and transferred to Sam Houston State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a minor in Spanish. While at SHSU she studied, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, folk and social dance forms, dance history, modern, choreography, musical theater, stage lighting and costuming. She was a member of the Spectrum Dance Company and Chi Tau Epsilon Dance Honor Society.
Ms. Tasha worked as the Director of the Dance Program at McReynolds Middle School in the historically upper fifth ward area and loves working with inner city youth. Ms. Tasha has taught and choreographed a number of dances throughout her journey so she is overjoyed to make the JDF family her home. She believes dance is the most ephemeral and immediate of the arts and it exists in the moment of its performance and is then gone, so always DANCE your HEART out!
STUDENT ASSISTANT PROGRAM
Ariel began her dance training at the age of three. She has trained in Ballet and Pointe in the two technical styles of Royal Academy of Dance under Kendra Meiki, and Vaganova under Milena Leben. She has also trained in Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-hop, Modern and Lyrical. Ariel was a Shreveport Dance Academy Ensemble Dancer in Tap & Jazz for four years. She was a Junior Company Dancer for the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet for one year. Ariel has danced numerous roles in such ballets as Ballet Under the Stars, Cinderella as a Page, Aladdin as a Genie, and eight seasons in the Nutcracker as a Reindeer, Page, Mouse, Solider, and Party Girl. Ariel attended Shreveport Dance Academy’s Summer Intensive Workshop three consecutive years and has attended numerous dance conventions and workshops over the past five years. She has danced under the direction of Benji Schwimmer, Laurie Johnson, Derrick Schrader, Rachel Kreiling, Justin Giles, and many more notable choreographers. Ariel danced with Kennedy Dance Theater for one year and was a Ballet Jete’ Pre-Professional Company Apprentice and a member of the Jazz Company Competition Team. During that time she also played the part of Nala in the Lion King Tap Production. Ariel was recently chosen as a Dance Olympus VIP and awarded a scholarship. She is currently dancing at JDF Elite Dance Academy as a Senior Company Dancer. This summer she attended the Joffrey Summer Ballet Intensive in New York. Ariel is aspiring to be a professional dancer and choreographer.
Bio Coming Soon!