FACULTY AND STAFF
The CFB Academy is a universal dance school. Meaning that, we adore any child, young adult, or adult of any race, nationality, religion, or ethnicity that will step into our culture, and dance our many folkloric dances. That is why we offer a professionally experienced teaching staff and all our classes will also be supplemented by guest teachers, with many different dance backgrounds, offering lectures to our students in many rhythms.e backgrounds, offering
lectures to our students in many rhythms.
PRISCILLA RIVAS (Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Instructor)
Born in Houston, Priscilla spent part of her childhood in Cali, Colombia and surrounded herself always with the music, dance and vibrant culture. As a young teenager, Priscilla took classes in ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop. At 17, she joined the Colombian Folkloric Ballet where she trained in authentic Colombian rhythms and other various Latin/African styles. In 2004, she was promoted to Assistant Artistic Director and in 2008 became the Artistic Director for which she takes pride in sharing a positive image of her beloved country, Colombia. Priscilla also broadened her dance horizons by learning belly dancing and creating a unique fusion of Arabic and Latin dance style which she incorporates into her shows. Priscilla holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Houston, a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Houston. She proudly works as a principal in the Houston Independent School District. She is happily married to Sina Tazhed.
CLAUDIA KISTLER (Associate Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Instructor)
Claudia is a native of Monterrey, Mexico and a gold medal winner of the Guadalajara National Ballet Competition (1996) and 3rd place in the International Ballet Competition of Havana, Cuba (1997). She graduated from the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza in Monterrey. Claudia has danced professionally with the Compania Nacional de Danza of Mexico City where she joined as Corps de Ballet and later on performed Soloist roles. From 2000 to 2014 she danced for Ballet de Monterrey where she initially joined as Soloist, then promoted to Senior Soloist, and later on reached the top rank of Prima Ballerina. At Ballet de Monterrey she danced principal roles in the major classical ballets of world’s renowned choreographers including, among others, The Sleeping Beauty, Swank Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, La Bayadere, Coppelia, Flamas de Paris, Diana and Acteon, and Carmen. Her professional dancer career has allowed her to perform in Mexico, United States and Europe. Claudia has appeared in television in Mexico as a presenter, dancer and choreographer for television programs. She has taught and choreographed for Gym Condesa, Dalirys Dance Studio, Freeman Dance Studio, Ballet de Monterrey School, Laeral Dance and Performing Arts Academy, Colombian Folkloric Ballet, Metropolitan Dance (MET), Dance Dynamics, Houston Independent School District’s Crocket Elementary, and Artisan School of Dance. Claudia has prepared dancers for competitions where they have been awarded gold and silver medals in solo, duo, trio and group categories. Claudia retired from dancing after playing the principal dancer leading role in the Colombian Folkloric Ballet’s acclaimed production of Mi Colombia. She is the proud mother of Damian.
CATALINA VANEGAS (Associate Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Instructor)
Catalina was born and raised in Miami, Florida in a Colombian household. At an early age, she joined Danzas Folkloricas de Anita Herrero where she danced for 15 years. Additionally, she joined Grupo Andino, Corazon Colombiano, and later on Quillami, a dance company mainly focused on dances for Carnaval de Barranquilla. Through these different companies, Catalina was able to perform with international renowned artists including Orquesta Guayacan, Joe Arroyo, Carlos Vives, and Fanny Lu, among others. Catalina also joined a magnet program for the performing arts where she studied musical theatre for 7 years. She attended a myriad of conferences and competitions with the Miami Northwestern PAVAC Touring Company and was awarded a full ride scholarship to several universities. Catalina attended Nova Southeastern University where she was an active participant in the dance program, the theatre program, two scholarship based choirs, and was captain and one of the founding members of the athletic collegiate dance team. She was the first sophomore casted in a main role as Snoopy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and the first non-dance major to be awarded the best overall dancer as a freshman. Catalina graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a minor in Theatre in 2015. Shortly after graduation, Catalina moved to Houston for an employment opportunity in finance and started teaching dance in 4 different academies and studios and dancing with the Colombian Folkloric Ballet. In 2016, she became certified as a Fraud Examiner and in 2017 graduated with her Master’s degree in Forensic Accounting from Florida Atlantic University. She is engaged to Mondy Dormil.
ANGEL LAZA (Choreographer and Dance Instructor)
Mr. Laza started his ballet training at the Escuela Vocacional de Arte Raúl Sánchez in 1997 and continued at the Escuela Cubana de Ballet in Havana, Cuba. He joined Ballet Nacional de Cuba and danced soloist roles in different countries in Latin America and Europe. Some of his teachers at the Escuela Cubana de Ballet and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba include Mirtha Hermida, Ramona de Saa, Fernando Alonso, Loipa Araujo, Josefina Mendez and Alicia Alonso. In June 2003 he joined Ballet de Monterrey as a Soloist and December 2007 he was promoted as Principal Dancer until 2013 when he moved to the United States. In June 2010, Mr. Laza was part of the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi where he was a semifinalist. While in the United States, Mr. Laza has danced as guest artist for numerous companies including Arizona Ballet, Canyon Concert Ballet, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Houston Grand Opera, and Colombian Folkloric Ballet. In 2014 he danced as Principal Dancer for Ballet Spartanburg. Some of the leading roles in classical repertoire Mr. Laza danced with Ballet de Monterrey include La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. He has starred in modern ballets including Western Symphony, Assai, Sinergia, Uma Batida Diferente, Huapango, Danson and Esencia. Currently, Mr. Laza is the Artistic Director of Artisan Dance Company of Cypress, Texas. He is the proud father of Damian.
JOSE ROBERTO CUBIAS (Assistant Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dance Instructor)
Born in El Salvador, Jose Roberto was introduced to dance at a young age participating in many local dance concerts and festivals. Eventually, he became instructor to the teachers who instructed him as a young child. Roberto joined the Colombian Folkloric Ballet in 1997 as a Soloist Dancer and promoted to Principal in 2000. He has extensive experience in folkloric dances from several Latin American countries having participated with many local Folkloric Groups including, among others, Argentina, Peru, Panama, Mexico, and El Salvador. In addition to working as a certified professional massager, Roberto is currently choreographing and teaching salsa and zumba classes to several groups and institutions in the Greater Houston Area. He is happily married to Jenny Gimenez and proud father of their children Nathan and Evangeline.