Faculty & Staff

Irina Cowles — Artistic Director, Ballet


Irina Cowles, Artistic Director and owner of LIFT is a wife and mother. She enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom for a number of years, and has been active within the homeschooling and local Mom’s club communities.  She and her family are members of Grayson Bible Baptist Church in Sherman.

Irina majored in Business and Marketing at Indiana Wesleyan University, and worked in the corporate world before becoming a mother.

She began taking ballet lessons at age 4 in St. Petersburg, Russia under the tutelage of Nicholai Petrov, one of the Vaganova Ballet Academy graduates, and received many years of intensive Vaganova style ballet training.  She performed in numerous concerts, theater productions, competitions, and choreographed successful dance routines.

Irina is grateful for the opportunity to serve Van Alstyne and the surrounding areas and work with children and adults teaching dance.

Madame Suzelle Poole — Guest Instructor — Youth, Adult Ballet

Madame Suzelle Poole

We think that madame Poole is the most interesting woman in the world! She has lived, studied, and worked around the globe and was trained by some of the ballet world’s brightest stars.

Besides performing professionally in both opera and ballet, she has been in an award winning film, and even done radio dramatizations and pantomime. She holds an Association Montessori Internationale diploma and was the head of a Montessori school in South Africa. Madame Poole has been a professional ballet soloist and teacher of classical ballet in Toronto, Montreal, London, Glasgow, Munster, Stuttgart, Cape Town, Houston, Dallas, and now, Van Alstyne. She continues to teach, choreograph, and perform in various venues in the Dallas area.

Madame Poole teaches pre-ballet, beginner, intermediate, and advanced ballet for children and adults up to the professional level.

Vicky Rutledge — Youth Dance, Tumbling

Vicky started dancing when she was two years old. She graduated in 1981 from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in Dance. Since then she has been teaching dance and tumbling programs at the YMCA, Allen Community Education, and Princeton Community Education. In 1999 she took over the Dance Time studio in Anna where she has taught dance and tumbling to multiple generations. She and her family are long-time residents of New Hope.

Marina Alonso — Traditional Yoga

When Marina started her first yoga class in 2009, she immediately fell in love with the practice. Exercise was always important to her, enjoying walking and biking outdoors, but yoga became her passion. Marina began giving informal yoga classes at her church, but wanted more. To deepen her knowledge and share the benefits of yoga with others, she completed her 200-hour Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher Training in 2014. She’s since taught at a network of fitness gyms in north Texas.
Her country of origin is Mexico (which adds some spice to her accent!), but she married and moved to Indiana in 1988. She has two daughters and enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga nidra, reading and listening to music.
She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from her country.

Dacia Hatch — Yoga

Dacia first started as a customer, and then joined us as a Yoga and Aerial Yoga Instructor. She is certified in Yoga Fit, but considers herself a lifelong student of yoga.

With a passion for wellness and desire to help people. Dacia received her Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition Sciences, from Texas A&M University.

She lives in Van Alstyne with her husband, Bryan, son Owen and daughter Bryn.

Grace Battle — Ballet

Grace fell in love with dance at a homeschool co-op in 2011. At the age of 13 she committed to classical ballet at TYBC taking up to 6 classes a week.

In the summers of 2016-2018 she attended Ballet Magnificat’s
SDI in Jackson, MS (2016-2017) and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, PA (2018).

She began subbing at her home studio (TYBC) and at Joy of Dance in 2018. She is attending Ballet Magnificat’s Teacher Training (2019) to continue developing her teaching skills. She has a passion for sharing her love of ballet with others. She hopes to continue teaching for years to come.

Andrea Moog — Yoga

My name is Andrea Moog. I have always had a passion for movement and athletics. I trained in ballet and tumbling for 10 years. As an adult I decided to combine my love for graceful movement and strength in my practice of Yoga. I became a certified Yoga Instructor in 2011 and have been practicing and teaching yoga ever since. I’m currently pursuing 500-hour yoga training and I look forward to teaching classes at LIFT to kids and adults.

Megan Huff

Graduate of Texas A & M University, Megan enjoys being a wife and mother, she found herself on a yoga mat for the first time in 2011 after a friend said it might be good for her.  In a matter of a few years Megan was not only in a regular practice, but teaching kids yoga and eventually adults.  Most days you can now find her hanging upside down in the aerial yoga studio and teaching kids and adults to do the same. Megan is certified in not only kids yoga and aerial yoga, but is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) – 200 Hour and a Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT).

Kollyndi Jill Rutledge

Kollyndi has always worked with children as an assistant in her mom’s dance studio in the evenings and as a Social Worker advocating for children during the day. She has a master’s degree from A&M university. She started dance at the age of two in her mom’s studio, and at the age of twelve she began assisting her mom in dance and tumbling classes. She loves helping children discover a love of movement and be part of our dance studio family.