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Meet Our Teachers

Nicole Cohen

Owner & Artistic Director

Nicole brings over 25 years of experience to Rise Academy of Dance.  She has taught and choreographed extensively throughout California for the past 13 years, and she spent 9 seasons coaching the UCLA Dance Team from 2008-2017. 

Nicole has extensive training in a variety of dance styles including Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Contemporary and Musical Theater Jazz.  She graduated from UCLA in 2006 with a B.A. in World Arts and Cultures, concentrating on Dance Studies.  While attending UCLA, Nicole spent three years on the Dance Team, serving as Captain and cheering on her fellow Bruins at all of the home football and basketball games. She also worked in the television and film industry, appearing in several movies, a TV series, and commercials for Fox Sports and the Lexus Gauntlet.


Upon graduation, Nicole moved to Boston where she spent a year performing as an inaugural member of the Celtics Dancers.  When she returned to California, Nicole continued her career with the NBA, dancing for the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit for four seasons.  In addition to her five years with the NBA, Nicole has performed with Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, and Lenny Kravitz at the 2011 All-Star Game, as well as taken part in international performances in Hong Kong, Beijing, Xi’an and Mexico City.  Her choreography credits include routines for the UCLA Dance, Cheer, and Mascot Teams, the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit and Jr. Jam Teams, the Laker Girls, the UCI Dance Team, the Anaheim Bolts Dancers and the Tokyo Apache Dance Team to name a few. Many of her students have gone on to dance professionally with the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit, Laker Girls, Rams Cheerleaders, and most recently, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.


In 2015, Nicole founded her own business, Rise Academy of Dance, in Redondo Beach.   This was a long-time dream for Nicole, and she is excited for the journey to come.  


Dance has always played a significant role in Nicole’s life, and she hopes to instill her passion for dance in her students.

Arlin Busano, a native from Honolulu, Hawaii started her early dance training at a competitive studio from age 5 studying various styles such as hula, Tahitian, Jazz, tap, ballet/pointe and hip-hop. She was later a member of the Diamond Head Theatre Shooting Stars, a musical theatre repertoire. While involved with Musical Theatre, Busano furthered her training at 24-VII Danceforce where she focused on contemporary, hip-hop, and jazz funk art forms. She was also a company member at 24-VII and trained under many Hawaii dance superstars such as Mark Kanemura, Alicia Vela-Bailey, and Gil Duldulao.


Busano moved to Tyler, Texas in 2007 and trained at Artistic Dance Concepts where she was part of Freedom Company. Throughout the entirety of her dance training, Busano has attended numerous dance competitions and conventions. She was awarded with the Pulse on Tour Protégé scholarship for three non-consecutive years where she was able to assist choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Cris Judd and Brian Friedman. Busano attended Kilgore College where she was a part of the World Famous Kilgore College Rangerettes. She served as a Swingster for two years, and was Right End Lieutenant her sophomore year. Her performances as a Rangerette would include the Cotton Bowl Classic Festivities, Dallas Cowboys Games, 70th Anniversary for Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and the Black Tie and Boots Ball for the second Inauguration of President Obama in Washington D.C.


After her accomplishments as a Rangerette, Busano finished her studies at Texas State University in San Marcos and graduated in 2016 with a BFA in Performance and Choreography. During her years at Texas State, she was on Merge, a pre-professional dance company, performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Trey Songz, and has worked with Justin Giles and the Soul Escape Company. Busano currently travels around Texas to choreograph at dance studios and high school drill/dance teams. She is also affiliated with Encore Creative Productions, Spirit of America, and West Coast Elite Dance. Busano is very excited and grateful to be an instructor at Rise Academy of Dance.

Arlin Busano


Mel St. Cyr


Mel St. Cyr is a native from New Hampshire and has been dancing for 19 years. Her training and experience has included Alvin Ailey Summer intensive, Joffrey Ballet School, and consistent training at The Jeannette Neill Dance Studio in Boston, MA. She has also been a part of professional groups such as Boston Community Dance Project, The Concept Artists, Static Noyze Dance Company, IMMABEAST, Rhythm City Ent. and Project Nailz attending major events like World of Dance, NYC Carnival Choreographer's Ball, and Prelude Urban Dance Competition. Her training has also brought her performance opportunities to be involved in Rolling Loud NYC, Rhythm City’s: Cosmological Warriors China Tour, Broadway in Boston: Dirty Dancing, NYC Dance Parade, and National Dance Day broadcasted on FOX's So You Think You Can Dance! Mel has also enjoyed assisting at major dance conventions and teaching at various dance studios around the New York area. working with artists like Chinese Kitty, Lil Mama, Sarah-Katarina "SKooJ", Alonzo Williams, DOMO, Ari B, 4ward Productions, and McCarthy Visuals has brought Mel to where she currently teaches and trains in Los Angeles.

Cameron Graham

Born in Los Angeles, CA, Cameron was always an entertainer at heart. Growing up in the Compton area of Los Angeles, he was fascinated with the dance moves of Michael Jackson, Usher and Omarion, and he wanted to move just like they did. After seeing the movie "You Got Served" he took notice of world known choreographer Dave Scott and decided to take hip hop dance more seriously. When he moved to Missouri, he joined a dance crew that formed at his high school. After winning talent shows, dance contests and performing for a local hip hop artist, Cameron decided to take his dance passion to the next level. At the age of 21 he moved to Oklahoma City, OK to learn more about contemporary and hip hop.  He began teaching dance classes, and soon formed the dance crew/company known as Band Of Misfits. Since then,Cameron has traveled the states as well as overseas to China learning, dancing, and teaching.


Cameron has been able to showcase some of his talents in events such as World Of Dance, Chris Brown's F.A.M.E tour as a pre-show act, as a co-choreographer on the "Bad Girl" music video for artist Cameron McBeth, and he has taught for dance conventions such as The Streetz and Soul de Soul.  He is now working on more projects with Band Of Misfits and other personal dance projects and is a member of the MOB Dance Company. He is currently a hip hop instructor and competition choreographer and teaches master classes in different cities around the US. Today, Cameron is still pursuing his passion as a dancer and choreographer as well as an actor and home cook.

Allison Cook


Allison Cook Headshot.jpg

Allison grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana where she began dancing with Tammy Palmer’s Center Stage Dance Company. During her time there she studied a variety of styles including jazz, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, and tap. She attended multiple regional and national competitions each year. She was also a member of the Barbe High School dance team, where she was captain her senior year. In May of 2021 Allison graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering and a minor in Dance. While at LSU she was a member of the LSU Tiger Girls dance team for 4 years and was captain her senior year. As part of the team, she competed in Hip Hop and Jazz at UDA College Nationals. She also performed at a variety of sporting and community events for LSU. After graduation, she spent a year in Indianapolis teaching a variety of competitive and recreational classes at Indy Dance Academy. Now living in Los Angeles, she is excited to teach at Rise!

Estelle began her dance career at the age of 16, after many years of training in the Vaganova,
and Cecchetti methods at Ballet Florida, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet and in NYC. She
traveled Nationally and internationally performing with Ballet Eddy Toussaint de Montreal and

Ballet Florida; working with renowned choreographers such as Peter Martins, Lynn Taylor-
Corbett, Danny Ezralow, Val Caniparoli, and Mauricio Wainrot, as well as works by Alvin Ailey, and

George Balanchine. Some classical favorites are Coppelia, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, Firebird and The Nutcracker.


After 15 years in pointe shoes she honed her singing skills and transitioned to Broadway as Dance Captain and swing in the show Fosse. Upon landing in NY Estelle had the privilege of performing with the Radio City Christmas Show for three seasons. Regional credits include: On Your Toes-Vera and Chicago–Hunyak, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (film to stage) - Hollywood Bowl.


The perfection of dance and movement led to a career in Pilates, Fitness and Dance Instruction. She spread her knowledge to gyms in Florida, NYC and California, and dance departments for colleges such as AMDA, UCLA, and Loyola Marymount. After having two beautiful children she launched a line of Fitness products called Fitness Flower, Inc. geared to help busy moms stay in shape. Her products have been featured on Extra, Life & Style Magazine and carried in T.J.Maxx as well as boutiques across the United States. Fitness took a back seat for a few years while Estelle decided to start a theater company called Broadway Arts Theater at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Bringing excellent theater training and experience to 80 school children per show. In order to keep moving during Covid, Estelle and Joie Shettler created Rocknfit, an online fitness studio geared to the over 35 year olds who still want to feel sexy and move their body to music.


She is thrilled to be teaching at Rise Academy of Dance, and continue to bring her love of dance and movement to another generation. A few special things she will be implementing into regular teaching curriculum are Therapeutic Barre (warms up every muscle), Floor Barre (finds and engages the muscles needed for dance), Pilates, and Strength training.

Estelle Shaw

Katy Shaffer


A native of Southern California, Katy received her early dance training in Palos Verdes. She most recently graduated from UCLA, earning her B.A. in World Arts and Cultures with a concentration on Dance Studies this June. She spent 4 years on the UCLA Dance Team, serving as Captain in previous seasons. In 2018, Katy was faculty assistant at ProAction Dance, which is a huge convention for professional and collegiate dance teams.  She specializes in competitive jazz, contemporary, and lyrical and was one of our competitive team choreographers this season.  Katy is passionate about teaching and choreographing, and loves sharing her knowledge with her students. 

Suri is the most sought after ACRO/tumbling coach in the South Bay. Her decades of experience in competitive gymnastics gives her immense technique knowledge and an understanding of the hard work required to achievesuccess. Suri has 12 years of experience as a competitive gymnast and 24 years as a professional dancer in the TV and film industry. She has danced with Katy Perry, Will.I.Am, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and many more. She has also performed on the American Music Awards,  American Idol, the TV show, GLEE, and is the co-host of Showstopper & Tremaine Nationals.

Suri Serano


Brandi Olivero


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