Meet Some of Our Amazing Instructors

Ilen'a Appling -Owner & Artistic Director

Originally from Detroit, Michigan -  Ilen'a started dancing at the age of three at the Dearborn Dance Academy, where she trained under  Artistic Director  - Pamela Damian. There, she would perfect her craft in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, and gymnastics. Ilena would go on to  attend the popular Detroit High School For the Fine and Performing Arts (DSA), a very selective performance arts school. She excelled in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, lyrical, and African dance under the tutelage of Director, Lisa Reynolds. While attending DSA, she was cast in a national Wal-Mart commercial (2001), and continued to showcase her talents in various events across the city of Detroit. ILena would go on to attend a summer dance workshop at the world renown, Julliard - in New York. This is where she found her passion to continue training and decided to attend Bowling Green University with a full scholarship for dance. At the age of 20, she decided to open up her own dance studio in Oak Park Michigan, “Totally Gospel Dance Studio, only to relocate to Houston, where - “Toes & Tunes Fine Art Studio" would be born in 2012. 

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Rebecca French is a contemporary dance teacher and choreographer. She has taught dance at numerous locations in Houston including the Houston Met Dance Center, Rice University, Cypress Dance Project, Dauntless Dance and the University of Houston. Rebecca has also led after-school dance programs for at-risk youth for over ten years, working with Children's Prison Arts Project to bring movement to incarcerated youth and teaching dance classes to homeless teens at the Grace Place outreach center.

Rebecca is the founder of FrenetiCore Dance, Frenetic Theater, and the Houston Fringe Festival. Her choreography has been presented by the Cullen Theater, TEDx Houston, JCC’s ChoreographersX6, CounterCurrent Festival, Miller Outdoor Theater, New Orleans Fringe Festival, Dance Houston, CORE Dance, and Station Museum of Contemporary Art, among others. She has been featured in Houstonia Magazine, CultureMap, Spectrum South, Houston Press, Arts + Culture Texas, Broadway World, Houston Citybook, Outsmart Magazine and the Houston Chronicle. French was awarded a HIVE residency at the Houston Ballet in 2018.

Rebecca French is a contemporary dance teacher and choreographer. She has taught dance at numerous locations in Houston including the Houston Met Dance Center, Rice University, Cypress Dance Project, Dauntless Dance and the University of Houston. Rebecca has also led after-school dance programs for at-risk youth for over ten years, working with Children's Prison Arts Project to bring movement to incarcerated youth and teaching dance classes to homeless teens at the Grace Place outreach center.

Rebecca is the founder of FrenetiCore Dance, Frenetic Theater, and the Houston Fringe Festival. Her choreography has been presented by the Cullen Theater, TEDx Houston, JCC’s ChoreographersX6, CounterCurrent Festival, Miller Outdoor Theater, New Orleans Fringe Festival, Dance Houston, CORE Dance, and Station Museum of Contemporary Art, among others. She has been featured in Houstonia Magazine, CultureMap, Spectrum South, Houston Press, Arts + Culture Texas, Broadway World, Houston Citybook, Outsmart Magazine and the Houston Chronicle. French was awarded a HIVE residency at the Houston Ballet in 2018.