Academy Instructors

TexARTS’ Academy instructors have performed on Broadway, National Tours, and on TV and Film. These performing and visual arts teaching artists are Austin’s best and brightest, leading weekly classes in Dance, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Acting, Musical Theatre, Visual Arts, Voice and more. They are the reason TexARTS is the Lake Travis home for arts education and performance. Click the links below to learn more about them.


Ben Borgia – Acting

Ben moved from his native Australia to Austin 6 years ago to marry a Texan. He is a graduate of the National Institute of the Dramatic Arts (NIDA-Australia) where he received a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in 2005. Ben has been acting professionally and teaching kids ever since. 






George Bohn – Tap

George Bohn started performing in California at an early age with Vernon Russell who set the foundation for much of his dance career.  By age 13, George had performed on television, in an Equity Summer Stock package, and at the San Francisco Opera House with the Kirov ballet.  After earning an English degree from St. Mary’s College, he toured throughout the Northwest United States and internationally performing ballets and choreographing in countries such as Mexico, Germany, and the Netherlands; eventually performing with Disney-on-Parade in South Africa before moving to New York City.  George’s New York credits include Gypsy with Angela Lansbury, several Off-Off Broadway shows, The American Dance Machine, and Not So New Faces where he originated the “Flipper Dance” with choreographer Terry Rieser,

While in New York, he was recruited by the esteemed choreographer Henry LeTang to travel to Las Vegas to perform in a revue of The Cotton Club when the famous film starring Gregory Hines was released.  Once back in New York, George joined DancEllington, a concert tap company founded by Gregory and Maurice Hines and led by Mercedes Ellington, Duke Ellington’s granddaughter.  In addition to performing and touring with the company, George made his New York choreographic debut creating the Russian and Sugarplum Fairy dances in DancEllington’s premier of Cracker Jazz—Peter and the Duke, to Ellington’s famous arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite, as well as assisting Ms. Ellington in choreographing for Andre Heller’s Body and Soul which opened at the Munich Opera House and toured in Germany and Austria.  George also created and performed A Simple Song with his long time friend, Broadway actor Bob Fitch for the group Dancers Over Forty before closing a 30 year chapter on his New York career and moving to Austin to be closer to family.

His current projects in Austin include teaching classes of all levels at TexARTS, maintaining his YouTube channel, and originating the Austin Rhythm Incubator; an online performance salon.


Cassie Eckerman – Jazz

Cassie Eckerman was born and raised in San Antonio, TX and began her training at TJ’s Dance Factory at the age of 3. She attended the North East School of the Arts in San Antonio and performed in numerous productions while there, including the musicals Beauty and the Beast and On Your Toes.

She received her BFA in Modern Dance Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and has danced and performed with a number of Philadelphia area dance artists and companies including Bessie Award nominee Jaamil Kosoko, Georgian Court University’s director of dance Silvana Cardell, Nora Gibson of Nora Gibson Performance Project, and Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre. While in Philadelphia, Cassie also served as an intern and assistant administrator for the nEW Festival, performed in the Live Arts Festival, Philadelphia PRIDE, and has choreographed work for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.  Cassie settled in Austin after teaching internationally and is thrilled to be both back in the studio teaching and performing as well as serving as TexARTS Education Manager.

While at TexARTS she has choreographed for the youth Musical Theater Academy: Wizard of Oz, Jr., Jungle Book, Jr., Aladdin, Jr., Annie, Jr., The Rockin’ Tale of Snow White, and Into the Woods, Jr., as well as directed Legally Blonde, Jr., Peter Pan, Jr., Willy Wonka, Jr., The Lion King, Jr., and James and the Giant Peach, Jr.  She also regularly appears beside TexARTS tap teacher George Bohn in the TexARTS holiday cabaret A Cool Yule, dances professionally, and spends much of her free time making costumes for TexARTS or for comic conventions throughout Texas.

Kylie Gutierrez – Madagascar

Leah Knight – Rock of Ages

Dora Lukacevic – Voice

Marissa Ramirez – Twinkle Stars, Rock of Ages, Hip Hop

Marissa Ramirez was born and raised in Laredo, Texas where she was trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, and Hip hop. She started dancing at the age of eight and was on a competitive dance team by the age of 12. Her teaching career started as an assistant at 16 years old and developed her skills into a full time instructor. Marissa is always looking for ways to expand her dance education, so as a competitive dancer, she took part in many dance conventions and competitions around the country earning awards with Youth America Grand Prix, Break The Floor Productions, Artists Simply Human, Monsters of Dance, NYCDA, and others. She discovered her passion for choreographing when she was unable to afford to hire a solo choreographer one year; so, she took matters into her own hands and earned her first choreography award at 16. Marissa attended The University of Texas at Austin where she was able to work within the dance program including with artists Rennie Harris, Millie Heckler, Dorothy O’Shea Overbey, Jeremy Arnold, Erica Saucedo, and Lisa Thompson. Marissa also had the privilege of directing her dance company during her senior year. Her passion for dance shows in the studio where she encourages her dancers to be both confident and creative.




Lilly Welch – Madagascar

Lilly Welch is a local teaching artist here in Austin, Texas and she is so excited to be a part of the TexARTS team! Lilly grew up loving all things theatre: the lights, the costumes, the stories! She loved it so much that she pursued her passion at a collegiate level and graduated from Samford University with a BFA in Theatre for Youth. Since graduating, she has worked as a professional director and teaching artist back in her hometown of Austin. She is a current teaching artist and ensemble member with the Story Wrangler program at Paramount Theatre and has directed junior productions of High School Musical and Elf with kidsActing Studio in east Austin. Lilly’s passion has always been to teach and help her students realize their full potential both on and off stage. Her overall goal is to create a space that allows every student to feel confident, make bold choices, and to grow in their love for the wonderful world of theatre. 



Hannah West – Ballet, 6 week workshops, Madagascar, Jr.

Hannah West is a recent graduate of  Elon University, from which she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. Born and raised in St. Augustine, Florida, Hannah began dancing at the age of three at a local dance studio, and was involved in St. Johns County Center for the Arts throughout middle and high school. Now living in Austin, TX, Hannah is teaching dance and Pilates, as well as pursuing a professional performance career.







Cassie Wolfard – Contemporary


Jonathan Young – Rock of Ages

Jonathan is a director, educator, voice artist, and award-winning actor. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Drama at Austin Community College. Stage credits include:Cabaret, Hamlet, and The Pillowman (Brandeis Theatre Company); The Cat and the Canary, A Christmas Carol, and Anna Christie (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Beauty and the Beast (American Family Theatre); All in the Timing (Theatre 54 NYC).  He has appeared on numerous TV shows and commercials, including spots in Central Texas for Car-to-Go and TEXpress Lanes. He frequently lends his voice to commercials and narrations, having recently recorded a spot for United Way of Williamson County. Austin-area directing credits include: Die Hard Radiocast (Penfold Theatre Co), Footloose, The Santaland Diaries, Mad Libs Live, and Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (the Georgetown Palace) and Pest Control (Frontera Festival). Before teaching for ACC, Jonathan instructed courses at the Georgetown Palace (where he served as the Director of Education and Interim Executive Director), TexARTS, Southwestern University, Brandeis University, and various schools and camps in California and New York.  He holds a BA in Dramatic Arts (double emphasis in Directing and Playwriting) from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in Acting from Brandeis University, and is a certified actor/combatant through the Society of American Fight Directors. Jonathan lives with his wife Jaimie in Pflugerville where he can be found playing dress-up and wiffle-ball with his daughter (age 7) and son (age 4). Member of the Actors’ Equity Association.