quality instruction. quality instructors.

Tina  Bohnstedt

Our director stepped into a studio established more than 35 years ago by Margo Marshall and Gilbert Rome and built upon its tradition as a program offering serious training based in classical ballet technique.  Tina is a graduate of the Heinz-Bosl Stiftung Ballet Academy in Munich, Germany. After graduating in 1989 Ms. Bohnstedt joined the Bavarian State Ballet where she attained the rank of principal dancer. Early in her career she was awarded the Junior Gold Medal at the German Ballet competition (1986), as well as finalist fourth place in the Moscow International Ballet Competition (1989). Upon retiring Ms. Bohnstedt was invited by Stanton Welch in 2011 to become a ballet mistress for the Houston Ballet.

Cece White 

 Director of  American Jazz Dance Company, a non-profit, nationally recognized dance troupe headquartered at Studio of Dance in Northwest Houston, Texas. Cece has over 40 years of experience in the Houston/Klein/Spring area as a dancer, teacher and choreographer in all dance styles including jazz, tap, lyrical, hip-hop, ballet and contemporary. Many of her students have made dance their career in venues such as THE MUPPET MOVIE and other screen productions; back-up dancers for Janet Jackson, the Black Eyed Peas and other artists; the Rockettes; Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders; Houston Texan Cheerleaders; Disney theme parks worldwide; and cruise lines. Winner of numerous choreography awards including Showstoppers, Dance Olympus, L.A. Underground, New York City Dance Alliance, Tremaine, LA DanceMagic, L.A. Dance Force, Jump, NUVO and many more. Her many credits include work with Walt Disney’s “Donald Duck’s Birthday Celebration” in Houston, the Galveston Festival on the Strand, the Houston Festival, Woodlands Renaissance activities, Thanksgiving Day Parade and numerous Klein High School drama productions, among others. She led AJDC dancers as they performed 3 years with Walt Disney’s “Mickey’s Magical Gatherings” here in Houston. She is a certified CEC instructor, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Education, and the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America. 

Ekaterina Shchelkanova (Chtchelkanova)

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Ekaterina Shchelkanova (Chtchelkanova) received her dance training at Vaganova Academy. While still a student she was already dancing a lot of advanced roles like "Masha" in the Kirov's production of The Nutcracker. Upon graduation, she joined the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky Theatre) as a soloist where she danced a variety of leading roles in the major classical ballets. Recognized for her airy and darting speed, she was the first Russian ballerina to dance George Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux on the stage at the Mariinsky Theatre while still a student of Vaganova Academy.

Ms. Shchelkanova joined American Ballet Theatre in 1995, and as a soloist with the Company, she has excelled in a variety of soloist and principal roles using her polished elegance and strong technique with a sparkling stage personality. Dancing in the extensive ABT repertoire she enjoyed stage partnerships with such masters as Julio Bocca, Susan Jaffe, Amanda McKerrow, John Garner, Julie Kent, Eithan Steifel and Angel Corella.

Ms. Shchelkanova's versatility, strong classical training and technical skill shine in classical and contemporary dance allowed her to work closely with legendary Twyla Tharp, Sally Wilson,John Neumeier, Frederik Franklin and Mark Morris. In addition, Ms. Shchelkanova has appeared in numerous ballet class videos and in several ballet books. Her amazing training and pure classical line was noticed by such Masters as Gelsey Kirkland, Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

While working with American Ballet Theatre Ms. Shchelkanova has traveled the world dancing, teaching and coaching.

She also did print modeling for designers like Salvatore Ferragamo and Bvlgari In 2002, Ms. Shchelkanova made her film debut playing the role of "Hunyak" in theAward winning production of "CHICAGO", starring Rene Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere. Ms. Shchelkanova, along with the principal cast of "CHICAGO", took home a SAG Award for their "Outstanding" Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture" in 2003. In 2004, Ms. Shchelkanova stared and co-produced Anita Doron’s independent film “ The End of Silence”.

In January 2006, Ekaterina accepted a position of Artistic Director at the Berlin International Dance Festival. As a guest, Ekaternia taught classes at National Ballet of Canada and ABT's JKO School. She joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as ballet mistress and since September 2007, held the same position at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal until she founded “Open World” Dance Foundation. Ekaterina notes that "Ballet has introduced me to so many people, places and opportunities." She joyfully shares her knowledge and relationships to help others and to preserve the artform she loves.


Anton Boytsov was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the age of 10, Mr. Boytsov was accepted to Vaganova Academy of St. Petersburg, Russia. Mr. Boytsov started his education under masterful guidelines of Vladilen Semenov, famous Russian dancer and teacher. Professor of dance, Mr. Semenov was known as a “Danseur Noble” whose academism sought him worldwide fame and, he shared every bit of his knowledge of classical ballet and style with his students, including Mr. Boytsov. While still a student, Mr. Boytsov danced featured roles in The Nutcracker. After graduating from Vaganova Academy, Mr. Boytsov was invited to join Kirov Ballet (now Mariinsky Theatre), and has been recognized for his extraordinary partnering skills, big and light jump and pure Semenov style. Anton’s elegance and musicality combined with strong stage presence gained him reputation of a great and reliable dancer not only among his dancer colleagues, but also among young, aspiring choreographers. Mr. Boytsov was chosen to be a part of many new projects like “The Nutcracker” by Mikhail Shemyakin, “Humpback Horse” and “Cinderella” by Alexey Ratmansky, “The Rites of Spring” by Eugine Panfilov, “Coppelia” by Oleg Vinogradov etc. Mr. Boytsov's favorite roles include Young Man in “Les Sylphides”, Rothbart in “Swan Lake”, Panaderos in “Raymonda”, Slave in “La Bayadere”, Vakh in “Walpurgis Night” and Ferkhad in “Legend of Love”. Anton’s great partnering skills and perfect “stage manners” made him popular among leading ballerinas of the company and, he enjoyed stage partnerships with such stars like Uliana Lopatkina, Olga Chenchikova, Svetlana Zakharova, Yulia Makhalina, Altinay Asilmuratova and many others. Mr. Boytsov was given great opportunities to learn and perform choreography of unforgettable Roland Petit in “Carmen”, great Sir’s MacMillan’s “Manon”, amazing Jerome Robbins “Leaves are Fading” and genius George Balanchine’s “Diamonds”.

During his years with the Mariinsky Theatre, Mr. Boytsov performed on many most important stages of the world. He traveled to the US, Canada, Central and South America, Australia and Europe. While still a performing member of the Mariinksy company, Mr. Boytsov was invited to work with the Olympic skating team of Russia. He coached Evgeniy Pluschenko for the olympic program that brought him a gold meadal at the 2006 Olympic games in Turin, Italy.

In 2011, Mr. Boytsov organized and helped to host JKO School of American Ballet Theatre first teacher’s training course in St. Petersburg, Russia. This international event opened doors to teachers and ballet students of America and Russia to fruitful collaborations in the future, projects connecting ballet elite of America, Russia and other countries. In 2013-14, Mr. Boytsov worked with Ballet Theatre Houston and Robert Underwood’s Studio of Dance. In addition to excellent technical skills, he brought artistic education and other qualities of Russian ballet training to American dancers. Mr.Boytsov enjoys sharing his professional skills and love for dance through Open World Dance Foundation as a founder and Vice-President.

Laurie Claypool possesses two Masters Degrees, one in dance and one in Instructional Design, and was awarded full graduate assistantships for both programs. She has taught ballet in diverse settings including university, private dance studio, and mobile programs to daycare centers for over twenty-five years. Laurie has served as ballet mistress for Jamestown Civic Ballet and the Springfield Ballet. She developed and ran a dance program for Which Way Is Up Gymnastics in Syracuse, New York and choreographed beam and floor   routines for state and national level competitions.  At Illinois State University, she judged a national choreographic competition as a part of a panel and conducted research into the effects of using imagery to   teach dance technique. In addition to her dance work, Laurie has developed curricula and evaluation tools for Headstart and K-12 school programs. She is a certified yoga teacher. 

Alisa Paradowski

began her dance career here in the local Houston/Spring/Magnolia area also with Cece     White and an AJDC alumnus.  She graduated from Sam Houston State University with a B.F.A. in Performing  Arts. While living in New York City, she was an adjunct professor at Pace University and taught at Joffrey Ballet School.  She has worked with artists such as Taylor Swift, Ne-yo, Le Ann Rimes, Freddie Prince Jr. Clay Walker and Wyclef Jean.  She has choreographed flashmobs for Wells Fargo and Microsoft Office and  been in commercials for XBOX, Canon, Footlocker, and Ford. 

Lindsey Corley began her dance career here in the local Houston/Spring/Klein area with our own Cece White and AJDC alumni.  She continued her studies at Oklahoma City University with Jo Rowan.  She is now married with 3 children and teaching dance at Klein Collins High School. 


Sandra Rahman

started her first dance studio at age nineteen.

She has been teaching dance for over 40 years.She was a principal dancer with the Lafayette Festival Ballet, the Baton Rouge Ballet Company, Houston Dance Center and the Louisiana Concert Ballet.  She has worked with choreographers Agnes De Mille and James Clouser and choreographed for several theaters production groups.




quality outcomes: OUR STUDENTS AND ALUMNI

Over the 30 plus years of the studio, many dancers have gone on to pursue their passion in college and as professionals.  Noted professionals who trained at the Gilbert Rome Studio of Dance include Jared Matthews now at ABT and Janie Taylor, a principal at New York City Ballet.

Since Robert became director of the studio, he has been proud of all those who have graduated from the program. Many will continue dance outside of their primary career focus.  We have also had students admitted to collegiate and professional training programs.  Recently - Audrey LeBovidge, Kirov Academy; Sarah Mohalley, University of Utah; Stephanie Reid, Oklahoma City Univeristy.

The studio offers comprehensive, pre-professional training.  Robert encourages students to train throughout the year by participating during the school year and summer programs.  He has seen many students make enormous improvement while training with him from June through August.  He also encourages interested students to consider other opportunities to supplement their training including summer intensives and competitions.

In recent years, those considering pursuit of professional dance careers have auditioned and participated in national and international ballet training opportunities giving them exposure to other teachers and professional companies. Attendees have included a number of his students: Kelsey England, Ally Flinn, Audrey LeBovidge, Madelyn Mattfeld, Morgan Mattfeld, Victoria Mechler, Helena Oliver, Mia Pham, Claire Smith Maddy Stump, and Kim Turner at programs including American Ballet Theatre, Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, Joffrey Ballet - New York, Kirov Academy of Ballet, Tulsa Ballet and Walnut Hill.  

In 2011, he and six students attended two weeks of training at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia.  In 2012, Robert traveled to Sochi, Russia with Open World Dance Foundation to attend their inaugural summer intensive program.  Observing Professor Irina Trofimova, who was taught by Vaganova, was a highlight of his teaching career.  Three of our dancers attended the program held in St Petersburg, Russia in 2013.  The 2014 program will be Riga, Latvia - birthplace of Mikhail Baryshnikov. More information can be found at www.openworlddancefoundation.com.

For the last several years, Mr. Underwood coached dancers for participation at Youth America Grand Prix's regional competition.  The commitment and additional training that is required builds strong dancers. He has also had past coaching experience for International Ballet Competition (IBC) in Jackson, Mississippi. His students have also won ballet scholarships at dance competitions including JUMP and NUVO.

Cece White, director of American Jazz Dance Company, has worked with several students who have gone on to have professional dance careers including:

  • Nick Drago - Finalist in Bravo's Step It Up and Dance which led to many other opportunities to perform including TV spots on Glee, How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs. He has also been a dancer behind the animation on Alvin and the Chipmunks and Hop. He worked with Tremaine dance conventions and now is a principal at Flow 40 Workshops.
  • Alisa Paradowski -Specializing in tap and hip hop, Alisa has danced in the Superbowl and on cruise ships.  She has danced behind Aerosmith and Clay Walker and tapped with Freddie Prince Jr.  Her teaching credentials include Joffrey and Pace University in New York City.
  • Heidi Karel Erickson - Trained at New School, Artist in Residence of Ballet Theatre Houston from 2007 - 2012 and beginning her second year dancing with City Ballet of San Diego.
  • And More - Other notable alumni include Ariana Brown, Beri Brown, Brandi Magers George, Max Jones, Lindsey Martin, Misty Norris, Kate O'Connell, Jacob Pereira, Addie Tomlinson, Julianne Waters, Jade Whitmire and Jessica Wright.

All students who have graduated from the program, take their training and lessons learned with them.  Some go on to teach dance classes while in college and several have gone on to collegiate programs including current students - Stephanie Reid at Oklahoma City University and Emma Hunter at Sam Houston State.  Helena Oliver will be in the ballet program at Butler University in the fall and Alexis Rudd was accepted in the TCU dance program and is considering it along with other offers before making her final decision.

Special Events

  • BTH Master Class Series with Ekaterina Shchelkanova & Anton Boytsov

    BTH MASTER CLASS SERIES WITH EKATERINA SHCHELKANOVA & ANTON BOYTSOV August 10 - 15, 2015, 1:00 - 4:00pm Master Class Series of Ballet, Character and Variations. Ballet Theatre Houston presents a Master Class Series with Ekaterina Shchelkanova & Anton Boytsov at Robert Underwood's Studio of Dance.  This master class series is for intermediate and advanced students.

  • Dance Insights

    "Passe is an action not a position." - Mr. Robert   Robert shares a wealth of information on a variety of topics, especially ballet.  In any class you take from him you are likely to get equal parts of history, pedagogy and current trends while training.  "Pedagogy" is the art and science of education.  So there you are, you just learned something by reading this blog post.

  • It's Never Too Late

    It’s never too late to join a dance class. For students interested in joining our Discovery and Pre-Professional Classes, we are working on recital. Because we focus on training versus competition or performance in our classes, we welcome students whether they participate in recital or not.

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