MEET OUR TEACHING ARTISTS
MAGIC IN THE MAKING
Ryan Ardelt graduated from Grand Canyon University with a BA in Theatre and a minor in dance in Spring of 2021. Ryan started dancing when he was five years of age after watching his sisters on the screen at his old dance studio and becoming tempted to join them in class. He grew up dancing in the studio competitively and eventually was able to transfer his studio background to the stage. He has performed all over the valley, with some of his favorite credits including Mrs. Bumbrake in GCU’s Peter and the Starcatcher, Albert in Hale Centre Theatre’s Newsies, and Rolf in The Phoenix Theatre Company’s The Sound of Music. During the Summer of 2019, Ryan participated in the Open Jar Institute’s Broadway Intensive and received training in New York City from Broadway professionals. He also had the opportunity to learn from and perform with Broadway’s Dames at Sea tapping star Eloise Kropp as an ensemble member in Scottsdale Musical Theatre Company’s 42nd Street. Along with performing, Ryan has composed music for five MainStage productions at Grand Canyon University and most recently worked on composing for Tap 24.7’s 11th annual show Tap Side Story. He is ecstatic to be joining Valley Youth Theatre for the summer to teach!
Alyssa Balogh is beyond excited to be a part of the VYT team! She has a BFA in Theatre (Acting & Directing) from Western Washington University specializing in devising and viewpoints, and over 10 years of experience in the theatre industry- ranging from acting, directing, playwrighting, stage management, musical theatre, hair & make-up, and choreography. She’s performed and produced work in Seattle, Chicago, Denver, and New York, and recently moved to Arizona in hopes of pursuing an MFA at ASU for Directing. She plans to bring her vast industry knowledge and passion for helping artists create and produce their own work to the young artists at VYT- along with the necessary basics of Musical Theatre for any actor to be successful. She also runs her own business- AB Productions, focused on social media and marketing for theatre & real estate while not performing or producing!
Sophia Bavishi is a graduate from Arizona State University with a degree in popular music. When she was younger, Sophia performed with several professional and youth theaters, including VYT. She has so many wonderful, happy memories from that time of her life, and learned many life lessons with each show. It just felt right to come back and return the favor to a new generation of musical theater kids by working with VYT to teach healthy and safe techniques for singing, acting, and dancing. When Sophia isn’t teaching, she is writing and recording music to release to the world!
Cam Blackwell is very enthusiastic to join the VYT team this season! Mr. Blackwell is a professional actor and teacher from Detroit, MI where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and Africana Theatre and Dance from Wayne State University (class of 2020, summa cum laude). As a new Arizona resident, he is very enthusiastic to engage with the theatre community here and expand his experience in youth theatre education and performance with our Valley Youth Theatre thespians!
Tia Dae Grey-Woodyard
Tia Dae was born in Los Angeles, and raised in New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia, Tia Dae’ moved to Phoenix in 2019 with the goals of reigniting her love and passion for the Theatre arts. Acting and modeling on stage and in film from the age of three, she found that through performance and writing she could make people and herself happy, which is still a lifelong goal of hers. Tia Dae’ holds a B.A. in Theatre and Public Relations from Georgia State University, as well as a M.B.S in Innovative Entrepreneurship and is working toward an M.F.A. at Regent University in Theatre Performance and Directing there. With experience in acting, writing, teaching, and business, she is excited to inspire and teach the youth the craft and help them develop and pursue their passions in the arts and understand the logistical sides of the field as well. She has written original pieces for stage and film back in Georgia, and has even written original monologues for the VYT Musical Theatre class. Outside of work, Tia Dae’ is a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to three daughters. She enjoys spending time with her husband and children, cooking, traveling, and inspiring people by being a light and reflection of her faith and beliefs.
Kelly Kraft is so excited to be a part of the VYT teaching artist team! She has a BA in Theatre Arts from Flagler College, focusing on musical theatre, writing, and directing. In addition to acting Kelly has worked in almost every aspect of theatre production, especially in costuming. She is passionate about creativity and theatre arts education, and spent the last year teaching drama and improv lessons integrated with classroom learning. Originally from Athens, GA, Kelly has worked and performed around the Southeast before relocating to Arizona. In the classroom, Kelly brings a desire to help students grow their skills, use their natural creativity, and have a great time performing.
Anna Mettes is thrilled to be joining the VYT team! Born and raised in Phoenix, she is currently attending Grand Canyon University to get her BA in Theatre and Drama. She is a VYT alum and was a part of 9 productions, including Alice in Wonderland, Newsies, Tuck Everlasting, Freaky Friday, and Matilda. She also worked as an intern for VYT's summer camp in 2018! She has choreographed in multiple settings, including studio dance, middle school productions, high school show choir, and collegiate theatre. Anna's goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment for all children and to promote openness and kindness in a productive and fun work environment!
Kristi Rice has a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance with an emphasis in Musical Theatre Performance from Arizona State University. She has a background in Classical voice, Musical Theater, Worship music and Pop. She also studied voice privately in New York City with the Tony award winning Victoria Clark, and with world renowned composer and vocal coach Craig Bohmler and Broadway tour director Alan J Plato. She has maintained a private voice studio and piano studio for nearly two decades and is currently Adjunct Voice Faculty at Grand Canyon University teaching Vocal Performance, Musical Theater and Worship Arts Students. Kristi has performed locally with Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Phoenix, Theatre Works and Child’s Play and nationally with several regional theatre companies. Some of her favorite roles include, Anna Leonowens in The King and I, Maria in The Sound of Music, Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Kristi is constantly humbled and awed by how much she learns every day from her students. She loves teaching, and is so grateful to be of service to growing voices and help to shape the future of young performers.
Dan Stoddard is a Theater Teacher and Stage Manager who has worked in the Phoenix area since 2015. He has a degree in Elementary Education, with experience as a classroom teacher for all subjects. He has taught theater classes all over, including a summer camp for students from NYC, as well as in Central America, and at many schools and theaters in the Phoenix area. Dan enjoys helping young people discover their love of creativity and artistic expression. He is thrilled to join the VYT team in bringing the joy of theater to students!
Madolyn is thrilled to be a part of the VYT team and continue to further their mission to impart life skills to students through theatre and the arts. An arts enthusiast herself, Madolyn graduated from ASU with a BFA in theatre and a focus in playwriting. Madolyn has had plays produced in Arizona, Colorado and New York and has a passion for creating devised work with her students that explore their experiences. Previously, she worked with ARTS ALIVE! bringing experiential, dramatic arts classes to hundreds of students throughout the Houston area which focused on instilling social and emotional learning skills through the arts. At Playworks Arizona, Madolyn continued to work toward instilling social and emotional learning skills to children through play as a part of their Development team with a focus in volunteer coordination, management of large-scale special events, and marketing. She is excited to bring her years of experience in the arts and non-profits to VYT and help continue to grow the education department to positively impact more lives.