Abby Topping

Darien grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia. She started dancing when she was 8 at Forest Dance Academy. She studied ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, acrobatics, contemporary, musical theater, hip-hop, and modern. She was a member of the Performing Company for 8 years where she received many honors including Miss Dance of Virginia in 2009 and 2011. These titles took her to national level competitions. Darien started assistant teaching at the age of 12. After graduating high school, Darien taught for two years at FDA. At the same time, she directed the Altavista Area YMCA dance program. During this time she obtained  her Associate’s in Arts and Science from Tidewater Community College. In 2013, Darien uprooted and moved to Norfolk, Virginia where she continued  her education at Old Dominion University. She received her Bachelor’s in the Arts with a major in Dance. She studied ballet, modern, jazz, teaching principles, composition, and dance history under Joni Petre-Scholz, Marilyn Marloff, Amanda Kinzer, Katie Iacono, Megan Thompson, Cara Goodwin and other guest instructors. Darien has a beautiful daughter named Miloh and is engaged to the love of her life, Garrett. Darien currently teaches ballet and pointe for Poquoson Dance Academy and is looking forward to creating many dance relationships in the Hampton Roads area! 

Laura began her dance training at three years old and fell in love with it immediately. When she was five, she began dancing at Poquoson Dance Academy as one of its original students. Over the next thirteen years, she trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, and tap. She was a member of Poquoson Dance Academy’s competition team for six years and has been teaching for the studio and its company ever since. Additionally, she was a member of the York County School of the Arts (SOA) for four years. In 2013, Laura had the amazing opportunity to dance in the Orange Bowl halftime show with country singer Jake Owen. She received her B.A. in Communication Studies with a minor in dance from Christopher Newport University in 2017. At CNU, Laura actively participated in the dance department’s annual dance concert, “A Delicate Balance,” as both a dancer and choreographer. Over the years, she has taken classes from some of the biggest names in the industry such as Travis Wall and Stacey Tookey. Since she began teaching, Laura has received numerous high-scores and awards for her choreography at various competitions and is passionate about inspiring others to love dance as much as she does. Laura teaches for our Junior and Teen Companies as well as our Teen and Senior Tap Company. She, alongside Abby Topping, is co-director of the Kinetic Energy Dance Company.

Tori Terrill

Laura Bransford

Victoria “Tori” Terrill was born and raised in suburbs of Washington D.C. Tori began dancing at the age of nine in Fairfax, VA. She has trained in multiple genres such as Jazz, Pom, Hip-Hop, Ballet, Tap, Lyrical, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Ballroom, Irish Step dance, and Afro Caribbean. Since she began competing in 2004, Tori has been a semi-finalist at UDA and a finalist at NDA. Tori has performed for several philanthropic charities helping raise money for different organizations. She has also won numerous awards including two All-Americans and has been nominated for a Cappies award for choreography. In addition to her dance accolades, Tori has also choreographed routines for productions such as Fiddler On the Roof, By Bye Birdie, Singing in the Rain, and A Delicate Balance. Graduating with a dance minor from Christopher Newport University, she received the Casey DiPersio Annual Business and Performance Scholarship. While she was there, she was also Historian for Nu Delta Alpha Dance Honor Society. Tori currently judges and is involved with event planning for Eastern Cheer & Dance / AmeriDance. Tori teaches tap and hip hop for Poquoson Dance Academy.  She love her being a mentor for her students and enjoys seeing them be dedicated to improving their dance abilities. 

Bryson Olivo

Bryson grew up in Richmond, VA where he began his dancing career as a student of Richmond Dance Center at age 3. Bryson started off in ballet and eventually trained in all styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, musical theatre, hip hop, lyrical, modern, contemporary and even afro-Caribbean.  Bryson was an active member of the Richmond Dance Center competition team for 4 years. Bryson is a student at Christopher Newport University where he is studying Elementary Education, Musical Theatre, and Dance. He has had the opportunity to work with world renowned artists such as Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Josh Groban, Christina Perri, Colbie Caillat, K.D. Lang and much more. He was fortunate enough to be featured in Jason Mraz’s Music Video and Movie “Have it all.” Not only that, but he was able to perform alongside of Paul Williams and Mraz in front of Congress at the annual ASCAP performance in 2018. Not only that but he was given the opportunity to perform with Mraz to announce his album “Know” on The Today Show in New York City. Bryson is now a teacher and choreographer for the Poquoson Dance Academy as well as creating dances for his dance company at Christopher Newport University. Bryson teaches Creative Movement as well as the Beginning Tap/Ballet Combo Class. Bryson has two dreams. To be on Broadway, and to teach kids and change the way that kids think about themselves by using acceptance, compassion, and empathy.

Darien Unruh

Poquoson Dance Academy

Abby grew up in Poquoson, VA where she began her dancing career. She was a student at Poquoson Dance Academy when it first opened in 2000 when she was 4. Abby started with a class of beginning tap and ballet and eventually trained in all styles of dance including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and contemporary.  Abby was an active member of the Kinetic Energy Dance Company for 5 years.Abby graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2018 and received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Spanish.  She has had the opportunity to take classes from well known choreographer and organizations including the Joffery Ballet, Derrick Schrader, and Tony Bellissimo. Abby is now a teacher and choreographer for the company and other classes at the studio. As a choreographer, she has received choreography, high-score, and judges awards for her work over the years. Abby teaches ballet as well as the Petite and Senior Companies and Petite/Junior Company Tap. Along with Laura Bransford, Abby is the co-director of the Kinetic Energy Dance Company. Abby loves to encourage her students and see how they improve as dancers!

TEACHERS