Company Manager, Director, & choreographer
A Native of Houston, Heather trained under Lynette Mason Gregg at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts since age 4. She Danced Professionally with the Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre for four seasons, during which she performed featured roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Cinderella in Cinderella, Lucy in Dracula, Carmen in Carmen, and several company works. Her Choreographic work for BAHBT includes Hairspray, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and several mixed programs. In New York she performed in the Moving Beauty Series Dance Festival and Sans Limit Dance Collective. Returning to Clear Lake with her husband, Travis Kirk Coombs, to raise their beautiful daughters, she enjoys being home at The JETPAC (Juxtapose Emphasis Theatre & Performing Arts Center) as Artistic Director and as Company Manager and choreographer for Juxtapose Arts Collective.
Melissa Ludwig received her early training from the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and has enjoyed an extensive performance career. She has danced professionally with the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Milwaukee Ballet, and Ballet Austin. She joined Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre in 2012 as an Artist in Residence. While dancing with BAHBT, Ms. Ludwig enjoyed performing roles such as the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Sugar Plum, Snow Queen, and Rose in The Nutcracker, Lead Vampire in Dracula, The Dying Swan, as well as the soloist in Mujeres and Bolero.
Ms. Ludwig has danced with Juxtapose Arts Collective in many different performances since its inception in 2016. This past season she had the opportunity to set Giselle Act 2 on the Juxtapose II dancers and was honored to accept the role of Ballet Mistress with the company for the 2018-2019 season.
Ms. Ludwig was cast as the Stepmother and the Autumn Fairy with Misty Copeland in Open World Dance Foundation's production of Cinderella at the Hobby Center. She alos toured these roles with OWD, performing with ABT Principals Devon Teuscher and Cory Stearns. Ms. Ludwig has also performed as a guest artist as Firebird in The Firebird, Myrtha in Giselle, and Big Swan in Swan Lake, all staged by Charmaine Hunter.
Ms. Ludwig is currently the Dance Program Deputy for the Juxtapose Emphasis Theatre and Performing Arts Center, and the Youth Program Principal for Vitacca Vocational School for Dance Montrose.
Community Outreach Director & choreographer
Cara Shanks is co-founder and resident choreographer for Juxtapose Arts Collective, teaching artist for JETPAC, and business development manager for NOV. Her technical training credits include Houston Ballet, Houston Met, and Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Cara attended the High School for the Performing & Visual Arts studying dance and composition working with artists JoDee Engle, Janie Carothers, Peter Chu, LuAnne Carter, Jeanne Dournbas, and Jane Weiner to name a few, and graduated cum laude from the University of Houston. Upon graduation, Cara danced professionally for BABHT, Houston Rockets, and Juxtapose Arts Collective under the direction of Luis Fuente, Lynette Mason-Gregg, Heather Steele, Dontee Kiehn, Kevin Cahoon, and Misha Bart. Cara gained a passion for choreography in her younger years, empowering her to submit works to Regional Dance of America Southwest where she was awarded the Monticello Choreographer Award, twice in 2009 & 2011, allowing her to attend the Craft of Choreography workshop in Seattle, Washington. Most recently, Cara has presented her works at various festivals in Houston (Mind The Gap, Houston's Fringe Festival, Generations Dance Festival, etc), Austin (The Dance Project), and New York (The Series Vol. III) as well as original works throughout the Juxtapose Arts Collective performance season.
Electronic Initiatives Director & choreographer
Dwain trained at RAFA from ages 3 to 11. At age 12 he began training at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC, where he performed many variations from classical Vaganova ballets. He started his professional career with a company in Houston, BAHBT, where he spent four years as Principal and Artist in Residence under Luis Fuente and Lynette Mason Gregg. His first piece of choreography, Dearly Departed, was selected for the RDA/SW Dance Festival, as well as the 2010 Craft of Choreography Conference, and further awarded the RDA Choreography Connection Grant with the opportunity to choreograph on the Canton Ballet in Ohio. His next original work, Pulse, was chosen for the 2012 RDA National Festival in Montreal, Canada. Other professional credits include working with Houston Ballet, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Joffrey Ballet's JKO School, the Harid Conservatory, Houston Dance Theatre, Galveston Ballet, League City Ballet, and Louisiana Dance Theatre. He is currently the Electronics Initiatives Director, choreographer, and dancer for Juxtapose Arts Collective.