Legend states Eli could tap before he could walk. Motherly sources report that he was in tap classes in his very first months of life, albeit in a baby sash carrier. But by two, rhythm was already in his nature and his tapping speed would steadily increase from there. At sixteen he was accepted as among the top 60 tap dancers in North America under the age of twenty. This allowed him to attend exclusive workshops in New York with the biggest names in modern tap. His journey with Arts 5th Ave began in 2008 and he's been teaching there since. Schooling and military sometimes pull Eli away but he always returns as a mainstay, believing that Arts 5th offers an experience to Fort Worth's art scene that is truly unique and special to behold. Eli graduated from Arlington Heights HS in 2008. Studied dance pedagogy at Oklahoma City University and graduated with a B.A. in 2012. He received his M.A. in Government overseas in 2014 and is a proud Texas National Guardsman. 


​Brandi Waller-Pace is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Brandi attended Howard University in Washington, DC. where she received a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Jazz Studies. At Howard she was a member of the critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble Afro Blue, sharing the stage with jazz greats Geri Allen, Carmen Lundy, Andy Bey, Jimmy Cobb, Nnenna Freelon, and Bobby McFerrin. She performs jazz, neo soul, and old time music. Some of Brandi’s notable performances have been at ArtsGoggle, the City of Fort Worth’s Juneteenth Celebration, the Affrolachian On-Time Gathering, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Fort Worth Django Reinhardt Festival.


Glenna is a Fort Worth native and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from TCU. While living in Mexico, Glenna also studied at the University of the Americas in Mexico City, the Institute Allende and the Institution Nacional de Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allnde. She also apprenticed for at the Enruiqe Mirlada Sculpture Studio and the Manola Ruiz Ceramics Studio in Mexico City. Glenna's work has been shown in galleries in Mexico City, Sante Fe, Denver, Dallas and Fort Worth. In addition to her work in sculpture, painting and ceramics, Glenna also has a strong dance background. She studied with Mia Slavenska and while living in San Miguel de Allende, Glenna taught ballet at the Nacional de Belle Artes. Glenna moved to Santa Fe, NM in 1981 and while there she again taught ballet and choreographed several musicals while teaching ceramics and sculpture at the community college. Mrs. Janda has also been an exhibiting artist at Arts Fifth Avenue for over 18 years and her work has been featured in Arts Goggle and many gallery nights.

Guitar/ Piano

Bruce began his musical career  in high school playing and writing music as a founding member of the band “Eastborne”. He  majored in music at Southwest Community College and completed his degree at North Texas State University. As part of the popular trio, “Williams, Scott, and Whitfield” and other bands, he performed at clubs and venues in Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas. He has opened for many national touring acts including Loudon Wainwright III, Michael McMurtry, John Martyn, John Cale, Sara Hickman, Graham Parker, Bella Fleck, Dwight Yoakum, and Luther Vandross. He collaborates with Kerri Kreiman and Contemporary Dance Fort Worth, has a one man show about the Life of Woodie Guthrie and was the Program/Technical Director for Imagination Celebration from 1992 until 2011. He has been teaching since 1975 and taught Beginning Guitar I & II for extended education classes at TCU. Bruce has been teaching at Arts Fifth Avenue since 2012.

​​Dale Luna                                                                 

Dale's background is primarily in ballet and he has over fifteen years of study and performance experience with Margo Dean and is a lifetime member of Ballet Concerto. TAP came into Dale's life by accident. While taking class from Gracey, she needed to take a leave of absence and she asked Dale to teach her classes; the rest is history. Dale has studied with Tex Clyde, Gracey Tune and French Tap Master, Sarah Petronio. Dale enjoys all styles of music and believes "Dance Keeps You Young."

APRIL GAINES                                                         

A consummate tap artist, April holds a BS in Education from the University of Texas. She worked in the public and private school system for many years. April has taught Tap at Arts Fifth Avenue for four years and is a member of the Legacy Tap Project and LaFeet Tap Ensemble. She continues her tap education with master classes sponsored by the Rhythm Junkies, Legacy Tap Project, and the Tapestry Dance Company.

Peggy Bott-Kirby 
Ukulele, Vocal Chorus & Theatre

A dynamic singer, actress and musical director, Peggy has her BFA in Music from the University of Tulsa. She is a founding member/performer of Hip Pocket Theatre. She is recognized locally for conducting workshops for Imagination Celebration, the Fort Worth Independent School District and the "I Have A Dream" Foundation. Peggy has been active in the Hip Pocket Theatre's outreach programs at Cook Children's and John Peter Smith Hospital and is currently working to establish and implement AFA's outreach program in assisted living and senior facilities in our neighborhood.



​Gracey Tune is one of only a handful of internationally recognized women exhibiting extraordinary talent in the field of tap dancing. A recipient of the Outstanding Woman in the Arts Award from the City of Fort Worth, Gracey was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame by Gov. Ann Richards in 1983. The Dance Council Inc. of North Texas honored her with the inaugural Texas Tap Legends Award in 2005 and the Tarrant County Theatre League presented her with the Elston Brooks Lifetime Achievement Award in  2015. She is a frequent  guest artist at major events in the world of tap. She provided choreography for the productions of “Steppin’ Out” and “My One and Only” on Broadway; performed with and produced shows for tap legends Cholly Atkins, Savion Glover, Sarah Petronio, Ron Young and her internationally recognized brother, Tommy Tune; and continues to teach and perform at Arts Fifth Avenue.


​​Colin MCthorn                                                                

Colin McThorn is ecstatic to be joining the faculty this year. He is originally from Sacramento, California but is now a student at TCU and pursuing a BFA in Acting and a minor in General Business. Colin has been doing theatre for about 12 years learning and performing many different styles of contemporary and classical. Before moving out to Fort Worth, he was cast in professional productions of A Christmas Carol and Romeo and Juliet through Sacramento Theatre Company. Colin is so excited to share this love for acting with others!




Gabriela (Gabi) Yarbrough, a former student at Arts Fifth Avenue, is ecstatic to be joining the faculty this year! She is a current student at TCU pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre and a minor in Educational Studies. She has studied all styles of dance for 15 years and was a student at A5A for 5 of those. She is looking forward to sharing her love of and enthusiasm for dance with young performers!



Ashley Tysor is a performer, teacher, children’s entertainer, and choreographer based out of Arlington, TX.  She has been dancing for 20 years and earned a BFA in Musical Theatre with a minor in dance from UT Arlington. Ashley’s choreography has been seen in Something Rotten with Stolen Shakespeare Guild and Ragtime at Plaza Theatre Company. Some of her credits include Singer swing/dance captain (Six Flags); Ziegfeld’s Favorite in The Will Rogers Follies, Charlotte in Cinderella, and Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime (PlazaCo).


1628 5TH AVENUE 



Mimi Rogers is excited about joining the faculty at Arts 5th Ave. Mimi took lessons from Gracey and Dale back in the 80’s and 90’s and was a member of the Tap Now Company. 

Mimi has recently retired from Arlington ISD where she taught Kindergarten and Pre-K for 36 years. She was also the coach and choreographer for the South Davis Dance Team (4th - 6th grade) for 7 years until Covid hit. Now that she has retired from the district Mimi continues to work as a teacher in different areas. Since 1998, Mimi has been one of the handbell directors at University Christian Church. Last year she joined the faculty at Miss Persis Studio of Dance in Arlington where she teaches the littlest Tappers (ages 3-11). She  is also a reading specialist for The Reading Connection here in Fort Worth. 

Mimi grew up dancing tap, jazz and ballet on and off all of her life. She has studied with Bruce Lea, Dian Clough West, Larry Howard, Renee’ Boydstun, Texas Ballet Theater and Persis Ann Forster. She was an assistant to Renee’ Boydstun in teaching Tap at Dian West’s studio for several years, also subbing and teaching summer classes occasionally. Renee is also her Tap teacher at present.

Jo Dufo 

Jo Dufo is an artist, art educator, public muralist, and a facilitator for Art and Connection events. Jo received a Bachelor of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Studio Arts, from Radford College in Virginia. She has facilitated many Art and Peace workshops through the World Affairs Council in Dallas, International Leadership Academy Sister Cities, Arts Fifth Avenue, The Southwest Museum in Midland, and Safe Cities. Jo is an International Peace Muralist and has painted Peace Murals in Japan, Africa, Mexico, and Jamaica. She has also painted numerous public murals in Fort Worth. Her Sister Cities 50th Anniversary mural won FWWeekly’s Best Public Art Mural in 2008 and her Safe Cities mural/Arts Fifth Ave won FWWeekly’s Best Art Experience for Kids 2006. Jo taught Art for FWISD for nineteen years. She won the Angela Paulos FWISD Visual Arts Teaching Chair Award for Excellence, in 2005. In 2019, Jo received a Proclamation from the Mayor of Fort Worth, Betsy Price, for her distinguished contributions in community involvement and the impact of young artists. Jo has spread colorful art and love through the Jo Dufo Studio for many years. Her studio is overflowing in Art, paintings, painted clothes, t-shirts, prints, and eclectic art pieces. She is currently living in the Fairmount Historic neighborhood. Her colorful painted truck, Lucky, is parked out front, making her studio easy to find. She opens her studio by appointment and has a Pop Up, once a month. You can follow her on Instagram @jodufostudio.

VOICE: Classical and Musical theatre ​
Hailed as "show stopping!", baritone Michael Pandolfo has become one of the most sought-after and exciting singers of his generation. Noted for his bright voice and confident high notes, his high caliber performances at Florida Grand Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival and Des Moines Metro Opera have garnered attention and critical acclaim.

In the Spring of 2022, Michael made his Florida debut as a Studio Artist with Florida Grand Opera, singing a well-reviewed performance of Marullo in Rigoletto, in which he was praised for his standout "manly baritone". He also sang the bombastic role of Senator McCarthy in Fellow Travelers. That summer, he made his debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Robin Starveling in Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which he will also be covered the role of Demetrius. In November of 2022, Michael made his principle debut as Count Robinson in a brand new Spanish language version of Il Matrimonio Segreto with Florida Grand Opera.

Looking ahead to 2023, Michael is engaged in a number of contracts including some concert work at home in North Texas, and venturing back to his musical theatre roots to sing Anthony in Sweeny Todd at Opera Tampa. He will be spending his summer as a Young Artist with Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico.

Mr. Pandolfo graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2018 with his Bachelor's of Music in Vocal Performance, where he studied with renowned soprano Cynthia Lawrence. In 2021 he graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with his Masters in Music, where he studied with revered teacher Professor William McGraw.                   For More Information: https://www.michaelpandolfo.com/

Amazon Smiles Arts Fifth Avenue

Dennis O'Neill’s is an actor/producer/director/writer, ballroom dancer who is working on his latest project, Bail Out made for TV and going on the World Wide Web. Dennis is also a singer/songwriter, and author of three books.
Dennis has worked on more than ninety-five film and TV shows, more than twenty-five TV commercials, industrials and over thirty stage plays as well as the world of Daytime, TV Soap Operas appearing on The Edge of Night, The Guiding Light, Another World, One Life to Live, Ryan’s Hope, and more. He has starred with Chuck Norris on the hit TV series Walker, Texas Ranger, and on other TV shows such as, In Plain Sight, Prison Break and has worked as Robin Williams stunt double in films. Dennis has worked with Robert DeNiro, Sylvester Stallone, Janine Turner, Barry Corbin, Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Liza Minnelli, Sir John Gielgud, Betty Davis, Al Pacino, Pauly Shore, and many more. He has three music CD’s out: “He is Risen,” “It’s a New Beginning” and “Silk and Satin Nights.” Dennis also produced a children’s storytelling album with a coloring book.



Chris began playing trumpet in Park Forest Illinois School System in 1966. He holds a degree from Drury College in Springfield Illinois. Chris has toured extensively across the US playing with various artists and various instruments including the French Horn, Flute and Bass. He has recently retired from a career as an Orchestra teacher with the Fort Worth ISD. He has performed locally with Johnny Case, Jubilee Theater, Arts Fifth Avenue, The Joe Rogers Trio and many local jazz clubs. 



Dorothy has her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Texas with her Master of Arts degree in painting from Texas Women’s University. Dorothy has worked since 1986 until present in public education as an Art teacher and Art Specialist. In 2005, Dorothy was included in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and has also received an Outstanding Teacher Award from Ft Worth ISD. Dorothy embraces all mediums in art. Her gentle style of teaching inspires and engages students of all ages. Her detail in color perspective and knowledge of art history is remarkable.