"I am so proud of the community we have built that truly feels like a family."
- Leah Mariner, Founder/Director, to CanvasRebel
AVA Dance Company offers adult dance classes to dancers (18+) of all levels and backgrounds in the Washington DC and Northern Virginia areas. Founded by former professional dancer Leah Mariner, her vision is to offer a fun and motivating community for adults to exercise their passion for dance. AVA Dance Company's mission is to provide adult dancers the opportunity to learn cutting-edge choreography in an encourage space, find a sense of community and stay fit and active.
In addition to their weekly classes, AVA provides dancers with a variety of performance opportunities throughout the year. Click here to learn more!
How AVA Started
as told by Leah Mariner
Dance has been a huge part of my life for almost 30 years. Growing up in the dance studio, competing on dance teams, and dancing professionally for the NBA has been such an integral part of my life. After I finished dancing professionally for the Washington Wizards Dance Team, I tried to find a place to dance in the DMV to continue to share my passion in a supportive environment and wasn’t able to find a studio that I could do that. I decided that I wanted to create one myself. I began teaching once a week to dancers in the community. For months I hardly had anyone show up to my dance classes, but I knew that what I could provide was special and I believed that I could make a difference in our DC dance community. I never gave up on my dream and gradually our dance community began to grow. Eventually I started having more classes, more instructors, and more studios. Now since 2016, we have had hundreds of dancers join us in the studio to dance, perform, and share their love of dance!
Meet The Team
Founder & Director
Founder and Director Leah Mariner has been dancing and sharing her passion for dance with others for over 20 years. Leah danced professionally for the Washington Wizards for three seasons, serving as co-captain of the team during her third season. During her time with the Wizards she had the opportunity to dance in Rio de Janiero, Brazil at the NBA 3x Events; Atlanta, Georgia for the annual All P-R-O Dance Convention; as well as New York City for the 2015 NBA All Star Events. Leah has also performed in the Cherry Blossom Parade alongside renowned artists such as Lance Bass of N'Sync, Jay Sean, and Elliot Yamen. Leah was featured on CBS-affiliate WUSA9 discussing her career as a professional dancer and has performed live on FOX5 News.Leah was born and raised in Long Island, NY, where her dance career started. Throughout her 22 years of dance experience, Leah has taught several genres of dance to both children and adults. Her choreography has won leading scores in competitions, and under her mentorship, dancers have grown to superior levels. Leah has always loved sharing her passion of dance with her students and is thrilled for the opportunity to help dancers fulfill theirs!
Director of Operations
Wendy grew up in a small town in Upstate New York where she began her dance career at the Marya Kennett Dance Center. Her love for dance quickly grew as she expanded her training to a variety of styles including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern, lyrical, and hip hop. She often traveled to Broadway Dance Center in NYC for classes and workshops. She graduated from Penn State University where she earned a BS in Finance and was a member of Rêve Dance Company for four years, serving on their executive board. After graduation, Wendy moved to the DMV to work full-time as a federal consultant and continued her dance training with AVA Dance Company. Wendy loves sharing her passion for dance with the amazing dancers in our community and is excited to be a part of the AVA team!
Director of Digital Marketing
Lauren's love for dance didn't develop in the studio, but instead on the field & court! Born & raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, she was first introduced to dance with the Philadelphia Jr. Pro Soulmates dance team. As a member of the program, she performed her first pro-dance style halftime routine at age 12 with the AFL! Over her 6 years with the Jr. Pro Soulmates and their rebrand, the Platinum All Stars, she travelled the tri-state area to dance in arenas and stadiums (including Madison Square Garden) for thousands of NBA, NHL, AFL, MLL and NCAA fans as well as with the Harlem Globetrotters.
Since moving to the DC area, AVA has been a consistent source of support & growth for Lauren. She's thrilled to share that love with our dancers and to be a part of such a special team!