The award winning Rhythm & Grace Dance Studios were founded by Angel Criado and Cree Criado in Lakewood, OH, October 2014 (since relocated to 7647 Broadview Rd., in Seven Hills) originally as a successful alternative for many existing dance studio business practices in the Cleveland area. The studios have since expanded to offer the same sensibilities in children's classes for Jazz, Tap, Ballet, and more and with over 25 years in dance, Cree has experienced everything from Ballet and Tap to Ballroom and Latin!
Cree was born and raised right here in a Cleveland suburb and started dancing ballet and tap at 2 years old. She spent the next 12 years studying and dancing pointe, lyrical, ballet, tap, and hip hop. Cree danced in numerous performances through out the next 12 years and eventually narrowed down her focus to ballet and tap so that she could begin studying gymnastics at a local gymnastics stadium. While studying gymnastics, she excelled in beam and floor and eventually focused primarily on her floor routines mastering skills like walkovers, handsprings, tucks, and more!
Through traveling with her family, Cree was introduced to the Hispanic culture where she fell in love with the food, the language and the dancing! Her mother took her into a near by studio running a special on "Salsa lesson" and Cree's love for partnership dancing was born! (THANKS MOM!) Cree then decided to make this style of dance her main focus and spent her teenage years studying and dancing everything from salsa and rumba to waltz and tango. Cree spent her amateur dance career representing a local Fred Astaire Franchise Dance Studio where, between 2005-2009, she was Top Young Adult in multiple competitions winning scholarships and championships in American Rhythm and Smooth and theater. During this time, she received 5 amateur dance certifications all which eased her into turning professional on her 18th birthday.
Continuing to represent Fred Astaire, Cree became a certified instructor and professional dancer where she spent the next few years competing and placing in the Top 3 in Ohio in Rhythm and Smooth. She was Ohio's Mixed Novice Champion and Ohio's Novice Champion in 2009 and frequently placed as Top Female Teacher for the State. Cree received training from multiple dance champions like George Hendricks, Christina Penatello, Eric Luna, Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine, Kimberley Mitchell, Larry May and many more during this time. Cree specialized in taking dance newbies and converting them into ballroom dancers by sharing her personal love for dance with them while showing them that even with two left feet, you can dance around the floor!
In 2010, Cree danced as part of a global dance company and spent 6 months dancing with the company in Cancun, Mexico. While there, Cree studied and trained under Venezuelan choreographer, Milly Kaleza and danced in performances such as Michael Jackson, Greece, and Mama Mia. Later, Cree returned back to Ohio where she continued to teach ballroom dance and compete in American Smooth and Rhythm styles. Eventually, she met and married her husband, Angel, while they were teaching for the same studio. Angel introduced Cree to International Latin and together they continued their studies in International Latin, American Smooth, and American Rhythm. Together, Angel & Cree competed professionally for a brief period before deciding to start a family and open Rhythm & Grace Dance Studios. Since then, Cree has retired from the professional Dancesport world as a professional competitor and competes as a high level amateur with Angel where they continue to bring home the trophies!
Today, you can find Cree teaching children's classes, teaching ballroom as a mixed amateur, and organizing and hosting her and Angel's ballroom event Peace, Love, & Party Ball as well as the studio's annual Children's recital! Cree is registered with the National Dance Council of America as well as the International Dance Council and continues her studies under some of the world's best champion dancers. Outside of dance education, Cree has hundreds of educational hours logged in childhood development, is certified in childhood nutrition through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, and has extensive training in childhood development and in childhood health and safety. She is certified in infant, child, and adult First Aid and CPR as well as communicable diseases.
When Cree isn't on the dance floor, she can be found with her husband and daughter fishing, traveling, or enjoying some good Hispanic cooking!
FUN FACT: Cree is bilingual - English & Spanish
Owner / Instructor