Director & Instructor
Julie Cutright-Ariza is the Director and co-founder of Denver Dance Authority. She was a co-founder of Flight Performing Arts (2015-2018) as well as the founder and director of DA@BA (2008-2015). As a dancer, Julie trained under instructors from Arizona Performing Arts, California Ballet Company, Kathy Tabor School of Dance, Oklahoma University Dance, Merce Cunningham Productions, Boulder Ballet and Naropa University Contemplative Performing Arts. Highlights from her dancing career include performing the part of Clara in the Nutcracker with California Ballet Company (1998), Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Australia (2000), Young Americans (2004), and soloing International Improvisational Arts convention (2008). In contrast to her early years of intensive ballet training and performance, she studied and performed West African traditional dance and contemporary genres collegiately.
Julie transitioned into teaching and choreographing in 2002 for studios including The Dance Company (Grand Island, NE), City Dance (Colorado) and Denver Dance Starz (2005-2007). Julie’s past students have performed her original choreography in performances and shows including PBS presentations (2004), Up with People (2013), Stars of Tomorrow (2006), Denver School of the Arts, (2006), Dance Excellence (2007). Competition wins include KAR, Celebrity, Celebration, Rainbow, Spotlight, and Show Stoppers (2006-2016). National Best Choreography Award Spotlight (2018). 3rd overall National Title solo winner (2018) and Regional 1st place overall (2018).
As an active member of the National Dance Education Association, Julie currently participates in dance pedagogy research and advocacy boards. As a passionate professional, she has worked to contribute to educational reform through the integration of arts and movement into the academic setting. Fusing her degree in somatic psychology counseling with her passion for athletics and dance coaching, Julie founded and wrote a curriculum called Mind and Body which she implemented and has instructed for grades K-8 (Broomfield Academy, 2009-2016). As a competitive dance coach, Julie focuses on building individualized plans that honor the unique goals of every student.
Assistant Director & Instructor
Marissa Moschette is a born and raised Jersey girl who has recently relocated to the beautiful foothills of Golden Colorado. Marissa has been studying dance since the age of 3 and heavily involved in the Competition Dance world since five. She has studied in many areas including: Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Hip-Hop, Tap, and Ballroom. While training, she has had the honor and pleasure of dancing with tappers such as Anthony Morigerato, Hillary-Marie, Toby Harris, Mike Minery, and even the feet of Mummbles, the penguin of happy feet, Savion Glover.
Marissa attended Rutgers University and graduated from Mason Gross School of Preforming Arts with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. Before moving to Colorado, Marissa had been teaching and guest choreographing at numerous competitive studios throughout the Tri-State Area in styles of Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop, and Tap for the past 9 years. While creating and building new tap programs for three different studios, she was also very successful in her choreography for competition. Not only has she received many choreography and special judges awards for her dances but has also received an invitation to The World Dance Championship with the Star Dance Alliance for the
dance “Welcome to Bikini Bottom”. Miss Marissa Moschette is no stranger to the competition dance world and is eager to dive back in with Denver Dance Authority
Jesse Greaves-Smith holds a Master's degree in Instruction from the University of Denver and brings 12 years of teaching experience to DDA. He performed with CU Boulder's Rueda de Casino salsa team, and has spent the last three years teaching salsa and Bachata basics to 1000+ people through Black Belt Salsa. After building up a wedding choreography practice in Colorado Springs he's looking forward to continuing that work in Broomfield. Having taught dance, rock climbing, archery, and martial arts to groups of all ages, he excels at helping people master new physical motions in ways that work for them. Jesse focuses on helping individuals become comfortable with whichever social dance they're learning, and helping couples connect as dance partners. He strives to bring a sense of humor, enjoyment, and personal growth to his classes.
Catherine Ritchey graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a B.A. in Dance Performance, Choreography, and Theory in 2019. Originally from Ohio, her dance training began at a YMCA program before moving to North Carolina where she began training with a competitive studio, and later taught classes for it’s younger dancers.
During her college career she studied under Kim Jones, E.E. Balcos, Delia Neil, Tamera Williams, and Rachel Barker. Catherine had opportunities to perform for the UNCC concerts under the direction of Claudia Lavista, Rachel Barker, E.E. Balcos, Audrey Baran, and Janet Schroeder. She attended the American Dance Festival and UNCG summer dance intensives training under Blakely-White McGuire and Donnell Oakley among others. In 2020 she received her RYT-250 hour training to become certified in Vinyasa Yoga, where she enjoys using movement of the body as a way to replenish and restore. Catherine is excited for the opportunity to teach young students again and experience their creative growth with them!
Maputo Mensah was born and raised in Accra, Ghana, in a family of professional musicians and dancers. While still a small child, he was dancing and drumming with his family, and before he reached his teens, he was teaching and performing these traditional
Ghanaian arts professionally.
Later, he was honored to study for many years with Mustapha Tettey Addy, one of Ghana’s premiere artists in traditional music and dance, at the Academy of African Music and Arts. Over the years he has performed and taught with various dance troupes such as the Akrowa Cultural Ensemble in Kokrobite, Ghana, and the West African Folkloric Troupe in Accra. He also has wide experience as an international performer. Currently, he also performs with his own dance troupe, Logo Ligi, based in Boulder, Colorado.
Maputo is an accomplished master of the African performing arts — dancing, drumming, singing, and storytelling — and he is passionate about sharing the art and culture of Ghana and Africa with the West through the classes he teaches at the University of Colorado, the University of Denver, K-12 schools, and community classes. He also leads a month-long trip to his native Ghana each summer, giving his students the opportunity to deeply experience the culture he is devoted to preserving and promoting. In addition, he is currently working to build a new cultural center in Kokrobite, Ghana, to teach West African performing arts to local and international students and established artists. Maputo Mensah is a world-class artist, a much-loved teacher, and an ambassador for the culture he cherishes.
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