Top Billing Entertainment Academy

Where Every Performer Gets Top Billing

Archive for the month “May, 2015”

Friday Feature – Christine Ivy, Pilates Studio Owner (Balance & Grace Pilates) & Dance/Fitness Instructor

With a  B.A. in Dance from CSULB,  8+ years as Santa Ana High School’s Assistant Dance Director, 5+ years performing/choreographing/producing for the avant grade cirque company Lucent Dossier Experience,  and over a decade of performing both nationally and internationally, Christine brings a wide range of teaching experience and perspective to every classroom. As a working dancer/choreographer/event producer, Christine combines passion and empathy to create a safe and encouraging atmosphere where dancers can learn, grow, and be inspired. She enjoys watching students develop technically and artistically, however her greatest joy is in being a part of their growth as passionate, confidant, and caring young adults. After 8 years of experience as an in demand BASI Pilates Instructor, Christine is excited to share her new pilates studio space, Balance & Grace Pilates, with her Top Billing Family. Located in the same building as the TBE Performance Academy, the Glendora community and TBE extended family can now benefit from being able to address the fitness needs of the whole family in one place. In a supportive and non-competitive environment, Balance & Grace Pilates offers both Private Pilates Training and Group Classes (including Group Reformer Classes, Pilates Mat, Booty Barre). Learn more, schedule classes, or send an inquiry to Christine at the Balance & Grace Pilates website,

Born and raised in Southern California, she had an early interest in dance and fitness. Her earliest memories involve strutting in front of her mirror as she performed stunning solos with her hairbrush microphone. She remembers dancing in her room, on the furniture, and throughout the house. She dressed up for her first Halloween as a cardio fitness instructor, a la Jane Fonda, and she remembers at age nine going through a short lived stint at which she cultivated aspirations to be a professional mud wrestler. In later years these childhood interests would develop into serious studies in dance and pilates, but they served early on to cultivate a deep appreciation for the beauty of purposed movement. Along with a grounded belief in the value of every life’s journey, this appreciation for movement would develop in her an empathy for people and a passion for clear intention that now serves her well as a professional director, dancer/choreographer, performer, trainer, and teacher.

Life is an adventure and a journey to be relished, not endured! She believes that God creates every life with intention and that it is in discovering our passion that we find purpose, inner peace and a sense of balance. Our talents, abilities, and passions are the gateway towards unlocking our true potential and authentic selves. When we connect the mind and the body we are often able to feel our spirits awaken. It is essential that we quiet our minds from its spiral of endless loud chatter to provide the space necessary for new truths to be heard. She is passionate about incorporating her backgrounds in fitness, pilates and dance into a shared healthy lifestyle as well as combining her roots as a performer and choreographer into producing thought provoking entertainment. By working within her passions her clients, in both the fitness and commercial worlds, reap vast rewards. She recognizes that your journey is unique to who you are and that it is precious. She is aware that your goals and vision for the future can only be understood by learning who you were yesterday and who you want to be tomorrow. She looks forward to the opportunity to connect with you, whether through the stage, the classroom, the studio, or the boardroom.

From Christine, “I believe that there is immense value to be had through the expression of the human experience. I believe that it is through sharing our struggles and our joys that we find a commonality that transcends gender, race, and stereotypes. This sense of being united to the world around us allows us a comfort that reminds us that we are not alone and that though we might have different baggage, we are all on the same train.

At no time is it more critical to feel this sense of connectedness to other people than during young adulthood. At a time when confusion and frustration and a constant sense of questioning seem almost inevitable there is a freedom and a safety that dance can provide. Dance is the megaphone through which we can scream. Dance is the love letter that we can send a million times. Dance is a blanket when the winds turn cold. And dance can be a round trip ticket to any place you want to go when the present seems too harsh. Dance can be salvation at a time in a young persons life when pressures are high and options seem low.

If we want to live in a world of empathetic and socially adjusted adults we must first encourage the development and expression of emotional intelligence and compassion during the season in which many young people feel its validity is being debated. Dance comes from the heart and it has the power to heal, support, and renew the spirit. Although to the outsider I may appear to be teaching steps and a movement vocabularly, I know better. What I’m doing is leading a workshop in self-esteem, self-image, self-confidence, in love and self-respect. My hope is that my students take from me the understanding that they are worthy and beautiful and enough, just the way they are.”

Friday Feature ~ Kristina Keener Ivy, Executive Director

 Kristina Keener Ivy

Kristina Keener Ivy is the Founder and Executive Director of Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy. She is also a former high school choir director turned professional performer and private music instructor. She has performed with various jazz bands, as a member of various church worship teams, on three film soundtracks, and in numerous musical theater productions throughout the South West. Currently she teaches almost 70 private students a week. Her students have competed and won in many local and national competitions including Spotlight Awards at the Music Center, Southern California Vocal Association Vocal Solo Competition, America’s Got Talent, Covina’s Got Talent, California All-State Choir, California Honor Choir, along with various talent shows and musical productions. She has also worked as a musical director for over 25 local musical theater productions including Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical and High School Musical.

It has been a life-long dream of Kristina Keener Ivy’s to start a performing arts group. After performing all over the country and heading a similar program at West Covina High School for five years, she decided to found her own 501(c)3 nonprofit where she could ensure that each performer is treated with respect, given professional instruction, and given the opportunity for a featured solo. At Top Billing they work with every performer, from ones who have extreme special needs to ones who are Broadway bound. In January 2015, they expanded to a full service performance academy in the Village of Glendora and offer classes for all ages in acting, on camera acting, dance, voice, all instruments, and musical summer day camps. They have classes for ages 2 and up with partner dancing classes for adults.

See the commercial for Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy

From Kristina, “I think a lot about why I should keep on doing what I’m doing. I had a dream as a child that there was a school I could go to that would help me be a Broadway star, or on TV, or just prepare me to be an awesome performer. I wanted to be in Seattle when the grunge rock scene hit or in Paris after the World Wars with all ex-pat writers and poets. Problem was my family was po’ (so poor we couldn’t afford an r). Then one day while teaching at WCHS I realized I could create a place and time like that. A place where aspiring performers can come and work with master teachers and get professional performance opportunities while inspiring each other to excel. Fast forward and now I have an amazing location, awesome teachers (including Eddie Garcia who danced with Micheal Jackson for two world tours,Christine Ivy who is an amazing dancer and technical teacher, Jamie McMahon who is a choreographer genius and improv impresario, Melanie Rabajante who is a partner dancer wizard and dance cardio goddess, Timothy Jackson who can dance all styles, play piano, teach voice, acting and is the hardest worker I know, Andrew Cristin who is an amazing acting teacher and David Ivy – the best on camera acting teacher I have ever seen.) I have donors to help us cover part of the costs, awesome Board Members (Desiree Cabana, Elisa Field, Kimberly Beaufeaux Krok, Heidi Petersen Leach, and Camilla Danison) and Office Staff/Volunteers (Heather McDowell, Erik Jacome, and Justin McDowell). Just wish we could get more performers to come work with us! It’s hard changing the world one step at a time, but I’ve come so far already and there are so many people who have joined me now. Only thing to do is keep dreaming.”

Top Billing Entertainment has received 23 National Youth Arts nominations and six wins, won “Best Dance School” in the 2014 San Gabriel Valley Tribune Reader’s Choice Awards, “Best Dance School” and “Best Music Instruction” in the 2015 San Gabriel Valley Tribune Reader’s Choice Awards, and won first place for Best Theater Production and second place for Theater Directing in the American Prize National Competition 2014.

Current & past students have:

*Placed in the top three of the Spotlight Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

*Won National Youth Arts Awards

*Won Southern California Vocal Association Solo Singer Competitions

*Won local talent competitions including Covina’s Got Talent, West Covina Talent Show, and various school and district talent shows

*Performed in Honor Choirs & All-State Choirs

*Placed in the top 100 of National Television Talent Shows including America’s Got Talent, American Idol, and The Voice

*Performed as leads and featured soloists in school, local, and national performance events & tours

*Been featured in national television shows, national commercials, and major feature films

*Attended with scholarships & graduated from music or performing arts programs at Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, Orange County School for the Arts, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Azusa Pacific University, California State University Los Angeles, California State University at Fullerton, California State University at San Diego, & California State University at Long Beach.

Kristina Keener Ivy’s Education & Awards:

Bachelor’s of Music in Opera Performance from Northern Arizona University, Summa Cum Laude with Honors, 2002

Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education Choral Conducting from Northern Arizona University, Summa Cum Laude with Honors, 2002

American Prize – #2 Musical Theater Director in the USA, 2014

National Youth Arts Awards 2011, 2012, 2013

Best of Glendora – Music Instruction, 2013

YWCA Woman of Excellence Award, 2005

West Covina High School Inspirational Teacher, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

West Covina High School Tireless Teacher, 2004, 2005, 2006

West Covina High School Staff/Faculty of the Month, Dec. 2002, May 2004

West Covina High School Fine Arts Faculty Member of the Year, 2003

Northern Arizona University Golden Axe Award, 2002

NAU New Century Honors Program, 1997 – 2002

Rodger & Eldon Ardrey Scholarship, 2001

Mary Lou Thompson Scholarship, 2001

Choral Dinner Scholarship, 2001

Charles & Ellie Meister Scholarship, 2000

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, 2000

Carroll Lane & Mildred Adams-Fenton Scholarship, 1999

Year of Education Award, 1997

Regents Scholarship, 1997

See videos of Kristina performing at

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