Marina Zúñiga-Johnson is the Assistant Director, and Lead Instructor for Sarita’s Dance Studio, Inc. She has trained in ballet, jazz, ballet Folklorico, modern, and tap since 1992. Marina was a member of the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet in 2004.
Kirsten Crandall (Contractor) has a life-long background in music and theater. She was a member of the Texas State Merge Dance Company where she received awards for excellence in choreography and scholastic achievement.
Administrative Assistant - Rose Rodriguez
Rose Rodriguez joined Sarita's Dance Studio, Inc. in 2016 as the Administrative Assistant.
Melanie Benavides (Contractor) has been dancing and performing for 10 years. She was a member of the Brandeis High School Dance Team in San Antonio, Texas and served as their lieutenant from 2011-2012.
Sarita Zúñiga, Owner/Director, has been in the dance and fitness field for over 50 years. She taught aerobics, dance, & wellness classes at Brooks AFB, Kelly AFB, Lackland AFB, Palo Alto College, Harlandale High School, Southwest General Hospital, Bexar Metropolitan Water, Guarantee Bank,
Miss Benavides was a Texas State Strutter and a member of their performance groups Jazz Elite Performance Team and Pom Squad from 2013-2016. Her teammates admired and respected her talents and voted for her as Best Dancer in 2016. During her years in the Strutters, she also performed in the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Disney Land Opening Parade in Paris, France. Melanie graduated from Texas State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and dance education. In addition to her travels and performances abroad, Melanie has performed in the Texas Tech halftime shows, the Houston Transplant Games, the Spurs halftime shows and in the Dallas Christmas Parade. Melanie specializes in jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and dance/drill team prep. She teaches hip-hop and contemporary dance at Sarita's Dance Studio, Inc.
She is currently attending Palo Alto College and plans to major in Dance & Kinesiology at Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. She currently teaches Ballet Folklorico as a 21st Century Enrichment Specialist at Idea as well as Pre-School and Ballet Folklorico 1, & Alegria Jr. Co. at Sarita’s Dance Studio, Inc.
Her responsibilities encompass many aspects of our business, including account receivables, billing, sales, and customer service. Her incredible organization skills keeps our team running smoothly. She is the friendly voice that our customers have grown so accustomed to hearing when calling in to our office, and she takes great pleasure in making sure they are each taken care of.
In May 2012 she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a major in Dance Studies and a minor in Theater from Texas State University. She has worked with many prestigious artists such as Kim Olson (Colorado), Rocio Luna (Mexico), and Jim May of the Sokolow Theater and Dance Troupe in New York. Kirsten has also performed with local companies such as the Northwest Vista Dance Company, and the Shay Ishii Dance Company in Austin. In addition, she is a State certified American Sign Language Interpreter. In 2013, Kirsten was contracted to teach Ballet, Jazz, and Contemporary at Sarita’s Dance Studio, Inc.
Office Manager - Sandra Ramirez
Sandra joined Sarita's Dance Studio, Inc. in 2003 as the Office Manager.
Eliza Castillo (Contractor) has been dancing for 18 years. She started training at Sarita’s Dance Studio in 2011 in ballet, tap, jazz, ballet folklorico, pointe, and contemporary.
During this time, she performed in several company productions including Malcolm Burn’s Romeo and Juliet and Giselle. She has also trained with Arnott Mader, Jerri Kumery, Jeff Rogers, Jane Wood and with the artistic director of Ballet West, Adam Sklute. While she was training in Ballet West, she performed in many educational outreach programs including Anna-Marie Holmes’ Don Quixote and Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella. In 2011-2012, she toured with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet as a guest artist in their production of The Nutcracker under the artistic direction of Tom Mossbrucker. Ms. McCullough joined the Nevada Ballet Theatre in 2013 as a trainee and performed in the company’s productions of Swan Lake Act II, Coppelia and a choreographic collaboration with Cirque du Soliel. She has also worked with world-renowned artists Cynthia Gregory and David Gomez. Bryony joined Ballet San Antonio as an apprentice in 2014 and was promoted to the Corps de Ballet in January 2015. She has performed in the company’s productions of Ben Stevenson’s Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and most recently Dominic Walsh’s The Whistling. This is Ms. McCullough’s third season with Ballet San Antonio and is currently teaching ballet and pointe at Sarita’s Dance Studio, Inc.
Rose has extensive experience in supporting the office manager & studio owner by providing them with consistent clerical support and customer service. In addition, she maintains the filing systems in accordance with the company's established procedures & protocols. She is highly approachable individual who has a pleasant attitude and a willingness to make a positive mark.
She has done intensive studying in dance with Ballet Austin, the School of Rock in Philadelphia, the Joffrey Ballet Workshop Texas, Jazz Dance World Congress in Chicago, and Ballet Hispanico in New York. In addition, Marina continues to be a cutting edge dance instructor by attending dance teacher programs such as Rhee Gold, The Pulse, and Dance Teacher Web, which are held around the country. In addition, she is Gus Giordano jazz dance instructor certified. Marina graduated from the University of Incarnate Word with a Bachelors of Arts in Education. She currently is a 3rd Grade Teacher for JAISD. She currently teaches Tap & Ballet Folklorico for Sarita’s Dance Studio, Inc.
University of Incarnate Word & more. She was featured on P.M. Magazine, IDEA Today, San Antonio Express and News, San Antonio Business Journal, The Cutting Edge, Olé, Canal 41, WOAI TV, La Prensa, Connexion, and Rumbo for her leadership and success in the fields of dance and fitness. In 2006, she was honored by the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce for community leadership and for making a positive impact on the Southside. In 2007 & 2014, she accepted the position as the Rehearsal Coordinator for the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. In addition, she is named in the National Directory of Who’s Who for Executives and Professionals. In 2014, Congressman Pete Gallegos presented Sarita with a Congressional Award for providing valuable dance training to San Antonio’s Southside residents for 34 years. She is a San Antonio Dance Umbrella Member, Master member of IDEA (International Association of Fitness Professionals), and a South San Chamber of Commerce member. Sarita is ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified and has designed and conducted total wellness programs for fitness professionals as an ACE fitness continuing education provider. She attains Specialty Recognition from ACE in Strength Training, Nutrition, and Kickboxing. Sarita is the Founder and Artistic Director for Alegría Dance Company, a pre-professional dance company and continues to teach dance in ballet, jazz, ballet Folklorico and tap at Sarita’s Dance Studio.
Bryony McCullough (Contractor) began her professional ballet training at the age of 11 at the North Carolina School of the Arts and continued on through high school from 2005-2009. After graduation, Bryony accepted a traineeship with the Richmond Ballet.