top of page
Alyssa Johnson

Founder and artistic director of Paracosm Dance, Alyssa began her training with the Brockus Conservatory in LA where she was introduced to her movement foundations of Luigi Jazz and the Lester Horton Technique.  Integrating mixed martial arts with parkour and tricking, she then furthered her training at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, BANDALOOP, and UC Berkeley.


She danced as a soloist with Peninsula Ballet Theater under the artistic direction of David Fonnegra, and performed in works by Copious Dance Theater’s Kat Roman, BrickaBrack Theater’s Gabriel Grilli, and Scott Wells & Dancers. She danced as a guest artist with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for Judith Jamison’s retirement tour and choreographed works under the direction of Joe Goode. For her excellence in dance scholarship and performance, she received the Julia Payne Dance scholarship upon graduating from UCB. She now dances with the critically acclaimed Austin-based contemporary dance company, ARCOS Dance, Shakti Moves Dance Company, and Blue Lapis Light.



Alyssa spent the past 13 years teaching dance across the country in varying contexts, studying dancers' developments and understanding varied teaching methods. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a double major in Dance & Performance Studies and Forensic Anthropology, using her pedagogical, anatomical, neurological, and osteological studies to further the integration of science and dance technique. With that, she has delved into the benefits of movement outside the dance world, working to get all humans moving for their physical and mental health. This includes her work with BLL's Youth Taking Flight - a collaboration with several of Austin's social service organizations to empower Austin's youth. 

Behnam Arzaghi

Behnam is a composer, violinist, and producer.  He started playing violin at the age of 6, making his solo debut with orchestra at the age of 13.  He started writing and performing his own compositions at the age of 12.  By 17 he had premiered his own violin concerto and had several symphonic works performed by the Austin Symphony.


He went on to study violin performance at the Colburn School conservatory, and violin and music composition at the University of Houston.


Behnam has composed for film, writing and mixing the music for “1 out of 30”.  As a musician in Austin, he has performed original solo works for violin and voice at Zach Theater, worked as a session musician for local artists, and teaches violin, composition, and music production privately.

Behnam also holds degrees in computer science and physics, is a yoga instructor, and a competitive youth team climbing coach.

Talia Masala

Talia is a founding member of Paracosm and a lover of dance, music, travel, and all forms of art.

She likes to say that she was born dancing. From a very young age she was constantly looking for ways to move her body. At age 12, she really committed to dance and started to get to know herself as a mover. She trained in many different styles beginning with hip hop and jazz, then moving into contemporary, ballet, and modern. She took classes at Balance Dance Studio for a year and then joined one of their youth companies, which she danced with up until she joined Paracosm Dance.

Currently, she dances with this wonderful company, and takes ballet and pointe classes. She attended the very first Paracosm summer intensive, and the Modas summer intensive: two immersive and growth instigating dance experiences. She was also a part of Shakti Moves Dance Company's spring show, performing the incredible piece, Mindscape. In the fall, she performed as the sugar plum fairy in the Head to Toe Nutcracker.

Alyssa and all the Paracosm members have supported Talia to develop her skill and passion for dance in ways she never knew possible. Her movement is constantly growing and evolving thanks to Alyssa's training, and her heart and soul are nurtured by the company's incredible culture. She truly has no words to express her gratitude for this beautiful family!

Eric Hunter

Eric joined Paracosm's team of creatives over 3 years ago, working with Alyssa on film projects for both the company's inaugural youth company and the professional division.  He is Paracosm's head lighting designer, bringing the company's many "paracosms" to life in unconventional spaces. 


Eric's company, Camera Clay, was founded in 2009 as a collaborative effort to share ideas and create films.


By 2012, they had created a handful of award-winning short films and were inspired to venture out into the world of advertising. They began producing commercials, quickly learning the ropes of advertising from some of the best strategic thinkers in the industry. In a few short years, their client work went from local broadcast to the jumbotrons of Times Square, creating several nationally-awarded campaigns along the way. After 3 years of dedicated agency work, they decided to venture out on their own and return to their roots in Texas.


Since 2016, they continue to create impactful, branded content with destinations and businesses alike. They've developed a process that supports their clients' goals by speaking directly to their audience, giving voice to their cause, and bringing about change.

Nicole Whiteside

Nicole Whiteside loves dance! During her 13 years with Blue Lapis Light she has served as associate artistic director, performer, choreographer, rigger, and instructor. Her classical ballet training began at age 2 and blossomed into a life-long love of dance. She has studied at esteemed studios including Houston Ballet Academy, High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Austin School of Classical Ballet, and Marsha Woody Academy of Dance. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BFA in Dance and has continued dancing in Austin with local companies, including Sharir+Bustamante Danceworks, Sheep Army/Elsewhere Dance Theater, Austin School of Classical Ballet, Cheryl Chaddick Dance Theater, and Little Stolen Moments.

She has received numerous awards from the Austin Critics Table including Best Dancer in 2007 and 2013 and Best Duet in 2008. The Austin Chronicle awarded Little Stolen Moments Best Dance Company in 2010 and Best Creative Use of Three Small Trampolines in 2007. For New Year’s, First Night commissioned her performance, Fabric of the Hour, a silks piece performed inside Austin City Hall. She was nominated Best Choreographer for her aerial choreography with ZACH Theatre’s Metamorphoses by the B. Iden Payne Awards. Nicole manages Blue Lapis Light’s studio where she teaches the art of aerial dance. She has performed aerial silks since 2005, studying with aerialists at New England Center for the Circus Arts, Air Dance Bernasconi, Aircat Aerial Arts, House of Yes, Liza Rose, and FALL. Nicole is driven by collaboration and is eternally grateful for the unique beauty in all people! 

Daniel Broxton

Daniel Broxton has been dancing since he was 8 years old. He started dancing professionally after graduating from High School.


He currently directs two dance teams, Dare To Dream Hip Hop Team, and New Genesis. Daniel has been an instructor for many studios in Austin and has choreographed for different shows, local artists, and videos.


Daniel thinks of himself as an artist first and a dancer second. His goal is to connect the Austin dance community and help provide more opportunities for dancers.

Annie Hartkemeyer
Screenshot 2020-09-30 113116.png

Annie has over five years of experience teaching yoga and various movement modalities. She worked for four years as a yoga therapist at a neurology practice, where she helped patients re-pattern neural pathways for muscle movement, rebuild their strength, and address chronic pain via meditation, breath techniques, yoga, and other physical and alignment-based work. She has extensive experience teaching pre and postnatal yoga, and considers it an honor to work with women during this incredibly special time in their lives. She is passionate about her work with veterans and those suffering from PTSD, and volunteer teaches regularly at veteran centers and domestic violence shelters across the five boroughs. Annie has taught movement, wellness, and yoga workshops in many corporate and hospitality environments including Condé Nast, Misha Nonoo, the Shimano Bikes pop up store, the Park Avenue Hyatt, Lloyd's Banking Group, the United Nations (where she teaches regularly), and many more. 

Annie has a private practice in Brooklyn, and offers in-home yoga, yoga therapy, rehabilitative movement, and healing sessions. These one-on-one sessions are extremely focused on whatever the individual needs, and she takes great joy in helping clients discover their ability to heal themselves. Her clients range in experience levels and profession -- everyone from students to marathon runners to CEOs to Grammy Award winners.  

Annie is also a professional actor and studied at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, where she is now on faculty in the movement department.

See more of her work (and take some classes!) at

bottom of page