Artistic directors and choreographers, Christopher “Pharside” Jennings and Krystal “Phoenix” Meraz are perhaps most recently known for their hard-hitting choreography and the latest additions to the Emmy Award winning So You Think You Can Dance family. This soon-to-be husband and wife team’s unique style is characterized by their “out of the box” concepts, jaw dropping stunts, and high energy choreography which not only brings their visions to life, but also tells a story.


Krystal, who has always been determined to pursue a career in dance, began at 6 years old. When she was diagnosed with a slight scoliosis, her mom was inspired to enroll her in ballet, hoping that dance might prove to be helpful for her posture. Overcoming that obstacle taught her determination and perseverance, and from there, she expanded her dance journey, taking on other styles like modern, jazz, international latin, Afro-Haitian, and of course, hip hop.

Krystal and Christopher met as performers at San Francisco Hip Hop Dancefest where she was a member of a dance group, and he was a freestyle dancer. Krystal introduced Chris to the choreography scene and inspired him to enter a world with new possibilities and opportunities. In 2009, this creative powerhouse duo founded the world-renowned performance group, The Academy of Villains. To date, they have four companies which have not only become huge entities in the dance community, but have also won several titles and awards under their leadership and direction.


Since moving to Los Angeles in 2013 to further advance their careers, they have choreographed several times for the television program So You Think You Can Dance, co-produced and choreographed live performance shows for Elvira at Knott’s Scary Farm, and also won Breakthrough Choreographers of the Year at the 2015 World of Dance Industry Awards. They are currently working on a resident show for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights in Florida.


*Faculty is subject to change based on availability.


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