Philip Gutierrez – Owner
Born in Houston, Texas, Philip found a love for sports at an early age. Growing up he enjoyed: Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Golf. He always enjoyed being a part of a team, working to achieve a goal, and advocate his peers.
As a young man with obvious leadership qualities, he decided to study Computer Science at The University of Houston. Reading a Newspaper in 1999, he stumbled across a Fred Astaire Dance Studio advertisement for a training opportunity at the Memorial Studio, in Houston.
He decided to attend the training class, and was captivated at the challenge of Latin & Ballroom dancing. Realizing all of the growth opportunities with Fred Astaire he became a full-time Instructor. With hard work, dedication, and pure enjoyment for enriching the lives of not only students, but his team, he became Manager, and (shortly after) Owner of his very first Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Throughout his journey he has been awarded many Top Teacher awards, and the prestigious Freddy Award as both an Instructor and Owner.
Now, owning 3 studios in Houston and 2 in San Antonio, he continues to grow his reach to mentor Instructors to achieve things they never thought possible. With a passion for witnessing the growth as not only dancers, but as people, he strives to create and guide as many individuals towards their future as possible.
Alexandra Dane – Owner
Born in Hungary, Alexandra (Alex) started dancing when she was 7 years old. After one year of dancing she already knew that this is what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. At the age of 9 she was already competing and performing on stage. She had many successful years as a 7 time National Champion. Alexandra has danced at Blackpool over half a dozen times since the age of 8.
At the age of 20 she moved to the United States and started her American Journey. Since then, Alex and her dance partner, Mihaly Meszaros, danced in Blackpool in 2014 for Open Latin division , 2015 went back and danced Rising Star division placing 48th in the world, and have earned multiple National and World Champion Titles.
With her passion for competing professionally aside, she enjoys teaching at any level. Starting with Fred Astaire Dance studios in Cypress in early July 2014, she naturally fell into the teacher role. In August of 2015 she joined the FADS Memorial team and has been a perfect fit. She loves that teaching with Fred Astaire Dance Studios allows her to be a part of a team with the common mission to help enrich the lives of anyone and everyone through dance. She enjoys the variety of students that she has the pleasure of working with everyday.
Mihaly Meszaros – Dance Director, Co-Owner
Born and raised in Hungary, Mihaly (Misi) started his dance journey when he was 11 years old. He tested the waters in a variety of sports, but the moment he started ballroom dancing, he fell in love. During his earlier dancing years, he was awarded Formation World Champion, Show Dance World Champion and a member of the Hungarian National Team. He also perfected himself on the theatre field and soon became a soloist at Buda Castle National Dance Theatre. Before moving to America, he taught Social & Competitive Dance to all ages. At age 20, he became a certified Zumba Instructor, and had the pleasure to be a lead teacher in one of the biggest Zumba events in the world in an arena of thousands.
At 24 he moved to the U.S. as a Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studio Professional Instructor. He enjoys teaching all levels of dance, but specializes in the Advanced Department. Within the last few years, Mihaly has been awarded numerous placements in his professional dancing with his partner, Alex Dane. They are recently a star marked couple at Blackpool Dance Festival. He has also been the Top Instructor at the Fred Astaire National Championships, and repeatedly ranks at one of the top 5 instructors in the Texas Region. He enjoys his job, and loves that he is given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of his students.
Polly Taunton – Dance Instructor
Born and raised in South Louisiana, Polly was lucky to grow up surrounded by the rich Cajun culture of music and dancing, which instilled in her the importance of balancing a busy and stressful work week with art, music and fun!
She enjoyed gymnastics as a child and trained for several years which would later prove to be beneﬁcial to her later developed passion for dancing. This training helped her to understand the connection that anyone can train one’s body and mind to be balanced, strong and ﬂexible, something many people may never dream possible for themselves.
It wasn’t until later in her life after having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at University of Louisiana at Lafayette that she discovered dancing, which changed her world and her life.
Although she ﬁrst discovered country and salsa dancing. It wasn’t until she discovered the art, beauty and sportsmanship of ballroom dancing that Polly’s love of art, music, science, body movement, ﬁtness, people and fun was ﬁnally satisﬁed in one awesome sport…ballroom dancing!
It is only natural that she would come to be an instructor at Fred Astaire Dance Studio. She loves growing everyday, sharing her passion and showing that anyone can learn to dance and gain control of their own body and have fun doing it!
She enjoys most of all making people understand that “Yes! Anyone can learn to dance with proper training!” and seeing the look on people’s face when they “get it” and realize that they are “really dancing!”! She ﬁrmly believes she can touch as many people here at Fred Astaire as she touches in her career as a nurse. She feels it is truly a life long hobby that can change a person’s life, improve one’s mental and physical health and she hopes to share this gift with as many people as possible.