Rommel and Kirsten Ladera
Studio: Rhythm on Fire
Dances Taught: Standard and Latin Dances in both the International and American Styles

Rommel and Kirsten were active members of their respective collegiate ballroom dance teams competing for the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. After graduating, each moved to Dallas and met at a ballroom dance event in the metroplex. In the fall of 1995, Kirsten and Rommel were instrumental in the re-establishment of the SMU Ballroom Dance Club. Subsequently they began a dance partnership and spent several years competing on the amateur circuit.

In 1999, Rommel and Kirsten married and now have three children, who also dance and compete. In the summer of 2008, SMU Ballroom members expanded the existing program, creating a competitive team with Rommel as head coach. Rommel & Kirsten’s longstanding friendship and collaboration with the SMU Ballroom continues today. The competitive ballroom dance team at SMU maintains its status as one of the leading collegiate ballroom dance teams in the state.

In addition to coaching and instructing, The Laderas are Directors of Ballroom Dance at the Dance Institute of Dance and continue to compete with their students on the Pro/Am circuit. With more than 20 years of dancing under their feet, they look forward to many more years of supporting and guiding the growth and development of successful ballroom dance programs in the area.

Jason Stegall
Jason is one of the original founders of the SMU Ballroom Dance Team. He graduated with his undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics in 2010 and his Master of Mechanical Engineering in 2012. After working as a rotating equipment engineer for BP, Jason now works in IP Law at Fish & Richardson P.C.

Jason has studied dancesport under Kevin and Barbara King and Ryan Lewis. He is currently actively training with his dance partner, Emily Stengel. Jason is also an amateur crazy cat lady.

Kayla Goldberg
Kayla graduated from SMU in May 2017 and is so excited to continue participating with her favorite part about SMU. She received a B.A. for Political Science and World Languages and currently works as a Legal Assistant for Stanton LLP in downtown Dallas.

By far, Kayla’s favorite thing about the SMU ballroom dance team is the people she’s met and the family she has found with its members. Kayla enjoys going out around Dallas social dancing with her ballroom friends and also traveling around the country to visit and dance with other alumni. She has SMU Ballroom to thank for many of her lifelong friendships.

While not dancing or working, Kayla is most likely playing with her baby cat/pet animal sidekick Pascal. Her favorite things include glitter, cheese, and Disneyland.

Image may contain: Olivia Neilands, smiling, standing, plant, flower, tree, shoes, house and outdoor
Olivia Neilands
Originally from Boulder, CO, Olivia graduated from SMU in May 2018 and is excited to continue her involvement with the ballroom team. She received a B.S. in Statistical Science, a B.B.A. in General Business with a concentration in Risk Management and Insurance, and a French minor. Olivia works as an actuarial analyst for Willis Towers Watson in downtown Dallas.

The ballroom team was one of Olivia's favorite parts of her SMU experience. From competitions to weekly practices to social dancing, Olivia found the home away from home she needed at SMU. She has the organization to thank for many of her lifelong friendships.

While not dancing, working, or bedazzling, Olivia can be found playing with her cat Esmerelda. Her favorite things include glitter, Target, and skiing.