Deborah Case, owner of the Deborah Case Dance Academy and artistic director of the Rio Grande Valley Ballet, has dancing in her blood.

“I was born to do this,” she admitted. “I started at age 4, and when I was ready to quit after 10 years, my wise mother told me, ‘You can quit now, but I want you to know, after 10 years is when you really know how to dance.’ I became a student teacher and have been teaching ever since.”

Deborah found she loved listening to music and while listening, the choreography for the piece would take shape in her mind.

“I realized I had something special so I made a promise to God,” she said. “I will serve You well in the field of dance if You let me always be in the industry,” was her plea. Not caring whether it be on stage, behind the stage, or teaching, her passion urged her to follow her heart.

Graduating from TCU with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with double minors in English and Ballet, she came to Donna, Texas, to teach. Discovering the Rio Grande Valley Ballet, she joined their ranks, becoming Principle Dancer and teacher. In 1993, standing in a parking lot with owner Doria Avila, she made a deal to take over as Artistic Director of the ballet and The Nutcracker, and turn Doria Avila Dancing into Deborah Case Dance Academy.

Making this conscious decision to become the resident teacher for her company, she never danced in the local Nutcracker again.

Deborah acknowledges that her passion today is watching her students developing and growing.

“I love to tell people to come to The Nutcracker each year because you’re going to watch a star being born. We never know who it’s going to be, but every year the kids bring their best selves to the show.”

Local students such as William Kauffmann, 18 years old and Denise Rodriguez, 16 years old, will dance this year’s Nutcracker with world class guest artists like Florian Rouiller and a Deborah Case graduate guesting from the Charleston Ballet Theatre, Michael Rodriguez.

Believing in giving back to her community, Deborah sits on the McAllen Performing Arts Center, the St. John’s Episcopal Day School and Quinta Mazatlan Advisory Boards. Debra Case Dance Academy was acknowledged by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Top 5 Small Business Awards in 2011 and this year, the RGV Hispanic Chamber Most Distinguished Woman in Arts/Entertainment.

God heard her plea and gave her His answer.

“Everything I do is God’s grace. It was all opportunities He put in front of me.”

All she had to do was follow the leads . . . and she did.

The Rio Grande Valley Ballet celebrates the 45th Year of The Nutcracker. Come enjoy this great holiday classic at the McAllen Performing Arts Center, Saturday, December 2 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets available at, McAllen Convention Center Box Office or