Cavalette Director, Abigail Payne, is entering her 12th year as the Director of the Cavalettes. She previously taught at Weatherford High School, Ninth Grade Center, and Tison Middle School in Weatherford, Texas.
She was the assistant director for the Weatherford Blue Belles for 3 years. She taught dance classes from 7th grade to 12th grade. She Directed the JV dance team, JV Jazz and Middle school dance team, Allstars. Mrs. Payne worked for American Dance and Drill Team for over 5 years. She has taught teams from all over the state of Texas as well as teams from Mississippi, Kansas and New Mexico. In addition to teaching camps, she has announced dance competitions and judged for various competitions. Mrs. Payne is a native Texan, growing up in Corsicana. As a student, she played volleyball and golf as well as being a member of the dance/drill team, the Calicos.
After high school, Mrs. Payne attended Tyler Junior College where she was a member of the famous Apache Belles Dance Team. She graduated with an Associate's Degree from Tyler Junior College. She then moved on to Texas State University to pursue a degree in Dance. While at Texas State, she was a member of the Orchesis Dance Company and served as president. She fulfilled her student teaching responsibilities with the dance teams at Canyon High School and Smithson Valley High School. Mrs. Payne graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas State University with a Bachelors of Science in Dance and a minor in Theater Arts.
She is currently serving on the Texas Dance Educator’s Association as the President. For the past two years she has served as the corresponding secretary and the 1st vice President. Striving to better Dance Education in Texas is a passion and she plans to continue to advocate for Texas Dance Education in the future.
Since her start at Lake Travis in the fall of 2008, the Cavalettes have performed at Cowboy’s Stadium, Kyle field, Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium, Floyd Casey Stadium (Baylor U.), the Alamodome in San Antonio, Opening of the 123rd Annual Rose Parade, the AT&T Center for a Spurs game, Frank Erwin Center for the UT Men’s Basketball team, Bass Concert Hall opening for the Radio City Rockettes, Downtown Disney’s Waterfront Stage, Kilgore College for the Rangerette Revels Show, San Antonio Spurs Grand Champions and Halftime Performers and numerous community appearances. They have also received awards from contest from Grand Champion to National Champion Officers. The Cavalettes have been recognized for our precision, technique, choreography, presentation, and showmanship. They are proud of their alumni whether they move on to dance for their colleges or they continue their studies in other areas. She has had dancers move on to become members
of the Texas Tech Pom Squad, the UT Pom Squad, Apache Belle Captain, Rangerettes, OU Pom Squad, TCU Showgirls, Hardin Simmons Spurs Dance Team, the University Of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior Dance Team, University of Georgia Dance Dawgs, UT Roustabouts and a Disney performer.
She also founded the Lake Travis JV Dance Team, Red Rubies. Now in its 8th year, the Rubies are an established program on campus and continue to set the bar higher each year. They have earned awards from Sweepstakes and judges awards to best in Class JV.
She also helped to charter the Lake Travis Band Dance Auxiliary. The program saw great success from taking Caption awards at the Westlake Competition to performing in the 2011 4A State Marching Band finals and 2012 5A State Marching Band competition. They were also participants in the Good Morning America ‘Do-Over’ segment in 2014.
She is married to Dustin Payne who is currently teaching at Lake Travis Middle School and coaching boys football, basketball, track, and golf. They welcomed their first child, Penelope Payne in February of 2013 and their second child, in October of 2016, and couldn’t be happier to raise them in this community. They are both blessed to be in Lake Travis.
Assistant Director for Cavalettes and Red Rubies Mrs. Lindsey Benning will be teaching, choreographing and planning activities for the Cavalette and Red Ruby teams this upcoming year.
Lindsay Benning teaches in the math department. She previously taught at Midway High School in Waco, Texas where she was the Assistant Coach for the Varsity Cheer program and the JV Head Coach. Prior to that, Mrs. Benning taught at Lorena High School for three years where she was the Varsity and JV Head Cheer Coach. During her time in Waco, she taught dance classes at Ignite Dance Company and taught camps to Central Texas high school drill teams. She worked with the Midway High School Goal Tenders for five years as choreographer for their field and pep rally routines, in addition to working with smaller schools in the area.
Mrs. Benning graduated from Lufkin High School where she was a member of the Panther Pride dance/ drill team. After high school, Mrs. Benning attended Tyler Junior College where she was a member of the famous Apache Belles Dance Team, serving as Head Dance Captain her sophomore year. She graduated with an Associate's Degree in Business Administration from Tyler Junior College. She then moved on to Baylor University, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Finance. While at Baylor, she was a member of the Baylor Dance Company, served as the Head SING chair for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, and also served as Float Chair.
She is married to Mark Benning who is a Real Estate & Commercial Lender at Central National Bank, which is what brought them to the Austin area. They welcomed their first child, Madeline, in October of 2017, and second child, Hagen, in Feburary of 2020. They are excited to be a part of the Lake Travis family!