Faculty & Staff
Director, Certified Cecchetti Council of America Instructor Grade I-Diploma, DFCCA (Diploma Fellow Member of the Cecchetti Council of America), National Cecchetti Council of America Examiner
Ms. Jackie is the owner and director of Dance Gallery, teaching various levels of ballet, Cecchetti syllabus, and pointe. She also coaches teachers in the Cecchetti method, and has successfully presented teachers and students through the Advanced Professional exam (VII). Jackie was recently selected as an apprentice examiner with the Cecchetti Council of America, and will continue to train as an examiner in order to examine students across the U.S. Jackie began her training under Carolyn Westphal at the South Dakota School of Ballet, and continued training with Christine Kirk of K’Dance. Her professional teacher’s certification training was under the instruction of Gail Choate-Pettit, Marjorie Randazzo, and Denise Gillman. Jackie holds the Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma. Her travels to obtain this honor have taken her to England; Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Calgary, Alberta; and Montreal, Quebec. Master teachers that have impacted Jackie’s training are Cara Drower, Gillian Hurst, Nancy Kilgour, Kate Simmons, and Diane VanSchoor. In 2015 Jackie was awarded the Sylvia Hamer Scholarship to England to study the Cecchetti Method with the Cecchetti Society of England. She also received the Augustana College Alumni Achievement award in the area of Liberal in 2013, and was nominated for SHE Magazine Sioux Falls Woman of the Year. Jackie has a B.A. in Elementary and Special Education from Augustana College. She taught in the Sioux Falls School System for 10 years prior to opening up Dance Gallery. In 2014, one of the Dance Gallery ballet students was selected to represent the Cecchetti Council of America in the Cecchetti International Ballet Competition held in Richmond, VA. Dance Gallery students that are trained in a strong ballet foundation have been accepted in summer intensives and very reputable year-round training schools. (ABT’s J.K.O. Summer School, S.A.B. Summer Intensive, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Chautauqua Summer Intensive, Rock School, Ballet West, Interlochen Academy, and the Kirov Academy. Presently, Jackie has students that are company members with dance companies including Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Ballet West. Dance Gallery students are also receiving dance scholarships at university dance programs in the U.S.
ms. Nikki chevalier
Instructor, Former Sioux Falls School District Teacher
Ms. Nikki grew up in South Dakota and was active in sports, singing and playing the piano. Ms. Nikki earned a degree in Elementary Education and taught for eight years before she moved to Cape Cod with her husband. They have three boys Luke, Isaiah and Michael and a daughter, Gabrielle. While in Cape Cod, she homeschooled for 12 years and taught technology at the elementary level for two years. She continues to sing and play piano on her church worship team. Ms. Nikki thoroughly enjoys going to her boys baseball games and watching Gabrielle dance. She looks forward to combining teaching with dance at Dance Gallery in the Leap 'N Learn Program.
ms. stephanie deilke
Ms. Stephanie grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania where she spent her first nine years dancing under the instruction of Cristina Sohns-Williams and Jennifer Sohns-Petty. Stephanie has experience in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, and modern forms of dance. She moved to South Dakota in 2000 and, after graduating from high school, earned her nursing degree. In addition to teaching ballet and tap at Dance Gallery, Stephanie is employed both as a nurse with Universal Pediatrics and with the Sioux Falls School District. She is now continuing her instruction in ballet with Jackie Pederson-Kriens and has passed her Cecchetti Grade I exam. Stephanie is excited to be working with children and teaching dance.
Teacher Letter - Coming Soon!
Ms. Amanda Duckett
Studio Manager, Certified Cecchetti Council of America Instructor Grade I-II
Ms. Amanda's background in dance is much like what your child is experiencing as they grow up. She began dancing at Tangle Foot Dance Studio, a small studio in Sioux Falls no longer in existence. Once her parents realized how important dance was to her, they found Dance Gallery of SD. She started at Dance Gallery of SD just a couple months after it was first born in January of 1999. This studio is where she quickly advanced in the Cecchetti Program through the completion of her Cecchetti Intermediate Grade VI exam before graduating from Washington High School in Sioux Falls, SD.
While she continued her journey at Dance Gallery, She attended the University of Sioux Falls where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and then she obtained her M.A. in Counseling from Sioux Falls Seminary. While at Sioux Falls Seminary, She completed her clinical work by working with lower income families’ children and adolescents through Sioux Falls Psychological Services and did an internship with The Compass Center in Sioux Falls, SD . Ms. Amanda is certified to teach Cecchetti Grade I-II and is currently working on her Cecchetti Grade III teacher’s exam.
"I love teaching. I love teaching because it allows me to connect with a child in a different environment and on a different level than what a traditional educator might have the opportunity to do. I believe when teaching it is important to take into account where the child is developmentally and to take into consideration that not every child connects with dance and dance concepts the same way as another child; this allows me to get creative in my work with children."
ms. kendra eastman
Certified Cecchetti Council of America Instructor Grade I-II
Ms. Kendra has been dancing at Dance Gallery since age six and teaching since her senior year of high school in 2013. She as completed her Cecchetti Grade 1 and 2 teacher's examinations, and is currently working on her Grade 3. Kendra has four years' previous experience working in a childcare facility and is trained in CPR and Firtst Aid. She also has 9 years experience volunteering in Sunday school for ages 5-13. Kendra was homeschooled until graduation in May 2013. She holds an A.A.S. in Business Management from National American University. She now works as a floral designer at Hy-Vee. Kendra enjoys teaching young children's ballet classes and lower level Cecchetti grades as well as beginner modern. Kendra is also now joining Dance Gallery's competiton team.
ms. Ruby evans
Ms. Ruby started dancing at 4 years old and has been in love with it ever since. She grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota where she took multiple different styles for 14 years, ballet being her favorite. She was an assistant ballet teacher all throughout high school and has always loved working with aspiring ballerinas. Ms. Ruby is currently a sophomore at Augustana University, pursuing degrees in Business Communications and Spanish. She has had various lead roles growing up, including Cinderella, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and the Snow Queen in the Nutcracker. She can’t wait to start teaching at the Dance Gallery and share her love and passion of dance and hopefully inspire her students to find joy and love for the art as well!
ms. cristin fanning
Ms. Cristin started her Dance training when she was 6 years old at South Dakota School of Dance. Upon the school’s closing, she studied under the private instruction of Christine Kirk and eventually K'Dance, along with many summer intensives with Minnesota School of Dance and Ballet Utah. After college, Cristin moved away for her work but continued her studies in schools in Detroit, MI and Chicago, IL.
In addition to teaching, Ms. Cristin spends her days as a Learning and Development Specialist with Sanford Health Human Resources and part-time in Registration at the Sanford ER. She also loves being a mom to her 3 Children, Alexis, Boston and Jett.
Ms. Cristin enjoys teaching Intermediate and Advanced Ballet and Pointe. She loves helping her student’s experience the same joy and love for dance that she has experienced in her own life.
Ms. Linda Friez
Certified Cecchetti Council of America Instructor Grade I
Ms. Linda teaches many students in Dance Gallery’s Lower School. Ms. Linda was trained in the student Cecchetti method under Johnny Cavelle, Vickie Stuchl, and Linda Carrillo of Aberdeen, SD. Before moving to Sioux Falls in 2003, Linda taught ballet, jazz, and tap for 3 years in Aberdeen at the ARCC dance studio. While she was a student at Northern State University, Linda coaches and choreographed for Aberdeen Central High School’s color guard. Linda will be continuing her teaching training under Jackie Pederson-Kriens of Dance Gallery.
ms. kallan groseth
Ms. Kallan (Kay-lan) started her dance training at 3 years of age and continues to do so. She was trained under the direction of Dorota Dannenbring who was a professionally trained Ballerina from Poland. Dorota traveled the world performing with the Polish National Dance Company before opening up her own studio, The Academy of Dance. At the Academy of Dance Ms. Kallan trained in Russian techniques of classical ballet, point, contemporary/lyrical, modern, character, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. Kallan also spent a year on the Yankton Competitive Dance Team before moving and continuing competitive dance with Sioux Falls Roosevelt.
Ms. Kallan spent the last three years of high school at Dance Gallery training in multiple styles of dance and learning the Cecchetti Syllabus and has also performed in The Nutcracker ballet since the age of 5.
Ms. Kallan is currently finishing her Bachelor degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and minor in Interdisciplinary Sciences, Psychology and Pre Physical Therapy courses. She is also a certified fitness instructor and has taught barre, Pilates, bosu, rowing and other strength and conditioning formats for 6 years. Alongside dance, Ms. Kallan has been a lifeguard and certified WSI swim instructor for over 7 years. She has taught numerous group and private swim lessons, including water aerobics and water yoga, to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Fall 2018 through spring 2019 Ms. Kallan will be Teaching Grade I-II Non Syllabus and teaching Dance Conditioning, Barre Sculpt and Pre Pointe Conditioning.
*If you are interested in private training work please reach out to the office for inquiries.
ms. melissa heckel
Hi! My name is Melissa and this is my second year teaching at Dance Gallery! I am married to my husband Scott and we have two daughters who are both attending Dance Gallery this year. I began ballet at age 9 and have loved it ercely ever since. Throughout elementary school and high school I studied ballet, tap and jazz at Johnny Cavelle Dance Studio in Aberdeen where I also passed my Cecchetti Grade V student exam and assisted with Kindergarten and Preschool ballet classes. In college I performed on the dance team at Southwest Minnesota State University. I currently work from home doing freelance graphic design and attend weekly adult ballet classes. Dance has always held a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to share my love for ballet with your child!
Ms. Laren Holtman
Ms. LaRen began dancing at Dance Gallery at the age of 4. When she first started out as a dancer, she only took ballet, but over the years she has grown appreciation for many other styles including contemporary, modern, hip hop, and jazz. Ms. LaRen has passed grades I-IV Cecchetti student exams. She has also participated in Dance Gallery’s Nutcracker since 2007 and will be in Sleeping Beauty this upcoming fall as the role of Carrabose and Puss in Boots. She participated on the competition team at Dance Gallery for six years as well. She is currently a senior at Lincoln High School and plans to major in secondary Spanish education after graduation in hopes of becoming a high school Spanish teacher in the future.
Ms. Lisa Holtman
Ms. Lisa has been a Special Education Teacher for the past 23 years. Along with being a Special Education Teacher, she has served in the role of a Special Education Instructional Coach. She works with teachers in eleven (11) elementary buildings coaching them through curriculum, classroom management/organization, behavioral supports and working with a wide variety of students with disabilities. Ms. Lisa's family has been a part of the Dance Gallery family for twelve (12) years as both of her daughters started dancing with Dance Gallery when they were 4 years of age. She is excited to be a part of Dance Gallery as a support for teachers and families.
Ms. Debbi JOnes
Ms. Debbi teaches Broadway and is excited to return to Dance Gallery! She graduated from the University of Sioux Falls, and spent semesters studying movement and acting at the American College of Greece in Athens and the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC. She has been lucky to choreograph several musicals around Sioux Falls. Her love of dance came from choreographing one woman shows in her childhood kitchen, many years of theatre and show choir, and from “Dance4Joy,” a small loving studio that operated out of a basement in her hometown of Chamberlain.
Mr. Arthur Kriens
Bio Coming Soon!
Ms. Megan Pederson
Ms. Megan is thrilled to be back teaching tap at the Dance Gallery this year. She danced through high school, choreographed a musical in Luverne, MN and headed to the University of Iowa as a dance major. She studied under unbelievable teachers at Iowa and was thrilled to find out that her "to-be-sister-in-law" was opening a dance studio upon her return to Sioux Falls. She has taught jazz and tap at the Dance Gallery off and on while raising two girls and running Lock It and Leave It Moving and Storage with her husband.
Ms. Jessica Rooney
Competition Program Director, Certified Cecchetti Council of America Instructor Grade I-Advanced
Ms. Jessica teaches hip hop, modern, ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and competitive dance (Dance Gallery Productions). She currently holds a B.F.A. in Modern Dance Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma and an A.A.S. in Business Management from Oklahoma State University. Ms. Jessica was a member of the Modern Repertory Dance Theatre for three years, and performed in the annual showcases, lecture demonstrations, and the Kansas Dance Festival. In addition, Ms. Jessica was a dancer/choreographer for the Belleforte Dance Company. Ms. Jessica teaching credentials include placement on faculty with F.G.I School of Dance for five years instructing ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, point, Cecchetti, hip hop, and modern dance. She has also traveled the midwest serving as guest faculty for schools and workshops; doing choreography, instructing students, and educating other dance teachers. Jessica has done choreography for Augustana dance team, Northern State University dance team, and University of Sioux Falls drama dept. Jessica has developed and successful competitive dance program for Dance Gallery. The team has won many special awards, often places in the overalls, and has won first overall. Ms. Jessica has won numerous choreography with her competitive team numbers. Along with serving on faculty with Dance Gallery, Mr. Jessica is head of the professional program. Jessica is working on her Diploma exam for the Cecchetti Council of America.
Ms. Emelia Skogstad
Ms. Emelia started her dance training at the age of five and has been dancing at Dance Gallery since then. She participates in all forms of dance including Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, and Hip Hop. She is a member of Dance Gallery Productions competition dance team and has also participated in the Dance Gallery Ballet each year. Ms. Emelia is currently a Senior at Washington High School and is planning to continue her education next year in the area of Education. She is excited to be teaching Leap 'N Learn to the younger dancers because she loves seeing their excitement when they come to dance and wants to help them love dance as much as she does!
Ms. Kristin skogstad
Bio Coming Soon!
ms. Noelle Starnes
Noelle is very excited to be back at Dance Gallery teaching Tap and Leap 'N Learn. She has been dancing here her entire life, but has always found Tap to be her favorite class. She is currently a Junior at Augustana University pursuing degrees in Media Studies and Communications. Other than Dance Gallery, Noelle works at Scooter’s Coffeehouse and with the Augustana Office of Admissions. At school, she is involved in the Augustana Choir and several on-campus clubs. She is looking forward to working with young dancers and help them explore their abilities and find success and enjoyment here at Dance Gallery.
ms. Carrie Stolp
Instructor, Sioux Falls School District Teacher
Ms. Carrie is ecstatic to bring her teaching experience from the classroom into the dance studio through the Leap 'N Learn program! During the day, Ms. Carrie teaches 8th graders at Edison Middle School how to be readers and writers! Throughout her 19 years of teaching in the SF School District, she has taught all the way from Kindergarten up to 8th grade! Her love of dance comes from watching her daughter and all the other students at Dance Gallery grow and learn over the years as they perform at recitals, ballets and at competitions. Ms. Carrie did have her time as a dancer at Washington High School as a Highstepper...once upon a time!!!
Ms. Carrie is extremely excited to be a part of this new curriculum at Dance Gallery with the 3 & 4 year olds!
Sound & Lighting Designer
Bio coming soon!
ms. samantha tomshack
Performance Coordinator, Certified Cecchetti Council of America Instructor Grade I-V
Ms. Sami started dancing when she was 3 years old. She joined Dance Gallery when she was about 5 years old and has continued her training ever since her enrollment. Sami has passed Grades I-IV student exams, as well as Elementary (V), Intermediate (VI), and Advanced (VII) Professional student examinations. Ms. Sami has also taken teacher examinations for Grades I-IV, and Elementary (V). Ms. Sami has been in multiple Dance Gallery productions and has had lead roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy. She is currently working on her Advanced (VI) teacher’s exam.
Ms. Angelia Washburn
Ms. Angelia has been dancing at Dance Gallery since she was three years old she has participated in many ballet productions including a few broadway productions. She has also participated in competition since 2005 till her senior year in high school in 2013. Currently she is at Southeast Technical Institute for Graphic Media Design and Marketing. When not working at the studio Angelia works at Hy-Vee. She teaches hip-hop and enjoys jazz!
ms. madeleine scott
Ms. Madeleine was born in Ft. Myers, Florida. She was raised in rural South Dakota and began ballet training at the age of 10 at Dance Gallery of South Dakota. She soon went on to study with Elena Kunikova in New York City; with whom she continues to train. Through dedicated effort Ms. Scott has since received scholarships to study at prestigious programs such as the School of American Ballet in New York City, The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Chautauqua Dance Festival in upstate New York, Cecchetti International in Hope, Michigan, Ballet West in Salt Lake City, and the University of Utah School of Dance in Salt Lake City. She has also received training at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York City, Koresh in Philadelphia, and Ellison Ballet in New York City. While residing in New York City Madeleine performed and trained under the direction of Gelsey Kirkland while on Gelsey Kirkland’s Studio Company on Broadway. At the age of 16 she was selected to perform in the Carreño Dance Festival in Sarasota, FL alongside Julie Kent and Jose Carreño. Madeleine has been invited to be a New York City Finalist at Youth American Grand Prix each year she has competed.
Recently, Ms. Scott performed her premiere as “Odile” in “Swan Lake” at the Inaugural University of Utah School of Dance Gala. While at the University of Utah she also premiered works by renowned choreographers Gabrielle Lamb, Jay Kim and Eloy Barrigan. Ms. Scott was “Cinderella” in Jay Km’s premiere of the full-length “Cinderella a Steampunk Fairytale” which sold out each night at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. Barrigan’s contemporary work was chosen to present at the American College Dance Association Gala at which Ms. Scott performed her original role. Ms. Scott is a college graduate with a BFA in Ballet Performance and a BS in Political Science: Non-profit leadership and community engagement. While taking a full-course load in college she danced professionally with Ballet West in cherished classics such as Balanchine’s “Symphony in C” and Mr. C’s “The Nutcracker”. Ms. Scott has also performed as a guest artist with Northern Ballet Theater near Boston as well as with Musical Bridges, choreographed and directed by Elena Kunikova in New York City. Madeleine was chosen as the lead in a premiere by Yellowstone Ballet. In addition to her extensive professional experience and degrees from university, Madeleine is also an American Ballet Theater certified ballet teacher, Ceccehetti (Gr. I-II) Certified Teacher, Merithew Barre Fitness Instructor, Balanced Body Pilates Certified Mat Instructor and Balanced Body Pilates Certified Reformer Instructor While at the University of Utah Ms. Scott was chosen to be the lead choreographer for the spring 2017 senior class.
This fall, Ms. Scott will be assisting with Cecchetti Grade II classes as well as teaching Cecchetti Grade I. She is currently preparing for her Grade 7 Cecchetti Exam, Grade III Cecchetti Teacher Exam, and her third session as a guest artist with renowned Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.
*Contact via email for inquiries regarding private ballet lessons (Cecchetti or American Ballet Theater Technique), Youth America Grand Prix, and pilates mat/reformer instruction. firstname.lastname@example.org
maestro Enrico Cecchetti
The ghost of Enrico Cecchetti taught at Dance Gallery on Halloween!
Maestro Enrico Cecchetti will always be remembered through the teaching method he developed which expanded upon the principles set forth by Carlo Blasis. He learned from the masters; he assimilated and applied the theories they taught. From his own experiences as a dancer and a teacher and from his associations with other dancers, artists, and musicians, he continued to learn, sharing his knowledge and wisdom throughout a career which spanned nearly eight decades.
Cyril Beaumont, a world-renowned dance historian and friend of Cecchetti said, “What impressed me most about the Cecchetti method of teaching was the way in which each exercise played a definite and planned part in the student’s technical development. There is nothing haphazard about the system, nothing which depended on the teacher’s mood of the moment. There is a definite plan to daily classes.”
Mr. Allen desterhaft
Mr. Allen Desterhaft began his dance career at the age of ten in the field of competitive roller skating. His titles include several national championships as well as the 1987 and 1988 World Championships, and a silver medal at the 1987 Pan-American Games. Through skating he was introduced to many forms of dance including competitive ballroom dancing which he started teaching at age sixteen. He continues to teach and compete in ballroom dancing nationwide. Upon retiring from competitive skating, Allen pursued a BFA degree from Ohio State University and graduated in 1991. Since moving to Chicago he has danced with Chi-town Jazz Dance, Winifred Haun & Dancers, and has performed as a guest artist for the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago in Salute to Vienne, for Randy Duncan in Dance For Life, for the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble, Barrington Dance Ensemble, and the Evanston Dance Ensemble. Allen currently teaches competitive ballroom and Latin dance as well as coaching and choreographing for competitive skaters throughout the Chicago land area. He also teaches ballet to dance majors at Columbia College and advanced jazz and ballet at U Dance Corp.
ms. denise gillman, dFCCA, AISTD
Ms. Denise began her early training in Michigan with Marjorie B. Randazzo; she was the recipient of the Hammond Scholarship allowing her to continue as a full-time student at the National Ballet School of Canada. Denise is a frequent guest teacher in the United States and Europe, including faculty positions at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Carnegie Mellon University, Louisville Ballet School, the International Summer School of the Cecchetti Council of America, ISTD – Cecchetti, and the Kate Simmons School in England. Denise is familiar with Balanchine style and has training in the Vaganova and RAD methods of teaching, although her teaching preference is the Cecchetti Method. Through many years of continued education, dedication and love of dance, Ms. Denise has achieved an associate diploma from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and has also earned her Cecchetti Diploma as a dancer and teacher.
Ms. donna whitesel
Ms. Donna has danced, choreographed, taught or staged ballet since she was 5 years old. A student of the world-renown Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet Company, Donna received her training fromsuch notables as Barbara Weisberger, Violette Verdy, Alexei Ramov, David Howard, and Finis Jhung, to name a few. Donna began teaching in Pennsylvania and continued throughout her husband’s military career in GA, FL, KS, NY, and later, NE. Donna founded, built and directed DanceWorks in Nebraska City for 10 years where she began her certification as a Cecchetti ballet instructor. Having passed the rigorous teacher exams through Grade Five, she is currently working on the Intermediate Professional level. Donna has trainedhundreds of successful exam candidates in the Cecchetti method, many passing with highest honors.
ms. leslie wood
Ms. Leslie received her early training in Ann Arbor, Michigan from Sylvia Hamer, a founding member of the Cecchetti Council of America. She also studied at the Royal Ballet School in London, England and at various studios in New York City. She performed with the Ann Arbor Civic Ballet and the Kearney Civic Ballet of which she was founder and director. Leslie has taught in New York City as well as many cities across the United States. She has been involved in various community theater productions as a dancer and choreographer. She has worked with the Nebraska Arts Council and served as team leader for the Nebraska Department of Education’s Visual Performing Arts Frameworks Project. Leslie is a Certified Licentiate Teacher of the Cecchetti Council of America having passed her Intermediate Teacher’s Exam with honors. Leslie is currently working on her Grade VII Teacher’s Exam. She continues her training by attending dance workshops and conferences including the International Cecchetti Council of America Teacher’s Seminar. She has also studied kinesiology for dancers and athletes. Leslie loves working with dancers of all ages and she is “always dedicated to proper training”.