Faculty

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Jackie Pederson-Kriens, DFCCA (Diploma Fellow Member of the Cecchetti Council of America) 

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.

Teacher Letter

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Ms. Jessica Rooney

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.

Teacher Letter

ms. sami tomshack

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.  Sami has also taken teacher examinations for Grades I-IV, Elementary (V) and Intermediate (VI). Sami has been in multiple Dance Gallery productions and has had many lead roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy. She is currently working on her Advanced (VII) teacher’s exam.

Teacher Letter

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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.

Teacher Letter

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ms. kendra eastman

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.

Teacher Letter

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Ms. Linda Friez

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, and is now working on her Gr. II teachers exam.

Teacher Letter

Ms. Debbi JOnes

Ms. Debbi is a recent graduate from the University of Sioux Falls, but also spent semesters studying in Athens, Greece and the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC. Originally from Chamberlain, South Dakota, Debbi started her dance career in a little basement studio when she was ten. Since then, Debbi has been choreographing for musicals and show choir, taking dance workshops and classes, and even studied cultural music and dance in Bali, Indonesia. She also participates with the Sioux Empire Community Theatre on and off stage. She is so excited to begin another year of teaching at Dance Gallery!

Teacher Letter

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ms. stephanie deilke

Bio Coming...

Teacher Letter

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ms. jacobi calloway

Ms. Jacobi started her dance instruction at the Dance Gallery in 2007 beginning with Broadway and Russian ballet. She quickly added tap, hip hop, Cecchetti, and eventually lyrical and modern. Jacobi has enjoyed many years of dance competitions and summer intensives including a summer of instruction at the Alvin Ailey American dance theater in New York, performing for the esteemed Judith Jameson. Most recently she spent the summer at ADF held at Duke University where she studied from some of the greatest modern/contemporary choreographers. Jacobi's future plans include continuing dance to and through college by receiving a BFA.

Teacher Letter

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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.

Teacher Letter

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 in her third year at Southeast Technical Institute for Graphic Media Design and Marketing. Angelia is currently working on her Cecchetti Grade 1 teacher's exam. She is one of three competitive coaches. She mostly teaches hip-hop and enjoys jazz, modern, and lyrical! 

Teacher Letter

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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 3 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. maddiescott@rocketmail.com 

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ms. Noelle Starnes

Noelle is very excited to be back at Dance Gallery teaching Tap and Creative Movement. 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. 

Teacher Letter

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ms. katelyn smith

Ms. Katelyn began dancing at Dance Gallery at the age of 3. In her younger years, she took only ballet classes, but quickly learned to love the other styles of dance such as Contemporary, Jazz, and Modern. Katelyn has passed Grades I-IV Cecchetti student exams and the Elementary (V) Professional student exam. She plans to take her Grade I teacher exam this year. Katelyn has participated in Dance Gallery’s Nutcracker since 2005, and will perform this year as the Sugar Plum Fairy. She also participates in the competition team at Dance Gallery. Katelyn is a senior at Washington High School and plans to attend college next year majoring in elementary education and minoring in dance. Katelyn teaches Creative Movement, Kinder Dance, and Contemporary I. 

Teacher Letter

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ms. madi forseth

Bio Coming...

Teacher Letter

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ms. kallan groseth

Bio Coming...

Teacher Letter

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ms. melissa heckel

Hi! My name is Melissa and this is my first 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! 

Teacher Letter

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ms. kiersten zimbeck

Bio Coming...

Teacher Letter

Ms. Amanda Duckett

Ms. Amanda started training at Dance Gallery in ballet, and quickly found a love of many different forms of dance. Ms. Amanda quickly advanced through many levels of the Cecchetti method as a student and finished her Grade VI exam before graduating from High School. Ms. Amanda has also completed her Cecchetti I and Cecchetti II teacher’s exam. Amanda is currently working on her Cecchetti III teachers exam Amanda is a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and has recently obtained her M.A. in Counseling from Sioux Falls Seminary.

ms. martha fiegen

Ms. Martha returned to dance as a student in 2013 after being away for 28 years, and then began teaching in 2014. Ms. Martha’s youth was rooted in dance, music, and performance coming from a very musical family. The latter half of Ms. Martha’s youth dance life she studied Russian Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Modern, Jazz, and Character under the direction of Dennis and Kathy Landsman of American Dance Center in Overland Park, KS. Throughout her youth she performed in dramas, musicals, and ballet productions. Since 2012, she has directed and produced a children’s summer theater program for a small home school community. Currently Ms. Martha is working on her Cecchetti II teacher’s exam. Along with teaching the home school/day dance program at Dance Gallery. Outside of Dance Gallery she is a home schooling mom of two and works as a freelance transcriptionist from home.

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Ms. Leila Messier

Ms. Leila is a mother of four who moved to Sioux Falls in 2011, after a life of traveling with her Air Force husband Steve, who has since left the military. She lived in Japan for three years prior to coming to Sioux Falls. She began dancing ballet, tap, and jazz at age 5 with Mary Croughwell and later at the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music and Dance under Marion Miller. She also took occasional lessons with Marion at Dance Arts Studio in Boston, MA. During high school, she was a student teacher of ballet students from beginners through pre-pointe, as well as beginner jazz. In addition, prior to college for nursing, Leila competed in a solo ballet and jazz in the New England area. She also participated in a summer intensive with Edward Villella sponsored by the Cape Cod Conservatory. Leila is happy to be dancing again at the Dance Gallery and will be teaching the youngest Dance Gallery students.

Ms. Jessica Arends

Ms. Jessica grew up in Sioux Falls and was trained in Russian ballet technique at K-Dance with Christine Kirk. Jessica attended College of St. Catherine’s in Minneapolis and received her Associates of Applied Science Degree in Physical Therapy. During her 7 years in Minneapolis, she attended ballet classes at Ballet Arts Minnesota, now Minnesota Dance Theater. Jessica returned to Sioux Falls and continued her training at Dance Gallery. She has 24 years of Russian ballet training and has completed her Cecchetti grades I and II exams. Ms. Jess is currently working full time as a physical therapist assistant at Envive. She has a special interest in training dancers properly as to avoid injuries and rehabilitation for current injuries.

 

Special Guest Instructors

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. 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.

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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”.

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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. monica visscher

Ms. Monica was born and raised in SD, discovered her love of dance in this studio space (the orange studio), at the age of 4. She is honored to return so she may inspire others to learn and love the art of dance. Monica studied ballet at several local dance schools and attended workshops with the Bolshoi and Kirov in Chicago. She majored in dance at The University of Iowa, where she studied Russian ballet and modern. Monica has participated in Cecchetti training as well. Monica is married with 3 children and a sales representative for a biotechnology company.