Though I wore tutu’s and loved to dance from the time I was born, I started my first official dance lessons (with my sister Carolyn) when I was about 10 years old. I started with Tap dancing and soon added Ballet, and continued on from there with Jazz, Acro (gymnastic) dancing, Lyrical, Contemporary, and a little Hip Hop and Modern. Ballet style genres have always been my favorite, such as Lyrical and Contemporary! I started at Spotlight Dance Studio and continued there through high school, learning from many different teachers. In college, I continued in my dance education by taking Ballet and Tap dance classes at Lansing Community College, as well as a class or two at various Studios and conventions.
My teaching career starting as a teacher assistant at Spotlight Dance Studio, at middle school age. When I started high school, I was assisting in several classes and was offered my first teaching job for a beginning Tap class. During high school, I assisted, taught, and danced at Spotlight Dance Studio. Once I graduated from high school in 1999, I stopped dancing at Spotlight, but continued teaching there. I taught Tap, Ballet, Pre-dance, and Lyrical.
A couple years into college, the year 2002, I was asked by family friends to teach a Christian centered dance class for Homeschool students (as I grew up Homeschooling myself). This was the beginning of Gift Of Joy (though the name was not yet established)! The owners of Spotlight graciously allowed me to use the studio during the day to offer these couple classes. I continued to teach for both Spotlight and Gift of Joy. (I got married in 2004 and was gone until 2006, but jumped right back into both companies when we returned to Michigan). Eventually, as Gift Of Joy grew into a full time dance company, I stopped working for Spotlight and focused just on Gift Of Joy! God knew that, in my heart, I wanted to share with others the joy of dancing, that He gave me, and I am so blessed to be able to continue to share this Joy to this day!
I started dancing with my first Tap class (with my sister Marie) around age 8. From there I added Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Acro Dancing (gymnastics) and Hip Hop to my repertoire. I danced with Spotlight Dance Studio from my young beginning age, all the way through highschool. I had many different teachers through those years and this gave a wide experience base in dance. I have continued my dance education, since high school, by attending various master classes, conventions, and dance workshops.
I started assistant teaching in middle school, and then moved on to teaching in highschool. I continued to teach dance through my early college years (as I helped to pay for Nursing School). I stopped teaching for a couple years as I finished my BSN. At that time Marie (my sister) had gotten married and moved away and had also stopped teaching, but on her return, started Gift Of Joy Dance Company. I came back to teaching in 2008, as she asked me to help her with the growing demand for dance classes at Gift Of Joy. I knew God gave me a love for dancing that would never end, and I continue to find joy in it to this day, by sharing it with others!
Kayla is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where she received her bachelor's degree in Business and Dance. She has performed both nationally and internationally, most notably performing at the American College Dance Festival and the Dance Grand Prix Italia. During her time at Eastern, Kayla received the Dance Major of the Year Award, and her choreography was selected to perform at both the Undergraduate Symposium and the American College Dance Festival. She was also a team officer on the EMU dance team and vice president of EMU's Dance Forum. Her training consists of Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, Pom, and Lyrical. She has been dancing since the age of five and has competed in numerous dance competitions, receiving national recognition as part of a national performance team. Her choreography for Spotlight Performing Dance Company has won her choreography awards as well as top overall scores.
Other than dance, Kayla has been a choreographer and instructor for color guards, pageants, and theatre productions. She is very passionate about her faith and enjoys the time she spends doing church activities, especially working with children. At Gift of Joy, she has enjoyed choreographing dances that glorify God. Kayla especially loves working with large groups and loves the opportunities she gets to put together large group ballet dances. Her main focus as an instructor is to provide encouragement and inspire students to be the best they can be through quality dance education.
Allie began taking tap dance lessons when she was 5 years old, and loved it so much that she started assistant teaching when she was 9. Her early dancing years were filled with living room shows featuring her loyal siblings, and her passion for leading others in dance bloomed, thanks to their devotion.
After assisting many classes at her studio, Allie re-started a dance program at her local YMCA and enjoyed teaching there for 5 years. Since then, she has been lead teaching tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop classes for the past 6 years and has loved every minute of it. She currently teaches at the Gift of Joy Dance Company and the School for the Arts, in addition to offering private lessons out of her home.
Allie has enjoyed teaching dance workshops at Illinois and Wisconsin conferences and summer camps at the School for the Arts. She hopes to pursue more teaching opportunities, including teaching dance to her friends with special needs.
You can find Allie dancing pretty much anywhere, including choreographing sequences in the grocery store. Her favorite part of dance is using her body and helping others to use their bodies to glorify and honor God. Allie feels so thankful to be able to combine her passions of children and dance through teaching!
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