Alison's mom was a dancer and she started life with her legs turned out. She made her debut at age 3 and has been in front of people ever since, whether dancing, singing, acting, or speaking. She was able to study ballet in her Indiana studio for four years until she moved to Western Colorado. She enjoyed performing in many musicals. She led her high school dance team and later auditioned and danced for the University of Colorado, with all the travel and televised perks. She studied under the C.U. professors in the dance department, and later captained the Colorado Christian University cheerleading squad into which she incorporated much dance.
As a teacher, Alison has led classes of all types. She was a guest dance teacher for schools, churches and groups, but began to teach regularly in 2000 with beginner ballerinas. Intending to teach only two classes, it soon grew to four and then five and included intermediate ballet, lyrical dance, musical theater, and hip hop, her passions. She specialized in creative and imaginative beginner classes that instilled actual dance technique. In 2010, she took a break to focus on her main career, homeschooling her 8 children.
She spent 2012 mostly paralyzed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and gained a new appreciation for dance. She expanded her dance studio and Josh, her husband, and his brother, Mark, built her a studio onto their house. She studies the Cecchetti Method of ballet, a rigorous and technical system, under Rachel Knight and Dayna Meixell, excellent coaches. She was recently chosen by the Southwest Cecchetti Committee to be the recipient of their Teacher Scholarship to the teacher's college in Michigan. She believes that everyone with a body should be able to dance for God, and she offers excellent and anatomically correct technique to every student, regardless of their ultimate future in dance. Dance is a gift that the Lord can use in a multitude of ways.
Sarah Jensen has been dancing with Miss Alison since she was 5 years old. She has completed Grade 3 of Cecchetti Ballet Certification Program and is a certified Grade One Teacher. She assisted Miss Alison teaching the Beginning Ballerinas for 4 years before taking over the class. She also teaches Cecchetti Grade One Ballet and Ballet/ Creative Movement classes. Sarah loves Joy of Dance studio because it teaches her to use her body for the Lord while also gaining self-control. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the Joy of Dance staff and is looking forward to getting to know each and every girl.
Dayna Meixell is a third generation dance instructor with a family of theatrical and musical professionals dating back 5 generations. Beginning study at age three her mother, June Runyan Nelson, steeped her in a foundation of Cecchetti Method, having trained under Celli (a protégé of Enrico Cechetti). At nine, Nikita Talin taught Dayna at the Harkness Foundation School. Dallas Civic Ballet’s George Skibine – former Paris Opera Ballet director, and his wife Marjorie Tallechief accepted her at the age of fourteen, providing years of valuable training and performance experience to include Les Sylphides, Gisell. Firebird, The Nutcracker, Medea, Concerto Barocco, numerous original pieces and performances in various operas as a member of the AGMA union. Dayna danced professionally until the age of 22 when a back injury changed her main focus to teaching and choreography. Numerous positions have included Kassovska’s School of Classical Ballet, Oat Jackson’s American Dance, Louis McKay Dance Studio, Yuma Ballet Company Performance Theater, and Dance Industry. Miss Dayna grew up in Richardson, Texas and is the mother of 7 adult children. She is loved for her gentle, incredibly helpful instruction and her huge vocabulary.
Mary Margaret Gates has been dancing and performing since she was 3 years old. She graduated from Circle in the Square Theatre School in 2015 and worked as a performer/actor in NYC until she moved home in 2017. Mary Margaret is a working actor in the DFW area as well as a Teaching Artist for students 10 and up! She teaches group and private dance classes to students since she's been back in Dallas. Mary Margaret also coaches students in Vocal Performance and Acting (marymargaretgates.com). She is most passionate about dance performing arts and using her body through dance to tell stories and glorify God. She is so excited to be working at Joy of Dance and sharing her gifts!
Teachers currently not teaching classes:
Ema Burris is a current member of Ingredients Dance Company. Ema was classically trained at her home studio in Wasilla, Alaska, at Sonja’s Studio of dance. Throughout high school, she attended American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive, and participated in Rock the Boat Carnival by Carnival Cruise line. Since high school she has traveled to India, Malaysia, parts of Europe and Australia doing missions as well as dancing and teaching. We are blessed to have such a gifted teacher at Joy of Dance.
Cheryl is a professional dance and yoga instructor and a professor of dance at Collin College. She has taught all forms of dance at the collegiate level and holds degrees in both dance and yoga. As a strong believer who does everything for the Lord, she leads her worshipful class into Scriptural meditations, prayer and Biblical reflection. As a hip hop teacher, she leads her urban students in the joy of clean and uplifting street dance. She knows how to groove! We are blessed to have such a gifted teacher at Joy of Dance.
Aaron Jensen has been dancing Urban for over three years, and has attended multiple dance workshops. During this time, he has learned from many different dance teachers, who have given him the skills and knowledge to create his own style of Urban dance. Aaron loves Urban, because it can be used to tell stories, mimic life, and show emotions while including your own personality and style. Aaron also teaches and trains in Tae Kwon Do which he believes is very similar to Urban with its powerful and flowing movements. He is so honored to be a teacher at Joy of Dance and to help students learn and improve their craft all for the glory of God.
Abby Rose Ames has always loved to dance, sing, and act. She is currently the Stage Manager at the Core Theatre, in Richardson. When she is not acting in the play, she stage manages it, which she is thoroughly enjoying. She has been dancing at Joy of Dance for 6 years, she studies Cecchetti ballet of which she has passed 2 out of 7 grades and plans to pass the 3rd grade this summer of 2019! She has been dancing on pointe for 8 months. She also dances urban, contemporary, musical theatre, jazz and lyrical, and she loves the freedom and self-expression she experiences through these forms of dance. Abby has acted various roles over the past 6 years at her church, Baruch Hashem. In 2018, Abby portrayed Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank. She stage managed the 2018 showing of The Broken Symphony, in which she also danced and ensembled. This year she has stage managed “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Wait Until Dark”. Abby has just finished in March Co-Directing a children/teen play, which she really enjoyed. She is home educated, studied Hebrew, and had her Bat Mitzvah in 2016 at BHS. Abby one day hopes to open her own studio and desires to teach other people about God through dance and theatre.
She is thrilled to be working with Joy of Dance and can’t wait to start living her dream, to teach people how to dance and use our bodies to offer it back up to God!!
Madeline Malone is a kind and gifted teacher. Having started seriously dancing only three years ago, she has accomplished much and gained a vast amount of experience. She completed Grades I-V of the Cecchetti Ballet Certification Program, she was awarded the regional scholarship to Cecchetti Ballet School in Michigan, she has danced as a pre-professional with Academy of Dance Arts in Allen, she has done intensives with Chamberlain School of Performing Arts and ADA, she danced with Ballet Magnificat's summer program, and she was accepted as a member of the Christian dance company, Ingredients. She has danced full-time under some of the best Christian choreographers and teachers in the world. Having spent all of her years with her mother, Maddy has absorbed her teaching techniques. More importantly, Maddy has adopted the philosophies that Joy of Dance stands for.
Maddy is a strong believer who wants to dance for the glory of God. She understands the importance of being introduced to Truth and being trained in it. She wants to be a light to the younger dancers around her so that they can go be lights themselves.
Cristian ‘C-Lifix’ Don Juan began dancing at the age of 12. He was trained in many Latin rhythms including Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue. While being trained, Cristian would practice various styles of hip hop. In 2014, he became a licensed Zumba instructor, and incorporated hip hop to his Zumba workouts. At the age of 17, he joined The Fraternity Dance Crew, part of Misfit Dance Company, and M.B.C – Minority Brothers Crew. In 2016, The Fraternity Dance Crew took 1st place at Power Dance, and 2nd place at Dance Worlds. Cristian has competed at many competitions such as Dallas Hip Hop Dance Fest, National Dance Association, Power Dance, Dance Worlds, and World of Dance (Dallas, Houston, and Orlando). Cristian was signed to The Linicomn Agency in 2017 as an actor and dancer. He has opened for KC and the Sunshine Band, Florida Georgia Line, and has danced for various music artists and music videos. He will be sharing his love of dance and the Lord with us.
Micah Sherard was born and raised in North Carolina and he has now relocated to Texas as a part of Ingredients Dance Company. He has been dancing for 8 years and has trained from people who have danced professionally all around the world. Micah has had the awesome opportunity to dance for people such as, Gospel artist Jonathan McReynolds, American Idol winner Fantasia, Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams, and viral sensation DLow. He hopes to continue to travel and teach and, hopefully, one day become a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Alex Caro has been dancing since 2011. She first started with hip hop, and then later transitioned to more technical styles at age 14 years old. She currently dances with Ingredients Dance Company. She says, "Dance has been the most amazing thing in my life and all the technique in ballet and contemporary and jazz has played a tremendous role in shaping my own style in hip hop. I have a strong passion for blending different styles together to make one epic dance. I’m so excited to share that with these kids!"