Meet Our Dance Instructors
After high school, Nicole furthered her dance education studying at Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, as well as many other renowned schools and on convention circuits. She opened Nicole’s School of Dance in 2001 to share her passion for dance with students of all ages. In 2002, the first Nicole’s School of Dance competition team was assembled and has continued to grow ever since, competing at the regional and national level. Nicole continues to develop her dance knowledge by attending conventions with her students and judging competitions and high school dance team auditions. Over the years she has won many choreography awards but her biggest reward is watching students grow throughout the year and performing at their annual recital.
Nicole has four beautiful children that spend a lot of time with their dance family. Outside of the studio Nicole enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
“Compare yourself to the dancer you were yesterday” is Nicole’s favorite quote and she truly believes each dancer brings something to the floor. For Nicole, teaching dance is a dream come true. She strives to instill in each of her students the confidence and poise that will serve them in every step of life.
Lisa has been teaching for Nicole’s School of Dance since 2006. She grew up dancing at a local studio and her love of dance followed her to college. She has been teaching at a studio since graduating from the University of Iowa in 1994.
Lisa teaches all genres at NSOD and does choreography for our competitive team. She is an integral part of the studio in and out of class and works great with students of all ages. She is committed to sharing her love of dance, along with instilling work ethic and confidence in her students.
Lisa has 3 beautiful daughters that are all involved in the studio. Outside of dance class Lisa teaches first grade. She spends her free time enjoying her family and friends.
Leah joined Nicole’s School of Dance in 2015 and added a great energy to the NSOD staff. Leah brings a unique style of Hip Hop to her classes and her enthusiasm for dance is contagious.
Before joining NSOD, Leah taught at local studios and choreographed for dance teams across the state, which she continues to do. As co-creator of the Midwest Vision Dance Crew she taught at workshops across Iowa and the Midwest. Leah has trained with multiple teachers in the industry, including: Debbie Reynolds Studio Los Angeles, California, Movement Lifestyle Tour, Industry classes at Monsters of Hip Hop in Chicago and Nuvo teacher classes.
In addition to teaching dance, Miss Leah is going to school to become a Science teacher.
“Dance is my passion, my life, my whole being: and I want to spread the magic that dance can create within the hearts, minds, and souls of all people!”
Faith joined NSOD staff in 2016. She trained at NSOD for 5 years, during which time she was a member of our competitive team. She is currently attending Iowa State University and is a member of the ISU Dance Team.
Faith has experience in ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap and hip hop. She is a great addition to a high energy staff as she is full of life and is very personable. She enjoys seeing the progression of dancers and the excitement of young dancers as they build their foundation.
Faith is studying elementary education at ISU. In addition to dance, she enjoys spending time with her family and dogs, watching movies and attending Iowa State athletic events.
Courtney began dancing at 2 years old. She has spent her life in the studio and on the stage. She was a 4 year member of the varsity dance team. Courtney graduated from Ankeny High School in 2017. She plans to continue her dance career taking classes at NSOD and on the convention circuit.
Courtney has won many awards at the regional and national level performing with Nicole’s School of Dance competition team. She has taught classes and private lessons throughout high school. She has trained in ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop and tumbling
In addition to teaching at the studio, Miss Courtney will continue to be a part of the NSOD competition team. She looks forward to sharing her passion for dance with all her students.
Taylor joined NSOD her senior year of high school and it has been an integral part of her life ever since! In high school, she was a member of the NSOD competition team and the Ankeny/Ankeny Centennial Dance Team. She continued dancing in college, where she competed with the Iowa State Dance Team for three years.
Taylor has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, and musical theatre. Her favorite part about teaching dance is watching students grow and develop a love for dance.
Outside of dance, Taylor is a 3rd-grade teacher. She enjoys spending her free time with friends and family cheering on the cyclones!
Miss Nicole A.
Nicole started to dance at the age of three, and trained at Nicole’s School of Dance for eleven years! After graduating high school she attended Grand View University where she studied elementary education and was part of their dance team. She also was the assistant coach for Ankeny High School Dance team the past two years.
Nicole has experience in ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe. She has taught classes at the studio on and off, as time has allowed since she was 16 years old. She is so excited to get back in the studio and work with so many amazing kids who have the same passion as her!
Outside of the studio, Nicole will start her first year of being a first-grade teacher at Southeast Elementary.
Karson began dancing in 2003. She moved to Iowa in 2011 after her family relocated and joined Nicole’s School of Dance family. Since joining the studio she has been a part of our competitive team. Karson’s personality is captivating on and off the stage. She has a love for dance that shows in her performance and teaching, Karson’s positive energy that is contagious. Sharing her love for dance is one of her passions. Karson is a senior at Ames High School. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family!
Sam started dancing at Nicole’s at the age of three and joined the competition team at five years old. She has won many awards at the regional and national level. Sam dedicates herself to her craft and takes every opportunity to continue her dance education. She attends several conventions and workshops each year including Talent On Parade’s GoPro for the past two years. Sam enjoys sharing her passion for dance and helping others reach their goals, as she continues to reach her own in the studio. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and continuing my walk with God.
Stephanie took her first steps in dance seventeen years ago in her hometown, Corozal, Puerto Rico. Stephanie continued her dance education in the recognized dance school “Andanza” studying ballet, jazz, and contemporary for nine years; furthermore, Stephanie was accepted in the National School of Ballet of Puerto Rico. Graduating with all the highest honors and the highest level in classical Ballet, Stephanie joined the Andanza’s Contemporary Workshop and was a member of the Guateque Folklorique Dance Company. In 2014, Stephanie starts her bachelor’s degree in Choreography and Interpretation of Dance in Alicia Alonso Dance Institute of the King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain; meanwhile, being parts of Madrid Chamber Ballet. In the Spring of 2018, Stephanie graduated from her BA being awarded Contemporary Choreography Artistic Creation Award.
In the International level, Stephanie has participated in Folklore Dance Festivals in Saint Thomas and Argentina; XX International Dance Course of Alicia Alonso Dance Institute of King Juan Carlos University in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid; and, International Workshop of Dance and Theater Emotion in Puerto Rico. In December of 2017, Stephanie took part of Gaga Intensive Winter Workshop with Ohad Naharin and Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Stephanie’s most recent performances include: Segovia in Dance with “Chicken Granja” and “SWAY Musical” June 2018; ISDAA Spring Gala 2018 “49 + 1 piece” May 2017 “Ballad for a Crazy Man” May 2016 “Seven days” May 2015 “Bachiando”; ISDAA Autumn Gala 2017 “Ballad for a Crazy Man” 2016 “Seven days” 2015 “GOTAN”; Contemporary Nutcracker Season 2016 2015 2014; Le Corsaire-Divertissement 2014; Sleeping Beauty Solos Variations 2013’; Etude 2012 2010; Peter Pan 2012; Coppelia 2009 and many more.
Since 2011, Stephanie has been teaching dance through all levels and ages, and different kinds of dances like Creative Movement, Ballet, Pointes, Jazz, Contemporary Dance, Modern Dance, Improvisation Classes and Folkloric Dance from Puerto Rico. Also, Stephanie worked in Educational Artistic Project Everyone Creates in Spain with students who never have been in touch with the artistic disciplines trying to introduce them to the arts.
Katherine was born and raised In the Madison, Wisconsin area. She started dancing at age 3, and her love and passion for it have not stopped since that first class. She was competitive throughout her career having success at both the regional and national levels. At age 14 she traveled to New York to study for 10 days and perform off Broadway.
She is thrilled to be teaching at NSOD and sharing her passion for dance. Her goal is to share her ability to express feelings through dance as well as helping her students find their powerful inner confidence.
Katherine and her husband have 3 kids. A daughter who is part of the competition team at NSOD, 2 energetic boys and their beloved dogs.
The Smith family has lived in Washington, Utah, and Nebraska during Adam’s time in the Army. They are happy and excited to have been able to lay down their roots here in Ankeny in 2017.
When Katherine is not in the studio she enjoys being with her family and friends. She loves anything outdoors, reading, eating ice cream and traveling when she can.
“A dance teacher helps their students find the song in their heart, the beat in their feet, and a passion for life.” -Unknown
Liz started her dancing career at age three at the Robert Thomas Dancenter in Ames, Iowa, and continued to dance, teach, and assistant teach there up through high school (and in college whenever she could!). At the Dancenter, Liz studied ballet, contemporary ballet, jazz, pointe, gymnastics, and lyrical under the instruction of Lisa Luiken-Woxell, Maureen McGrath, Ellen Mullen (her mother—it runs in the family!), Robert Thomas, and Miyoko Kato-Thomas (both former Harkness Ballet and Joffrey Ballet dancers). Her main area of study, and first love, being ballet and pointe.
At the Dancenter, Liz was involved in the XL ballet program for seven years; Iowa Youth Ballet for seven years; Iowa State Center’s Nutcracker Ballet for ten years (with roles of Flower Soloist, Moore Doll, Snowflake, Neapolitan, and many others); and master classes at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago for seven years. Throughout her incredible experiences at the Joffrey, Liz has studied with Willy Shives (Ballet Master and former dancer), Kim Sagami (former dancer), Derrick Agnoletti (current dancer), Suzanne Lopez (former dancer), and Ronn Stewart (the company jazz instructor). Liz has also had the opportunity to take jazz classes at the Giordano studio in Chicago.
Liz is continued her dancing career at the University of Iowa, where she just graduated in May 2017 with a degree in dance under the instruction of her wonderful professors, George de la Pena (former ABT dancer), Eloy Barragan (former Washington Ballet and Joffrey II dancer), Kristin Marrs, Armando Duarte, Charlotte Adams, Jennifer Kayle, and Jessica Anthony. She had the wonderful opportunity of performing for many of her professors, as well as growing so much as a dancer throughout her time in the studio with them every day for technique classes. Liz also had the privilege of taking technique classes from the inspiring graduate students in the dance department, Autumn Eckman (former Giordano Jazz dancer), Ramon Flowers (former Boston Ballet dancer and Broadway performer), Jesse Factor (former Martha Graham dancer), among several others.
When she is not dancing, Liz loves growing in her faith and walking with the Lord, spending quality time with her dear friends and family, reading, trying out all things creative and artistic and expressive, posting on social media (maybe too much , watching Netflix, hanging out in coffee shops, taking pictures, encouraging others, and smiling.