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Mia began her dance training around the West Michigan area at the age of five with the Academy of Dance Arts under the Cecchetti instruction of Debra Burr and at North Ballet Theatre under the Vaganova instruction of Olga Smirnov. At the age of 12, she continued her classical ballet training with Turning Pointe School of Dance under the instruction of Rick and Lara Faucher and Hearts In Step Dance Academy under the instruction of Tassia Johnson and Hannah Sullivan, before coming to Colorado Springs to audition for and join Ballet Emmanuel. Mia had additional training with Ballet Magnificat! (Kathy Thibodeaux), Grand Rapids Ballet Company (Patricia Barker), and The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago (Ashley Wheater). While with Ballet Emmanuel, she performed, toured, and taught master classes and workshops all over the United States. Miahas directed several ballet productions, choreographed, and taught throughout Colorado Springs. In 2016, Mia received her certification in Level One Dance Injury & Prevention by Perfect Form Physiotherapy (Lisa Howell). In 2018, she became a licensed and certified Progressing Ballet Technique instructor. Mia has also had the opportunity to be a guest speaker in June 2019 and 2020 for Ballet 5:8's leadership conference, Christian Dance Educators Leadership Summit.
Cricket Keller started dancing in her mom’s studio in New Mexico under the instruction of her mother at the age of three. After Cricket graduated high school she moved straight to Los Angeles, CA where she auditioned for and received a scholarship to study commercial dance at the EDGE Performing Arts Center. Cricket enjoyed a dance career for years following her time as an EDGE scholar; she eventually attended college at UCLA. In 2010 Cricket and her husband moved to Colorado after their daughter was born to be closer to family. Some of Cricket’s dancing credits include re-occurring performances as a featured American Bandstand dancer on NBC’s “American Dreams”, playing a cheerleader in the Hillary Duff movie “A Cinderella Story”, and performing live at the American Music Awards for pop artist Pink and choreographer Marty Kudelka. She was an original cast member as an aerialist / underwater soloist for the stunt show “Mystic Rhythms” at Tokyo Disney Sea, a beloved show which only recently closed after running for fourteen years. Cricket is an experienced adjudicator for dance festivals and competitions, has taught master classes throughout the U.S. and Canada, and has over fifteen years experience teaching dance and working as a choreographer. Cricket received her Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Cultures from UCLA in 2008.
Susan Beens is Summit Dance Academy's Tumbling, Strength, Fitness Director and teaches tumbling at Parker Performing Arts school. Ms. Fitness USA 2009. She is a Colorado native, but spent time in Nashville getting her undergraduate degree in business. While in Nashville, she opened a gymnastics facility. She trained a level 10 gymnast to the national championships, level 8s and 9s to state and regional championships, and had several TOPS national qualifiers. Susan also worked with a handful of junior fitness competitors and took them to local and national level shows. She has been teaching tumbling and acro for dance, along with strength and flexibility for many years. She was a competitive gymnast, stopping at level 9. Susan also trained in ballet, jazz, and lyrical at The Durango Ballet Academy. Ms Beens is one of the most sought after tumbling coaches in the Parker area.
Heidi Nichter has a very extensive 20-year background of teaching dance in such cities as Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York City, Denver, Dayton and Cleveland. She graduated Cum Laude from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (ballet concentration) in 2003. Furthermore, Heidi trained with the Metropolitan Ballet Center, American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive and was a scholarship student with Steps on Broadway in New York City. She has worked with notable teachers and choreographers such as Kevin Ward, Debbie Blunden-Diggs, Terrence Greene, Cynthia Harvey, David Reuille, Susan Stowe, Jay E. Kirk, Kenneth Johnson, Nancy Bielski, Peff Modelski, Ronald Tassone, and Susan Stowe to name a few.Between 2007-2013 Heidi was the co-founder, Associate Artistic Director/President of Apex Contemporary Dance Theatre, which is a professional non-profit dance company based in the Denver area. Her other professional experience includes Xpressions Contemporary Dance Company, The Pittsburgh Playhouse, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II, Kim Robards Dance Company, Apex Contemporary Dance Theatre and Chadash Contemporary Dance Movement. Heidi has had many successful students go on to work with large companies and University/Colleges (Bill T. Jones, PNB, Miami City Ballet, Nevada Ballet, Ballet Met, Julliard, Butler University, Point Park University). She has also been working in the competition sector with her students for some time now and has won numerous awards for her choreography.
Heidi teaches all levels of Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Pointe, and creative movement.
Lynsey McMullen grew up in Colorado and began dancing in her mother, Marilyn Long’s, dance studio at the age of three. She was the youngest dancer accepted into the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet intensive in Vail where she performed for former President Gerald Ford. She studied at The Academy of Colorado Ballet under Elizabeth Shipiatsky and Zhanna Dubrovskaya, receiving several scholarships from the Denver Ballet Guild. In high school, Ms. McMullen was selected by renowned Hollywood choreographer/director/actor, Debbie Allen as dance captain for the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration’s production of Pepito’s Story. She received her BA in dance with an emphasis in performance and choreography from University of Northern Colorado studying under Molly Faulkner and Monte Black, and performed with the UNC dance team, the Sugar Bears. After college, Ms. McMullen relocated to Chicago where she was a member of Chicago Dance Crash performing in works choreographed by Mouse McCray and Kyle Vincent Terry. Favorite roles have included Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Pas de Trois in Paquita, and the Abuelos Pas de Deux in Miranda’s Nightmare. Ms. McMullen has also coached poms/jazz teams at the varsity level. She currently resides in Parker, CO with her husband and two children. In 2015, she achieved her lifelong goal of competing on Jeopardy.
Breanne Etkie is Summit Dance Academy's Office Manager. She has three daughters on Summit's Dance Team and this is her family's 5th year with the studio. Breanne has over 16 years of personal dance experience, with 8 years of competitive training at Kari's Dance Academy, in her hometown of Emporia, Kansas. Her dance training included jazz, ballet, tap and gymnastics. As a child, Breanne was selected to perform in the Nutcracker production as a mouse with the Tulsa Traveling Ballet. Additionally, she was a member of her high school's dance team. While in college at the University of Kansas, she co-choreographed a large dance production with over 60 people for Rock Chalk Revue, an annual show which students write, produce and perform original musical productions. Dance has always been a big part of Breanne's life and having her daughters pursue their passion of dance has been nothing short of a "full circle" experience for her. When she's not at the studio, she loves relaxing with her husband, daughters, son and three dogs.
Heather Webb Jasso is Summit Dance Academy's Artistic Director. Mrs. Jasso is also a third-generation dance teacher and studio owner. Mrs. Jasso has instructed in Denver for over 15 years and been teaching for over 20. She was dancing before she could walk; and, aside from training with her mother, aunts, and grandparents (New York City Ballet), she has had the opportunity to travel and study under the dance “greats," Joe Tremaine, Brian Freidman, Tabitha, Mia Michaels, Terry Beaman, Dee Caspary, Wes Veldink, and David Scott. She has also performed key roles in ballets such as the Nutcracker, Snow White, Cinderella, and the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Mrs. Jasso is a title-winning dancer and choreographer at the regional and national level, winning numerous awards such as multiple FDC Judges’ Choice Awards, the Prime Time Scholarship Award, and World Dance Championship Invites in 2009 and 2011. Furthermore, she was awarded the Pulse Tour’s Teacher Scholarship in 2009 and was invited to compete in America’s Got Talent auditions in 2010. Heather was awarded Teacher of the Year in Panama City, Florida in 2011. Mrs. Jasso is also level 3 certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. Mrs. Jasso has also traveled the country and been an adjudicator for national dance competitions for 2013-2019. In 2016 fall Ms. Webb Jasso was invited to adjudicate for Australia's Get The Beat International Competition. Mrs. Jasso has had students accepted to SUNY Purchase, AMDA, UNLV Rebel Girls, Oklahoma University, Rockettes, Cruise Lines to name a few. Mrs. Jasso main goal is to prepare dancers to be ready for the adult world, no matter what their dreams are. Mrs. Jasso is so excited to invite you and your dancer to come share her passion for dance!
Kelly Amadeo is Summit Dance Academy’s Children’s Program Director. Kelly has an extensive background in child and adolescent development, education, and dance instruction. Kelly is a licensed teacher in the state of Colorado, has a bachelor’s degree in childhood education, and a master’s degree in elementary education. She danced and performed at the advanced level at Colorado State University while obtaining her degrees. Kelly was trained in the Russian Ballet Technique and is knowledgeable about a variety of styles and schools of dance. Her areas of specialty included pas de deux, pointe, ballet, and children’s dance. Kelly studied dance at Ballet Northwest, Perry- Mansfield, Colorado State University, and Colorado Ballet. She was also a company member of a traveling dance company that taught elementary students around the western states about the history of dance. Kelly has performed lead roles in The Firebird, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Dracula, Beauty and the Beast, Robin Hood, and many others in her 30 years of dance. She has choreographed and directed dance productions including the Nutcracker. Her pedagogy of dance education is that all children can master skills in dance to build a solid foundation for a lifetime of dance through fun, safe, consistent, and structured education. She encourages students and parents to build respectful relationships with each other and their instructors to create a safe and enjoyable environment for all.
Rachel Zaner, born in Maryland, spent the majority of her childhood in Phoenix, Arizona. Dancing since the age of 6, she studied diligently at her home studio, Dynamic Motion Dance Academy, as well as Ballet Arizona and Master Ballet Academy. She began competing at age 13, and found her love for performing on the competition stage. Rachel is an award-winning soloist and began performing professionally at age 15. Early on, Rachel knew she had a passion for teaching dance. She has been teaching since she was 16 and her greatest joy comes from watching her students grow into their full potential as dancers and artists. Rachel attended the University of Arizona Dance program and graduated Magna Cum Laude with her BFA in 2018. During her time at the university, she trained extensively under world renowned dancers— Melissa Lowe, Amy Ernst, Samuel Watson, Tamera Dyke-Compton, Michael Williams, Douglas Neilson, Jory Hancock, and Elizabeth George.After graduating, Rachel continued teaching dance in Phoenix, Arizona. She specializes in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, and Lyrical for all ages and also loves to teach Tap and Modern.
In 2019, Rachel moved to Denver, Colorado. She is excited to join the Denver dance scene and hopes to inspire as many dancers as possible while providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful dancers.
Jezznia Ford began dancing competitively at the age of 3, in a small studio in Parker. She continued her dancing throughout elementary school, and began dancing under the instruction of Heather Webb at the age of 9 . She attended Denver School of the Arts for dance 6-9th grades. Jezznia decided to open enroll herself into Douglas County School District, where she auditioned and danced for Varsity Poms at Chaparral HS for the past 2 years, as well as teach and assist at Summit Dance Academy. She has been an Honor Roll Student, active in her school, and continues to work outside of the studio as well. Jezznia attending Metro, and will continue dance and also majoring in Sports Medicine or Psychology Field. She says, "I have always loved dance, I always will, and i dont know what i would do without it!"