YMCA-YWCA SCHOOL OF DANCE: THE DANCE KONNECTION
Miss Kimberlee Jo Kups-Benson has been active in dance since the age of 3 where she began her journey in dance at Moser School of Dance and Tumbling in Postville, Iowa. Her family moved to the Marshalltown area in 1979 where she continued her dance education with Miss Lyn M. Neuhaus where her love of dance grew, especially her love of ballet. In her high school years she continued her dance education with several teachers in Marshalltown and Ames, including Miyoko and Robert Thomas, and student taught classes under Kim Knox and Nancy Faber. After high school, she attended Western Kentucky University Dance Educators of America Teacher Training School. Kimi began teaching dance classes on her own at age 14 and started her own performance team Kimberlee Kups Dancers at age 17. In 1990, she opened her first studio in Eldora and started teaching classes at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA School of Dance.
She is now entering her 31th year of teaching and her 28th year of running a dance studio. In that time, Miss Benson has taught at the Newton YMCA, the Walt Whiteman Summer Camp in New Hampshire, the South Tama Dance Team, the Eldora-New Providence High School and Junior High Swing and Show Choir, the Marshalltown South Side Transit, the GMG Dance Team, the East Marshall Dance and Drill Team, and the BCLUW Show Choir just to name a few. She has been involved in many productions for the Community Theater here in Marshalltown and in surrounding towns. Kimi also teaches master classes in dance and cheer all over Iowa. She has been a judge for several area and state-wide talent shows and national dance competitions, and she is sought after to be on the audition panel for many high school dance team try-outs. She has taken instruction under Finis Jhung, Jerry Rose, Gus Giordano and Joe Tremain, among many other professional dance instructors, and she continues to take master classes to stay current on new dance trends and to hone her teaching and dance techniques. Miss Kimi is a certified member of the National Association of Dance and Affiliated Arts (NADAA) and Acrobatic Arts.
THE DANCE KONNECTION
Miss Kimi has taken her dancers to New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and all over the Midwest to take classes with top teachers, choreographers, and studios. She also brings in several master teachers to do private workshops with the dancers here at The Dance Konnection. Her students have performed at the half-time show for the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves, Harlem Globtrotters, Iowa Energy, Kidz Roc Show in Branson, Missouri, Dancers Against Cancer Benefit and local nursing homes, events and schools. Miss Kimi has won several choreography awards through the years,
Kimi has many past and present students that have been title winners. Her oldest daughter Gabee Benson was awarded Miss Senior Legacy Des Moines, Iowa 2012 and 2013 and Celebration Dancer of the Year 2012, Showbiz Jazz Icon 2013,Miss Rainbow Senior Dancer 2013; her younger daughter Toree Benson was awarded a Celebration Teen Dancer of the Year 2012,2013,2014 ,2015 and National Title Dancer of the Year 2015 and First Runner-Up for Miss Teen Legacy Des Moines, Iowa 2012 and 2013 and Miss Teen Rainbow Dancer 2013, Miss Bravo 2015 and 2016; and her student Doston Harrelson won First Runner-up for National Mr. Legacy 2012, 2nd Runner-up Mr. Teen Legacy Des Moines 2013 and 1st Runner-up Mr. Senior Showbiz 2013; and her student Cari Gassman 2nd place Runner-up Miss Junior Ruby Miss Showbiz. and Justice See Miss Bravo Ames Iowa 2016, Miss Act 1 2016 and Nick Cooper Mr. Act 1 2016, Celebrity DOY 2017. Miss Benson has many former students who have gone on to careers in the dance field, and several of them come “home” to teach master classes at The Dance Konnection. Past and present students have won many scholarships to nationally recognized dance programs. Her competition team wins high point and over-all awards, along with studio spirit awards all over the Midwest 3 this year alone. Her Competition Team won Celebration Judge's Choice's Championship at Nationals for 12 and under Shining Star and 13 and Over Shining Star for Juicy Wiggle and Steampunk. Locally, her dancers are seen in many area parades and events. Her studio puts on a yearly Christmas program where all the proceeds are given to national and local charities, and her studio’s year-end dance recital includes over 300 dancers performing in a professional production.