FACULTY & STAFF

WE BUILD DANCERS FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Our Faculty

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR AMAZING STAFF!

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Toree Benson

Dance Teacher

Toree grew up in her mother’s dance studio in Marshalltown, IA. 

There she was given the opportunity to begin her teaching career as well as pursue pre-professional dance training. Through those years, she competed in dance competitions winning local and national titles. This allowed her to travel with conventions and assist choreographers all over the U.S. Toree choreographs for school dance teams and competitive teams in the Midwest. She now resides in Chicago, where she is a dance teacher at Forevermore Dance in Theater Arts. She recently graduated with a BFA in Dance at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. There, she has been able to premiere her own choreography on the Dance Center stage. She also was able to travel internationally with the school to attend “Camping,” a summer intensive in Paris where she was able to take class, perform, and teach.

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Kendra Danielson

Dance Teacher

Miss Kendra has been teaching with the Dance Konnection since 2016.  Her favorite part of dance is feeling the dancer's story being told through their performance.  She grew up in Johnston, Iowa and danced from the age of 3 to 14 years. She was a football and basketball cheerleader from 6th grade through her senior year of high school and also on a traveling competition team her sophomore through senior year.  She and her husband have lived in Marshalltown since 2007.  Their daughters have been dancing with the Dance Konnection since they were both 4 years old! In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending all of her children's activities, and listening to music! 

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Brittany O'Shea

Dance Teacher

Brittany O'Shea was born in Cedar Rapids Iowa 32 years ago. She danced at Studio Dance from age 6-14 and had been involved in different dance classes before that. At 14 she became involved with cheer leading and show choir for her high school years. She followed her fiance/now husband to Iowa State to get her bachelors degree in marketing. They moved to Marshalltown over 9 years ago and started their family. 2 girls and 1 boy (and a dog). Brittany's two daughters have been involved at the studio since they were three years old. Brittany has operated an in home daycare for the past 8 years and has spent a large portion of her time volunteering at the school. This is her first year as a dance instructor at The Dance Konnection. Brittany loves reading, crocheting, spending time with family, Iowa Hawkeyes, and watching all the dance and talent shows on TV. She even named her eldest daughter after a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance.   

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Katie Sharer

Dance Teacher

Miss Katie Sharer is 28 years old .  She has been working at the hospital for the past 10 years where she also Met her fiancé Zac. Katie is originally from Marshalltown, IA and had grown up there her whole life. She attended Marshalltown High school and graduated in 2008 where she was also a member of the MHS dance team. she began student teaching at The Dance Konnection at the age of 15 , she then became an assistant teacher when she graduated from high school. Shortley after that she began instructing her own classes with the dance studio in 2012. She was a member of the DK competition team from 2003-2010 where she has received many Awards. Some of these which are, placing in the top ten of her age group and category , receiving judges choice awards for showmanship and grace.placing 2nd overall 2 years in a row as Miss sophisticated production in 2005 & 2006.also 2nd over all in her age group at Talent on Parade National Finals in 2009. She has also been apart of many award winning groups/ team productions and line performances from the DK comp team In the past years.  Katie has attended Many classes and Dance Camps around the U.S from some of the most popular and talented instructors. including Las Vegas, New York, Kansas City, Chicago , Cedar Rapids and Des Moines and she is grateful for all of those opportunities given to her to make her Dance education bigger and better!! She enjoys learning from the instructors around her as well. also Katie loves and is proud to be apart of the Dance Konnection for so many years and to have the opportunity to share her talents and her love for dance with others. It couldn’t make her more happy to watch others grow as dancers and wonderful people!

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Sami Steward

Dance Teacher

Miss Sami Steward has been a part of the Dance Konnection for 17 years. Sami competed for 10 years and student taught for 3 years before returning as a teacher in 2017. This year, Sami is teaching Jazz 4, Ballet and Tap for 5 & 6 year olds, and Ballet 4. A few of Sami’s highlights include performing with award-winning competition groups at Legacy Nationals and the “Kids Roc” show in Branson, MO as well as attending summer conventions and camps such as the New York City dance trip. During her senior year of high school, Sami cheered in the Iowa Shrine Bowl and won Senior Dancer of the Year Des Moines, IA at the Celebration Dance Competition. While majoring in Elementary Education at the University of Iowa, Sami took jazz, modern, ballet, and pilates classes and participated as a Dance Club captain, performance coordinator, and Diamond Cut performance team member. In November 2019, Sami became certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. She loves being a part of the Dance Konnection and helping dancers be the best they can be!

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Alyson Swartzbaugh

Dance Teacher

 Alyson Swartzbaugh was born and raised in Carthage, Illinois, where she started her dance journey at the age of four. Alyson grew up dancing in studios until she reached high school. From her freshman to junior year, she made the dance team, and was made captain her senior year. She then went on to John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois, where she graduated with an Associates of the Arts Degree. While she was there, she made the dance team all three years, and she also joined a new studio during this time. From such a young age, Alyson has always had a passion for how the body moves, so she decided to take her education to the windy city. Alyson graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Dance and a minor in Business Management. With her degree, she wants to bring in the knowledge she has learned to all her future students’, but most importantly, Alyson hopes to pass along her passion for this wonderful art. In addition to teaching, Alyson works full time as a receptionist at Ames Ford Lincoln in Ames. On her days off, she enjoys spending time with her husband Spencer, and their three cats, Nebula, Castor, and Pollux. The four of them keep her very busy!

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Jolie Welch

Dance Teacher

My name is Jolie Welch. I am 22 years old and just graduated from the University of Missouri- Columbia. I graduated with degrees in biology and psychology. I plan on returning to school to obtain a degree in physical therapy. We moved to Gilman once my husband got a job with Emerson. I have been dancing since I was three years old. I have loved every second of it. My favorite styles are ballet, lyrical, and contemporary. In my free time, I enjoy taking my dog on walks. I also enjoy crocheting. 

 

Student Teachers

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