Get to know the Dancearts Staff
Marie, Owner/Director of Dancearts, graduated Stephens College with a B.F.A. in Dance. She was a member of the Stephens College dance faculty for 8 years and toured with the "Mid-America" and "Harriette Ann Gray" Dance Companies. She returned to Columbia in the early 80's to begin teaching at Dancearts. She became part owner in the early 90's and became the main owner in 2000 along with her co-owners Maggie Dethrow and Marisa Robertson. She teaches primarily tap and jazz at Dancearts and choreographs award winning numbers for the competition team. Her incredible tap teaching skills has earned her the title of the "Tap Queen!"
Maggie Dethrow - Co-Owner, Modern, Jazz & Tap Instructor
Maggie graduated Stephens College with a B.F.A. in Dance. She has been a member of the dance faculty at Stephens College for 12 years. She has taught and performed at Perry-Mansfield in Colorado and has taught for Stephens Theatre Institute for many years. Maggie has been a teacher for over 20 years and is currently teaching modern for the Stephens College Dance Department and continues to teach all the modern classes at Dancearts.
Ken started his professional dance career with Walt Disney World and Southern Ballet Theatre, now called the Orlando Ballet. Ken then danced with Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin and the Louisville Ballet. He was featured in over one hundred works, including ballets created by Louisville Ballet director Alun Jones, George Balanchine, Choo San Goh, Anthony Tudor, William Soleau, Stephen Mills and David Parsons. During his tenure in the Louisville Ballet Company, Ken also performed with the Cincinnati Opera, Derby Dinner Playhouse and the Children's Theatre of Cincinnati where Ken would later co-direct their production of Walt Disney's "Cinderella." After retiring from the Louisville Ballet in '02 as a Principal Dancer, Ken founded Step One Dance and joined the Louisville Ballet School as a faculty member. Ken has been teaching Ballet for DanceArts since 2008.
Jerome Larkins is a dancer, choreographer and instructor specializing in the areas of house and b-boying. His instruction focuses on building the basic foundation of breakdancing and improving technique while increasing self-confidence, body awareness and discipline. He has been dancing for 15 years and has toured with GX International and EPO, competed nationally and internationally in both group and solo bboy events, and instructed hundreds of children while choreographing national award winning routines. Jerome has been a part of the Dancearts teaching staff since 2013.
Leah Franklin was born and raised in Columbia, MO. While in high school, she traveled with the Dance Olympus convention company as an assistant. She graduated from Stephens College with a BFA in dance and a minor in music. While in college, Leah choreographed numerous pieces that were featured in Stephens concerts. One of her pieces was featured as the opening entertainment for the Citizen Jane Film Festival. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles, CA and studied dance at Edge Performing Arts Center. Since moving back to Columbia, she has been teaching at Dancearts for two years and regularly choreographs for the competition team.
Cyndi Frisby has been teaching at Dancearts for over 10 years. Her specialty is in creative movement, kinderdance, beginning tap and jazz classes. Her goal as a teacher is to instill confidence in each and every student she works with. She also hopes that students in her classes start to love the art of dance. In her classes, Frisby instills in each student a sense of respect for themselves so that they may continue to grow gracefully, confidently, "rhythmically," throughout their lives. Watching the dancers' faces light up when they see her walk in the studio and when they learn something new, she says, is such an incredible experience because she realizes each week the role that she plays in creating that smile and excitement for dance. Cyndi is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and when her time is not occupied with journalism or dance, she is spending time with her kids and grandson Jax. Cyndi is very excited to share her knowledge and love for dance with the students at Dancearts.
Marjorie was raised in Columbia and has danced with Dancearts since the age of 5. Growing up, she trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical and Musical Theater. During high school she also performed in her high school's musical productions and was a member of the Pom Squad. Marjorie has been a part of the Dancearts staff since 2006. She is a 2015 graduate from Columbia College, earning a A.S. in Human Services and works at the University of MO - Columbia as a Medical Student Coordinator. With most of her free time, Marjorie spends it with her two children, who also attend classes at Dancearts as well.
Hallie began dancing at the young age of 5. She grew up in St. Louis and performed in various musical theatre productions. She joined the Dancearts staff in 1992. Hallie has performed regionally in various professional musical theatre productions, including Chicago, Cabaret, Anything Goes, Kiss Me Kate, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Hello Dolly, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Evita. Some of her favorite choreography credits include 42nd Street, Crazy For You, The Music Man, and Seussical the Musical. Currently Hallie is not only an instructor at Dancearts of Columbia, but she teachers dance and drama at Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School, is a guest director and choreographer for TRYPS Children's Theatre, and is a guest choreographer for the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre.
Jes began dancing at the age of two in Omaha, Nebraska, with a primary focus in ballet. She spent the majority of her high school and collegiate careers involved with the Omaha Ballet Company and Community Theatre, as well as being involved in her high school productions and dance teams. After attending Stephens College as a part of the dance program, Jes returned to her hometown to begin her teaching career in 2006. While she is trained in and enjoys all aspects of the dance and theater world, she loves teaching ballet to young students to provide the foundation and fundamentals on which they can build all other forms of dance, and find the movement within the music. Jes joined the Dancearts staff in 2016.
Jeanne received her BA with Honors in Dance in 1998 from the University of Iowa and her MFA in Dance Choreography in 2007 from the University of New Mexico. She was a founding member of Contemporary Dance Wyoming where she was a repertory dancer, choreographer, and teacher and worked with Keshet Dance Company in Albuquerque, NM for five years dancing, teaching, choreographing, and as a school administrator. In addition to previously teaching community dance classes in Memphis, MO, Jeanne taught Beginning Modern Dance at the University of New Mexico and taught and choreographed for The Society of Dance Arts at Truman University. She has performed nationally and internationally. Jeanne is excited to be teaching with the amazing students at Dance Arts!
Ari Wolk began dancing at the age of two at Summit Dance Shoppe located in Minnesota. She is was apart of her high school varsity dance team, competition in jazz and high kick. She served as the team’s captain her junior and senior year. Ari was also selected as an All State Dancer her sophomore, junior and senior year of high school. She is currently attending the University of MO- Columbia and joined the Dancearts staff in 2015.
Marjorie McDonald - Manager