Instructors



Dawn Fisher: Spirit Lake Studio
Dawn graduated with distinction and honors from the University of Iowa with a double major in dance and business.  During her fours years at the University of Iowa she performed at Hancher Auditorium and Space Place Theatre, taught classes at The University’s Community Dance School, and was an intern at Corning Dances and Company.  Since moving to Spirit Lake Dawn has choreographed numerous high school musicals as well as show choir and dance team routines.  Dawn has owned and operated Dawn's Dance Connection for the past 28 years, and is a certified member of Dance Masters of America.  She and her staff keep their dance education current by attending dance conferences all over the U.S. every year studying under various master artists.  Dawn is married to Eric and has four sons...Cal, Sam, Ben, and Zac.




Tracy Johnson: Spirit Lake Studio
Tracy began her formal training under the direction of Mary Waugh-Taylor in Washington State at the Tri-State Academy.  She went on to perform with Co-Motions Dance Company in Omaha, Nebraska.  From 1979-1981 she taught ballet, pointe, and jazz classes in Spirit Lake, Algona, and Emmetsburg.  In the Fall of 1981, Tracy opened the Curry School of Dance with her sister-in-law in Spirit Lake.  She also choreographed show choir routines and musicals for numerous high schools in NW Iowa...and continues to do so today. 

In 1993, Tracy landed a permanent position as Ballet Mistress for Dawn's Dance.  In 2014, Tracy and Dawn started the non-profit company Iowa Great Lakes Nutcracker which enables local dancers to audition and perform with Ballet Nebraska in The Nutcracker  in Spirit Lake every other Christmas Season.  Tracy is married to JJ Johnson and has one son, Jack.




Abbi Wajda:  Spirit Lake and Jackson Studios
Abbi, a former graduate of Spirit Lake High School and Dawn's Dance Connection alum, graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in Art and a minor in Dance in 1999.  During her time in the dance department, Abbi danced in several graduate thesis concerts at Space Place Auditorium as well as attended and performed in the ACDFA in Alabama as a freshman.  She focused on modern while there, studying under Alan Sener and Armando Duarte. 
Since moving back to Spirit Lake, Abbi has been involved in choreographing several high school musicals, most recently Once Upon a Mattress; spent 7 years as the SL Show Choir Choreographer and 8 years as the SL Marching Band Color Guard Coach.  She has also taught at the ArtsLive Summer Camp and choreogrpahed for Dancing with the Okoboji Stars community event, 2 years in a row.  
Abbi has been teaching at Dawn's Dance Connection for the last 12 years and now acts as Studio Manager for both the Spirit Lake and Jackson studios, also teaching Tap/Jazz/Hip Hop for ages K-5th Grade.  Abbi is married to Larry and has four children....Jack, Sydney, Zoe, and Bo.





Billie McClellan: Spirit Lake Studio
Billie began her tumbling/gymnastics training from 1985-1990 when she performed as an Iowa State Cheerleader for both Football and Basketball.  From 1990-1995 she was the Gymnastics Instructor for South Bend Indiana and from
1995-1998, Billie was the Cheerleading Coach for Spirit Lake High School.  Billie has been the advanced tumbling instructor at Dawn's Dance for the last 22 years.





Sara Anderson: Spirit Lake Studio
Sara has been teaching tumbling at Dawn's Dance Connection for 10 years. She started taking gymnastics classes when she was five years old and has enjoyed every aspect of the sport since. Sara started gymnastics competitions when she was 10 years old and continued through high school at Martin County West in Sherburn, MN. Sara taught pre-school through advanced levels for seven years at Martin County West. Sara and her husband Steve have three sons, Will, Alex and Jacob.




Amanda Plathe: Spirit Lake Studio
Amanda teaches Tap/Jazz/Hip Hop, Tumbling and Pre classes in the Spirit Lake studio. She attended Dance Express in Eastern Iowa for many years and was a member of their competitive dance team. While there she performed many different styles: jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, and lyrical. Along with dancing, she also enjoyed competitive tumbling. Amanda is a registered nurse in the Lakes area. She and her husband, Andy have 3 children: Alyvia, Addilyn, and Abrym. 




Maggie Kennedy: Spirit Lake and Jackson Studios
Maggie Kennedy, a native of St. Peter, Minnesota, began dancing at the age of 4.  She has studied ballet technique, pointe, modern, character, hip hop, jazz, flamenco, and repertoire at the Mankato Ballet, The Minnesota Dance Conservatory, The Kansas City Ballet Company, The Evergreen City Ballet, Perpich Center for Arts Education, and Cornish College of the Arts.  Maggie graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2016 with a major in dance performance and choreography.  She was a member of the Gustavus Dance Company for three years, while also serving as a teacher’s assistant for beginning and intermediate ballet and modern.




Stephanie Hagen: Jackson Studio
Stephanie comes to us with a dance training background from Cedar Rapids, IA.  She danced competitively all four years of highs school, and had the opportunity to dance with The Joffrey Ballet, when she was cast as The Gingerbread in the Nutcracker in 1996.  Over the past thirteen years, Stephanie has choreographed for show choirs, dance teams, and for her Mom's dance studio in Iowa.  She graduated with her Masters in Occupational Therapy from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA and specializes in Pediatrics.  She has lived in Jackson for the past three years with her husband Drew and their son, Lane.  She and Drew are expecting their 2nd child in November.  





Maddie Walsh: Spirit Lake and Jackson Studios
Maddie Walsh, a 2015 Dawn’s Dance Connection Graduate, went on to pursue dance at the University of Iowa. Maddie graduated with highest distinction in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Art in Dance and a Bachelor in Business Administration, majoring in Entrepreneurial Management. Maddie also became a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher during her time at Iowa. 
At the University of Iowa, Maddie was taught under the direction of Armando Duarte, Charlotte Adams, Jessica Anthony, Kristin Marrs, Eloy Barragan, Melinda Myers, George de la Peña, and Jennifer Kayle. Maddie was able to have many performance opportunities including creating a work with guest artist Monica Bill Barnes for Dance Gala 2017. Most notably, Maddie was selected to be one of twelve dancers in the University of Iowa’s 2018 Dancers in Company, the premiere pre-professional dance company on campus. During this time, Maddie toured an evening length piece through eastern Iowa and Chicago. 
During the past 3 summers, Maddie has come back to teach lessons to the students at Dawn’s Dance Connection. She is anxious to rejoin her dance family as an full-time instructor for 2018 at both locations! 

  




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