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 choreographed for Dancing with the Okoboji Stars community event.

Abbi has been teaching at Dawn's Dance Connection for over 12 years and now acts as Studio Manager for both the Spirit Lake and Jackson studios.  She also teaches 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 over 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 Tumbling at 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.

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 Christine's Dancers 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 children, Lane and Ingrid. 


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. 

Maddie has come back throughout college to teach lessons to the students at Dawn’s Dance Connection during the summer, and began teaching full-time in Fall of 2018. She is anxious to rejoin her dance family as an full-time instructor for 2019 at both locations!

Sydney Ludwig: Spirit Lake and Jackson Studios
Sydney grew up in Carroll, IA, where received her dance education from Fusion Dance. Sydney danced for 16 years and taught classes for 3 years. Sydney is educated in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and specializes in Hip Hop! She performed on the studio competition team for 7 years, the high school dance team all 4 years, and an Iowa State dance squad while attending the university. Sydney went on to become a cosmetologist and works as a stylist in the Spirit Lake area. Sydney spent time this summer assisting both Abbi and Maddie during dance camp and is such a fun, positive, energetic teacher! We are so fortunate and excited to have Sydney join our team of professional instructors at both the Spirit Lake and Jackson studios!
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