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 31 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
Maddie Nabuco (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 BA in Dance and a BBA, 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, and managing both studios in 2020. Maddie is married to Hernani Nabuco Freitas and welcomed Theo on the final night of Jackson recital in 2022!
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.
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 fifteen 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 five years with her husband Drew and their children, Lane and Ingrid.
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 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 has built up our hip hop program since starting in 2019 and is such a fun, positive, energetic teacher! We are so fortunate to have Sydney be a part of our team of professional instructors at both the Spirit Lake and Jackson studios! Sydney is to married Brandon, and has one son, Ivan.
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.
Shelby Fowler teaches our kindergarten combo classes as well as Pre-Classes. Many of our students already know Shelby as she’s been a frequent substitute teacher at both studios. Shelby was in dance at DDC for 15 years studying ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, and lyrical. She graduated in 2015 and went on to Mankato State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. She is currently working towards her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Many of you parents out there may also know Shelby as she has nannied for many families in the area throughout high school and college. Shelby LOVES kids & they adore her :)!! We are beyond ecstatic that she is living in the Lakes area now & able to have her very own classes! Shelby married Drew July 2023.
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 25 years.
Mariah was born and raised in Carroll, Iowa where she attended Fusion Dance for 15 years. During that time, Mariah was an assistant teacher for 2 years, and a dance instructor for 3. She was a member of the Fusion Dance Competition Team for 7 years, and later became a member of the elite Kuemper KIX Dance Team. During that time, Mariah choreographed many state routines, and spent weeks traveling Arizona and California to attend dance classes and conventions. After graduating high school, Mariah attended Iowa State University where she studied Graphic design. During her time at ISU she became a member and president of the ISU Hip Hop club, Dub H. She also taught young pre-dance classes at a local studio. Mariah moved to the lakes area in January 2021, and works with many small businesses on digital marketing & photography. Mariah married Zach August 2022!
We are pleased to welcome Grace Edwards as our new 3-7 year old teacher in Spirit Lake! Grace is a life-long dancer and is passionate about early education. Grace fell in love with the art of dance at a young age at Spotlight School of Dance. Here, she immersed herself in an array of dance styles including: Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Pointe, Lyrical, & Musical Theatre. Driven by her love for movement, Grace pursued a Dance Minor at Morningside College, as well as being a member of the Morningside dance and cheer teams. Grace has an extensive dance teaching resume, teaching a variety of dance styles and ages in the Sioux City and Spencer area. Most recently, Grace has taught dance classes at the previous Impulse Dance Academy in Spencer and through her Homeschool Co-op group. Grace is married to Nick and has 2 children, Ellie and Trice.
Meet our friendly, new instructor, Shaela Tiefenthaler! Shaela is a passionate and skilled individual excited to start teaching at DDC this fall! With a degree in Kinesiology from Iowa State, Shaela brings a unique understanding of body mechanics and movement to every class. Graduating from Palmer Chiropractic School in October, Shaela has a deep appreciation for the human body's capabilities and strives to create a safe and enjoyable dance environment for all students. Shaela danced for over 15 years, with Fusion Dance Carroll before becoming a dance assistant/instructor (right beside Mariah and Sydney 🙂). Shaela has honed her teaching techniques and knows how to inspire dancers of all ages and skill levels. Shaela will be teaching a few of our middle school tap/jazz, ballet, & hip hop classes when she moves permanently to the area this fall. Please give Shaela a big DDC welcome!
Amaya Morisch is our new 3-7 year old instructor at our Jackson Studio! Amaya was in dance at DDC for 15 years studying ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and lyrical. She graduated in 2019 and went on to get her associate’s degree from ILCC. Amaya has been working at Carousel Learning Tree, a local daycare/preschool for 7 years and is loved by the “littles” there. With her experience in childcare, Amaya brings a deep understanding of child development to the dance floor. Her childcare background enhances her teaching style, ensuring that every class is not only an opportunity for dance instruction but also a platform for fostering self-confidence, teamwork, and a lifelong love for movement. Amaya has been shadowing Maddie in preschool age classes and will continue her training this summer/fall. What sets Amaya apart is her undeniable love and connection with children. Her radiant smile creates a warm and welcoming environment where kids feel instantly at ease. We are beyond happy to welcome Amaya back to our DDC family!