Jennifer Gygi began gymnastics training at age five and trained competitively from age 8-14. She trained at Olympus School of Gymnastics with world renowned coach and choreographer Mary Wright who has trained several Olympic, international and national champions and University of Utah gymnasts. Jen competed in the Utah Summer Games in level 6 and placed in the top 3 in two events and all-around. She was a state champion in the uneven bars and state top five in all-around division in level 8. In high school, Jen transitioned to spring board diving, cheerleading, and dance. Jen was a team region champion and team state champion diver all four years of high school. Her freshman year at Tooele High School, her diving team was the first to take a team state championship in the country after splitting diving from swimming in high school competitions. She also placed in the top 6 in region and state competition in the individual diving division all four years of high school. As a cheerleader, Jen was a JV and varsity cheerleader for three years and took two state cheerleading championships and placed 6th at cheerleading nationals in Florida. She was also a two year member of the original Dance Company at THS. Jen graduated from the University of Utah in Exercise and Sport Science and has a masters degree in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. She started teaching PE at West Jordan Middle School and coaching cheerleading at Jordan High School as an assistant and head coach at West Jordan High School in 2007. At the end of that school year, she was hired at Tooele High School as a Health & PE teacher and the head cheerleading coach. Jen has spent the majority of her career at Tooele High School coaching and teaching since 2008. Her cheer teams took several region and state championships and two teams took 3rd place at the USA Spirit Nationals in California. After having her fourth baby, she decided to take a break from coaching cheer and was quickly recruited to The Dance Centre to join their tumbling department in 2017. She currently teaches health at Mountain Heights Academy, an online charter school for grades 7-12th. Jen and her husband live in Stansbury Park with their four children. She is very excited to build a strong tumbling and dance acro program and looks forward to working with many talented students!
Carly Price is absolutely beyond thrilled to be a part of the tumbling program here at The Dance Centre. Seeing your wonderful children walk through the doors and have fun, work hard and succeed will bring her so much joy. Carly is a mother of 6 beautiful children ages 11, 10, 8, 6, 3, and 8 months. These children of hers, along with their amazing daddy are the world to her. She lives and breathes her family. Carly knows what it feels like to work hard and see the amazing results. Another big part of her life since she was 4, is gymnastics. Gymnastics is a love and hobby of hers. She competed in gymnastics for 7 years and taught and coached for 6. Although she competed as an all-around gymnast she absolutely loved competing in beam and floor. She competed at a state level 4 years in a row and always placed in the top 5. She was team captain in high school her senior year. Her love for gymnastics grew even more when she started coaching. To see a child learn a new skill was super exciting for her. The smile on the faces of those she taught was worth everything. She believes as a class it is important to help each other by always lifting each other up. She will treat your child as her own when they walk into TDC.
Jen began dancing as a teen and knew instantly that it was a passion for her. She studied at The Dance Company in SLC under direction of Dixie Clegg, where she was a member of their performing company. Jen enjoyed her time as a cheerleader and Dance Company member at Highland High, where she developed a love for choreography. Jen trained at the University of Utah under Bonnie Story, and danced with a local professional performing company while she also began teaching at various SLC studios including Salt Lake Dance Center, Power Plus Productions and Flava Entertainment. When Jen’s family moved to Erda, she was blessed to find Kathie Steinagel, owner of Lake Point Centre for The Performing Arts (currently known as The Dance Centre) and knew immediately that this was the place where she belonged. She was fortunate enough to coach The Dance Centre’s first competition team, and has been overjoyed watching her talented dancers’ journeys over the years. Jen has choreographed for and taught the SHS drill team, teaches local fitness classes, and continues to train every opportunity she can from teachers across the globe. She believes there is something special and different to be learned from everyone, regardless of their prestige. As a coach and choreographer, she has received numerous awards but takes the most pride in seeing her students grow and blossom into beautiful, abundant individuals who also happen to be phenomenal dancers.
Karyn started dancing at the young age of 3 and hasn’t stopped since! She trained in many different styles of dance over the years and also studied piano, singing, acting, and musical theater. She danced with competitive dance teams, performed with touring musical theater groups, and has been in more than 30 full length musical theater productions. She discovered her true passion of teaching when she was just 15 years old when she opened her own neighborhood dance studio in her parent’s basement. That tiny studio quickly grew to have more than 100 students when Karyn was still in high school. Her little studio attended local competitions and had great success winning many awards. After high school, she sold her studio, got married and had 4 beautiful kids who are all active dancers. Karyn has gone on to train hundreds of students in jazz, lyrical, and musical theater. Her award-winning choreography has been recognized in and out of the state as dynamic and entertaining, and she has received numerous overall and high score awards for her competitive dance teams at competitions. She received the outstanding choreography award at Hollywood Vibe Utah in 2019. Karyn also works with many soloists each year and spends countless hours helping them perfect their technique and stage presence. Her soloists usually achieve great success in the competition world including 1st place overalls and dancers of the year. Karyn prides herself in her ability to cultivate dancers’ abilities and make them into strong, hard-working dancers!
Shelby Shepherd has been dancing since the age of five. She loves expressing herself through movement and appreciates the way she is able to forget the worries of the world when she dances. Shelby has trained in ballet, contemporary, jazz and hip-hop at The Dance Center and later went on to dance on the dance company team at Stansbury high school along with being on the cheer team where she was captain and co-captain. She participated in the Ballet West Nutcracker for two seasons and then went on to Dance on the Dixie State dance team for one year before leaving on an LDS mission to Washington DC where she served for 18 months. She recently returned and is now attending UVU studying social work and taking dance classes there as well. She is so excited to be a member of the TDC dance family and to learn and grow alongside the students.
Sheryl began dancing at the age of 12 under the direction of Angela Keddington. She went on to dance, compete and choreograph with her High School Dance Company and Region Championship/State Award Winning Drill Team for three years where she served as both Vice-President and President of the Dance Company. While there, she had the opportunity to learn from many great choreographers and instructors, namely: Kellie Chamberlain, Lori Rupp, Stacey Tookey and Jen Toomer-Cook. She received a full-tuition scholarship to the College of Eastern Utah where she was selected as President of the College’s Dance Team her second year. During that time she had the opportunity to compete at the National Dance Competition in Las Vegas where her team placed 4th overall their first year. She also had the opportunity to perform with Huey Lewis and The News and Kenny Loggins at the Red Hot 4th of July Celebrations.
Sheryl has been teaching dance for 14 years. She taught and coordinated the beginning level program at The Winner’s School for five years, gave private lessons while living in Monterey, California, and came back to Utah to teach for three years at Vision Dance and Learning Center. She then taught for one year at The Classical Ballet Conservatory before moving out to Stansbury Park. She helped coach the Drill Team at Juan Diego Catholic High School for four years, Olympus High School for two years and has choreographed for Drill Teams all over the State throughout the past 14 years.
Sheryl is looking forward to teaching at The Dance Centre. She believes in creating a fun, educational and disciplined dancing environment for even the youngest dancers. Her teaching goals include teaching proper technique, terminology and the importance of always doing your best! She hopes to instill in each dancer a life-long love of dancing!
Cori Desmond began dancing at age 3. As she grew she became involved in gymnastics and found a passion for this sport. Cori excelled in gymnastics for many years. She competed at an Elite Level, winning many distinguished awards. Her talent helped her receive an invitation to compete in the Utah Summer Games. Cori did very well at that level, and placed second overall. Cori began her cheerleading career in High School. She was co-captain of the varsity squad, and competed with her team for three years. After graduating from High School, she received a scholarship to cheer at the University of Utah. This opportunity to perform with the best of the best allowed her to compete at a Collegiate level, winning several National Titles with her team. Cori also had the opportunity while at the U to host and instruct many cheer camps, classes and safety clinics. Cori enjoys teaching tumbling and dance, and is delighted to watch her students learn and grow. Her passion, vision and determination are an integral part of the reason we wanted her at TDC, and it is with great enthusiasm we introduce her as a new member of our staff. Welcome to our Dance Family, Cori!!
KJ Mills is a 19 year old Latin Ballroom dancer and teacher. He is originally from Santa Barbara California, but has lived in Salt Lake for the past 12 years. He’s been dancing Latin for 6 years now, and has trained with world renowned coaches, both locally and nationally, such as Rick Robinson, Shirley Ballas, and Corky Ballas. He has performed in shows with, and for, Mark Ballas, Derek Hough, Lindsay Arnold and Witney Carson among others. He’s currently the reigning Under-18, Pro-Am Latin World Champion.
Other than his ballroom, KJ is trained in all styles, and danced at a studio throughout much of his dance career, dancing at Vibe and Pioneer High School before both closed. He’s now part of the local hip hop crew Chocolate Factory, and teaches all over Utah, from Infinity in Ogden, to American Leadership Academy in Spanish Fork.
Natalie began dancing at the age of 4 and was fortunate to be raised in a family that lived and breathed the art of dance! Natalie trained in ballet, jazz, and tap for 15 years and discovered contemporary and modern as a teenager. While earning her BA at the University of Utah in Communications and Spanish Natalie continued her dance education in university classes, Repertory Dance Theatre, and countless master classes, and national dance conventions. Natalie comes to us with over 8 years teaching experience. She taught dance for 7 years at Dance Design Academy in South Jordan. She was the director of all 6 of their award-winning competition teams for 3 years and studio director for two. Several of her student s received college scholarships. Natalie also taught dance at West Jordan Middle School and implemented an after-school dance program for The Boys and Girls Club. Most recently she spent 3 years as the owner of Stansbury Dance Academy before taking several years off to have and raise her 5 children. Natalie has also enjoyed judging high school dance and cheerleading auditions, private lessons, and contracted choreography for pageant routines. Natalie loves using dance as a form of expression and firmly believes it is one of the most effective ways to build self- confidence and individual creativity. She loves teaching and hopes to help her student find the best in themselves while gaining grace, discipline, confidence and a love for the art of dance!
Zoe Allred Brandaris began training as a gymnast as well as in musical theater at the age of 7. She has played both supporting and principle roles in many plays, musicals and Shakespeare’s works over the last 13 years.
Zoe became a competitive figure skater at age 10, training under the 1988 Pairs World Champion and Disney on Ice star Evgenia Cherynsheva. During her skating career she claimed gold medals throughout Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, and she became a Pacific Regional Ice Skating Champion. Zoe added Ballet to her training regiment, and she quickly found a passion for dance. Zoe eventually found her way to the Dance Centre, and during her time at TDC she competed for 4 years, travelled to New York and California, and discovered her love and talent for teaching.
Zoe has trained at the Broadway Dance Centre in New York City, The Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, Brigham Young Univeristy’s Advanced Ballet Intensive – where she trained with Ballet West’s Michael Bearden. She was a member of the SLCC Dance Company, and was offered a contract with Odyssey Dance Theater – Utah’s Premier Professional dance company.
Zoe is thrilled to be returning to the Dance Centre as a member of our staff, and we can’t wait to have her share her gifts and passion for dance with your dancers!
Alexandra Hahl Heyrend
Alexandra Heyrend received her early dance training at the Academy of Ballet Arts in St. Petersburg, FL, primarily studying ballet and Russian character dance with Suzanne Pomerantzeff and Lester Jacobsen, and performing with Ballet Classique (eventually in soloist roles). She enjoyed her high school years as a dance major at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St Petersburg. There she further studied ballet—but also enhanced her training by learning modern and African dance under Reginald Yates, and studying jazz, anatomy and alignment, and movement awareness. During this time, Alexandra performed in Gibbs Repertory Dance Theatre, and with Tampa Ballet’s corps de ballet as an Apprentice. She also enjoyed taking master classes from and performing with various visiting dance professionals and companies—including performing Rick Michalek’s A Minor Concerto and with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty. Alexandra is a scholarship award recipient of the Classical Ballet Society of Tampa. The summers of her high school through early college years were spent attending intensive summer ballet workshops on scholarship—including two summers each at the School of Cleveland Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet School, and one at the School of the Hartford Ballet. The summer before her high school senior year, Alexandra was offered a full tuition scholarship to study year-round at the highest level of the SFBC, but had to decline in order to return to St Petersburg and graduate high school at the PCCA. After graduation, Alexandra received a full Endowed Scholarship to attend the University of Utah’s Department of Ballet. During her freshman year, she was a member of Utah Ballet—and while still a student at the U, accepted an invitation to become a company member of Ballet West, with whom she danced for a few years before taking time off to have a family. Several notable teachers Alexandra has studied with include Larisa Slyanskaya, Jocelyn Vollmar, Jonathan Watts, Christine Bering, Nicole Sowinska, Daniel Job, William Griffith, Truman Finney, Wang Sho-Pen, Cynthia McCollum, Martin Fredmann, Attila Ficzere, Bené Arnold, Conrad Ludlow, Joy Ludlow, Bruce Caldwell, Sondra Sugai, and Yi-Qi Cheng. These days, Alexandra finds great satisfaction in the dance studio, teaching ballet to her wonderful students at The Dance Centre—and in her family life, with her husband and their three children.
Derrick started dancing at the age of 4 years old and studied in afro-haitian folk dance movement. In high school he attended Boston Arts Academy and began training in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop and contemporary. He then attended Dean college and graduated in 2012 with a BA in dance and business. He has danced with Providence Rhode Island ballet dance company as well as dancing for Nathan Trice and playing the role of Joseph in the story of Jesus and Bethlehem. He was recently booked for the Andi Mack TV show. His favorite style is krump, he’s an all around dancer and loves to learn and share his talent with others.
Patrick was born in Maryland and trained at Elower Sicilia Productions under the direction of Linda Sicilia until his graduation from high school. During that time he traveled all over the US competing on the regional and national level taking home scholarships from NYCDA as a national 1st runner up Junior, Teen, and Senior outstanding male dancer, JUMP, and Hollywood Vibe National Dancer of the Year 2007. He also had the privilege to work under the direction of Debbie Allen in her premiere show “DREAMS” which ran at the Kennedy Center. His most memorable moment was his first feature film directed by Todd Graff, called “CAMP” which to this day is considered a music and dance cult classic. After graduating high school, Patrick received a full scholarship to University of the Arts where he studied Ballet. During his educational training, Patrick received the opportunity to be 1 of the first 3 Americans to ever be accepted into the prestigious European training program Arsenale Della Danza directed by Ismael Ivo in Venice, Italy. Under Ismael’s direction Patrick had the opportunity to train with European Contemporary artists including Former Soloist Francesca Harper, William Forsythe, Marion Ballestros from the Rosas company, and many more. This particular company traveled all through Europe performing IL Terzo Paradiso by Ismael ivo and also performed in his home country of Brasil. After his European tour, Patrick came home and explored television on the Ovation networks, A Chance To Dance, directed by Simon Lythgoe and produced by Nigel Lythgoe. On this show Patrick trained with former Royal Ballet soloists William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, current directors of the UKs BalletBoyz in hopes to make a company to perform as the opener at the LA Nokia live theater for the “So You Think You Can Dance” tour. During that time he had the chance to work alongside Associate Director and current company member Eldon Johnson, who educated him about Odyssey Dance Theatre. From that point on Patrick turned his eyes to the Mountainwest and has had the privilege to be dancing with Odyssey, now in his second season with the company. Patrick’s love and passion for dance has given him the opportunity to work with such luminaries as Joe Lanteri, Duncan Cooper, Roni Koresh, Douglas Becker, Francesca Harper, Scott Jovovich, Mia Michaels, Jason Parsons, and many more. He has also had the opportunity to travel to places all over the US, Europe, South America, and the Middle East.
Hi, I’m Ali Bleazard. I grew up dancing in Grand Island, NE. I danced at several local studios. In high school I was on drill team, show choir, aCapella choir, drama club, involved in musicals, and danced with the Nebraska Junior Ballet Company my freshman year. I attended Oklahoma City University where I received my Bachelor’s in Performing Arts. While in college I danced in the American Spirit Dance Company fir four years and pep dancers for one year.
I moved to Las Vegas in search of a professional career. I danced at MGM Grand in the show EFX for six years. I had the pleasure of working with David Cassidy, Tommy Tune, and Rick Springfield. When EFX closed I worked at the Rio hotel in “Show in the Sky” for nine months before having my son.
I attended Sierra Nevada College to attain my secondary education license to teach dance in schools. I taught in Nevada for three years before moving to Stansbury Park, UT. I started the first drill team at Stansbury High School and helped choreograph in the theatre department. I landed a full time teaching position at Herriman High School for six years teaching ballroom, dance, aerobics, theatre dance, drill team, and ballroom team. I taught classes and coached competition teams intermittently here at The Dance Centre. I currently teach at Stansbury High School. I teach social dance classes, dance fitness, intermediate ballroom, theatre dance, yoga, and direct the ballroom team. I recently attended SLCC to attain my Yoga Alliance certification in their 200 hour yoga teacher training program. I’m married with one son and eager to get back to teaching here at The Dance Centre.