Faculty

NATALIE FORTIE ADAMS feels so blessed to have dance in her life. She completed a dance degree at Snow College, her Bachelor’s in Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Utah and loves continuing her dance education whenever available. She has taught with Tanner Dance since 2007, CDT since 2008, and loved being the BTS Dance Specialist at Nibley Park Elementary the last 3 years. Natalie has danced with the U Ballroom Dance Company, in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert and performed at Disney World for ten years. She loves musical theater as a choreographer and performer, going on new adventures and participating in both with her amazing husband, Chris. Their next new adventure is a new baby boy! “Thank you to all who have believed in me. Now, let’s dance.”

ASHLEY ANDERSON began her training with Tanner Dance and Children’s Dance Theatre, later attending Hollins University (BA, Dance and English) and Hollins/the American Dance Festival (MFA).  In 2014, she was honored with the Mayor’s Artist Award in the Performing Arts. Teaching credits include: the American Dance Festival, Hollins University, Dickinson College and the HMS School for Cerebral Palsy, among others. She currently directs the Pre-College Summer Institute in Dance at the University of the Arts as well as loveDANCEmore community events in Salt Lake.

MISHA BERGMAN began dancing with Children’s Dance Theatre (CDT) in 1979. She attended the University of Utah as a recipient of the Elizabeth R. Hayes scholarship in modern dance, graduated with a BFA in 1991, then returned to Tanner Dance as a member of the faculty. Misha is the Director of the Tanner Dance Fine Arts Preschool, in which she celebrates over 23 years of teaching the fine arts to students from all over the valley. She has taught and choreographed the last two decades for Children’s Dance Theatre both at local, national, and international venues, and currently is the faculty coadvisor for the CDT Dancers’ Council. Outside of the studio, Misha enjoys embarking on adventures, creating magical memories, and laughing with her three children, Brianna, Zachary, and AJ.

ASHLEY BOYACK joined Children’s Dance Theatre at age 8. She received the Elizabeth R. Hayes scholarship at the University of Utah where she earned her BFA.  Ashley began teaching for the Tanner Dance Program in 1991 and while there, presented at the daCi Conference in Finland. In 2010 Ashley received a master’s in education at the University of Northern Colorado. Then Ashley, her 4 boys and husband, Morgan moved to Lawrence, Kansas. She joined the Lawrence Arts Center, where she was Artistic Director of the Youth Dance Theater. Ashley also performed as a guest with the 940 Dance Company, created the preschool dance and modern dance curriculum, co-created the boys sports dance class curriculum, and served as the Lawrence Arts Center Dance Education Specialist. Since returning to Utah, Ashley is a Beverly Taylor Sorenson Dance Specialist at Redwood Elementary and serves as a Professional Development Partner for the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. She also works as an Adjunct Instructor for BYU teaching a dance teaching methods course.

ANN CARTER graduated with a BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah and received an MS in modern dance from Indiana University. She has taught in the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program and with Children’s Dance Theatre since 1988. Ann is Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Dance. She is co-director for the CDT Dancers’ Council and teaches the CDT fifth grade class.

SANDY CHRISTENSEN is the mother of three beautiful children with dancing hearts. She began creating dances early in live with friends in the backyard.  Later in life, she studied modern dance and enjoyed choreographing, performing, and pioneering Synergy Dance Company. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sandy graduated with honors from the University of Utah with a BFA in Modern Dance. Sandy loves teaching classes in Brigham City and being a part of the Tanner Dance Program. Sandy currently partners with Utah State University’s Up to 3 early childhood intervention program, offering dance to children 15-36 months with developmental delays and physical disabilities. She is a certified Baby Watch Specialist with the state of Utah and enjoys sharing the joy of dance with all dancers at heart. Sandy loves being a mom and dancing with her children.  She can be found working in her flower gardens, but her favorite indulgence is giving her feet a rest with a pair of fuzzy socks and a picture book.

ANNE CONRAD graduated with a BFA from the University of Utah in modern dance and received a MALS in liberal studies from Wesleyan University. Anne had the honor of being one of Virginia Tanner’s teaching assistants, 1975-1980. She has taught at the daCi conference (dance and the Child international) in Canada and Brazil. A few of her teaching opportunities have included Montessori schools, Rowland Hall St. Marks, Camp Kostopulos, the Gifted and Talented Program in Tooele, and the Neighborhood House.  Currently, Anne is teaching and adult class titled MELT.

ERIN DAVIS received her degree in Arts Education with an emphasis on painting and drawing from the University of Utah. Through college, she did graphic design for SDI screen printing. Erin has taught art classes for various ages and ability levels at Tanner Dance for two years, including the Dancers with Disabilities classes. Erin specializes in mixed media and collage, and her work has been shown at the Rio Grande Art Gallery in Salt Lake City.

KATIE DAVIS graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. She toured and performed with BYU’s Theatre Ballet Company and has worked extensively with many professional artists including Jay Jolly (Royal Ballet), Sarah Webb (Houston Ballet), and Summer Rattigan (SFCD). She was a finalist in Utah Regional Ballet’s competition of Choreography Design Project and has choreographed recently on the Body Logic Dance Company. Her recent performing has been with the Lyric Opera Ensemble, as a member of Wasatch Contemporary Dance Company, and is currently a member of Body Logic Dance Company. Katie loves teaching at Janet Gray Studio and as a member of the ballet faculty here at Tanner Dance!

LINDSAY ERMIDIS grew up with a love of performing and always had a desire to teach. She attended Snow College on a dance scholarship and received an A.A. in 1997. Later, she attended the University of Utah Department of Modern Dance on the Haskell Endowment scholarship and graduated with a BFA. Lindsay has taught and choreographed for many high schools in the Salt Lake area and has taught at tanner dance for the past 12 years. Currently Lindsay is a dance specialist for the arts in education program and teaches the junior high studio class.

BIANCA FILION has danced with Tanner Dance and Children’s Dance Theatre since her youth. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2011. She then spent a year in Salt Lake volunteering with the Dancers with Disabilities classes at Tanner. She received her M.A. in Expressive Therapies: Dance Therapy with a Mental Health Counseling specialization from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA in 2014. She has returned to Salt Lake to continue assisting with the Dancers with Disabilities classes, in order to pursue her passion for bringing dance to this population.

MELONY HAMILTON began dancing with Virginia Tanner at the age of three and performed with CDT until she was 18. She received a modern dance scholarship from BYU, graduating with a dual bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education with an emphasis in modern dance. Melony has performed with the BYU Young Ambassadors and the BYU Modern Dance Company in Egypt, Turkey, Japan, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, and across the United States. She studied at the San Francisco Institute of Choreography and joined CDT’s faculty in 1992. Melony has choreographed many musicals, arts festivals, pageants, and dance festivals. One of her highlights each week is dancing with her CDT third grade class.

ANGELA HANSEN has been dancing since the age of three. She studied with the Life Arts Center and performed and toured with The Moving Company. She received a scholarship to study Dance at Utah State University, where she was a member of Danceworks Dance Company. She was a member of the touring company that traveled to the United Kingdom and schools throughout Utah. She graduated with a BS in Dance from USU. Angela has taught in Missouri, Michigan, and Utah. She loves teaching the preschool class for the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program Satellite in Ogden. She and her husband enjoy raising their five busy children. She loves dancing with them every day.

MELISSA HOLM grew up dancing with Children’s Dance Theatre and the Tanner Program and always enjoyed helping Joni and Tina at the satellite locations, as well as with the special needs classes. She continued studying dance at Southern Utah University and Utah Valley University until she graduated with a bachelor of dance and health education. Melissa loves to perform with the St. George Contemporary Dance Company during the summers. She is currently a Beverly Taylor Sorenson Dance Specialist for Parley’s Park and McPolin Elementary schools in the Park City School District.

CHARA HUCKINS-MALARET started dancing at the age of three with Tanner Dance and later joined Children’s Dance Theatre. She earned a BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah, where she received the Elizabeth R. Hayes scholarship, the Outstanding Student award, the American Scholar award, the Orchesis Honor Society, was listed in Who’s Who Among Students in Colleges and Universities, and graduated magna cum laude. She danced with the University’s Performing Dance Company for four years, performed with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) for nineteen years, and is a certified Movement Specialist in the Utah Artists-in-Education Program. She has brought the magic of dance to students and teachers with her performances, teaching classes, choreography, and professional development workshops. Chara just received the honor of Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals, directs CDT’s Dance Ensemble, and enjoys teaching various ages in the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program.

NATALIE JONES has been dancing with Tanner Dance since the age of two and grew up dancing with Children’s Dance Theater from 2002-2012. She was awarded the Sterling Scholar Award in the Dance Category for the state of Utah in 2012 and is currently a candidate for a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree as a senior in the Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah. Throughout her educational career she has performed in student and faculty produced works and worked with professional contemporary dance choreographers in the Performing Dance Company. She has done apprenticeships and workshops with Repertory Dance Theater and is currently taking company classes with Ririe Woodbury Dance Company. In 2014 she was selected to attend the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive in the Professional Division in New York City where she was trained in dance techniques such as Horton, Graham, and Dunham for 6 weeks. Her dance training includes Modern, Jazz, and Ballet. Natalie has also performed in various musical theatre productions. Presently, she is teaching for Tanner Dance, Children’s Dance Theater, and the Arts in Education Program.

RACHEL KIMBALL has been part of Tanner Dance for most of her life as both a student and faculty member. Rachel directs the Tanner Dance Arts in Education Program and enjoys working with teachers in the classroom as well as through ongoing Professional Development Workshops. As a teaching artist, she has taught in numerous communities throughout the western United States. Rachel holds a BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah. Rachel also sits on the board of daCi (dance and the Child international) USA chapter as a member at large. She continues teaching and choreographing as faculty for the Children’s Dance Theatre and the Tanner Dance Studio Programs. Rachel is committed to the philosophy and vision of students finding their own voice through dance. When Rachel is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family making pizza.

MARY ANN LEE is the director of the Tanner Dance Program and Children’s Dance Theatre in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, where she is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Dance. She trained with Virginia Tanner and was a member of Children’s Dance Theatre. She received master’s degrees in dance and French from Mills College and the University of Cincinnati, respectively. She performed professionally with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and Moveable Feast Dance Company in San Francisco and with the Contemporary Dance Theatre in Ohio. Ms. Lee was a dance specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Artists-in-Schools program and taught throughout the United States. She has been an invited guest teacher in China, Japan, The Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, England, Finland, Canada, and Brazil. Ms. Lee continues to teach at the University of Utah in the Departments of Modern Dance and Education, and in the Tanner Dance Program. She teaches throughout Utah, nationally, and internationally.

ABBIE OWENS LOFGREN loves to dance and is thrilled to be teaching with the Tanner Dance family. Abbie has danced with Tanner Dance since she was 3 years old, where she developed her passion for dance. Since then, she has trained extensively and performed throughout the country. Abbie was co-founder and President of The University of Utah Live to Dance Student Club and performed every semester of her undergraduate career with the Modern Dance Department. Abbie graduated in 2013 from the University of Utah in Speech Communications and Nutrition, then in 2015 with a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Social Policy. She is now a full-time Child Life Specialist at Primary Children’s Hospital. Besides dancing, Abbie loves to run, travel, read, and spend time with her husband & family.

SUE LUNDMARK began her dance career at age seven with the Children’s Dance Theatre and considers her years performing, training and later, teaching under the tutelage of Virginia Tanner invaluable. She received a BA degree from Brigham Young University where she toured and performed with the Young Ambassadors, the Performing Dance Company and in musical theater. Sue has trained with Bella Lewitzky, Betty Jones, José Limón and received a scholarship for her choreography to study with Alvin Nikolais. She has performed and taught in Sweden (her husband’s home country) and since returning to Tanner Dance, she has taught in the Artists in the Schools, Children’s Dance Theatre, Fine Arts Preschool and studio classes.

DANIELLE MALMBERG has an extensive background in dance and has been dancing for 12 years. She began her training with ballet and jazz, and continued on to compete with Alta High School’s Drill Team. From there, she danced for the University of Utah’s Crimson Line where she performed at athletic events and served as an officer for the dance team. In 2010, she entered the Modern Dance Program at the University of Utah and has since graduated with her BFA in Modern Dance. While in the program, she performed in two pieces for the Senior Concert and with the Performing Dance Company. She also has professional experience dancing for the Utah Blaze and as a Nuskin Jazz Dancer for the Utah Jazz.

ELISE DUMKE MILLER began dancing in the Tanner Dance Program in the Parent/Tot class. She graduated from CDT in 2003 and has been teaching in the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program’s Dancers with Disabilities class since 2000. Elise graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in family and consumer studies. She also graduated as a Service Learning Scholar from the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center. In 2006, Elise was married and she enjoys sharing the experiences gained through dance with her husband and family.

TINA MISAKA has been dancing with the Tanner Dance Program since the age of four. She is an alumna of the University of Utah and has danced and performed with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) and other professional companies around the world. Tina has taught in many places throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. She served as rehearsal director for New Carte Blanche (Bergen, Norway) and acting dean of Danshogskolan (Sweden). Tina was honored with the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Arts award in 1998 and the Sorenson Legacy Awards for Excellence in Arts Education in 2014. She is a Beverley Taylor Sorenson dance specialist. Tina is currently teaching the CDT 7th grade and various ages in the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program.

JOSHUA MORA was born in Adak, Alaska, raised around the world and dreams of traveling the world for dance. Josh has had the pleasure of working with greats in the dance world such as Bebe Miller, John Corsa, Martha Graham Company, Orin, Susan Lloyd and Jiamin Huang. His work has been seen at Brigham Young University, Scotland and the Kinuko Modern Dance company, with collaborative works seen throughout Utah county, daCi Texas and Taiwan. Highly influenced by the children he is privileged to teach, he finds joy in curiosity and wonder. In any medium, he hopes that everyone gets the chance to express and truly see themselves.

KRISTA OLSON has always loved to dance and tumble through life. She holds a BA in Contemporary Dance from Brigham Young University. During her time at BYU, Krista performed in dancEnsemble and several other on-campus performances. Before her training at BYU, Krista danced with the Idaho Falls School of Ballet under the direction of Deborah Bean. Since graduation, Krista has performed in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra Christmas concerts for seven seasons. She has also helped produce and perform in dance concerts throughout Utah, and performed in San Francisco as part of a collaborative national dance production. Sharing her enthusiasm for dance as a teacher at Virginia Tanner Dance has been a privilege and blessing in her life. To all her dancers, “Dance as though no one is watching!”

MARY-MARTHA OSTLER began dancing at the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program at the age of three and continued to dance with the Children’s Dance Theatre from 1997 to 2008. She received her BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah where she was the recipient of the Anne Riordan Legacy Scholarship and the Fine Arts Advisory Board Scholarship. She has performed in numerous student, faculty, and professional works on stages all over the nation including the Terrace Theater, housed in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has interned for the National Symphony Orchestra’s Education Department at the Kennedy Center as well. She considers herself a dancer, performer, choreographer, teacher, and an advocate for all the arts.

KIM PATTEN began her training at The Academy of Ballet Arts and studied under Karen Chatterton and Gary Horton. She performed in several productions of “The Nutcracker,” with Mountain West Ballet dancing the roles of “Clara” and “Dew Drop Fairy.” She was named Sterling Scholar in Dance earning a full ride scholarship to Dixie State where she performed as a member of the dance company. She has also trained under the direction of Bene Arnold at West Side Studio where she performed the principal role of “Sugar Plum Fairy.” Kim has taught at Clytie Adams School of Ballet in Kaysville and performed in “Phantom” for Hale Center Theater in West Valley. She is grateful to her husband and children for their love and support and for her mother who inspires and encourages her. She is happy to be at Tanner Dance and loves the energy she feels from her wonderful students.

CORINNE PENKA is both a new and old friend to the Tanner Dance Program.  She danced for two years in CDT and went on to receive her BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in 2005.  She has since performed with a variety of dance and theater companies, including Pygmalion Productions, SB Dance, RawMoves, and most currently, The Penguin Lady.  Additionally, Corinne is a Tanner Dance Arts in Education Dance Specialist, the CDT HS1 class teacher, the BTSALP Dance Specialist for Hawthorne Elementary, and an Xtend Barre Instructor.  When not teaching like a fiend or dancing like a fool, Corinne is usually in the company of her dear friends, sipping coffee, enjoying scintillating conversation, running up a mountain, or eating a hearty meal.

MIMI SKOLA SILVERSTEIN has an extensive background in performing and teaching historical and contemporary dance forms. Her roots began with CDT and her wings took her traveling across the nation with Repertory Dance Theatre. She has performed and taught for CDT, RDT, and in many settings-from Canada to Lincoln Center in NYC, and public elementary schools to colleges. She worked extensively with Ann Riordan and the Work Activity Center for the Mentally and Physically challenged, teaching dance and work skills. Mimi has a special interest in studying Veterinary Technology. She teaches the CDT third grade class, as well as in the Fine Arts Preschool and for the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program.

TAD CHRISTINE POULTON SIMONSON has been associated with the Tanner Dance Program nearly all her life. She began dancing with CDT in 1957. Tad received her BFA from the University of Utah and taught dance on the high school level in the public school system, Utah School for the Deaf and Blind, and in Community Education. In 1985, she returned to Tanner Dance as a teacher. She has been on the Fine Arts Preschool faculty since its inception, teaches the CDT second grade class, and the Parent /Tot classes in the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program. The question she is most frequently asked is, “Are you still teaching?” “The answer is yes, four more years!”

GAYLYN STEPHENSON began dancing with Miss Virginia when she was five years old and continued dancing with her until she graduated from high school. Following graduation, she spent a year in teacher training in the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program and began teaching there in 1970. Gaylyn has taught Dancers with Disabilities classes in the studio and through Art Access for 20 years. She has taught children who are hearing and visually impaired in several different elementary schools. Each of these children is an inspiration in dance and life and she loves them dearly.

MARY MARGARET THOMPSON began her love of dance at the age of two in the beloved Tanner Dance studio. She continued on to dance with The Children’s Dance Theater program until she graduated High school. Mary also traveled with CDT at age 14 to Southern Utah and Wales. After graduation, Mary taught several hip hop classes during VT summer dance camps. Mary graduated from the University of Utah with a Masters in Early Childhood Education. Mary taught Kindergarten in the public school system for three years where she enjoyed integrating dance into the various learning contents. She now enjoys dancing with her own children, and has loved teaching the VT 3-4 year old class for the past school year.

DIANA TIMOTHY grew up dancing with the Children’s Dance Theatre. She graduated with a BFA in modern dance and a Bachelor’s in strategic communication from the University of Utah. While in the dance department, Diana was a member of Performing Dance Company and co-director of the student concerts. She is currently working towards a Masters of Arts in Community Leadership at Westminster College. Diana is a full-time specialist with Tanner Dance where she serves as the Assistant Director of the Arts in Education Program, and directs the Tipping Point Company, In Motion Dance Company, and Summer Camp Program. She teaches the CDT 8th grade class, and assists Mary Ann Lee with the CDT 6th grade class.

WENDY S. TURNER is a costumer for the University of Utah Children’s Dance Theatre and Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Programs. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts, a Master’s degree in Dance Education/teaching higher education-administration, and Professional Certification from the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Wendy has danced professionally, taught at Southern Utah University, Dixie State College, and in children’s programs, both in New York and Utah. Her involvement and creative development with costumes began with her mother, designer Cynthia Turner, and has always been incorporated in every aspect of her career. Wendy has loved teaching her fabulous kindergarten class.

MEGHAN DURHAM WALL, MS, CCC-SLP and MFA is a dance artist, educator, and advocate; as well as a speech and language pathologist. She is passionate about human expression, and the ties between communication, connection, and movement. Meghan is thrilled to combine her expertise and interests in the dance studio, through Tanner Dance’s Parent Tot classes and LEADD. She has held dance faculty positions at numerous colleges and festivals, including The Ohio State University, Princeton University, Temple University, the University of Utah, Westminster College, the Bates Dance Festival, the Now + Next Dance Mentoring Project, and BalletMet’s Summer Dance Intensive.  Meghan is committed to making the arts available to all. Currently, she is working full time as a speech therapist in DDIVantage’s Early Intervention Program, where she enjoys the privilege of serving children and their families.

ELIZA JACKSON WARD has been dancing her whole life. She first began dancing at Tanner Dance when she was just three years old. She continued to dance with the Children’s Dance Theater from 2001 to 2012. She is currently attending the University of Utah where she is studying elementary education and is heavily involved with the arts as a violinist and dancer.

AARON WEBB is a composer, sound technician, and educator. His composition and performance credits include music for the stage and screen for many local and national organizations. He has taught for over 10 years in public schools, universities, and conferences. He has also served as the lead music specialist for educational camps for film production and for students with disabilities. He graduated with a MM in Music Education from the University of Utah. He loves beagles, music, cooking, reading, the Utes, and the outdoors.

JONI URRY WILSON began dancing with Virginia Tanner as a young child and has continued to dance throughout her life. Joni was awarded the Hayes scholarship in dance to pursue her Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Utah and earned her Master of Fine Arts in performance and choreography from Mills College in Oakland, California. Joni has taught at several Universities and has performed throughout the United States, as well as internationally. Currently, Joni is the Studio Director for the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program, which brings her teaching opportunities that include all ages and abilities. Joni has served on the daCiUSA National board, UDEO board, daCiUtah chair and was awarded her 25 year staff recognition from the University of Utah.  She feels grateful for the boundless energy as well as daily inspiration given to her by her students.