Alumni Celebration: 

Read all about our amazing alumni and how dance impacted them.

Tiffany (Jackson) Thumann:

Tiffany graduated with honors and a member of the National Honor Society from Davenport West High School in 2006.  At West, she participated in dance team, band, track, & TAG.  She attended Dance Works from 2001-2006 as a dancer. She took tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, and was on the production team, competition team, and parade team. She was a lead teacher from 2005-2007 and then 2012 to present time. Tiffany graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management in 2009. While in college, she participated in the Dance Marathon for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Tiffany’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

Life is grand! Still working at Dance Works as a teacher as well as running a photography business called Sincerely Yours, Photography along with my husband, Larry Thumann III. Each day I’m learning how-to-be-a-mom to a 6 year-old Larry Henry IV, a 4 year-old Lincoln and 2 year-old Talia. We are all living out in Blue Grass with our first fur baby, our Moon.

Tiffany, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Life at Dance Works taught me about:

-Time Management with scheduling schoolwork and events with and around my dance class schedule

-Planning with scheduling class plans for the year in setting goals for classes taught in learning/mastering new combos and retaining and cleaning choreography.

-Responsibility in being accountable to my teacher and my classmates with remembering my choreography as well as being aware of my attendance and how that not only affected my dance ability but also my classmates trust in my dedication to them as a team.

-Teamwork/Communication with my classmates, teachers and staff. Everyone, including the staff, worked to help us all reach our goals. The big goal of putting on an amazing show at the end of the year recital, to wowing the judges on stage at competition or reaching out to the community: large or small. May it be performing for nursing homes and brightening their day or being kind to younger dancers in passing in the lobby.

-Pride in myself as not just a dancer but a person and in my studio.

Caitlyn Anne Coffin:

Caitlyn graduated from Davenport West High School in 2007 on the honor roll and with the Kestrel award.  At West, she participated in dance team, was the dance team captain, Spanish club, SADD, Science Club, Soccer club, and TRUTH. Caitlyn was a student at Dance Works from 2002-2007 and has also been a teacher for 9 years.  While a student at Dance Works she was in tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, and hip hop. She was on parade team, competition team, Festival of Trees performances & competed at the Bill Riley State Fair Talent Search. Caitlyn also attended Kaplan University & Scott Community College. 

Caitlyn’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am currently working full time as the communications liaison and shipping/receiving specialist at Dental Arts Laboratory Inc. I continue to teach at Dance Works a couple nights a week. I am also a full-time mother to a wonderful daughter, who keeps me on my toes. One of my favorite activities to participate in, besides dance, is Dek Hockey. I have played in a women’s league and co-ed league for both spring and fall seasons since 2013.

Caitlyn, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

My time as a dancer and at Dance Works has taught me structure, time management, how to work as team, creativity, and dedication. It has also given me friendships that turned into family, which will last a lifetime.

 Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to extend a special thank-you to Larry and Laura Thumann Jr., as well as Lisa Schmidt, for the opportunity to be a part of the Dance Works family.

Katie (Arp) Gripp:

Katie graduated Cum Laude from Davenport Assumption High School in 2008. At Assumption, she was a member of the Knight Kompany Dancers & the Assumption Competition Cheer Team.  Katie spent 8 years with Dance Works. She was a dancer, student teacher, & a teacher. She was enrolled in tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, poms, and was a member of the competition team. Katie graduated Cum Laude from St. Ambrose in 2012 with a B.A. in Corporate Finance.  She also then went on to graduate from St. Ambrose with her Masters of Business Administration in 2014.  While in college, she was a member of the St. Ambrose Dance Team. 

 Katie’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

My husband and I just bought a house in Davenport after living in Des Moines for a couple of years. I work for United Health Insurance from home as a Senior Business Analyst. I also coach the Knight Kompany Dancers.

Katie, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Dance made me who I am today! It taught me how to work hard, be confident, and work with others. Dance Works was such a fun place to learn correct technique and different styles of dance. Dance Works also started me on my teaching/coaching journey and I am so thankful for those years that I was given the opportunity to teach technique and dance to younger students. 

Stephanie (Liljequist) Erps:

Stephanie graduated from Davenport West High School in 2009.  While at West she was on the dance team, cheer team, student senate Vice President, lab assistant, and a rotary scholar.  Stephanie was dancer at Dance Works from 2003-2009.  She participated in tap, ballet, jazz, poms, tumbling, pointe, production team and competition team. She also taught tots for a couple of years. Stephanie graduated from Wartburg College where she was awarded the presidential scholarship. At Wartburg, she was on the dance team, was an ambassador, attended a Spring Break Mission Trip, was a lab assistant/tech, professor’s assistant, a supplemental instructor, and was named in Who Who’s Among College Seniors.

Stephanie’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am married with one son and two dogs. We live in San Diego and have sunny 70F weather daily. We enjoy the parks and zoos here is SoCal. I am a high school teacher and am the Cheer Coach for my high school as well.

Stephanie, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Dance Works taught me about being part of team and how important it is to work your hardest for the team’s sake. I learned to be a good winner and never a sore loser. Dance Works taught be how to be a good employee, giving me deadlines and high expectations as a young teacher. Most of all, Dance Works taught me grit. I was never the best but I still had to practice and try my best to stay with my age group and my friends. I was taught that hard work and determination got me the placement I wanted. I know that Dance Works is the reason I ultimately because a teacher, at a young age I was given an opportunity to see how powerful it is to share passion with children.

Anything else you would like to add?

Ms Lisa was and is still a mentor to me. She always instilled good morals in us young girls. We always had fun at practice but always got the work done too. The Dance Works family was my second family growing up and I don’t think I would have been as successful of an adult without them. 

Mandy (Grutzmacher) Schurman:

Mandy graduated from Davenport West High School in 2009 with a Booster Club scholarship & Wartburg College’s Science Symposium Scholarship. At West, Mandy was Junior Class secretary, a member of the Student Senate, and a member of the dance team. Mandy was a student at Dance Works from 2003-2009 and participated in ballet, lyrical, & jazz. She graduated from Wartburg College in 2013. She was a member of the Wartburg College Dance team.

 Mandy’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I now live in Cedar Falls, IA, which is just about 20 minutes from where I went to college. I loved the area so much that I decided to stay up here after I graduated. I am currently doing freelance graphic design work, which is what my degree was in. I just moved in with my boyfriend, Aaron, of a little over 2 years now and life has been going great! I do miss the Davenport area, but I do make it back every month or so to visit family. 

Mandy, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

I think my time as a dancer and specifically being at Dance Works, at a younger age definitely taught me a lot about working with others, communication, and what it’s like to be a part of a team. It also taught me to be a strong and confident woman because I was constantly surrounded by them every time I walked into that building and into the classrooms. I think all of those things are very important for not only young children to learn, but especially for young girls in today’s society.

Anything else you would like to add?

Lisa was the best coach I ever had because she was such a great leader. Every one truly respected her and wanted to listen to her. We were able to be silly with her and have fun conversations, but we knew when it was time to be serious and get down to business. She was definitely a great example for me to follow growing up and even now today. I will always cherish my time and memories made at Dance Works and on my other two dance teams. There’s nothing quite like being a part of a team and a bond like that. I miss it every day!

Heather Sturtz:

Heather graduated from Davenport West High School in 2010. At West, Heather was a member of the dance team, French Club, & the National Honor Society.  Heather was a student at Dance Works from 2002-2011 and a teacher at Dance Works from 2007-2016.  Heather took tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, and was a member of the parade team, production team, and competition team.  Heather graduated from St. Ambrose University in 2014 with her B.A. in PK-3rd grade teaching, Special Education Endorsement and K-8 reading.  She was on the Dean’s list, Kappa Delta Pi Teaching Honor Society, was a member of the SAU dance team and received the SAU academic scholarship, and the SAU Dance team scholarship.

 Heather’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am going in to my 4th year of teaching Kindergarten for Central DeWitt Community School District. I am also in my 2nd year of my masters at SAU in Educational Administration and am the Graduate Assistant for the SAU dance team. I currently live in DeWitt.

Heather, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

I learned so much about life through dance; responsibility, dedication, passion, hard work, and organization.

Anything else you would like to add:

My time at Dance Works was the highlight of my childhood and teen years. You could always find me at the studio, either in the office talking with Larry and Laura, in class with Lisa, or an open room working on my own technique. Dance Works will always have a special place in my heart.

Tessa (Johnson) Karwath:

Tessa graduated with honors from Davenport West High School in 2011. At West, Tessa participated in band, choir, show choir, dance team, and National Honors Society.  Tessa was a student at Dance Works for 10 years and took tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, poms.  She was a member of the parade team, and the competition team, and was also a student teacher & taught for a couple of years.  Tessa graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in Communicative Sciences & Disorders in 2015. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Masters of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology in 2017. She was on the Dean’s list each year and was a member of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.

Tessa’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

Since graduating with my Masters in May, I have recently started working with Aegis Therapies as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Eastern Minnesota.  I work in skilled nursing facilities with adult and geriatric populations to evaluate and treat swallow safety, cognition, and functional communication.  I currently reside in West Salem, Wisconsin with my fiancé, Alex.

Tessa, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Dance taught me perseverance, time management, team work, and respect; which are all important skills to acquire for success in adult life.

Hannah McAtee:

Hannah graduated from Davenport Central High School in 2011 as a National Merit Scholar, Rotary Club of Davenport Scholastic and Leadership Scholar, Dr. Thomas Anthony Dooley Memorial Scholar, and Grady and Kathryn Gammage Memorial Scholar.  At Central, she was a member of the dance team, cheerleading, newspaper, international club, and scholastic bowl.  Hannah was a student at Dance Works from 2001-2011 (from the very beginning).  She participated in tap, ballet, jazz, poms, tumbling, pointe, parade team, and competition team. She was also a student teacher and teacher. Hannah graduated from Arizona State University, Barrett the Honors College, in 2015 in Global Health & Spanish. She was on the Dean’s List, the Moeur Award Recipient, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean’s Medalist and received the following scholarships: Barrett-Mayo Pre-Medical Scholarship and Tillman Scholarhship- ASU.  At Arizona State, Hannah participated in the ASU Aag & Andaaz Bollywood dance teams, Make-A-Wish Arizona Wish Granter, Barrett Ambassador, Barrett Recruiting Assistant, Research Assistant in the Culture, Health and Environment Laboratory, and World Food Prize Internships in India and Washington, D.C.

Hannah’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am in my third year of medical school at the University of Iowa. I have been a leader in the Global Medicine Society, Pediatric Interest Group, and Medical Student Ambassador Program. I also do research in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Department in the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Hannah, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Dance Works gave me a supportive environment to learn and grow as a member of the dance family. I also appreciate the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle after all my years as a dancer. As a teacher at Dance Works, I had the incredible opportunity to work with students and families, and I learned a lot about how I can communicate with my future patients!

Anything else you would like to add:

I am very thankful for Miss Lisa, Larry and Laura for their hard work and their ability to inspire lifelong confidence, passion, and work ethic in their students.

Amber Alaniz:

Amber graduated from Davenport West High School in 2012 as a member of the National Honor Society and received the Advantage Iowa Award as a diversity scholarship from the University of Iowa. At West, she was a member of the dance team and the ecology club.  She was a student at Dance Works for 11 years. She was in tap, ballet, jazz, poms, pointe, production team, competition team, and Bill Riley State Fair Talent Search. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Social Work and a minor in Sociology. At the University of Iowa, she volunteered with a senior center and the Domestic Violence Intervention Program.

Amber’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

Currently, I work at Mayor’s Youth Empowerment Program (MYEP) with 6 awesome individuals that have intellectual disabilities and behavior disorders. My position is called “Dual Site Lead Direct Support Professional” for two Residential Sites. Basically, it boils down to me coordinating 6 clients’ lives and 30 staff to assist these clients. It also includes assisting these clients in crises that come with their behavior disorders and coordinating/training the staff to be able to do the same. I am also currently working to volunteer with the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) again, as I was working there previous to my position with MYEP and it was an awesome experience, while considering going to get my Masters in Social Work.

Amber, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Dancing in general has helped me succeed in many different areas in my life. I have noticed that throughout my college education and work experience that I am much more disciplined that most individuals and honestly, I would say Dance Works had helped me prepare for this. Dance Works assisted me in being prompt and diligent and this prepared me for many different positions that most people my age are not qualified for. Dance Works has also helped me embrace my creativity and that has shown throughout my life as well. With the work I do, you have to get quite creative with ways to assist others. While working with DVIP, I would get to hang out with kiddos and sometimes chat about the abuse they endured/witnessed and then after some sadness I would distract them with many different activities. Which included: dancing, singing, coloring, playing super heroes and sometimes just playing patty cake.

Where I work now, I would say my creativity from Dance Works assisted me in preparing for fun activities for when clients are succeeding. Dance Works also helped me prepare for the worst scenarios possible (let’s just say, if someone can stay calm throughout Recital Finale preparation and keep the children calm, they can remain calm in a behavior) and that definitely assists me now with staff and client worst case scenarios.

Anything else you would like to add:

I miss everyone dearly and wish everyone the best. Dance Works had certainly left a positive impression on my life! If anything, because of Dance Works, I have never stopped being a busy human. Thanks beautiful people!

Jenny Gomez:

Jenny graduated with honors from Davenport West High School in 2012 with the Advantage Iowa Scholarship. At West, she participated in dance team and National Honor Society. Jenny was a student at Dance Works for 11/12 years. She took tap, ballet, jazz, poms, tumbling, pointe, and was a member of the competition team, parade team, and production team. Jenny graduated from the University of Iowa in 2016 with a degree in Elementary Education. While at the University of Iowa, she was a member of the University of Iowa Dance Club.

Jenny’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am currently living in Coralville, IA with my boyfriend of 6 years. I am an elementary school teacher at Van Allen Elementary in North Liberty, IA. This year will be my second year teaching at Van Allen, and I will be teaching 6th grade this year. I am also a dance teacher for Debut Dance in North Liberty.  When I am not teaching, I like to spend my time hanging out with friends, working out, traveling, visiting my family, and binge watching Netflix shows.

Jenny, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

One of the most important things being a dancer at Dance Works taught me was that you have to work hard for anything worth achieving. Being very involved in the studio also taught me how to manage my time. I had to learn how to balance being at the studio and staying on top of my academics. Some of my most rewarding moments as a dancer are goals I achieved with the help of my team. My time at Dance Works taught me how to be a part of a team and work well with others.

Anything else you would like to add:

Most of my best memories from my childhood come from being a dancer at Dance Works. I am so thankful I got to be a part of their dance family. Being at Dance Works left a lasting impact on my life and has shaped me into the person I am today. 

Anna (Wessling) Schaull:

Anna graduated with first honors from Davenport West High School in 2012.  At West, she participated choir, show choir, dance team, student senate, color guard, and French club. Anna was a student at Dance Works from 2004-2012 and she took tap, ballet, jazz, tumbling, poms and was a member of the parade team and competition team. Anna graduated with honors from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in education. While at the University of Northern Iowa, she participated in dance marathon, small group, camp adventure, and Kappa Delta Pi.

Anna’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am currently a Kindergarten teacher in Waterloo, IA. I have two dogs and a wonderful man. I still dance whenever I get the chance; in the grocery store, in the kitchen, and whenever I hear an old song that I had a dance to, I try my best to remember it & bust a move! 

Anna, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

My time at dance works was nothing short of life changing. When I look back on all of the times I dreaded being pushed harder in class each week, it actually helped to shape my mindset later in life. I came to realize that nothing good comes easy and that working hard does pay off in the end. I also came to realize the most important lesson that I still live by today; family and friends are what make life worth living. I had the best family who supported me throughout all of my years at Dance Works. I also made the best friendships during my time at Dance Works, many who are still my close friends today. I never felt alone when I danced because there was always a classmate, a teacher, or a young dancer who continued to cheer me on; even when life threw roadblocks my way. I still continue to tell others about my wonderful time at Dance Works to this day. I have the utmost respect and love for a studio that became so much more to me during my childhood.

Anything else you would like to add:

Thank you for helping me become the person that I am today. Your studio will always hold a special place in my heart.

Kieran Burton:

Kieran graduated from Davenport West High School in 2013. She was on the honor roll during multiple semesters, a Kestral & Falcon award recipient, Northwest business student of the month, All-Iowa Honor Dance Team Member & an UDA All-American dancer. At West, Kieran participated in dance team, cheerleading, student senate, homecoming court, junior class officer, & senior student office worker. Kieran was a student at Dance Works from 2002-2013 where she participated in tap, ballet, lyrical, jazz, poms, tumbling, parade team, and the Rockettes competition team. Kieran graduated from Grand View University in 2017 with a B.A. in Accounting & Finance.  She was on the dean’s list, received a dance team scholarship and an academic scholarship, and was also the Phi Beta Lambda secretary. At Grand View, she as on the dance team, the competitive dance team, Phi Beta Lamda, and GV United.

Kieran’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

After recently graduating I moved back to Davenport and accepted a job as a corporate staff accountant at Group O, Inc.

Kieran, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

While a dancer, I learned how to manage my time between multiple responsibilities all the while still maintaining a balanced lifestyle. I learned where my personal limitations and priorities lie. I learned how to handle stressful situations with grace and composure.  In addition, I learned how to deal with teammates and coaches with different personalities and styles. I have found these skills useful in my time in college as well as my current workplace.

Anything else you would like to add:

I would like thank the Dance Works families for all they have taught me.

Jessica Bennett:

Jessica graduated from Davenport West High School in 2014. She received Academic Excellence all four years of high and was also award several scholarships from Iowa State and other organizations. At West, she was on dance team, choir, show choir, band, color guard, and National Honor Society. She was a student at Dance Works for 11 years where she took tap, ballet, lyrical, jazz, poms, was on competition team, production team, and Bill Riley State Fair Talent Search. Jessica was also a student teacher and teacher for a few years.  Jessica will be a college senior in the fall of 2017 at Iowa State University and has been on the dean’s list every semester.  During her time at Iowa State she has been a member of the Alpha Phi sorority (and has held numerous leadership positions), Happy Strong Healthy magazine, and the Iowa State Dance Team.

Jessica’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I’m about to start my fourth and final year at Iowa State as a journalism major. In September, I’ll begin an apprenticeship at the Meredith Corporation in Des Moines where I’ll be writing for the Better Homes and Gardens brand. After I graduate in May, I plan to travel around Europe before starting a full-time job. My dream is to eventually move to New York City to pursue a career in magazine journalism.

Jessica, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Growing up dancing at Dance Works helped instill in me the value of perseverance and dedication. I learned how important it is to set high goals for myself and work hard until they become reality. Truly anything is possible if you’re willing to put in the effort to make it happen!

Kayla Latham:

Kayla graduated from Davenport West High School in 2014. At West, Kayla was a member of the dance team. She was a student at Dance Works for 13 years.  She participated in tap, ballet, lyrical, poms, tumbling, Rockettes opening number performance team, and competition team.  Kayla was also a student teacher and teacher for a couple of years. Kayla will be a college senior in the fall of 2017 at Iowa State University. She will graduate in the spring of 2018 with a B.A. in Accounting. At Iowa State, Kayla is a member of the Iowa State Dance Team and is involved in several business-related clubs and honor societies. 

Kayla’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am finishing up my degree and enjoying my time left in college with my friends. I also love to spend time with my parents, brothers, my boyfriend Ryan, and my two dogs. 

Kayla, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

I've learned the importance of being present not only just physically, but mentally too, for yourself and your team to see any results. I've also had no problem with showing up on time, working with teams, being accountable for knowing the material I'm supposed to know, and treating those around me respectfully and professionally. 

Kellie Nelson:

Kellie graduated from Davenport West High School in 2014. At West, Kellie participated in Varsity dance team, choir, show choir, and student senate. Kellie was a student at Dance Works for 8 years. During that time, she participated in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, poms, summer camp, Rockettes opening number performance team and competition team. Kellie was also a student teacher and teacher.  Kellie recently graduated from Iowa Central Community College with an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology. While attending Iowa Central Community College, she was also a member of their dance team.

Kellie’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am currently working as a radiology technologist at Genesis East while furthering my education online through the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine to study cardiovascular interventional radiography. I enjoy dancing in my free time, working out, and spending time with my family, friends, and pets.

Kellie, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

My time as a dancer truly changed my life and made me the person I am today. I gained so many skills that I use today and so far, it has really set me apart from a lot of young adults my age that never had the opportunity to be a performer. I learned time management, a great work ethic, how to take constructive criticism, confidence, leadership, and how to be a team player. The same pep talks I gave myself before competing at big competitions I now give myself before going into surgery or dealing with difficult patients. I also gained so many lifelong friendships and I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a competitive dancer in college.

Paige Nelson:

Paige graduated from Davenport West High School in 2014 where she received honors and was a member of the National Honor Society. At West, Paige was on dance team, student senate, choir, WINGs club, & FCA. Paige was a student at Dance Works for 8 years where she was in tap, ballet, lyrical, jazz, tumbling, poms, Rockettes opening number performance team, and competition team. She was also a student teacher and teacher for a few years. Paige will graduate from the University of Iowa in the spring of 2018 with a B.B.A in Human Resource Management and a Minor in Human Relations. While at the University of Iowa, Paige has been a member of the dance club, IOWA CRU, On-Iowa! Leader, Society of Human Resource Management, Women in Business, and Dance Marathon.

Paige’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

Today, I am a senior in the Tippie College of Business here at Iowa. I just finished an HR internship this spring and now I am beginning the process of job hunting for my post-college career. I currently live in Iowa City where I am a manager at a clothing store in the mall.

Paige, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

If I could sum it into one word, it would be DISCIPLINE. I can tell you that I would not be able to go to school full-time, work part-time, and be involved in so many extra-curricular activities if I did not understand how to stay focused and on-task. Being a dancer at Dance Works taught me discipline in a few areas. Respecting the teachers, their time, and the rules of the studio was one thing, but also discipling myself in and outside of class was a skill I gained along the way. It has helped my tremendously in my private and professional life.

Anything else you would like to add:

Enjoy your time at the studio while it lasts.

Abby Thumann:

Abby graduated from Davenport West High School in 2014. At West, Abby was a member of the dance team. Abby was a student at Dance Works for 14 years.   Abby took class in tap, ballet, lyrical, jazz, poms, parade team, competition team, Bill Riley State Fair Talent Search and the Rockettes opening number performance team.  She was also a student teacher and teacher.  Abby attended the University of Northern Iowa for 1 year where she was on the dance team. She also attends Muscatine Community College and is starting her second internship with the Walt Disney World company.

Abby’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

I am living in Florida for my second internship in Disney World. I will be working an attraction or show! 

Abby, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Being a dancer taught me discipline, and dedication. It taught me to always give 100% and try my hardest! I've never loved anything more than I loved Dance and that's so special to me. I built amazing friendships with people I got to spend every day and weekend with. It was the best second family I could ask for. Dance Works taught me guidance and direction and prepared me for life outside of dance and living at home. But I also know that Dance Works would always be a place I could come back to time and time again and always be able to call it home. I am grateful for my childhood spent as a dancer at Dance Works. The older I get I still always reflect on my time at Dance Works and all of the many lessons I learned and I am very grateful for that. 

Anything else you would like to add:

I also feel very strongly that Dance Works taught me to be strong and independent enough to be able to move down to Florida all on my own and gave me the communication and people skills to be able to work in Disney with people all over the world.

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Hailey Broer:

Hailey graduated from Davenport West High School in 2015 with 1st honors and received an academic scholarship to attend St. Ambrose University.  At West, Hailey was on the varsity dance team all 4 years, was co-editor of the yearbook and was a part of W.I.N.G.S (Women Inspiring the Next Generation).  Hailey was a student at Dance Works for 11 years and participated in tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, production and was on the competitive team for 7 years.   Hailey graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Ambrose University in May of 2019 with a degree in Elementary Education.  She was a NAIA Scholar Athlete in 2018 & 2019 and was named to the Dean's list seven semesters. She was a member of the SAU varsity dance team and was a captain her senior year. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi (Education Honors Society) and participated in the Dance Marathon 

Hailey’s Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

Currently, Hailey is a 4th grade teacher in the Davenport Community School District. She is the head coach of Davenport Assumption's dance team, as well as, a instructor at Dance Works. A lot of her life is revolved around her love of coaching and teaching.

Hailey, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

My time at Dance Works made me realize what I wanted to do with my future. Dance Works is where I learned that I loved to teach/coach- which led me to becoming a teacher. I learned many life skills while at Dance Works which helped when in college and entering my adult life such as: time management, leadership, how to work as a team, how to recognize personal mistakes and also how to be a friend. I cannot imaging where I would be if I did not have Dance Works as a second home growing up.

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Grace Geering:

Hailey graduated from Davenport West High School in 2015 and was part of the National Honor Society. She was on the high school varsity dance team during her time at West. Grace was as student at Dance Works for 4 years. While a student at Dance Works, she took ballet, lyrical, jazz and pom class.  Grace graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2019 with a B.A. in Graphic Technology, was on the dean's list, and received the Cynthia Ditch Petratris Dance Scholarship her junior and senior years.  At UNI, she participated in Grafx Club and was a member of the dance team of which she was also the team captian her Junior & Senior years.

Grace's Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

Following UNI graduation, Grace is now living in the Madison, Wisconsin area. She is a full-time production graphic artist for Kollege Town Sports, a division of Riddell. 

Grace, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

Dedication, determination, teamwork, leadership and time-management are just a few of the skills dance has taught me and prepared me for my adult life. All of these skills have made me the person I am today. These skills have made me work hard and preserver by being on a dance team and a full-time student at the same time. Without dance I wouldn’t have these skills to carry over in my life now as a professional artist.

Chelsea Milke:

Chelsea graduated in 2015 from Assumption High School and received a Jesuit, BVM, and Sisters of Christian Charity High School Half Tuition Scholarship for Loyola University Chicago. While at Assumption, she was a member of Band, choir, drama, National Honor Society, and was a Rotary scholar.  Chelsea was as student at Dance Works for 15 years, where she participated in tap, ballet, lyrical, jazz, poms, and competition team, was a classroom assistant and teacher.  Chelsea graduated from Loyola University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and was on the Dean's List. She fortunate to intern at a Congresswoman’s constituent office in Chicago my senior year. She was the Morale captain for Loyola’s dance marathon for two years and then joined the executive board of dance marathon as Director of Morale senior year.

Chelsea's Description of What Her Life is Like Now:

Chelsea is currently back in Davenport, IA making plans for her future. 

Chelsea alumni pic.jpeg

Chelsea, how did your time as a dancer and/or your time at Dance Works prepare you for your adult life?

My time at Dance Works helped me in a lot of ways. I learned to manage my time well and keep focused on the task at hand. Being a dancer also allowed me to be more prepared when things change. Not every dance class was the same, and no matter the routine I had during college, there were always moments where I would have to adapt. The biggest take away from my time at Dance Works though was to just be present in the moment. My adult life has not been easy, but when the good things came along, I made sure to always take a deep breath and just enjoy what was happening around me. 

Anything Else You'd Like to Add:

The friendships and memories from my time at Dance Works continue to carry me through my day to day life. Dance Works will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you to the staff for all that you do. 

Additional Alumni:

2001: Alissa (Gilkison) Bolles, Rachel Deahl, Jennifer Foss, Lisa (Thumann) Schmidt

2002: Callie (Thrapp) Carpenter

2003: Katie Bleuer, Andrea Denger, Ashley (Lange) Patterson, Kara (Svensen) Kurtz,

2004: Alison Foley, Melanie (Gray) Stuhr, Kayla Paulson

2005: Danna Wulf

2007: Sara Baldwin, London Cannon

2012: Ashlyn Glass

2015: Katelyn Cooper, Megan Gomez, Chelsie Oberbroeckling, Karlee Shaffer

2016: Tristan Blumer, Savannah Roseman, Olivia Williams

2017: Anita Alaniz, Maddliyn Boche, Kalynn Burton, Kaitlyn Collins, Lisa Gomez, Abbey Heinrichs, Lydia Rice

2018: Abby Lance, Ava Langford

2019: Addison Flynn, Iesha Ratzlaff, Carmen Vavra

2020: Kylie Corry, Hailey Hansen, Mallory Owens, Shannon Pollmeier, & Laura Stineman

2021: Taylor Bohannon, Jessica Lai, Tiffany Le, Jerzey Sheppard, Kennedy Wink, Leah Zeimet

  

***Look for info about our 2015+ Alumni in the coming years!