Faculty

Our faculty defines what passion for dance is. They are a super talented group that inspires everyone to grow and find their own inner dance spark.

Tonia Pierce, Co-Owner
Tap
Competitive Dance Team Director

Some very interesting information about Tonia will be coming soon. We promise!

Jen Garry
Hip Hop | Jazz | Lyrical/Contemporary
Head Competitive Dance Team Coach

Jen has over 30 years experience teaching and coaching dancers of all ages.  With all that experience has come numerous choreography awards at the local, regional, and national levels.  But, she believes you must continue to learn from the best in the business.  She feels blessed to have had a chance to learn from and cultivate friendships with Mike Peele, Kassidy Bright, Liam Keflezgy, Talia Favia, Chaz Buzan, Gigi Torrest to name just a few.  It is even more rewarding when they visit MDC and share their insights and their love of dance with all the other dancers.

Jen believes in helping dancers push themselves to new heights.  She believes you should always strive to do better than the last time you danced.  When a student falls in love with dance, they become a “Dancer.”  Since dance is an art and no two artist grow and learn the same, she will do whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals and find their inner passion.  

Jen helped start MDC with a goal of nurturing a “family vibe” in the studio.  It was never going to be a dance factory where young dancers were just a number.  There are always going to be moments of listening, crying, laughing, and supporting as there are in all families.  Jen’s daughters both grew up and danced in the studio.  And now, Elizabeth is teaching and coaching as well.  Jen’s forever “boyfriend”, Mike, has done so many things over the 30 years from running music and lights for the shows, listening to countless hours of music, and watching endless dance movies and shows to the point he could be a judge himself!  MDC is truly a family.

You will probably never find another coach that will be there more for you and your dancer, will push your dancer harder to become their best, and will be the loudest and biggest supporter of dance than Jen Garry

Elizabeth Garry
Hip Hop
Assistant Competitive Dance Team Coach

Liz says dance has been a part of her life since she was three years old.  Shhh…don’t tell her it has really been longer than that. You see her mother is Jen Garry and Jen had her at the studio soon after she was born!  Dance has literally been a part of Liz’s whole life.  She was that dance baby and not the creepy one on YouTube.

Living at the studio gave Liz a chance to try everything.  And, she did!  Back then, people would say she danced to her own drum…and guitar, tambourine, saxophone, flute, oboe, clarinet…okay let’s just say she liked to dance.  Liz also liked to compete.  Dancing competitively in all the forms and across the country over the years has given her so many great memories, relationships, and experiences.

Some of these relationships and experiences have been the chances to learn from many of the talented people in the dance industry.  Some of the most influential people have been Marty Kuldeka (Justin Timberlake’s choreographer), Dave Scott, Mia Michaels, Luam, Gigi Torres, Ian Eastwood, Luther Brown, Tricia Miranda, and Talia Favia.  Yes, dance has truly shaped her life.

Liz is now shaping the lives of other dancers.  She loves sharing her passion for dance with her students and wants them to have the best dance experience like she has had.  She also wants each of her students to strive for their best and use their dance passion and experiences later on in life to become leaders in whatever they choose to pursue.

You will not find anyone more committed to giving the best of themselves as a coach and teacher than Liz Garry.  Prepare yourself to see dance come alive through music and movement.

Katelyn Trei
Lyrical/Contemporary | Technique
Assistant Competitive Dance Team Coach

Katelyn Trei was born in Sioux Falls and continues to call this city her home. She started her dance career and journey at the ripe young age of 10 with the Just for Kix dance studio. After two years of finding her dance passion, she found herself at the doorsteps of Midwest Dance Center. For the next several years she experimented with different styles of dance to find her groove.  And then she joined the MDC competitive senior team.  Wow, that team won three National Champion titles for senior lyrical small group and Grand Champions for senior hip hop.

In 2014/2015 she attended South Dakota State University and danced with their competitive dance team that eventually competed at Nationals in Florida.  As with many things in life, she decided to continue down a different route and became a dance teacher at Dynamic Cheer & Dance in Brandon.  She concentrated on the Mini and Youth Hip Hop/Jazz teams and traveled with the competitive teams as an assistant coach.

Just like years before, she soon found herself at the doorsteps of Midwest Dance Center but this time as a coach.  It was at MDC that she found her passion for teaching and choreographing exceptional routines.  Katelyn is currently teaching Youth, Junior, and Senior level lyrical classes as well as choreographing and coaching for the competitive dance teams.

In her free time, she likes pushing herself with challenging workouts and choreographing short Hip Hop and Lyrical-Hip Hop combos. She has always had such a love for dance and being on a team.   The lessons she has learned have been invaluable in her life and have given her so many great friendships.  Katelyn Trei cherishes the chance to pass on these wonderful opportunities and life lessons.  MDC has been a wonderful opportunity to continue with dance, to pass on her love of dance, and to enjoy a studio she has called her home for so many years.

Christa Larson
TAC (Team Acro Class)
Assistant Competitive Dance Team Coach

Christa has a deep dark secret.  If you look into her eyes, you can see it.  She is a gymnast at heart.  When she was young, her parents tried to hide it by placing her in every sport imaginable.  But it never worked and it was especially bad when she was six years old.  Instead of waiting for a hit into the outfield while playing T-ball, she was doing roundoff back handsprings right there in the grass.  Yes, it was that bad!

Christa had dreams of being a gymnast but unfortunately when she was sixteen, her hopes were dashed by injury.  She looks back now with fond memories of all the wonderful years she had growing up at Power and Grace Gymnastics and learning from her mentor, Dennis Champoux. 

Dennis inspired her and her passion for gymnastics has never wavered.  But the smell and excitement of the gym kept calling her name.  It was a no brainer that she would teach at Power and Grace for nine years.  She just loves the camaraderie of sports and giving back to the sport by inspiring young athletes to find their passion too.

Life has a way of repeating itself.  When Christa tried desperately to mold her young daughter into a gymnast, Addie would have nothing to do with her mother’s roundoff back handsprings.  Addie wanted to dance!  It was a no brainer that Christa would pass on her passion for tumbling by teaching at MDC.

When she is not dreaming of the mat, she is dreaming of traveling.  She makes it to Disney about every year but still has South Padre Island and Mackinac Island on her list.  If that isn’t enough, she also works at Premier Bank, owns Rustic Soul Designs, and spends as much time as possible with her family and two dogs, Lola and Daisy.

Christa Larson loves the opportunity to share her knowledge and watch dancers succeed.  She is her daughter’s and everyone else’s biggest fan!  

Jeffrey & Carla Haper, Co-Owners
Recreational & Competitive Dance Biggest Supporters

Keep Calm and Fundraise On.  To borrow a couple of words from The Chive, we are that fundraising couple.  But, our story begins much earlier when our daughter, Rylee, was three years old.  Interesting enough our son’s first T-Ball coach, Becky Jankowski, also taught cheerleading for Midwest Dance Center.  She said Rylee would have to wait a year to start cheerleading but she could definitely start dance in the meantime.

Becky’s husband, Tony, played in a band back then with a “boyfriend” of one of the owners of Midwest Dance Center.  She invited us out to listen to them and that is the night we first met Jen Garry.  Jen said Rylee would be perfect for dance and invited us to stop by the studio on Minnesota Avenue.

Jeffrey: I remember stopping by the studio for the first time.  I thought it was pure chaos!  Dancers were all over the place running from one classroom to the next.  Parents and other people in the lobby waiting for their dancer to finish for the night.

It wasn’t until I went to my first recital that it all made sense to me.  It was so rewarding to see my little girl up on stage doing her first routines.  It was then that I fell in love with dance.

Something else happened that night.  I was watching some of the other routines from the older competitive dancers and started wondering…would my daughter grow into a talented dancer like these girls?  The answer is yes!

I have had so many dance “moments” over the years that I have lost count.  I can’t imagine how it has been for Tonia and Jen.  One thing that I do know is that I want every three or four year old that dreams of dancing to be able to discover their passion.  In fact, I want everyone that wants to dance to just dance.  For me, MDC is that opportunity!

Carla: As Jeffrey mentioned, Rylee was only 3 years old when she entered her very first dance classroom.  As a mom you are scared to death to let them go.  So many things run through your mind like will she listen to the teacher, will she understand, will she have fun?

It only took a  few moments for my fears to subside as I saw a great big smile when the door opened to the classroom and she came bounding out.  I could tell she had fallen in love with dance and it was then that I fell in love with it too.

I have worn several different hats with MDC over the years.  I have been and still am your basic dance mom.  Scrambling to make sure Rylee has all her costumes and accessories, especially the shoes!  I have been a team mom too scrambling to fix someone’s costume or find another set of earrings.  I have held different positions with the Booster Club making sure there was opportunity for everyone to dance.  And now, I am a co-owner making sure the studio continues with its great traditions.

It has been several years since Rylee’s first smile but MDC has not just been a place I have watched her grow into a beautiful dancer but has also become our family.  It means so much to me to see young dancers with dreams in their eyes and being a little afraid of what dance holds for them only to see them mature into independent and confident young adults.  Midwest Dance Center is our second home and I hope your dancer’s as well!