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Sarah Ferree

Sarah Ferree

Sarah Ferree

Academy Owner/Director

Ankeny Dance & Performing Arts Academy Owner/Director Sarah Ferree began teaching Advanced Dance and Star Dancer programs at Ankeny Dance in 2002 and became the director of all programs and academy owner after the 2006 dance season. She is not only certified with Dance Masters of America as an instructor, Sarah is also certified to test and approve new instructors and teachers with Dance Masters. In addition, Ferree judges on the competition dance circuit and she adjudicates for several major dance competitions around the nation each year. Sarah majored in dance in the highly regarded and nationally recognized dance program at Oklahoma City University after spending years of studying dance and performing in competitions. The OCU dance program stresses the importance of becoming a "triple threat" performer, skilled as a dancer, actor, and vocalist. Sarah brings that same teaching philosophy to her dance classes. She believes that her students should be well-rounded dancers, with a broad base of knowledge in all disciplines and techniques of dance. In addition to bringing a wealth of teaching experience to her position, Sarah is a successful and accomplished performer. She has worked and performed as a dancer and singer at Disneyland and other major attractions in both Washington D.C. and Oklahoma City. She has appeared in starring and supporting roles in musical theater productions at the Omaha Playhouse, Des Moines Playhouse, and at Adventureland Amusement Park. She has performed in numerous musicals including Damn Yankees, Oliver, Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun, and 42nd Street, and has choreographed for them as well. The competitive dance teams Sarah directs consistently win top awards and she regularly receives top honors for her choreography. Her students have earned the honor of their own performance on stage at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California on several occasions. Her Star Dancers have also been featured in performances in Branson, Missouri at the Branson Variety Theater and Silver Dollar City. Sarah’s past students have gone on to work and perform for Disney, cruise lines, amusement parks, and multiple venues in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, across the country, and even overseas. She continues her own education and training each year by attending master's classes, dance conventions, and seminars across the country. Sarah feels strongly about helping those in need in our community and has served in many capacities sponsoring fundraisers and charity events to benefit local charitable and service organizations. Under her leadership, Ankeny Dance & Performing Arts Academy has donated thousands of dollars to area children's charities, food banks, and other organizations serving our community. Sarah has the qualifications, talent, and enthusiasm to challenge the abilities of the most advanced dancers in the studio, but she believes that there's a place for every level of student who enjoys dance and wants to learn. She looks forward to meeting all of you and helping make the star in all of her dancers shine a little brighter!

Mark Ferree

Mark Ferree

Mark Ferree

Owner/General Manager

After years of on-air television experience as a news reporter and meteorologist, Mark Ferree brings his love of music, theater and performance to Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy. After receiving a liberal arts degree with majors in both Communications and Theater Arts from the University of Minnesota, Mark went back to school through Mississippi State University to complete all major coursework in Meteorology. Mark has more than two decades of live on-camera experience in broadcast television markets from Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, and here in Des Moines, Iowa. You can still see Mark on-air from time to time filling in on the KCWI-23 morning show, Great Day!

Whitney Ferin

Whitney Ferin

Whitney Ferin

Instructor

Whitney grew up in Ankeny, IA and and began dancing when she was just three years old. Shortly thereafter Whitney began to also pursue her love of tumbling and gymnastics, which she continued through high school. In dance, she enjoyed studying tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, acro dance, and performing in competitions. Whitney also assisted in teaching dance and tumbling to younger students while she was still in high school. In college, Whitney attended the University of Iowa and the Mercy College of Health Sciences where she received a degree in physical therapy. She now works at Methodist Hospital as a Physical Therapist Assistant. With Whitney's experience working with young people of varying ages both personally and professionally we are thrilled to have her as an instructor at Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy! Whitney says she is so excited to become a part of the Ankeny Dance family and to share her passion for dance and tumbling with the students. Whitney says dance was such a major part of her life growing up and she is happy to be able to continue her love of dance and tumbling and inspire her students to have a love and joy for it as well!

Katelyn Chambers

Katelyn Chambers

Katelyn Chambers

Teacher Training Program Co-Director/Early Childhood Program Co-Director/Instructor

Katelyn Chambers can't remember a time when she wasn't involved with dance. She first began formal instruction in dance with Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy when she was just three years old, and she soon became involved in master's workshops, competitions and conventions as part of the Triple Threat Dance Company here at ADAPAA. She also completed the academy's Teacher Training Program and began a five year period of student teaching and assistant teaching with Ankeny Dance. Katelyn earned a position with the Star Dancers and performed as a member of the group at the Disneyland Resort, Disney's California Adventure Park, Downtown Disney, and many competitions and venues around the Midwest. When she was still in High School she worked with younger students in a district mentoring program, and after graduation went on to study at Iowa State University in Early Childhood Education. Katelyn says she chose her major course of study because she has always had a love for children and in helping them develop as they explore the world around them. Katelyn is now an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher in the Southeast Polk Community School District. Since beginning her time as a teacher at ADPAA she has taken on many new roles. Katelyn is a co-director of our Attraction and Retention Program, co-director of our Teacher Training Program and also a co-director of the Early Childhood Program. She is excited to work with the young people at Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy to help them grow in dance and all aspects of their character ... and she says she enjoys helping students achieve their dreams and goals in dance! We are thrilled Katelyn is teaching with us and we know you will be too!

Lisa Luiken-Woxell

Lisa Luiken-Woxell

Lisa Luiken-Woxell

Instructor

Lisa Luiken-Woxell has more than two decades of teaching experience here at Ankeny Dance & Performing Arts Academy, and has been instructing here longer than any other teacher on staff. Lisa began dancing at the age of three under the instruction of Connie Jo Wilson. After graduating from the Ankeny Dance program after high school, Lisa continued her dance and ballet training with the Des Moines Ballet School, Central Iowa Dance, Janet Morse, Robert Thomas, Greg Nueman, and Carol Tetmeyer. Lisa has received regional and national awards as a tap soloist and as a tap duet. Miss Lisa has performed with the Neuman Project, Iowa Dance Theatre, the Nutcracker Ballet, Dance Olympus, the Iowa Barnstormer’s Flightline, and as a guest performer at the Edmunds Academy of Fine Arts. Miss Lisa demonstrated her strong ballet background as she choreographed “The Waltz of the Flowers” for the C.Y. Stephens production of the Nutcracker and is a proud member of Dance Masters of America. Miss Lisa has been a dance instructor for Connie Jo Wilson’s School of Dance, Ankeny Dance, the Dancer’s Workshop, Robert Thomas Dancecenter, and the Newton Y.M.C.A. Miss Lisa has a passion for teaching proper classical technique and form to young dancers so they may apply it and become more skilled in all aspects of dance.

Dakota Mills

Dakota Mills

Dakota Mills

Triple Threat Dance Company Co-Director/Instructor

Miss Dakota has been dancing since she was just 4 years old and has been studying at Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy since she first began to dance. Dakota started as an ADPAA Student Teacher in 2007 and worked her way through the Teacher Training Program to become one of our certified dance instructors in high school and college. Dakota performed in the Triple Threat Competition Team and as a Star Dancer. She regularly won first place, high point, and platinum awards and dance scholarships at competitions. Dakota has been performing professionally as a dancer in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, on Cruise Ships and for the Walt Disney Corporation at Hong Kong Disneyland. She attended the highly regarded dance program at Oklahoma City University, performing in productions and recitals there. She spent a year studying as one of just 16 students accepted from across the country into The Edge Performing Arts Center's scholarship program, which instructed in the very latest choreography from the professional dance and music scene in Los Angeles. She also works as a director and judge in one of the country’s largest dance and talent competitions. Dakota has studied dance at Steps On Broadway in Manhattan, NY, in the Broadway-Bound Dancer Workshop at Oklahoma City University, at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, and Millennium Dance Complex. She has performed in the Bill Riley Talent Competition and on several different stages at the Iowa State Fair, in addition to the Festival of Trees and Lights here in the Des Moines area. She especially enjoyed performing onstage at Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, Downtown Disney, Branson's Variety Theater and Silver Dollar City as a member of the Star Dancers. Miss Dakota loves to teach at Ankeny Dance & Performing Arts Academy because she has a passion for helping people learn dance and performance. Dakota says she is excited to share the knowledge and dance techniques she has learned with our students by continuing to bring the most current styles back to Iowa as a choreographer and lead instructor with Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy!

Lisa Damman

Lisa Damman

Lisa Damman

Accounts Receivable Manager

Lisa Damman received her Bachelor's degree with honors from Grand View University and continued her education with graduate work at Northwest Missouri State University. Lisa was an Accounting Manager at Adventureland Amusement Park, a challenging position where she hired, trained, managed accounting personnel, as well as prepared financial reports. Since then, she has held a variety of positions regarding accounting and computer applications, always with attention to detail. She is now enthused to be involved in the administrative aspect of Ankeny Dance. Lisa is married to Jeff Damman and has three children. Since 1999, Lisa has experienced the level of excellence each dancer receives at Ankeny Dance. Both of her daughters have been students at the studio since they were three years old. Lisa feels the girls' dance instruction continues to be instrumental in their development of teamwork, responsibility, physical wellness, and self-confidence skills.

Mikaeala Chambers

Mikaeala Chambers

Mikaeala Chambers

Instructor

Mikaela Chambers can’t remember a time when dance wasn’t a major part of her life. She has been dancing since she was three years old and has been a part of Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy since she began her journey with dance and dance education. She participated in the ADPAA teacher training program, was a student teacher in the studio and a member of the Triple Threat Competition Team and Star Dancers Elite Competition Team. Mikaela says she loves teaching dance to watch how much the kiddos grow not only in dance, but also to watch their character develop and spark. She shares her passion for dance with her students and says she has the goal of guiding young people to have just as much fun in dance as she had when she was growing up in the studio. When Mikaela is not at the studio working with her dance students, you will find her double majoring in Public Relations and Communications with a minor in Leadership at Iowa State University. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her family and friends, taking relaxing walks, and reading a good book.

Tina Foley

Tina Foley

Tina Foley

Instructor

Tina grew up in Ankeny and began dancing at a young age. She loves dance and in addition to twelve years of lessons spent six years in competitive dance before graduating from Ankeny Centennial High School. Tina went on to major in Elementary Education at Iowa State University where she received her degree in Education. Her favorite styles are jazz and musical theater but she says really she loves any style of dance. Tina worked as a teacher assistant at a learning center for 7 years before becoming a dance and gymnastics instructor for 3 years prior to joining Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy. When she has any free time she enjoys spending time outside reading a book and listening to music! We are glad Tina is here to teach and inspire our students at ADPAA!

Chloe Peterson

Chloe Peterson

Chloe Peterson

Instructor

Instructor Chloe Peterson has been dancing as long as she can remember. She grew up in Ankeny and began taking dance classes at Ankeny Dance back in 2001. She went on to become a student teacher and a member of the Star Dancer competition team where she competed in regional and national competitions and performed at venues across the country with the Star Dancers. Some of her favorite performance memories are with the Star Dancers on stage at Disneyland, and in both a professional theater performance in Branson and at Silver Dollar City. After high school graduation, Chloe majored in Child, Adult, & Family Services at Iowa State University, graduating in 2017. After getting married and moving to Omaha, Chloe spent three years there teaching for Nebraska Dance, until she and her husband decided they wanted to come home to family and friends here in Ankeny. In her free time, Chloe loves her morning coffee, learning new recipes to cook, and enjoys watching a good Disney movie with her family. Chloe is happy to be back with her Ankeny Dance Family to share her knowledge and dance abilities with her students, and we are excited she was able to come back to pass on her dance passion to future generations of ADPAA dancers!

Abbie Ware

Abbie Ware

Abbie Ware

Teacher Training Program Co-Director/Instructor

Abbie Ware started formal dance training at Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy when she was five years old. She enjoyed both her lessons and her friends at the studio, and she began performing in competitions when she was in sixth grade. Abbie also completed the Teacher Training Program at ADPAA when she was a student, and she joined the Triple Threat Dance Company and became a member of the ADPAA elite competition team, the Star Dancers. With the Star Dancers, she performed at Disneyland in both 2013 and 2015, in addition to other venues around the region. Abbie also trained at the Edge Performing Arts Center in California and has been teaching now for more than six years. Abbie is the Co-Director of the ADPAA Teacher Training Program and Co-Director of Attention and Retention at the studio. She says she loves teaching and is excited to have the opportunity to help her students excel in their technique and most of all, to have fun!

Becky Like

Becky Like

Becky Like

Office Staff

Becky Like is now in her 6th year working in the office at Ankeny Dance. She has been a part of the Ankeny Dance family since her oldest daughter began dancing here in 2010. Becky has two children now in the dancing and tumbling programs at ADPAA and both are on the Triple Threat Dance Company competition team as well. For her day job, Becky works in the front office of a grade school in the Ankeny Community School District, so she has a lot of experience assisting both young people and their parents. We are happy to have her as part of the ADPAA team!

Creighton Ferree

Creighton Ferree

Creighton Ferree

Instructor

Creighton Ferree started dance lessons when he was just two years old and dance and performance have been a major part of his life ever since. In addition to spending countless hours in competitions, conventions, and master’s classes, Creighton also has been working with students for years as a student teacher and instructor after completing the ADPAA Teacher Training Program when he was a student here. He has performed since he was in grade school in solos, groups, and production numbers with the Triple Threat Dance Company often earning top honors in his category. He also performed with the elite competition team the Star Dancers at ADPAA and was frequently featured with that group in their performances across the country. Some of Creighton’s favorite performances with the Star Dancers were at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA in 2013, 2015, and 2019. Creighton has won numerous regional and national awards for his choreography and performance skills, and has trained with nationally recognized dance instructors at Broadway Dance Center in NYC and at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, CA. He received the honor of a scholarship to perform at GoPro in Branson at the Clay Cooper Theater, training with instructors Don Mirault and Helene Phillips in the event. Creighton was a Titans of Dance Force Member, working with them for the 2018/2019 season. In his years of performing in competitions he has won both category and high point awards and he understands the nuances of what it takes to be successful in competitive dance. Creighton also performed for several years as a member of the Ankeny Centennial Dance Team and was the featured soloist in 2019 in the Ankeny Centennial Spectrum Show Choir, which earned a first place award for every competition in which they performed. Creighton also works as an assistant for various High School Show Choirs in addition to choreographing solos and group numbers for ADPAA competition team students. Creighton possesses an inner passion for dance and performance, and he loves to share that to inspire new generations of students to reach for the stars and achieve their goals. We are thrilled to have Creighton with us as an instructor and choreographer at ADPAA to help our students be the best that they can become!

Roxanne Fox

Roxanne Fox

Roxanne Fox

Office Staff

During Ankeny Dance office hours, you’ll find Roxanne Fox working the front desk to answer your questions about our programs, to fit students for apparel and shoes, and to greet you with a friendly smile. Roxanne graduated from the University of Iowa and is a dyed in the wool Hawkeye fan like the rest of her family. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Curt, for 29 years and they have two kids that have both danced at Ankeny Dance since they were very young. Her son Noah and daughter Gabbi both enjoy being on the competition team at ADPAA with all of their friends. Roxanne says they love being a part of the ADPAA family and they enjoy attending competitions and recital and making dance a family affair. We are glad Roxanne is a part of the ADPAA family and we know you’ll enjoy working with her in the office!

Taylor Shaw

Taylor Shaw

Taylor Shaw

Instructor

Taylor grew up in Blue Grass, Iowa and has been tumbling since she was just 3 years old. She knew there was never another sport for her; although she also played softball, in between plays she would be doing cartwheels and handstands. Taylor started her formal training as a competitive gymnast when she was in sixth grade, competing in meets all over Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana. She regularly placed in all four events, with vault being her favorite. In high school, Taylor joined the Davenport West Cheer Team, where she was on the competition team all four years, winning state 3 times, winning regionals, winning Midwest championships, and competing at nationals at Walt Disney World twice. Taylor then attended Iowa State University where she was on the Iowa State Cheer Squad for two years. Taylor has always had a love for tumbling and sharing her talent with others. She is excited to be working at Ankeny Dance with the new challenge of teaching tumbling to dancers. Taylor hopes to inspire her students and be a positive influence like her coaches were for her. We are happy she is here to bring her passion for tumbling to our students at ADPAA!