THE DANCE AVENUE STAFF
Jami Powers began dancing at 3 years old in Des Moines and began competing with APDA in 1993. In high school Jami was captain of her cheer squad at Lincoln High School. Jami also did choreography and was dance captain of her show choir at Lincoln.
Over the years Jami has been able to take lessons and master classes at various locations including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Daytona Beach, Florida. Jami has competed at countless regional and several national competitions and is known at the studio as one of our most graceful ballet dancers/teachers.
Outside of dance Jami is wife to Jim and mom to two boys, Ashton and Landen. When she is not dancing you can find Miss Jami studying ballet, dance, injury prevention and more. She is currently enrolled in the NDEO program furthering her dance education to provide the students she teaches even more information and techniques to improve their dancing and their health.
Nicole (Nikki) Miller began dancing at APDA in 1992. In 8th grade she began student teaching and fell in love with teaching and sharing her passion. From ages 5-11 Miss Nikki was a gymnast with a gym in West Des Moines. Always a talented tumbler, Nikki does an excellent job with many of our tumbling classes.
In high school Nikki was involved in cheerleading and dance team at Lincoln High School. Recently she was asked to come back and choreograph an alumni dance for former Railettes to perform at their Spring Show. Nikki also has experience in fashion design and merchandising and designs/sews some of our custom costumes for our team.
Outside of dance, Nikki is married to Ryan and is mom to four children. Ashlyn, Jaden, Adysen and Jaxon, all of which share her love for dance. Nikki is very passionate about her family, nursing, and of course, DANCE!
Marisa Theulen danced at APDA for 16 years and was a member of the competition team for 11. Marisa's talent was recognized at a very young age and she began dancing with groups much older than her age.
In her years with APDA, Marisa has danced at numerous regional and 7 national competitions. She has won countless awards for her dancing including many first overall placings for her groups and solos. At Rainbow Connection regional dance competition Marisa was recognized as the top performer of the entire competition and was awarded a chance to perform in a music video.
In high school Marisa danced on the Lincoln Railettes under Roberta Nigro and in college Marisa went on to make the University of Iowa Dance Team as the only freshman. Over the years Marisa has been fortunate enough to take master classes in Des Moines and Los Angeles and spend several summers attending classes at The EDGE.
When she's not busy dancing, Marisa can be found at ther job in Radiology and spending time with her husband, Todd and daughter Memphis. She says her favorite dance styles are lyrical and musical theatre and she absolutely loves working with TDA dancers of all ages.
Andrea (Andi) Robinson danced with APDA for 16 years. Starting at a young age, Andrea knew that she had a love for dance that would carry her throughout life. Over the years, Andi has competed in many regional and national competitions with the team receiving many high placement awards.
In high school, Andrea danced on the Lincoln Railettes with her good friend Marisa Swoboda and choreographed several of their dances for state competition. Besides being a talented dancer and a very fun teacher, Andrea is always the teacher who will put a smile on your face with her positive attitude and wonderful energy. Andrea says she enjoys every part of her dance life and feels as though her students and co-workers are more like family.
When she's not busy teaching, Andrea is either working, enjoying time with her daughters Alivia and Hallie, and son Karson or cheering on her husband DJ at one of his many races!
Olivia Signor began dancing at the age of 3 in Des Moines and began dancing at TDA in 2010. A year later she was asked to join the competition team. Olivia continued to dance competitively for 7 years before graduating in 2018.
In high school Olivia danced on the Lincoln Railettes. Her junior year, she was the only junior chosen to be a team captain. She also excelled academically and was a member of National Honor Society, National Council on Youth Leadership, and received her Silver Cord of Service. Her senior year she worked extra hard and earned her CNA through Central Campus.
Over the years Olivia has been fortunate enough to travel to Los Angeles and attend classes at The EDGE with outstanding instructors. Olivia is currently a student at Iowa State University working towards an RN degree. Every Monday she drives 40 minutes back to Des Moines to teach at TDA.
Outside of dance Olivia enjoys traveling around the world with her family and spending time outdoors. She is excited to be a TDA staff member and she says her favorite part of the year is recital time because she loves seeing everyone’s hard work pay off.
Amanda Pelzer has been dancing and doing gymnastics since she was 3 years old. She competed in both - in numerous events across the country. During college, Amanda was a member and captain of the Simpson College Dance Team. After graduating from Simpson, she taught dance & tumbling in Norwalk and Carlisle for several years. Taught 4th grade for 6 years then stayed home with her kids while operating an in-home daycare.
Amanda currently coaches gymnastics at Chow's Gymnastics and Dance, and is a Beachbody CIZE instructor. She is also a current part-time lead preschool teacher. Amanda lives in Norwalk with her 3 children. She is extremely excited to have this opportunity to work with the TDA dance family as a tumbling teacher.
Mackenzy Cooper began dancing at APDA at 3 years old where she was also a member of the competition team for 13 years. In high school Mackenzy danced on the Lincoln Railettes and also served as Vice President of Jr. Dance Masters of Mid-America Chapter #34. She also performed in Iowa Dance Theatre's production of The Nutcracker and was the 2015 Miss. Dance of Dance Masters of Mid-America Chapter #34.
Mackenzy was a member of the University of Iowa dance team during the historic 2015 football season and had the opportunity to dance in the Rose Bowl parade and game. During her time at Iowa she also worked at Walt Disney World as a Character Performer.
Mackenzy says she is excited to be back dancing and working along side some of the amazing teachers that trained her. She’s excited to show her students how dance can make a lasting impact in their life inside and outside of the studio.
Ellen is a native of the Chicagoland area and started dancing at the age of 3. She grew up primarily training in ballet and passed several Royal Academy of Dance exams, in addition to gaining experience in jazz, modern, and lyrical as a member of her studio's performing company. Ellen continued her dance education at the University of Illinois, where she had the opportunity to take classes with dance department faculty and performed as a member of a student dance troupe. After moving to Iowa, Ellen began taking classes at the Pointe Academy and is currently a member of their performing ensemble. Ellen has also participated in several Iowa Dance Theatre productions.
When she is not dancing, Ellen works as a speech-language pathologist. Working closely with physical and occupational therapists, Ellen has had unique opportunities to learn about anatomy and physiology related to movement and enjoys being able to connect this with her knowledge of dance. Ellen is a life-long musician and loves being able to give music a new dimension through dance. Because she's crazy, Ellen is also a runner and has been training for half marathons for the past several years.
Ellen is thrilled to join the TDA team and share her love of dance with her students!
Kaytie’s dance career started at just 2 years old. After a short break to pursue other interests, she realized her true passion of dance. She joined APDA in 2005 and was on the competition team for 5 years as well as a Varsity Railette at Lincoln High School.
After graduating in 2012, Miss Kaytie went on to dance for the Cedar Rapids Titans Dolls. It was there while working with their junior dancers that she fell in love with teaching. While in the Cedar Rapids Area, she found a second dance home at Prestige Dance Studio for 5 years. While working with Prestige Dance Studio’s Company dancers, she helped earn numerous high placement awards, choreography awards, and National Titles.
Miss Kaytie is so excited to be back in her hometown and to have the opportunity to teach alongside the amazing instructors that help mold her as a dancer and person.
Bailey started dancing at APDA the age of 3 but had to take a break until she came to TDA at the age of 13. She was then on TDA's competition team until she graduated in 2018. Bailey also participated in her high school drill team at Norwalk High School.
Bailey has had several accomplishments across her years at TDA, traveling for various dance opportunities. In 2015 she was the youngest to be selected for Celebrity Senior Crew, an internship in which she danced and worked on a cruise ship traveling the Gulf of Mexico! In 2016, she was crowned Miss Dance of Dance Masters Mid America #34. That summer she traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to compete for the national title of Miss Dance of America. In 2017, Bailey offered a half tuition scholarship to AMDA college in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Bailey could not accept this offer after tearing her ACL the following summer.
On top of her accomplishments, Bailey has taken classes from numerous dancers and choreographers in the industry as well as many classes at both EDGE Performing Arts Center and Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles, California.
Outside of dance, Bailey is studying to become a Physical Therapist specializing in dancers and dance injuries and prevention. She also loves to spend time with her family and friends, especially her dog Maggie. Bailey is constantly trying to find ways to improve herself as a dancer and teacher. She loves teaching the dancers and hopes to have a positive influence on them like she says the teachers did for her in her time at TDA.
Emily started dancing at APDA at the age of 3. She began to dance competitively at age 7, participating in various competitions until she graduated from Lincoln high school in 2018. She also was a member of her high school dance team for 3 years. She now continues her dancing career on the Iowa State dance team!
Emily has had many opportunities to attend a variety of conventions, master classes, including classes at the EDGE in Los Angeles from well known choreographers. Today, she is enjoying her time as an Iowa State dance team member. She’s able to dance on the sidelines at both football and basketball games, as well as travel for football. Every year, ISUDT competes in the Iowa State Drill Team Competition, as well as NDA national championship located in Dayton beach, FL.
Outside of dance, Emily is working towards her Bachelors in science with a focus in Community and Public health. She plans to then attend nursing school to receive her RN and her BSN. She one day dreams of being a nurse practitioner. Some of her favorite things are traveling, school and music. She also loves to spend time with her family and friends. She’s always had a passion for teaching and is especially excited that she can teach the dancers at TDA.
Lizzie started dancing for APDA at 3 years old. She danced there for 15 years until she graduated high school in 2008. Following high school Lizzie went to the University of Iowa for 2 years, and while there she broke up her science heavy curriculum by taking several dance classes including: ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop.
Lizzie then made the decision to transfer to Grand View University where she was on their competitive dance team for her remaining two years of college. Lizzie competed with Grand View at the state, regional and national level. Following her graduation from Grand View in 2012, Lizzie earned a master’s degree in Biomedical Science in 2015 and moved with her husband and 2 kids to Columbia, Missouri.
Lizzie’s family moved back to the Des Moines area in August 2019. Lizzie works as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Blank Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, but was thrilled to find out TDA was hiring and jumped at the opportunity to step back into the dance world. When Lizzie is not working or teaching she enjoys spending time with her 2 kids and husband.
Natalie Worthington began dancing at the age of 3 and graduated from Lincoln high school & TDA in 2019. Her senior year she was a part of the TDA competition team, and was a Railette on the Lincoln Varsity Dance team. Since then, Natalie has studied at Des Moines Area Community College, and The University of Iowa, majoring in Biology working towards becoming a Physician Associate.
Outside of dance, Natalie enjoys traveling, dogs, and spending time with friends and family. She is beyond excited for the ability to do what she loves and is passionate about being able to teach and spread her passion for dance!
Caitlin started dancing/competing at 5 years old in Des Moines and began dancing/competing with The Dance Avenue in 2014, for a total of 13 years dancing/competing. Over the years, Caitlin has competed in many regional and 4 national competitions with her teams, receiving many high placements and awards.
While in High School, Caitlin was a part of the Carlisle Dance Team and the Carlisle Varsity Cheerleading squad and was captain of the cheer squad her senior year. Caitlin has won 3 state championships with the varsity cheer squad and placed 3rd with her 5-Man group at state.
Caitlin is currently enrolled at DMACC to complete her 2 years of general education credits, and will then begin the DMACC 3+1 Nursing Program with the University of Iowa to eventually get her RN-BSN.
Outside of dance, Caitlin enjoys going on bike rides with her dad, dog training (especially her 2 dogs Jaxson and Murray), spending time with family, and watching her favorite Netflix shows. Caitlin says she is very excited to start teaching and can’t wait to see and meet everyone!
Ashlyn began her dance career at 3 years old dancing for APDA. In 2010 she began dancing for The Dance Avenue and continued to dance competitively for 15 years until her graduation from Lincoln High School.
In her years at Lincoln, Ashlyn was a member and captain of the Lincoln Varsity Railettes. In her senior season, the Railettes placed 3rd at state. Ashlyn was also a President’s List scholar at Central Campus and spent time volunteering at Meals from the Heartland and other service projects.
In college, Ashlyn went on to make the Grand View University Dance Team. During her first year on the team, she was awarded “Rookie of the Year,” and made the nationals team.
Ashlyn has been a student staff member at TDA since she was 13 years old and developed a passion for dance and for children and teaching. She says she loves to see them progress in something they love to do and she enjoys pushing them to achieve their goals. Besides dance her other passion is art! Ashlyn loves to draw and paint and is majoring in Graphic Design at GVU with hopes of becoming a Graphic Designer & Artist after college. Ashlyn says she is excited for her new experience as a teacher at TDA this year!
Albert "Hank" Adams is a Des Moines native who was awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Stone-Camryn School of Ballet in Chicago after High School. In addition to a ballet career with the Colorado Concert Ballet, David Taylor Dance Theater, the Eglevsky Ballet in New York City, and the Neuman Dance Project, Hank has also performed in over 30 musicals and operas.
Since returning home to Iowa in 1991 he has worked with practically every local dance organization there is. A short list includes: Des Moines Metro Opera, Simpson College Opera, Iowa Dance Theatre, The Neuman Project, StageWest, Des Moines Playhouse, Dance Co’motion, and Shakespeare on the lawn at Salisbury House.
Jaden Miller began dancing at age 5 with The Dance Avenue taking classes in tap, jazz and hip hop. He became interested in competing and began studying ballet, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre as well. Jaden had an outstanding competitive dance experience winning many titles and overall placements for solos as well as winning many top placements with groups and productions. He has won countless scholarships and judges choice awards for his technique and artistry. As his passion for dance grew, Jaden began to be interested in choreography and developed a style all his own.
Jaden was also a dancer and captain of the Railemen at Lincoln High School. The routine he choreographed for the Railmen for state competition placed 2nd overall. With his love for musicality and movement, Jaden spent his senior year doing a new improv solo at each competition he entered on top of two other choreographed solos and many group routines. During high school, Jaden began teaching boys classes at TDA and doing choreography for several competitive routines. He has enjoyed growing his knowledge and sharing his style with dancers at TDA. Jaden also teaches dance at Des Moines Public Schools in an after-school program.
Jaden has had the honor of representing Dance Masters of Mid-America, Chapter #34 twice as both Junior Mister Dance and Mister Dance. At the national level, Jaden placed 2nd runner for Mister Dance of America. Jaden has also won 3 scholarships to T.A.P.S. in Las Vegas and has traveled there to train in their intensive. Jaden has also studied dance at EDGE in Los Angeles as well as Millennium. Jaden is excited to continue sharing his passion for dance with the students of TDA!
Danielle began her dance career at the age of two and a half, dancing at a number of local dance studios throughout the years, and started dancing competitively at the age of eight. She continued her studies throughout high school, and attended summer dance camps with Energy Source Dance Company and Oklahoma City University, as well as dancing in the Saydel High School Marching Band color guard for four years.
She also danced competitively in solo and group dances for ten years, as well as dancing in Nutcracker productions with Iowa Dance Theatre, Principle Dance Corps and Carol Tetmeyer Dance Studio.
After graduation from high school, Danielle decided to pursue her dance studies at Oklahoma City University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in American Dance Pedagogy (teacher). While there, she danced with the American Spirit Dance Company as well as dancing in the student choreography shows. During her senior year there, she taught and choreographed for students in the Community Dance Center, the University’s dance studio for children and college students, and managed and organized the studio dance recital. While pursuing her studies there, Danielle studied under Jo Rowan and Brian Marcum, as well as various dance faculty. While at Oklahoma City University, Danielle studied tap, jazz, ballet, pointe and musical theater as well as studio management and teaching.