Melanie Pike has been the assistant director of eMotion Dance since 2007. She trained in her early years at eMotion and the Life Arts Center. She was honored to be in the 2002 Winter Olympic Opening & Closing Ceremonies as a Child of Light. As a Bingham High Minerette she won multiple state and national championships. While attending BYU-Idaho she performed with the World Dance Team and Contemporary Dance Theatre. As a member of Dance Alliance, she toured the southern states performing contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop and ballroom. She was privileged to be on the adjunct dance faculty teaching dance classes at BYU-I. She finished her bachelors degree at Utah Valley University in Digital Media. While in Utah Valley, Melanie preformed with Footworks Tap company and taught classes at eMotion Dance. She currently works as a professional web designer. Her favorite accomplishment is that of being little Mckenzie's mommy.
Jazz & Tumbling
Karen began her dance training at the age of three in Phoenix, Arizona where she attended one of the premier studios in the area, studied at Ballet Arizona, and trained privately at Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics. She attended numerous dance conventions and competitions in the Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles areas with some of the nation's top instructors. She graduated from Brigham Young University where she received a Bachelor's degree in Dance and History Teaching. During those years she repeatedly enrolled in jazz, ballet, modern and ballroom classes, and studied many other genres of dance as well. She was a member of the BYU Ballroom Dance Team where she was encouraged to compete in International Amateur Latin, International Standard and Theater Arts Competitions. She also attended Center Stage Performing Arts Studio where she participated in advanced classes and trained privately with several top instructors.
Karen began teaching at the age of twelve. After teaching ballet, jazz and gymnastics for two years, she opened her own studio at the age of fourteen in a built out garage. She took a break from teaching while attending BYU- then started a dance company in the Phoenix, AZ area which, after two years, had locations in five cities. She sold her company when she moved to Utah in 2006.
Karen has choreographed numerous Phoenix Suns half-time shows, The Fiesta Bowl pre-game show, and The March of Dimes- Walk America Extravaganza, to name a few. She had a contract with the Arizona Diamond Backs as their exclusive guest choreographer during their "championship years" between 2002-2006. This was one of the highlights of her career as she frequently performed as a guest dancer during this time.
Karen continues to teach and choreograph hundreds of students. Dancing is her passion, and she considers teaching her calling in life!
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Originally from the Midwest, the fine arts have always been a part of Carolyn’s life. As a child in Michigan and Indiana she loved performing in show choirs and theaters and studying music, but it became apparent at the early age of 5 that she had a special interest in drawing and the visual arts. She went on to receive a BFA in visual arts and illustration from BYU in 2006. Her illustrations have been used in various children’s sources and educational materials. She enjoys experimenting in a variety of mediums with a special love for oils, and printmaking. In 2009 She began directing a community arts program in Wyoming and has continued teaching in various schools and community programs. She currently teaches to students ages 2 to 98. As a teacher she feels strongly that everyone can learn to create art and she makes it a personal goal to help each of her students feel successful unlocking their creativity to express themselves. She believes that art is a powerful interdisciplinary teaching tool. Currently she finds most of her artistic inspiration while spending time in the mountains with her loving husband and two adorably rambunctious kiddos. She is looking forward to all the fun, games, and messes with art at the Emotion Fine Arts Preschool.
Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop & Ballet
Diego Ballesteros was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and is well known for his full out creativity. He started dancing at the age of 14, being placed in a recreational Hip Hop class, instantly falling in love with movement. He then went on to train in Jazz and Ballet and that's where he decided he wanted to make a career out of Dance. Having been trained in many styles and continuing to grow his craft, he has worked with numerous Dance Studios, Dance Companies and Drill Teams improving not only technique, but also strengthening movement and confidence. He has received several awards and recognition for his choreography and unique style. Diego has helped create a Company with Millennium which trains regularly under choreographers from Salt Lake City, as well as bringing in top choreographers from LA. He also teaches a wide selection of open classes at Millennium ranging from Hip Hop, Jazz Funk, Contemporary Jazz and Stretching/Flexibility. While committing so much of his time to his students and his Company, he also keeps up his training as a professional dancer on Underground Crew.
Intro Classes, Tumbling
Julie Jex has always had a great passion for dance since age 3 where she trained in a variety of dance genre's including: tap, clogging, jazz, ballet, pointe, contemporary, lyrical, tumbling, hip hop, modeling and baton twirling. She was also on both her High School Drill Team and Dance Company for 3 years, and served as an officer for both teams. She received an Associate's Degree from Snow College where she was on the Drill Team and the Clogging Team. She then graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences and was on the USU Ballroom Dance team for two years. She has 24 years of teaching experience, including both dance and preschool. She has taught for 9 different studios in Utah and also owned and operated her own dance studio. She has taught and choreographed for many solo dancers and personally earned many local and national dance and baton twirling awards. She loves to teach kids and is excited to be part of the Emotion faculty this year.
Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop & Tap
By the age of seven, Kaylene knew she wanted dance to be part of her life. Her training started at Dance Concepts in Sandy, Utah where she was taught Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern and Hip Hop. Kaylene then continued her training at The Winner School while being a member of Hillcrest Drill team and Dance Company. In 2000, Kaylene was awarded the Utah High School Dance Scholarship. Attending many conventions, Kaylene trained with professionals including, Alex Magno, Jason Parsons, Dave Carter, and Madonna Grimes.
After High School, Kaylene received a scholarship for the modern program at UVSC in Orem, Utah. Her dance career started with CF productions Jazz Dance Company, training with Kelly Messerly, and Chantelle Collier Cook. Following her first company work, Kaylene auditioned in L.A. and opened for the 2000 NSYNC concert in Salt Lake City. Kaylene was also featured in the dance film “On Step” in 2001. At the end of 2001, she was asked to be a member of the Odyssey 2 scholarship program. Kaylene then danced with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines on the “World Tour”, traveling around the world in 8 months and performing various Broadway musicals. Returning from her tour, Kaylene performed with Hale Center Theatre in “Footloose.”
Finally Kaylene joined Odyssey Dance Theatre in 2003. She trained and performed with the company for 4 years. During her time with Odyssey, she trained with various artists such as Dee Caspbery, and Mandy Moore. Performing in one of Odysseys shows “Sledgehammer,” The Salt Lake Tribune wrote about Kaylene as, “a precise yet relaxed dancer with a defined look and persuasive presence.” Kaylene toured Europe twice with the company performing several of Odyssey’s dance repertoire.
Throughout her dance career, Kaylene has choreographed for many Drill Teams, Dance Companies, and has done studio work for 14 years. Kaylene has 3 amazing children, Laila, Dane and Alice, and is married to love of her life Jon Farrington, who she forces to dance with her on a daily basis. She hopes to pass on the love of dance to her children and students!
Lisa Machen Fifield was born and raised on a potato farm in Roberts, Idaho. As a small child, she dreamed of becoming a professional dancer, and travelling the world. At the age of fourteen, the family farm went bankrupt. Lisa was forced to quit ballet, and she thought her life was over! However, taught by the determination of her mother that “with God, all things are possible” …she began teaching herself at home. After months of scrubbing floors, and creating her own home ballet routine, Lisa was able to return to lessons by paying for them herself. After her teachers, John and Janice Nelson, saw to their disbelief and amazement that she had improved by leaps and bounds, Lisa was awarded a full scholarship to their school. At the age of sixteen, Lisa began studying on full scholarship at the University of Utah’s Ballet Department as well as Ballet West Conservatory. While still attending high school part-time, Lisa trained under the direction of William F. Christensen, Bené Arnold, and Attila Ficzere. Lisa received full scholarships to: the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City; (the only scholarship awarded that summer), Summerdance with James Canfield of Oregon Ballet Theater, the Montana Ballet Company; dancing a principal role with Afshin Mofid. She trained at that time with Jiang Qi, a principal dancer from the Central Ballet of China, who would eventually open the doors that would change her life forever. After dancing principal and soloist roles while touring and performing with the University of Utah’s Utah Ballet Company, Lisa graduated with a B.F.A. in Ballet Performance. Her favorite role she danced there was The Firebird. Upon completion of her studies, Lisa was offered the chance of a lifetime: to become China’s first-ever American dancer contract. Jiang Qi, in collaboration with the Chinese government, found Lisa a place with the Guangzhou Ballet Company, in Guangzhou China. A month later, Lisa took a leap of faith, and travelled to a part of the world that she had only dreamed of-CHINA! Lisa soon realized that she would have to learn Chinese in order to break down the barriers that existed between her and the Chinese people. Lisa was led to a teacher who helped her to grasp the basic tones and sounds of the Mandarin-Chinese language. Eventually, after losing face numerous times, and experiencing countless embarrassing moments, Lisa not only saw the walls break down between her and the other dancers, but found that acquiring the Chinese language paved the way for her solo journey to the Great Wall in Beijing. Touring and performing in excess of one hundred performances throughout China and in the United States, Lisa’s most memorable moment dancing with the Guangzhou Ballet was actually when Lisa was not cast in a new ballet, The Yellow River. Because this was a national and well-known traditional piece of music, associated with Chinese national identity, and she was not Chinese; foreigners were not typically cast. Lisa, however, was not to be thwarted. She learned every part, and attended every rehearsal. Two days before opening night, a soloist dancer in the company twisted her ankle, and moments later, Lisa was called upon to fill her spot! Bathed in red light, and hearing thunderous applause fill the auditorium as a large communist flag fell as the backdrop, Lisa felt honor and gratitude fill her heart for having been given the privilege of being born in America. For after a year and a half dancing with the Chinese, she realized that had she been born in China, she never would have been able to accomplish what she had as a dancer, nor would she have been able to make the difficult choice to leave China. Upon returning to the United States, Lisa was offered a contract to dance with the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Belgium. Through mighty prayer, Lisa felt it was time to hang up her toe shoes, and discover a new passion: Mandarin-Chinese. Becoming Miss Idaho Falls, ID, Lisa began sharing her love of Chinese with the community. She soon returned to the University of Utah, to receive her B.S. degree in Mandarin-Chinese, and became a pioneer for teaching Mandarin-Chinese in the public schools. Lisa began igniting the fire in the next generation of America’s youth as she created Chinese programs and taught at both Kaysville and Farmington Junior High. In 2006, and six months pregnant with her first child, Lisa led a group twenty students and parents on a two-week tour of places they had studied and learned about in China. She is incredibly proud as she hears of the countless students whose lives have gone on to serve Mandarin-speaking LDS missions, are studying abroad in China, or teaching English as well. She has worked for the State of Utah’s Governor’s Office in Foreign Relations as a translator and interpreter, Samsung’s Utah Olympic Games in 2002, and as a liaison for Utah China-Harvard Business Group. She has been fortunate to host numerous foreign dignitaries and delegations from Taiwan and China. Lisa continues to share her love of the Chinese language and culture throughout the community. She comes from a family of six children, a foster sister, and step-brother. She was very fortunate to have been raised by parents who taught her the value of hard work, and faith in the Lord. She is the mother of two children, Kate and Jane, who are the angels of her life. Lisa recognizes the hand of God as the source of her strength, and also wants to thank all the parents who provide her the opportunity to teach their wonderful children. ..Xie Xie!
Has been dancing since age four and performing professionally since age 11. Her training began at Clytie Adam’s School of Ballet in Kaysville, Utah where she studied Ballet, Pointe, & Jazz, for ten years. Megan then moved to Sandy and contin- ued her training at Academy of Ballet Arts for four years. During her training, Megan had the privilege of playing parts including Party Princess, Party Girl, Clara, and Red Soldier in Ballet West’s Nutcracker. She started her professional career at age eleven as a singer/dancer at Salt Lake’s theme park, Lagoon and continued there for four years. Other performing opportunities included singing & dancing for a TV show called Desti- nation Stardom, and performing with Angie Stone (Grammy Winner) for a fund raiser at the Olympics. Since then, she has continued singing and dancing in various plays, con- ventions, cruise lines, etc. and has been teaching ballet and jazz for six years. This year, she auditioned for “So You Think You Can Dance” and was one of the seventy people out of thousands to get to perform for “the judges”. Megan has a passion for dance and teaching and loves to see her students gain that same “passion."
Megan Nordgren has been dancing and teaching dance for practically her entire life. Growing up in Salt Lake City, she trained in jazz and ballet at Janet Gray Dance Studios and classical ballet at Casilino School of Creative Arts. She received her B.A. in Dance from Brigham Young University.
Megan has instructed students in ballet and other dance styles for many years. While attending BYU, she taught social dance to college students. After college, she taught ballroom dance at Alta High School in Sandy, Utah, where she led the Alta Ballroom Dance Team in statewide competitions. During and after her three years teaching high school, she taught ballet to students of all ages at studios in Utah and Arizona. This is her second year at eMotion Dance.
Her biggest dance-related accomplishment, however, is attempting to teach her soon-to-be husband the waltz so as to avoid humiliating himself at their wedding reception. She succeeded in staving off humiliation, and she lives with her now-husband and their three children in Sandy.
Merrilee has loved to dance her whole life. She began taking lessons at age 12. In high school she was a member of Dance company and also a State Champion Cheerleader and stunt partner. She studied dance at SLCC, and BYU and also with private tap instructors. Merrilee has been teaching at eMotion dance over the past nine years and is one of our resident tap instructors. She has taught tap to all ages from 3-65 years old. She has been a dancer of Jazz, ballet, country swing and line dancing, African, ballroom, cheer, and tap is by far her absolute favorite!
Tiffani Barney grew up training at Children's Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, Ballet Conservatory of Salt Lake City, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and Repertory Dance Theatre, in LA at Long Beach University and in New York City at STEPS and Broadway Dance Center. As a child and teenager she danced in over 15 full-length ballets including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. She also performed with the Utah Symphony, at California’s Disney Land and New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
In High School Tiffani danced and choreographed for their dance company where she served as their President and was awarded the Sterling Scholarship in Dance. During this time she started teaching ballet and other dance forms for the community and at a professional studio. After high school she choreographed musicals and dances for Cottonwood Arts Council, Children's Ballet Theatre and Flashmobs For You.
She went on to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre with a Minor in Modern Dance at the University of Utah during which time she was able to train from many acclaimed dancers and choreographers such as Sue Samuels, Denny Berry, Carol Shuberg, Shaun Perry, Daniel Squire and Wilhem Burmann. She was the recipient of the Utahnna B. Meilstrup theatre scholarship and performed lead dancing roles in the University's productions of The Wild Party (Jackie) and Songs For A New World (Woman 2, principle dancer).
Tiffani is currently an actress for two Utah acting companies and continues to dance and train with experts in the field. She loves teaching and inspiring students through movement and expression. She focuses on raising her students’ self-confidence through their physical and artistic achievements.