Sammy Baker is a graduate of Central Methodist with a degree in child development and a minor in Psychology. Sammy was born and raised in Columbia, MO. She has been dancing for over nineteen years. She has danced and competed in New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, and LA while winning many awards. Sammy has a true passion for dance and the students. She taught at the Academy of Fine Arts for seven years. She also has been a youth ministry leader at The Crossing Church for the past 5 years. Sammy is teaching the Tap, Pixie, and Strength & Conditioning classes at TDA this year.
Bailey Bauchem has danced competitively in St. Louis since she was four years old. She danced on a UDA Nationally Ranked dance team in high school. Bailey also founded FZW STARS Dance Team in 2012, which is an all inclusive dance team for individuals with physically and intellectual disabilities. She has worked for UDA for one year as a camp instructor and UDA NDTC staffer in Orlando, Florida. Bailey then received an AFFA certification and taught Hip Hop and fitness classes at the Mizzou Rec Complex. She has also choreographed regional and national competitive dance team routines for several teams in the St. Louis area. Bailey is currently in Master's school for occupational therapy. She is teaching all of the Hip Hop classes and Leaps and Turns at TDA this year! Bailey is also the founder for the Inclusive program at TDA.
Nicole Bell, from Oxford, Michigan, began dancing at the age of three. She began to seriously study ballet at the age of 14 at The Rochester School of Dance under the direction of Cornelia Sampson. While in their resident company, Michigan Ballet Theatre, she performed Principal Roles in their production of The Nutcracker and Coppelia. She also trained in the full-time division at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School in 2012-2013 under the direction of Janet Popeleski, Marjorie Grundvig, and Dennis Marshall. While in Pittsburgh, Nicole performed in the company productions of The Nutcracker, and Graduation Ball, staged by Terrence Orr. From 2013-2015, Nicole danced as a Trainee at Charlotte Ballet (formerly North Carolina Dance Theatre), where she trained with Patricia McBride, Mark Diamond, and Kathryn Moriarty. At Charlotte Ballet, she performed in company productions of Western Symphony, Jean Pierre Bonnefoux’s The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Carnival of the Animals, The Four Temperaments, and Peter Pan. Nicole attended summer intensives at Ballet Met, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Charlotte Ballet, and Blue Lake Fine Arts. This is Nicole’s third season with Missouri Contemporary Ballet, and has previously taught at the school of MCB & the Academy of Fine Arts. She is looking forward to all this year at TDA has to offer!
Suzanne Menser grew up in Columbia, MO. She was the UMC feature twirler and a former Mizzou Golden Girl. She was the assistant director of The Academy of Fine Arts and has been teaching there for the past 15 years. With 30 years of dancing under her belt, Suzanne has a true passion for dance and loves working with the students. She has received numerous choreography awards throughout the years. Suzanne is teaching the Jazz classes this year at TDA! We are so excited to have her as part of our family!
Junior Soares (Jose) began his training at eleven years old in Brazil. He trained at Bolshoi School, where he was in numerous dances. After graduating he danced with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago & danced in numerous ballets. From there he was accepted into Milwaukee Ballet's company, where he had the opportunity to perform several lead roles. Jose served over 60,000 children in 250 outreach performances while with the Milwaukee Ballet. This was Jose's first year with Missouri Contemporary Ballet. We are so excited to have Jose a lot our Ballet and Lyrical classes at TDA this year. He is the perfect addition to our family!
Cayla Troyer-Timberlake has danced at The Academy of Fine Arts for over 15 years. She was a member of the 2007 national champion Bruin Girls Dance Team. Cayla was a Golden Girl and a feature twirler during her four years at Mizzou. She has adored her studio family and loves seeing the positive impact that dance has on each student. We are so thankful to have her as part of the TDA family!
Mary Deaver is a student at Rock Bridge High School. She has danced since she was 4-years-old and joined the competition team when she was 5-years-old. She is continuing competition with TDA this year. This is Mary's second year on company with LA Dance Magic. Mary has worked with the pixies as a demo since she was 8-years-old and began teaching them last year with Sammy Baker. She loves spending time with the kids and bringing energy for her love for dance into the classroom. We love having Ms. Mary in our classrooms as a student and a teacher!
Olivia Zacharias was born and raised in Columbia, Mo. She started dance at the age of two at the Academy of Fine Arts and has been dancing ever since. She is a senior in high school and will graduate from Rock Bridge High School in May. For the past few years she has been assisting/teaching with Sammy Baker in all tap classes. Next year, she plans to major in Elementary Education at Columbia College. Olivia is so excited to be teaching and assisting tap classes at her new home, TDA this year!
Hallie Comer is a sophomore at Hickman High School. She has danced for 12 years and is currently an advanced competition dancer at TDA. She has experience working with individuals with disabilities through the Agape Ministry at The Crossing Church, Adaptive Gymnastics and Dance Ability. Hallie plans to major in special education in college. She helps with our inclusive program along with many other classes! Hallie is thrilled to be helping us in the classroom along with learning as a student!