Sammy Baker Weise is a graduate of Central Methodist with a double major in child development and Psychology. Sammy was born and raised in Columbia, MO. She has been dancing for over twenty year. Sammy has danced and competed in New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, and LA while winning many awards. She won Tribute National Dance Competition 2017 Teacher of the Year Award. Sammy has a true passion for dance and her students. She taught at The Academy of Fine Arts for seven years. She was a youth ministry leader at The Crossing Church for the last five years. She has been the Head Coach for Hickman High School's Dance Team since 2017. She is the wonderful owner and Director of TDA. She teaches most of our tap classes and plays a huge role with our competition program! You will be able to catch Mrs. Sammy either in the classroom or behind the front desk. She is always around!
Nicole Bell is from Oxford, Michigan and began dancing at the age of three. She began to seriously study ballet at the age of 14 under the direction of Cornelia Sampson at Michigan Ballet Theatre. She also trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and dance for two years as a trainee with Charlotte Ballet. She is currently in her fourth season with Missouri Contemporary Ballet where she has performed in ballets such as Carmina Burana, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and several mixed repertory shows. Nikki loves teaching ballet, lyrical and leaps & turns classes at TDA!
Mary Deaver is a Senior at Rock Bridge High School. She began dancing when she was 4 years old and competed from the time she was 5 years old to a sophomore in High School. This is Mary’s third year on LA Dance Magic’s Company. Mary began demoing the pixie classes under Sammy Baker and Suzanne Menser when she was 8 years old. She began co-teaching them with Sammy two years ago. Now she teaches them with Brooke Sonksen. This year she also began teaching Beginner ballet & hip hop classes. She loves spending time with the kids and bringing energy for her love of dance into the classroom. Mary is eager to continue learning from all her teachers and excited to share her knowledge with all her students. Mary is not your average high school student, she is one in a million.
Sam Franklin is from Kansas City, Missouri. She will be a senior at the University of Missouri this upcoming year majoring in Organizational Communications with a minor in Business. She danced previously at Heart of America Dance Centre in Lee’s Summit, MO. Sam was a part of their competitive team and ballet company. She was cast in the youth ballets The Nutcracker as Rat King, Snowflake, and Russian dancer. She danced competitively for 10 years and loved it! She was a member of her high school dance team for three years and was a captain for two. Sam absolutely loves working at TDA and can’t imagine her life without it! Sam is a Co-Director of TDA's Competition Team this year!
Gracie Hollrah has danced since she was 3 years old and loves every single thing about dancing. She was the captain for her high school dance team, The Kewpie Dolls. She was a member of the LA Dance Magic Company for 3 years. She also spent a year as a ProTrack member for LA Dance Magic where she got the opportunity to work with professional dancers while traveling to all cities of the LA Dance Magic tour. She is now majoring in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and minoring in business. She was a Golden Girl for the University of Missouri this past year. Gracie is looking forward to continuing her love of dance with LA Dance Magic as well as being a choreographer for the Hickman Dance Team. Gracie is also a Co-Director of TDA's Competition Team this year!
Brooke Sonksen has been dancing for 14 years. She first started dancing at The Academy of Fine Arts then moved to TDA for her senior year. She was also a part of her high school’s dance team “The Kewpie Dolls” all throughout her high school career. She decided to continue her passion for dance in college and is currently a member of Mizzou’s competition dance team. Brooke was also a member of LA Dance Magic’s company for two years. She loves teaching at TDA, especially the pixie classes. She has a talent for working with tiny dancers. We are very lucky to have Miss Brooke as part of our family!
Olivia Zacharias was born and raised in Columbia, MO. She graduated from Rock Bridge High School in May 2018 and is now a freshman at Columbia College; pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She has danced competitively since she was four years old, starting at the Academy of Fine Arts. She finished her senior year of dance at TDA. She has been a demo for years under Sammy and now is one of the tap teachers at TDA. She has also taken over the Inclusive Program, which is a dance program for kids of any age with any special need or disability. We are so thankful and blessed to have Olivia on our staff
**If you are interested in joining TDA's Staff please contact Sammy Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org**