Jennifer Knostman- Owner & Artistic Director
Amy Earnest- Ballet Masters Program

Amy began dancing at the age of three in Atlanta, GA. Mrs. Earnest received her training with the School of Atlanta Ballet under the direction of Tom Pazik, School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. As a professional dancer she performed with Hartford Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre (currently Charlotte Ballet), Tulsa Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. She also was a finalist in the prestigious New York Ballet Competition of 1996 and was a member of the Chautauqua Ballet from 1998 to 2000.

Mrs. Earnest has been teaching and coaching students for the last 12 years and is certified with the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum in Primary through Level 3. Mrs. Earnest owned and directed Avant-Garde School of Dance, along with her husband Lance Hardin, where they choreographed and produced numerous performances including an annualNutcracker. Mrs. Earnest has trained and coached students that have continued their training with prestigious schools including American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet School.

13423987_10206896471196467_3852579455373980766_nMrs. Earnest is also a certified Pilates instructor receiving her certification through D.K. Body Balancing accredited by the University of Nevada Las Vegas and approved by the Nevada and Arizona State Boards of Physical Therapists. Mrs. Earnest also enjoyed her role as company teacher with Dawson Wallace Dance (formerly David Taylor Dance Theatre), from 2008-2012, along with a variety of requests as guest instructor. Most recently Mrs. Earnest and her husband Lance Hardin have served as Co Dance Directors at The Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids, MN.

Kate Adams- Ballet Masters Program

Kate Adams is a Boulder native who began dancing at Boulder Ballet at the age of 3. In
Colorado, she has had the chance to compete in the Denver Ballet Guild’s Young Dancers
Competition where she received 2 nd  place in 2010 and 6 th  place in 2014. As she rose through the
school, Kate also had opportunities to attend summer programs such as The Harid Conservatory,
Pacific Northwest Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Texas Ballet Theater. After graduating high school,
she moved to Georgia to study with the Atlanta Ballet. In her two years with Atlanta, she was
given the opportunity both years to perform in the snow and flower corps alongside the Atlanta
Ballet company in John McFall’s The Nutcracker. Kate has since moved back to Boulder where
she is working with Boulder Ballet while pursuing a Health Sciences degree online through the
University of South Dakota. She is excited to join the SWDC faculty and further her love for
teaching dance.

Kevin Yu- Break Dance & Hip Hop

I started dancing with my crew, mightyrockmoreZ, in 2009. Since then I’ve traveled to Korea and all across Colorado to learn and train with some of the best B-boys in the world. Always a student of hip hop, I’ve also been fortunate enough to teach and pass on all I’ve learned for the last 7 years. I stay active in the Colorado and Fort Collins dance community, currently the group co-leader for mightyrockmoreZ. As a crew, we compete and perform in B-boy jams all over Colorado and also host the Fort Collins Invisible Breaks jam and our annual Foco Flava jam. You can find me most Friday summer evenings in Old Town Square street performing and raising money to support our dance community!

Stacey Thompson- Assistant Ensemble Director

Dance has always been an important part of Stacey’s life. Stacey danced since the age of four and trained at the Laurel Youth Ballet Theatre, Point Park College, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Ballet Met and with Shely Pack Performing Arts Center. In high school, she was accepted into the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts. She attended the University of the Arts on a talent scholarship. There she received outstanding artist awards and graduated with a BFA, majoring in ballet.

She has performed roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, Coppelia, Serenade, Don Quiote, Tarantella, Bartered Bride, La Bayadere, and Raymonda as well as various original works. She has taught dance for numerous years at different studios and for the State of Hawaii’s Department of Education. She has performed professionally in a variety of productions ranging from contemporary ballet companies such as Opus Dance Ensemble and Contemporary Dance Forms, to Broadway review tours in China and Japan, to the casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Her last professional performances were with Steve Madden, MGM, and Seigfried and Roy, where she retired from the stage to have children and manage a Vegas Production Show. Stacey is thrilled to be a part of your teaching staff where she can continue expressing her love of children and the art of dance.

Lance Hardin- Ballet Masters Program

Lance Hardin is a native of Chicago, IL where he received his training from Larry Long at the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ballet from Indiana University, where he studied under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, Jacques Cesbron, and Violette Verdy. As a professional dancer, Mr. Hardin has danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre (currently Charlotte Ballet) , Chautauqua Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Boulder Ballet, Springfield Ballet Company, and the Yoko Kasai Ballet Studio located in Japan.

13442185_10206890677731634_6727104702891126904_nMr. Hardin has taught dance for the past 23 years and holds numerous choreographic credits including works for Boulder Ballet, James Sewell’s BalletWorks Project, The Denver Independent Choreographer’s Project, and Springfield Ballet Company. Mr. Hardin and his wife Amy Earnest have served as Co Dance Directors at The Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids, MN since 2012.

Autumn Mogenstern- Jazz, Tap, Music Theater & Technique

Autumn grew up in Orlando, FL where she performed with Orlando Ballet’s The Nutcracker, at the young age of 12 and danced at Walt Disney World. She performed with the Radio City Rockettes for 7 years and was extremely honored to be apart of such a prestigious, internationally known group. She was one of Radio City’s main Rockettes chosen to give interviews for radio, newspapers and television. Autumn has also danced for Tokyo Disneyland in Japan, Holland America Cruise Lines, Perichoresis Dance Company in NYC, the Olympic Game Opening Ceremony, Kia Motors and performed at several Universities in Africa. Her other experiences include work in film and television with musical groups such as Outkast and appearances on The Today Show, CNN, Waterboy, Rosewood, The Division, First Women Magazine and America’s Health Network. She is also a commercial voice over artist for radio.

Along with her dance career, Autumn graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in Telecommunications and a Minor in Theatre. She then continued her education in NYC at The Kane School for Pilates and The School for Film and Television. Autumn has taught at The Joffery School of Ballet, The Orlando Ballet, The Rockette Dance Intensive, Project Dance NYC, Dance Masters of America, Fox Theatre’s Rising Stars, New York Backstage and at the Texas Dance Educators Association. She has been a high school dance team coach, Adjunct Professor at Brenau University and producer of Project Dance Atlanta for 4 years. She currently guest teaches, choreographs musicals, judges dance and musical theatre competitions and is a convention teacher with Celebration Talent.

Autumn and her husband, Nicholas, also run their non-profit, Make and Believe Productions and produce the M&B Summer Dance Intensive. AutumnMorgenstern.com @AutumnMorgenstern

Lexi Greenberger- Ballet Masters Program
Ashton Schmeekle- Hip Hop & Contemporary

Ashton Schmeekle is an amazing triple threat talent who has been working professionally in the entertainment world since the age of 12. Growing up in her mom’s dance studio, Ashton quickly mastered the art of performance, and with focused determination by the age of 17 had co-written and recorded two demo albums as a pop artist. She has danced on the Disney channel in a music video with Tiffany Evans for the Lion King 11 soundtrack, appeared on the CBS hit show “Dance Revolution,” plays Mariah on the current WB hit webisode “Downer’s Grove,” and has numerous performance credits as a pop artist.

Ashton has danced on the stages of Wade Robson, Tabitha & Napolean D’umo, Dave Scott, Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Chantal Robson, and so many more. She has received top awards in performance and scholarships from every major dance convention on the circuit. She has assisted at major dance conventions all over the country and has years of teaching experience from her mom’s studio in Colorado Springs. She also has runway and print modeling credits.

Ashton is proficient in Jazz, Funky Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical, Ballet and Technique. She is well known for her upbeat and energetic teaching style for all ages.

 

Studio West Dance Center is proud of our faculty and staff. Our instructors are passionate about dance and bring a wide variety of experiences to enhance our dancers’ training!

Faculty

jennifer_staff_webJennifer Knostman

Owner & Director

stacey_webStacey Thompson

Ensemble Assistant Director

13413091_10206896471516475_8070048908140842117_n (1)Amy Earnest 

Ballet Masters Program

13466036_10206890677371625_2273811466933368064_n (1)Lance Hardin

Ballet Masters Program

 

  SWDCstaff-003Kevin Yu

Hip Hop & Breakdance

ashton_webAshton Schmeekle 

Contemporary & Hip Hop

 
Linda WrayLinda Wray IMG_6580eKim Lang AutumnMorgenstern2-smallAutumn Morgenstern  
Kate Adams  

Jenny Schiff

 

Alayna Maddocks

Master Classes & Instructors

   
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