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.

Katie Hazard- Tap

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Melissa Farrar: Artistic Composition & Jazz
Melissa is a Seattle, Washington native where she received extensive training in all dance forms at Premiere Dance Center and Cornish College of the Arts. She performed locally for companies such as the Seattle Symphony, Club Cruz Control, Seattle’s television series, “The Big Night Out” and modeled for Paul Mitchell, to name a few. She then ventured out and was a ballet soloist in the production of Eve in LA as well as guest performed for Ricky Palomino’s contemporary company, Poetry in Motion, in Poland. She began to explore her love for choreographing and has been recognized for her unique take on contemporary movement. Her choreography has been performed around the country and can be seen on such stations as the Bio Channel. Melissa had the opportunity to move to New York where she assisted Derek Mitchell on So You Think You Can Dance as a contemporary artist, was an assistant choreographer for Suzy Minser for a number of in- production Broadway shows, and has had the privilege of working with the world renowned contemporary company Cedar Lake. She also assisted in the creation of Jacques d’Amboise’s tap program for his children’s dance center, The National Dance Institute or New York. Venturing across the country, Melissa ha had the opportunity to dance in Los Angeles, CA , where she worked for Natalie Gilmore and most recently Andrew Winghart. Knowing one of her true callings is to help inspire the next generation of dancer, she is a judge for both Celebrity Dance Competitions and Spotlight Dance Cup. She is also certified as a Vinyasa yoga instructor and Yoga Barre instructor, helping to advocate for a healthy lifestyle at any age and ability level. 
Malia Schonfeld- Tap, Hip Hop & Music Theater

Avery Ricketts- Jazz & Contemporary

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.

Grace Gallagher: Hip Hop, Jazz & Contemporary
Raised in Hickory Corners, Michigan, Grace Gallagher started her training with jazz, ballet, tap, and
contemporary movement forms. Upon graduation of high school, Grace went on to attend Arizona State
University, where she trained in modern and urban dance technique. After earning her BFA, Grace went on to
live in New York City where she spent her time interning and training at Broadway Dance Center. Shortly
after, Grace decided to try out the commercial scene in Los Angeles. She was accepted into the Edge
Performing Arts Center’s rigorous scholarship program. Upon completion of the program, Grace was hired by
Edge to teach their kids program. Recognizing her passion for teaching and choreography, Grace made the
decision to leave the commercial dance industry to pursue a career in dance education. Grace went on to earn
her MFA in Dance along with her K-12 teaching certification from Arizona State University.
Grace has extensive experience as a guest teaching artist and choreographer in numerous contexts including:
guest teaching at private universities, community colleges, and high schools, teaching at a variety of studios
nationwide, hosting professional master classes and workshops, and serving as a faculty member on a
national convention. Grace has also taught jazz, modern, ballet, hip hop, dance history, and dance education
courses at Arizona State University and worked for two separate non-profit programs that utilize dance as an
emotional outlet for underserved youth while continuing to grow her Phoenix based dance company,
Grace premiered her first evening length work, CONSequence, in May 2014 and her second evening length
work, 40 Love Letters, in April 2015, both at the MonOrchid Gallery in Phoenix, AZ. In November 2015, Grace
debuted her third work, JUXTAposition at the Margaret Gisolo Theatre in Tempe, AZ. Her latest work, RElate,
premiered on November 18, 2016 at the MonOrchid, North Gallery. In addition to producing her own evening
length shows, her work has also been recently shown at Nasty Woman|Phoenix Unite, Artel PHX, Phoenix
Center for the Art’s Beta Dance Festival, and Breaking Ground Dance Festival. Grace has earned over a dozen
choreography awards, and has been recognized as one of Phoenix’s “emerging artists” by JAVA Magazine. She
recently returned from touring Germany with America’s Got Talent runner up, The Silhouettes
Grace now lives in Fort Collins, CO with her husband and two dogs, where she continues to teach locally and
travel all over the country setting work and sharing her love for dance.
Mindy Ricketts- Acro

Mindy Ricketts, an acro, stretch, strength, and flexibility instructor has been professionally teaching in the DFW area for several years. Her home studio for the past seven years has been at the famous, blue check mark, Beyond Belief Dance Company. She created their acro program from scratch, working along side the director, Justin Johnson (AKA Alyssa Edwards). Her work is reflected through all the dancers on the Original Netflix Series Dancing Queen where she and her Daughter Brooke can be seen in each episode, and exclusively featured in episode 5. Her passion for teaching is evident in the classroom. Her extensive knowledge of acro and proper dance technique creates limitless possibilities for her students. 

Tristan Grant- Contempory, Jazz & Hip Hop

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