Kara has been in the Dance Profession for over 25 years. Receiving most of her training in Denver, CO, she studied dance at Denver Contemporary Dance, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School, and the Denver Dance Center. She was an ensemble member of The Denver Contemporary Dance Theatre under the direction of the late Thomas Dixon. She has appeared in many dance and theater productions throughout the state. She has worked as a class demonstrator for one of her mentors, Ms. Franca Telesio Smith in the Graham Technique at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School. She has been blessed to study with many world renowned choreographers and teachers; Gary Abbot, Milton Myers, Franca Telesio, Debra Mercer, Susan Richardson, Ms. Betty Seibert (Cecchetti USA Director of Examinations), the late Roger Turner, the late Leni Wylliams.
Throughout her career, Kara has worked with dance studios, high school & collegiate dance teams, and junior/senior high school theater productions. She was a judge and class instructor for Spotlight Dance Cup for 3 seasons. In addition, Kara also holds a B.S. in Visual Communications and worked for many years as a Graphic Artist prior to opening Dance Arts Gillette in 2015.
Kara is a Cecchetti USA Certified Ballet Instructor and is a 3rd year member of the CUSA National Committee. She is also certified in the Progressing Ballet Technique and is currently training in the mUvmethod (flexibility for dancers) program. Her future goals are to further her Cecchetti Pedagogy Education and obtain certifications in mUvmethod and Zena Rommett Floor-Barre Technique.
"My goal for Dance Arts is to offer Gillette's youth a welcoming space for Artistic and Personal Growth.
I believe the skills learned in dance are well beyond physical. The process of mastering dance fosters discipline, creativity, self-worth and community."
Ballet, Jazz & Youth Company
Lidia was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley/ South Texas and joined the Dance and Drill Team her sophomore year of high school. She grew so passionate about her art that she pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). There she was selected to be on the Collegiate Dance Team. Eventually, she was promoted to Assistant coach and was invited twice to the Cheer team during the National Competition season.
While attending the dance program she also trained in hip hop, jazz, and different styles of Modern dance. She trained and performed the traditional/historical styles of Flamenco (Spain), and Ballet Folklorico (Mexico).
She graduated college in December 2018 and moved to Gillette in February of 2019.
Lidia joined Dance Arts Gillette shortly after and was introduced to Cecchetti Ballet and took her first examination and earned "with Honors". She is certified in Cecchetti USA & Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT).
Primary & Ballet
Lindsey grew up in Rapid City, SD, and began dance training at Prima School of Dancing at the age of 3. She studied a variety of dance styles including ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop. She furthered her dance experience by dancing on the dance team at South Dakota State University. After college, she had a wonderful opportunity to return to her home studio to teach dance. She taught Creative Dance, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. At Prima, she worked with kids of all ages through the advanced levels.
Lindsey has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in School Counseling. She has been teaching in CCSD since 2011. She has taught 3rd and 5th grade and is currently the School Counselor at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School.
Lindsey is married to her husband Shay (a Gillette native) and together they have called Gillette home since 2008. They have two beautiful children, Skylin and Breckin. Lindsey is an avid runner and has completed numerous half-marathons and several marathons. Lindsey is also one of the choreographer's for Gillette's YES House, Dancing With the Stars.
As a Certified CUSA Instructor, Lindsey leads our Primary Dance Program. Parents find her classes a brilliant balance of structure & creativity perfect for the young energetic age group she is passionate about teaching.
Dr. Lee Sowada
Pilates & Dance Conditioning
Lee was born and raised in Wyoming. She enjoyed dance throughout her childhood and teenage years, so much so she pursued dance in College. Attending undergraduate school at Colorado State, Lee earned degrees in Dance and Speech Communication. During this time, she also earned a Certification in Pilates with Mat and Equipment expertise.
She went on to teach Pilates for 8 years after that in Portland, OR, meanwhile continuing her studies to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Pacific University, graduating with distinction. She moved to Denver, CO for a time and worked in a clinic that combined Pilates and PT. She took hundreds of hours of additional coursework including education in current pain science and treatment of chronic pain conditions, orthopedic and manual therapy interventions, dry needling, and nutrition as it relates to physical therapy.
In 2017 was awarded the Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification. She is the only PT in Wyoming to have earned this credential. Lee is also a Board Certified Women’s Health Clinical Specialist and in 2020 she co-created Elevated Pelvic Health, which is a specialty, Pilates-based physical therapy clinic for patients with pelvic health concerns. She loves treating dancers as well. Lee is married to Adrian Gerrits and has two children Coen and Sloan. She enjoys Pilates, Yoga, jogging, dancing in the living room with her son, and sitting on her back porch on a sunny afternoon. Lee feels fortunate to do what she does in this community!
Youth Company & Administrator
Channing Parsons is was born and raised in Gillette, Wyoming. She began her dance journey at the age of 2.5 and has dedicated over 16 years to honing her skills. Channing was a competitive dancer for 13+ years, showcasing her expertise in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theater, and modern dance styles. She is PBT Certified and began training in the Cecchetti method since joining Dance Arts in 2015.
Channing has been an Administrative Assistant and substitute teacher at Dance Arts for many years. She is looking forward to increasing her role at the studio and helping our dancers achieve their best.
Aside from her dance career, Channing pursued her academic endeavors and earned an Associate of Health Science degree. She later discovered her passion for dentistry and is currently working towards obtaining her dental assistant license. Channing is focused on taking her state board exams to further her career in the dental field.
Ballet & Contemporary
Emily was raised in Gillette, WY, and has been dancing since she was five years old. During those 13 years, she trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, modern, tap, and pointe. After joining Dance Arts Gillette in 2015, Emily trained specifically in the Cecchetti Method to Grade 5 and the Lester Horton technique. She was also a competitive dancers for nine years, four of those years being with the Dance Arts Youth Company.
After graduating high school in 2019, Emily went to Montana State University to study Elementary Education and earned her Bachelor's Degree. She is currently the Second Grade Teacher at John Paul II.
Emily has obtained her certification in Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) and will be in training to eventually earn her Cecchetti USA Teaching Credentials.
Ballet & Primary
Lauren Engebretsen began her training at the age of four at Turning Pointe School of Dance in Colorado Springs. There, she developed a passion for dancing and teaching the art. She trained in ballet, pointe, modern, Irish, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and ballroom. At Turning Pointe, she was a teacher assistant, intern, and then a teacher, teaching ages 2 to 50. Lauren was also a member of Fidèle Youth Dance Company and performed four seasons with them, including two principal roles.
In 2019, Lauren continued her training at the University of Wyoming where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance in 2023. Most recently, she has performed Dew Drop in The Nutcracker and Ballerina Doll in Petrushka at the university. She also was involved in lighting design, costume design, choreography, and was an assistant director for The Nutcracker. Additionally, she performed works by Koresh and Paul Taylor.
Outside of dance, she is continuing her education to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. She will be teaching fifth grade at Prairie Wind Elementary School. Lauren looks forward to creating community in Gillette and joining the teaching staff at Dance Arts Gillette.
Ballet & Pointe
Maggie Poloncic's love of dance started at a young age, inspired by her mother who danced and taught for several years. She started classes at the age of 6 locally in Gillette, WY. Through my high school years she competed at the national level and decided to continue dancing through college. Attending Colorado State University, she graduated with dual Bachelors degrees in Corporate Finance and Information Technology. Throughout her college years Maggie danced with the non-profit Colorado Dance Collective. This program gave her many including opening for the Jabbawockeez. It also gave her a taste of teaching dance.
When Maggie moved back to Gillette, she met Kara, teaching at another studio, and was enthralled with her passion and structure. She soon began teaching at Dance Arts Gillette, where she has grown exponentially as an instructor.
Outside of dance, Maggie trains barrel racing horses and competes professionally. Fitness and functional movement is also a passion of hers and fits nicely with teaching dance.
Class Assistant & Administrator
McKenzie Thrall began her dance journey in 2003 with Yvette Sparks in her hometown of Gillette. She danced her way through school, eventually graduating in 2018. Today, she works at a salon, where she specializes in hair and makeup. Outside of work, McKenzie enjoys spending time with her two dogs and exploring the world through travel.