The Academy of Dance is under the direction of Dorota Dannenbring. She received classical, professional dance training at the Warsaw School of Ballet in Warsaw, Poland. Dorota studied Russian techniques of classical dance, character dance and traditional folk dance. As a member and soloist with the Polish National Dance Company, Dorota performed throughout Europe, Israel, Canada and the United States. She has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY and the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, CA.
Dorota has taught and choreographed for the Vermillion and Lewis and Clark Playhouses, Sleeping Beauty Ballet, various Nutcracker Ballets, Sioux City Symphony, the University of South Dakota, and the School of Ballet Omaha. Her competition choreographies for 2015, 2016 and 2017 were nominated for Outstanding Performance and People’s Choice elite level awards at Spotlight Dance Cup Competitions as well as many other awards. For the 2018 season, her choreographies were awarded one of only two given for Most Entertaining Group Routine at Leap Competition, Standing Ovation award at Bravo, and second place overall and Entertainment Award at Cathy Roe CRU.
Dorota’s proudest achievement is working with her students of all ages and levels at the Academy of Dance!
Kathryn Rose Reimler has a B.A. in dance from the University of Iowa. She enjoys choreographing musical theater at Yankton High School, Lewis and Clark Theatre Company, and Vermillion Community Theatre. She has worked at Mount Marty College, USD Musical Theater and Opera, Freeman Academy, and Schmeckfest. Recently Kathryn has choreographed Newsies and Mamma Mia! for YHS and VCT. As well as Rockin’ Robin Hood and Footloose at the Black Hills Playhouse Jr. Performing Arts Camp. Kathryn enjoys the variety of teaching, performing, and choreographing in different places and working with different people. She also has fun sharing the arts with her husband and their two daughters.
Mandi Gause is a graduate of the Academy of Dance where she began dancing at the age of three. She was on the YHS Dance Team throughout high school and was the captain of the South Dakota Dance Team at the University of South Dakota. Mandi is trained in all dance styles and has choreographed for several high school teams.
Carolyn Golden has assisted Dorota with classes for our youngest dancers for many years and has a wonderful ability with children. The Academy of Dance is excited to have Carolyn leading our “Special Person and Me” class for 2 to 3 year old children and their adult. The mother of triplets, Carolyn has extensive experience guiding multiple preschoolers at once!
Rachel Frick has danced at the Academy of Dance since the age of 3. She has assisted with several dance classes since middle school and has competed with the Academy of Dance since her freshman year of high school. Rachel has danced leading roles in The Nutcracker Ballet, Sleeping Beauty Ballet and was awarded a scholarship to Broadway Dance Center. She now attends USD to study Social Work.
Valerie Merkwan is a Yankton native and participated in gymnastics from preschool through high school. As an adult, she continued teaching gymnastics to children of all ages while attending USD to study biology and chemistry. Valerie has participated in adult dance education and performance and has extensive knowledge in Acrobatics.
Ashley Ibarolle has her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Texas Tech University. After graduation she fulfilled her life long dream of dancing in the entertainment department at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Later she took her love of dance and movement to the yoga world and became a certified yoga instructor. More recently she has taken up ballroom dancing and has loved learning and competing. She continues to enjoy teaching, choreographing, judging, performing and sharing her love of dance and yoga with the community.
Gabe Dannenbring graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in Health Education. Gabe has a long history of athletics, specifically in cross country and track, where he competed at MSUM. He has a passion for youth athletics and living a healthy life style.
David Dannenbring is a certified coach and physical education teacher. As a high school science teacher, coach and the father of one daughter and six sons, Dave has extensive professional and practical experience with children of all ages.
Abigail Cuka is a sophomore at Creighton University Heider College of Business and is a member of the Creighton Dance Company. She has been attending advanced classes at Creighton including ballet, modern, tap, and jazz. Abigail is an Academy of Dance alumni and has since taught classes both in Yankton and at the Omaha Academy of Ballet.