The Dance Arts Center strives to teach the art of dance while instilling core values to shape well-rounded and respectful individuals. Through continuing education, our teachers and staff work hard to create an inclusive environment while maintaining age-appropriate content and integrity. Our goal is to inspire our students to Dream, Achieve and Create to help build a better community.
All dance classes are taught by adult instructors with years of experience. They make classes fun and genuinely care about our students.
Many of our instructors have earned their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance and hold certifications from national dance organizations.
The Dance Arts Center is a member of the Dance Masters of America Heart of America Chapter 28. Our family-friendly studio helps dancers learn and grow in a positive, challenging environment.
Marla Heeler - Owner
Brandi Keling, Office Manager
Charissa Dodge, Office Assistant
Marla Heeler, owner and director of The Dance Arts Center, LLC is thrilled to share her passion and love for the art of dance with as many people as possible. Her motto is, “There is more to dance than pointing your toes.” As a choreographer and studio owner she has many award winning students and professionally performing including Dance Masters Chapter 28 Teen Miss Dance 2013, Teen Mr. Dance 2012, Petite Miss Dance 2018, Junior Miss Dance 2020, Junior Mr Dance 2020 and Mr Dance 2020. Her students have also been award opportunities to study with ABT, Kansas City Ballet, North Carolina School of The Arts, State Street Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Human Rhythm Project.
Marla’s award winning choreography has been recognized by Robidoux Resident Theater as a Dobbins Award recipient. She has also been recognized by several dance competitions such as Bravo, Celebrity, Dance Masters of America, I Love Dance, Dance America and Headliners.
Marla has taught Master Classes and judged throughout the Midwest. As a certified instructor she is very involved in continuing to raise the standard for dance professionals. She has served as both President and Vice-President for Chapter 28 Dance Masters and is a member of Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.
As a former performer, Marla began her professional career after winning Miss Dance Heart of America. This award created the opportunity for her to study with the world renowned Gus Giordano. While in Chicago she performed with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, The Chicago Opera Theater, The Evanston Dance Ensemble, The Dance Foundation, Dance Explosion, Dancewerks and Indola International Hair Show.
One of her most proud achievements is being the founder of A Chance To Dance. This unique dance benefit was started in 2002 as a way to bring the dance community together to help raise awareness and funding for the prevention of child abuse.
Ms Marla is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique | Excel in Dance Training and Rhythm Works Integrative Dance!
Ms. Angie started dancing at Dance Arts when she was 4 years old. She enjoys all forms of dance but has always loved tumbling. She was a part of the Dance Midwest company. Angie got the opportunity to travel to New York City and take several master classes. She has taken many convention classes for many years.
Angie graduated from Missouri Western State University with a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice. In addition to teaching she is a Deputy Juvenile Officer.
She enjoys working with all kids. She loves watching them grow as dancers and tumblers. She loves the entire DAC family.
Ms Angie is Acrobatic Arts Certified in proper placement and technique for the foundations of AcroDance...including handstands, cartwheels, and bridges!
Ms. Terzah studied ballet, tap, jazz and tumbling in the St. Joseph area while growing up.
She attended Stephens College in Columbia, MO where she received her BFA in dance. During her time at Stephens she had the opportunity to study ballet, modern, flamenco and many other styles of dance.
Terzah is a member of Dance Masters of America (DMA). She has participated in many continuing education opportunities through DMA, Chicago National Dance Association, MTJGD virtual training and CLI studios.
She loves being a part of The Dance Arts Center and sharing her love for the art of dance with everyone who comes through the studio doors.
Ms Terzah is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique | Excel in Dance Training!
Ms. Megan grew up studying at The Dance Arts Center.
Throughout high school she was fortunate to study with dance companies such as: Ballet Austin, State Street Ballet, Hubbard Street and River North Chicago. She also spent a summer studying at The Virginia School of the Arts. She continued her dance education at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a focus in Dance.
After graduating college, she performed as a magician’s assistant for magic shows across the country as well as performed with the Storling Dance Theater for a season. She has choreographed musicals for Robidoux Resident Theater.
Megan recently performed as the White Witch in the studios production of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe.
She is happy to share her love of dance with her students in the place where it all started for her.
Ms Megan is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique | Excel in Dance Training!
Bio Coming soon.
Ms. Kealey began dancing at the Dance Arts Center when she was four years old. When she graduated high school she continued to teach as an assistant and master instructor. Kealey loves teaching dance and watching the students grow not only as dancers but into poised and confident individuals.
Alongside being a teacher at the Dance Arts Center, Kealey attended Missouri Western State University and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Social Work and a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Psychology. While at Missouri Western, Kealey was a member of the Missouri Western Dance Team for two years and captain her sophomore year.
Ms. Kealey earned her Master's Degree in School Counseling and is currently a school counselor with the St. Joseph School District.
Ms. Crissy began dancing at the age of 3 years old in the St. Joseph area. She was a part of the competitive team at the Dance Arts Center growing up and had the opportunity to take many master classes as well as attending many conventions. Ms. Crissy’s passion is tap dance as you may notice her gold/white tap shoes.
Ms. Crissy and her husband are the proud owners of Scooter’s Coffee in Savannah, MO.
I’m so excited to be teaching again at the Dance Arts Center!
Mr. Joseph started his dance training with Paul Chambers at the age of 19 at MWSU. Joseph earned a BFA in dance from UMKC. He has professionally performed the choreography of Bill T. Jones, David Parsons, Donald McKayle, Sean Curran, Milton Myers and Shapiro & Smith. You may have seen him perform in Branson, MO with Andy Williams, Shoji Tabuchi, Clay Cooper, and on TBN with Dino Kartsonakis. He still performs regularly with Störling Dance Theater. Joseph thanks his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with whom gave the gift of dance to the world, a big thanks to his wife, family, & friends! Mr. Joseph is thrilled to be working and teaching with The Dance Arts Center!!!
Ms. Arianna "Ari" is a Saint Joseph native and has been apart of The Dance Arts Center since she was 2.5 years old!
She graduated from Missouri Western State University where she majored in General Studies with minors in Dance and Business, while being apart of the MWSU Mystics Dance Team!!
She’s choreographed for her alma mater’s musicals, several high school dance teams, and several college dance showcases. She's the current head coach of the dance team at Mid-Buchanan High School. She’s excited for another year at her second home!!
Bio Coming Soon!
Ms. Sarah joined The Dance Arts Center family as a dace mom in 2009, when her oldest daughter began taking Beginning Combo. Ms. Sarah began her own dance journey at the age 4. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, tumbling, poms, cheer and clogging. She was excited to become a dance teacher in 2022. Ms. Sarah enjoys helping dancers find the fun and joy in learning to dance. Ms. Sarah is married to her husband, Andy and they have 2 daughters. Ms. Sarah believes that dance friends make the best friends!
My name is Ms. Annie and I am the theatre teacher and director for Central High School. This is my 25 th year with the St. Joseph School District. Am I a professional dancer? Not quite, but I am a performer who loves to dance.
I love life, I love who I am, and I love creating beautiful moments. I am driven by creativity, desire, questioning and willingness. I am not afraid to laugh at myself, learn from my mistakes, and make some new friends. I always welcome input, collaboration, different ideas, an extra hand, a question to ponder and a lesson
My entire life has included theater in multiple ways. I have acted, directed, educationally directed, stage managed, assisted with lights/sound, built sets, assisted with costumes, make-up, choreography, props, ushering, and children’s theater program development from the ground up. My love of theater continues to
grow deeper and so does my desire to pass that on. Musical Theatre combines my
favorite things…singing, dancing and acting!
Ms. Sydney has been taking classes at the Dance Arts Center since she was three years old. In her time there she has learned many different styles, been a member of DACPAC, and the last three Dance Arts Center productions.
She has also been involved in other stage productions with different groups such as CAP and RRT. Sydney is a graduate of Stewartsville high school. At school she was involved in band, math club, science club, FCCLA, and NHS.
Sydney is majoring in early childhood education at Missouri Western State University.
Ms. Annie has had a passion for dance and musicals all her life. She grew up in a competitive dance studio in North St. Louis county, was on the High Street dance team, and a member of The Society of Dance Arts at Truman State University. She moved to this side of the state after college and thought her dancing was done, taking on an art teaching position in Northwest Missouri. She was very wrong. Annie became involved as choreographer, set painter and
sometimes director, in the local Rock Port theater. She also danced in a few musicals with the Robidoux Resident Theater, and started a small studio for the surrounding towns: The Studio @TRC (Tarkio Rec Center). She moved, with her husband and dogs to St. Joseph in 2016 and again hung up her dance shoes. Again....wrong. Ms. Marla, who had been her choreographer for those RRT shows, called and she started teaching with the Dance Arts Center. After a brief hiatus last year, she is back enjoying what she loves here at the studio. She has performed with Robidoux Resident Theater and is now starting her second year as a co-teacher with their Theater Academy program as well as working as choreographer on select Main Stage shows. Annie has worked as a teacher in the public schools since 2006 with a Masters in Education, BA in Visual Art, and teaching certifications in Theater, Speech and Debate and Library Sciences. In 2022, she started a new career as business owner of Art Attack Studio.
Growing up in Ottawa, Kansas, Ellen went on to receive her B.F.A. in Ballet from Texas Christian
University. Moving to NYC, Ellen danced with various companies in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and launched her own dance company, ‘Beyondballet,’ performing in small
theaters in NYC and working with other choreographers as a collective production. After
retiring from performing, she received a BID from the New York School of Interior Design.
Ellen has worked as an Interior Designer in NYC Metro area and Kansas City for more than
fifteen years. After performing and teaching in New Mexico for the past two years, Ellen’s love
for dance and teaching have come to the surface once again. She is excited to be teaching at
Dance Arts Center and passing on her experiences and training.
Bio Coming Soon!
Ms. Emily grew up in St. Joseph and has been dancing for 10 years, 4 of those being at the Dance Arts Center. While at DAC, Ms. Emily took classes in tap, ballet, jazz, and contemporary. She is currently an assistant teacher.
Emily graduated from Central High School in 2022. While at Central, she performed in the fall musical productions each year, with multiple dancing roles.
She is currently a sophomore at Missouri Western State University majoring in Exercise Science. She was also a part of the MWSU Mystics Dance Team her freshman year.
Emily is excited to share her passion of dance in the place she loves with the students!
Ms. Brandi is our office manager. She has been with the studio since 2005. She graduated from Southwest Baptist University, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology and a minor in Gerontology.
She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Both of her children have taken dance and tumbling classes for many years and have had the opportunity to teach dance and tumbling at the studio.
She loves being part of The Dance Arts Center family and is happy to answer any of your questions!
Ms. Charissa, her husband, and her children have lived in St. Joseph since 2004. She graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in management. For 15 years she was a DAC dance mom, and in 2021 began working in the office. She loves spending time with her family in any way she can. She has been blessed to be able to homeschool her children, and when she’s not working, you will most likely find her watching her son play sports or her daughter dance. She loves being part of the Dance Arts Center family.
Copyright © 2008 – 2023. All Rights Reserved. The Dance Arts Center, LLC | 1902 Jules Street | Saint Joseph, Missouri 64501 | 816.233.5442