Faculty

Faculty


Our instructors are not only up-to-date on what are the current trends in the art of dance, they are able to teach a wide variety of genres including lyrical, jazz, hip hop, modern/contemporary, tap, ballet, musical theatre and more.

Click here to learn how to join our team!

Sarah Christianson, Artistic Director, Co-Founder

Sarah began studying the art of dance at the age of three at Jack Dyville’s Dance Factory in Williston, North Dakota. She has studied eleven competitive styles of dance: ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, pointe, modern, hip hop, character, song and dance, Irish folk style, and production numbers. At eight years old, she was asked to be a part of a competitive elite elementary group, Kids Company. She was a part of the A Company competition team from the age of twelve through her high school graduation.

Sarah was a Miss North Dakota dancer for seven years. In June 2007, she competed in the Miss North Dakota Pageant and won the Overall Talent Award. She was a part of the North Dakota State University Competition Dance Team in Fargo, N.D. from 2006-2007 where she was chosen by her peers as the Most Improved Dancer. In 2010, Sarah won 2nd place in "Dancing with FM's Finest" Ballroom Fundraising event with her partner, Eric Piela, of Fargo.

Sarah has taught at Bonnie Haney’s School of Dance in Moorhead, M.N., Red River Dance & Performing Company of Fargo, N.D., choreographed the 2009 Miss West Fargo/Red River Valley Pageant, and was an assistant producer of the 2010 Miss Grand Forks, Miss Empire, Miss Eastern Dakota Pageant. She is currently certified judge for the NDADD for the past two (2) years. Sarah has choreographed the Y.E.S. (Youth Education on Stage) Summer Productions, "101 Dalmations" and most recently "Mulan".

Sarah has studied under the following instructors: Wade Robson, Brian Friedman, Mia Michaels, LaurieAnn Gibson, Dave Scott, Cris Judd, James Robey, Stacie Flatness, Deb Fontane, Craig Ellingson, Kate Keating, Karen Rudd, Angela Ekblad, Jack Dyville, Ballet Hispanico, Misha Gabriel, Mike Minery, Bobby Newberry, Nick Lazzarini and Teddy Forance.

She has performed at Disney World, the Dakota Wizards basketball games, has been on ESPN, on a cruise line to the Bahamas, and competed in Las Vegas. She was the Captain of the USHL Fargo Force Dancers from 2008 - 2010.

In May 2009 Sarah graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Advertising and a minor in Dance from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

In 2015, Sarah received the Certification in the Jazz Dance Technique & Syllabus by James Robey. Over the years, Sarah has been recognized for her teaching and choreography. In 2016, she was honored with the “Best Choreography” award at the National Triple S Dance Competition in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

In 2018, Sarah was recognized as one of Williston’s greatest achievers in the inaugural Top 20 Under 40 list for the surrounding region. You can find her on pages 2 and 6 of the Williston Herald’s special insert here.

 

Jurni Holte, Instructor

Jurni began her dance career at the age of three at Dance Fever in Williston, North Dakota. Since then, she has studied several different styles including ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop, modern, pointe, and musical theatre. Her dance career led her to Kay Michael Lee Studio, where she was a part of the Ruby and Diamond Competition Lines from the age of 14 through her high school graduation, earning her a Varsity Letter in Dance for four straight years from Williston Public School District #1. For the past 2 years, she has been a teacher’s assistant at Kay Michael Lee Studio, advancing into a full instructor position in 2018.

Jurni has performed as halftime entertainment at several basketball games, including the 2017 Region 8 Championship Tournament. She has also taken part in Kay Michael Lee’s original production of Halloween Alive! since its creation in 2013. In the 2016 installment of Halloween Alive!, she led the cast as the title role in the “Ghostbusters” production. As a member of the studio’s Competition Company, she received the Most Improved Award in 2015 and Leadership Award for her outstanding influence over her team in 2018. Studying under many dance industry icons such as Willdabeast, Colby Shinn, and Mia Michaels, Jurni has competed against the nation’s best dancers in North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

As a competitive dancer, Jurni was oftentimes recognized by the judges for her technique, energy, and performance ability in lyrical and jazz, she was also a part of many of Kay Michael Lee Studio’s award-winning ensembles in musical theatre, hip hop, ballet, and lyrical. In 2018, she received the Senior Miss Photogenic award at Spotlight Dance Cup in Billings, MT.

In May 2018, she graduated from Williston High School and is continuing her education at Williston State College.

Serena Christianson, Marketing Manager, Co-Founder

Serena began studying dance at the age of three at Jack Dyville’s Dance Factory in Williston, North Dakota. When she was in the fourth grade, she was asked to be a part of Kids Company, a youth competition team at the Dance Factory. In seventh grade, she was a member of the B Company troupe, advancing to A Company the following year. Throughout her tenure at the Dance Factory, she won multiple awards at International Dance Challenge, Spotlight Dance Cup, Hollywood Vibe Dance Competition, Dance Challenge, Montana Dance Challenge, and I Love Dance Competition.

After the founder of the Dance Factory relocated to New York City, Serena became the point of contact for anything regarding tap because of her specialty and expertise in this genre. She taught tap to grades 1-6 in 2002-2003, where one of her groups won the 2003 Dance Challenge Competition 2nd place Overall Junior Novice Large Group award.

Serena was a Miss North Dakota dancer for five years, broadening her dance repertoire. As a contestant, Serena won the “High Score Preliminary Talent” Award for her self-choreographed talent selection at the Miss North Dakota Scholarship Pageant in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2012. In May 2010, Serena graduated Summa cum Laude from the University of Jamestown with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Business Administration (Hospitality and Tourism Management concentration) and Communication (Media concentration) with a minor in Character in Leadership. She completed her Master’s in Business Administration (Leadership concentration) from Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, Arizona), May 2012. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona).

Serena is also a certified personal fitness trainer through AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) which she completed December 2012 and Zumba certified (February 2010).

In 2015, Serena received the Certification in the Jazz Dance Technique & Syllabus by James Robey. Currently, Serena resides in Tempe, AZ and teaches the advanced tap classes at Conservatory of Dance in Phoenix.

Abby Powell, Instructor

Abby began her dance career at the age of five in Williston, North Dakota. For twelve years, she studied several different styles including ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, and hip-hop. Her dance career led her to Kay Michael Lee Studio, where she was a part of the studio’s first Ruby Competition Line in 2012-2013, advancing to the Diamond Line for the 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2016-2017 seasons. Even when she wasn’t competing, she still participated in recreation dance classes to keep improving on her dance technique.

During her eight year competitive career, Abby studied under many dance industry icons such as Kenny Wormald, Al Blackstone, and Mia Michaels and competed against the nation’s best dancers in North Dakota, Colorado, and Montana. Abby has performed as halftime entertainment at several basketball games in the MonDak region as a part of Kay Michael Lee Studio’s Competition Company. She participated in Kay Michael Lee’s original production of Halloween Alive! In the 2013 and 2014 installments.

Abby was a part of many of Kay Michael Lee Studio’s award-winning ensembles in jazz, tap, musical theatre, ballet, and lyrical. In 2013, she received the studio’s Most Improved Award for her growth in dance and performance technique. In

May 2018, she graduated from Williston High School. Currently Abby is pursuing a career in elementary education at Williston State College and is excited to teach dance and once again be a part of the KML Family.