Why choose MCDA?
- Our professional and healthy dance curriculum reflects the evolving concert dance forms students will encounter at the collegiate and professional level.
- We are dedicated to fostering your dancer’s physical, mental, social and emotional intelligence.
- We have a team of professional, talented, motivating and mature instructors with advanced degrees in dance and education, and years of experience and training.
- Our focus is artistry. We believe that kids get plenty of opportunities to compete in sports and academia. Therefore, our program’s focus is developing a deeper appreciation of the arts through collaboration, exploration and non-competitive performance.
- We offer enriching experiences to our dance students, such as master classes and field trips to professional dance concerts in our community.
- We have several professional companies in residency (including Life/Dance Ensemble and Ascential Dance Theatre).
- Our annual recitals fund local non-profits in Boulder County. We strive to make our recitals stress free and professional.
- We are dedicated to cultivating each dancer’s unique potential through positive and fun learning.
From the Director
Thank you for choosing to be part of MCDA. I have been part of this incredible dance program for over thirty years; as the daughter of the Fort Collins’ dance director, a student and company member, an instructor, and now as the MCDA director. I have now been living, teaching and dancing professionally in the Boulder County arts community for over ten years. When developing the MCDA dance program I always had the goal of creating a school that is truly unique to the dance community; a dance family that offers comprehensive and high caliber contemporary dance education, with an emphasis on creative, technical and artistic development. The MCDA curriculum fosters the mind/body/spirit connection and honors the beauty, depth, joy and magic of the dance arts. I look forward to nurturing a lifelong love of dance and art with all the dancers in your family!
The teachers at Mountain Dance is one of the things that sets us apart. Our faculty is committed to providing experiential learning, strong technical training and cultivating a love of dance for all MCDA students. Each of our instructors has notable experience in their area of expertise and each of them continues to train and perform within the Denver Metro Area.
Mimi Ferrie – MCDA Director
is a Colorado dance artist that has been performing, teaching and choreographing for over a decade. Mimi graduated with her BFA in Dance from the University of Colorado in Boulder, in 2007. She has performed with several local dance companies including Impact Dance, Louder Than Words Dance Theatre, BOOM, New Breed and Wild Heart. Mimi has presented her choreography with New Visions Dance Festival, Denver Independent Choreographers Project, and most recently for Fort Collins Children’s Theatre and Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop. In 2009 Mimi co-founded Peekaboo Sole Productions, a performing arts organization committed to providing artistic exchange and performance opportunities for students and artists in the Boulder/Denver area.
Mimi has been a student or teacher at Mountain Kids for over 30 years! Her dance training includes styles such as jazz, ballet, tap, modern, creative movement, lyrical, as well as African, hip hop, contact improvisation, and Afro Cuban. Mimi enjoys working at MCDA/Mountain Kids because not only skill but self confidence, creativity, and community are priorities. She enjoys helping students learn about body awareness, enriching their creative expression, and building a lifelong love for physical activity and the arts.
Leslie Merrill – M.A.D.E Company Artistic Director
Leslie Merrill received a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Colorado in Boulder, in 2007. She has been teaching dancers of all ages and skill levels for over 16 years in a range of dance forms, including ballet, pointe, modern, tap, jazz, and creative movement. In addition to teaching at Mountain Dance and directing the school’s youth performance company, the Mountain Arts Dance Ensemble (MADE), she is also Affiliate Faculty at Metro State University of Denver where she teaches dance technique, composition, improvisation, and dance pedagogy.
Leslie has presented her choreography and video art extensively across Colorado, and has also shared her work nationally as part of the American Dance Festival’s Dancing for the Camera Series, the TARLA Dance for Camera Festival, the Holland Project, and the Intangible Bodies Conference. Internationally, her work has been presented in British Columbia as part of the Collision Symposium on Interarts Practices and on tour with the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema in Mexico and Germany.
Leslie has enjoyed performing professionally with Haan Dances, Move On Dance Company, Louder than Words Dance theatre, Bound Life and Chaos Creations, Poor Richard Dance, the Cindy Brandle Dance Company, and dancing and choreographing for Interweave Dance Theatre. She is currently a choreographer, performer, and video artist for Ascential Dance Theatre Colorado. Leslie co-founded the Boulder-based, Peekaboo Sole Productions (PSP) with Mimi Ferrie and Jessica England in 2009. PSP produces the work of emerging and established choreographers and facilitates collaborative exchange amongst dance artists and their communities. In her spare time, Leslie also enjoys working for the Colorado Dance Alliance as a writer, editor, and website manager.
Levonia is a Washington State native and is number 4 in a family of 5 girls. She just completed her first year in studying a Master’s in Dance/Movement Therapy at Naropa University in Boulder. She has been training in Hip Hop Dance since 2003, Ballet since 2009, and teaching Dance since 2007. As someone who did not receive formal dance training before making the high school dance team cuts, and ran two different dance teams, Levonia believes that anything you want to do in life is effort and passion. She always takes the instructor’s constructive criticism, practices, and strives to learn something new everyday. When Levonia is not dancing she is cooking, snowboarding, taking yoga classes, or being spontaneous exploring Colorado.
Summer Templin Culp
Although the most significant of my training is in ballet and modern dance, I have a little bit of everything (contemporary, jazz, flamenco, hip hop, swing, etc…) under my belt. My dance tutelage began under the direction of Valerie Madonia and Shirley Fortenberry at the age of 14 in Telluride. When my family moved to Boulder, I began training with what is now the Boulder Ballet School. In addition to being an apprentice with the Boulder Ballet, I spent my summers studying at different intensives including the State Street Ballet, the Jillana School, and the Joffrey South Workshop. Additionally, I have had the great fortune of learning from and being inspired by a number of different teachers including Peter and Ana Claire Davison, Lizanne McAdams Graham, Katie Elliot, Michelle Ellsworth, Vernon Windsor, Gabe Masson, Erika Randall, Jayne Persch, Wade Madsen, Karin Stevens and Jacob Mora. I am passionate about bridging the gap between dance styles and helping the next generation of dancers cultivate their artistry through well-rounded, healthful and holistic training. In addition to teaching throughout the community, I dance with the Life/Art Dance Ensemble, based in Denver, Colorado.
As a young girl in Germany, she took immediately to weekly creative, ballet, and tap dance classes. At ten, she was chosen to attend Ballet Boarding School. She stayed through high school, perfecting her technique with the rigorous study of French and Russian classical ballet, in addition to classes in Jazz, Modern, Musical Theater and Flamenco styles.
As a young adult, Gerhards took a break from dance to study Fashion Engineering and obtain a Business degree, but was irresistibly drawn back to teaching and choreography. In Boulder since 2002, she has taught at various dance schools. She has choreographed for concerts, musicals, summer camps, and five productions of the CU opera, in which she also performed.
“I love whoever wants to dance”, explains Vanessa about her passion for teaching non-competitive dance for all ages and levels. She teaches her classes with energy and joy, delighting in students’ discovery of the mind – body connection. She believes that every one is a creative being with the ability to express emotions without words. In dance, “we are the canvas and the brush!”. In presenting children in costume, on stage, she realizes that she is creating lifelong memories, as well as completing a project which began with an idea, and ended with a production. Her adult students tell her that dance class is the highlight of their week! They describe being exhilarated, rejuvenated, energized for whatever life brings. Try one of Vanessa’s classes, and feel the joy!
Kaitlyn Lawrence was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to Colorado at age 6. She started dancing when she was 3 and has trained in styles such as ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, and African. She began her training at Denver Dance Starz in Thornton Colorado and performed with their competition team. Kaitlyn attended Denver School of the Arts for grades 6 through 12 and graduated with honors and a dance major in 2014. She is now pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She performed and trained with the competitive dance studio Sweatshop Dance located in Denver Colorado from it’s conception up until graduation. She also performed with Colorado Ballet in their annual Nutcracker performance as a toy soldier in 2010. She has trained with nationally recognized artists like Jacob Mora, Brian Young, Erika Randall, Helanius Wilkins, and Scott Putman. Kaitlyn’s current studies of dance and the human body motivate her desire to teach, as she is passionate about training young dancers in technique as well as body awareness and injury prevention.
One of Colorado’s original Hip Hop teachers, Kevin has an extensive background in all Hip Hop styles. He received training from industry pioneers- Clyde Evans, Eric Finn, Quickstep and Rennie Harris. He has performed with: Don Campbell Lock jr , Electric Boogaloos , Lady Jules , the late Gary Kendall of the Jabbawockeez , And is a former member of Motion UnderGround’s Hip Hop company EOM. He has Been a guest artist at the Arena in Switzerland, The San Francisco Hip Hop Festival, the Colorado College Dance Festival, The Breaking Point in Montana, CU Boulder, and CSU Fort Collins. Kevin now is Bringing this unique flavor to many Studios in Colorado and is the Founder/Director of True 2 Form Dance Group. He has begun to spread a fire about the history of Hip Hop and a vision for where it could go. At this time, Kevin is a member of Street Stylez crew, Performing core member with Machinez Remainz popping crew, and Rennie Harris Grass Roots Project.
Jillian Olson began dancing at Danstek in Broomfield, Colorado when she was 4 years old and continued her love of dance throughout high school and college. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, and modern at Danstek, Becky Shaw School of Dance, and at Hannah Kahn Dance Company. She continued to study dance at the University of Colorado where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Art History in 2003. Jillian discovered her love off Jazz dance through the Jazz Dance World Congress with the Giordano Dance Chicago and the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop at CU Boulder. She was also fortunate enough to be on the Broomfield High School Pom Squad and the Buff Gold Dance Team at University of Colorado where she experienced the world of competitions. After receiving her degree in dance, Jillian began her teaching career while working at Boulder Body Wear and starting a family. She has taught Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Modern, Pre-pointe, Poms at Dance Arts Studio for the last 6 years and is excited to join the Mountain Contemporary Dance Arts family where she will to share her love of dance with amazing dancers.
Jillian’s most valuable lesson that I have learned from dance is to always be true to who you are! Dance is an amazing art form that allows each of us to express who we are and how we feel…there is no right and no wrong. She loves to see others shine through dance and to see how kids are able to express themselves and truly be themselves every time they step into the studio!
Born and raised in Colorado, Samantha Scovel has been dancing for over seventeen years. She is a dancer, artist, and musician. Her training began at Mountain Kids, located Fort Collins, where her teachers, including her mother, helped cultivate her love of dance. In 2015 and again in 2016 she attended the annual Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop where she trained with artists including Christy McNeil and Sumi Clements. She performed in the Mountain Moving Company from 2014 to 2016 until she left Fort Collins to begin pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her dance training includes styles such as jazz, modern, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, and improvisation. Samantha has enjoyed working with children and families as a teacher, camp counselor, and mentor. She finds joy in creating a safe environment for children to explore and grow.
Leah grew up learning dance from around the world including West African Guinean, Middle Eastern, and Flamenco. She moved to the Bay Area in 2005 to pursue Middle Eastern and World dance practices in greater depth. In Oakland Leah studied dance at Mills College in Oakland where she trained in modern and contemporary dance with an emphasis in somatic movement practices. She continued studying ballet with Augusta Moore, contemporary with Janice Garrett, Miriam Peretz, Christine Cali, Kira Kirsch, and many others through ODC’s contemporary dance campus where she worked and taught in the youth and teen program for over 5 years. She danced for the Bay Area based companies: Damage Control Dance Theater, Loose Change, Bad Unkl Sistah, World Fusion Dance, Ballet Afsaneh, and as a solo artist. She is completely fascinated by Dance Ethnology and Ethnomusicology and is pursuing her many research interests and movement modalities as an MFA candidate at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her emphasis is in Dance Culture and Somatics, and she currently is teaching Contemporary and Transnational Fusion dance techniques to CU Undergrads. She is yoga and Pilates mat certified.
Jen Fagan Archer, a Florida native, has been dancing since she could walk. Her diverse training includes studies with world-renowned dance professionals like Gary Lund, Augusto Soledade, Anjali Austin, Christina Noel, Ramazon Bapov, Gerri Houlihan, Mary Wohl-Haan, Hannah Kahn, and Jacob Mora. She has been commissioned in the US and abroad to teach and choreograph for stage and film and has performed with Leslie Merrill, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Peekaboo Sole Productions, Georgia Dance Theatre, Concepts in Motion, Louder Than Words and her very own Ascential Dance Theatre Colorado. She identifies as a ‘community artist’ and has enjoyed the privilege of performing Donald McKayle’s Rainbow Etude and Liz Lerman’s Bobcat Ballet.
Studying dance, music and theatre at Florida State University she sharpened her directing, producing and choreographing skills in the thriving Tallahassee arts community, while earning a BS in Anthropology and History and an AA in Nutrition and Fitness. Jen Archer is founder and curator of Ascential Dance in Colorado and teaches and choreographs all about the front range. She sings Bluegrass fusion music with her new band BabyWood HotBox as well as other local musicians and is the proud mama of her Prince Charming, Jeylin Livon Archer.
Chrysta Brown is a dance writer, dance instructor, and choreographer.
She earned her BFA in dance performance with a minor in Human Rights Education from Southern Methodist University. During her time at SMU, in addition to creating and producing her own choreographic projects, she was able to study and perform the works of Donald McKayle, Jose Limon, Martha Graham, Robert Battle, Paul Taylor, and Arthur Mitchell.
After graduating she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she performed and choreographed for Ascential Dance Colorado, Peek-a-Boo Sole Productions, and the Apex Contemporary Dance Youth Outreach Program. She then moved to Philadelphia where, in addition to teaching dance and fitness classes throughout the Philadelphia metro, she performed with Dancefusion Repertoire Company and worked the company manager for West Chester Dance Works.
In addition to her passion for dance education and performance, Chrysta enjoys writing. She holds her MFA in creative writing with a concentration in creative nonfiction. Chrysta regularly writes for The Philadelphia Dance Journal, The Broad Street Review, and Relief Journal. Her work has been featured in the Meadows School of the Arts Newsletter, CultureMob Denver, and The Colorado Dance Alliance Newsletter. She is also a proud member of the International Dance Council.
Roxann Guthman is a Northern Californian native whose earliest memories are of dance. She has trained in Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Ballroom, and Aerial dance. At the age of 14 and 15 respectively, she was accepted into a Ballroom dance troupe and a competitive Modern dance company. Upon moving to San Francisco to pursue her BA in Performing Arts and Social Justice with an emphasis in Dance, at the University of San Francisco, she widened her horizons and studied Contact/Improvisation, Laban Movement Analysis, and Contemporary dance. She has spent the past 4 years studying under renowned local artists and performing both their work as well as her own in theaters throughout San Francisco. Roxann began teaching dance as a component of her Ballroom Dance troupe when she was 14, and has since had the opportunity to instruct dance that is based around academic curriculum, as well as offer the joys of creative movement to peoples of all ages. She has brought these teaching techniques to San Francisco as well as Tacna, Peru where she performed for, and alongside, a group of K-12 students. Roxann is very excited to join the Boulder dance community and looks forward to continuing this everlasting passion for discovering, both for her self and others, the wonders that dance has to offer.
A native of Boulder, CO, Brittney Kirkpatrick grew up training in a wide variety of dance styles including jazz, lyrical, ballet, tap and hip hop. As a member of the Starbound Dance Company at her studio, she was exposed to master classes taught by professional dancers from New York and L.A. Her studio also gave her the opportunity to teach dance classes and she found great joy in teaching kids as well as choreographing. Once she graduated high school, Brittney continued her dance education at The University of Colorado at Boulder. There, she was able to work with world-renowned artists such as Erika Randall, Michelle Ellsworth, Gabe Masson and Rennie Harris. She graduated cum laude with a BFA in performance and choreography. After graduation, completed a season dancing for Deeply Rooted Dance Theater as a member of their Emerging Artists Ensemble in Chicago. While there, she had the honor of training with artists such as Kevin Iega Jeff, Gary Abbott, Nick Pupillo, Jessica Deahr, and Karly Hansen. Since moving back to her home state this summer, she had the pleasure of teaching for the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop and performing with their resident company, Interweave Dance Theatre. Currently, Brittney is on faculty at Grace Studios School of Dance and Mountain Kids, and teaches a variety of master classes throughout the state of Colorado. She is also a dancer at The Schiff Dance Collective, Rogue Co. Dance Company, and Louder Than Words Dance Theatre.
Jordan is a passionate creative movement and Vinyasa Yoga instructor from the Northern Colorado area– helping bodies from all walks of life find their true movement potential. Her up-beat dance and yoga classes welcome all ages and levels to test their physical and creative limits in an uplifting, judgement-free environment. Her focus on alignment and safe, effective transitions in her classes, open a window of opportunity to explore creativity and self-expression through movement.
Her journey began as a dancer at the age of three, and she hasn’t stopped moving since. Her primary focus of dance study has always been Ballet, Jazz, and Contemporary but enjoys testing the limits of her artistic abilities and has experience in Tap, Musical Theater, Hip Hop, and several other styles of expressive movement. She was involved in Children’s Dance Theater for several years; which brought kid-friendly dance performances to local schools in the area. Her passion and drive for dance eventually turned into a desire to dance competitively; which was a tremendous growth and learning period in her personal dance career.
Her heart for teaching developed at age 14 when she was asked to be a teacher’s assistant at Axis of Movement in Northern Colorado. It wasn’t long before she had classes of her own and really found a passion for sharing her love of movement with others. Jordan has since then coached several regional and national award-winning dancers; and taught dance classes and workshops in the US and Canada.
In her time as a dancer and a teacher, Jordan was introduced to yoga. It was one of the best and hardest things she had ever done. After experiencing some of the amazing benefits yoga can offer; Jordan was determined to know more, in hopes of sharing with others– with that said, she became a certified Vinyasa Yoga instructor in 2015. She trained vigorously and extensively under the expertise of Stacie Finucan of Odyssey Yoga and Sara Hilgendorf of Jiva Essential Wellness. Jordan is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance, which acknowledges the completion of a yoga teacher training with an approved and active Registered Yoga School (RYS).
Jordan is a firm believer that movement is for everyone. We only get one shot with our beautiful bodies– and life is far too short to be sedentary. Her hope is to reach the masses with her dance and yoga offerings; and help open the mind and body to its fullest potential.
From our Louisville, CO dance studio, Mountain Contemporary Dance Arts offers dance classes and dance camps for kids, toddlers, teens and adults throughout Boulder County including Lafayette, Broomfield, and Erie, Colorado.