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2022-2023 Faculty

Challis, Angela 2009-66 009

2009-66 Angela Challis Portrait

Photography by Alyssa Lyman/BYU

© BYU PHOTO 2020
All Rights Reserved  (801)422-7322

Ms. Angela is the SVCDS Artistic Director

Angela Rosales Challis is originally from Cochabamba, Bolivia. In 2005, she graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a BA in Dance Education. For ten years Angela taught dance residencies at numerous elementary schools in Utah. She was the dance specialist at Jordan School District. She taught various workshops for elementary school teachers to integrate dance in their classrooms. Angela taught creative dance to about 8,000 students in the district. In 2014, she received the “Utah Art Educator of the Year Award” and in 2015 she was awarded the “Beverly Taylor Sorenson Excellence in Teaching in the Arts Award.”

In 2018, Angela graduated from the University of Utah with an MFA in Film and Media Arts and a Certification in Screendance. Her films have received several awards including Audience Choice, Honorable Mention, Second Place and Best of Fest. Her films have screened in many states in the USA as well as Mexico, India, Argentina, Budapest, Greece, Bolivia, Scotland, Portugal, and Canada.

Currently, Angela is a Visiting Professor in the Dance Department at BYU. She is the Artistic Director of BYU Kinnect, an out reach dance company.


Ms. Carrie teaches the 3 & 4 Year Old class.

Carrie Strout Peterson graduated in 1999 with a BFA in modern dance and a BS in communication from the University of Utah. A native of Salt Lake City, she began dancing at the age of three at Life Arts Center and graduated from Alta High School as a Sterling Scholar in Dance. She is the director of the Bonneville Junior High Dance Society, which is in it’s first year at Bonneville Junior High in Holladay. She is excited to bring the joy of movement back to the students at this school after a decade without dance. She loves teaching at SVCD and is grateful to be working with so many talented teachers and students. She is the proud mom of two wonderful daughters, Jessie and Emma.

Tami Redd Knubel

Ms. Tami teaches the Kindergarten & 1st grade class.

Tami Redd Knubel began dancing at the age of 3 with Virginia Tanner Creative Dance at the University of Utah. She later studied with Pearl Wagstaff-Garff at the Life Arts Center, as well as ballet training at The Christensen Center. She returned to the Tanner Creative Dance program during high school, dancing with their performing company The Children’s Dance Theater. Tami completed two majors at Brigham Young University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Modern Dance and Social Work. Upon graduation, she worked for The Division of Child and Family Services, followed by several years teaching pre-school and dance for The Life Arts Center. In 2004, Tami opened South Valley Creative Dance, which she owned and operated until 2012. She has continued to teach at South Valley Creative Dance since that time as her love for teaching children will never fade in the least. Tami also taught creative dance at The Waterford School in Sandy, UT. Tami is married to her husband, Stephan of 27 years and has three amazing children…Chase, Jonah and Gracie. Tami is excited about a new opportunity in her teaching career, working with senior citizens under Repertory Dance Theatre’s “Music in Motion” program developed by Nick Cendese and Barbara Lewis. She’s excited to begin her 22nd year of teaching creative and modern dance!


Ms. Megan teaches the Hip Hop and Dance 4 classes.

Megan Mary O’Brien is a dancer/artist born in Salt Lake City, Utah. At a young age, she fell in love with movement and performance when she created impromptu shows for her family to classic rock songs. For 15 years she extensively trained at a local Utah dance studio, The Winner School, in many different styles of dance. She continued her training at the University of Utah School of Dance on full scholarship and graduated with a BFA in Modern Dance. Throughout her training Megan has had the privilege to learn from and work with many artists worldwide including Danielle Agami (Ate9 Dance), LajaMartin, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Company 605 (Vancouver), and the Staatliche Ballettschule School located in Berlin, Germany. She has performed in works by Lar Lubovitch, William Forsythe, LajaMartin, Michio Ito, Ishan Rustem, David Flores, Lesley Telford, Stephen Koester, Nick Blaylock, and Sharee Lane. She is compelled to share her art and passion with the community through independent choreographic projects and through nurturing the growth of young artists through education. Outside of dance she is intrigued by reading all kinds of books, writing poems, watching films, surfing, psychology, meeting new people and hearing their stories. Currently, she works with Repertory Dance Theater as a company dancer and education associate.

Rae Luebbert

Ms. Rae teaches the 2nd & 3rd Grade and Dance 1 classes.

Rae Luebbert is an artist, writer, dance educator, and arts administrator based in Salt Lake where she works as an Academic Advisor at the University of Utah in the College of Fine Arts and as an independent choreographer and maker. Rae graduated from the University of Utah with an Honors BFA in Modern Dance and a BA in Spanish. Rae has worked professionally at Dance Place, Jane Franklin Dance, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Dance/USA, and Callahan Consulting for the Arts. She has performed and presented choreographic work with Great Salt Lake Fringe (Utah), Queer Spectra Arts Festival (Utah), Dance Place (DC), Juanita Winston Dance Company (Maryland), the Hirschhorn Smithsonian Museum (DC), Sample Series (Utah), and the National Arts Festival (South Africa). Rae is interested in using art for community building, storytelling, and as a way to connect with people of all ages.

Kara Komarnitsky

Ms. Kara teaches the Ballet & Jazz, Contemporary Dance 2, and Ballet Technique classes.

Kara Komarnitsky recently graduated from Ohio State University with a BFA in Dance. Her training is primarily in modern dance, improvisation, and choreography but she is also experienced in ballet, hip hop, jazz, musical theater, ballroom, and West African dance. She has been teaching dance for the past five years and helped start the Friday Fun Nights program at OSU which provided regular teaching opportunities to undergraduate students. In 2020, she received her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification as well as completing an Adaptive Yoga Training and a Momentum Dance Teacher Workshop in the past two years. Kara is passionate about dance as a way to promote self-awareness, creativity, and confidence in students and is excited to be back in Salt Lake teaching for South Valley!

Julie Headshot Med Res

Ms. Julie co-directs Creativity In Action: Company 1 and Company 2.

Julie Johnston has a Masters Degree in Dance from Brigham Young University where she also worked as Adjunct Faculty for 10 years. Additionally, she spent a year as Adjunct Faculty at UVU and was the Artistic Director of the CIA dance company at South Valley Creative Dance for 7 years. She is now honored to co-direct that company with studio owner, Nicholas Cendese. Julie’s work has showcased at the National Arts Symposium, at the National Dance Education Organization’s National Conference, at daCi, and at the National Network of Educational Renewal. She was the Development Director for the Utah Dance Education Organization and Assistant to the Treasurer for the Society of Dance History Scholars. Julie has also worked as a freelance choreographer with middle school and high school dance companies, private studios, community groups and in the corporate arena. Julie toured for 18 months with the boy band, Beyond 5, as their Dance Coach and Production Manager and is currently one of the Executive Producers for the National Tour of The Forgotten Carols.


Mr. Nick teaches Dance 3, and co-directs Creativity In Action Company 1 and Company 2

Nicholas Cendese is a Utah native who began dancing in 6th Grade with Children’s Dance Theatre. Years and years of dancing culminated with his graduation from the University of Utah with a BFA in modern dance in 2001 and a job with Repertory Dance Theatre – where he performed professionally for 11 years and is now an Artistic Associate and Admin Assistant. Nick ran his own independent dance company, RawMoves, for 8 years and has taught at Miss Margene’s Creative Classroom for 14 years. Feeling that he wasn’t busy enough, in 2012 Nick decided to help carry on the amazing dance tradition started by Tami Knubel and became the owner and director of South Valley Creative Dance. In 2020 Nick passed studio ownership on to Chad and Angela Challis, who own and operate the studio today. He is continually amazed and in awe of the dancers and students he gets to work with and is often just tired enough to get misty eyed and very emotional when watching them dance their hearts out – which reminds him how lucky and fortunate he really is.

Chad Challis

Mr. Chad is the SVCDS President

Chad Challis was raised in, and lived most of his life in Utah. He loves technology, the outdoors, cars, and food. He occasionally finds time for video games. Most of Chad’s career has been in software. He is currently the Managing Director of Technology and Operations for Playground Sessions.

He was introduced to modern dance by his then-girlfriend, Angela, while she was a dance student at BYU. They married and had two children, Camila and Alicia, who have both attended SVCD since they were little. Chad and Angela gladly accepted ownership of SVCD in 2020 from Nick Cendese, and strive to carry on the values held by Nick, and Tami before him. While Chad is not a dancer, he is so happy that his children are dancers, and cherishes the unique opportunity he’s been granted as steward over the studio.