Ms. Carrie teaches the 3 & 4 Year Old , the 3-5 year old and 1st-3rd grade Summer Camps, and is a Studio Administrator.
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 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. During high school, she danced with Tanner’s Children’s Dance Theatre. Tami completed two majors at Brigham Young University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Modern Dance and Social Work. After working for several years with The Utah Division of Child and Family Services, she returned to her love of dance, teaching at the Life Arts Center and serving as Co-Director of Miss Pearl’s Dancer’s Theatre Company, as well as a dance specialist with The Waterford School’s Lower Division. In 2004, Tami opened South Valley Creative Dance in Sandy, UT. She now co-owns SVCD with four other amazing and dedicated artists. In 2022, Tami began teaching with Repertory Dance Theatre’s “Music in Motion” program at area senior centers. She feels incredible gratitude to be able to work in the art of dance with populations ranging in age from 2 to 90+. She loves to remind her students that we are ALL dancers…some of us just need to be reminded…bringing a new world of immense joy into daily living!
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 co-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 the Executive Producer for the National Tour of The Forgotten Carols.
Ms. Tara teaches the Musical Theatre class.
Tara Carlson graduated in 2006 with a BA in Dance Education from BYU. She danced with CDT formerly known as The Dancers’ Company and loved being able to perform and tour all over Asia and the western United States. Growing up in the Salt Lake Valley she danced from a young age at Linda Fenton’s ballet studio and was introduced to Modern dance at Hillcrest High School. After graduating from BYU, she taught at American Fork High School and Mountain Ridge Junior High and introductory Modern classes at BYU. In 2008, her family made the leap and moved across the world to Hong Kong and then mainland China. She opened up her own studio in China and shared her love of movement with anyone she could. After moving back to the states in 2014, Tara has taught at several studios around the valley.
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, but is now once again a co-owner. 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.
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.
Ms. Seryna teaches 4th and 5th Grade Creative Movement
Seryna Rogers is a performer, teacher, and creator in Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated in the modern dance program at the University of Utah in the spring of 2022 with her BFA. At a young age she got inspired to dance by watching her aunt perform at the University of Utah modern dance program. Her childhood education of dance came from a studio in Sandy, Utah called South Valley Creative dance where she learned to grow her love for dance thanks to Tami Knubel, Julie Johnston, Nick Cendese, and Lauren Curley. In high school she performed works by Natasha Washington, Nathan Shaw, and John Allen. She has participated in Repertory Dance Theater workshops and was in a piece by Nick Cendese. She has also done a lot of LajaMartin workshops throughout her time in high school and college. In college she performed a piece her sophomore year by Luc Vanier. She also was a member of the Modern Student Concert Committee her junior year of college Fall of 2019- Fall of 2020. Seryna looks forward to new explorations inside of the community and how it impacts her dancing.
Kara Komarnitsky grew up in Salt Lake City and recently graduated from Ohio State University with a BFA in Dance. Her training is primarily in modern dance, ballet, improvisation, and composition but she is also experienced in hip hop, jazz, musical theater, ballroom, and West African dance. She works as an independent artist, most recently performing with Fem Dance Company, Myriad Dance Company, and Repertory Dance Theatre. She has been teaching dance for the past six years and her own work has won awards from the Midwest Climate Summit and OSU Denman Research Forum. 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!
Ms. Carly teaches the Modern Dance 3 Class
Carly Plagianakos grew up in the magical world of Creative Dance and studied at The Life Arts Center with Pearl Wagstaff Garff and other amazing teachers from elementary school through High School. She holds an MFA from the University of Utah and a BA from Brigham Young University in Modern Dance. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah Department of Modern Dance from 2007-2009. Carly lived, taught, created dance works and performed professionally in NYC for the last 14 years and returned to Utah in 2022. In NYC, she directed and tight technique for the Advanced Teen company at the 92Y. Carly was a master teaching artist for K-6 grades in the NYC public school system. She taught professional level technique classes at Dance New Amsterdam and Gina Gibney Studios. Carly performed in leading roles in the Bessie Award-Winning immersive dance theater works, “Then She Fell”, “Midnight Madness” and “The Grand Paradise”, by Third Rail Projects for over 7 years. Carly has created and presented dance films across the country. She has had the pleasure of performing with Alexandra Beller/Dances, Gesel Mason, Doug Varone, Paul Matteson, Jen Nugent, Ching-I Chang, Stephen Koester, Jose Navas, KDNY Dance and Bill Evans. She is so thrilled to be working with South Valley Creative Dance Studio and working with their amazing students!
Ursula Perry, a native Houstonian, has had an extensive professional career as a performing dance artist and educator spanning over two decades.
In 2002, she completed the BFA program at the University of Utah. After performing for numerous companies across the United States, she joined Repertory Dance Theatre in 2013.
Her tenure at RDT has yielded an ever-enriching understanding of the need to create opportunities for the young and old to heal through movement. The physical being is not only a tool but a storage space for the human story. It is her belief that the power of movement and grit of raw physicality can heal both the body and the mind.
Ms. Kristen is a Studio Administrator
Kristen Messenger is one of the co-owners of South Valley Creative Dance. Her role at the studio is performing administrative duties and supporting the teachers and the other owners. Kristen grew up in New Jersey and made her way to Utah to attend Utah State University. She graduated in Secondary Education Physical Science and has spent 15 years involved in the education system in different capacities. She left teaching 2nd Grade in 2020, but has a love for children and seeing them succeed! Kristen has been married to her husband, Travis, for 26 years and has 2 amazing adult children, Grace and Logan. She enjoys spending time outside skiing, hiking, and biking. Kristen’s connection to the studio stems from her daughter Grace having danced at South Valley Creative Dance for 15 years and now is pursuing her BFA in dance from the University of Oregon. Kristen is passionate about the continuation of South Valley Creative Dance and the impact the creative arts has on children and young adults. She is excited to be a part of such an amazing team and looks forward to the future of South Valley Creative Dance.
Mr. Nathan teaches the Musical Theatre Summer Camp
Nathan Shaw was a member of the Judge Memorial Arts department from 2011-2021 and in summer of 2022 was named the Director of Admissions & Activities.
A passion for performing arts is evident in Mr. Shaw’s own background as a gifted actor, singer, and dancer. One of his most memorable moments in high school came when he was a senior and earned the lead role of Charlie Brown in his school’s musical, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. This experience would motivate him to pursue an education and career in the performing arts. He went on to appear in shows for Salt Lake Acting Company, Utah Symphony and Opera, and the Egyptian Theater. He served as a company member of Repertory Dance Theatre for over seven years and has been performing with SBDance for over 10 years.
It is one thing to be a great performer, but another to be a great teacher. Many may observe that Mr. Shaw’s love for teaching is even greater than his love of performing. Prior to teaching at Judge Memorial, he taught for Children’s Dance Theater, the Tanner Dance Program, and served as adjunct faculty for both Salt Lake Community College and Utah Valley University.
Mr. Shaw is respected among students at Judge Memorial as “an instructor who celebrates the creative expression found in all students regardless of ability or experience.” Judge Memorial is the first high school in Utah to offer an all-male dance company primarily for athletes. If he didn’t pursue his love of dance, he believes he would be working with animals at the zoo.
Mr. Jo teaches the Modern Technique and Creativity Workshop Summer Camp
Joseph “jo” Blake, University of Utah (BFA, 2003) and University of Washington (MFA, 2017), performed, taught, and choreographed throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. jo is the Director of joBdance., an interdisciplinary project-based company with collaborations in dance, sound score, and visual arts, amplifying marginalized voices. As a member of the internationally-recognized Salt Lake City-based Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company (2003-2013), he performed in works by influential dance makers. jo’s community-based projects: Utah Black Artists Collective, YCC Family Crisis Center, Minding Motion for Graceful Aging, Yoga Behind Bars, and Dance for PD. jo is Dance Program Director and Assistant Professor of Dance at Weber State University, 2021 WSU Presidential Awards for Community Engaged Faculty Member, Ogden City Arts 2021 Mayor’s Award for the Arts, and NDEO’s Advisory Board Director of Student Initiatives. His most recent commission, coincidences, . . . when we meet up. (2022), created on the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, will premiere as a collaborative interdisciplinary, immersive installation in Fall 2023 with RWDC, WSU Dance Program, Cam McLeod, Dylan Totaro, Trevor Price, WSU’s Shaw Gallery, Dumke Arts Plaza, and Ogden City Arts.
Ms. Jennifer teaches the Modern Technique and Creativity Workshop Summer Camp
Jennifer A. Beaumont holds a B.F.A. in ballet and an M.F.A. in modern dance from the University of Utah. While earning her education she performed with Character Dance Ensemble, Utah Ballet and Performing Dance Company. She has danced professionally with Repertory Dance Theatre, Stern and Dancers, RawMoves, and SB Dance. In addition to performing, Jennifer has taught and choreographed at the University of Utah, Weber State University, RDT community school and various schools throughout the Wasatch front. When not dancing, she enjoys spending time with her four active children
Mr. Daniel teaches the Modern Dance Boot Camp Summer Camp
Trung “Daniel” Do was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and received his BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. After graduating college, he relocated to Portland, Oregon where he collaborated and performed with Shaun Keylock Company and Polaris Dance Theatre. He then accepted a contract with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) and has been a company member since 2018. Since joining RDT, he has had the pleasure of performing works by José Limón, Lar Lubovitch, Donald McKayle, Bebe Miller, Ihsan Rustem, Noa Zuk, and others. He has been a guest dancer with Ririe Woodbury Dance Company and the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance for their Alwin Nikolais France tour. He also serves as Assistant Director to project-based company, Cat + Fish Dances.
Mr. Jake teaches the Modern Dance Boot Camp Summer Camp
Jacob Lewis is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and received his dance training at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) led by Lee Nolting. In 2010, he was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and was a finalist for the NDEO Artistic Merit, Leadership and Artistic Award. He attended the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program and during his time in school performed in Alvin Ailey’s “Memoria” during the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s NY City Center Season. Upon graduation, he joined Ailey II where he performed both classical and contemporary works, both nationally and internationally. In 2017 he joined TU Dance and participated in the collaboration with Bon Iver’s ‘Come Through,’ which was performed at the Palace Theater (St. Paul, MN,) Hollywood Bowl and The Kennedy Center. As of 2021, Lewis has danced with the historic ballet company, Minnesota Dance Theater in Minneapolis where he has performed works by both Loyce and Lise Holton, and is currently a dancer for Repertory Dance Theatre.
Ms. Lauren teaches the Modern Dance Boot Camp Summer Camp
Lauren Curley (she/her) began her training in Lowell, MA at Walker’s Dance. She was a scholarship recipient at the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School, graduating Summa Cum Laude with her BFA in Dance Performance. In her time at Hartt, Lauren furthered her training at the José Limón Dance Foundation, Martha Graham School, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, and Henny Jurrien Stichting (NL). Upon graduating she was offered a contract with Repertory Dance Theatre, where she performed works by world-renowned choreographers such as José Limón, Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham, and Lar Lubovitch. After nine years of performing, Lauren transitioned into Rehearsal Director for RDT where she helps oversee the re-staging of both classical and contemporary repertory. She is also on faculty at The Winner School and teaches master classes at university programs throughout the country. Lauren is passionate about sharing her knowledge of historical modern dance and making it accessible to new generations of dancers!
Ms. Marilyn teaches the Modern Dance Boot Camp Summer Camp
Brigham Young University Professor Emeritus, Marilyn W. Berrett (MA-BYU, BA-U of U) developed her lifelong passion for teaching creative dance as a child and youth – dancing, choreographing, being mentored by and teaching with Virginia Tanner in the University of Utah Children’s Dance Theatre. Her sister and mentor Pearl Wagstaff-Garff was also instrumental in her lifelong belief in artistic dance for children.
During her 38-year career at BYU, Berrett artistically directed dance companies, choreographed contemporary/modern dance works, and worked in musical theatre and film. In 2002 she founded BYU Kinnect, an outreach company presenting educational dance performances and workshops to over 16,000 public school students annually. Her over 35 major Choreographic works have been presented throughout the nation and the world by students and professional dance companies.
Berrett has long been passionate about guiding students of all ages to discover, explore, create, and express their unique ideas through dance. She is a founding member of dance and the Child International(daCi) and has presented at local, national and international daCi conferences for the past 35 years.
She has served as a Leader and officer in multiple dance and arts organizations and as Chair of the Department of Dance at BYU from 2010 – 2017 and retired in 2018.
Marilyn now enjoys her roles as grandmother, independent dance artist, elementary dance artist educator, and modern/contemporary dance master teacher endorsed in Martha Graham Technique. Marilyn has been privileged to present professional development workshops throughout the world since 1978. Pre-pandemic she presented annual workshops in creative dance for children and youth educators in Shanghai, China with treasured colleague, Jiamin Huang.