TEAM

Who We Are

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MISTY PETERSON

Owner/Director

Misty has over 30 years worth of experience in teaching dance.

 Misty has been dancing since she was a small girl, dancing at her mother's studio, and that being the place she started her teaching career. Her passion for dance comes through in her choreography, of which she has won numerous awards for. 

  She has an ear for the music, and an eye for technique. 

 Her love for her dancers is what stands out most about her. Past, present and future dancers will always hold a special place in her heart. She is one to lift others, empower, and inspire. 

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KENNA PETERSON

Hip Hop/Technique


McKenna was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She began dancing at age 5 and immediately knew it was something she wanted to pursue. She trained at a competitive studio for 13 years excelling in jazz, lyrical, hip hop, contemporary, ballet, tap, and ballroom. As a dancer, Kenna has won numerous scholarships, awards, and titles. She has trained and worked with many choreographers across the country and continues to push herself past her limits in order to become a better dancer. 

After graduating from high school Kenna attended Utah Valley University. While getting her degree in Pre-Radiologic technology she had the opportunity to dance with their national and world winning dance team and helped lead them to 6 of their 16 national titles. As a collegiate dancer, Kenna developed her love for teaching and choreography and was able to help choreograph 4 of the routines that won National titles. Her choreography has been recognized both regionally and nationally and she is now a highly sought-out choreographer for dance studios as well as high school and college dance and drill teams. 

Kenna was an assistant for Intrigue during the 2019-2020 season and enjoyed traveling the country meeting and working with dancers from all walks of life. Through this opportunity with Intrigue Kenna discovered a love for teaching and creating and now she looks forward to challenging dancers and helping them reach past what they thought was possible. Her passion for dancing increases every time she sees the joy in a dancer’s face as they accomplish something they didn’t think they could do. McKenna is excited to be a part of the Intrigue family where she can share her gift and love for dance with the next generation of dancers!

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HOPE PARKER

Diversity

Hope Parker originates from Denver, CO. At seventeen, she relocated to NY to train with the Joffrey Ballet School. While at Joffrey, she trained extensively in many genres including Contemporary, Ballet and Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, and Latin Jazz. She has had the incredible opportunity to perform works by Donald Byrd, Josie Walsh, Chet Walker, John Pennington, Kevin Wynn, Daniel Gwertzman and Ephrat Asherie. Hope has also trained with well-respected companies such as Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Peridance Contemporary Dance, and the Radio City Rockettes. While in NYC, she performed works ranging from Ballet to Cabaret to Hip Hop, and additionally was part of a singing and dancing pop group. She has had the privilege of dancing professionally for Breton Follies, the Off-Broadway hit, A Brooklyn Boy, and much more. Currently, she dances and tours internationally with Odyssey Dance Theatre, teaches and choreographs for dance studios and ice-skating teams around UT, instructs group and private Pilates and personal training lessons, and creates workouts for an online Pilates platform.

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MCKENZIE SMITH

Choreography/Technique

McKenzie Smith has 20 years of dancing experience. She has studied tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, contemporary, ballroom, modern, hip hop, & tumbling. McKenzie has graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and is currently working on a Master's. She loves to apply the knowledge she has learned from the University of Utah into her classes to help educate her students. She is now teaching classes and choreographing in contemporary, jazz and musical theatre. Her favorite part of teaching dance is getting to know each dancer individually to help them set and achieve their goals.

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HEATHER CHILDS

Heather has been dancing since the age of 3. She is trained in Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Ballet and Hip Hop. She was a member of Larieann's Salt City Stars for 7 Years. At age 15 she began assisting classes with Larieann and other teachers and there grew her love of teaching. She taught for Larieann for two years after graduating and has now been teaching at Empower for over 10 years. Heather enjoys teaching a variety of classes from choreography to technique, tumbling and hip hop. Teaching dance brings Heather Joy. She is grateful every day that she gets to teach the love of dance to others. Nothing makes Heather more happy than watching dancers learn, grow and succeed. Heather also is a firm believer that the life lessons learned in dance are some that will be used all through a dancers life.

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MECKELL BARLOW

Technique

Meckells love for dance started at the young age of 3. Her training started at a local dance studio where she trained in jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, and hip hop. In High School, she was apart of the state championship winning drill team, the Copper Hills Azurettes. During her three years on the team, she held various officer positions including captain her senior year where she helped lead them to their third consecutive state title. Meckell always had a love for teaching. She’s been teaching dance for the past 5 years and her love grows more and more each day. She loves working with kids and wants to do all she can to help them reach their fullest potential. Aside from teaching at studios, Meckell is also the assistant coach of Juan Diego High School’s drill team. She continues to learn as a dancer and is always pushing herself to be a become the best role model for her students.

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ALYSSA BAGLEY

Technique

Needed

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DANI MILLET

Tumbling/Fundraising

Danielle started in dance and gymnastics when she was very little. She has always enjoyed tumbling and wants her students to find the same joy. As a kid, her favorite event was floor, but she enjoyed competing in the all around events. She competed in the Utah summer games and took a second place overall. In junior high, Danielle was a cheerleader and became Head Cheerleader her last year. She was also on the drill team in high school and Drill President her senior year. After graduating, Danielle found a love for fitness and continued to compete in fitness. She still enjoys a good challenge and still loves to tumble! Danielle has always loved working with kids and has been teaching tumbling since high school. It's so rewarding to help kids figure out their tricks and push them to improve and grow. She has been teaching at Empower Dance Academy since it opened over ten years ago.

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LESA RACKER

Academy Tumbling

Needed

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CHERYSE CROPPER

Choreography/Costuming

Dance has been a passion of hers since Cheryse started dancing at the age of 3. She watched her older sisters dance and was determined that she could do everything that they were doing. Cheryse has trained in all styles which has given her an appreciation at the hard work that goes into each style. She has had so many opportunities during her 17 years of dance. It has allowed her to travel and learn from so many talented teachers. After an injury, Cheryse had the opportunity to teach, which gives her a different kind of joy in dance. She loves watching a dancer when something finally clicks.

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ROXANNE DUNNEBEIL

Ballet

Needed

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SHANTELLE ERICSON

Tumbling

Shantelle grew up loving to dance and tumble and was always upside down more than she was right side up. She did dance company and gymnastics in middle school and cheered at Alta high school. As a sophomore in high school she took a beginning ballroom class and fell in love with it. She danced on the Alta ballroom team for her junior and senior years. Shantelle continued ballroom dancing at BYU and was a part of their touring company where they won many national and world titles. She also won 2 additional national titles with her cabaret partner doing many tricks never seen before. While at BYU Shantelle took gymnastics classes every semester and helped run the gymnastics kids camps during the summer. She has continued teaching tumbling in rec centers, private tumbling studios, and also in her home. Her four daughters share the same passion for dance and tumbling and they spend hours together practicing and playing around with new lifts and tricks. Shantelle loves seeing the joy it brings when girls get new skills and is excited to continue being part of the Empower family!

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HEATHER VARGAS

Tap Dance

Needed

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KRISTEN LAW

Ballet

Kristen Law has been classically trained in ballet for over nine years. Miss Law was trained by professional dancers from American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet. She has attended various workshops and summer intensives from schools like ABT, SAB, Indiana University, and Ballet West. More recently Miss Law trained at the University of Utah Ballet Department. Some of her Principal and soloist roles over the years include Sleeping Beauty, Sugar Plum Fairy, Liberty Bell, Kitri, and Swanilda.

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KARYN PETERSON

Choreography/Technique

Karyn started dancing at the young age of 3 and hasn’t stopped since! 

She trained in many different styles of dance over the years and also studied piano, singing, acting, and musical theater. She danced with competitive dance teams, performed with touring musical theater groups, and has been in more than 30 full length musical theater productions. 

She discovered her true passion of teaching when she was just 15 years old when she opened her own neighborhood dance studio in her parent’s basement. That tiny studio quickly grew to have more than 100 students when Karyn was still in high school. Her little studio attended local competitions and had great success winning many awards.  

Karyn has gone on to train hundreds of students in jazz, lyrical, and musical theater.

 Her award winning choreography has been recognized in and out of the state as dynamic and entertaining, and she has received numerous overall and high score awards for her competitive dance teams at competitions. She received the outstanding choreography award at Hollywood Vibe utah in 2019. 

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LAURA PETERSON

Fitness/Yoga

Laura has been with Empower Dance since 2019. She teaches strength/conditioning, and yoga. Before coming to the studio, Laura taught middle school and high school for 6 years as an American Sign Language and yoga instructor. She is also at the front desk, ready to help our amazing dancers and families! She loves spending time with her family (her daughter Marley is usually hanging at the studio too!), photography, fitness, singing, and Crumbl cookies!

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MELISSA EDWARDS

Ballet

Melissa started her dance training at the age of 3 in Ohio. She has trained in Ballet, Tap and Jazz but ultimately chose Ballet as her favorite form of dance. While in Ohio, she trained under multiple Ballet teachers and was part of the Travel Ballet Company where she performed at many venues around the state including King's Island and Coney Island. After moving to Utah with her family at the age of 10, she trained under Christy McQuaid and performed in many different Ballets including The Nutcracker, Cinderella, The 12 Dancing Princesses, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and The Emperor and the Nightengale. She suffered an injury in high school which prevented her from continuing her training at the time so she turned to teaching right after graduating. She is now in her 15th year of teaching and loves watching her students learn and grow through dance. Melissa also enjoys doing nails (she graduated from Cameo College of Essential Beauty in Nail Technology in 2012), reading and most of all spending time with her husband and 3 kids!

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NICOLE IHLER

Costuming

I grew up in Sandy and Draper and danced with Buckles & Bows, Corner Canyon Kickers & Dance Attack. Mostly I did clogging but while in high school Misty started teaching Jazz so we did that too. I went to Alta High School and was a Sophomore, Varsity, and Head Varsity Cheerleader. In College I danced with the Ricks College Folk Dance Team and toured to Germany Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. I graduated from Ricks with an associates degree in Business. I finished school at Brigham Young University and danced with my sister Andrea on the BYU Folk Dance Team. We Performed at the Opening Ceremonies of the SLC Winter Olympics, as well as several performances at Olympic venues, the Medals Plaza, and at the Church of Jesus Christ’s production at the Conference Center. That year we did a State-side tour due to 9/11 restrictions. I graduated from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School with a Bachelors Degree in Business with an emphasis in marketing. After graduation I helped to run BYU’s Clogging Camp and was a Cheer Coach for Several Years. I have also judged at dance and clogging competitions throughout the years. I am Adams Wife, Addi, Cooper, Taggert and Delainey’s Mom and I work for an Accountant, a Health Care Company, our Tiggy Lane Construction and Design Co., and help with Costumes at Empower.

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JEN MORTON

Administrative Assistant

Needed

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DESTINY SHIELDS

Ballet

Needed

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SOPHIE BUDD

Tumbling

Sophie began dancing and tumbling at the age of 5. From the beginning, she knew this was more than a hobby- it was her biggest passion! Sophie trained for 14 years at a studio with a significant emphasis on tumbling, participated in gymnastics, danced for her high school, and had the opportunity to be on Utah Valley’s Dance Team for 3 years, who now holds 16 National Titles in the D1A category. Sophie was a member of the team and competed with UVU for 6 of those titles. This team focused on creating innovative tricks and allowed her to master new ones along with her technical tumbling ability. Through these years of experience, she learned that teaching is one of her greatest joys.