Gena began her dance career at age three. She danced with Richfield Dance Company and Diane’s World of Dance for many years. In High School you could find her kicking up a storm on the State Champion Eastview Lightning Dance Team. She was an all Conference Dancer and a member of the Eastview Dance Department. After high school, she went on to study dance in the Minneapolis area and is a proud Alumni of the Minnesota Viking's Cheerleaders. She spent 4 rewarding years cheering on the Vikings and performing with the MVC.
Gena was a registered judge with the MN State High School League, where she had the opportunity to judge college and high school dance competitions as well as dance team tryouts throughout the state. She has modeled for the Just For Kix dance catalog, The Line Up and has danced in a Nationally aired commercial for Big Lots. She is a former Varsity Assistant Coach for the Lakeville North Lake Liners and continues to work with them in her free time.
Gena has been a dance instructor at River Valley Dance Academy in Chaska for the last 15 years, where she worked with the local dance teams, coached the competition jazz teams and recreational classes in the progressive program, and assisted with managing the business. She choreographed solos, duets, and trios, and also taught various other styles of dance. She divides her summer time as a dance instructor at dance studios throughout the state. Her choreography has earned awards at the regional and national levels at many competitions.
Gena is always trying to further her dance knowledge, continuing her dance education is important to her, she has traveled to New York City multiple times to take classes at Broadway Dance Center and from performers with Broadway Connections. She has also traveled to dance conventions around the US. When she is not teaching dance she enjoys spending time with her husband and two little boys.
Owning a studio is a dream come true for Gena, she is looking forward to continuing Dianne’s traditions. She is excited to share her love for dance and help students experience life lessons that go hand in hand with the dedication, discipline and passion that the art of dance requires.
Hannah graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance earning her BFA in Dance Performance And Choreography with a dual emphasis in Ballet and Modern. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Hannah began formal training at Minnesota Dance Theatre (formerly Ballet Arts Minnesota). She has attended American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Washington Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Milwaukee Ballet summer intensives. Upon graduating from UMKC, Hannah danced professionally with Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company for 3 seasons and later Consuming Kinetics Dance Company in St. Louis, MO. Hannah returned to the Twin Cities in 2016 to dance with St. Paul Ballet and is currently a freelance artist working with a variety of independent choreographers and companies in the community. Hannah has enjoyed performing works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Antony Tudor, Jessica Lang, Uri Sands, Sally Rousse, Zoé Henrot, Peter Davison and more. Hannah has been teaching dance for over 6 years and is very excited to continue sharing her love and passion for ballet and all movement at Dance Xcel this season.
Taylor started her dance career in middle school on the Starliner Dance team. She then became a member of the Lakeville North Lakeliners and danced on the varsity team for 4 years (where she had DanceXcel Owner Gena as one of her coaches). Taylor attended MSU Mankato where she was a member of the Maverick Dance Team and won a national title. Taylor has been a member of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders for 5 seasons and is a Captain this year. Taylor is a student at Concordia University St. Paul and will graduate with a Bachelors in Marketing in the Spring! She currently work in marketing for a local boutique "Blush By Kay". In her spare time she loves to run! She ran her first marathon in October, and plans to run many more. Taylor loves to spend time with her family and Dalmatian puppy Frankie. Taylor lives by the quote; go confidently in the direction of you dreams, and live the life you have imagined.
Megan joined DDs Dance in 2015, and is so excited to continue in the DanceXcel family! She has continued to dance since she was 3 years old. She has a background in modern, ballet, jazz, contemporary/lyrical, pointe, hip-hop, breakdance, African, and yoga. Although she originates from the suburbs of Chicago, she currently has a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish Studies & Dance and her Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota. While there, she studied from Maggie Bergeron, Patricia Brown, Kenna Camara-Cottman, Ananya Chatterjea, Carl Flink, Penny Freeh, Karla Grotting, Paula Mann, Toni Pierce-Sands, Joanie Smith, Linda Talcott-Lee, and Erin Thompson, and performed in two of the University’s fall/spring shows. Megan has choreographed for and performed in the Student Dance Coalition’s showcase through the University of Minnesota Dance program as well. She has taken master classes with Gallim Dance, HIJACK, Kile Hotchkiss of Keigwin + Company, Scott Rink, and Tony Tran from the Jabbawockeez/Kinjaz groups. She has assisted dance faculty through Dance Masters of Wisconsin as well as attended multiple dance conventions in the Midwest area. In her free time, she enjoys taking open dance and yoga classes. During her weekdays, she continues to teach English as a Second Language in Minneapolis as a full-time teacher. Megan looks forward to another great year at DanceXcel where she gets to share her love of teaching and of dancing!
Alli grew up dancing at DD's Dance Studio. She was a member of the Varsity Henry Sibley dance team for 5 seasons and was captain for 2 years. She was chosen as an All-Conference dancer her Senior year. Alli continues to grow as a dancer, and choreographer. She was a member of Exidanz for the 2011-12 dance season. She is a past member and captain of the University of Minnesota Premier Dance Team 2010-2013. Alli danced with the Larkin Ladies, and is a former Henry Sibley Dance Team coach. Alli's choreography has won numerous awards for competition dancers over the past few season.
Rachel has a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in performance and teaching. She has performed with numerous small companies in the twin cities over the years. For the last 10 years she has enjoyed teaching ballet and modern dance for studios and organizations including River Valley Dance Academy and Prairie Dance Alliance. Rachel is thrilled to be joining the staff at DanceXcel this year.
Alesha has been dancing since the age of 2, was an assistant teacher for 6 years and has been teaching classes for 19 years - all here at D.D.’s Dance Studio. She has taken classes from dance greats like Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, and Diane Walker. Her competition students have taken countless high point awards over the past decade. She is passionate about finding a balance between fun and advancement in her classes, and strives to challenge each dancer individually to reach their highest potential. Alesha recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementry Education.
Megan is a former student of DanceXcel owner Gena Buckley. Megan is currently attending the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, double majoring in Dance and Business Administration. Megan graduated from Chanhassen High School and was a part of the school's dance team for five years. She was All Conference, All State, and participated in the state tournament. Megan also danced at River Valley Dance Academy for 11 years. She was a part of the studio's Performance Company for seven years. While on the Performance Company Megan was a National Champion and had the opportunity to perform in a variety of places such as Disneyland and Nashville. Megan has traveled to NY to study at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway. Megan is also a teacher at River Valley Dance Academy. She loves teaching and dancing as often as she can.
Jameson has been teaching the past year at Legacy Dance Studio of Woodbury, MN. After graduating from MSU Mankato with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre, Jameson began to focus on dance. He has taken classes from Brian Puspos, Ian Eastwood, Shaun Evaristo, and Jillian Meyers. He has been strongly influenced by Hip Hop, Musical Theatre and Tap dance. JamesonÕs teaching methods are very unorthodox at best. He loves to challenge his students to move in ways they didnÕt think they could, at various tempos they never thought possible. His classes focus on the fundamentals of dance, technique, improvisation, interpretation and choreography. His goal for his students is to get them to see what they hear and portray what they see.
Alyssa started her dance career at Northland School of Dance in Champlin, MN where she studied and competed in many styles of dance and had the opportunity to perform at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, China. She has attended numerous summer intensives such as American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Complexions on partial to full merit scholarships and has appeared in music videos, dancewear catalogues, and dance magazines. Alyssa was also awarded New York City Dance Alliance’s National Senior Outstanding Dancer in 2013, which gave her the opportunity to travel with their topnotch faculty and assist classes on their national tour. Throughout the years, Alyssa has had the opportunity to perform in Capezio’s 125th Anniversary Celebration hosted by Nigel Lythgoe, NYCDA’s Bright Lights Gala honoring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Liza Minnelli, and Catherine Zeta Jones, as well as assist the top choreographers of the nation. Alyssa just recently graduated magna cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College, receiving a BFA in dance and a minor in business management. During her time in the dance program at Marymount, she has had the honor to perform in works choreographed by Al Blackstone, Tito Del Saz, Jae Man Joo, Alexandra Damiani, Breton Tyner-Bryan, and many more. She is currently touring with New York City Dance Alliance on the weekends, working as a dance assistant and loves teaching whenever possible. We are thrilled to have Alyssa join DanceXcel over the summer during our camps and to work with dancers on solos.
Deane’s first love was musical theatre, and he has appeared on the main stage at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Anything Goes; Disney’s Beauty and the Beast; as Bernardo in West Side Story; Singin’ in the Rain; 42nd Street; and Swing. He also had the great pleasure of joining the Metropolitan Ballet’s productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo at the Historic State Theatre. He continues in musical theatre as a choreographer/director for Ashland Productions and has choreographed for Maple Grove Senior high, where his work has been recognized at the annual Spotlight Awards.
Amanda began dancing at the age of 3. She spent most of her youth dancing at River Valley Dance Academy studying tap, modern and dancing as a member of the Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop Performance Teams. Amanda had the opportunity to learn from Gena, as her instructor, but also as a coworker on the River Valley Dance Academy Staf where she has been teaching for the past 5 years. Amanda holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Child Development and Family Studies with a minor in Dance from Mankato State University. She has been seen performing during the MN Fringe Festival and has had the privilege of tapping with Keane Sense of Rhythm during “Rhythmically Speaking.” She enjoys taking classes and traveling to dance conventions to further her dance education. Amanda looks forward to sharing her love of dance and getting to know the DanceXcel dancers!
Mikayla began dancing at age 4. She studied at Northland School of Dance for 12 years receiving training in ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, tap, ballroom, musical theater and hip-hop. As a competitive dancer, she received numerous high scores and regional titles including Miss Starquest, Miss Bravo, Miss Legacy, Nuvo Breakout Artist, and NYCDA Outstanding Dancer. Mikayla attended High School at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Here she was able to expand her training in ballet, tap, and jazz while gaining additional training in Modern and West African. Mikayla received a NYCDA scholarship and a full scholarship to Steps on Broadway Conservatory in NYC. These scholarships allowed her to continue her training while in college participating in TU Dance’s Pre-professional Program and Steps On Broadway Contemporary Masters Summer Study. Mikayla supplements her dance training by attending summer intensives including: American Ballet Theater, Minnesota Dance Theater, The Collective, TU Dance, Black Label Movement and this summer she will attend Elisa Monte Dance on full scholarship. She has been privileged to train with the best in Minnesota including: Toni-Pierce Sands, Uri Sands, Carl Flink, Abdo Saygeh, and Maggie Bergeron. Nationally Mikayla has trained with Dwight Rhoden, Andrea Miller, Elisa Monte, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Suzi Taylor, Joe Lanteri, Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, and Dee Caspery. Mikayla currently resides in Minnesota where she trains with TU Dance and attends the University of St. Thomas where she studies Exercise Science. She plans to attend graduate school for a Doctorate in Physical Therapy with a focus in Dance Medicine. Mikayla enjoys teaching at DanceXcel when her schedule allows.
Cory Booker found his love for dance in high school through show choir and the- atre. As dance captain of his high school show choir, he had the wonderful opportunity to tour, perform, and compete in places such as New York, Chicago, and London. He is an IMMABEAST work study member and has had the opportunity to train and learn from choreographers such as Luther Brown, Willdabeast Adams, David Moore, Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, Kevin Maher, Laura Edwards, Rhapsody James and Luam, just to name a few. He has had the wonderful opportunity to perform as a cast member in the Minnesota hip hop production called ‘SHAPESHIFT.’ Along with ‘SHAPESHIFT,’ Cory performed at numerous venues and had the great opportunity to be the opening act for “WEDAY” at the Xcel Energy Center, TEDx Minneapolis, and the Prince Tribute Concert at the Xcel Energy Center. Cory has recently performed for artist such as Natalie La Rose, OMI, Tori Kelly, Vanilla Ice, and Chaka Khan. Cory has also been a featured dancer in companies and groups such as, JLW Productions, Legacy: A Tribute to the King of Pop, 612 Crew, Mn Motion, and Ku De Ta. Cory has won numer- ous scholarships from dance conventions such as Monsters of Hip Hop, Buildabeast Experience, Jump, Nuvo and The Pulse on Tour. Cory has had the wonderful opportuni- ty to choreograph for many corporate events, and to have his choreography represent- ed by multiple studios in the twin cities. Even though he loves teaching, building and inspiring young dancers, he will always remain a student to the art form, and will con- stantly keep learning and growing as a dancer and teacher. DanceXcel Dancer's enjoy Cory's energy and fun choreography (and nicknames) during our summer intensives and camps.
Wynne started dancing at a small studio at the age of four. She decided to study dance seriously in the Fall of 2012, where she began training with many instructors around the Twin Cities, including Tatiana Berenova. She was accepted into many programs and intensives, and spent a summer in Washington DC, where she studied under Elaine Kudo, and many of the faculty at the Washington Ballet. She excelled there, and was presented with the opportunity of having one of her own choreographed pieces included in the student showcase. She spent another summer at the Milwaukee Ballet, where she was instructed on technique and artistry, and was a featured dancer in the intensive show, Emergence.
After becoming a company apprentice with two Twin Cities dance companies, Wynne performed in several classical ballets, including the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and many more as well as contemporary works. Wynne is excited to bring her knowledge of dance and artistry to DanceXcel's students.
Joe Svihel Joe is a Senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and is working towards his Bachelor of the Arts in Dance. In addition to working on his degree, he is honored to be the Senior Director of the school’s upcoming fall performance-which features contemporary student choreography. He enjoys performing and teaching dance around the upper midwest. How grew up dancing at RVDA.