Vanessa Terrell, Director
Vanessa has been dancing since she could walk, and training in dance since age three. She has trained extensively in all styles of dance, and earned a B.A. in Dance and Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Iowa in 2010. Vanessa has taught dance throughout Eastern Iowa – her teaching experience includes dance studios, pre-professional ballet classes, and non-profit after school and community programs. She directs the Company at The Pointe and teaches and choreographs for all ages and styles. Vanessa has won multiple Best Choreography and Judges Choice awards at dance competitions and has choreographed for school and community groups including show choirs, color guards, and theatre productions. Her goal is to share the physical, artistic, and emotional benefits of a quality dance education with as many students as she can. In 2016, Vanessa joined the Advisory Panel for Youth Protection Advocates in Dance, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping dance a safe and healthy activity for children. In 2017, Vanessa launched The Pointe Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to raise funds and resources to provide scholarships for dance education and outreach opportunities to youth in the Cedar Rapids area. Vanessa is CPR, first aid, and YPAD Certified (January 2017).
Aaron got his start in the arts at an early age growing up in the thriving arts community that is Cedar Rapids, IA. He has extensive training in modern, ballet, jazz, and tap; as well as experience in hip-hop and ballroom. He also currently works as a freelance choreographer. Starting his studies in dance at a local studio, he continued his studies both at the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. He has been fortunate enough to take master classes with several accomplished choreographers, performers, professors, and grad-students throughout the Midwest. His work has been presented on the TCR stage, the UNI campus, and the surrounding area. He has had the privilege of having his compositional work adjudicated at the American Collegiate Dance Association conference. Additionally, he was nominated for the Iowa Community Theatre Association Awards in Excellence for his choreography for Theatre Cedar Rapids’ production of “Mary Poppins”. Aaron teaches a variety of styles and age groups, is a Company coach, and our Performance Coordinator. Aaron is YPAD Certified and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program.
Laura started dancing at the age of three in Crest Hill, Illinois at Times III. She fell in love with all styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe, and hip hop, and was a teaching assistant. Laura then continued to Southeast Missouri State University where she graduated with her B.F.A. in Dance in May 2014. During her time at SMSU, she had the opportunity to perform many works by faculty, students, and guest choreographers. She had the privilege of performing ‘Psalm’ by Jose Limon at the American College Dance Festival Gala. Laura also had the opportunity to choreograph her own works for multiple concerts, and one of her pieces, ‘For Granted’, was chosen to be adjudacated at the American College Dance Festival. She has also studied with dance companies in the Chicago area through summer intensives and workshops including Joel Hall Dancers, Thodos Dance Chicago, and River North Dance Chicago. In April 2017, Laura earned YPAD Certification. In June 2017, Laura attended More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program. Laura teaches all styles and levels and is a Company coach and our Company Coordinator.
Katie Terrell grew up dancing in central Iowa and studied a variety of genres growing up. She danced through college at the University of Northern Iowa, performing with the student-led International Dance Theatre. Katie also works as a behavioral associate in the Cedar Rapids Community School District. At The Pointe, Katie is our Front Desk Manager and at the front desk and boutique during the week, and she teaches Dance & Discover classes on Saturdays. Katie is YPAD Certified and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training and Manager Training programs.
Hope grew up dancing in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and was a serious competitive dancer for both her studio and high school team. She teaches all ages and styles of dance, and is a Company coach. Hope loves working with kids and is studying to become a full-time teacher in addition to teaching dance. Hope is YPAD Certified and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program.
Josie grew up dancing in the Cedar Rapids area. She began choreographing early while in high school for her varsity dance team and show choir. Josie earned a degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from Hope College. She interned with the Isadora Duncan Foundation in New York City, teaching modern dance classes to children of all ages and studying at Steps on Broadway and Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She is YPAD Certified, Acrobatic Arts Certified, and has completed the More Than Just Great Dancing Teacher Training Program. Josie supports all of her students and helps each one achieve their unique dance goals.
Kara grew up dancing in western Iowa and began teaching while she was in high school. She earned a minor in dance at the University of Kansas. Kara has been a member of the studio staff since 2004, and has taught every age group from first graders to adults. Her favorite part of teaching is watching her students grow as dancers. She currently teaches tap and leaps and turns for levels 3-4, and is also one of the Company coaches. Kara especially enjoys teaching and choreographing tap! In addition to teaching classes, Kara also participates in the adult dance classes available at The Pointe. She loves the positive studio atmosphere and interacting with the students, their families, and her colleagues at The Pointe. Kara earned YPAD Certification in April 2017 and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training Program.
Beth grew up dancing and being very active in the performing arts in Omaha, Nebraska. She continued dancing in college at the University of Iowa while earning her degree in Communications. Beth also earned her Master’s Degree in Health Promotion and Certificate in Aging Studies at the U of I. She has been teaching dance since 1992, and both daughters danced competitively. Beth is experienced in tap, ballet, jazz, Pilates, and yoga. Her music background shows in her choreography. Her high-energy classes are fun and dynamic for all students! Beth earned YPAD Certification in April 2017 and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program.
Denise is a Cedar Rapids native, and grew up dancing in ballet, tap, and jazz classes. She also has experience performing and teaching ballroom and Latin! Denise works as a paraeducator for students with special needs through the Grant Wood AEA. Her compassionate and kind personality make her a wonderful teacher, and her students love her focus on technique and fun choreography. Denise leads our “Chance To Dance” program at The Pointe – providing an opportunity for dance classes for students with special needs. Denise is committed to bringing the joy of dancing to all of her students. She earned YPAD Certification in April 2017 and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program.
Savanah started dancing at the studio when she was three and continued until graduating from Linn-Mar High School. Throughout the years, she trained in all styles of dance – tap and lyrical were her favorites. Savanah was actively involved in competition teams for six years and has attended numerous competitions, master classes, and conventions. She was a Teaching Assistant for several years working with dancers of all ages. She currently attends Kirkwood Community College, working towards a major in Pre-Pharmacy. Savanah is YPAD Certified (earned April 2017) and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program. Miss Savanah’s classes are fun and fresh, and her kind and nurturing demeanor make every student feel welcome.
Katie grew up dancing at the studio, and brings her love of dance and working with kids into every class she teaches. Katie has training in every style of dance – including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and hip hop. She was a member of Linn-Mar Varsity Poms for all four years of high school. She is an elementary school teacher and dance team coach for the Marion Independent School District. Katie is YPAD Certified and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program.
Christine has extensive training in all styles of dance – growing up dancing at the studio and dancing through college at the University of Iowa. She teaches all age groups and styles. Christine is studying to become a physical therapist, and brings her advanced knowledge about developing healthy athletes and injury prevention to every class. She is YPAD Certified and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program.
Morgan grew up dancing at the studio, and took classes in every style of dance – ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and hip hop. She competed in groups and solos for several years throughout middle and high school. Morgan is a student at Kirkwood Community College and was a member of their dance team, performing at athletic and community events as well as team competitions. She is YPAD Certified and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training program.
Claire is a sophomore at The University of Iowa studying Elementary Education with a minor in Dance. She started dancing at the age of three, and has trained in a variety of styles. She danced competitively for several years in middle and high school. In 2018, Claire got the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker with Ballet Quad Cities. In high school (Washington High School), she was a part of the dance team and show choir for 4 years and performed at UDA Nationals and Show Choir Nationals. Her dance experience at Iowa has been full of opportunities to dance with amazing teachers and choreographers. Claire is also a captain for The University of Iowa’s dance marathon where we dance and fight for kids with pediatric cancer. She has always had a passion for working with children, and can’t wait to help them find their love for dance! Claire is YPAD Certified and completed the More Than Just Great Dancing Teacher Training program.
Sarah is a sophomore at The University of Iowa studying Education with a minor in Dance. She grew up dancing at the studio, studying every style of dance and taking advantage of every opportunity. Sarah was one of the first students in Iowa to be inducted into the National Honors Society for Dance Arts during her senior year, and traveled to New York City to take classes and see professional performances with the studio in 2018. Sarah is excited to start teaching at The Pointe! She is YPAD Certified and has completed More Than Just Great Dancing’s Teacher Training Program.
Demetra Chiafos grew up dancing at The Pointe School of Dance. In addition to her training at PSD, she trained independently with Margaret Eginton (Merce Cunningham Dance Company.) Demetra attended the Burklyn Ballet Theatre summer intensive, where she choreographed, worked as a junior counselor, and trained with world-renowned dancers and instructors such as John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow. She also attended the Nashville Ballet summer intensive. Most recently, she graduated from The Ohio State University (2020) with her BFA in Dance with a focus in Performance and Composition, for which she received Research Distinction, and her BA in Japanese. At OSU, she trained with acclaimed instructors such as Daniel Roberts, Karen Eliot, Eddie Taketa, and Crystal Perkins. Her senior research project in dance received the ASC Arts Undergraduate Research Grant from OSU. She also co-curated the 2020 annual OSU Dance film festival, Dance@30FPS, and was selected to be a student writer in a collaboration between Karen Eliot and the Wexner Center for the Arts that tasked a group of students to write about the arts, which resulted in a published book titled Risk is a Relative Term. One of Demetra’s dance films was a finalist for Best Student Film at the Screen.dance film festival in Scotland in 2019.
This school year, she will be working on her MA in Japanese Translation at SOAS University of London (online due to COVID) while teaching at The Pointe!