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Modern Dance Group

Our Faculty

Behind every great dancer is a brilliant teacher & we are lucky enough to have a large staff of some of the most talented dancers & educators in our area. Read below to see all of their accomplishments from their own dance careers. 


Ashley Smith

Ashley was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe. She grew up in Miss Marcia’s studio as a Shining Star. By age 18 she had performed and trained with the Oakland Ballet, principle dancers of the Sacramento Ballet and studied under the direction of David Wilcox, Artistic Director of the Long Beach Ballet Arts Center. She began touring in 2005 to Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden and Japan teaching and performing with the internationally known performance and arts advocacy group, The Young Americans (YA) under the direction or Mr Bill Brawley (MI) and Miss Robyn Brawley (AUS). During her time with the Young Americans she worked with industry leaders including, Micheal Crawford (Phantom of the Opera), Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde), Carol Dennis-Dylan (The Color Purple) Mark Walberg (Temptation Island) and Emmy nominated writer Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives). As part of her training with the Young Americans she participated in resident outreach programs where she worked in homeless children’s shelters and juvenile detention centers of the Inland Empire teaching dance and music. Her international television & professional credits include Hessentag Festival (Germany) ESL Commercial (Japan) E! Entertainment (USA) Tahoe Productions, Lucky Rabbit Productions, Pinkerton Ballet Theatre. Programs she taught and/or choreographed for include Icon Arts (Inland Empire, Ca) Grant funded school theatre/dance program (Essex, England) Head Dance Team Coach (STHS 2010-2014/2021-2023) Pinkerton Ballet Theatre (Carson City, Nv). In 2014, she opened Studio E Dance & Aerial Arts in Minden, Nv specializing in dance and cirque classes for all ages. Her students were invited to perform at the Nevada State Fair, The Nutcracker and with Carson City Youth Theatre’s production of The Little Mermaid. She was the 2017 winner of the Forte Award that recognized talent throughout the Reno/Tahoe area. In 2021 Ashley was asked to produce the 32nd annual production of The Nutcracker Ballet in Carson City with the Nevada Dance Company formerly Pinkerton Ballet Theatre, for which she now serves as Vice President and Producer. Ashley holds teaching certifications through National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS), BarreAbove, University of Nevada Las Vegas and Jill Franklin's Aerial Physique Teacher Training Programs, accredited through American Circus Educators of America (ACE).  She is always looking for ways to continue her education as a teacher. When she is not teaching or producing Ashley is with her three children Evey, Emerie and Elohn, her husband Tommy along with their two doggies Kai and Poa. 


Jeanette Conkey

Jeanette Conkey started her dance journey as Jeanette Sugg a young seven year old with big dreams from Welwyn Garden City, England. She began her training at The Karen Parham School of Dance and completed all the Dance grades from Primary to Advanced levels in the Imperial Dance Syllabi in Modern, Ballet, Theater Dance, National and Tap. She then went on to further her training with Nexus Dance Company and Osmosis Youth Dance Company. She graduated from The London Contemporary Dance School with a BA (Ord) Degree in Dance and completed her dance teacher training through The London College of Dance where she graduated as an Associate Teacher for The Imperial Society of the Teachers of Dance.

With every intention to start her professional life as a dance teacher, life pulled her into another direction; performing. She considers this a blessing as she travelled throughout Europe and worked with some of the highest rated choreographers and musical directors in the World. Favorite shows include Lars Lubovitch’s UK Tour of ‘Oklahoma!’, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webbers ‘Cats’ and ‘Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, ‘Return To The Forbidden Planet’, ‘Rhythm At Work’, ‘Green Candle Contemporary Dance Company’ and the show that bought her here to Reno ‘Spirit of The Dance’.

She is also a member of the N.D.E.O (Nation Dance Educational Organization). She teaches music and movement and drama across the board from the 2nd year class through the 8th grade. She has implemented a sound and highly effective curriculum that allows the students to implement the seven different ways to successful individual learning for cross-curriculum activities in math, science, geography, languages, history, and the arts.

Briana Alamilla

Bri was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, CA where she trained at the Marcia Sarosik Dance Studio since the age of 9. During high school, Bri danced on the STHS Dance Team, assisted with the Bijou Ballet Club, and completed her Senior Project with Marcia. After high school, Bri continued to assist and teach classes at the Studio. She recently graduated from Sacramento State University with a B.A. in Health Science and a Minor in Non-Profit Administration. 


Jenna Ervin

Miss Jenna “Ervin”… grew up dancing at the studio as a Shining Star and quickly developed a love of all dance styles, from tap to Irish to couples. She was drawn to rhythm and tap dance, a passion that Miss Marcia helped develop along with guest teachers like Mike Wittmers, Terry Brock, Anthony LoCascio, and others. Jenna continued tap dance in college and returned home to dance with the adult tappers and help Marcia with tap choreography in various classes. She has also choreographed talent show tap dances with her middle school students and served as a choreographer/coach for STMS Air Band. Her dad was a longtime OG Dad-Daughter Dancer, her brother was a well-known studio dancer, and her two boys continued the dance tradition with Miss Marcia. Miss Jenna is honored to be able to share Marcia’s tap techniques with the next generations of Shining Stars at The Studio.

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Kelsi Landerkin

Miss Kelsie trained with a variety of renowned ballet teachers from all over the United States. At age 10, she danced in the New York City Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty and as a young teen she was asked to dance in principle roles with The Oakland Ballet; spending two years dancing for Artistic Director Ronn Guidi. She danced the leading role of Clara in The Nutcracker Ballet with Pinkerton Ballet Theatre, along with other supporting roles. At age 17, she was awarded a scholarship to Cal Arts 8-week summer dance program. She performed under Greg Thompson & Mistinguett on the river boats of Mississippi & in Reno, Nv. She has performed under Lynne Barth & for Lucky Rabbit Productions. Kelsi has taught for numerous studios throughout California before settling down back in her hometown if South Lake Tahoe with her husband Doug & daughter, Lilian. 


Nicole Mora

Miss Nicole has been dancing her whole life. She was in Miss Marcia’s first dance class in South Lake Tahoe. Through the years Miss Nicole danced professionally with Tahoe Productions, and in several touring magic shows starring Eli Kerr and Chipper Lowell. Miss Nicole began teaching at The Marcia Sarosik Dance Studio over 25 years ago. 10 years ago Miss Nicole decided to spread her teaching to the Lake Tahoe Unified School District. She uses her Masters in the Art of Teaching at Tahoe Valley Elementary where she teacher TK and is the director of performing arts. When not teaching Miss Nicole is probably cheering for her 3 kids somewhere in town. 


Kylee Finnegan

Miss Kylee started at the age of 2 with Miss Marcia. Through the years she studied all styles of dances and found her passion for teaching. She has been to many summer workshops and master classes to continue her dance education. Kylee performed professionally for Lucky Rabbit Productions and Tahoe Entertainment.  While receiving her B.S. in Recreation and Park Tourism administration at Sacramento State she was the captain of the Dance Team. She was an integral part of the premier dance studio in Rancho Murrieta as well as a teacher/choreographer for studios in the Midwest. She is currently in her 10th season as the head coach of the South Tahoe High School Dance Team and her 1st year as the head of spirit. She is a 3 time NDA All-American. NFHS and USA Gymnastics Certified.  Her goal is to give the children as many different opportunities to perform which include annual workshops with the Sac State Dance Team. In her free time she is with her Husband David and two girls Ava & Emily. 

Izzy Preston

Izzy was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe and has loved to dance since she was little. She grew up dancing at Miss Marcia’s for 16 years! During high school she was apart of the STHS dance team and the theatre department. After high school she continued to study Jazz and Hiphop at Sac Dance Lab in Sacramento. Izzy has been back home for 2 years teaching dance in Tahoe and Reno while also going to school at Sierra Nevada university where she studies sustainability. Izzy found her love for teaching throughout the years and loves to teach all different styles of dance but especially contemporary and hiphop.

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Chelsea Whightman

With over 25 years of experience, Chelsea Wightman, teaches Contemporary, Hip Hop, Jazz and Technique classes, to new and experienced dancers alike. She grew up dancing with Marcia Sarosik and Lake Tahoe’s Shining Stars, since 1996. Chelsea danced with Fusion Dance Company for three seasons (2010-2013) in Santa Barbara. Focusing on Contemporary, Floorwork, Hip Hop, Tap, Salsa, and a variety of other dance styles. In San Diego, Chelsea performed with the Dance Network and their hip hop team “Kruciaal Element,” and is currently performing with BLV productions in Reno/Tahoe. Chelsea works full-time in live events and production, working for the San Diego Padres for the last nine years, since 2013. Chelsea has been a professional dance instructor for K-12 school-age dancers since 2018, and loves to teach Hip Hop, Cardio, contemporary and heels technique to adults. In her spare time (if she has any) she trains aerial silks

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