Resumes, Bios, and Tidbits, Oh My!
Most people who become involved with a studio, theatre, or extracurricular activity bring their entire family, their friends, and their hearts along for the ride. We know how important it is to know who you are dealing with before you commit. Here's who we are in less of a nutshell.
Halee has a passion for teaching dance and the performing arts, and has been teaching and choreographing professionally in Utah, Arizona, and Alabama for 19 years. She has a heavy background in most styles of dance and musical theater and is a very versatile instructor. Halee has choreographed, directed, and musically directed many productions and hundreds of pieces. She even choreographed the opening number of the 2,000 cast member Jordan River Temple dedication youth celebration "Ready".
Throughout her time teaching, Halee has taught many private lessons and has been staffed at studios recognized as the best in their industries locally and nationally; to name a few: Encore Academy of Entertainment, Sandy, UT; The Dance Studio, Prescott, AZ; Heidi Knight School of Dance, Huntsville, AL; The Dance Company Inc., Madison, AL. Halee is grateful for the personal connections she has made with influential performers, instructors, directors, and studio/business owners- true industry greats from across the country- and she is especially aware of how her unique work and performance experience shapes the way she runs her own business. Halee had a private lesson studio in Alabama from 2010-2014. In 2014 she moved back home to the Salt Lake Valley and founded The Center for the Performing Arts.
Halee’s training began at Utah Artists’ School of Ballet where she trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, and contemporary and became a featured soloist in their Junior Ballet Company. At 14 years old, she began touring nationally and internationally as a singer, dancer, and performer with Encore Academy of Entertainment where she was privileged to stay on as an advanced instructor. More of her training includes private and group voice lessons, theater and acting classes, and regular instruction, master classes, and workshops by industry greats such as Alvin Ailey New York, Repertory Dance Theater, Steps on Broadway, UVU, Utah Ballet, BYU Ballet and Young Ambassadors, Ririe-Woodbury, and Broadway Dance New York to name a few.
A leader, Halee has served at Jordan Ridge Elementary School as a Student Body Officer (we didn't need to go this far back but, hey, why not tell you our whole life story while we've got your attention, right?), South Jordan Middle School as a Student Body Officer; Bingham High School as Head Cheerleader, Vice President and President of the Dance Company; and at Utah Valley University as Vice President of the Song ‘n Dance Company. She has also taken on various other leadership roles in church and community.
As a performer, Halee has had opportunities to sing, dance, and act on every kind of stage; from amateur and community, to school and collegiate, even professional. Her resume includes performances on cruise ships, at theme parks, and in professional venues such as Disney, Hale Center Theater, the HBO Network, Ballet West, the ABC Network, the 2002 Olympics, and more. Aside from doing very well in competitions and auditions as a performer, she has also sat on the other side of the table many times as a judge for events including the Trumbaur Theater Festival, the Reflections Arts Program, and auditions for Arizona Adrenaline’s professional arena football team dancers.
Halee’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In high school, she was chosen for the Ririe-Woodbury professional training program consisting of a small class of dancers chosen from hundreds of company dancers across the state. Halee was even named Utah Dance Education Association’s “Dance Student of the Year.” In college, Halee competed for and won a Miss America scholarship. She was nominated for best actress in a leading role at Utah Valley University where she was accepted onto the dance company, performed with their singing and dancing ambassadors, and was awarded scholarships for both the Dance and Theater programs. She and her students have had many leading roles in plays, musicals, and dance/vocal concerts. She, her students, and her choreography have won local, regional, and national titles, and many Superior, Platinum, and First Place Overall awards at competitions and adjudications. She and her students have also been accepted into prestigious performing arts programs, camps, and colleges nationwide. Let's not forget that Halee won a baby beauty contest at three years old!
Besides her full performance and teaching resume and her long list of awards, Halee has a relative work history that includes time as a hostess, retail manager, and even a DJ. She is a returned missionary, fluent in Spanish, and an active member of her church. Most of all, she is the wife of The Center’s co-owner, Douglas Ballash, and they are the parents of two children, Kyleena and Ryker Ballash.
More Awesome Teachers
Express Company Director
Stef Bassett is the director of Express Company. She loves working with these adults, providing them an opportunity to keep dancing and performing after high school, and being able to perform along with them. She has been dancing since the age of four. Her training includes ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, cheer, gymnastics, drill and contemporary to name a few. She also was a singer, dancer, and performer with OnStage Productions Studio and joined them on several tours including a two-week tour to Japan. She danced at the collegiate level on Utah Valley University’s Dance Team. She also danced for several professional companies, Strictly Business in Salt Lake City, Utah and God’s Messengers Inspirational Dance Company located in St. George, Utah. She was a host and cheerleader for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games at the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, Utah. She has participated in many camps and workshops including USA, Odyssey, Jazz Dancer, LA Underground, BYU Young Ambassadors, and Broadway Dance Center. During an 18-month stint as a missionary in Taiwan, Stef even found a way to dance in the public parks with several groups of “dancing grandmas” for morning exercises. Stef has been teaching dance for 19 years. Her resume includes teaching all ages many different types of dance such as creative dance, jazz, contemporary, tap, combo classes, and even nutrition classes to dancers, utilizing her degree in Community Health. She loves motivating others and helping them to see their strengths. She also loves to help others build their self-confidence through working hard and giving everything they have. Stef enjoys collaborating with others to create new and interesting pieces. Performing and keeping dance “fun” are the heart of what she does. She is very passionate about music and dance and finds great fulfillment in pursuing these artistic endeavors. Using all her experiences with dance and in life, Stef desires to give back to the community by providing quality entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.
Jessica Larsson has been dancing and playing piano pretty much her whole life. She started dance at age 3, training at the Academy of Ballet Arts where she studied ballet and pointe. She was on Union Middle School Dance Company and Hillcrest High School Dance Company where she was introduced to, and fell in love with contemporary dance! She went on to receive more training in ballet, modern and tap from Southern Utah University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Dance Performance in 2010. While at SUU she was on Orchesis Dance Company and performed in student and faculty dance concerts each year. Jessica has been teaching at The Center since its opening. She is a favorite among students - they love her and she loves them! Miss Jessica appreciates the relationships she has been able to cultivate with the students at The Center over the years. Miss Jessica is a regular fixture at The Center. She teaches all forms of dance, company, and piano. In addition to her many performing credits listed above, she has been involved with Inspire and Express companies here at The Center. Jessica also teaches at a special needs preschool. Children are drawn to her sweet, caring persona. Jessica has loved every opportunity she has had at The Center and in the community. Other than dance and piano, she is an avid watcher of movies and reader of books, and is an extreme chocoholic.
McKenzie is one of our new favorites! You can find McKenzie directing productions such as Lost Boys and Dracula and teaching acting and film at The Center for the Performing Arts. McKenzie has been doing aerials for three years and she has been acting for ten. She started acting in high school and continued in college. McKenzie has a college degree in film. She now directs theater shows with her company Three Ring Theater. These shows often take place here at The Center. McKenzie is an accomplished director with quite a few original productions under her belt. She started aerials on a whim.. but she fell so completely in love with it that she never stopped. She believes anyone can do aerials, no matter where they are in their life. With her background in theater she hopes to bring aerials to the forefront of performing arts. She has made her mark on the Utah theatrical community combining these two performing arts genres in simply magical ways! We are thrilled to have McKenzie with us at The Center.