MaryAnna Gooch is the originator and present owner of the Dance Connection 2, along with her daughters, Tally, and Chelsea. MaryAnna’s dance training comes from Highschool & College modern dance, and pom&cheer spirit squads. MaryAnna developed the Dynamite Express Dance and Drill Team in 1986 and from this beginning the Dance Connection 2 Dance Studio had its start.
Many, many, young ladies over two decades, have enjoyed the experience of performing throughout the Valley of the Sun and across the US, in parades and halftime shows for various sporting events, and festivals with this award winning dance team. One of her greatest joys is to have the pleasure of teaching the daughters, and granddaughters of some of these past students. MaryAnna especially enjoys teaching the youngest dancers, the 2 to 6 year olds. She feels a big responsibility to have this first dance experience be a very rewarding and enjoyable time for each of them.
MaryAnna also gives back to the community. Just recently her, along with the Dance Connection 2 team, raised over $7,000 for The Hope Kids Foundation. She was able to help so many kids in need!
MaryAnna wants the Dance Connection 2 to fill the needs of all recreational dancers, as well as beginning “performers” gaining their first experiences, and a place for serious dance students to gain the technique, and training to become a professional dancer.
MaryAnna’s Studio has been around for a long time! Since I was dancing there it was like a second home for me. Now I have children dancing there… I couldn’t think of a better place I’d take them for dance lessons – Thanks DCTOO and thank you MaryAnna for being the best studio owner and a mother to many!
Tally Gooch Nikolaus started her dance training at the young age of 3yrs old. She started off as a Mesa Star under the direction of her mother, MaryAnna Gooch. (This is where it all began!) She has fond memories of Donny & Marie Osmond in the 4th of July Firework Celebration at ASU stadium, when she was performing with the Mesa Stars. At 10 yrs old while touring in Russia, she had the opportunity to meet Lisa & Lori Waddell and join their dance company at Dance Connection. She performed on Star Search at age 12 in 1990 while at DC. After Dance Connection 2 opened, she started teaching Dynamite Express & DC2 Company at the age of 16.
After dancing many years in DC2’s senior company she auditioned for the Phoenix Sun’s Dance Team. She became a Phoenix Sun’s Dancer then choreographed for the team her second year. Wanting to challenge herself more she had the opportunity to audition for the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” as a Radio City Rockette. Tally became a Rockette and was part of the Broadway show for 5 years in various cities such as Branson, MO; Cincinnati, OH; and Phoenix, AZ.
Meanwhile, she married her high school sweetheart, Mountain View’s all-star Nathan Nikolaus in 2000. They now have two little boys, Deacon and Baron. She enjoys balancing being a mom, wife and teaching/directing the DC2 Company. Tally has many opportunities to choreograph award wining numbers at Dance Connection 2.
Chelsea Gooch Foster is enjoying being a wife and busy mom of three children, all the while continuing her goals as a Dance Teacher in the family business… She began her dance training at the age of three. Every since she was little, she loved to make home dance videos for her brothers when they were away on their missions. Chelsea has since performed in ballet ensembles, marched in parades, competed in countless regional and national competitions, and participated in many workshops with professional dance choreographers. She has had the opportunity to appear in instructional dance videos and even a music video with Legendary Country Music artist, Glenn Campbell.
Chelsea recently retired from the Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant, where she served for over 10 years. She performed various dancing roles and went on to direct/choreograph for the Pageant. Because of her versatile entertainment and directing experience, she believes in creating moving performances where audiences can feel the genuine passion and purpose. In fact, she prides herself in instilling into her students the art of story telling through song and dance.
Chelsea has been teaching dance at DC2 for over 15 years, toddlers on up. Her current focus is Co-Directing our advanced Company. She has choreographed many award-winning numbers and continues to branch out, exploring new styles that know no boundaries. Chelsea wishes to inspire young dancers to be the best they can be and more importantly, to follow their dreams.
Chelsea feels strongly about serving others and the community through sharing the gift of dance. She played a key roll in raising thousands for dollars for the Hope Kids Foundation. She gathered the dance members of the DC2 Company and created a heart warming, once-in-a-lifetime experience for kids with life threatening illnesses. Read More…
Tanya Norman took her first dance class at Dance Connection 2 was with Miss MaryAnna’s beginning jazz class. She was turning 9 at the time of her first dance recital. Her passion for dance grew quickly and she wanted to become more involved. After her second dance recital she tried out for the drill team and became a Dynamite Express member. In 2001 at the age of 13 she danced with their junior company and competed in her first nationals in Hollywood. Tanya danced for the next couple years in junior company improving and growing as a dancer, and by age 15 she moved up into their senior company.
She has built her progress and talent through excellent and amazing teachers and choreographers. Tanya Norman was chosen as the 2005 dance scholarship winner for her dedication, hard work and integrity. She continued to gain experience by also dancing for Highland High Schools One Image Dance Company throughout high school. Her senior year ended with two honorable awards for Outstanding Choreographer & Senior of 2006. After her last nationals competing with such an amazing and award winning company, she decided it wasn’t over yet and continued her journey at DC2 by teaching. She was one of the assistant teachers for the Dynamite Express team for the next two years and is now directing the performing dance team!
My child is a student of Tanya’s in the Dynamite Express – She loves her, sometimes I think more than me lol
Peggy Reggio start her career at the age of 5 yrs. old in Las Vegas, NV at Carter’s Dance Academy. She has trained in Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Tumbling. Peggy continued her training through College where she was accepted into the Musical Theater Department at Wagner University in Staten Island NY. She earned her early childhood elementary Bachelors degree along with a minor in dance at Wagner College.
After graduating from college she moved to Arizona and taught Kindergarten for 7 years helping to implement the first all day kindergarten program in Chandler, Az. While teaching she also earned her masters degree in early education, curriculum designs. She was the director and coordinator of the cheer program at Sanborn Elementary for 3 years. She then took a leave of absence after the birth of her second daughter. Peggy started teaching dance at DC2 in 2004.
In 2005 Peggy Reggio helped coordinate and develop the Performing Arts Kids’ Klub (PAAK) at Dance Connection 2. It has been successful for 4 years. Peggy resides in Chandler with her husband and two children whom are both members of the DC2 Company.
Peggy truly enjoys working with children and watching them grow academically, socially and being introduced to the art of dance. She believes that all students can learn in her classroom by combining the elements of effective instruction with a variety of teaching styles, such as cooperative learning, discovery learning and shared decision making. These styles of teaching help to create a positive, productive, and fun classroom that can maximize a student’s ability to learn.
Erica Ross has 17 years of company dance training in Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Tap, Ballet, and Ballroom. A few of her awards include New York City Dance Alliance 2007 National Senior Outstanding Dance of the Year, NYCDA 2002 National Junior Outstanding Dancer of the Year, WestCoast Dance Explosion 2001 National Junior Dancer of the Year, La DanceMagic 2004 and 2000 National Teen and Junior Performer of the Year,Starlight Productions 2001 National Distinguished Dancer of the year, and Showstoppers National Television Review Dancer 2000 and 2001.
She now continues to inspire kids as she teaches as well as pursuing her B.A. in Theatre and training in International Latin Ballroom. At Dance Connection 2 Erica Ross has pushed the students to the top of the industry. Her choreography can be seen throughout the nation both at regional and national levels!
Ricky Maalouf started dancing at age 19 for ASU Hip Hop Coalition and has since gone from member to choreographer. He spent two years on the WNBA Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad as well as other performance groups around the valley. He currently dances with national recording artist Jasmine Hormez, recently opening for Omarion, and danced for the professional dance company Automatic Response who were featured on Americas Best Dance Crew, opening for Fergie and My Chemical Romance, and worked with Dillards, LRG, Kiss FM amongst others.
Ricky’s energy in class is positive. He always has great things to tell the kids after performances! His knowledge of hip hop and it’s culture is good too.
Ricky has won numerous scholarships including Monsters of Hip Hop, Millennium, IDA, Hollywood Vibe, Muse, Scene Interactive and was a Monsters of Hip Hop and Hollywood Vibe finalist. Choreography has been showcased and seen at LA Choreographers Carnival, for hip hop artist Swag, President Obama’s Arizona State Commencement, MTV Sweet Sixteen, in numerous independent music videos, Jr Miss Arizona pageant, UDA, Phoenix Suns and Mercury, high schools and has won many competition awards at a national level. He has a true passion for teaching and believes in a high energy class, making his students work hard while completely enjoying the class experience.
Master Ballet Academy Artistic Director Slawomir Woniak was born on 2 November 1967. His sisters, Miroslawa and Jolanta, quickly recognized their brother’s abilities. In 1977-1986, he attended the Pozna ballet school. He gained first stage experience partnering artists of Teatr Wielki in Pozna in the performances of Cinderella. Slawomir Woniak’s professional debut took place in 1986 at the Wroclaw Opera where he danced the Prince in Cinderella choreographed by Teresa Kujawa. Wroclaw Opera House Director recognized his talent and invited him to work at that theatre right after school. He was employed there in 1986-1988. It was in Wroclaw that he met his future wife, also a soloist of ballet company of Wroclaw Opera. Their performance in Swan Lake left an unforgettable impression on all those who had a chance to see it. In 1988 he became a soloist and in 1989 the principal dancer of Teatr Wielki in Łód. His first premiere there was also Cinderella. Irine Fokine, who prepared the spectacle, invited him to the USA where he appeared in the Nutcracker. On the stage in Łód, he performed leading parts in classical and modern ballets. Among others, he danced John in Lorca Massine’s Zorba the Greek, the role which gained him the admiration of the audience in Łód and Warsaw, where he still successfully performs the part. It also brought him the nomination of the French magazine Danse for “Revelation of the Year 1992”.
Dance Connection 2 is lucky to have the best ballet program right here, in studio, for our dancers. We couldn’t thank Slawomir enough for all of the knowledge and technique he brings to each and every class.
In 1991 he joined the ballet of the National Opera in Warsaw as a first soloist. From 2000 he has been the principal dancer of the company. In Warsaw he performs all leading male parts and also gives guest performances at many theatres in Poland and abroad. He was a Guest Artist with Bulgarian National Ballet, Greek National Ballet, Arena Di Verona Ballet and amny others. In 2000 Slawomir Woniak graduated from the Ballet Pedagogy at the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. For many years he has conducted dance courses for young Americans during the Summer Camps. Together with his American partner Kathleen Arcierci, he won a bronze medal at the Third International Ballet Competition in New York in 1990. In 1993 Mr. Wozniak won a bronze medal at the First International Ballet Competition in Nagoya, Japan. Mr.Wozniak for few years was also a Jury Member for Polish International Ballet Competition in Gdansk, Poland For last several years he also have created many choreographies for Ballet, Opera and Drama theatres. His choreographic works include: “Only Love…” Polish National Ballet, Warsaw, Poland – 2002 “Comix-Comedy” Polish National Ballet, Warsaw, Poland – 2005 “The Nutcracker” full production for Poznan Opera House, Poland – 2006 and Ballet&Friends in Phoenix, AZ – 2007 “Peacock and the Maiden” Poznan Opera House, Poland – 2007 “Copellia” Poznan Opera House, Poland -2009 and many more.
Andrea Vacco began dancing in regional and national competitions for twelve years since the age of 5. Taking advantage of living in three different areas of the country, Andrea has absorbed the experience of a multitude of Dance and Tumbling Instructors, never passing an opportunity to take master classes which usually included spending countless hours at Broadway Dance Center in NYC.
The youngest of three girls, all of them with the passion. Oldest sister Emily a Director of Dance in Minnesota. Sister Alyssa a Choreographer/Dancer living in NY and currently performing with Donnie Klang, the solo artist from MTV”s making the band. Before Andrea moved to Arizona, she had the pleasure of performing with Donnie when he was in his infancy on an East Coast Mini Tour. Andrea started teaching tumbling and dance at Oyster Bay Tumble Club in Long Island, New York.
This is Andrea Vacco’s third year at DC2 and will be her second year assisting with Dynamite Express tumbling classes. This past summer camp, she assisted the Dynamite Express Staff and has started teaching private lessons. Andrea is fun loving always greeting you with hugs and smiles. Teaching by example and working hard at being the best Dancer and Instructor she can be. Andrea is best known as the Sweetheart of Dance because of the helping hands and warm heart she extends to her peers and younger dancers alike. After a day with Andrea you just simply feel good, because of her caring selflessness she displays to the entire DC2 family.
Andrea is Captain of the Saguaro High School Dance Company and was named the most outstanding dancer and choreographer. She was also recognized by the National Honors Society of the Arts. Andrea lives to Dance, and is to Dance as a heart is to a Beat!
Megan began her dance training at the young age of three at DC2 and started teaching part-time at age 16. Megan was a member of the Dynamite Express Drill team for DC2 and at age 5 became a member of the “Sugar Babes” Dance Company. Her training continued for 19 years with various programs including the Oklahoma City University Dance Program, various studios, and at the High School of Performing Arts where she spent summers in NY with NYCDA as a teen. She has done many professional performances including the industrial for Discovery Toys, benefit performances in conjunction with Alice Cooper, Ballet Arizona Nutcracker fundraiser, and performed in Alice Coopers Christmas Pudding show at the Dodge Theater.
While in high school, Megan was a member of the Highland High school “One Image” Dance Company where she won the Choreographer of the year and was Vice President of the company. Megan continued dancing in college on the nationally ranked Arizona State Spirit Squad and competed yearly at the ESPN UDA College Nationals. Her senior year, Megan was a member of Team USA dance where ASU took the gold at Worlds. Megan performed at all football and basketball games, traveled with the teams, and accumulated many community hours doing appearances while a member of the team.
Megan graduated from ASU in 2013 with honors and dual degrees in Supply Chain Management and Marketing. Along with teaching, Megan works full time at Boeing and is continuing her education with a Masters in Supply Chain Management that she hopes to achieve in 2017. Megan has been a teacher at Dance Connection Too since 2010 teaching various rec classes, Dynamite Express, and company. Although Megan has been very busy working full time, continuing her education, and recently marrying her high school Sweetheart, she cannot imagine life without dance. Dance has always been a passion for Megan and she hopes to instill that passion in those she teaches.
Sarai Sanchez grew up in Chandler, AZ and began dancing at the age of three. She had 15 years of dance training at Dance Connection Too in various dance styles such as; Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Ballet, Tap and Hip Hop. As part of the Dynamite Express performance team, she performed at various parades and halftime shows, she eventually joined their Dance Company and competed in dance competitions around the country. For six years she assisted and taught multiple classes at DC2 and gained a lot of experience. In High school she was part of the varisty pom and cheer team and also a member of the Chandler Flower Girls Service Club.
Her Senior year she was selected by her fellow teammates and dance teachers as the 2007- 2008 DC2 scholarship winner Upon her High School graduation she graduated with high honors and a scholarship to the University of Arizona. In college, she studied Pharmacy with a minor in Spanish and was also a member of the Pride Of Arizona Pomline for four years. As a member of the UofA dance team, she was awarded Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Pommie. She represented her school around the country, performed at Football and Basketball games, and also competed at college level national championships. She is currently pursuing a career in Pharmacy and teaching various classes at DC2. She is very grateful for the opportunities that she has been given, thanks to everyone at Dance Connection 2.
Shae Taylor has been teaching and choreographing for the past 18 years. She was the owner of Class Act Dance studio in Olympia Washington from 2001-2006 and was the artistic director for the Dance Force Jazz Company. Prior to that, she and her husband Perry Taylor founded and co-directed the award winning Class Act Ballroom Dance Company at Centre Stage in Nampa Idaho. Shae also taught dance and fitness at Nampa High school and introduced ballroom dancing to the area high schools. The first year that Shae taught ballroom classes at Nampa High School it won the award for “best class of the year.” The program has grown to include three levels of instruction, a competition team and 11 years later is still going strong! Shae has continued to teach at workshops and camps and lends her choreography skills to various groups and teams throughout Washington, Idaho, and Arizona. Many of Shae’s students have received dance scholarships, competed and received top ranks nationally in the amateur ballroom divisions, danced in professional productions in New York and aboard international cruise lines, have been invited to perform showcase numbers at the World Championships in Blackpool England and are currently competing as top ranked United States professionals.
Shae received her ballroom training at Brigham Young University where she was a member of the world champion BYU Ballroom Dance Touring Company. While there she completed her Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals exams in International Standard and Latin as well as her Gold Bar medals exam in International Latin and received Honors and High Honors in all dances. She taught social dance and country dance classes during her Junior and Senior year. She has also had the opportunity to train with several professionals including Jean-Marc Genereaux and Franc Mousseau, Buddy Schwimmer, and Corky and Shirly Ballas. She brings to Dance Connection Too her goof ball personality, her fierce passion for ballroom dance, and her eagerness to help all her students learn to love ballroom. Shae’s philosophy is that the best lessons she teaches her students are not about the dancing but rather lessons of character- kindness, cooperation, trust, reliability, teamwork, dedication… and the list goes on. Her very best dancers have been those that learn that their dancing is only as good as their partnership, and their partnership is only as good as how they treat their partner!
Heather Rhyneer has over 20 years teaching experience in the East Valley working with dance studios, dance companies and high school dance teams. Heather has judged for numerous dance competitions all over the U.S at a regional and national level. She specializes in Tap, Jazz, Musical Theater, Lyrical and Technique classes. Heather’s choreography has won numerous awards both regionally and nationally. Dancers that have trained under her expertise have won regional and national titles, numerous scholarships and many overall awards. Heather has guided many students into their professional dance career. These students have gone on to work on stage, in print, in arenas, on television and in motion pictures. Her students have performed all over the globe; California, Florida Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, on the open seas and as far away as Japan. Heather Rhyneer has a huge love for dance and dancers’ success both on and off the stage.
Katherine Tait is currently teaching her second year at Dance Connection 2, as a Dance Instructor and Director of Musical Theater.
Katherine’s directional credits span from an exceptional range of work, and vast experience in vocal and theatrical performances. She has had ample training in music through seven years of musical theory, theater and choral experiences. Katherine began teaching dance & theater in 2010 and has directed four full-production musicals, including an original musical that she had written.
Katherine is most passionate when her students are thriving and enjoying music and dance. She prides herself in having taught DC2’s last year’s musical “Seussical the Musical”, and looks forward to the following musicals to come!
“It is so fun to help my kids develop unique characters and find their singing voices,” says Katherine.
When she’s not in the dance studio, Katherine enjoys spending time with her husband and playing with her three dogs at home.
Born and raised in Arizona, Jessica found her dance passion in ballet, and has taught classes across the valley since 2002. Jessica expanded her experience in ballet, modern, lyrical, jazz, and hip hop through classes and teaching at various studios, collegiate study at Arizona State University, and professional performance and entertainment with Powernow Entertainment.
Jessica has extensive experience in social dance and partnering such as Country, Swing, and Latin. She also performed as the spirit of “Death” dancer in the premiere of “The Wager.” Jessica has been the recipient of various dance scholarships and competition awards throughout her performance and teaching career. When not performing or teaching, Jessica can be found sharing her passion in her work as a counselor through dance movement therapy, exercise therapy, and team activities for various therapeutic facilities as well as sports and performance teams.
Jacody began his journey in dance at an early age. He started with tap and soon after began to discover other styles of dance. His love for dance grew when he became part of a competitive team and started to further his training and technique by diving into ballet, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. With that he won numerous scholarships and special awards at different regional competitions including quality of movement and choreography awards.
During and after his time as a competitive dancer he also participated in many musical theatre shows as lead roles which included Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Gideon in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Warner in Legally Blonde, the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, and many more. From there he also had the opportunity to choreograph for musicals such as Annie and the Wizard of Oz. He also toured the valley as a featured dancer and vocalist for Showtune Productions. Because of Jacody’s passion for choreography, attentiveness to detail and technique, it landed him a spot as a company teacher and choreographer with the incredible staff at DC2 along with other studios in the valley and for that he is truly grateful. Currently teaching and choreographing for multiple studios around the valley… his choreography continues to receive regional and national recognition.
Stephani has been dancing for over 37 years. She has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in choreography and pedagogy. She is certified through Dance Educators of America (DEA) in all levels. As a certified yoga instructor and registered with Yoga Alliance International, she incorporates yoga into her dance warm-ups. She was a Cardinal Cheerleader, a Cobra Charmer, a U of A Dance Ensemble member, and a company member of WZN Showtime now located in Miami, Florida.
Stephani owns a Corporate Entertainment business along with her husband called POWERNOW ENTERTAINMENT LLC. She and her husband provide quality entertainment to hundreds of companies throughout the year. Stephani is also the Artistic Director of “The Sunsationals” a senior tap company that performs all over the valley. She has choreographed for the local band CJA, the world premiere of “The Wager”, Pioneer Pepper of the Sunset Pioneers, High School dance companies, church performances and more.
Stephani has judged dance competitions and has been a Master Teacher for conventions. Stephani has won several choreography awards and has turned out several well rounded dancers that have gone onto dance in companies in California, Nevada and New York.
Lindsey Michaelree started dancing at age four with the Mesa Stars. From an early age she performed in numerous half time shows, parades, and national drill competitions. Eventually she decided to strictly focus on her ballet training at Ballet Etudes and privately with Laurie Silvestri. Lindsey began to miss the competitive dance world and joined DC2’s company in 1997. While at DC2 she began assisting MaryAnna Gooch at the age of 13, and continued teaching toddler classes as well as Dynamite Express. Lindsey went on to win many overall high point awards as well as scholarships and title awards. At 15 she signed with DDO Agency and even appeared in a Pepsi Commercial.
She currently resides in Mesa with her husband and three children. Lindsey is a creative at heart who enjoys all facets of art. Her daughter Ryan is also a dancer at Dance Connection 2.