Teaching and Administrative Staff

Ellis Gatewood Elliott, Founder and Artistic Consultant

Ellis Gatewood Elliott founded Dance Arts Iowa in 2004 and developed the studio into what it is today- a viable and technically sound dance studio for dancers ages three to eighteen years. She set the standard for students to obtain a dance education in a fun environment while developing a successful business in the community.    She and Kaleena Marshall and later Taylor Koch taught classes and choreographed the spring dance concerts performed by Dance Arts Iowa students.  Miss Ellis and Tim Elliott married in 2011 and now live out of state.  We are forever grateful to her for creation of Dance Arts Iowa and the  legacy she left the Mount Vernon-Lisbon community.

NOTE: The following biographical information is only a summary of the teachers’ skills and accomplishments. 

Annie Hawker – Ballet 

In addition to Ballet, Mrs. Hawker is a trained as a gymnast and grew up in a family teaching gymnastics in their gym. Students from 3 years to middle and high school will learn the basics of tumbling to training older students to tumble for strength and performance.  

Mrs. Hawker is a classical trained ballet dancer.  As a junior high student she studied at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City for the summer.  She studied Ballet and Modern at the City Center for the Performing arts and the Cassandra Manning Ballet Theater – now The Quad Cities Ballet.  At the University of Iowa she took the highest level dance major ballet classes and performed in graduate productions.  She earned her bachelor of arts degree in elementary education with a minor in psychology in 2000.  She earned her master’s degree in special education in 2004 from the U of I. She is employed by the Mount Vernon Community School District and teaches kindergarten.

Alison Egolf – Ballet

Miss Alison studied and performed annually with Miss Dieman and Miss Bennett’s studio Dance Theatre of the Hemispheres until she attended the University of Iowa, where she earned a Minor in Dance with my BA degree in Communication Studies. During that time, she continued intense daily study of Classical Ballet, performed in the annual U of I Dance Gala and was introduced to Modern dance, which became her new favorite form of artistic physical expression. She trained and performed regularly while completing her degree.  When she moved to California she continued to dance Ballet and Modern in Berkley, CA.

Courtenay S. Baker – Tap, Ballet and Contemporary Ballet

Miss Courtenay has fifteen years of experience in Tap and Ballet from the Carousel Dance Studio in Clinton, IA. She danced with the Gateway Contemporary Ballet Company (a pre-professional company) in 1991 and was a founding member of the Pizzaz Tap Company in 1987-1089. Miss Courtenay has choreographed numerous shows such as The Baker’s Wife (2004), Hair (2003) at Cornell College and Is There Life After High School? (1995) at the University of Northern Iowa.  Miss Courtenay also participated in numerous performances including The Wizard of Oz,  Cinderella,A Tribute to Fred Astaire, Godspell and Annie. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in Secondary Theatre, Speech, and English Education, University of Northern Iowa (1995).

Tierney Rowe – Ballet, Contemporary Ballet and Pointe

Mrs. Rowe is teaching fourth grade at Washington Elementary in Mount Vernon.  She has a major in elementary education and minor in the dance program at the University of Iowa.  She grew up in Crystal Lake, IL where she studied Ballet, Jazz and Modern at the Judith Svalander School of Ballet for three years.  She also studied with the Joffery School of Ballet of New York in 2008 and the Joffrey Dance Academy in Chicago in 2009. Her experience includes several performances in the Nutcracker with the Judith Svalander School of Ballet, Joffrey School of Ballet and the City Ballet of Iowa in 2012.  She also performed in the 2011 University of Iowa Dance Gala. Mrs. Rowe also taught at the University of Iowa Youth Ballet Program. During her study of dance she also learned Irish Step and is able teach this dance discipline. 

Michele McCoy – Tumbling and Pom and Drill

Miss Michele began dancing and tumbling at the early age of three. She danced and tumbled her way through elementary and high school, scoring a perfect landing at the University of Iowa, where she continued her dance  education. Michele taught gymnastics at the Iowa Gym-Nest for many years, started the DanceTastics program at National Dance Academy, teaches tumbling and Pom and Drill at Dance Arts Iowa, where she loves teaching dance and tumbling. She has been the cheer coach at Lisbon High School for the past 10years.  Michele is the proud mama of three children! 

Lauren Emerson – Jazz I and II 

Miss Lauren is a student at Cornell College who has been dancing for five years. She was an assistant teacher for jazz, lyrical, and ballet classes prior to coming to Iowa, and began teaching at Dance Arts Iowa in the fall. She is so grateful to be able to share her passion for dance with young  students!  

Hannah Day – Creative Movement, PreBallet/Tap, Pre-Jazz, Irish Step

Miss Hannah is teaching at DAI while pursuing a degree in education.  She has been a teacher and student at DAI for thirteen years as a student of Ballet, Contemporary Ballet, Jazz, and Irish Step. Hannah was a member of the Maolisa Irish Step dance troupe. She enjoys passing on the love of dance to her students! 

Jill Wilkins – Musical Theater

Miss Jill is the Events Director for NewBoCo, a non profit located in Cedar Rapids.  She choreographed the Mount Vernon High School musicals for the past 7 years plus she choreographed over 16 musicals.

Trude Elliott – Owner and Administrator

Trude and her husband Rick own and operate the First Street Community Center that includes Dance Arts Iowa.  Trude is the administrator for Dance Arts Iowa.  Any comments, questions or concerns should be addressed to Trude.  The contact information is 319.558.9202 or danceartsiowa@gmail.com.