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KANSAS CITY DANCE COMPANY     email: mykcdanceco@gmail.com​       tel: 816.525.7464825       825 NW Commerce Dr  Lee's Summit, MO 64086

our staff

JENNIFER BALAGNA

Owner / Director

Jennifer, who graduated Magna Cum Laude, holds two Bachelors of Science undergraduate degrees - one in Economics from Fordham University and the other in Fashion Merchandising Management from the #1 fashion school in the country, Fashion Institute of Technology. Has appeared in several Broadway, off-Broadway shows, World Premieres, music videos, danced with several contemporary companies, and then some.

 

Jennifer, at the ripe age of 18 and while taking his class at Steps on Broadway upon moving to NYC, was hand-selected by Mr Joe Lanteri himself - the founder and Executive Director of New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) - to travel alongside him as his personal dance demonstrator to every city on their demanding tour schedule. As the only demonstrator in the history of NYCDA to have not actually won a national title or even competed at neither a regional or national competition, Jennifer went on to work for Joe and his amazing faculty throughout her entire college career and then some. As both a Master Choreographer/Teacher with NYCDA and their sister organization On Stage America, coupled with the numerous gigs she performed with their professional production company arm for such organizations including Saudi oil, Tupperware, National Dental Association, Saratoga Springs Water Co, etc, Jennifer worked for NYCDA and their sister organization for over 12 years. 

 

On tour with NYCDA, Jennifer had the privilege of working extensively with all of their choreographers - from Rhonda Miller whom is now the Director of PACE University’s commercial dance program, where Jennifer was featured in Rhonda’s instructional dance video series produced by Lanteri entertainment; to AC Ciulla - director of Footloose on Broadway, whom Jennifer collaborated on many shows…with her favorite being Destination Groove where she partnered with then American Ballet Theatre soloist, Danny Tidwell, at the Roseland Ballroom; and then to Andy Blankenbuehler - who would become Jennifer’s mentor for over 10 years as they both navigated the dance world - she as what would become the youngest Dance Captain in Broadway history, and he as what would become the next Ben Vereen ie the most notable choreographer of our generation.

 

Alongside Andy Blankenbuehler, Jennifer had the opportunity to work pre-production choreography and build 6 shows with him from most recent to latest including the recently opened original Bandstand (2017), the 2014 revival of Annie, 9 to 5: The Musical, Bring it On! The Musical, the Tony Award winning In the Heights, The Apple Tree. Upon graduating college, Jennifer had the opportunity to actually create the role of Carla in the show In the Heights in its initial Off-Broadway run. Prior to this opportunity, Jennifer had just booked her first Equity contract - gaining her equity card - with the Goodspeed Playhouse’s Lil Abner, directed by Scott Schwartz. Immediately following this show, Jennifer had booked three broadway shows at once - The Producers, Little Mermaid, and Wicked, choosing to take the latter. Starting on tour with Wicked, by her second day, Jennifer, who was already slated to take over the role of associate Dance Captain, was then asked to take over the Dance Captain (DC) role…at the ripe age of 23. Terrified but also excited, she took on the new position as the youngest DC in the history of the show and Broadway with vigor and in this position got the chance to ‘put in’ 54 actors into their various parts of the cast - from Elphaba to the Wizard - Jen was responsible for knowing all 32 ‘tracks’ as they are called on Broadway, being able to teach them to understudies/new hires, expected to give notes to actors on a daily basis as to ‘maintain the artistic integrity of the show’s creative team’, and to fill in for 9 female actors (and several male actors if need be) at a moments notice. 

Jennifer then left Wicked after 2 years to be an original cast member in both the World Premiere and Broadway cast of 9 to 5: The Musical. And upon taking this job, she began teaching at the Joffrey Ballet School teaching for their Pre-Professional program and helping to bridge the gap for aspiring actors and dancers alike. Her favorite role is playing Bety White's body double in the Emmy-Nominated episode of Saturday Night Live. Jennifer now teaches across the country giving master classes to studios, universities, and dance organizations. 

Jennifer is so excited to get to pass along her knowledge and share her passion for dance and the performing arts with her students and the community! 

CHRISTIN CARPENTER

CHEER DIRECTOR, TUMBLING & ACRO

Bio coming soon!

KASSI LAMBERT

COMPANY, TAP & JAZZ, PRODIGY

Kassi is born and raised in the Kansas City area. She grew up competing in all styles of dace at Steppin’ Out. She then went on to study dance(Ballet and Modern) at UMKC and was also on the dance team for all 4 years. As a dance major, she was selected to work with and perform pieces by Robert Battle (now artistic director of Alvin Ailey Dance theatre), Jamal Story, DeeAnna Hiett, Paula Weber, Sabrina Cannon, Bernard Gattis, Gary Abbot, and Joshua Beamish.

While on Dance team she was a 3 time recipient of the All American Award and won Gold bids to nationals three years in a row. Her senior year she was selected to serve as captain where they Placed 2nd in nationals and set a record for the school.

During her time at UMKC Kassi was still teaching at the competitive dance studio. At age 20 she won her first choreography award and her work began to be nationally recognized and placing first overall both regionally and nationally in styles such as jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, and musical theatre. She has continued success teaching and choreographing for studios as well as dance teams.  

Her professional experience includes performing with Quixotic Fusion for the grand opening of the Kauffman center, Dancing and modeling for Oxyjen Dancewear, and opening for Cody Simpson regionally for Mix 93.3. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance, (emphasis in Choreography) Kassi explored her options and was offered jobs in both Chicago and NYC but found her love to be here in KC. She auditioned for the Kansas Chiefs Cheerleaders and spent four years cheering and dancing for them where she had the opportunity to be both a co captain and Captain. She had the honor of traveling internationally to different military bases performing a “variety show” where she was able to utilize all assets of her training- tap, jazz, musical theatre, and lyrical. For her, it was a dream come true and exactly what she had been looking for. While on the team she also had the opportunity to choreograph not only jazz routines but also choreograph and perform lyrical duets for the “Breast Cancer Awareness” half times at Arrowhead Stadium.

Her passion for dance and life is what drives her and she truly enjoys getting to share that passion with others at any level!  

PHYLLIS BALAGNA

TAP & JAZZ, VOICE

Committed to Kids and Dance is what Phyllis Balagna is all about!  From Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Phyllis has an extensive background that includes formal training and experience in ballet, jazz, tap, acro, musical theatre, and voice.   She has developed a performing arts business that is respected throughout the entire country, and has served as a judge for over 28 years for the country’s top competitions. Phyllis has a BS in Education, and previously taught high school theatre. She has students working professionally on Broadway stages, touring companies, TV and Film, cruise ships, and on NFL Dance Teams. She recently had a dancer on tour with Justin Bieber, and a former student is in her third season as Clary on Free Form’s Shadowhunters. Dance For Fun, Dance for Life is her motto, and sharing her love of dance and the performing arts to children of all ages is her passion. She has directed and choreographed such musicals as A Chorus Line, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Singin’ In The Rain, Annie, Wonderful Town, Steel Pier, Titanic, and The Wiz. Phyllis appeared in the National Tour of The Music Man, and has recorded many television and radio commercials, including the famous “Two All Beef Patties” jingle for McDonalds.  She has appeared in a national commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines with Kathy Lee Gifford.  Two career defining moments: 1) Good Morning America did a live broadcast from her studio featuring over 50 dads and daughters performed during a segment focused on the benefits of positive involvement of dads in dance. 2) Her dancers performed the closing act at The Adele and Fred Astaire Awards. Broadway star Kyle Dean Massey was part of the performance. After 28 years, Phyllis retired and passed the studio on to her daughter, Jennifer.  Phyllis is currently in her eighth year serving as an Ambassador at The Dance Teacher Summit, held in NYC and in San Diego. She also judges for major talent competitions, and serves as a consultant to studio owners throughout the country.  She continues to share her love of musical theatre with her voice students, and enjoys teaching one night a week for The Kansas City Dance Company. 

ZEN NGUYEN

Hip Hop

Bio coming soon!

ASHLEY HOBBS

TAP Jazz COMBO / LYRICAL

Bio coming soon!

Jordan kaya

CONTEMPORARY / IMPROV

Jordan Kaya grew up training in dance in St. Louis, MO. She attended Grand Center Arts Academy learning the ins and outs of stage performance and choreography under one of St. Louis’ best, Ashley Tate. Jordan had been choreographing since the age of thirteen, but has been professionally teaching and choreographing for the past five years. In those five years she has won over twenty-five awards and acknowledgments for her choreography regionally and nationally. In recent years Jordan became a full fledged member of TigerStyle! Crew, a national dance crew and brand based out of Kansas City. In TSC! she has had the ability to teach nationwide on their Diversify Your Style! Tours, perform in their full length shows, and receive extensive training in foundation, technique, and artistry. Jordan has been trained at her home studio, Wildwood Dance, and with Missouri Ballet Theatre, in ballet, contemporary, modern, hip hop, musical theater, jazz, and improvisation. She believes every student has a valid story to tell and gives her classes to those untold stories. That artistry is not something to teach but to reveal within the student. 

HANNAH LUKENBILL

TAP & JAZZ

Bio coming soon!