Meet Our Faculty
Miss Melissa -Director & Instructor
Melissa McInnis has been teaching with DCA since 2007 and became the Director in 2021. She holds a B.A. (magna cum laude) in Dance and Performance Studies from Roger Williams University. She is a native of Maine and received her early training at Casco Bay Movers and The Portland Ballet. After college, Melissa continued her dance training with Marcus Schulkind at Green Street Studios, Boston. Melissa has danced professionally in Boston and Indianapolis with Influxdance, The Aminius Ensemble, Motus Dance Theater (now Indianapolis Movement Arts Collective), Praise In Motion Dance Ministry and many independent choreographers. Melissa has been teaching for over 20 years and has taught both children and adults and specializes in Contemporary. She believes in teaching a clean technique in the early levels and breaks down all steps into their most basic form for her beginning students. Once her students reach an advanced level, Melissa enjoys giving them artistic freedoms in class and watching them grow as artists. Melissa has several students who have gone on to have professional dance careers, majored in dance in college and some have become dance teachers themselves. Melissa has taught at Anderson University and multiple studios in Maine, Massachusetts and Indiana. She feels so blessed to be part of DCA and thanks God every day for leading her here! Melissa and her husband have three young children.
Miss Stephanie – Instructor
Stephanie Lusch has been with Dance Creations Academy for 26 years. She is also a choreographer for our Repertory Company Jazz and Apprentice Ensembles. Stephanie holds a BA in dance from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN where she danced with the Butler Ballet Company in productions of Cinderella and the Nutcracker. After graduation she became a professional cheerleader for the NBA Indiana Pacers, participating in 41 home games and the NBA All-Star game.
Stephanie held the title of Mrs. Indiana America 1999 and currently is the producer and a board member for the Mrs. Indiana America Pageant. She has also been the choreographer, stage manager, coach and director for national and international beauty pageants. She has two grown children, Andrew and Brittany and three grandsons.
One of Stephanie’s favorite dance quotes comes from Agnes de Mille: “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.”
Mrs. Priest – Instructor
Mrs. Priest has been with DCA since 2016. She holds a B.A. and M.A. (magna cum laude) in dance from Butler University in Indianapolis. She previously taught at the prestigious Butler University/Jordan College Academy of Dance in Indianapolis and was Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company. Mrs. Priest danced professionally with the Louisville Ballet and has been teaching for more than 40 years. A highly talented and dedicated teacher and choreographer, Mimi has created original choreography for children’s ballet productions including “Peter Pan”, “Little Orphan Annie”, “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland”. She has staged many classical ballets including “Les Sylphides”, “Raymonda”, “Paquita”, “The Mistake Waltz” and “Pas de Quatre”. Her focus has primarily concentrated on training pre-professional dancers. She has trained dancers for professional careers that went on to dance in many ballet companies including American Ballet Theater 2, Washington Ballet, Houston Ballet, Texas Ballet, Hubbard Street and the Christian ballet company, Ballet Magnificat in Jackson Mississippi. Mimi loves teaching the beautiful art of ballet and tries to help every student to be the best that they can be, to feel they have accomplished something at the end of every class and to help them dance for the glory of God.
Miss Lauren – Instructor
Lauren Hamilton McConnell joined DCA in 2018 and holds a Bachelor of Aarts in Dance from Birmingham Southern College where she studied under Mira Popovich, Terri Weksler, and Ruth Henry. She has held soloist positions with the Georgia Dance Theater, Montgomery Ballet and Northwest Florida Ballet. In addition, Ms. Hamilton McConnell has been a company member with the Connecticut Ballet and Ballet des Ameriques and held principal status with CONNetic Contemporary Dance Company of Hartford, CT. Ms. Hamilton McConnell has performed principal and soloist roles in such productions as Nutcracker Ballet, Dracula, Cinderella, Don Quixote and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also performed leads in various contemporary works such as Bob Fosse’s Rich Man’s Frug , The Great Gatsby and Jane Eyre. In addition to her professional performing career, Ms. Hamilton McConnell has been a dance educator and choreographer with various professional studios in Connecticut, Georgia and Florida.
Mrs. English – Instructor
Mandy English has been with DCA for 20 years. She graduated cum laude from Butler University with a degree in Elementary Education and a kindergarten endorsement. She has taught 3rd grade, kindergarten, 1st grade and is currently teaching 2nd grade in Carmel Clay Schools. She is mom to Ella, Kenny and Evie and wife of 20 years to Peter. Mrs. English studied, competed, performed and taught with the Tri-County Dance Academy in Kendallville, IN. Her theater performances include such titles as “Peter Pan”, “Cinderella”, “Funny Girl”, “The Secret Garden”, and she choreographed her high school’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. Mandy has choreographed MotionWear photography sessions as well as the Miss Indiana Scholarship Pageant. She has danced with Praise In Motion dance ministry. Mrs. English feels blessed to use her God-given gifts and talents to “praise Him with dancing!”
Miss Shannon – Instructor
Shannon Branic has been with DCA since 2013 and was trained in Indianapolis under Bev Wohrle and Barb Liebschutz. She was a Prelude Awards finalist in Dance. She continued her training in New York City at New York University and Broadway Dance Center, including tap training with Jimmy Tate. She has performed in many theater productions including “Crazy for You”, “Children of Eden”, “Anything Goes”, and “Big River”. She was a member of the 2002 National Champion New York University Dance Team. She performed in the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. Shannon has a Masters Degree in Social Work and is passionate about her work with foster and adopted children. She is very excited to be teaching at Dance Creations Academy!
Miss Cami – Instructor & Music Editor
Cami Zook joined DCA in 2008 and graduated summa cum laude from Anderson University with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish. She taught elementary school for 8 years but now stays home with her children. Dance has been a huge part of Cami’s life. She grew up studying tap, jazz, and ballet at The Dancers’ Place Studio in Avon, IN and continued her training at Anderson University. She is currently a member of Praise in Motion dance ministry and has been seen on stage at Indy Fringe Festivals and many community theatre productions. She is honored to work among such a talented staff at Dance Creations Academy and hopes to pass along a love for dance to the next generation.
Miss Christina – Instructor
Christina Voreis joined DCA in the spring of 2019. She is originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana where she received her dance training at Fort Wayne Ballet, starting at the age of six. She attended Butler University where she studied as a Dance Performance major and Communication Sciences and Disorders minor. Dancing with Butler Ballet, she was given the opportunity to travel internationally to perform in Poland and Russia. Upon graduating from Butler with her BFA in Dance Performance, Christina spent the following year in Washington, DC dancing professionally with Dissonance Dance Theatre and ArasDance. She danced with Ballet Theatre of Indiana for 5 years where she performed a variety of roles in ballet classics including The Nutcracker, Firebird, Giselle, and Dracula, as well as contemporary works set on the company. In 2020 Christina co-founded her own dance collective, Ballet INitiative. Christina has taught at a number of local studios and is excited to be teaching at DCA!
Miss Hannah – Instructor/Production Assistant/Office Staff
Hannah Dennert joined the DCA staff in the summer of 2019 following her high school graduation from Faith Home School Academy. Hannah has been dancing at Dance Creations since she was four years old and has loved every minute. She followed in the footsteps of her two older sisters as they kindled a love of dance in her. She has made her own way in dance by doing many different styles including tap, contemporary, ballet, pointe and jazz. She is also very involved in her local church where she helps in the children’s ministry. Hannah continues her professional development by attending summer Intensives and professional level classes. She has performed locally with Ballet INitiative and she loves to use her dance as a means of glorifying and worshiping Christ. She is very excited to be teaching at DCA!
Miss Alex-Instructor/Social Media manager/Photographer/Office Staff
Alexandra Box started with DCA in 2018 and studied dance at Ball State University where she choreographed numerous pieces and was cast in various shows. Before her collegiate training, she studied ballet, pointe, contemporary, modern, jazz, liturgical, and tap in the Indianapolis area. She was part of the In Step Dance Company and a member of the Academy of Dance Arts Ensemble. Alexandra has taught dancers at the preschool through pre-professional levels, was the director of summer dance training camps at Indy Dance Academy and was a co-teacher for In Step Dance Company. Alexandra received her degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Dance Studies at Indiana University Purdue University in May of 2020 and has performed with Meraki Dance Company in Indianapolis.
Miss Hattie -Instructor
Hattie King joined DCA in 2019. She was born and raised in Indianapolis Indiana. Hattie grew up in the theater and was highly inspired and influenced by her father, Doug King. She began dance at the age 6 at Dance Creations Academy and she studied with several of our current teachers. She is a recent college graduate of Anderson University and received a BFA in Dance Performance. Hattie was a cheerleader with the 2019 Indianapolis Colts and is currently teaching dance to all ages.
Miss Rachel – Instructor
Rachel Whitehead joined the DCA faculty in the fall of 2020. She is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and has recently moved back to the Indy area after teaching for three years in Nashville, TN. Rachel has been dancing since the age of 5 and has primarily trained in ballet. In high school she trained at the Grand Rapids Ballet School. Under the direction of Patricia Barker and Attila Mosolygo, she was able to perform in countless works such as The Nutcracker, Serenade and Peter Pan with the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Rachel received her Dance degree from Anderson University in 2017. While at Anderson, she was able to receive extensive training in ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern, composition and pedagogy. Rachel has been teaching for the past 7 years and is excited to pour into the students here at DCA!
Miss Holloway – Instructor
Holloway Bird is originally from Fort Worth Texas where she started dancing at age 3. She trained with Ballet Frontier until she moved to Boston to attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Prior to college, she moved back to Texas to dance as a trainee with Ballet Austin performing in a variety of professional productions. Holloway then went on to graduate from Butler University with a Dance and Arts Administration degree. She has performed lead roles in various classical ballets including The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, as well as a many contemporary works choreographed by professional artists. In addition to her performance career, she has experience teaching dance to numerous age groups and is excited by the opportunity to teach at DCA!
Ola Tarnowski – Administrative Assistant & Guest Teacher
Alexandra “Ola” Tarnowski grew up in Old Bridge, New Jersey where she began her dance training at three years old. At age fourteen, she started her classical ballet training at the conservatory at Princeton Dance and Theatre Studio, where she performed soloist and principal roles. After high school, she attended Butler University where she received a B.S. in Dance Arts Administration. She started her professional dance career with Ballet Theatre of Indiana, where she performed principal roles such as ‘Mina Harker’ in Dracula and ‘Daisy Buchanan’ in The Great Gatsby. She then co-founded Ballet INitiative, a project-based dance collective serving the greater-Indianapolis area, in August of 2020. With Ballet INitiative, she’s a performing artist
and choreographer, and was the Marketing and Public Relations Director from its inception to Spring of 2022. Ola performed principal roles such as ‘the Nutcracker’ in Nutcracker with a Twist, ‘Titania’ in A Mischievous Midsummer, and ‘the Queen of Hearts’ in Whimsical Wonderland with Ballet INitiative. She also taught, choreographed, and worked administratively for multiple dance schools in the greater-Indianapolis area, choreographed for the Carmel Apprentice Theatre’s The Descendants (2020) and The Little Mermaid (2021), and has her Mat Pilates certification from the National Exercise Trainers Association.
Beverly Wohrle -Founder
Bev Wohrle founded DCA in 1993 as a studio with Christian values. Her greatest joys came from seeing the students grow in technique and artistry and watching them minister through dance. She led both a youth and adult ministry before and during her time at DCA. She retired as owner in 2021. She is married to Steve, has 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren, 3 of whom dance at DCA. Bev has a BA in Dance & Musical Theater from Indiana University with masters classes in dance pedagogy at Butler University. She performed with the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre, the Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, Butler Ballet. Indianapolis Opera and Interlochen Academy in Michigan. She won the Indianapolis Encore Award for Best Dancer for her leading role in “Can Can” at Civic Theater and the Encore Award for best choreographer for the production of Annie at Carmel Community Players. She has also performed in or choreographed musical productions at Indiana University Opera, Indianapolis Opera Company, Edyvean Repertory Theater, Marion College, Civic Theater, Carmel Community Players, Footlite Musicals, Legacy Church and E. 91st Street Christian Church.