Amanda Verthein Owner/Director
Miss Amanda, owner & director of Amanda’s Academy of Dance in La Crosse, WI, has been involved in the dance industry most of her life; teaching and choreographing various levels of dance for over 20 years. Before becoming a dance instructor, she received her dance training at Milwaukee’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Viterbo University, the University of WI-La Crosse, Steven’s Point Performing Arts Program and various leading studios and conventions. In addition, Amanda holds a degree from the University of WI-La Crosse, is a volunteer & production sponsor for Dancing the La Crosse Stars; benefiting the Red Cross and co-owns the active dance competition, Trilogy, held in Rochester, MN.
Aside from the serious business aspect of AAD, Miss Amanda strides to make AAD a fun and enjoyable environment for everyone. She is a wife and a mother of an adorable 7 year old son, Austin, who may greet you at the desk from time to time and a 3 year daughter, Clara, who will typically be found inviting herself into a dance class. She leads an active lifestyle and enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, traveling, watching movies, and organizing everything in her path. Most importantly, she takes pride in AAD and her family and is eager to share her love of dance with every AAD student! She has built a dance family that grows together; offering support, love and laughs!
Tia Sneath (4th Year Instructor, AAD Alumni, Development Director)
Miss Tia cannot wait to start her third year teaching at AAD! Growing up at Amanda’s, Miss Tia not only excelled in her dancing but found a family along the way. She was fortunate enough to take her love of dance to Minnesota, New Hampshire and now back to La Crosse. Miss Tia is currently attending University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in pursuit of a degree in Recreation Management. On a normal day you can find her hiking, kayaking, lying in her hammock and freaking out about new Tupperware!
Annika Haskin (9th Year Instructor)
Miss Annika is delighted to return to AAD for another year as an instructor! She brings more than 20 years of dance experience in teaching and training, with a specialty in Modern dance. Miss Annika loves oreo ice cream, red shoes, giraffes and playing with her dogs Esper and Gimlet. She is excited to share her passion for dance with her students in this new year at AAD!
Stephanie Lightbody (5th Year Instructor, Competition Coordinator)
Miss Stephanie is thrilled to return to AAD! She has been performing for as long as she can remember and was a dance team member of the Rough Rider Rockettes and UW-L Poms teams. While she loves spending time in the dance studio, Miss Stephanie can also be found teaching first graders in her classroom within Warrens Elementary. Miss Stephanie’s favorite things are hazelnut americanos, rhinestones, decorating her classroom, and PUNny jokes! This dance season, she hopes to further instill the lifelong passion for dance in her students!
Angie Sundwall (5th Year Instructor)
Katie Fish (5th Year Instructor)
Miss Katie is ecstatic to be a part of the AAD staff again this year! She has been dancing for 18 years, including 8 years as a member of an award winning competition company. Miss Katie is a member of the River City Rough Rider Rockettes dance team, and choreographs for several local high school dance teams.. Even though dancing is a major part of her life, she also enjoys; hiking, ultimate frisbee, camping, brownies, cupcakes, the color pink, anything with glitter, and spending time with friends and family! Miss Katie cannot wait for another fantastic year at AAD!
Emilie Clifford (5th Year Instructor)
Miss Emilie is so excited to be returning to AAD again this year! She began dancing at the age of 4 and has studied many different genres of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, tap, and many more! Miss Emilie just graduated from Viterbo University earning a degree in elementary education. When she is not dancing, she enjoys being outside, reading good books, and spending time with her friends, family, and dogs. She is very excited to see what this year will bring!
Sarah Murphy (5th Year Instructor)
Miss Sarah is very excited to start her third year of teaching Irish Dance at AAD! She brings 10 years of Irish dance background and was also an assistant teacher at Tir na nOg Irish dance school in Landstuhl, Germany for 5 years! Miss Sarah especially enjoys working with younger dancers. Her favorite things include dogs, coffee, winter, laughing with friends, and binge watching television series.
Brie York (2nd Year Instructor)
Miss Brie is thrilled to be returning to AAD for another year. She grew up dancing and teaching in the La Crosse area before venturing out into the world of professional dance. Miss Brie has trained in Los Angeles at the Edge Performing Arts Center as apart of their Immersion Program. While she was in Los Angeles she also had the pleasure of being apart of a short film that has won awards at different film festivals. She was also apart of a dance company in Texas called “Ingredients” that traveled with a convention circuit. Miss Brie is happy to be in the LaCrosse area and is looking forward to sharing all of her knowledge with her students this year! Her hobbies include playing with her dog, Fern, and hanging out with her hubby, Jace!
Elle Mark (2nd Year Instructor)
Miss Elle cannot wait to get started on her first year at AAD! Her love of dance started at the age of three, and she has been competing ever since winning numerous awards as a soloist, team member, and choreographer. Miss Elle has studied ballet, jazz, lyrical, musical theatre, hip hop and modern from instructors and professionals in her home state of Minnesota. She is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse on the Pre-Physician Assistant track where she competed with the UW-L Dance Team. In her few hours of free time, she can be found volunteering at the Coulee Region Humane Society, sitting in a coffee shop, or playing with her dog, Jaxon. Miss Elle is excited to see all that’s in store for her and her students at AAD this year!
Tabbi Parent (2nd Year Instructor)
Bio coming soon!
Emily Whitstone (3rd Year Instructor)
Miss Emily is excited for another year of teaching Irish Dance at AAD! She danced for over ten years at Heritage Academy of Irish Dance in Green Bay, WI. Miss Emily enjoys spending time with friends and family, and loves all things coffee.
Harleigh McKee (1st Year Instructor)
Miss Harleigh is excited to be joining AAD family! She starting her dancing career at the age of 3 in Webster City, IA. Miss Harleigh then trained for 15 years at The Dance Connection where she studied jazz, tap, lyrical… just to name a few! Miss Harleigh will be attending Viterbo University in pursuit of a degree in Musical Theatre. Miss Harleigh’s favorite things to do are read, play with her dog; Odin, watch Hulu, and listen to music. She is so excited to be part of this studio and can’t wait to meet everyone!
Barbara Albrechtson (15th Year Instructor – Middle Eastern)
Ms. Barb has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Education and Professional Development degree from UW La Crosse. She has taught young children’s dance since the mid 1980’s. She has thirty years of Middle Eastern Dance training and is the director of the Sahara Desert Dance Company.
Miss Dana is excited to be able to remain part of the AAD Dance family as an outreach instructor, bringing over 20 years of dance experience with a special love for ballet, lyrical, tap and jazz. Miss Dana currently resides in Scottsdale with her husband and 2 labs – Bentley and Mercedes (Cede) and newest addition, their daughter, Lily. In between working full time and teaching dance Miss Dana is a professional purveyor of shoes and all things rhinestoned as well a grill master. She also is fluent in three languages: English, Movie Quotes and the ancient form of communication purely through facial expressions. It is Miss Dana’s goal to share her passion for dance, technique and discipline and love of the arts with her students from afar.
Miss Tiffany is excited to continue to be a part of the AAD Family this year! She will serve as an outreach instructor from Southern Arizona where she recently moved to begin her first year as a Middle School Health Teacher. She has been dancing for most of her life and has been able to share her love of dance for the past 3 years as an instructor at Amanda’s Academy of Dance. Along with dancing she loves ice cream, coffee, cats, hiking, and watching crime shows.
Mr. Nick is thrilled to be back for a fifth season at AAD, but from afar! With over 10 years experience of show choir and theatre, Mr. Nick lives for the style of musical theatre! Mr. Nick is currently traveling the US choreographing and teaching show choirs of all ages! AAD is proud to have him return for workshops and competition training. Mr. Nicks loves hairspray, anything that glitters and he has a minor shoe obsession.
Miss Kelly has been dancing since the age of three. She has studied ballet, jazz, hip hop and Irish dance. Miss Kelly began Irish Dance at the age of 12 at Marilyn’s School of Dance but received most of her Irish dance training from Kate Flanagan in Winona, where she was an assistant teacher. She is looking forward teaching at AAD and showing the young dancers all the things that she has learned and enjoyed throughout her dance years.