Ann Olsen Bode founded Desert Star Dance in 2003. After a professional dance career, her dream was to share her knowledge and love for her craft with others. With her background in the entertainment industry, Ann hoped to create a studio where students would learn about the discipline of dance while having fun. Teaching dance is Ann’s passion and running a school with the right priorities for children is her goal at Desert Star.
Ann grew up dancing in the San Francisco bay area. As a teenager, she received a scholarship to the prestigious Dupree Dance Academy in Los Angeles which launched her career as a professional dancer. She has appeared in television shows, commercials, and movies throughout her career, as well as live theater. She toured the world with the dance troupe “The Dancin’ Machine”, and later starred as a singer/dancer in several Las Vegas shows including the award winning “Splash” at the Riviera, and “Showstoppers” at the Desert Inn. Ms. Bode has an extensive background in choreography and production. She was also the casting director and costume coordinator for many large scale production shows in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, Japan, and Europe. She managed and directed hundreds of dancers in shows all around the world.
All of the time spent in the professional dance world was the perfect prelude to Ann running her own unique brand of dance studio. Many of Ann’s students have gone on to professional dance careers and many have become proficient dance teachers as well (including several on staff at DSD!). Her classes focus on fundamentals while promoting performance quality and showmanship. Ann’s dance presentations reflect her philosophy that entertainment is as valuable as technical expertise. “Most Entertaining” is a common award for her choreography as her style is exuberant, fun-loving, and entertaining to all.
Lisa Hammond is a busy mother of three little dancers. She is a native of Arizona and is an accomplished dancer, instructor, and choreographer. She has extensive training in jazz, contemporary/modern, ballet, and tumbling. She received a scholarship to and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a BFA in dance. She has completed her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Lisa also danced for a period of time on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
She has taught dance at Highland High School, Mesa Community College, and many studios all around the valley. Lisa is currently a member of the local modern dance troupe “Scorpius”. She will be travelling to Scotland with them this fall to perform.
Lisa is committed to her students at Desert Star Dance where she teaches jazz, lyrical/contemporary, ballet, tumbling, and conditioning classes. Lisa has excellent communication skills and her teaching style is clear and concise. She also has a great sense of humor and unlimited patience to help her students succeed. As a choreographer, Lisa is innovative and edgy with a great comedic flair. She is a choreographic risk taker which has resulted in numerous awards for Desert Star Dance including “Top Choreography” at numerous competitions.
Aaron Gilbert is a consummate professional in the field of dance and dance instruction. He has an uncanny ability to make a student fall in love with ballet. He has been teaching classical ballet for the past thirteen years and is currently the dance director at Corona del sol High School in Tempe. He trained in ballet and modern dance for many years and performed professionally with Grounding Point Dance Company, Desert Dance Theater, and Ballet Jude. He was also the rehearsal director for Ballet Jude for two years. He has staged musical numbers for the public school program “Ballet in the Schools”. Over the years, Aaron has choreographed many contemporary and classical ballets as well as modern works and musicals. He is committed to his art and very dedicated to his students. We are privileged to have Mr. Aaron at Desert Star Dance.
Scott Bodily has a diverse background as a professional dancer, singer and performer. He received a vocal scholarship to Utah State University and studied Opera, Musical Theater and received Classical Ballet training. He has a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from Sam Houston State University. He has since performed in several leading roles with his singing (Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, the International Broadway tour of Saturday Night Fever), performed with many Operas (Houston Grand Opera, Omaha Opera and Utah Festival Opera) and has danced many leading roles in professional Ballet and Modern Dance Companies (including Dayton Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Indianapolis Ballet Theater and Dance Kaleidoscope). Scott is dancing with Center Dance Ensemble this season here in Phoenix. We are so proud to have Scott on the staff at Desert Star Dance!
Tyler Hotten began dancing at the age of 13 when he signed up for a beginning dance class in high school in lieu of Physical Education. What followed then has been an intense passion for the art of dancing and movement. His personal journey through dance has centered around dealing with a non-standard dance body, and discovering his proper alignment while maintaining a uniquely styled aesthetic. Tyler recently graduated with his AFA in Dance and AAS in Dance Technology from Scottsdale Community College (SCC), where he spent several years training and performing under the tutelage of mentors Angela Rosenkrans and Jennifer McKusick, among many other renowned educators and artists. Tyler also has a vested interest in the creative process, and is constantly learning and growing as a choreographer and improvisation artist. To date, Tyler holds several awards and honors for his choreographic work, including Gala Honors at the 2015 American College Dance Association (ACDA) Northwest Conference, several awards in both Choreography and Performance at the MCCCD Artists of Promise competition throughout his tenure at SCC, and the opportunity to showcase his work as part of the preshow at Breaking Ground, a local contemporary dance and film festival, in partnership with nueBOX and Tiny Dances. Tyler also regularly performs professionally around the valley, and spent the last two years with SCC’s Instinct Dancecorps. Currently, Tyler dances for Halo Movement Collective under the direction of local artist Angel Castro. Tyler is eager to share his knowledge as a movement artist, and firmly believes in developing individual artistry in conjunction with a strong foundation in kinesiology and proper technique.
Janice graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition. Her résumé includes nutrition counseling and fitness training. Originally from Austin Texas, she began studying tap and jazz after moving to Arizona when she was 8. She continued dancing through high school and traveled to LA and Las Vegas where she participated in dance competitions and workshops. Janice has been teaching dance in the valley for over 20 years, and was the Artistic Director of Dancin’ Feet Studio for 10 years. She has choreographed hundreds of dances in all styles including tap, jazz, musical theater, lyrical, ballet and acrobatics. Janice’s goal is to introduce young people to dance and help them fall in love with it. Janice is a dedicated professional who strives to combine her love of dance and music to help students learn technique and grow creatively.
Bio Coming Soon!
Amanda Sweig is currently attending ASU working towards a degree in exercise and wellness with a minor in dance. She hopes to go on to pursue a career in physical therapy. Amanda has been dancing since she was three and grew up dancing at various studios around the valley. In 2007, Amanda won the title of “National Dance Champion” at the Fiesta Bowl Competition. In high school, she was the President of the school dance company and captain of the Urban Dance Squad. She is currently a member of the ASU Hip Hop Coalition. She was an assistant teacher at Desert Star Dance throughout her teens and is excited to be a part of education and inspiring young dancers.
Ashley Palma has been dancing since the age of three and has extensive training in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, and Hip-Hop.Currently Ashley is a member of the Phoenix Suns Hip Hop Solar Squadand the Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad. Ashley is also a member of Epik Dance Company. She is pursuing a degree in Dance studies at CGCC and plans to get her Bachelor’s at ASU.