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Dance Teachers

Shari Rarick Gysel

Shari Rarick Gysel began dancing as a very young child and has operated a Dance Studio in Battle Creek, Michigan for over 40 years. She has performed and taught sacred liturgical dance through her dance ministry as a member of the United Methodist Church and the spouse of a United Methodist pastor.

More about Shari.

David Smith

A member of the dance faculty at Western Michigan University where he teaches tap, Mr. Smith has been trained in both the Royal Academy of Dancing and Cecchetti ballet methods. He has furthered his dance education at Banff (Canada) School of Fine Arts and Butler University.

Mr. Smith was elected National Second Vice President of Dance Masters of America in 2006. A member of DMA Chapter #4, Dance Masters of Michigan, Mr. Smith has served in nearly all leadership positions in the chapter including two years as President. He currently is Treasurer of Dance Masters of Michigan.

He has served as an adjudicator for performing arts and solo competitions for various organizations including several Dance Masters of America Chapters, Dance Educators of America activities, and Headliners.

A former member of the honor regional ballet company, Detroit City Ballet, Mr. Smith has served as Resident Choreographer for several Ballet, Theater, and Opera Companies in Ohio and Michigan, creating works for ballet, musical theater, and light and grand opera. He performed in regional theatre productions of “Music Man,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “The Miracle Worker,” and “Gypsy.” Several of his former students have appeared in Broadway and regional theater productions.

Mr. Smith holds a Master of Business Administration degree and has been listed in “Who’s Who in America.”

Colleen Thome

Mrs. Colleen Thome has been teaching all age groups and levels of dance for 18 years. She graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and a minor in Psychology.

Mrs. Thome has also graduated from Dance Masters of America’s Teachers Training School at Kent State University and continues as a Post Graduate at the University of Buffalo in New York.

She is also a member of Dance Masters of Michigan, chapter 4, and of Dance Masters of America. While at WMU, she performed in Donald McKayle’s 1950’s piece, Rainbow Round My Shoulder, representing the life and feelings of a chain gang. Colleen grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan where she began her dance training at a young age at Shari Rarick School of Dance and continued there until she moved to Pittsburgh, PA from 2001-2004. While in Pittsburgh, she taught at Dance Etc. Performing Arts School in Pittsburgh, PA, and Siri’s School of the Performing Arts in Harmony, PA. In Battle Creek, she choreographed Oliver for Kellogg Community College, 42nd Street for Marshall Civic Theatre, Freakout on Eucalyptus Blvd. for Battle Creek Discovery Theatre, Dancing Days for Battle Creek Girls Chorus, and the Athens Area Follies for five years. Colleen has also taught the course “Dance for Elementary Educators” at Kellogg Community College in 2005. She was also the Creative Director for the Literacy Dance Project at Altrusa Nursery School, as well as taught dance for the L.A.S.E.R. program in the Battle Creek Public Schools and the Shazam summer program at Kellogg Community College. In 2010, Colleen also choreographed “Thoroughly Modern Millie” for Kellogg Community College’s Annual Musical and Battle Creek’s first “Flash Mob” for the American Red Cross, presented at the World’s longest breakfast table.   When she’s not teaching, she attends conventions and workshops to continue her dance education. When she’s not at the dance studio she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children (who have also begun their dance education).

Kim Iliff

Kim Iliff has been teaching at Shari Rarick School of Dance for over 10 years. Currently, she is teaching all age groups and experience levels in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Acrobatics, and Lyrical.

She is a 2004 Graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance.

Kim is certified to teach through Dance Masters of America’s Teachers Training School in Buffalo, NY and is a member of Dance Masters of Michigan, Chapter 4, and Dance Masters of America. She was also a member of the nationally known Showchoir “Spartanaires” (1997 – 1999).

Kim began dancing as a young girl in Battle Creek and has supported this community by teaching programs such as Take-A-Tumble at Kellogg Community College, Literacy Dance Project at Altrusa Nursery School, S.E.A.K., L.A.S.E.R., and Steppers at local schools. She was the Assistant Director for The Moscow Ballet’s “The Great Russian Nutcracker” in Battle Creek for 2002 & 2003. In 2005, she also taught a class for the scholarship portion of the Dance Masters of Michigan Fall Convention.

Kim has choreographed 42nd Street for Marshall Civic Theatre, Rock & Roll for Pennfield High School, and Dancing Days for the Battle Creek Girls Chorus. While at WMU, she performed in the Fall Dance Concert, Orchesis, Wellspring Dance Forum, and Graduating Presentations. Kim continues her dance education by attending conventions and Masterclasses annually. When Kim is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband as a newlywed.

Tamara Mackey -

“Miss Tammy”

My name is Tamara Mackey. I am a proud mother of two beautiful children. I am a graduate of Aquinas College where I received my Bachelor's of Arts in Elementary Education and currently working toward my Master's. While at Aquinas I was a member of the Saints' Dance team. I am a teacher at Coburn Elementary for Battle Creek Public Schools. This is my eighth year with the district.

I started dancing at Shari Rarick School of Dance when I was four years old. I am so proud and excited to be back this year as one of Shari's lead teachers. It is an honor to be a part of such an amazing dance family. I am excited to see your children starting where I once did.

I have also competed in several pageants for the Miss America Organization. I was Miss Battle Creek/Cereal City 1999 and I was a contestant in the Miss Michigan Scholarship Pageant in 2000. My talent was obviously dancing. My winning dance was taught right here at Shari's dance studio by one of the best teachers around!

I look forward to becoming a part of your child's dance education.


Brittany (Tuinier) VanDyke

Brittany (Tuinier) VanDyke has been dancing at Shari’s since she was 5-years-old and has been a helping teacher, of a variety of ages since she was 13. She is a graduate of Hope College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, and a minor in Accounting. She also had the privilege to take multiple dance classes while at Hope College.

Brittany has participated in the Dance Masters of Michigan Performing Arts Competition in YEAR and 2007. Brittany also took part in the Moscow Ballet’s “The Great Russian Nutcracker” in 2002. She also participated in the American Red Cross Flash Mob, which was held at the 2010 Cereal Festival. Brittany continues her dance education by attending conventions and workshops.

Outside of dance Brittany works at her family’s company, Post Gardens, here in Battle Creek, and lives in Kalamazoo with her husband.


Mrs. Megan Banning

She began her dance career at Shari Rarick School of dance at the age of five, participating in annual shows and recitals, the competitive dance team, and the Nutcracker with the
Tulsa Ballet Theater. She became a helping teacher at age 13 and eventually became certified through
a test to teach at Dance Masters of America Teacher Training School in Buffalo, NY in the areas of Ballet,
Tap, Jazz, and Acrobatics. Upon graduation from high school, Megan continued her pursuit of dance at
the University of Michigan where, in 2004, she gained her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a Minor in
Dance. While there, she performed in the Freshman Touring Company, Freshman Repertory, and Senior
Repertory pieces.

She has been a lead teacher at Shari Rarick School of Dance for multiple years, participated as a choreographer in Athen’s follies for four years, and continues her dance education through technique
classes and master classes. In 2010, Megan graduated with her Master of Science in Accounting and
currently works as Deputy Controller for Calhoun County.

In her spare time, Megan enjoys spending time with her husband and kids and of course, dancing.


Rebekah Arnold

Katie Trumble

Emma Sherwood

Hanna Sherwood