Artistic Director and Instructor
Miss Melissa began dancing at age 4 at her Grandmother's and Mother's studios in Western Wisconsin.
She became a member of traveling dance companies by the age of 8. By age 9 she was a classroom assistant and by age 15 was instructing her own classes and choreographing for Christmas and Spring recitals. Melissa began entering dance competitions in the 7th grade, and was inspired to strengthen her commitment to the dance arts after winning a gold medal for her first entry.
While in junior high & high school she attended several dance workshops annually including Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, L.A. Dance Force and Tremaine. As a featured soloist Melissa danced ballet, pointe, tap and jazz pieces for the Great River Festival of Arts dance productions. She also had the lead roll in “The Little Match Girl” and several leading rolls in other traveling dance productions.
During Melissa’s formative years she also received several dance and modeling scholarships. One of Melissa’s fondest memories as a dancer occurred while studying in Chicago where she became a demonstrator for Jazz dance legend, Gus Giordano.
After high school graduation she studied many dance forms in New York City at several well known studios. They included the Paul Taylor School, Martha Graham School-Center of Contemporary Dance, The Ailey School, Steps on Broadway and the Broadway Dance Center.
Upon her return to the LaCrosse area from New York she joined a semi-professional dance & cheerleading squad assisting with choreography and soloing in dance. It was through this experience that she discovered her true passion for teaching and choreography. It was also during this time that Melissa learned the value of group precision which is reflected in her signature performance pieces to this day.
While discovering her calling in the art of dance as a teacher and choreographer, she shifted her focus away from becoming a professional dancer, and instead toward helping her students reach their own goals. Whether those goals have been in the dance world or not, Melissa’s passion has been to teach life skills through dance instruction while maintaining a healthy balance of fun and discipline. The true reward is to see this balanced approach carry over into other aspects of students’ lives.
Melissa expanded her choreography outside the family’s studios. She has choreographed for pageants, musicals, dance competitions, cheerleading, dance teams, church productions, show choirs, fashion shows and floor routines for gymnastics.
In March of 2003, she met her future husband Michael and his children Katie and Collin for the first time at a church outreach in Mauston, WI. Melissa and Michael were married in September of that same year and she retired from her mother’s studio to join her new family in New Lisbon, WI. After taking a year off from dance, Melissa missed it terribly and returned to her dance profession. She was hired by Melisa Thideman to instruct the Diamonds at Dance Arts Centers by Melisa in Mauston for both the 2004 and 2005 seasons. During those two years, Melissa became a mother to her first child, and was expecting her second. Once again she made the hard decision to stop teaching and focus on raising her family. During this time Melissa continued to choreograph for area churches and also co-founded AFLAME Dance Team “Worship In Motion”.
Melissa and her husband Michael now have five children including Seth (13), Selah (11), Adyline (10), and adult children Collin, and Katie. Melissa and Michael are also proud grandparents of 4 children.
Now that her oldest children are on their own and younger children are in school full-time, Melissa is finally fulfilling her life-long calling. She considers it a privilege to be the founding Director of Generations Dance Academy in New Lisbon, which she opened in September of 2014. Melissa is offering a professional dance education for children of all ages and levels of experience to the New Lisbon, Mauston, Necedah, Elroy and surrounding areas.
Since opening the academy, Melissa has become a Certified Acrobatic Arts Instructor, and was recently awarded the "2016 Outstanding Teacher of the Year" at Dance Revolution's Midwest Regional Convention.
Miss Sienna has 26 years of dance experience, including the styles of Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Ballet, Pointe, Hip Hop, Modern, Pom, Tap, Ballroom and Jazz-Funk.
Miss Sienna’s formal dance training came from Miss Melissa while she was a student at Julie’s School of Dance in Holmen, Wi.
She has advanced studies in hip hop under celebrities and professional dancers such as Shane Sparks, Malachi Durant and Mandy Moore. Miss Sienna has attended many vigorous and advanced training camps and workshops across the country including UDA, JUST for Kix, WACPC and SOCAPA.
She is an award winning choreographer for area dance teams and dance studios that compete on the national level.
Miss Sienna held many lead cast roles in musicals such as Footloose, Grease, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty the Ballet and The Nutcracker. She was a Varsity and Competition team member of Holmen High School’s Dance Team all four years of high school and won individual awards such as “Best Leaps”, “Best Jumps and Tricks”, “Best Turns” and “Most Dedicated”. In addition, she was a member of Holmen’s Varsity Show Choir, an alumni of the Majesty of Christmas and Clown Drama.
For more than a decade, Miss Sienna has been a lead instructor at Julie’s School of Dance in Holmen and Sparta and two years as the head coach for a local High School dance team. Sienna and her husband Mark have a baby girl, Tessah.
Because Miss Sienna instills in her dancers the values of hard work, goal setting, confidence, humility and servanthood, this makes her an excellent addition to the Generations Dance Academy staff.