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Instructors

Melange Dance Instructors

Our independent instructors bring energy into our studio and bring out the potential in their students. They are patient, encouraging and passionate about dance. Beginner, intermediate or competitive dancer – you’ll find the style and challenge you’re looking for. Pricing is based on lesson type and instructor.

For guidance on which independent instructor is right for you and your schedule, call the studio or drop in.

Jim MacAuley

Jim MacAuley

Jim has been a ballroom dancer and instructor for almost 20 years. He is one of the most experienced teachers that Kansas City has to offer. Jim has spent half his lifetime absorbing as much information as possible, having trained in American Rhythm, Smooth, International Latin and Standard has made him an exceptional and patient teacher. His instructing style cannot be matched. His career has been spent traveling both nationally and abroad performing, competing and training both students and teachers. Jim and his wife, Jessica, formed their own independent business; Paramount Ballroom Company and both exclusively teach at Mélange Dance and Events. They both are strong believers in community, and helping others achieve any goal they desire and participate in as many charities as they can. Jim began dancing at a young age, watching his parents dance around the kitchen. His passion has always been performing and has performed at venues like the Folley Theatre, Dancesport competitions, other local charities and the Lyric Opera.

Jessica MacAuley

Jessica MacAuley

Jessica began dancing at a young age in a rural Kansas town, and followed her dreams to earn a B.A. in Dance from Kansas State University, then finally to Kansas City where she fell in love with her husband and ballroom dancing. She and her husband have over 30 years of combined teaching experience, and often teach and perform together. In 2010, they formed their own independent business, Paramount Ballroom Company and enjoy teaching exclusively at Mélange Dance and Events in Mission, KS. Jessica teaches couples, singles, and youth dancers from the true beginner to the competitive student, with a positive, fun, and relaxed teaching style. She also teaches Zumba® and LaBlast™ dance fitness classes around the city. She believes that anyone can learn to dance and everyone can benefit from it. Learning to dance can be a life changing experience, it changed hers.

Jessie Lopez

Jesse Lopez

Jesse Lopez, owner of Evolve Dance, chose ballroom dancing to be his career in 2010 at a small ballroom studio in Overland Park, KS. He quickly advanced into one of Kansas City’s top male ballroom dancers, and has competed with his students and dance partner for many years. On top of that, Jesse pursues his intense passion for swing dancing and is now the head instructor and board member for a local swing dance team in Kansas City. Jesse also currently holds multiple national and international titles. Jesse continues to teach the art of dance to those seeking adventure, passion and fun, as well as stay actively competitive on the ballroom and swing circuit. Evolve Dance is run out of Mélange Dance and Events in Mission, KS, and continues to grow, not only a business, but as a home for many students around the area and beyond.

Johnny Francoviglia

Johnny Francoviglia

Johnny Francoviglia is a professional ballroom dance instructor and competitor. He has a total of 28 years of dance training is many styles including tap, jazz, ballet, modern and of course, ballroom. In 2008 he began teaching partnership dancing and competing professionally in Cabaret. Throughout his competitive career, he has placed as high as third in the U.S. in the Open Professional Cabaret and had the honor of being invited to the Blackpool Dance Festival in 2010 and 2011. When he’s not rehearsing or competing, Johnny can be found teaching many styles of partnership dancing to all levels of students. From beginner to advanced and American Rhythm to International Standard, Johnny helps his students push themselves to achieve their very best.​ ​​Johnny holds a Grand Master’s Degree in American Smooth, American Rhythm and International Standard and a Master’s in International Latin dance styles. He is finishing his Grand Master’s in International Latin. His goals are to become a U. S. Finalist and Top Teacher in the pro/am competitive circuit.

Kayla Sloan

Kayla Sloan

Kayla Sloan is a certified ballroom dance professional from Nashville, TN. She holds an Associate’s degree in American Rhythm and a Master’s in American Smooth style dances with Dance Vision International Dance Association. She is an independent instructor at Mélange Dance & Events. Kayla works full time setting and achieving goals with a variety of leveled students. She is thankful to bless couples with the gift of dancing whether it is for that very memorable First Dance or to fill time when the nest is empty. Working on her Associate’s in International Standard and Latin dance styles keeps her focused on growing her dance career.

Amy Hanson

Amy Hanson

At the early age of three, Amy stepped into her first pair of ballet shoes and quickly found a love for dance. Growing up, she attended J&L dance studio in Minneapolis, MN for ballet, tap and jazz, and from that early age, knew that she was meant to perform. After several years of studio dancing, she applied her skills at Concorida Academy high school and led her team to the state dance competition, 2 years in a row. Outside her high school doors, she also spent time competing for an independent dance group in Jazz and hip-hop, across the Midwest. After her high school years, she discovered ballroom dancing and worked for Arthur Murray’s in St. Paul, MN for 5 years. At that studio she met her competitive dance partner and professionally competed in the American Rhythm division for 2 years and placed in several Midwest competitions. Since then, she has been working as a ballroom dance instructor in Overland Park, KS and has been training her students at all levels. Her competitive students have helped her attain top teacher awards at the Virginia State Dance Competition, Grand National Dance Competition and the Lone Star Ball Competition. Amy strives to achieve professionalism and excellence at all she does. She continues to share her passion daily and help better the lives around her through the art of dance.

Laurelyn Leimer

Laurelyn Leimer

Laurelyn Leimer is an accomplished dancer with over 8 years of extensive ballroom and Latin dance experience.  She has been blessed with the opportunity to learn from many different people with varying schools of thought, from instructors, to amateurs, to world champions.  She believes that a dancer should learn from every partner they dance with, whether they are social dancers or champion competitors.

She was the president of the University of Arkansas Ballroom Dance Club and started the competition team there.  She led the team to many successful competitions and events.  Laurelyn was a regular volunteer for the NWA Dancing with the Stars fundraiser and Day of Dance events for local hospitals and organizations while she resided in the Northwest Arkansas area.

Laurelyn is a firm believer that everyone can learn to dance, and no one ever regrets it.  Acquiring a new, life-changing skill is always an adventure, and will open up opportunities to enjoy life to its fullest. Click here or look her up on Facebook to find out more!

Marina Savage

Marina Savage

Anyone who meets Marina Savage and hears her speak immediately realizes, “she’s not from around here.” Her accent is Ukrainian as Marina was born and raised there. Now she says, “After living in Kansas City area for over a decade, it feels like I’m a Midwest native.” Marina’s love of ballroom dance began at age 12 and it never stopped. It is that unceasing passion and the friendly atmosphere in the ballroom between staff and students sealed the deal. Even though Marina is so far from her geographic roots she is active in maintaining ties by participating in Ukrainian community and enjoys bringing people of all cultures together.

Krista Derington

Krista Derington

Krista has a degree in Dance Education with a minor in Ballroom Dance from Brigham Young University and competed with the Ballroom Tour Team (2006-2009) and Contemporary Dance Theater (2010-2011). In 2007 & 2008 Krista danced on the Standard Formation team that won the United States National Standard Formation Dance Championship title. During that time she had the opportunity to complete 8 major performance tours; the majority of them touring the US, China, and Hong Kong. One of her most memorable tours included performing for the Pre-Olympic shows in China for the 2008 Olympics. Directly after graduating from BYU, she began her Master’s degree at the University of Utah in Modern Dance. During her graduate studies she joined the ranks as a professional competitor of American Smooth, dancing with professional partner Nathan Cashion for one wonderful year in 2012. Together they were Rising Star, Open Professional, and Open Professional Show Dance finalist all over the US. In 2012 she also became a certified Licentiate Ballroom Teacher through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD). In 2014 Krista finished a two-year summer intensive program and became a certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement analysis and Touch therapist, a complex movement vocabulary that has greatly impacted her dancing and teaching. Krista took a semester break from graduate school to give birth to her son. She picked right back up to finish her thesis writing and defended her thesis December of 2014.

Lila Peake

Lila Peake

Lila is a former figure skater and performer with Disney on Ice. She has spent the last nine years training and competing in ballroom dance and has a background in ballet, jazz and tap. In 2006, she and her partner were finalists in both the Pro Rising Star at The Ohio Star Ball and World Professional American Smooth Rising Star. She holds a degree at the licentiate level in American Smooth and American Rhythm from the US Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance.

Katie Hagedorn

Katie Hagedorn

Katie Hagedorn began dancing at an early age and has loved it ever since. That passion drove her to study at her childhood studio where she would learn and teach Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Musical Theatre. She continued training in college and taught at local studios along the way. After arriving in Kansas City in 2001, she began studying Ballroom, Rhythm, and Swing and has been teaching, choreographing, and performing for 12 years. She is a certified member of the United States Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (USISTD).

Laura Szymanski

For nearly 20 years Laura Szymanski has been teaching and actively building the dance community in Kansas City. She teaches couples and individuals all styles of ballroom and social dance. As creative director for shows at the Folly Theater and Polski Theaters, she has choreographed for students and professionals alike. She is no stranger to competitive arena, as she trains students for pro-am competitions, including Kansas City’s own Heart of America DanceSport Competition. Her own dance training began at the age of six when she started competing in ballet, jazz, and contemporary styles. Today, her repertoire includes American Rhythm and American Smooth, nightclub dances such as West Coast Swing, Salsa, Bachata, Argentine Tango, Hustle, and Samba, as well as several country dances. A recipient of numerous Top Teacher Awards from TCDC Intl., Laura says, “I love guiding my students through the exciting world of dance and witnessing how it enriches their lives.”