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Faculty & Staff

Owner &



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Mallory Watkins

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Kayla Wegley, Instructor

Kayla grew up in Ozark, Missouri, where she found her passion in classical dance training.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and earned her Undergraduate Research Certification 2017. In her time at KU she performed in guest residencies including LaneCoArts, Thodos Dance Chicago, ODC Theater, and under multiple faculty members with the University Dance Company. She served as Guest Artist Intern to the department, collaborated and performed in peer-produced shows, and pursued various choreographic endeavors.  She produced “Alterity”, a curated concert on domestic violence, supported by the Undergraduate Research Center, School of the Arts, and Hall Center for Humanities.  During her senior year she produced “Marginalia”, which debuted at Links Hall in Chicago, Illinois.  Kayla currently works at the KU Department of Physics and Astronomy as their Undergraduate Coordinator, and is in her 2nd year of MBA studies.  She joined Spotlight Dance in 2018, and has enjoyed teaching ballet, pointe, modern, and choreographing the annual Nutcracker production.


Owner &



Mallory Watkins

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Jordan Mills , Music Instructor

Jordan Mills graduated from JCCC in 2013 with an Associates in Liberal Arts on a music scholarship and then went on to graduate from KU in 2018 with a Bachelors of Music Education in Music Therapy.

Throughout her professional career, Jordan has provided hundreds of hours of music therapy and adapted music lessons through in-home services, several practicum placements during her time at KU, private daycares, an internship at Shawnee Mission School District, and a private music therapy practice in Johnson County.

Nowadays you will find Jordan teaching early education music classes at the Lawrence Arts Center pre-school and kindergarten, Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, and here at Spotlight Dance Academy; Teaching ukulele, or guitar classes at the Lawrence Arts Center school of Theatre and Music and Americana Music Academy; as well as coaching for River City Rock Camp!


Morgan Mathews, Instructor

Morgan started dancing when she was just 3 years old. She grew up in Olathe, KS where she spent most of her time at the studio dancing at the competition level. Morgan graduated from Kansas State University where she was a four year member and captain of the Classy Cat dance team. She received her master's degree from Arkansas Tech University where she was the head coach for the Golden Girls Dance Team. Morgan also worked for National Dance Alliance for 7 years, where she traveled as a Head Instructor and Choreographer for high school and college camps all over the country.  Morgan has been  a part of the Spotlight family since 2014, teaching various styles and choreographing for our award winning competitive troupe. Morgan currently works at Baker University and resides in Ottawa with her husband Brad and three kids, Avery, Lane, and Quincy. 

Darian Bruch, Instructor


Darian began dancing at age 3 and competing as a member of the Starfire Dance Company at age 7.  She is also a competitively trained gymnast and cheerleader.  As a dancer, she has travelled throughout the United States performing, competing and choreographing. Darian was featured as a young dancer on Disney’s “Make Your Mark” and decided then that dance would always be an important part of her life.  She was named Performer Of The Year and received many other honors including 4 year NCA All-American, 4 year NDA All-American and 4 year recipient of NDA Top Gun Leaps.  She graduated from KU with a Degree in Exercise Science and a BA in Dance, she was a member of the KU Rock Chalk Dancers for four years where she served as line leader and chorography caption for her 4th year. She is currently an NCA Staffer and Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader.  Darian also choreographs for several high schools and dance studios.  Darian joined the Spotlight team in the 2017-2018 season and is excited to be teaching Jazz Technique, Dance Conditioning and Flexibility , Hip Hop and choreographing for our award winning competitive team!


Laurie Tyner, Instructor

Laurie began her gymnastics career at the age of 4 and Laurie joined the dance world after an injury ended her 12 years as a competitive gymnast. Laurie was a member and eventual Captain of the Ottawa Cyclonettes Dance Team . 

Laurie went on to dance at Ottawa University where she majored in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood and the Fine Arts. Laurie is a kindergarten teacher at Central Heights Elementary School where she was also the dance coach for three years. Laurie was a Top Ten Kansas Teacher of the Year recipient in 2023. 

Laurie loves working specifically with small children and passing on her love of learning, kindness and the arts! Laurie resides in Ottawa with her husband David, daughter Annelise and son Drew.

Shayla Siebenthall, Instructor

Shayla grew up in Larned, Kan. and graduated from Larned High School. Her senior year she was named an NCA All-American cheerleader and was a member of the National Cheerleaders Association performance team. Siebenthall traveled with the team to Hawaii where she performed at half time of the Jeep Eagle Aloha Bowl. She went on to cheer and dance for Barton County Community College (BCCC) and was a member of the 1998 dance team earning a NDA Collegiate National Championship.

Shayla later graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in sports science and an emphasis in coaching.  While attending KU she coached competitive gymnastics at Kansas School of Gymnastics, Lawrence Gymnastics Academy and Ky’s Gymnastics and Dance.   Shayla spent 11 years coaching cheerleading and diving at Lawrence High School. While in Lawrence she was also co-owner, director, and coach for the Lawrence Cheer Academy (LCA), an All Star competitive cheer program.

She spent two years as Pratt Community College’s head cheer coach before accepting the position of Head Cheer and Dance Coach at Ottawa University which she held from 2012-2019.  Shayla transitioned from coach, to the Director of Cheer, Dance and Stunt which she held until 2022.  Under Siebenthall’s leadership, the dance team won the 2014 and 2022 NDA Collegiate National Championship. She coached 21 All-KCAC cheer performers and 12 All-KCAC dance performers.  Siebenthall led the cheer and dance teams to 9 top 10 finishes at NCA and NDA College Nationals as well as numerous KCAC Conference Championships and was named the 2019 KCAC Cheer Coach of the Year.

Currently, Shayla is the secretary for Sacred Heart School and enjoys being a spotlight dance mom to her daughters Berkley and LJ.

Marielle Melvin, Instructor

Marielle Melvin is a regional & national award winning dance instructor, cheer coach, and choreographer with over 30 years of dance experience. A native of Iola, Kansas, she started her cheer & dance training at the young age of 2.

Marielle has trained in many genres including: ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, hip hop, musical theatre, lyrical, modern, contemporary, African, pom, kick, and cheer. During her time as a performer, Marielle was a member of South Street Dance Company's “Star Fire Company Class” and competitive dance team.

Marielle has over 20 years of experience in coaching and choreographing all styles of dance! She has worked with, coached, and choreographed for middle school, high school, and college dance teams, cheer squads, and show choirs. Marielle has had the pleasure of choreographing theatrical productions for community theatre, community colleges, and universities. She has held her own middle school, high school, and collegiate dance camps and served as a camp counselor for Midwest Movement Dance Camp. Marielle has been a teacher and/or choreographer for several dance studios throughout the region including South Street Dance Company, Cooper Studios Dance Center, Spotlight Dance Academy, and worked as a lead instructor of dance fitness & barre workouts at Adrenaline Performance & Fitness. She is also a certified Acrobatic Arts instructor.

In 2014 Marielle opened her own Dance & Cheer Studio, Supernova Dance Authority, in Iola. Since opening Marielle has led her competitive cheer and dance teams to numerous Regional and National titles

Marielle was named the Associate Head dance coach of the Allen Community College Firestarters Dance Team  in 2017. Since then, she has continued to coach and choreograph the  Allen dance and cheer teams, as well as “Reggie” the Red Devil Mascot, and Junior Devs program, the past 6 seasons. Her choreography has won the team numerous titles and championships, as well as NDA All-American titles.


Marielle is so excited to be returning to Spotlight for weekly classes at SDA. She has enjoyed working with the SDA competitive troupe over the past decade, but is looking forward to sharing her passion and knowledge for the art of dance with the recreational program this coming season!


Anessa Nation, Instructor

Anessa grew up in Lyons, Kansas, where her parents, both former college athletes, instilled in her the importance of fitness and strength by entering and running alongside her in races, encouraging her participation in various sports, and engaging in competitive active games at home. They continue to maintain their exercise routines well into their senior years, setting a lasting example for her.

For Anessa, fitness and strength were essential from a young age due to a leg length discrepancy and skeletal dysplasia in her foot, which caused hip alignment issues and scoliosis. Her journey into physical strength training began after her first of many surgeries in the fifth grade. At 5:00 am, her mother would take her to the local gym to complete her physical therapy. This early morning routine became a lifelong habit, and Anessa rarely misses a morning workout, believing it is essential to "start her day off right."

Today, Anessa leads a boot camp strength and cardio class at Ottawa Nautilus and passionately promotes physical fitness to her children and those around her. She is thrilled to share her dedication to body conditioning with the dancers and adults at Spotlight Dance Academy.

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