Studio Owner / Director / Instructor
Tonya grew up in Waco, Texas where her love for dance began at age four. She landed her first professional job at the age of 14 in the musical “Oliver”. During her senior year of High School she toured with the Minneapolis Ballet in the ever popular “The Nutcracker”. That same year Tonya was awarded scholarships to Debbie Reynolds Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, Gus Giordano Summer Intensive in Chicago, and a year long study with Tremaine. Upon graduation she toured and performed with Dance Caravan Dance Conventions. Tonya continued her performing career as a dancer/singer at Six Flags Over Texas and several other Industrial Shows, which essentially brought her to Branson. After several years performing in Branson, Tonya soon began choreographing professionally for entertainers such as Mel and Pam Tillis, The Brenda Lee National Tour, Jim Stafford, The Lennon Sisters and Dino. In addition, Tonya has worked with several Branson shows including Country Tonite, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Promise, Celebrate America, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, SHOUT the Musical, 9 to 5, 50’s at the Hop and magic and revue shows. Additional choreography credits include shows at Lincoln Center in New York, USO Tours, Hershey Park, Cruise Lines, Theme Parks, National Television Productions and Tours. She is also a contract choreographer for Matt Davenport Productions out of Nashville and choreographs for Country Tonite in Pigeon Forge, TN and Augusta Players in Augusta, GA. She is also choreographer and stage manager for the International Mrs., Miss, Teen & PreTeen Pageants. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions awarded two of Tonya’s shows in the Top Five Overall Theme Park Shows. Tonya’s teaching career began at age 15, at the very studio she grew up taking dance. She later taught performing arts at two of the largest dance studios in Dallas. After moving to Branson, Tonya instructed professional level jazz classes at Branson Performing Arts and eventually became the owner and director of the studio now known as Dance Branson School of the Arts 11 years ago. Tonya has numerous former students who have continued in the arts including dancers performing in Las Vegas, Newsies on Broadway, The Tony Awards, Dixie Stampede, Collegiate Dance & Pom Teams, Theatre-Dance Conservatories & College Programs and the latest West Side Story movie. Tonya is the mom of two extraordinary young adults, Blain and Kyndall. Kyndall is following in her mom’s footsteps as an Instructor and Choreographer at Dance Branson. Tonya has a genuine talent for “growing up dancers”. Teaching is her passion and in her heart and she can’t wait to see where the love of dance takes all of her students!
Jenn Turner grew up dancing in upstate New York and graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from The State University of New York at Buffalo. She has been working professionally as a dancer for the past 20 years, starting her career as a dancer in West Side Story. She spent two years as a dancer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines before settling down here in Branson. Here, she has performed with Kirby VanBurch, The Promise, Celebrate America, Dino’s Christmas Extravaganza, and Country Tonight. She currently performs in Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express! In her spare time, Jenn loves to work out and spend time with her kids Savannah and AJ. Miss Jenn loves pouring into all the kids at Dance Branson School of the Arts.
Kara grew up in Pleasant Grove, Utah where she began dancing at the age of three. She danced competitively at five and continued through her teenage years winning numerous regional and national titles as a soloist. In addition, she enjoyed performing in local theatre productions whenever she had the chance. Kara begin her professional career at the age of 18, performing with The Shoji Tabuchi Show in Branson. Kara spent two years in Farmington, Missouri where she was the Competition & Acrobatics Director with a local studio. While she has continued to dance and choreograph professionally throughout the years, Kara’s true passion is passing on her love of the arts to the new generation of entertainers. Kara is thrilled to be a part of the Dance Branson Team of Instructors. Kara and her husband John reside in Branson and have three beautiful girls, Mattea, Cici, Lydia and new baby boy on the way.
Kristen Chandler was born in Dowagiac, Michigan, and began dancing at the early age of three. She studied dance at Oklahoma City University and ultimately received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance Performance from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Kristen spent her summers performing at several theme parks during college and moved to Branson shortly after graduation. She has performed in numerous shows in Branson including Shoji Tabuchi, The Promise, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Celebrate America, and Country Tonite. Kristen currently performs in the Clay Cooper Country Express Show. Kristen enjoys spending extra time with her family including daughters Kylee and Emma, who both enjoy dancing at DBSA.
Cat grew up in Smithtown, New York. At the age of 18, she moved to Las Vegas and began her professional career as a dancer in the Country Tonite show. Soon after, the show opened in Branson, Missouri. Cat moved to Branson and performed with Country Tonite for 11 years, mainly performing in Branson, but also traveling to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Biloxi, Mississippi. Since then she has performed as a Magician’s Assistant/Dancer in Darren Romeo’s Magic Show, The Magic of Taylor Reed, The Bart Rockett Show, and as a Dancer in The Mulberry Lane Christmas Show. Cat had the honor of acting with Jerry Van Dyke in the play The Sunshine Boys. Cat has enjoyed teaching at Dance Branson since 2016. She loves to be able to share the love of dance that she has always possessed. Cat resides in Branson with her husband Johnny and two amazing children, Dominic and Brooklyn.
Jenna has always had a love for dance, and it was very apparent from the time she was old enough to stand that music moved her. In 2007 she was hired to dance professionally in Dino's Christmas Extravaganza in Branson. In addition to the Branson show, Jenna traveled across the country performing in Dino's shows including a performance at Lincoln Center in New York City. Jenna's amazing dancing abilities have been recognized at both Regional and National competitions all over the Midwest. Titles received include Talent on Parade Southern National Champion (age 14), Talent on Parade Southern National Senior Champion (age 15), Miss Showbiz (age 16), and Talent on Parade Southern National Senior Champion (age 17). She has also received special honors for both choreography and technical excellence. In 2010 & 2011 she received a scholarship to the Go Pro weeklong workshop in Branson, where she had the opportunity to work with choreographers from Los Angeles and Las Vegas. She has choreographed her own competitive solos since the age of nine and began teaching and choreographing professionally in 2010. She has toured with The Magic of Rick Thomas Show based in Branson at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre. You will also find Jenna behind the lens of a camera as a professional photographer and the director of Creators In Motion modeling group for dancers. She resides in Branson with her husband Logan and precious son Kai...who also enjoys dancing at Dance Branson.
Tara grew up in Harrison, Arkansas and began dancing at the young age of three. She cheered and danced competitively with a dance studio in high school, and was hired by the Universal Cheerleaders Association her senior year as a cheer instructor. She traveled all over the mid-south teaching and mentoring at cheer camps. During her freshman year at the University of Arkansas, Tara tried out and made the Razorback Pom Squad, dancing on the sidelines for men’s football, basketball, and baseball games. Through the years, she has continued to dance recreationally. Tara currently lives in Harrison with her husband and three sons. She is a competitive runner and co-owns a fitness studio where she is an instructor and personal trainer. Tara is thrilled to be a part of the Dance Branson family where her son, Bennett, also dances.
Musical Theatre, Acting, Vocals
Caitlin Secrest, originally from Arkadelphia, AR, now lives and loves performing and teaching in Branson! Secrest studied Vocal Performance at Ouachita Baptist University under her immensely talented parents, Drs. Jon and Glenda Secrest. Secrest's interests and successes run the gamut from opera to classic rock. Favorite Ouachita Baptist University credits include: Gretel in Humperdinck’s operatic interpretation of "Hansel and Gretel," Rosalinde in "Die Fledermaus," and Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls." Educational pursuits included the 2010 OperaWorks Emerging Artist Program, and two years at Opera in the Ozarks (roles - Giannetta in "L'elisir d'amore" and Despina in "Cosí fan tutte.") Since graduating, Secrest has spent time in children's theatre, performing as Dorabella in Wildwood Park for the Arts's "The Bremen Town Musicians" and touring as an actor/director with Missoula Children's Theatre. She was seen as Michelle/Tina in the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's production of "Sister Act." In her relatively new home of Branson, Secrest has been seen in "Thank You for the Music: A Modern Tribute to ABBA," "Beach Boys' California Dreamin'," Grand Country Music Hall's "Comedy Jamboree," and Silver Dollar City's "Hits at the Hollow!" She is currently a featured vocalist in King's Castle's productions of "Broadway's Greatest Hits," "Dublin's Irish Tenors & The Celtic Ladies," and "Sinatra & Friends." Secrest has a growing private voice studio, loves teaching Musical Theatre, Acting, and Voice classes, and served as Music Director for Branson Regional Arts Council’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” She is passionate about inspiring joy through the gifts God has given her and passing on that passion to young artists! Soli Deo Gloria!
Stephi Z began her dance training at age three and quickly found a kinship that would last a lifetime. Stephi received top awards in various competitions for jazz, tap and vocal performance. She toured with Dance Caravan and assisted choreographers in their convention classes which was a formative experience. By 12 years old, Stephi was working professionally in Branson as a singer, dancer and actor. Additionally, she has toured the world with a variety of shows, most notably “Elvis Lives” and “Shake, Rattle & Rock” as a singer, dancer and line captain. She was also an Amy Winehouse body double for a hologram project in London, England. Stephi took a brief hiatus from performing to pursue her education. She first attended Arkansas State University where she was a member of the dance team. Later, she transferred to the University of Arkansas before ultimately coming back to the stage. During her college years, Stephi began teaching dance in Arkansas and Missouri. She immediately fell in love with not only the artistic portion but the potential impact she could have on young lives. Presently, Stephi and her husband Dean have their own show in Branson at The Clay Cooper Theatre entitled “Dean Z: The Ultimate Elvis” where she’s both vocalist and cast manager. She is also 1/3 of girl group, The Deltatones. However, her greatest accomplishment in life lies within their beautifully joyful daughter, JoJo — who is also a student at DBSA! Being a mom is the most amazing blessing and Steph’s family is her greatest gift. Stephi is looking forward to another great season with DBSA, fostering creative ideas, building connections and lifting up those around her. She is enormously grateful to be part of the DBSA family!
Dorothy is from Pine Bluff, Arkansas and a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She found a love for dance at a young age while receiving extensive training in various styles of dance including tap, jazz, ballet and lyrical under the direction of Stacy Hardin of Pine Bluff Dance Academy. Dorothy was the recipient of the Pine Bluff Dance "Senior Sweetheart" award for outstanding leadership and excellence of character and was selected to be a student teacher her junior and senior year. She was crowned Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen in 2006 and represented Arkansas at the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant. While there she received the Miss America Community Service Award, Overall Fitness, Evening Gown, and finished in the Top 5. She has won numerous awards including the coveted Alpha Talent Award at Miss Arkansas 2011. Dorothy was also selected to perform in the award winning production of "Cats" by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. She met her husband Tyler at Kanakuk Camps, which brought them both to Branson. They were married in 2012 and have come to call Branson home. They have three precious children. She is also a certified group fitness instructor and loves to motivate and encourage others to be healthy and stay active.
Dasa grew up in Tucson, Arizona where she was a competitive elite gymnast until her life was forever changed after watching a dance competition. She discovered her passion for dance and dove in full force training and teaching for several dance studios. She competed as a professional ballroom dancer, choreographed for industrial productions, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona. Dasa's professional career as a choreographer, dancer and singer began at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA, where she performed, assisted, and choreographed for several shows within the park. Dasa toured the Caribbean as a dancer with Holland America Cruise Lines, where she met her husband and moved to Branson. In Branson, Dasa performed in the Shoji Tabuchi Show, Andy Williams Christmas Show, Daniel O’Donnell Show, several acclaimed magic shows, and Legends in Concert.
Currently Dasa is the Co-CEO of KD Productions where her work has been featured nationwide on The American Entertainment Awards on PBS, The Andy Williams Christmas Show featuring The Osmond Brothers and The Lennon Sisters PBS Special, Dudu Fisher's The Voice of Broadway Jerusalem PBS Special, Fall Couture Fashion Week in New York City, featuring ALMA NYC Dance Company and Daniel O’ Donnell Christmas Show. Dasa loves to teach and share her passion of dance and is forever grateful to Miss Tonya for providing an amazing school of the arts for teachers to collaborate and teach the next generation.
Carissa grew up in the small town of Columbus, Texas and began dancing and tumbling at the young age of five. She trained at the Bela Karolyi gym in Katy, Texas for four years. She continued dancing recreationally well into her college days, graduating from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Speech Communication and Journalism. Carissa was swept into the modeling industry at age 10, after being discovered from a Seventeen Magazine model search. She modeled for 16 years as a print and runway model. Her love of modeling lead her to the pageant world and at 15 won her first pageant with the title of Miss Houston Teen-USA and soon after the title of Miss Texas Teen-USA. Following college, she worked for a public relations firm in Houston, before winning the title of Miss Texas-USA in 1999. Competing in the coveted Miss USA pageant brought her to Branson, where she met her husband. She coached the Hollister Varsity Cheer Team, taking them to State Championships and was then hired by College of the Ozarks as head of the cheer program. Carissa coached at C of O for three years leading them to the UCA College National Championships in Orlando. She is the proud mom of four, and works with her husband Philip as co-owner of Starboard Marinas. She has been a part of the Dance Branson Family for over 16 years with both daughters dancing competitively, as costume coordinator, instructor, task master and organizer!