• Beverly Smithey

    Director Emeritus/Founder

    What an amazing teaching career I have had for the past 57 years. I began teaching at the age of 15 in my Parent’s basement. In 1978 I opened Stage I Dance Academy on State Road 135. After 34 years at this location Stage I was moved to our present location. Over the years I have produced and directed shows for our Stage I Performing Company Dancers on tours to Australia, Italy, Hawaii, and 10 cruise ships. I have also produced countless recitals, benefit shows, and programs at nursing homes for all Stage I Dancers My love for making a positive impact on the lives of children through the art of dance has touched hundreds of children over the years. It is so rewarding to see my former students return to enroll their children for dance or see them become a part of the Stage I staff. It has been through my Faith in God, a very supportive husband and family and the friendships of many wonderful families that I have been blessed with a job I will always cherish. Now that I have retired I will continue to be part of Stage I as a mentor and wherever I am needed. I am so honored that God has placed Ms Katie as my predecessor. Her expertise in business and creative dance skills will continue the success of Stage I.

  • Katie Stahlhut

    CEO & Executive Director

    Katie Stahlhut has the distinct honor of carrying on Ms. Beverly’s legacy of dance excellence. Ms. Beverly passed the torch after 55 years of ownership. Katie has been a part of Stage I Dance Academy since elementary school. She was privileged to be a part of Stage I’s Performing Company and participated in many excellent performance opportunities during her time as a dancer. Katie has a degree in Business Management from the Kelley School of Business. She is also a graduate of Leadership Johnson County’s class of 2018. Her passion is providing a nurturing environment for children to develop as not only dancers, but young ladies and gentlemen. Her priority is to maintain a high standard for morals and values. She does so by continuing to provide quality training with age-appropriate movement and costuming. Her favorite aspect of dance is giving back to the community by performing at nursing homes and other community opportunities. Katie feels blessed to have the opportunity to be a positive role model in today’s youth.

  • Rachel Newbrough

    Artistic Director

    Rachel Newbrough — BS Indiana University – Bloomington (2012) currently works as Artistic Director at Stage I Dance Academy in addition to being Adjunct Faculty at Indiana University. During her four years in the IU Contemporary Dance Program Rachel performed works by Martha Graham, Bella Lewitzky, Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott, as well as Laurie Eisenhower. She has attended the Lar Lubovitch Summer Intensive and the David Dorfman Dance Summer Intensive and has taken classes from David Hochoy, David Parsons, Laura Poole, Connie Dinapoli, Sandra Kaufman, Liz Koeppen, Ben Munisteri and Nicole Wolcott. Rachel dances professionally for Elizabeth Shea Dance with whom she has had the distinct honor of performing on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has traveled to Israel, NYC, Washington D.C. and San Francisco as well as throughout the country to perform at numerous dance festivals and assist in setting works on dancers. She also enjoys every opportunity given to perform locally and has had the pleasure of performing with the Indianapolis-based Dance Kaleidoscope as a guest artist. In addition, Rachel has collaborated with and danced for choreographers Rebecca Pappas and Brittany Bain with work having been showcased throughout Indiana. In addition to the stage, you can find Rachel dancing in two films. “Breath | Light | Stone” a film by Allen Hahn & Elizabeth Shea as well as “Beautiful by Design: The Indiana University Bloomington Campus.” Rachel’s personal choreographic work can be seen throughout Indiana. She has choreographed for Motus Dance Theatre’s Cultivate. She sets multiple pieces per year on dance students of Stage I Dance Academy for presentation in the community. Most recently her choreography was presented at The White Rabbit Cabaret in association with Flourish: A Modern Dance Showcase. Rachel has been on faculty for the IU-Pre College Program and Nashville Dance Studio. As Adjunct Faculty at IU, Rachel has been involved with the IU Summer Dance Intensive for High School Students in addition to her work with elective and dance major classes.

  • Stephanie Beringer


    Stephanie is thrilled to be a Stage I instructor. Her mother, Michelle Harrell, was once co-owner of the studio. Stephanie grew up in the studio and began taking class at age two and continued at the studio through high school. She was one of three in the first Mini Performing Company. She began to assist in middle school and continued through high school. She was in performing company for 12 years, dancing with her brother, Ethan, for many of them. During this time, she was blessed to have lots of special opportunities through Stage I. She performed on cruise ships beginning at age 6, participated in the Emily Hunt Galas and traveled to competitions and workshops in New York, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach and Los Angeles. Throughout her time at Stage I, she was able to study under many master teachers including Al Gilbert, Darryl Retter, Linda Bernabei-Retter, Thommie Retter, Roberta Wong, Dale Shields, Janice Berringer and Heidi Jarrett. After graduation, she went on to study business management at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. At Purdue, she became part of the Higher Ground Dance Company, participating as a choreographer and dancer. She also took ballet through the School of Performing Arts. After college, Stephanie worked in the financial industry and then moved into healthcare, where she became a Practice Manager. Along with teaching at Stage I, she works as an Executive Assistant and Consultant in small business. In her spare time, she can be found out and about wandering the galleries of the IMA, trying new restaurants or playing with her dog, Penny Lane. Hobbies besides dance include yoga, reading and supporting Kickstarter ventures.

  • Shelby Couch

    PR Director/Zumba Instructor

    Shelby has been a Stage I Zumba instructor and our PR Director since the summer of 2017. Her roles include managing our social media, volunteering, fundraising, and customer appreciation efforts. She co-led Stage I’s summer musical production of “Mary Poppins” in 2019 and will lead this summer’s musical production of “Annie Kids.”  Shelby grew up doing competitive gymnastics, cheerleading, playing the piano, and show choir. She double-majored in Communications and Spanish at Butler University. She has done freelance high school show choir choreography for Whiteland, Mt. Vernon, Owen Valley, Perry, William Henry Harrison in West Lafayette, and currently does it for Southport. She choreographed Whiteland’s varsity cheerleading squad’s Midstate routine for two years where they took home 1st place. She also choreographed Whiteland’s musicals, “Mary Poppins” and “On the Town.” She loves teaching fitness classes at LA Fitness, being involved in church, and spending time with her husband Tony, daughter Avery, and son Ramsey.

  • Robin Engelhardt

    Gymnastics Instructor

    Robin has 44 years of experience teaching gymnastics. She started taking dance when she was 5 and tumbling when she was 8. Robin had her own gymnastics center (offering both recreational and competitive) for 9.5 years before deciding to be a “stay at home mom”. At that time, she taught part-time. Robin has been with Stage I Dance Academy for 11 years. Her 2 children (William and Megan), are young adults: Wil is living in Louisville; and Meg is completing her teaching degree here in Indiana. In her free time, Robin enjoys visiting national parks, zoos, and museums with her family. She considers it a blessing to help children of all ages develop; not only through skills using coordination, balance, strength and flexibility taught in gymnastics, but also through the interaction students have with classmates and by practicing at home with parents and guardians.

  • Marie Kuhns


    Marie Kuhns received her BFA from the University of Oklahoma in modern dance performance under the direction and guidance of Austin Hartel, while performing with Contemporary Dance Oklahoma. She grew up in Silver City, New Mexico, and trained at the Conservatory of Dance along with New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. She has had the opportunity of working with world renowned choreographers such as Jessica Lang, Carla Maxwell, Kevin Iega Jeff, and Raimondo Rebeck. She enjoys teaching dance and spreading the love of performing arts to different communities. Marie is currently a dancer with Dance Kaleidoscope, this is her 3rd season with them.

  • Maddie Nelis


    Madison (Maddie) Nelis danced at Stage I for 10 years, was part of the Performing Company for four years, and an assistant dance teacher at the studio for two years. She attended many competitions and workshops, performed in a parade at Walt Disney World Epcot in Orlando, Florida, and took numerous classes taught by Master Teachers throughout her time at Stage 1. To grow as a dance instructor, Maddie attended Dance Teacher Connection by MusicWorks. She is going into her sixth year as a dance and gymnastics instructor at Stage 1 and enjoys sharing her love of dance with the students. In addition to receiving excellent dance training and technique as a student at Stage I, she learned many invaluable life skills such as discipline, teamwork, responsibility, confidence, stage presence, and leadership skills. Now as an instructor, she encourages her students to grow in these areas too. She is so excited for another year at Stage 1! Another fun role she has at Stage 1 is the Director of Entertainment. Maddie graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine with an Associate's degree of Radiography in May of 2020 and a Bachelor's degree of Medical Imaging Technology with a concentration in echocardiography in December of 2021. She has been employed at Franciscan Alliance for the past three years, first as a Student Imaging Tech, then a X-ray Tech, and her current position as a full time Echo Tech.

  • Rebecca Heck


    Rebecca is thrilled to be back again as an instructor for Stage I Dance Academy! Rebecca grew up dancing at Stage I since the young age of 3, along with her sister, Rachel. She trained in jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, modern and lyrical. She attended IU Bloomington, and earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, majoring in Contemporary Modern Dance and minoring in Exercise Science and Fitness Instruction, and danced all four years as a member of the IU Contemporary Dance Program. While she now has a full time career in the fitness industry as a health and fitness specialist/ performance coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Rebecca is so happy to also be pursuing her love of teaching with the Stage I Performing Company and students! Since college, Rebecca has also had the privilege of continuing to perform on occasion for local contemporary dance showcases. In her free time, Rebecca is an avid runner, and enjoys running 5ks, and half marathons. She is also a Les Mills certified BodyPump and CxWorx instructor, as well as a PiYo Live instructor. Rebecca would like to thank her fellow Stage I instructors, especially Ms. Katie and Ms. Rachel, for all of their continued love and support over the years and for making Stage I an amazing environment to learn in!

  • Morgan Johnson


    Morgan Johnson’s dance training began in Greenwood, Indiana under the guidance of Beverly Smithey for the duration of fifteen years. After six years of weekly jazz and tap classes, Johnson joined the performing company with Stage 1 Dance Academy competing with dances of many genres, including jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, and musical theatre. Throughout her college career at Indiana University, she has balanced performing various guest artist works, such as Radio Show by Kyle Abraham, Suite from Psalm by José Limón, and D-Man in the Waters by Bill T. Jones, and teaching and choreographing for young dancers in the Bloomington community. Upon graduation, she has returned home to Stage 1 Dance Academy to continue teaching the same lessons and values she was humbly taught by the instructors before her.

  • Melanie Schreiber


    Melanie Schreiber began her serious ballet and modern training at Walnut Hill Performing Arts High School in Natick, Massachusetts. She went on to graduate from SUNY Purchase with a B.F.A. in dance in 2004. While in New York City she received two summer scholarships from the Cunningham School and studied with many established teachers such as Kazuko Hirabyashi, Richard Cook, Robert Swinston, and Kevin Wynn. In 2004 she became a member of Dance Kaliedoscope, where she danced professionally for eight years. Melanie Schreiber has performed works by Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, David Hochoy, Cynthia Pratt, and Norman Walker. She is starting her fourth year teaching in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Ball State University.

  • Mariel Greenlee


    Mariel Greenlee, originally from Vestal, New York, received her early ballet training at Ballet Arts Theatre, Ithaca Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet School, and Ballet West Conservatory. Her Modern studies began at the University of Utah and continued at Point Park University where she received her B.A. in Dance and went on to study at Dance Alloy, Dance New Amsterdam, Paul Taylor, the David Parsons Workshop, STEPS, and the Martha Graham School. Mariel has performed many classical ballets including The Nutcracker, Snow Maiden, Don Quixote, Con Amore, and Sleeping Beauty. She has performed contemporary works by George Balanchine, Choo San Goh, and Margo Sappington. Modern credits include Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels and Acts of Light, works by David Parsons, Robert Battle, Cynthia Pratt, David Hochoy, and Norman Walker. She is currently a member of Dance Kaleidoscope in Indianapolis, Indiana.

  • Roberta Wong


    A native of California having embraced hoosier heartland as her home, Roberta specializes in ballet and modern dance teaching using instructive guidance and high expectations grounded in reality of process, long term development and goals of her students. Trained at Davis Ballet, Theatre Ballet of Sacramento, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet and others, her professional work included Boston Ballet and Indianapolis Ballet Theatre. Modern dance teachers have included David Hochoy, Norman Walker and others. Primary company work included Dance Kaleidoscope (dancer, company teacher, rehearsal director). Choreography presented through Jordan College Academy of Dance, Stage 1 Dance Academy, Indianapolis School of Ballet, Anderson University, Indy Convergence, Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival. Guest teaching includes Indiana Dance Festival (Ft. Wayne), Lafayette Ballet, Dance West Virginia Fall Festival. Adjunct faculty appointments have included Anderson, Butler and Indiana (contemporary dance) Universities. Recipient of Indianapolis Arts Council Creative Renewal and Indiana Arts Commission IAP grants, she continues to develope and refine teaching through workshops, including Paul Taylor and Mark Morris summer workshops, Limon Europe (Netherlands), Hubbard Street Dance Company Adaptive Dance and Dance For Parkinsons. She believes dance is a foundation for life and an experience available to all. Current memberships: Dance For Parkinsons International Dance Council CID

  • Emily Kelsay

    Enrollment Coordinator / Instructor

    Emily Kelsay spent 14 years as a student at Stage I Dance Academy. During her 8 years in Performing Company she traveled to Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles for National Competitions and Conventions. After graduating high school in 2005 Emily moved to Los Angeles, CA and studied under the direction of Darryl Retter and Linda Bernabei-Retter as a recipient of the R&B Scholarship at Retter’s Academy of Dance. During her time in California she had the privilege of performing at the unveiling of the Richard & Karen Carpenter Memorial, Keith Clifton’s Friends in Dance, Deborah Brokus’ Spectrum where she performed with Kat Parsons, Dancers Responding to Aids hosted by Patrick Swayze, Dance Excellence where she assisted Heidi Jarrett, Capezio Dance Day, & the Concert of Love. In 2006 and 2008 she was featured in educational dance videos for Becca Retter and Reagan Marie, and also the Stagewear LA costume catalog. Emily also had the privilege to work with Thommie Retter, Blake and Lindsay Angier, Brandon Jarrett, Benjamin Allen, Rhonda Miller, and Lillian Manansala just to name a few. Emily continues her training as an Instructor at yearly Dance Teacher Connection Workshops and National Conventions.

  • Manny Valdes


    Manuel Valdes began gymnastics training at the age of five in Dallas, TX and continued as a competitive gymnast for 12 years. He began dancing at Dallas Black Dance Theater and went on to receive his BFA of Modern Dance Performance from the University of Oklahoma under the direction of Austin Hartel and Roxanne Lyst. While performing with Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, he not only had the pleasure of performing works by his professors, but also Ilya Kozadayev, Sonia Dawkins, Raimondo Rebeck, Jose Limón, and Alvin Ailey. Manuel has attended intensives with Paul Taylor American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BODYTRAFFIC and SALT. He is forever grateful for all the love and support from friends and family.

  • Alexandria Thielmeyer


    Alexandria has been dancing at Stage One since she was two years old. She joined performing company as a mini and began assisting dance classes in middle school. During her time at Stage One she has performed on a cruise, at Pacers games, and attended dozens of competitions and workshops. While a member of the performing company, Alexandria attended national workshops and competitions in Mertyl Beach and Las Vegas in addition to numerous master classes throughout her time with Stage One. Dance has taught her many valuable life lessons in responsibility, commitment, and professionalism. She also made life long relationships within the dance community, and hopes to provide these same opportunities and experiences for her students. Alexandria attended Purdue University where she became a member of the Higher Ground Dance Company and helped raise money for the Andrea Rizzo Foundation through dance performances. Alexandria graduated from Purdue University with a major in Psychology in 2019, and now attends Indiana University as a graduate student in the School Psychology program. In addition to teaching dance and graduate school, she is also a behavioral therapist and works with children with Autism at an ABA center. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, Max, and her dog, Bakerloo.

  • Andrea Bruce


    Andrea Bruce began her dance training at age seven at Charisse Dance Studio in Indianapolis. She later transferred her training to The Dance Company, continuing classes in Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. After graduating high school, while still at The Dance Company, Andrea began her teaching career as a student teacher. It was here that she discovered not only her talent for teaching but also her passion for it. It was impressed on her that in order to be a good teacher she also needed to continue to be a student. She began attending a number of teachers training programs and workshops, including the Teachers Training Seminars held at Kent State University, by the Dance Masters of America. There, she was tested and certified to teach by the in the areas of Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. She also attended and became a post graduate of the Intensive Teaching Seminar, held by the Florida Dance Masters. Her continuing education also included multiple trips to Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Some of the teachers that have had the greatest impact on her teaching style and technique are Tom Ralabate, Edith Royale, Bo Wagner, Beverly Fletcher, Frank Hatchett, Judy Bassing, Peff Modelski, Ken Phieffer, and Diane Gudat. In 2000, she accepted an offer from Jordan College Academy of Dance to teach their tap program. While there, she restructured the tap program syllabus, and class levels. She also choreographed each year for the annual Peggy Dorsey Memorial concert. She occasionally substituted in the lower school ballet classes as necessary. In 2003, she became an adjunct faculty member for Butler University, where she instructed a level one tap class for their dance majors. While at Jordan Academy she also had the pleasure of choreographing tap solos for the Jordan Dance Ensemble, as well as teaching group pieces for the Jordan Dance Ensemble II. In 2006 and 2007, she had the pleasure of teaching for IUPUI, for their Music Academy children’s summer program. In 2011-2018, she was hired to teach the upper level Tap classes at Indianapolis School of Ballet.

  • Jennifer Wood


    Jennifer grew up dancing at Stage I, beginning at the age of three years old.  At the age of six, she joined the Performing Company, and was part of the Performing Company for 12 years.  During that time, she was able to travel to New York and Las Vegas to take classes and perform.  She was an assistant teacher at Stage I for five years, and was a teacher at the studio during her senior year of high school.  Jennifer graduated from Butler University in 2011 with a degree in Elementary Education.  While at Butler, Jennifer was a part of the Butler University Dance Team for three years, and had the opportunity to dance at halftime for the NCAA Final Four and National Championship games in 2011.  She was a cast member in the Yuletide Celebration for 10 years as a tap dancing Santa, puppeteer, and other roles as needed.  She currently teaches first, second, and third grades at Francis W Parker Montessori 56.  She has coached the school dance/cheer team for 10 years.  Jennifer is so happy to be back home at Stage I being able to share her love of all kinds of dance with others!

  • Rachel Wade


    Rachel Wade was a dancer at Stage 1 for 11 years with 5 of those years being a part of the performing company. During her time at Stage 1 she performed at a Pacers game, competed at many competitions, and took part of dance workshops. Stage 1 helped foster Rachel’s love for dance, and she can’t wait to share that love with new dancers. In her free time Rachel enjoys spending time with her husband Jon and their three boys.

  • Emma Fernandez


    Emma Fernandez began dancing at the age of 6 at Kansas City Ballet. While training with Kansas City Ballet she performed various roles in Todd Bolender’s The Nutcracker including Snow corps and Waltz of the Flowers corps with the corps de ballet of Kansas City Ballet. At the age of 14 she began intensive training at Kansas School of Classical Ballet to receive individual training under the instruction of former Kansas City Ballet Company members Juan Pablo Trujillo and Stefani Schrimpf. While studying at Kansas School of Classical Ballet Emma performed various roles from classical masterworks such as Paquita, Les Sylphides, La Sylphide, La Bayadere, and Sleeping Beauty. Emma has trained at a variety of Summer Intensives including Kansas City Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Kansas School of Classical Ballet, Ballet Austin, and Colorado Ballet. Emma graduated from Butler University in May of 2020 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Pedagogy. While dancing with Butler Ballet she has performed corps de ballet and soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Swan Lake. Emma is currently attending IUPUI as an accelerated nursing student.

  • Eli Diersing


    Eli Diersing is a native of Bloomington, Indiana, where he started dancing at a small, local studio. After discovering his love for ballet, he continued more serious training with private instruction and with Indiana University’s Pre-College Division. He continued to further his training at Interlochen Arts Academy under the direction of Joseph Morrisey; while at Interlochen, Eli performed soloist and principal roles in works by Marius Petipa, Vasily Vainonen, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and Loni Landon, as well as awarded a Fine Arts Award in ballet. After graduating, Eli attended Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music with a Premiere Young Artist award, from where he recently obtained a Bachelor of Science in Ballet with an Outside Field in Education. While at IU, Eli had the privilege of of studying under esteemed faculty such as Chair Sarah Wroth, Kyra Nichols, Carla Korbes, Michael Vernon, and Christian Classens. He was also able to perform principal and soloist roles in ballets such as George Balanchine’s Agon and Donizetti Variations, Justin Peck’s In Creases, Sarah Jane’s Chaconne, Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies, and Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker. Eli has augmented his training by attending summer intensives with Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and Indiana Ballet Conservatory. He is also passionate about ballet education and has shared his love for the art form with students ages 7-18 years in the Indiana University Pre-College Department. Eli is excited to be joining Indianapolis Ballet as a company member for his first year as a professional dancer. He is eternally grateful to his family, teachers, and community who have helped him get where he is today.