Mindi Schiefelbein – Studio Director/Owner

Mindi began dancing at the age of three. She studied Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Hip Hop, Modern and Tumbling with the Salt Lake Stars, Corp Esprit, Academy of Dance Champions and Elite Academy in Salt Lake City Utah. She has performed all over the country, including the Holiday Bowl at Chargers Stadium, Utah Jazz games, Disneyworld, Disneyland, Seaworld, Epcot Center, the Stadium of Fire and with Ballet West’s Nutcracker. Mindi was on the Drill Team and Dance Company at Granger High School.

Her senior year, she was chosen as the Sterling Scholar in Dance and was featured in the Deseret News as she competed at the regional level. She was the President of her Drill Team her senior year as well as being in charge of the team’s choreography. She was All-State in Drill Team her junior and senior year of high school and was a senior top ten Soloist. She went on to dance on the NCA Championship Brigham Young University Cougarette Dance Team. The team competed at Nationals in Daytona Beach Florida and took home the Championship both years Mindi was on the team.

She continued her education at BYU, receiving her Bachelor of Arts, with a major in English and a minor in Dance. Mindi has always had a gift for choreography, beginning with the neighborhood girls growing up. She started her first dance studio in Vancouver Washington in 2001. In 2004 she moved to Tehachapi and immediately started teaching at Tehachapi Dance Theater. In 2008 Mindi and Joy opened J & M Dance Center. Mindi teaches Jazz, Hip Hop and Tap and is the Director of the J & M Dance Company, which currently consists of 33 very talented dancers.

She has won numerous Choreography Awards as well as Technical Excellence Awards. The team has a great reputation and is invited to perform at Bakersfield Condor’s games each year as well as the Harlem Globetrotters games. They consistently place in the top ten overall and often earn 1st place overall awards as well as several cash prizes competing all over Southern California. The team won a Regional Championship award at the Starpower Competition earning the highest score of the entire competition and 1st place overall out of over 40 groups at the Showstopper Competition at Disneyland this year. Her dancers have gone on to dance on college dance teams such as Syracuse University and have earned scholarships at conventions such as NYCDA and JUMP.

Her dancers have even earned Dancer of the Year honors at Rainbow Competition. Mindi is passionate about dance and loves teaching. She strives to build her dancers confidence and always encourages them to be the best they can be. She has a talent for balancing hard work and fun during her classes. Mindi attends educational conventions to stay current and continue to develop her teaching techniques. Her dancers have a special place in her heart and she feels blessed to be a part of each of their lives.


Heather Benes

Heather Benes has been creating dance experiences in East Kern and the Antelope Valley since 1985, when she directed a full length Nutcracker ballet for Cerro Coso Community College. She opened Mojave Movement Arts Center in 1993, offering classes in ballet, jazz, and tap for students from Ridgecrest to Pearblossom. She also directed the dance program at the Palmdale Playhouse from 1999 to 2018, creating such works as The Snow Queen, Hansel and Gretel, The Pied Piper, Little Red Riding Hood, and several abridged versions of the Nutcracker.

She earned an Dance Theater and an Kinesiology and has taught dance and dance-related subjects at a number of colleges and universities, including California State University, California, University of Kansas, University of California, Irvine, and Scripps College. Currently, she teaches ballet at the OneCore Dance Studio in Rosamond and at the Palmdale Playhouse. Ms. Benes has been a member of KDA for 7 years and a participant in Books in Motion performances since 2017.

Paige Chavez

Paige is going on her 14th year of dancing and her 10th year of competing in competitions! This year will be her second year teaching Ballroom, and her first year teaching Adult Ballroom and Jazz Funk. She had the privilege of being selected to participate in Blake McGrath’s Summer Mentorship Online Program, where she took classes from choreographers like Blake McGrath, Brian Friedman, Nika Kljun, and Jaci Royal, as well as Scott Nicholson, one of Ariana Grande’s choreographers.

She has attended conventions like KAR, 24Seven, and Jump, and has received class scholarships, along with making audition callbacks. She cannot wait for a great year of creativity, inspiration, and growth!

Karina Coghlan

Karina started ballet and modern dance when she was 19. She has worked on the nutcracker several times as well as choreographed a play for Tehachapi community theater. Before dance, Karina was in choir, flag team and studied karate, earning up to second degree Black Belt. Now she runs marathons and half marathons.

Maile Hernandez

Maile has been dancing since she was four years old. She trained in a wide variety of dance styles and competed on the J&M Dance Company for eight years. Throughout her time at J&M, Maile assisted in many different classes as well as taught private lessons to help students improve their technique. She is now a full time student at Cal State University Bakersfield and is also a member of the CSUB dance team!

Maile taught Disney Musical Theater and Jazz 3/4 during the summer, and she can’t wait to be teaching even more classes during the year.

Cody Murphy

Cody has been a dancer for 15 years. She competed in dance for 6 years and was apart of the J&M dance company. Her favorite genre of dance is hip hop because she loves how it brought out her individuality on the dance floor.

Cody is a full time fiance and mom to her beautiful daughter and recently just graduated from ultrasound technician school. She is so excited for this upcoming dance season and to be back in the dance studio as the studio was always her second home since she was 3 years old.

Sarah Robbins

Sarah Robbins started dancing when she was eleven years old and immediately fell in love with it. She continued to dance all through her high school years and into adulthood. In 2003 she began training in the Royal Academy of Dance program where she took both Intermediate and Advanced Foundation examinations and passed with the Merit award.

For the past 16 years she has been raising her four kiddos, but is now ready to jump back into the dance world and share her love for this beautiful art form.

Ashby Shugart

Ashby was raised in Tehachapi and has lived here her whole life. She is 20 years old, and has danced since the age of 3. Throughout her time at J & M she has assisted in many classes, participated in our parades, joined our competition team, and began teaching classes in 2022. Although she has tried and loved many styles of dancing growing up, her favorite has always been jazz!

Apart from her dancing life Ashby works as a barista at a local coffee shop, and enjoys spending her free time outdoors. She is passionate about coffee, animals, fashion, and of course dance! Ashby plans to continue to teach & inspire her dancers with us as long as she possibly can!