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Directors

Ballet, Modern/Lyrical, DanceSing and Preschool Dance Education

Joy Handy RAD RTS -Studio Director / Owner

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Joy Handy is an international Registered Teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), a global authority in dance/classical ballet education. She has been sharing her love of dance for over twenty-five years and has witnessed the simple miracles dance brings to people of all ages and abilities. She is a graduate of the University of Surrey, London, England in Dance Education, received a Distinguished, the highest score possible, in RAD Intermediate Vocational Exam and recently has taken on an independent study of Progressing Ballet Technique designed to enhance core stability and muscle memory. She annually attends RAD’s CPD conferences, workshops and other teacher intensives. This is her 9th year with Moscow Ballet Company as Kern County’s Host Director for the Great Russian Nutcracker. She owned/directed Tehachapi Ballet Theatre, has directed and choreographed multiple dance concerts, school, church and community events such as the Jr. Miss Program, and Young Woman of the Year. She danced with the Salt Lake Chamber Ballet Company, Mountain West Ballet Company and Contemporary Dance Theatre and was awarded the Ricks College Dance Award Scholarship. She has participated in numerous touring performances including the top 10 dance companies in American College Dance Association’s National Gala. Joy’s students are eligible to participate in RAD graded and vocational exams and has students who have gone on to become members of university dance companies, ballet companies, Disneyland Dancers, dance teachers and other dance related professions. Joy maintains an exceptional enthusiasm and adoration for people and life and is known for her innovative choreography, positive energy and respectful approach in teaching. She demonstrates this with her genuine relationships with students, parents and colleagues. She is proficient in leadership, organization, administration, pedagogy and these qualities along with integrity have made J & M Dance Center the leader in dance education in the community of Tehachapi for over 10 years. She and Mindi continue to share the same vision, to offer Tehachapi a formalized dance training center where students have the opportunity to gain a full inclusive dance education with the potential to enter university/college dance programs, professional companies and/or dance science related professions.

Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Competition Team

Mindi Schiefelbein - Studio Director / Owner

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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.

Teachers & Assistants

Karina Coghlan

Rachel Donckels

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Karina Coghlan has been studying dance and Classical Ballet with Joy for 6 years and has been assisting with classes for the last 5 years. She loves teaching and has a natural talent with children and in leadership skills. She has performed in the Nutcracker and completed a thorough study in the Royal Academy of Dance Intermediate Syllabus. Karina is a great organizer and successfully carries out special projects like J & M Dance Center’s entry in Tehachapi’s Christmas Parade. Before dancing with Joy she was in martial arts and earned a 2nd degree black belt and instructed Kenpo Karate classes. Karina has also participated in many vocal groups, competitions and performances with Tehachapi High School Show Choir, Belle Voce A Capella, Tehachapi Symphonic Chorus, and performed in the Kern County Honor Choir 5 years in a row. Karina enjoys reading and studying all about dance history, dance analysis and performances and loves to share all she learns in the dance classroom. She is a model example of positive enthusiasm, hard work and determination.

Rachel first started her ballet training at age four in Thousand Oaks, CA. At age five her family moved to Tehachapi, CA where she had the opportunity to dabble in various activities including gymnastics and ballet. Rachel transitioned between these two activities for several years. However, after seeing Ballet Magnificat! (the world's first premier Christian ballet company) perform, at age twelve, Rachel's passion for ballet was ignited and she began to focus exclusively on her ballet training. At this time Rachel began taking classes with Joy Handy, and continued to train with Joy at J and M Dance Center until 2011. During these years, she also expanded her training as a dancer by taking classes with studios in Bakersfield and Mojave, as well as, attending two summer dance intensives in Mississippi with Ballet Magnificat!
Towards the end of her training with Joy, Rachel auditioned for Ballet Magnificat! and Paradosi Ballet Company's trainee programs. In the fall of 2011, Rachel was accepted into Paradosi's pre-professional, trainee program and moved to Washington state to train with the company. During her time in Washington, she received training from Tennille Carver, Debbie Duram, Amanda Plyler, and Holiday Hill and had the privilege of touring/performing with the company on west coast tours, as well as, performing internationally in France. Rachel graduated from Paradosi's trainee program in the spring of 2013 and was offered a position as an apprentice with their professional company. However, Rachel declined this position in order to pursue education and training as a midwife. Rachel graduated from Newlife International School of Midwifery in the fall of 2015 and received licensure as a midwife through the Medical Board of California in February of 2017. In addition to teaching ballet classes, Rachel currently works as a midwife in Tehachapi running her private practice, Simple Midwifery.

Micayla Nielsen

Amanda Sabo

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Micayla has been dancing with Joy for the past 8 years. She has danced with Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker twice and has been the Assistant Director and Co-Assitant Director for the past 4 years. She has examined and passed both her Royal Academy of Dance Vocational Graded Intermediate Ballet and Vocational Graded Advanced Foundation Ballet Exams. She has been an assistant teacher for Joy the last 5 years and has been a teacher for the last 4. She has such a passion for creating and dancing with the students. She loves helping around the studio and working for Joy.  Last year, Micayla became the studio's office manager under Joy. She's thrilled to continue dancing and teaching at J & M and also plans on attending the Royal Academy of Dance in the future to obtain her Registered Teacher Status.

Amanda began her ballet education at the age of three and has been dancing with Joy at J&M Dance Center since moving to Tehachapi in 2011. She has successfully completed three Royal Academy of Dance exams: Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced Foundation. Additionally, Amanda performed with the Antelope Valley Ballet in their productions of Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan. She completed her high school education in 2018 and expects to complete her university degree in 2022. Amanda values ballet training for its benefits including improved musicality and poise, as well as increased concentration and thought processing abilities which carry over to many other areas of life. In addition, her experience with RAD has contributed to her dedication and discipline through intensive study and preparation to master an area of interest. Amanda’s future goals include continuing her ballet and RAD education while sharing her passion for performing arts with others.

Kamryn Sherman

Jolie Steen

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Kamryn has been dancing for ten years at J &M Dance Center and currently received a 10 year award. She has assisted in both Mindi and Joy's classes over the past few years. Kamryn has been trained in all styles of dance: jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, ballet, musical theatre, and modern. To further her knowledge of dance, she takes additional classes at dance conventions. Dance conventions give her an opportunity to learn from other styles of dance, choreography, and music. She has received a scholarship from the KAR Convention. Along with being a student, Kamryn is also a member of J and M's competitive dance team. She has competed all over Southern California for the past eight years and is currently a member. She competes in the advanced categories, highest level, and has placed in the top ten out of 40 other dances in her age while receiving a high score. Not only does Kamryn enjoy dance, but also writing, reading, painting, and photography.

Jolie has been very actively involved in the fitness industry and an inspirational instructor for over 38 years. She is a certified instructor with American College of Sports Medicine and teaches nationaly. She holds a degree in Exercise Physiology and Physical Education as well as other fitness certifications in Yoga. Her passion and life time endeavor is over all health, wellness and fitness for all ages and skill level.

Anika Valentino

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A Senior at Tehachapi High School, Anika Valentino has been dancing at J & M for nine years, and has loved every second of it. Throughout her time in the J & M family, Anika has participated in the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker, Tehachapi's annual Christmas parade, studied Royal Academy of Dance syllabi with her talented peers, and has been an Assistant Teacher for three years. This is her first year as a J & M Teacher, and she couldn't be more excited. Anika has been in the top of her class at Tehachapi High for the past three years, and hopes to study Nursing at a California State University while continuing to pursue her passion for dance.

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