Joanna Summerhays has over 25 years of experience teaching tap, ballet, musical theater, contemporary and lyrical dance in and around the greater Sacramento area. While she is proud to say that her students have found great success in both college and professional dance careers, she is even happier that many of her students have become her lifelong friends.
Ms. Summerhays started dancing at the age of 5 under the direction of ballet-legend, Marguerite Phares, and continued to perform and teach with the Phares Theatre Ballet company through her late teens. At the age of fifteen, Ms. Summerhays discovered her joy for teaching when she was fortunate enough to assist and teach alongside Hall of Fame tap dancer, Laverne Krei. She has been teaching ever since at a number of schools around Sacramento, including Hawkins School of Performing Arts, the Phares Theatre Ballet and The School of the Sacramento Ballet.
Over her career, Ms. Summerhays has received awards for outstanding choreography in ballet, tap, and contemporary styles of dance. In addition, she has created full-length original productions of The Nutcracker Taps and A Christmas Carol Taps, which played to sold-out houses.
Ms Summerhays carries on the traditions she learned as a young woman by teaching in a style that emphasizes cooperation over competition and mutual support over rivalry, while still insisting on precision in execution and beauty in movement.
My passion for dance started in my hometown of Paradise, California, where I took ballet, tap, jazz, and eventually pointe classes in a one room studio. I performed with the dance company and in plays and musicals with local theatre. I was heavily involved in music, as well. When I wasn't dancing, I played the piano and clarinet, in addition to being selected as drum major in my high school's marching band.
After high school, I went on to earn my bachelor's degree in psychology and work with people with disabilities. I still had a burning desire to dance, so I sought out Laverne Krei's dance studio. There, I was privileged to study under Laverne for a few years before she retired. I continued studying jazz and mostly tap under Rita Matthews, who was heavily influenced by Laverne. I stayed with Rita for 20 years before moving on to Hawkins School of Performing Arts, where I enjoyed tapping with the Steppin' Out adult tap troupe. While at Hawkins, I discovered my enjoyment for teaching. I love to share what I know with those who want to learn.
I am now teaching here at the amazing Summerbella Dance Arts studio, in addition to performing with the outstanding Summerbella Dance Arts Adult Tap Company.
Outside of my dance life, I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters who also have a passion for the arts. I also love camping, snowshoeing, sewing, and watching my girls grow in everything they do.
Ryan McKee has been dancing for roughly 15 years. He trained with several dance crews such as Boogie Monstarz and Academy of Villains before directing his own companies, TCYGBC and Hijinx dance. Shortly after, he went off to Los Angeles to pursue a dancing career, which was highlighted by getting 4th place in “Jabbawockeez: the movement” reality show, choreographing several music videos such as “Aaja Na Ferrari Mein”, and even dancing in 2 movies. He since has moved back to Sacramento to pursue teaching so he can help younger dancers develop and learn how to pursue their dreams and take their talents to the next level.
Summerbella Dance Arts offers classes covering the whole dance spectrum, including ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop and musical theater for dancers of all ages.