Meet our Team

Tamara Howe

Owner/Director

Rhythm Company

As a graduate of the University of Wyoming with a B.F.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Kinesiology and Health Promotion, Tamara Howe is an accomplished dancer and continues to inspire students through the teaching of dance. Tamara began her dance training at Yvette Sparks Dance Center in Gillette WY. Through the years, she has studied with Tony Coppola, Bill Evans, Gary Abbott, Gus Giordano, Jay Franke, Peter Pucci, General McArthur Hambrick, Marsha Fay Knight, Margaret Wilson, the American Repertory Dance Company and many others. She continues to attend master classes and workshops throughout the country expanding her training and versatility in dance. She has performed in numerous productions including the Nutcracker, Inanna, Carmina Burana, Vertical dance productions, and also traveled to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the University of Wyoming to perform Velorio: A Vigil for the Deceased choreographed by Bill Evans. She continues to choreograph and teach dance throughout Wyoming and Kansas. Her choreography has won outstanding choreography awards and many top placements at competitions. Tamara has also served as the choreographer for the Kansas Distinguished Young Woman Program held annually in Belleville, KS for  five years. In 2005, she completed an internship at the White House Athletic Center in Washington D.C.  Prior to graduation, Tamara served as Miss Wyoming 2003 in the Miss America Organization promoting arts in education.

Tamara is currently a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Dance Masters of America. As a member of the Salina community, Tamara was a participant in the 2006-2007 Salina Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class.  Tamara is also a member of More Than Just Great Dancing Tamara is married to Steven and is the proud mom to five kiddos:  Isak, William, Eli, Theo and Evelyn. 

Mara Klenda

Ballet Director

Mara Whitaker Klenda began her ballet training at the age of three in Tacoma, Washington. She has studied with David Howard, George de la Pena, Rebecca Wright, Kimberly Glasco, Boston Ballet School, Wichita State University, and chiefly with Nancy Hervey and Jill Landrith at Nancy Hervey School of Ballet in Wichita, Kansas. In 1989, Mara joined Ballet Wichita, formerly Metropolitan Ballet of Wichita, as a junior member. In 1995 she was promoted to soloist, and to principal in 1998. Her roles include Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop Fairy, and nearly every other female role in "The Nutcracker", Effie in "La Sylphide", Mazurka in "Les Sylphide", "Paquita", Little Swan in "Swan Lake" , the title role in Snow White and many others. Mara created roles in Jill Landrith's "Merlin's Song", "Blue", "Torch", and others. Mara also worked with guest choreographers Sean Duus of Kansas City Ballet and Rebecca Wright, formerly of American Ballet Theatre. In 1999 Mara was awarded the Kansas Cultural Trust. Mara has been a ballet teacher and choreographer in Kansas for over a decade. She has taught at the Nancy Hervey School of Ballet, the school of Ballet Wichita. She has also been on staff at the Center For World Dance, The Movement Authority, Wichita YMCA, Goddard Public Schools and is currently Ballet Mistress at Artistree at the Forum in Hutchinson, KS.  Mara is pleased to be on staff at Tamara Howe School of Dance.

Michelle Eppenbach

Children's Classes & Camps
Performing Company

Michelle, from Falun, Ks, is a graduate of Bethany College with a degree in Art. She has been dancing for 17 years and has been a member of the Rhythm Company. Michelle has been trained by Peggy Simms and Tamara Howe. She was  captain of the Bethany Swedehearts Dance Team during her third year of college. Michelle is also a former coach of the Smoky Valley Wildfires Dance Team in Lindsborg.  Michelle currently serves as one of our main children's program instructors, instructs our children's camps and leads our performance companies.

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Hanna Leiker

Street Jazz, Children's Classes, Tumbling, Tap

The first dance class that I can remember was when I was around the age of three. At this time, I was in a ballet and tap class; however, I say that I did not begin my dance journey until the age of seven. My journey with dance began at this age because this is when I truly fell in love with this form of art. At seven I studied ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop at a local studio and added on more forms as I continued growing. By the end of high school, I added contemporary into my mix of dance knowledge. Once graduating from Central High School, I attended Kansas State University in Manhattan where I received a
bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and minor in dance. Through KSU I have expanded upon my technique and had amazing opportunities to work alongside amazing choreographers and dancers. During my junior year I even got to spend two weeks with Diavolo, an LA dance company, and take part in their veteran’s project. Along with this, I have worked for both Salina and Manhattan Parks and Recreation dance programs where I expanded upon my capabilities to teach young children the techniques of dance and the wonderful benefits that come along with it.

Ashley Eppenbach

Children's Classes

Ashley is a recent graduate of Kansas State University. She majored in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Ashley has been dancing since she was 4 years old, and started under the instruction of Peggy Simms.There she was part of the Jr. Show Troupe that performed in Hawaii. She transferred to Tamara Howe her 8th grade year. She has been on Senior Company and traveled to many workshops and competitions under Tamara Howe. While in Manhattan Ashley worked for the Manhattan Parks & Rec Department teaching dance and can now be found creating floral designs through her business Knotted.

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Marnie Mattek
Tap

Marnie Mattek has been dancing since she was three years old. She started her dance journey in Belleville Illinois at Adams School of Dance and Becky Kerns Dance Studio. During that time, she studied tap, jazz, ballet, and competed in many dance competitions focusing mostly on tap dance.


Marnie’s family moved to St. Joseph Missouri and she studied under the direction of Allison Winder-Lewis at Allison’s School of Dance.  She also studied under the direction of Paul Chambers at Missouri Western State University with the focus on the Hanya Holm technique. Marnie was a dance company member and dance scholarship recipient at the university. During her time in St. Joseph, Marnie was a dancer teacher at Allison’s School of Dance. She was a choreographer for a children’s summer theatre workshop, Creative Art Productions also known as CAP. She worked on the productions Jack and the Giant and Wagons Wheels West
for children ages 9-18. She also choreographed three productions for Central High School in St. Joseph, The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, and Pippin in addition to St. Joseph Central’s Encore Show Choir.


After becoming a mother and receiving her Bachelor’s of Interdisciplinary Studies in Theatre and Video Production, she moved to Salina Kansas to be close to her family. She was a member of the Iron Street Dance Company under the direction of Peggy Simms. Marnie performed in the Salina Symphony Christmas Concerts, the contemporary choreography showcases Restless, and Listen, in addition to teaching dance and performing in shows at Salina Community Theatre. She also was a choreographer and performer for season two and three of Dancing with Salina Stars at Salina Community Theatre. After twelve and a half years working at Community Access Television she wanted to get back
to her passion of teaching dance and working with children.

 

Marnie currently works for USD 305 in career counseling.  Marnie considers herself so blessed to be a part of Tamara Howe School of Dance.

what our guest artists say

What Our Parents Say

We chose THSD because we care about more than just Dance!  We wanted a place that chooses appropriate music and choreography for the age of the students. The educational background of the instructors is a huge benefit!

                                                               -THSD Dance Parent

We have always heard good things about THSD.  When looking for a new school it was the first and consequently the only school we considered.  Scheduling, cost, and more opportunities to perform got us.          -THSD Dance Parent

"We made the switch to THSD to have a more disciplined, challenging, and wholesome dance experience.  Making new friends and social opportunities...icing on the cake!"

                                                - THSD Dance Parent

What Our Parents Say

We chose THSD because we care about more than just Dance!  We wanted a place that chooses appropriate music and choreography for the age of the students. The educational background of the instructors is a huge benefit!

                                                               -THSD Dance Parent

We have always heard good things about THSD.  When looking for a new school it was the first and consequently the only school we considered.  Scheduling, cost, and more opportunities to perform got us.          -THSD Dance Parent

"We made the switch to THSD to have a more disciplined, challenging, and wholesome dance experience.  Making new friends and social opportunities...icing on the cake!"

                                                - THSD Dance Parent