American Fork Team
Nathan Balser, Artistic Director & Consultant (AF)
Nathan is a graduate of BYU with a BS in Therapeutic Recreation and The University of Utah with a Masters of Fine Arts. He has performed on Broadway in the original cast of Promises, Promises with Kristen Chenoweth, 9 to 5: The Musical with Allyson Janney, Damn Yankees with Cheyenne Jackson, and Legally Blonde. You may have seen Nathan on CBS in the Kennedy Center Honors in 2009, 2010, and 2011 honoring Mel Brooks, Jerry Herman, Meryl Streep, and Barbara Cook or on the Tony Awards in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 with Mamma Mia!, Promises, Promises, and Neil Patrick Harris, respectively. He also performed in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade with the cast of Legally Blonde in 2009 and is on the MTV recording of the same show. He was also in the world premiere of Minsky’s in the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles and in Mamma Mia! in Las Vegas. Nathan played the role of Craig in R.R.R.E.D. at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2010 and participated in several workshops and readings in NYC including Promises, Promises with Anne Hathaway, Brigadoon directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, Ever After with Dough Hughes, and Leap of Faith starring Sutton Foster and Raul Esparza. Nathan also toured internationally with Bianca Marroquin in Solo Pido, and nationally with Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan. Nathan is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA.
Suzie Balser, Owner & Artistic Director for Dance (AF)
Suzie graduated from BYU with a BFA in Music Dance and Theatre where she performed as a Young Ambassador and won the Theatre Department’s award for Best Supporting Actress and an Irene Ryan Nomination for Ilona Ritter in She Loves Me. Acting credits include Aheh in Sunfish at the New York ASCAP foundation musical theatre workshop with Stephen Schwartz, Stephanie in the New York production of Katie Thompson and Patrick Livingston’s R.R.R.E.D., Sophie in the Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia!, Nellie Forbush in Tuacahn’s South Pacific, Molly in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Winnie Tate in Annie Get Your Gun, Laurie in Oklahoma!, Maude in Funny Girl, Lorena Bobbit in Odyssey’s Thriller, and Demeter in CATS. In addition to the stage, Suzie can be seen in local and national commercials. In conjunction with performing Suzie has taught music, dance, and theatre around the country. While at BYU, Suzie was a student teacher in the dance department. She has also instructed at institutions such as BYU Childrens’ Creative Dance, Encore Academy, Musical Theater in Las Vegas as well as the West Orange, New Jersey Metrowest JCC Theater Arts Program. Most recently, Suzie has taught as adjunct faculty at Western Wyoming Community College Department of Theatre and Dance where she directed Flowers for Algernon and choreographed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Desert Dance Company. Last summer, Suzie was the Assistant Director of Tuacahn’s production of Grease and was on the creative team for the Nauvoo Historical Pageant in Nauvoo, IL. Suzie is also a member of the Actors Equity Association.
Lindsey Brown, Dance Faculty (AF)
As a teacher, Ms. Brown has trained under the tutelage of Finis Jhung, Maria Vegh, Beverly Spells, and American Ballet Theatre where she holds a Level 1 teaching certification. She brings a unique perspective to the studio, seeking to develop the whole individual and create artists from the inside out. Her students know that anyone, regardless of their body type, can achieve their goals in dance with vision, hard work, and accountability. Ms. Brown has over 14 years of teaching ballet, pointe, pas de deux, and strength training. She has developed a body alignment workshop designed to help students of all ages develop a deeper understanding of their own bodies, thereby creating a solid foundation of technique. Ms. Brown, as a ballet director, was responsible for developing a growing Nutcracker production from a cast of 150 dancers to 3 casts of 300 dancers. Her expertise shaped a sound ballet pointe program at a jazz based studio and created two pointe performing companies. Ms. Brown has also directed, staged, and choreographed productions such as La Bayadere, Le Corsaire Pas de Trois Des Odalisques, Swan Lake, Paquita, Cinderella, and Snow White.
Courtney Byrom, MDT Faculty (AF)
Cherie Call, Artistic Director Pop Music (AF)
Cherie Call has been writing songs since her early teens. She has released nine full length albums of her own songs. Cherie is a two time finalist in the prestigious Kerrville Newfolk Songwriting Competition. She’s played “in the round” at the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Her songs have been featured in independent films, including the Banff Award winning “True Fans”. Cherie’s most recent album is a children’s album called, “The Buddy System”, a collaboration with singer-songwriter Lyndy Butler. From this album, their song, “The Astronaut and The Mermaid” recently won the grand prize in the children’s category of The John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Cherie is a member of the Utah supergroup, The Lower Lights. She teaches songwriting at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah and is the artistic director of the Pop Music Company at Utah Conservatory of Performing Arts. Cherie is married and has four children.
Briana Chipman, MDT Faculty (AF)
Briana hails from a small town in Wisconsin where she grew up singing and performing from the age of 8. She has taken private voice for over 22 years and loves sharing and teaching music. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Education. She has performed around the Salt Lake valley with theater companies such as Centerpointe Legacy theatre, Kensington Theatre and the Sandy Arts Guild. Some favorite on stage roles include the Sour Kangaroo in Seussical, Crystal (trio) in Little Shop of Horrors, Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie and Penelope in See How They Run. Her favorite role ever is mother to four beautiful children and wife to an amazing husband.
Tyne Crockett, Dance Academy Director (AF)
Tyne Valgardson Crockett began her dance career studying ballet, jazz and contemporary here in Utah. She then attended UVU in Modern Dance, where she was a member of the Nationally ranked UVU Dance Team and completed a Disney College Program at Walt Disney World in Entertainment. Tyne has served as Choreographer for Nebo School District where she choreographed over 15 musical theater productions and concerts. She also served as the Jazz Department Director at Academy of Ballet and Academy Director at The Performers Place. In 2013, she teamed with Karen Jensen of BYU and founded the Utah Dance Film Festival, MOVE: A 24-Hour Film Competition and ACTION! Dance for Film Workshops, where she currently serves as Director. Tyne has choreographed productions at the SCERA Center for the Arts, including Footloose, The Musical and My Fair Lady. Tyne has a passion for helping her students reach their potential and become true artists. She been with Utah COPA for over two years and she has loved every minute of it.
DeLayne Dayton, Faculty & Director Prodigy Performing Company (AF)
Delayne has a passion for music and theater. She received her BA from BYU in Family Science with a minor in Music. She has taught piano for 10 years and directed the Dayton Singer’s Company performing group since 2008. DeLayne loves being a part of our great community theaters. She has performed at the Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy, Hale Center Theater in Orem and the Scera. Her performing credits are: Pirates of Penzance, Oliver, Beauty and the Beast, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Disco Inferno, Funny Girl, and most recently the enjoyable part of Miss Hannigan in Annie and M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias. DeLayne loves performing with her children and loves being a wife to husband, Brendon, and mother to Jaxson, Brinley, Bailey, Bridger, Olivia, and Millie.
Lindsay Folkman, Dance Faculty (AF)
Lindsay graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in World Dance and Modern Dance, as well as being awarded various Dance Department honors which included Dancers’ Choice, Excellence in Teaching, and the Cherrill Brown Liptak Citation (“awarded to one who through dancing will give and receive joy as well as inspire others to dance”). Lindsay has established and coordinated Contemporary, Jazz, and Tap programs with ballet schools throughout Utah Valley, as well as direct studio companies that would fine tune her choreographic voice. While with Classical Ballet Academy (2009-2014), Lindsay directed the studio Contemporary program and served as resident choreographer for the premiere pre-professional company, Provo Civic Ballet. There she created four full contemporary ballets: “Hansel & Gretel: The Revision” (2010); “Ballet Cirque”(2011); “The Land of Oz” (2012), and “Pinocchio: Awake My Soul”(2014). Her repertoire work with Provo Civic Ballet earned attention at dance festivals and competitions – including “Judges Choice” at the Utah Dance Festival (2012, 2013, 2015), and “Outstanding Choreographer” for her solo and ensemble pieces participating in the world renowned Youth America Grand Prix (2013). Most recently Lindsay Folkman has been awarded the prestigious honor of Utah’s Best of State Choreographer in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Lindsay continues setting both her new and restaged contemporary repertoire at festivals and competitions for dance studios, high school dance companies, and competitive soloists throughout Utah. With her extensive training in various genres, and her firm belief in “teaching you will learn”, Lindsay has created for herself a signature fusion of eclectic and visionary movement, collaborating with students in diverse individual style and emotionally-charged artistic freedom.
Christie Gardiner, MDT Faculty (AF)
Christie Gardiner began her professional acting career at the age of 4. She was admitted to Juilliard, Emerson College of Performing Arts, and the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah. Christie has studied under Ms Michelle O’Neill of the Juilliard School, Ms Jaqueline Bessel of the Guthrie Theatre as well as local talent (Tony Award Nominee) Will Swenson. Christie has worked in Theater, Television, Film, on Commercials and Voice-overs. Credits include appearances in The Runner (with Courtney Cox and John Goodman), Stranger than Fiction, The Best Two Years, Touched by an Angel, Promised Land and Everwood. Her voice has been heard on the airwaves and on Audio Books for Covenant Communications, KSL Broadcasting, Video West, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Favorite theater credits include roles in Singin’ in the Rain, Barnum, A Christmas Carol, The Crucible and the 32 city event Listen to Your Mother. Christie has enjoyed performing on stages across the state including, City Reperatory Theatre, Promised Valley Playhouse, Kingsbury Hall, Hale Centre Theatre West Valley, Hale Center Theater Orem, and many local community theatres. One of her great passions has been inspiring individuals to increase their self-esteem through participation in the Arts. To this end Christie has taught and directed award winning performers at On Broadway Academy, The Children’s Theater of Salt Lake, student actors at local schools and as a Personal Acting and Vocal Coach for many years.
Katie Higbee, Academy Director Musical Theatre (AF)
Katie made her performing debut at 7 years old in The Music Man (unless you count the Sunday evening concerts on the fire place hearth). She participated in musical theater consistently all through her childhood, studied dance and gymnastics, and started voice lessons at 14. She attended BYU majoring in Music Dance Theater and has performed in community and professional theaters throughout Utah and California. Katie discovered early on in her career that she had a knack for teaching and choreographing. Katie has choreographed for numerous high schools and junior high schools, as well as community and professional theatre companies throughout the west. She has also taught dance and choreographed for singing groups at The Academy of Ballet, Encore and Center Stage, where she directed all of the vocal companies from 1997-2000. Katie has choreographed for Lagoon under the direction of Mark Huffman and has also had the opportunity to be on production teams for large events like the Pioneer Sesquicentennial Celebration at the LaVell Edwards Stadium and the Newport Beach Temple Youth Celebration featuring 4,000 youth from 16 different Southern California LDS Stakes. Katie’s students have gone on to star in feature films, perform in lead roles on Broadway, in National Broadway tours, and in professional theaters all over the world as well as on TV’s Dancing With the Stars, So you think you can Dance, and Dance Wars. Katie has also used her talents to serve her community and church as Stake Arts Council Chair an starting an Arts Council in Saratoga Springs Utah. Katie thrives on helping students grow as artists and people and finds great joy in their accomplishments – both personal and professional.
Adam Holdaway, Director No Limits Performing Company (AF)
Adam graduated from Brigham Young University with a BM in Music Education. He has over 20 years experience in teaching, both privately and in the public schools. Adam is also a free-lance musician and producer. Adam has had the opportunity to share the stage with many talented artists, including Grammy winning artist Randy Bachman, Steve Smith from Journey, session drummer Gregg Bissonnette, and local artists Jericho Road, Cherie Call, and Sam Payne. He is proficient on both drums and bass and has been performing for over 25 years. He got his start playing in local bands. His first major band, Nectar, took the local market by storm back in 1992. Shortly after that, he joined the band Mulberry Drive, which also became a big success both locally and in college markets throughout the country. Their first single, “Thousand Years” reached all the way to #14 on several Indy radio charts. He has also performed with several other local acts, including Lewis, Wave O’ Blues, Steam Donkey, Bobo’s Revenge, Phat Daddy, The Brother Chunky Band, and the Stewart Dodge Band.
DeLonne Hucks, MDT Faculty (AF)
Alexis Levie, Petite Company Director (AF)
Miss Alexis is native from Provo, Utah. She just recently moved back after living and teaching dance in Las Vegas, NV and Boise, ID. She has had the privilege of dancing at Broadway Center in New York City, and taking classes from world known choreographers. While attending school at Utah Valley University her dance team placed 2nd at the Universal Dance Association’s College Nationals. She participated in the 2002 Olympics closing ceremonies, and was a hockey cheerleader. Miss Alexis has been teaching and choreographing for 18 years. Her choreography has won her dancers best showmanship, overall best technique and overall high point in numerous national competitions. Miss Alexis is so excited to join Utah COPA, where she is teaching jazz, little Tykes combo, hip hop and is a company director for the Petite company. She is very happy to be back in Utah doing what she loves.
Penny McCord, MDT Faculty (AF)
Penny began her study of voice, dance and piano in elementary school and continued through college. She was a Talent Award winner at the Miss Utah Pageant and was awarded Entertainer of the Year while attending Dixie College. Penny graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Fashion Merchandising and a minor in music. Penny has always loved performing and has found a new love in directing. She has been Music Director for several Alpine Community Theater productions. Penny also directed, choreographed and produced several musicals for Westfield Elementary School. She has also taught voice lessons for over 20 years. Other favorite credits include Southern Utah Tour of “My Turn on Earth”, Sister Sarah in “Guys and Dolls”, Dolly in Hello Dolly”, Marian in “Music Man”, Grace in “Annie” and Tuptim in “The King and I”. Penny’s favorite role of all is that of wife to Rick and mother to Mason, Madison, Zackary, and Xander.
Tiffany Nutter, MDT Company Director and PM Company Director (AF)
Tiffany Nutter spent the majority of her formative years fronting her family band with her siblings, singing at events all over Southern California. She began training in classical piano at the age of 4 and received superior marks multiple times in both Certificate of Merit and The National Piano Guild. She trained in ballet, tap, and jazz for over a decade and began choreographing professionally for show choirs before graduating high school. She spent two summers performing in and accompanying shows at the beloved Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone, Montana. Tiffany then traveled to Osaka, Japan, where she was a member of the inaugural cast of Universal Studios, where she met her husband. She received a scholarship from the MDT program at BYU, where she would later graduate with her BFA. She played multiple lead roles in, music directed, and choreographed many shows around the Utah Valley at the SCERA, Hale Center Theatre, and the short-lived Grove Theatre. She headed the choral department at Lehi High School before graduating from BYU and starting her family. She has spent the last decade in California, raising her 4 children, teaching private voice and piano lessons, singing with the Orange County Millennial Choir Organization, and creating and directing musical revues for the community. She is happy to be back in Utah where there is an unsurpassed love and appreciation for the performing arts.
Karen Oldham, Dance Faculty (AF)
Karen Oldham received her degree in Dance Education from Brigham Young University. While attending BYU, she was an honored recipient of the “Dee Winterton Spirit of Dance” Award, the Distinguished Senior Award, as well as the Outstanding Service Award. She was also a member of the BYU Young Ambassadors, BYU Dance Ensemble, the UVSC Cheer Team, and the UVSC Ballroom Tour Team who won the team event in the Blackpool British Championship in 1999. She has performed and toured in parts of Russia, Japan, Canada, Scotland, England, Ireland and throughout the U.S. During her undergrad work, Karen served as the Dance Major Student Representative for the College of Health and Human Performance Student Council, Assistant Choreographer for the 2002 Olympic Production, Light of the World, and Dance Captain for the Young Ambassadors. Upon completion of her degree, Karen joined the faculty of the BYU Young Dance Makers and Timpanogos High School where she coached and taught dance for six years. Karen currently enjoys directing DCFA, a Dance Company Festival, and teaching for different studios throughout the valley, including Utah Copa. She values dance as a tool for expressivity and enjoys sharing her passion with her students and her children. Karen and her family reside in Orem, Utah.
Cori Ollerton, Director Fusion Performing Company (AF)
Cori is honored to be directing Fusion as well as teaching our Contemporary Vocal Tech classes. She has been performing for years, most recently in the car with her 4 kids. Cori received an MDT degree from BYU in 1992 and has taught voice for 24 years. Her performing has led her to over 16 different countries and given her opportunities to sing for commercials as well as video and stage productions. Although she loves her job and performing some of her favorite roles are just make-believing in her own living room. It’s amazing what we can become when we just believe. Pop music and styling are all about the person creating the story. Let’s live what we know!
Mindy Robbins, Owner & Artistic Director Musical Theatre (AF)
Mindy started performing when she was 4, taking private voice lessons at 6, worked professionally at the age of 16, and started teaching voice at 19. Mindy most recently played the role of Miss Honey the 2018 production of Matilda at Tuacahn. She has also played Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins at Tuachan in 2013, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in 2007, Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun in 2002, and Liesl in The Sound of Music in 2001. Previously, Mindy toured with the Broadway Company of Les Miserables, covering the role of Eponine played by Sutton Foster and starring Colm Wilkinson. Other credits include Walt Disney World’s Hoop Dee Doo and Kids of the Kingdom, Tokyo Disney’s Peco’s Goofy, BYU’s Young Ambassadors and Lagoon’s Music USA. She has been a guest performer for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic World Senior Games. Mindy has recorded for Disney, with Mandy Moore, karaoke itunes songs and on numerous radio commercials. She has performed with Colm Wilkinson, Jason Alexander, Sutton Foster and Sam Harris. She has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Lex DeAzevedo’s work, Gloria, The Life of Christ as Mary. Mindy guest-starred on the national television series, Touched by an Angel, and has been seen on national television commercials. She graduated with a BFA in Music Dance Theatre from BYU where she has taught voice in the school of music. She loves sharing her passion for performing with her students. Mindy is an owner of COPA which currently has three locations in Utah and over 750 students. She is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association.
Scott Sackett, MDT Faculty (AF)
Scott started performing at the age of five when he was Tiny Tim at the Hale Center Theater in Orem and he hasn’t stopped since. He has performed with Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy and West Valley, Hale Center Theater in Orem, the SCERA, BYU Young Ambassadors, BYU Vocal Point, and spent the last two summers in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival. In 2008 Scott started working on the production side as a music director and choreographer at high schools in Utah Valley and Riverton, as well as for BYU’s Conferences and Workshops, the BYU Young Ambassadors, and the SCERA. Scott has a degree from BYU in Mathematics Education and a minor in Music. In 2016 he became the drama teacher at Orem High School and spends his days teaching acting, musical theater, and math to high school students. Scott loves the opportunities to work with youth, teaching them skills and foundations in musical theater that have been so important to him throughout his life.
Jamie Sarmiento, MDT Faculty (AF)
Jamie Sarmiento began her performing and dance career as a young teenager in various performing groups and stage productions. She enjoyed featured dance roles in musicals such as West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, and Where the Wild Things Are. While in college, she was captain of the Utah Blitzz Dancers, performing at halftime shows at the University of Utah Stadium. She has been teaching performing groups and children’s dance classes for eighteen years. She has choreographed over a dozen children’s junior productions. Favorites include Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, Seven Brides for Seven brothers, and The Little Mermaid. She also likes to “fly” as her favorite form of exercise is aerial arts. She especially loves aerial silks and Lyra, (aerial hoop.) Jamie has spent a good amount of time in the recording studio as a recording artist for Siafam Productions, recording various pop songs for The European and aerobic exercise market. Jamie graduated from Utah Valley University in 2010 and taught sixth grade for six years. She now stays home with her son Mace, as she plays her favorite role of all, “mommy.”
Michelle Stone, MDT Faculty (AF)
Michelle Stone grew up singing, dancing, playing every sport she could find, and loving children. She made her recording debut at age 5 in Janeen Brady’s Standin’ Tall and Safety Kids and her performing debut at age 8 in Christmas without Mr. C. and fell in love with the stage. Michelle learned early that she had a gift and love for teaching children. She started teaching performing classes in high school and has never stopped. She danced, sang, and performed throughout school and was selected as the USHAA State Theater Champion and awarded the top state scholarship. She turned down multiple basketball and soccer scholarships to attend BYU where majored in Music Dance Theater on a full presidential scholarship as a Dean’s List student. Michelle enjoyed her several roles during her college years but set most of her own performing aside as she went on to become the happy and busy homeschooling mother of eleven children. In her nearly 30 years of teaching she has directed and produced dozens of musicals and performances and taught hundreds of students. She loves working with children of every age and watching them learn to shine!
Brandalee Streeter, MDT Faculty (AF)
Ceriah Tedjamulia, Dance Faculty (AF)
Ceriah was born and raised in Utah County. At age fifteen she moved to Houston, Texas to study with the Houston Ballet Academy where she was later promoted as a member of the main company. While dancing with Houston Ballet, Ms. Tedjamulia performed works by renowned choreographers such as Stanton Welch, Jiri Kylian, Anthony Tudor, and Twyla Tharp. After six years with the Houston Ballet she moved across the country to dance with the Nevada Ballet Theater. In 2010 she was introduced to the GYROTONIC EXPANSION STSTEM®, which began her study and passion for intelligent movement. Now as a certified Pilates and GYROTONIC® instructor, Ms. Tedjamulia brings her understanding of cross-training and biomechanics to support young dancers in well-rounded, foundational training.
Madison Valgardson, Dance Faculty (AF)
Madison Valgardson started dancing when she was 3 years old and started dancing competitively at the age of 5. By winning numerous awards and trophies Madi gained confidence and wanted to share her talents with others. When she was 8 she started assisting dance and by age 10 she had started teaching her own dance class. She has had the opportunity to take classes from many world known choreographers, teach dance at multiple studios, and choreograph multiple solos and team dances. Her choreography has won multiple dance awards. A few highlights of Madi’s dance career include performing in 2010 at the Peaks Olympic Festival, Rekindle the Fire event in honor of the Olympics. Performing in 2014 when she had the opportunity to perform with Odyssey Dance Theatre in an event for USANA, and also in Odyssey’s annual shows Thriller and Redux Nutcracker. In 2015 she had the opportunity to perform with the well known musical group Gentri. She also had the opportunity to perform for the Governor of Utah at one of his special events. Madi is desirous to help her students find their true identity and reach their true potential. Acceptance, team unity, and a strong family bond are feelings that Madi always tries to generate for her students. Nothing makes her more happy than seeing the people she loves succeed. After returning home from serving an LDS Mission in Modesto, California; she is eager and excited to be working with Utah COPA.
Kimberly Wright, COPA Office Manager, COPA Costume Director, MDT Faculty (AF)
Kimberly Wright has enjoyed being a part of the performing arts community for many years, in many capacities. She has performed in regional theatre, including Sundance Summer theatre when it was a professional venue. She taught high school drama in Provo, and was the producer and director of Stage Struck children’s musical theatre in Nevada, producing 10 musicals in three years. Kim especially enjoys film work, and can also be seen in the LDS film, “On the Way Home” and other films projects such as “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful” and “The Highway 12 Experience.” Kim also enjoys teaching dance and choreography, and mentored under Mark Huffman. Kim taught jazz, tap and ballet at The Dance Zone in Nevada for 5 years, and choreographed for regional theatres in many states for several years. She graduated with a major in Theatre Education and a minor in music from Brigham Young University, where she performed and toured with the Young Ambassadors. Her favorite roll is wife to husband Dennis, and mom to children McKenna, Walker, Weston and Maitlyn! Kim loves being a part of Utah COPA!