2022 VARSITY UNIVERSITY NATIONAL DANCE COACHES’ VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

September 20, 2022
Virtual
Price: $90 per coach

Varsity University’s National Dance Conferences provide coaches the one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn from the very best in the business. Our instructors specialize in everything from choreography and technique to team building and have led some of the most successful dance programs in history. The conference will be great for high school, junior high, all star and college coaches.

For our scholastic cheer and dance conferences, participants can earn professional development hours through Sterling College. This course has been approved for a maximum of 8 contact hours of continuing education/professional development. Individuals are responsible for claiming only those hours actually spent participating in the Continuing Education activity and reporting to appropriate entities.

Register Now!

Session Topics & Speakers

Toya Renee Ambrose is the Head Coach of the dance teams for the Chicago Bulls – the Luvabulls and the all-male hip hop team, the 312 Crew. She was a member of two NBA teams, the Chicago Luvabulls and the Memphis Grizzlies. Her collegiate experience includes being a former scholarship member of the University of Memphis Pom Squad, and former captain and Head Coach of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Dancing Flames. Toya was also the Spirit Coordinator for the University of Connecticut (UCONN) spirit teams, which included the dance, cheer, and mascot teams. Toya is the owner of T.R.A. Choreography LLC and her company choreographs competitive teams all over the world – most recently in Japan, Slovenia, Finland, and Mexico. Alongside Shandon Perez, she is co-founder of Tone Society; a digital training and mentorship program for choreographers. Toya also enjoys being a national and international dance judge. She resides in Chicago, IL, and is married to attorney Garvin G. Ambrose. Their greatest adventure is being foster parents to three beautiful baby girls.

Brian Cao has been involved in the spirit industry for over 20 years on the school, all star, collegiate and professional levels. He has been affiliated with NCA/NDA for the last 26 years and has contributed to both NCA and NDA’s summer curriculum as a choreographer and consultant. In 2007 & 2008, Brian served as a Co-Show Director for the Thanksgiving in Paradise Halftime Show in Hawaii, and his choreography opportunities have taken him all around the world, including to England, Finland and Japan. In 2010, Brian received the coveted Herkie Legacy Award for his contributions to NCA/NDA, The Work is Worth It Award in 2016, the Varsity Raving Fans Award in 2017 and the NCA Heart & Soul Award in 2019. Brian’s dance resume includes performing with several companies in the Pacific Northwest, including three seasons with the NBA Portland Trailblazers Jam Squad. He currently works as a choreographer and consultant to cheer and dance teams of all levels and was the choreographer for Team England Freestyle Pom in 2018. In his limited free time away from training, he travels the world speaking at conferences, judging for major cheer and dance events, and is a 6-time judge for The USASF Dance Worlds.

Jenny Eustice is entering her 14th year as the Dance Team Coach for the University of Iowa. In both 2017 and 2020 the Iowa Dance Team placed 3rd at UDA College Nationals in the division 1A Pom category.  In 2022, the Iowa Dance Team place 3rd in the UDA College Nationals Game Day division. The Iowa Dance Team has been a perennial finalist, placing in the Top 10 in the past eleven years. Eustice is a former Minnesota Vikings cheerleader and a Minnesota Swarm Performance Team member. She is a former dancer (captain) and assistant coach of the four-time UDA National Champion University of Minnesota dance team in Minneapolis. Her coaching background also includes the multi-time Minnesota State Champion Wayzata High School dance team. Eustice has 15 years of studio training in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and modern from the Dance Shoppe in Plymouth, MN. Currently, Eustice is an Assistant Principal at Iowa City West High School in Iowa City, Iowa. Eustice has been the Universal Dance Association(UDA) ESPN dance analyst for the National High School Dance Team Championship for nine years. She is a former member/choreographer for UDA summer camps. Eustice is a firm believer in servant leadership and the motto, “Actions speak louder than words”. 

Colleen Hollis grew up in a dancing household. With two older sisters who also danced, Colleen got started at the ripe age of two and hasn’t stopped since. Before high school, Colleen knew that she wanted to dance professionally and during high school Colleen became enthralled by physical fitness and achieving peak levels of performance on and off the dance floor. She went to study Dance at Illinois State University and graduated in 2018 with her Bachelor of Science in Dance Performance . Through her studies at ISU, Colleen’s interest in physical fitness became one not so much just about the superficial- look & performance level- but one driven by learning how and why her body moves the way it does- and how to make it do so more efficiently and for longer. Upon graduation, Colleen auditioned for the NBA dance team, the Chicago Luvabulls, of the Chicago Bulls, made the cut, and then made the move to the city. She is now a 5th year member of the team and loves sharing her joy for dance with the greatest fans in the NBA.

Since living in Chicago, Colleen’s professional fitness career has begun to flourish. As a Senior level instructor at Studio Three, Colleen coaches fitness classes full time and is incredibly passionate in doing so. Colleen’s approach to teaching fitness is to inform the everyday, not-so-interested in anatomy person about their anatomy. If people can become interested in the what, the why, the how, of physical fitness, the goals become less superficial and more wholesomely about wellness- which is how it should be! Colleen wants to spread this interest, knowledge, and healthier approach to physical fitness into the dance world of which she loves so much as well. If dancers are learning about the what, the why, and the how of their physical being in relationship to dance, there is no stopping the growth that there is to be had- and not at the cost of a healthy relationship with one’s body. Colleen is looking forward to sharing helpful information, tips & tricks, and mind changing cues, as well as a sweaty workout, for you and your dancers in this seminar.

Katie grew up dancing in Colorado and found her love and passion for dance in the studio and as member of her high school dance team. After earning multiple convention scholarships and awards in high school, Katie went on to earn a full scholarship as a member of the University of Tennessee dance team. Her team won their first Universal Dance Association National Championship in 2007 in the jazz category. She was a member of UDA staff teaching elite, college and international camps as well as helping with summer camp choreography. Katie moved back to Colorado in 2012 where she was the head dance coach at the University of Colorado for 4 years earning multiple top 5 finishes at UDA College Nationals.

Katie has been on faculty at TCDC in Lafayette, Colorado for 9 years and the Company Director for the last 5 years. Over the past 3 years Katie has continued her dance education focusing on safe and effective stretching, strength building and technique. She is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique, studied mUv method and is working toward her Pilates certification.

Choreography credits include multiple middle school, high school and college national championship routines in Jazz, Pom and Game Day, including the University of Tennessee 2020 national pom championship. Katie continues to work with the University of Tennessee as pom choreographer and a member of their recruitment team. Katie loves being involved with so many teams across the country and watching the dancers grow as both athletes and people!

When not teaching, choreographing or coaching you can find Katie hanging out with her husband Curtis and their two kids Connor, 5, and Colbie, 3.

TOPIC: Setting up your team to shine: How to Choreograph to the Strength of your Team

Does the balance between what you feel like your team excels at and what you feel like your team “should do” or “needs to do” in their routines feel overwhelming at times? Let’s chat about finding your team’s strengths in dance and technique and then incorporating those strengths into your choreography!

TOPIC: Behind the Scenes in College Dance Team Recruiting

We all want to set our dancers up to succeed if they want to continue dancing past college but it can be challenging to understand how. In this class we’ll dive into the new world of college recruiting and how to help your dancers navigate this uncharted territory while giving some perspectives from the university side.

Christina Leone is in her 19th year coaching at the high school level and is currently the head coach at Rock Canyon HS in Colorado. Her teams have earned numerous regional and state titles, are perennial finalists at UDA Nationals. Most recently, Rock Canyon earned Back to Back State Championship titles in 5A POM and earned three top 5 finishes at the 2022 NDTC, including two bronze medals. In 2018, they were selected as the Varsity Brands American Spirit Leader Award winner. Christina was the National winner of the 2015 Double-Goal Coach Award from the Positive Coaching Alliance and in 2016 named Coach of the Year by the Colorado HS Coaches Association. She has judged for the USASF Dance Worlds, National Championships at the High School, All-Star, & Collegiate levels for UDA, NDA, USA, GSSA, Dance Summit, Jamfest and Jamfest Japan and currently serves on numerous industry committees. Christina is an avid fan of figure skating, all Colorado sports, loves camping, traveling and spending time with her husband & two daughters.

TOPIC: You be the Judge!

Pom is its own genre for a reason, there is nothing like it! How does the score sheet connect to a pom routine specifically? We will break down the details of a score sheet as it particularly pertains to pom, plus tips for adjusting choreography and staging to improve scores, execution and confidence!

TOPIC: It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Coaching Lifestyle

If you’ve ever found yourself saying,  “I don’t know how much longer I can do this job,” you’ve likely experienced burn-out. How often do we look in the mirror instead of at our circumstances? Many of us will “crash diet” and not maintain the practices needed to develop the coaching lifestyle we desire. Let’s talk about ways to effectively improve our habits, what we can Marie Kondo and learn strategies from other coaches.

Valerie Stead Potsos is in her 20th season as Head Coach of the nationally ranked University of Michigan Dance Team. She is the Director/Owner of Dancer’s Edge Studio in Dexter, Michigan. Recently, she traveled to Vienna, Austria to choreograph and train three dance teams with the Vienna Vikings. She has choreographed for NAIA College Teams, High School Teams and All-Star Teams. She has also choreographed for professional corporate sponsors including Ford Motor Company and much more.

Dancer’s Edge was named as one of the “Top Studios on the Move” in Dance Spirit magazine. Her articles on coaching and dance have appeared in Dance Spirit, American Cheerleader and in Motion Magazines.

She is a Seminar presenter, and curriculum consultant for Varsity University, UCA/UDA (Universal Cheer and Dance Association) and AACCA (American Association of Cheer Coaches and Administrators) on topics such as Motivation, Leadership, Teambuilding and many more.

Her students have auditioned for America’s Got Talent and have been featured on the show in 2015. Along with judging local, state and national competitions, she has judged Studio, High School and College Dance Nationals as well for various organizations. Previously, she coached The Royal Oak Kimball Dance Company and The Royal Oak Kimball Varsity Dance Team for 8 years.

As a dance educator for 30+ years and an adjudicator for 20+ years, she was also a member and captain of The University of Michigan Dance Team. Valerie graduated with a B.A. from the University of Michigan and has additional graduate studies in Secondary Education from Michigan State University. Valerie resides in Dexter, MI with her husband three children.

TOPIC: Refining and Synchronizing Turn Technique for Coaches

This class will help you effectively teach turns that will allow you to synchronize your team using a variety of techniques that will apply to various turn sequences.

TOPIC: Band, Cheer, Dance-Spirit Collaboration

We want to work together with our other spirit programs, but where do we begin?  How can we make it work?    This planning session will help you get started to create the ultimate game day atmosphere!

Jenna Schneider is a leadership and mental health coach. She holds a Masters in Public Health, and is certified as a life coach through the International Coach Federation. Jenna coached dance for 7 years for a high school team; winning two national championships and then went on to coach at the University of Wisconsin for 9 years. The University of Wisconsin Dance Team was ranked in the top ten all 9 seasons Jenna was a part of the spirit squad coaching staff. She “retired” from coaching dance in 2019 to start her mental health coaching business, Jenna Schneider Coaching LLC. Jenna works with clients from all over the country including leadership coaching with clients from Facebook, Google and Tesla to name a few. Jenna also hosts her own podcast called “She Leads Her Life” where she interviews women from all around the world to talk about women’s health, faith, business, and parenting topics. She lives in Madison, WI with her two daughters Elliana and Annabelle and is married to her high school sweetheart Nate. You can find more information at www.jennaschneidercoaching.com and @sheleads_herlife.

TOPIC: Mindset Matters

From competition mindset to practice mindset to mental health….it all matters. The mindset and mental health of your team is just as important as their technical abilities and we will discuss how to develop strategies to help your team flourish mentally and emotionally.