Tamara Howe | Executive Director
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 married to Steven and is the proud mom to three boys: Isak, William and Eli.
Mara Klenda | Artistic 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.