I grew up in Lamoni, Iowa, and started dancing when I was 4. I took ballet and jazz and in 8th grade, my teacher, a former professional dancer, started me on pointe. I was fortunate, coming from a small community, to have had that opportunity. I continued to take ballet, pointe and jazz through high school. I attended Iowa State University and began dancing for the audition-only, modern dance group, Orchesis I. While there, I began choreographing dances. One of my dances was selected to go to the American College Dance Festival in Iowa City. I also participated in two dances which were selected to go to the Festival in New Jersey. My junior year, I received the Anna R. Toman award which is presented to the Orchesis I member that most significantly contributed to the ISU dance program.

     After graduating from ISU with a degree in Zoology, I stayed in the Ames area to work in a freshwater research lab. In 2002 my husband Clint and I moved to the Winterset area, where he grew up, to farm. I then worked as a veterinary technician at a small animal clinic in West Des Moines for 11 years. 

     Through that time my passion for dance never waivered. I became inspired watching my daughter, Delaney, experience her first year of ballet. I decided to follow my dream and open my own studio, Winterset Ballet and Dance Studio, in September of 2012.  I am excited to have the opportunity to teach dance and I am thrilled to be able to pass on the passion for the art of dance to future generations in the Winterset community.

My Philosophy

     Hi!  My name is Kelsey Collins, I'm the daughter of Nolan And G. JoAnn Collins, and I've lived in Winterset all of my life.  I graduated in 2003 and went on to earn an associate degree in Business Administration from AIB in 2006.

     I started taking dance lessons at age 3 and have continued "busting moves" ever since.

     I'm very excited to keep my passion for dance alive by encouraging all ages to keep moving and I am honored to be the studio's tap instructor!  I also am certified to instruct CIZE by Beachbody and have enjoyed leading these classes in the past and now leading other adult fitness classes!  I look forward to seeing you in class!

Instructors and Staff

    Hello! I am Melissa Taylor proud wife and mother to 4 beautiful girls (Keira, Millie, Eva and Tempe). I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and started dancing when I was 3. I continued to dance styles ranging from ballet (including pointe), jazz, lyrical and tap until I was 16. Then continued dancing in show choir through high school graduation in 2003.
     Since high school I married my husband Joe, moved to an acreage south of Winterset in 2010 and had our girls. I began my corporate career at Wells Fargo 14 years ago and currently work full time as a Business Liaison Consultant in West Des Moines.
     Dance has always been my happy place and I am thrilled that all four of my daughters seem to share the same passion! I am excited to have the opportunity to substitute teach and play a small role in helping your children learn and grow as dancers.

Linda Eckles, Front Desk

     Hi! My name is Linda Eckles. My husband Dennis and I live on our farm west of Winterset where we raised our two sons, Chance and Clint. I’m so fortunate to have Nicole as my daughter-in-law and to be grandma to Delaney and Kinsley. You’ve probably seen me hanging out at the studio with the girls these past years.
     Although I never took dance lessons as a child, I always loved attending friends’ dance recitals growing up and have loved getting the opportunity to be a dance grandma and watching my granddaughters and all the dancers perform.
     I’m very excited to greet you at the Front Desk and to have this opportunity to get to know you and your dancers better this year!

   Dance can mean many things to many different people. Here at Winterset Ballet and Dance Studio, my philosophy is that dance is not only important for developing one’s physical abilities, but for one’s mental capacities as well.

    As with anything, a strong foundation is needed for growth to occur. Because of this, at Winterset Ballet and Dance Studio, ballet is strongly recommended for dancers. Ballet gives that strong foundation by giving one structure and technique in order to learn how to control one’s body and have a strong core. More than one style of dance is also recommended. Tap classes are available for all ages, acrodance can be added at age 4, jazz and hip-hop can be added in first grade, and modern in 5th grade.  

    Once those building blocks have been placed, I believe one can achieve four things: courage, confidence, self-motivation and perseverance. First, one will have the courage to try new moves and challenges, and to go out there and perform to the best of their abilities. Second, one will have the confidence that they have a strong base and hence the ability to dance at the level they truly desire. Third, one will have the self-motivation to keep trying and to push to the next level. Finally, one will have the perseverance to stick with it no matter how difficult it may seem. These are qualities that not only carry one as a dancer, but through the rest of life as well.

    In keeping with this, I believe that a dancer will find an environment here at Winterset Ballet and Dance Studio, where they can express themselves through the art of dance, and take with them lessons learned that they will always cherish.

Kelsey Collins, Instructor

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About the Director

Melissa Taylor, Substitute Instructor/Assistant

Nicole Eckles, Owner and Director

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Winterset Ballet & Dance Studio

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