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Instructors and Staff

We are blessed with very talented and dedicated staff and instructors, all with diverse backgrounds and experiences.  They each bring to our school their joy and creative energy that engages and encourages our students.  With a well-rounded curriculum that is dance and performance focused, our instructors teach the technique and poise necessary to prepare and build not only strong and confident dancers, but strong and confident young men and women.


Mark Cummings - Proprietor, Co-Director

Mark began his training as a musical theatre major at Bowling Green State University in 1975. After his first year of dance training, he moved to Bloomington, Indiana, to major in modern dance at Indiana University.

Although an injury cut his college education short, his love of dance lead him to Dayton in 1978 to study with artists such as Josephine Swartz, Jon Rodriguez and Bess Saylor-Imber, and to perform with Dayton Ballet II. After seeing a performance by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, he was drawn by their powerful contemporary repertory and joined the training company where he studied with Jeraldyn Blunden and James Truitt. In the early 1980's he was invited to choreograph for the University of Dayton Dance Ensemble where he began his teaching career. Mark retired as the Artistic Director of the U.D. Dance Program in 2009.


Celina Schroer - Co-Director, Ballet Mistress

Celina began her ballet training at the New Paltz School of Ballet in her hometown of New Paltz, NY and continued her training at Mercyhurst University where she graduated with a BFA in Dance.  Growing up, she attended summer programs with the New York State Summer School of the Arts, BalletMet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and performed children’s roles in New York City Ballet’s productions of Circus Polka, and Coppelia. In college, she competed at the Youth America Grand Prix, where she placed in the top 24 in her age category, and attended the American College Dance Association conference in Athens, OH. 


Celina has performed professionally with Mercyhurst Ballet Theater, Lake Erie Ballet and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and has worked as a choreographer for the Clark State Theater Arts Program, The Springfield Arts Council, and The Springfield Symphony Orchestra.   She has performed choreography by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Marius Petipa, Jimmy Orrante, and Gary Geis, and has worked with esteemed choreographers such as Nilas Martins, Hannah Baumgarten, and Kerry Skuderin.

This is Celina’s 7th season as a choreographer with the Gary Geis Dance Company, and her third season as Associate Director of GGDC. She is excited to continue Gary’s legacy and make dance training and performance accessible to everyone, regardless of their background.


Lori Gaver - Instructor, Resident Tap Choreographer

Lori started her dance instruction at the age of 5. She studied tap, jazz and ballet with the late Nancy Moore, a well-known Central Ohio instructor. She continued dancing through her teenage years with Mrs. Moore and her successor, Stacy Berndsen-Campbell. 

Lori's passion for tap was revived when she studied for two years with our founder, Gary Geis. Her desire to carry on Gary's tap legacy motivated her to take classes with some of today's most prominent tap instructors including Kaelyn Gray, Gregg Russell, Brent McBeth, Ryan Maw, Brinae Ali, Charles Renato, Sarah Reich, Danny Gardner, Ray Hesselink and Jason Samuels Smith. She also had the privilege of studying with her personal idol before his passing, Dr. Arthur Duncan. 

Lori has been a teacher at the Gary Geis School of Dance since 2017, and the Resident Tap Choreographer since 2019. She also teaches tap and does stage production for shows throughout Central Ohio. She is excited to keep the fine art of tap dance alive through her students, and to carry on Gary's legacy in his hometown of Springfield, Ohio.


Rose Chonko - Instructor 

Rose danced for Inwood Performing Arts Company in Inwood, West Virginia for 8 years in the style of Balanchine. Inspired by her studio Directors Denna Smith, Suzie Banks, and Shan Di, Rose performed annually as a Senior Company Dancer in The Nutcracker acquiring roles over the years as Fritz, Clara, Arabian, Spanish, Sugar Plum, Flowers, and Snow. For Spring she would dance in the great classics her company would produce such as La fille mal Gardée, Coppelia And Cinderella. While dancing for IPAC Rose participated in the South Eastern Theater Conference for her local Thespian chapter, and South Eastern Regional Ballet Association performing in contemporary pieces choreographed by Lori Stallings, and Eddy Ocampo of Giordano Dance Chicago. All before graduating high school.  In 2011, Rose danced as a guest performer for the Chautauqua School of Ballet in Jamestown, New York where she performed as Spanish lead in their production of The Nutcracker. In 2013 she graduated from New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, NY.


Of everything she has done in the world of performance her passion lies with Classical Ballet, and Musical Theater, while encouraging students who hope to exercise a creative outlet through the beauty of dance.  This will be her third year teaching. She resides in Springfield, Ohio with her husband Matt, their 2 year old Harry and cat, Meg. She is excited to continue her passion of ballet and jazz with the Gary Geis School of Dance, and to help carry his legacy throughout the city of Springfield for years to come. 


Taylor Nelson - Instructor

Taylor Elizabeth Nelson is an actor, dancer, choreographer, and theatre-maker from London, OH. She recently graduated with her Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her recent credits include: Stepsister Joy in Cinderella at La Comedia Dinner Theatre, Hersheypark Performer (RWS Entertainment Group), Pochsy (Pochsy’s Lips), Claire (Proof), Anne Steele (Sense and Sensibility), the film Devotion and Hulu TV series The Girl From Plainville. She choreographed Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Dance Nation, and Executive Dance at Savannah College of Art and Design, as well as Romeo and Juliet at The Ohio State University. 


Taylor began her competitive dance journey at Pinnell Dance Centre in Columbus, OH, where she trained under the tutelage of Jeri Pinnell, Ashley Holt, Katie Skamfer, Patrick Pugh, and Lauren Adams, as well as several guest/intensive choreographers: Stephen Boss, Akira Uchida, Sonya Tayeh, Chris Erk, Andrew Turtletab, and many more inspiring artists. She taught for several years at her hometown studio, Madison Dance in London, OH, and then continued her dance education alongside her theatre education in college, where she trained in Ballet, Tap and Musical Theatre dance technique. She has a love for all genres of dance and movement, and has instructed and choreographed for all ages and levels. She is currently based in Springfield, OH, with her lovely partner, Zach, their two cats Rose and Kelli, and dog Fran! Taylor was welcomed as a ballet student at Gary Geis School of Dance by Mark Cummings, whom she has continued to train under and be inspired by. She is thrilled to be sharing her love of dance with Gary Geis School of Dance this season!


Amy "Izanami" Kuss - Belly Dance Instructor

Amy (Izanami or “Iza” for short) has enjoyed studying and performing the beautiful art of belly dance since 2008. She dances with two fabulous troupes: Egyptian Breeze of Yellow Springs, Ohio, and Troupe Roja of Dayton, Ohio. She continues her studies by taking classes and attending as many workshops as possible. Seeing the sheer joy and excitement that belly dance brings to its audience and performers continues to inspire her.

Izanami has experience with many props including finger cymbals, veil, cane, fanveils, various balancing props, and double veil. Though predominantly versed in American Cabaret style, Izanami, has experience in other styles and the diverse world of fusion, including Dunyavi gypsy, various folkloric styles including Ghawazee, Hagalla, and Persian, elements of tribal and hip hop, and elaborate theatrical Halloween themed performances.


Holly Dilts - Zumba Instructor

Holly is a Zumba instructor from Springfield, Ohio. She has been a Zumba instructor since 2013 and is licensed to teach Zumba and Aqua Zumba. Zumba is her favorite fitness class because the music is full of energy and the class feels like a party. Come join the fun!

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