Nicole R. Whitesell graduated Magna Cum Laude from Missouri State University with a BFA in Dance Performance. While attending MSU, she was a member of the Inertia Dance Company. Inertia toured local elementary schools working with children to enhance reading and creative thinking skills through creative movement. While in Inertia Nicole toured regionally, nationally, and internationally as well as worked with a number of guests artists. Throughout college Nicole spent her summers continuing her education in different ways each year. She spent summers dancing in Branson in the Yakov Smirnoff show, going to the Boulder Jazz dance festival, and lastly in NYC for the Dodge Dance Company summer intensive. Immediately upon graduation from MSU, Nicole moved to NYC to dance with Dodge Dance Company. While in New York, Nicole continued to study various styles of dance from professionals at STEPS on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, Peridance, and the Gina Gibney Studios just to name a few. After a year in Dodge Dance Company she joined the Amy Marshall Dance Company where she performed in and around the NYC area as well as toured nationally.
In 2009 Nicole moved back to the St.Louis area to join MADCO (Modern American Dance Company), the resident company at the Touhill performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus. Working with MADCO has offered Nicole with a variety of opportunities, such as, performing locally, touring regionally and nationally, choreographing for the student dance concerts at UMSL, and working with a number of new guest artists. These artists include Jennifer Archibald, Gina Patterson, and Michael Uthoff. Some of the performance related highlights have been dancing in Dance St. Louis’ New Dance Horizons since its inception in 2013, Spring to Dance each Memorial Day weekend and most recently Liquid Roads choreographed by Gina Patterson. Another highlight would have to be getting to meet and work with Jackie Joyner Kersee for a piece honoring her and her successes. Along with performing, a large part of the MADCO season is spent on Books in Motion, a school residency program reaching around 1,500 kids per season. Along with studying dance performance Nicole has also followed her passion of dance education.
In college she studied several courses in Dance Pedagogy, Anatomy and Physiology and Dance Kinesiology. During this time she taught and was able to implement these studies at Ozark Dance Academy as well as substitute teaching at Missouri State University. She continued teaching in NYC at Posey School of Dance and was an assistant teacher at Ballet Tech under the direction of Elliot Feld. Since moving back to St. Louis Nicole has been teaching and choreographing at local studios around the area. Her students have won top awards while she has received top choreography awards at numerous competitions. Along with becoming Artistic Director, Curriculum Coordinator and Dance Educator at Rokita Dance Center, she is now the Artistic Director for MADCO.
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