Carissa Christensen – Owner
Carissa established Starz Studio of Performing Arts in the fall of 1995. The opening and success of STARZ is the fulfillment of her lifelong dream. “Cari” holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City’s Performing Arts Center. She has an extensive background in both performing and instructing including; Three years with the K.C. Chiefs Cheerleading Squad where she also served as co-captain and choreographer, performing at both Busch Gardens, and Fiesta Texas theme parks, National print modeling, Miss Jackson County and top ten Miss Missouri finalist, Kansas City Chiefettes, and Missouri Repertory Theater. Her enthusiasm for the performing arts is second to none. She is extremely motivated, and totally committed to the success of her students. “Shoot into STARZ and let us make your STARZ shine!”
Jill has been teaching at STARZ nearly since its inception. She joined Carissa after a fulfilling career as a professional dancer for Princess Cruise Lines, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Busch Gardens. She performed in numerous industrials, trade shows, has done print work and commercials and has even danced for former First Lady, Nancy Raegan. Jill’s background is strongly influenced by ballet where she received 2 full scholarships to the Atlanta Ballet from its director Robert Barnett, acceptance into the School of American Ballet, and several others throughout her years of training. She studied the Checchetti form of ballet and was a member of the Dearborn Ballet Theatre. Jill has been a judge for national dance competitions and has taught several award winning routines and dancers in her career as a teacher. Jill brings a strong knowledge of ballet, jazz, tap, and tumbling to Starz as well as the discipline needed to bring out the best in your dancers.
Shelley is a native of Kansas City, Mo and is a dancer, choreographer, actress and model. She has studied and taught various styles of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, musical theater, tumbling and hip-hop for over 30 years. She was a member of the Missouri Dance Co. founded by the renowned David Parsons for 4 years. She has worked alongside Paula Abdul, Olsen Twins, Joe Tremaine and Frank Hatchett. Her performances include productions of West Side Story and The One and Only at Starlight Theater, Tivoli Theater at Worlds of Fun, Cabaret, Oklahoma, the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl and was a NFL Chiefs Cheerleader for 5 seasons. She has choreographed a music video for Peter Frampton, national commercials for Payless Shoes, Intrust Bank, and Price Chopper along with 2 halftime shows for NFL football teams. She was the Dance Director for Blue Springs High School drill team for 5 years. Her credits also include numerous award winning regional and national routines and has received numerous choreography awards.
Shelley has appeared in two feature films, My One and Only and Hope. She has also appeared in several local and national commercials and print ads including Hallmark, Sprint, Payless, Intrust Bank, Price Chopper and Mr. Goodcents. Presently she has been selected to be a regional and National judge for Bravo, Rainbow and KAR dance competitions. Shelley loves her Starz family and tries to instill creativity and technique in her teaching. Remember, “Dance from your heart and you will never be wrong”
Mikayla began dance at the age of 4 and joined Starz at age 6. By the time she was 8, she became a member of the competition program at Starz and continued dancing for 10 years. Mikayla graduated from Oak Grove high school in 2015.
Following graduation, she knew she wanted to keep dance in her life one way or another and with extreme excitement, Mikayla accepted a teaching position at Starz the following summer of 2016. Mikayla has been on staff at Starz going on 4 years and absolutely loves sharing her knowledge and love for dance with her students.
Mikayla is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in General studies, with a minor in child and family development, and will graduate from the University of Central Missouri in December 2019.
Sarah Fristoe began her dance training at the age of 3 at Jo Noth’s White Oak Dance Academy. While there she danced competitively for 10 years. She traveled all over the country with her competitive team and got to take classes from some of the most talented artists in the industry. She began assisting classes at her studio at the age of 13 and immediately discovered what she was meant to do with her life.
After graduation from Blue Springs South she went on to attend Stephens College where she graduated with a Bachelors degree in fine arts in dance. While there, she trained with multiple talented teachers, choreographers, and guest artists.
After she graduated, she almost immediately began teaching. She had the privilege of being mentored by an amazing teacher. She owned her own studio for 5 years and in that time, had much success with the students she taught. She and her dancers received multiple choreography, entertainment, overall awards, and more. She is thrilled to begin her 10th year of teaching with the Starz family and is looking forward to watching the students grow as she brings her skills to the Starz faculty.
Alexa began dancing at the age of 3, joining Starz in 2012 to complete her dance education. Her passion for dance grew exponentially through her High School graduation in 2018. Alexa danced for the D1 WSU Shockers Dance Team for her Freshman year of College, then returned to Kansas City where she performed in Grand Carnivale at Worlds of Fun. She continues to train regularly while attending UMKC to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and Minor in Business. With plans to graduate in 2021. She hopes to one day work with our senior citizens, but will continue to keep dancing in her life. She lives by the rule that “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”