Rising Star Staff

Lori Arendsen (Owner/Director)

Miss Lori Arendsen (Owner/Director) is celebrating her 36th year teaching dance! She opened the doors to Rising Star 30 years ago after learning the ropes and teaching with life long friend LeDonna Fair. Miss Lori was a soloist with the Lansing Ballet Company, and received a full tuition scholarship at Lansing Community College where she earned a degree in the Performing & Creative Arts. Her students have gone on to dance, choreograph and perform for Warner Brothers television, Disney World, Cedar Point, Carnival Cruise Lines, Julie Andrews and Kenny Rogers. Miss Lori’s students have performed and competed all over the U.S. as well as entertaining at the Palace of Auburn Hills for the Pistons, at Michigan State University for the Spartans, and the Chesaning Showboat. Miss Lori has judged for Applause Talent, Kids Artistic Review National Dance Competitions as well as numerous pageants, talent shows and theater groups. She is on the costume advisory panel for Weissman’s Designs for Dance/Dancewear Solutions, on the Starlight Dinner Theatre advisory board, and choreographed a flash mob commercial for CATA’s Clean Commute program that can now be viewed on their website and on YouTube. One of Miss Lori’s favorite moments in dance came when her elite team, Bruiser’s Bill was chosen for the prestigious, “Best Showmanship” award at the Tremaine Dance Convention. She is very proud of her Starlette Company’s sense of charity, they happily donated their earnings from dancing and competition to the Humane Society of New Orleans and Relay for Life for cancer research. The Starlettes were invited to entertain for the Zendaya meet & greet at Art Van and they donated their earnings again to the Relay for Life. Miss Lori loves to share the pure, cheerful, beauty of dance with all of her students!
Lori Arendsen 2013

LeeAnn Edgerly (Assistant Director)

Miss LeeAnn Edgerly (Assistant Director) received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Spring Arbor University in May of 2004, majoring in social studies with a concentration in history and psychology. She has been studying dance since she was 5 years old, and this will be her 27th year teaching and 23rd year of studio management!  Miss LeeAnn has earned many awards dancing in a duet with her brother Michael. Gidget & Moon Doggie Go Hip Hop is our all-time highest scoring routine at Tremaine. She has had the privilege of performing for the Chesaning Showboat, The Palace of Auburn Hills, and the Breslin Center. She has judged for Applause Talent as well as many pageants and dance teams.  She was our 2004 Dancer of the Year. Miss LeeAnn and her husband Jonathan are the proud parents of Gianna Louise (who was born on Miss LeeAnn’s birthday!), Dominic Michael, and Anya Marie.

LeeAnn Edgerly 2013

Kara Christy

Miss Kara Christy has been dancing since she was four years old. Her first 13 years were spent at Rising Star where she participated in the Starlette Company and worked as an assistant teacher. She also spent 4 years dancing for Grand Valley State University’s Dance Troupe as an advanced choreographer and a duet tap performer. She also made the elite troupe 2 years in a row to perform for the Detroit Pistons. While attending GVSU, Kara received her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy where she received the Outstanding Student Award. She currently works as an Occupational Therapist and Certified Brain Injury Specialist at Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center in Mason. She is very excited for her 11th year on the Rising Star staff! Miss Kara and her husband Chip are the proud parents of Cal, Luke and Clark!

Kara Christy 2013

Haley Garner

Miss Haley Garner started dancing at age 3, and joined Rising Star when she was 5 years old. Through the years, Miss Haley was a member of the Elite Team, the Starlette Company and the Children's Ballet Theater. She performed on the Chesaning Showboat, as well as competing at Tremaine, and many other competitions. After graduation, Miss Haley attended The Douglas J Aveda Institute, and has been practicing as a licensed cosmetologist for 15 years at Brad's Hair Studio in Grand Ledge. She and her husband Jake have three children that are currently enrolled at Rising Star. Maci, Caleb and Grant are excited for their Mom to return to teaching dance at Rising Star!

Haley Garner 2017

Michelle Haskell

Miss Michelle Haskell has been dancing at Rising Star for 23 years. She performed in a variety of competitions across Michigan during her time in Starlettes and was an assistant teacher with the studio for several years. Miss Michelle graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Professional Writing and is a marketing and foster family recruitment specialist with Lutheran Social Services of Michigan. She also helps local small businesses with social media marketing through her own small business, Social Storytelling. Though her interests are very diverse, her love of dance has never wavered and she is very excited for her 11th year on Rising Star's staff! Miss Michelle and her husband Brandon are the proud parents of Kennedy and Kade!

Michelle Haskell 2013

Amanda Hengesbach

Dance has been a part of Miss Amanda’s life since she was 3 years old and she has been a part of Rising Star since it started. Some of her fondest memories are being a part of the elite team where they performed at Tremaine, Chesaning Showboat, and a Detroit Pistons game. Miss Amanda also shares her love of dance as a choreographer for the Grand Ledge High School musicals and owner and Cardio Dance instructor at Ledge's Sweat Shop.  She received her Master’s Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from Michigan State University and is a teacher at Grand Ledge High School. Miss Amanda is the proud parent of Delayne and Ashton. She feels extremely blessed to share the stage with both of them!  Miss Amanda was chosen as the Grand Ledge Educator of the Year 2019!

Amanda Hengesbach 2017

Jamie Losch

Miss Jamie has been a part of the Rising Star Studio since the beginning. From the Chesaning Showboat to Tremaine Competitions, dancing has been an integral part of Miss Jamie’s life. She began as an assistant teacher with Miss Lori when she was in 8th grade. She started teaching her own classes in high school, which sparked a passion for working with students. She earned her B.S. in Education at Western Michigan University and a Master’s in Education through Spring Arbor University. Miss Jamie is in her 19th year of teaching at Grand Ledge Public Schools. After taking a few years off from teaching dance to start a family with her husband Greg, she has returned to Rising Star to share her love of dance. Miss Jamie is excited to dance with all of her new students, including her own daughters Jordan, Jaylen, and Jenna.

Jamie Losch 2016

Erin Nimphie

Miss Erin Nimphie has been dancing for over thirty years. She started teaching lessons at Rising Star when she was 16 years old. She has danced on the Chesaning Showboat, at a Detroit Pistons game, and in a variety of regional and national competitions. Miss Erin has a B.S. in Education from Central Michigan University and a Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College. She is looking forward to beginning her 17th year at Elliott Elementary School in Holt this fall. She lives in Grand Ledge with her husband Brian and her daughters Grace and Lauren. Miss Erin is so blessed to be fulfilling her lifelong dream of teaching both of her daughters’ dance classes in the studio where she grew up and learned the love of dance.

Erin Nimphie 2014

Sarah (Paquet) Richardson

Miss Sarah Richardson is excited for her 4th season teaching at Rising Star! She has been a part of the Rising Star family for 15 years, including dancing with the Starlette Company for four years as well as assistant teaching for several years. After taking some time off for school she's thrilled to be back in the studio again—this time to share her love of dance with students. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2014 with a Bachelors Degree in Advertising and Specializations in Public Relations and Design. She currently works as a graphic designer at Michigan Farm Bureau where she creates a wide variety of marketing and promotional materials for the company and outside clients.

Sarah Paquet 2017

Marie Savala

Miss Marie has danced at Rising Star for 24 years, and this will be her 6th year teaching! Miss Marie started competing at the age of 9 and performed at a large number of competitions including Tremaine Dance Conventions. She also had the privilege of performing on the Chesaning Showboat when she was 12 and was a member of the Starlettes Company for 10 years. In 2012 she received an Ultimate Victory award for her solo, Smooth, at the Creation Dance Competition. Miss Marie was also on the Lansing Community College Cheerleading team from 2006-2009, and served as one of the main choreographers for the team during her last two years with them. In 2014, when she and her husband were living in Florida, she was offered a position as a cheer and dance coach at Power Cheer Allstars in Port Orange, Florida. While there, she coached their junior hip hop dance team to win multiple titles and awards, including First Place and Dance Grand Champions at Reach the Beach Nationals in Daytona Beach, and U.S. Finals Champions at the U.S. Finals in Pensacola! Miss Marie graduated from Protégé Academy of Cosmetology in December of 2011, and is currently working at Salon Blush in Holt. On July 31, 2010, Miss Marie married her husband, Brian.  They welcomed their son, Riley Walker, on November 4, 2015 and Kinley in November 2017.

Marie Savala 2015

Jenna Spalsbury

Miss Jenna Spalsbury has been part of the Rising Star Family for 27 years. Her dance career with Rising Star started at just 4 years old. Over her career Jenna danced with the Elite competition group as well as the Starlettes, and competed for many years all over Michigan. After high school Jenna graduated from Excel Academy of Cosmetology, and worked as a licensed cosmetologist for over 8 years in East Lansing. During this time she also attended Lansing Community College, and graduated magna cum laude while earning her associates degree in business. Miss Jenna continued to assist, teach, and dance competitively at Rising Star, and was named the 2011 Tremaine Dancer of the Year. In 2014, she moved to California and completed an intensive dance program at International Dance Academy in downtown Hollywood. Miss Jenna has come back to Michigan to start a family of her own, and is thrilled to once again have the opportunity to teach and share her passion for dance this season with her Rising Star family!

Jenna Spalsbury 2019

Sarah (Falsetta) Wohlfert

Miss Sarah Falsetta has been dancing at Rising Star for 22 years, assisting for several years, and is so excited to begin her 7th year as a teacher! Miss Sarah has studied dance with the studio since she was 5 years old and was a member of competition jazz/acro and the Starlettes Company. She also took part in the Starlettes flash mob commercial for CATA's Clean Commute program. After graduating in 2010, she went on to study at Oakland University and Lansing Community College until deciding to attend the Michigan School of Canine Cosmetology in 2016 and graduated in 2017 with her license in professional dog grooming. Upon graduating Miss Sarah has recently opened up her own mobile grooming business, Sarah's Pup Paradise Mobile Grooming Spa! When she's not focused on her love for dogs and dancing, she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and six animals, and always looks forward to a new adventure or project to get her hands on! Although her life has taken her on many different paths, her love for dance has never wandered far, and she is so enthusiastic to share her passion for dance with her students this year!

Sarah Falsetta 2013

Assistant Teachers

Left to Right: Elizabeth, Cristy, Ellie N., Bella, Abbey, Travis, Kelly, Annalise, Ellie S., Lexie, Katlyn

Not pictured: Bailey and Chloe

Saturday, June 06, 2020