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 Shari True - Director


Ms. Shari True started her own dance academy, True Dance & Co., in Lincoln in 1980, and has since provided instruction in classical ballet, jazz, Pointe, lyrical and tap to countless area youth. In 1985, she helped form Ballet Midwest Dance Company (now Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company) in order to give young dancers the opportunity to perform in major works of classical ballet. 


Ms. True is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with degrees in Children's Education and Dance. She was a member of the Orchesis Dance Ensemble, UNL Flag and Dance Corps, and Nebraska Dance Ensemble in Classical Ballet. She danced in Ballet Omaha's production of The Nutcracker for five years and was assistant choreographer of the Lincoln Community Playhouse production of The Nutcracker in 1982 and 1983. She has been on staff with Ballet West Summer Dance Camp in Colorado and the St. Louis Ballet. Ms. True wrote and choreographed an original ballet entitled The Crystal Slippers, which premiered in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1993. In 1994, it was performed by the Chamberlain Ballet Company in Dallas. Ms. True has taught master ballet classes in Denver, Dallas and Kansas City. She and six of her students studied in New York City at Broadway Dance Center.


Ms. True has choreographed for Pinewood Bowl's productions of Hello DollyCarousel and for the Pinewood Players. In 1985, she danced with Academy West, Rolland DuPree, and taught for Act III Studio in West Hollywood. Ms. True had the delightful opportunity to appear in Universal Studio's movieTo Wong Foo with a speaking part as the dance teacher. She choreographs for UNL's Scarlett and Cream singers under the direction of Paula Bach. Shari and her competitive team travel nationally and hold many prestigious awards. She welcomes students of all ages, who have the desire to study all genres of dance. 

 Ashley Durst


Ashley Durst grew up dancing at True Dance & Company and is excited to be a part of the teaching faculty this year. Born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, she was a ten-year member with the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company, performing roles such as Snow Queen, Spain and Clara. She has spent summers studying with the American Ballet Theatre, the American Academy of Ballet, and the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company. In high school Ashley was a member of the True Dance & Company competition team in which she earned numerous awards and scholarships. In 2005 she was Nebraska’s Junior Miss, and in 2009 was Miss Central Nebraska where she placed in the top eight at Miss Nebraska. She is still very active in the pageant world judging and coaching dancers for pageants.


Ashley attended the University of Nebraska for one year where she was a member of Scarlet’s Dance Team. She transferred to Oklahoma City University where she received her Bachelors and Masters degree in Dance Performance and Dance Teaching. While in Oklahoma she taught and choreographed for numerous dance studios throughout the state, including judging and teaching for Dance Masters of America Dance Convention. At Oklahoma City University she was a member of the American Spirit Dance Company, in which she toured with the company serving as the company representative. She also danced on the school’s Pep dance team, Liturgical Dance Team, and spent a summer as a dancer in the Oklahoma City Theme Park Production Shows. Post graduation Ashley spent eight months dancing and traveling with Carnival Cruise Lines as a dancer in their Production Shows. In the fall Ashley will be teaching dance part time at Creighton University as well as teaching dance at True Dance & Company.

 McKenzie Dosch


Miss McKenzie Dosch grew up dancing at True Dance & Co from the time she was 2 years old. She was born and raised in Lincoln, NE and attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, graduating in 2015 with a bachelors in Elementary Education. She began teaching TDC's tiniest dancers in 2011, and has truly built our Academy Classes to be what they are today. Her curriculum and lesson plan development over the years has become second to none and because of that, our young children's program is absolutely thriving! In the Summer of 2022 Miss McKenzie was promoted to TDC's Academy Director where she now leads our team of Academy teachers to be the best they can be! 



In addition to dance, Miss McKenzie also owns, directs, and teaches at True Knowledge Preschool, located within the TDC building. Working with small children and preparing them for life beyond her classroom is truly her greatest passion and talent. All of Miss McKenzie's graduating pre-k students know how to spell & write their name, count to 30+, and read 3-4 letter words before going on to attend Kindergarten. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about True Knowledge Preschool, please visit

Molly Cardenas

Molly Cardenas grew up in Lincoln and was a graduate of Lincoln East High School. Throughout her middle and high school years, Molly trained at True Dance and Company, and is so happy that she is still able to be a part of the True family, now as faculty.

While growing up, Molly enjoyed participating in the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company’s, The Nutcracker, for several years, as well as being a company member. During the summer, Molly participated in the Joffrey Ballet School’s summer intensive program in New York City, receiving scholarships for both her Junior and Senior years in high school. Upon graduation, Molly began her teaching career at a studio in Norfolk, NE, where she was introduced to the performance group, “Up With People.” Molly auditioned and was accepted to become a member of Up With People, in which she traveled internationally for a year, performing over 100 shows in 11 different countries, all while staying with host families and participating in community service projects all over the world. It was a very special and cherished year.

Upon return from tour in 1999, Molly became a member of the IFL and AFL2 Indoor Football League’s dance teams from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, Molly and her husband, Jerry, welcomed their first of three children. And, for nearly the last 20 years, Molly has enjoyed teaching dance in Lincoln and the surrounding area, and is grateful to be able to share her love of dance.

Olivia Lempka

Olivia Lempka has danced since age of three and danced competitively for nine years. She was an integral part of TDC's award winning competition team, and in TDC's dance program for 5 years. Olivia was also a company member of the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company's performance and danced in the Nutcracker for 5 years. Throughout high school, Olivia was a member of LSW Emerald's dance team.  She was captain both her junior and senior year of LSW. Olivia has taught for True Dance & Company bringing her time talent and passion to the students at TDC assisting and teaching the past two years. Olivia assists TDC with office managerial tasks throughout the summer and fall.  

Olivia is currently a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is studying biological sciences, with a minor in leadership & communications. She is on a Pre-PA (Physician's Assistant) track, and will hopefully attend graduate school after her four years at UNL in 2025. On campus, Olivia is a member of the Nebraska Scarlets dance team, involved in Alpha Phi sorority, and a mentor with the NHRI program.

Avery Lewis

Avery Lewis began her dance training at the very early age of 18 months under the direction of Dance Studio 111 in Phoenix, AZ. Avery grew up as a trained competitive dancer and performed all genres of dance. She has trained under many of the noteable Industry leaders including, Brian Friedman, Talia Favia, Chaz Buzan, Sloane Taylor-Rabinor, Lacey Schwimmer, and Miles Kenney. Avery's opportunities led her on to win several National Titles with reputable companies, such as, NRG National Apprentice, Adrenaline senior dancer, Revive senior dancer, and a Radix Core Performer. Avery has an extensive ballroom background and was chosen in 2019, as the youngest member, of Lacey Schwimmer's Ballroom group, "Femme Forte", which went on to qualify for a World of Dance audition!


Avery's accolades can be attributed to a ballet background, and just like those dancers here in Lincoln, she grew up performing in The Nutcracker Ballet. She danced the roles of Clara, Sugarplum Fairy, and Snow Queen, to name a few, for the Ahwatukee Foothills Ballet Company. Her stage appearances also include notable roles in The Wizard of Oz, Beauty of the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Shrek The Musical, Frozen and The Descendants. Not only did Avery perform in The Descendants, but utilizing her award winning choreography talents, she set this musical piece as well!


During high school, Avery expanded her dance experience to become a member of her competitive high school dance team. As team captain her senior year, she led the team to a State Championship in both the Hip Hop and Jazz divisions. 


Avery's love for dance has led her to the University of Nebraska where she is now a 3rd year leader for the Husker Scarlet Dance Team. She is currently a broadcast journalism major and a member of Chi Omega sorority. She takes great joy in instructing dancers at True in multiple genres, and being able to provide creative choreography for members of the prestigious TDC team.  

Emma Lollman

Miss Emma is excited for another year of teaching at True Dance and Company. Emma began dancing at the age of three and spent 15 years studying ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop at a local studio. She began competitive dance at the age of eight and won numerous scholarships and awards while competing at the regional and national level. She was honored to place in the top 20 for senior soloists at Spotlight Nationals in her final season of competitive dance. Emma danced two years in the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker, in the roles of Big Mouse and Russian Background. She was a two-year member of the Waverly High School Dance team. As a Dance Major at UNL, Emma has been selected to perform in several student choreographed pieces in the Annual Student Dance Project.
Teaching dance has been a passion of Emma’s for many years. While in high school, she worked as an Assistant Dance Teacher at a local studio for 4 years. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, working towards a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance. Emma is looking forward to another amazing year of dancing with her students at True Dance and Company.

Morgan Means

Morgan was born and raised in Lincoln and has been dancing since she was 4 years old. She began her dance career at a local studio in Lincoln and have been trained in ballet, pointe, tap and jazz. Morgan graduated high school from Lincoln Southwest where she was a member of the cheerleading team for 4 years. After high school, she attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a proud member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She graduated with her bachelors degree in elementary education.


She is currently beginning her first year teaching first grade within Lincoln Public Schools. She has a strong ability for working with kids of all ages and can’t wait to share her passion for dance with them too!

Emily Nolte

Miss Emily is so excited to be teaching at the studio she grew up at! She began dancing at the age of 3 at TDC under the direction of Ms. Shari True. She graduated from the TDC program as one of our best students. She was a diligent learner, and excellent at all forms of dance! Miss Shari & Miss Emily had many wonderful years together as teacher and student. She spent 5 years teaching all forms of dance during college and Nursing school. She has worked in healthcare as a CNA and RN for 10 years before deciding to focus her time on family. Emily is married and has 3 children and is very excited to be able to teach at her childhood studio as well as watch her own daughter follow in her footsteps and grow as a TDC student! We are so happy to have her on our TDC staff!

Megan Beals

TDC is excited to announce Miss Megan Beals as our new strength/ flexibility/ tumbling coach! Megan grew up as a competitive gymnast, winning numerous awards, medals and scholarships. She has coached gymnastics, tumbling, flexibility & cheer for over 9 years. Her background also includes massage therapy. Megan loves to coach, researching the best possible ways to provide results in strength, flexibility & tumbling for dancers. Coaching is her passion and she loves helping children reach their goals and push past barriers while doing it in a safe way - yay for new equipment! We are so proud to have Megan join our TDC staff and help our competitive dancers! Welcome Miss Megan!

Haley Kotopka

We are also excited to announce Miss Haley Kotopka as a new Academy teacher! Haley is a Lincoln native and a graduate of Pius X High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Haley began dancing at the age of five at a local studio and since then has trained in the areas of ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, and contemporary, competing and earning awards for excellence in these areas. Haley also danced as a part of the Pius X Dance Team. Haley went on to become a member of the Scarlets Dance Team at the University of Nebraska for two years. Following college, Haley worked as an elementary school teacher for several years before making the switch to staying home with her three children. Haley also worked for several years as the assistant dance team coach and later the head coach for the Pius X Thunderettes Dance team. Haley is so happy to have the opportunity to return to the classroom but this time teaching dance, which has always held such a big piece of her heart. 

Emma Luci

We are excited to announce Miss Emma Luci as an assistant to many of our classes at TDC! Emma is a current senior at UNL and member of the Husker Scarlets Dance Team. She was previously, on the Lincoln East Apollonaires Dance Team and is a graduated student of TDC with many years of experience in competitions and conventions as well as being well-rounded in her dance training styles over the years. Emma was also a member of the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company for 10 years and a cast member in their production of The Nutcracker over many years - including her roll as Clara. This will be Emma’s first year teaching at TDC and she is so excited to be back at the studio!!!

Bekah Kehr

Bio coming soon!

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Anna Knouse - Assistant to the Director

Bio coming soon!

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