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. This year marks Ms. True's 34th season to choreograph The Nutcracker 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 Dolly, Carousel 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 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.
Betsy Andersen began dancing at age three. Her training is in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical and contemporary, but her main love is ballet! Betsy danced with the Lincoln City Ballet Company from 1987-1989 in Peter and the Wolf and The Wizard of Oz. She has danced with the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company since 1989 and has performed for more than 20 years in The Nutcracker. Betsy was a Company Member for five years and has also performed in LMBC productions of Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, and Festival of Dancers. She attended numerous LMBC summer programs and was accepted to the Colorado Ballet summer dance program.
Betsy is a LMBC Rehearsal Assistant (1996-1999) and 2010 to present. She was an advanced ballet student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the direction of Dr. Lisa Fuscillo. She was awarded a ballet scholarship, appeared in University dance performances and was selected to dance with Opera Omaha.
Betsy taught dance in Omaha for ten years. Her choreography won top honors, finishing in the top three at the Hall of Fame Nationals in Chicago in 2010. She danced with the Omaha Modern Dance Collective and continued her ballet training in Omaha under the direction of the late Mary Waugh-Taylor. She has also danced with the Lincoln Contemporary Dance Project. Ms. Betsy has a BSBA from UNL in Human Resource Management with minors in History and Dance and attended graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. We are happy to have Betsy and her vast experience, knowledge, and talent to share with the students at True Dance & Company!
Kaitlyn Schulenberg has been blessed to have had the experience of training with Ms. Shari True and her faculty in ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, and tap since the age of three. She has attended multiple conventions with the True Dance & Company competition team, winning scholarships from NYCDA, Adrenaline, West Coast Dance Explosion, NUVO, and Jump. Kaitlyn has also been in 10 performances of the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company Nutcracker, and the spring ballets of Snow White and Cinderella. Kaitlyn continued her love for dance at the University of Nebraska as a member of the Scarlets Dance Team for the past four years. Kaitlyn will be finishing her degree at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln this Fall and is excited to soon be pursing her passion of educating students as an Elementary School Teacher. "True Dance & Company will always hold a huge portion of my heart. It has given me many opportunity to grow not only as a dancer, but as a person as well. I will take many of the life skills I’ve learned and friendships I’ve made at True with me for the rest of my life."
As an Elementary Education major at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Miss True especially enjoys working with the youngest, and most delicate, members of True Dance & Company. She teaches the Creative Movement classes for the young boys and girls, as well as pre-school ballet and tap. McKenzie danced under the direction of her mother for 14 years. An avid horse lover, she has raised horses and competed with them on a national scale for many years. She holds the title of World Horsemanship - 2011 World Pinto Show. McKenzie is the director of True Knowlege preschool located at True Dance and Company.