GDSC Staff

Our experienced and professionally-trained staff teaches beginning-to-advanced & competition-level classes to students who are ages two and older. Review our programs and classes on our About page.

Thank you for your patience as we add new instructors and update bios.

Brandi & Sean Nichols, Owners

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Sean and Brandi Nichols have lived in Bend since 2009, and during that time, got married, had three children, and finished up a few degrees: Brandi–a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in teaching from George Fox University; Sean–a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Oregon State University.

Sean has years of experience in several industries, including hospitality management, construction, golf course maintenance, general landscape maintenance and irrigation. In addition to assisting his wife own and operate GDSC, Sean is also the proud owner of Nichols Landscape Maintenance!

Before entrepreneurship, Brandi gained experience as a writer working for a couple of local magazines (1859 Oregon’s Magazine and Central Oregon Magazine), as well as a teacher substituting for the Bend La Pine School District.

When Brandi and Sean are not working, they’re busy raising their 3 daughters–Penelope, Charlie and Winnie. Family time currently looks like long drives through the countryside, walks on the river trail and visits to their hometown, Newport, Oregon. Golf and snowboarding, their two favorite sports, are on the back-burner until their children can handle a golf cart and chair lift.

Brandi and Sean are ecstatic to be entering into their fifth year as new owners of Gotta Dance Studio & Company!

Brandi Nichols, Owner & Instructor

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Brandi began her journey at Dance & All That Jazz (DAATJ) in Newport, Oregon at age 7. She focused on tap, but then progressed to jazz and ballet shortly thereafter. While at DAATJ, she became a “T.J. Hoofer”–a coveted position for dancers in the area–and studied under master dancers J.T. Horenstein, New York Broadway Dance Center instructor, and Bill Prudich, Edge Performing Arts Center Executive Director. She attended several L.A. Dance Force (LADF) conventions in Washington, which lead to a showcase piece, and a silver medal for Tap 4’s advanced tap number. She then received the privilege to teach at DAATJ as a student instructor. Along with dancing and teaching 10+ hours a week, she delved into a bit of local theater and landed the leading role of “Sandy” in Grease her senior year of high school.

After high school, Brandi ventured from her small town of Newport to Australia, where she spent an entire summer building life-long relationships. She then moved to southern California where she studied jazz, tap, and West Coast Swing at the University of San Diego. One and a half years (studying communications at USD) and six months (at Universita’ Cattolica in Milan, Italy) later, Brandi relocated to Eugene, Oregon. There, she finished her bachelor’s degree in journalism and Italian at the University of Oregon and found time to attend tap, jazz and West African dance classes—the latter quickly becoming one of her favorite dance genres.

A marriage proposal landed her in Bend, where she found her forever dance home Gotta Dance Studio & Company in 2011. Since then, she’s been instructing tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, Bollywood and West African. She even managed to buy the business in 2016!

Dee Dee Burzynski, Instructor

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Dee Dee Burzynski is a well-rounded and prestigious instructor. Her instruction focuses on dancer technique, skill- and performance-quality development. With her background, she is very conscientious and proactive about teaching her students proper technique and body mechanics for injury prevention.

She began her dance training at the age of 8 with Chitwood Studio of Dance in Roseburg, Oregon, where she studied classical ballet, pointe, jazz and tap. She continued her professional training with Pacific Northwest Ballet; Keith Martin Ballet; San Francisco Ballet; and Marin Ballet.

For the past 25 years Dee Dee has been an instructor of Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Progressions, Contemporary, Jazz, Pre-ballet and Pas de Deux. Several of her students have been accepted by professional ballet training programs including: Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joffrey, Anaheim Ballet & Oregon Ballet Theatre.  She is also a regional award winning competition choreographer. She has choreographed for numerous dance and theater productions, recitals, competitions and events, including :  Blue sky’s Choreographer Series, Sara Fisher Breast Cancer Benefit, Ubiquitous Dance Company; Cascades Theatrical Company; Jazz Dance Collective; Obsidian Opera Company; Seven Peaks Elementary; Bend High School; Summit High School; Gotta Dance Studio; Terpsichorean Dance studio; Terpsichorean Dance Company and The Vibe Dance Center.

Dee Dee is a strong advocate in expanding the opportunities for dancers and the art of dance in the Central Oregon area.  She spearheaded bringing MODAS dance workshop to Central Oregon.  She has served as the past president and board member of Bend Dance Project (BDP) and the founder and past director of Ubiquitous Dance Company (UDC).  Both BDP and UDC’s are nonprofit 501c3 contemporary dance companies with the mission to provide opportunities for local dancers to perform, to provide opportunities for choreographers to create new dances using local dancers, and to use dance performance to benefit local artistic, charitable and educational causes. Dee Dee is currently an instructor and choreographer with Gotta Dance studio & Company.  November 2019, Dee Dee will work with the Moscow Ballet’s audition/casting/rehearsal director for Moscow Ballet’s traveling production of the Nutcracker for Central Oregon area.

Ashley Gaona, Instructor

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Ashley Elizabeth Gaona (a.k.a. A.G.) was born and raised in Bend, Oregon. In elementary school, she discovered a love for music when she took part in daily music lessons and yearly plays. Ashley was involved in the Youth Choir of Central Oregon, jazz choir in middle and high school, and started taking hip hop classes at Gotta Dance Studio and Company in 2001. In college, she studied music education and conducting at Central Oregon Community College, joined chorale and jazz choir, and sang in 3 productions of the Obsidian Opera.

Her focus soon switched to dance when an assisting opportunity presented itself, and she never looked back.

Ashley attends dance conventions and competitions each year, and has studied with Poppin’ Pete, Mr. Wiggles, Nappytabs, Brian Friedman, Luther Brown, Phi, Rhapsody and Dave Scott just to name a few.

She has been a dancer for Dirtball, the Hot Shots, Globetrotters and Lady Dice.

Ashley choreographed a video called “Beer, Wreck, and Tech” in 2015 to highlight all the wonderful aspects of Central Oregon. She has choreographed dances from weddings to bachelorette parties, and kids birthdays to local school plays.

Currently, Ashley teaches at Gotta Dance Studio and Company, Dance Arts Unlimited and Sisters Dance Academy, and welcomes any dance opportunity that comes her way.

“There is nothing better in this world than spreading the joy of dance. I truly love what I do. I have the best job in the world,” says Ashley.

Favorite dance quote:

“Do it big, do it right, and do it with style.”–Fred Astaire

Lindsi Kay, Instructor

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You can usually find her upside down! It’s hard for Lindsi to keep her feet on the ground. She’s unapologetically passionate…an outspoken, energetic, multi-tasking movement artist, who currently specializes in a mixture of acrobatics, yoga and dance. Her students span all ages and skill levels. Some practice movement arts with her as a lifestyle, and others train to perform and compete. As both an instructor and a performer, Lindsi can’t help but intertwine fitness and dance in her teachings, as she believes they are both crucial for creativity, technique and safety.

Lindsi specializes in dynamic partner acrobatics, a cirque-style approach to acrobatic dance. She is at home in the air, a natural flyer who has taken balance arts to a whole new level by training acrobatic technique on another person—as opposed to the earth.

Her current teaching schedule is packed with movement disciplines such as aerial yoga, hoop dance, acroyoga, arm balancing, inversions and dance classes that blend all of these specialties into one.

Apart from her role as a movement instructor in the Bend community, Lindsi is also an entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Slackrobats Academy, an online teaching resource for extreme yogis, acrobats and slackliners. She also serves as editor for the Slackrobats blog and manages it’s online communities. But there’s more to Lindsi than movement! She’s also the founder of Best Gluten Free Beers, a blog which educates and informs thirsty Celiacs about their growing access to gluten-free beers.

Lindsi grew up in Bend, after moving here from the east coast at a young age. She received her B.S. from the University of Oregon, where she studied a myriad of topics including marketing, management, American Sign Language, landscape architecture and communications. Bend now acts as a home base for her as she fosters her addiction to travel. Lindsi has been traveling her whole life and has spent significant time in both Central and South America, Europe and Southeast Asia. The travel bug is strong in this one–each year she spends anywhere from 1-3 months abroad, traveling to a new location each year.

Lindsi’s passion for life and movement is contagious, and she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to share it with the Gotta Dance family.

You can learn more about Lindsi on her website www.LindsiKay.com.

Ashley Potts, Instructor

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Ashley’s (a.k.a. A.P.) dance journey didn’t begin until her junior year of high school when she began dancing for the Varsity Dance Team and continued on to Varsity Cheerleading. She then started her instructing career teaching for Bend High’s Dance Team in 2004, followed by Gotta Dance Studio & Company in 2005.

During her 11 years teaching for Gotta Dance, she trained in a variety of different styles and with a variety of  choreographers, including Tony Testa, Kevin Maher and Nappytabs (her all-time favorite) just to name a few!

In 2008, A.P. became the lead instructor for Gotta Dance Studio & Company’s Senior Hip Hop Crew, taking home awards, including first place and highest overall score.

In 2009, Ashley traveled to Europe to teach in Warsaw and Keubjek, Poland for 3 weeks. She also got to train with Storm, one of the most amazing pop ‘n lock dancers/instructors Europe has to offer! During her trip, she co-choreographed a Levi’s Jeans commercial with instructor and choreographer, Paul Zajek.

Ashley is excited to share her high-energy style and love of dance with students, and hopes to help them embrace humor, style and creativity.

Nancy Scher, Instructor

Nancy grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her wise parents placed her in tap and ballet classes at age 6, “because she wouldn’t stop moving.” In the 1970’s, she attended The Julliard School where she studied ballet with Anthony Tudor and Alfredo Corvino, and Modern dance with members of the Martha Graham Company and The Jose Limon Company, as well as the formidable Anna Sokolow, who Nancy credits as her first “acting” teacher.

Nancy was trained as a contemporary dancer, although in those days it was called Modern. She worked in the burgeoning avant-garde Dance Theater world of NYC in the late ’60’s to end of the 70’s with such diverse notables as Barbara Roan and Meredith Monk.

Always interested in providing meaning behind her movement, Nancy added acting training when she moved to the west coast and began to stage, choreograph and perform in musical theater and cabarets. She lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, working in professional theater, TV and movies.

Nancy moved to Bend in 2006, and after a few years, joined the local theater community, performing at 2nd St. Theater in the musicals Working and Company and the “immersive theater” production, Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche.

She has directed and choreographed World Goes ‘Round, and choreographed Reefer Madness. She has taught theater and movement classes and directed shows for BEAT, which has given her the opportunity to bring out the best in each student.

Nancy is also a certified Pilates instructor, Feldenkrais practitioner and compulsive crocheter.

Fode Sylla, Instructor

Fode Sylla is a dynamic drummer, dancer and performance artist from Conakry, Guinea, who specializes in traditional West African drum and dance. Fode received circus arts training at the esteemed Centre d’art acrobatique KEITA Fodéba (TINAFAN) from 2005-2007. He is a master of West African Rhythms, having performed with the nationally renowned Ballet Mervielle de Guinea as well as Amoussou, an Ivory Coast dance troupe.

Fode was recognized for his talents in 2007 and recruited to perform in the United States with UniverSoul Circus, America’s premiere multicultural circus. Fode thrilled thousands in the U.S. and abroad with his dynamic and explosive acrobatic, breakdancing and aerialist routines.

In 2010, he joined Canadian-based circus Cavalia Odysseo and performed at large arenas all over North America. Over the past 5 years, Fode has performed in many festivals including the Oregon Country Fair, as well as offering demonstrations- and audience-participation events coast to coast and in Hawaii.

In 2017, Fode travelled to the University of Rochester in New York to perform with Mounafanyi’s percussion and dance ensemble sponsored by the Humanities Project. For the past two years Fode has taught dance classes for adults and youth nationwide. He is a standing guest artist at MiniGuinea Dance and Drum Camp on Vashon Island, Camp Fareta in California, and Camp Saamato in Seattle where he also performs with the African Allstars. Additionally, in 2018 he became a member of Bolokada Conde’s Ballet Manden in North Carolina.

Today, Fode continues to perform nationally and teaches weekly dance and drum classes for students of all ages and levels at various locations including at Denbaya Studio and Flex Studio in Eugene. Fode has a dedicated family of students and he is a gifted musician, dancer, choreographer and teacher.

Cari Erickson, Substitute

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Bio coming soon.

Kayla Turpin, Substitute

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Kayla has been dancing since age three and has been trained in lyrical, jazz, ballet, tap, and Acro. From 2015-2017 she taught ballet, lyrical and jazz to various age groups. She has traveled to perform in many different places such as Disneyland, Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver.

For five years, Kayla has been competitively dancing and has attended conventions at Velocity, Hollywood Vibe, Radix, Jump, and Spotlight. She has had the privilege of taking class from Tyce Diorio, Kent Boyd, Dee Caspary, Tessandra Chavez, Mandy Moore and Ade.

Kayla trained in gymnastics at Oregon Gymnastics Academy, Central Oregon Gymnastics Academy and at Gotta Dance under Charlene for Acro.

Jessica Zacharias, Substitute

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Jessica Zacharias was raised in the tall mountains of Western Montana where she studied ballet from the age of three to eighteen and went on to earn both dance and psychology degrees from the University of Montana.

Miss Jessica spent the last six years in Kansas City, cultivating a well-rounded repertoire in teaching adults and children many different styles of dance. Her passion for movement, teaching, and health and wellness have found a solid expression in both practicing and teaching yoga.

She adores being barefoot outside, bright colors, and is quite excited to continue her passion in Bend.