Meet Our Staff

"We Aspire to Inspire"

Melissa Poulsen (Owner, Artistic Director & Instructor) -    


          Miss Melissa has been surrounded by dance for 32 years by, performing, competing, attending conventions, teaching, choreographing or taking classes. Melissa studied Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop locally for 17 years. When she went to college at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL she continued to study Ballet and Jazz, she also expanded her dance education to Modern. While attending WIU, Melissa was asked to teach and choreograph for Dana’s Dance and Tumbling Studio in Macomb. Melissa taught Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical and Competition dance team for two years. As a teacher and choreographer locally and in Macomb, Melissa has received a Top Teacher Award in 2004, two Top Choreography awards in 2005 and another Top Choreography award in 2006. Her choreography for the Express Yourself Competition Team at Expressions  has won many outstanding awards in the past 11 years including winning an outstanding choreography award at Nationals in 2017, this award was given to one dance out of almost 1,000 dances that week. Melissa graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management in May of 2006 and established Expressions of the Quad Cities Dance Academy in October 2006. In her free time she loves to scrapbook, go bowling, watch movies and spend time with her friends and family. Melissa currently resides in Bettendorf with her husband Kyle and their daughters Reagan (6) and Haidyn (3).


Carlie Allen (Student Assistant) - COMING SOON


Caroline Carlson (Student Assistant) - COMING SOON


Aubrey Clayton (Instructor) -  


           Miss Aubrey is a professional ballet dancer with over seven years of performing, teaching, and choreographic experience. She began her dance training at various ballet schools including Cullman Ballet Theatre School, the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and Bossov Ballet in Pittsfield, Maine. Highlights of her training years include Master Classes in St. Petersburg, Russia with Gennady Selyutsky & Lyubov Kunakova, performing at the Estrada Theatre during the 2009 International Ballet Festival, and receiving a remunatory award for creating, producing, and staging three contemporary ballet pieces performed at Maine Central Institute.

In 2010, Aubrey joined Nashville Ballet as a trainee and was elevated to a company apprentice in 2015.  Under the direction of Paul Vasterling, Aubrey enjoyed performing in works such as Carmina Burana, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake, Dracula, role of Spanish in The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Seasons, and Something Wicked. She also had the opportunity to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. where the Nashville Ballet made its debut appearance performing The Ben Folds Project as a part of the Ballet Across America series.                                 

In 2017 Aubrey joined Ballet Quad Cities as a full fledged company member and has had the honor of performing the lead role of Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker. With BQC, Aubrey has taught ballet history and basic ballet steps and combinations through outreach programs in Davenport, Rock Island/Milan, and Muscatine school districts. 

When she is not dancing or teaching, Aubrey enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She is excited to be apart of the Expressions staff!


Emma Curtis (Student Assistant) - COMING SOON


Lyn Lear (Instructor) - COMING SOON


Cheyenne Morton (Instructor) -   


          Miss Cheyenne has been dancing for the past sixteen years, starting at the age of five. She trained for thirteen years at Dorothy’s Dancing Unlimited, her home studio back in the Chicago Northwest suburbs. At Dorothy’s, she studied tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop and musical theatre. In 2012, Miss Cheyenne began teaching at Dorothy’s at only fifteen years old; she taught intro classes (3-5 years), creative classes (5-7 year olds), and beginner level classes (7-8 years). In 2015, Miss Cheyenne graduated high school and began studying at Augustana College across the river. At Augustana, Miss Cheyenne was a part of Dance Company for two years and also participated on the Vikettes Pom team. She is now in her senior year of college, majoring in Elementary Education, and currently student teaching in the Bettendorf school district. Miss Cheyenne joined the Expressions family in 2017 where most of her classes are tap, and she is ecstatic to start her second year working with their supportive staff and passionate students! In her free time, Miss Cheyenne enjoys watching movies, drinking coffee, reading, and going on outdoor adventures with friends.


Karleigh Nading (Student Assistant) - COMING SOON


Jennifer Palar (Instructor) -  


          Miss Jennifer has been involved with dance for 31 years and still loves it!  She studied ballet, jazz, tap, and tumbling at different studios across the Midwest and continued to study ballet and jazz in college.  To Miss Jennifer dance has been so important that she began to study and learn about how to best train the body for optimal performance.  This led her in 2002 to start teaching group exercise in yoga, Pilates, boxing, kickboxing, step, salsa, and strength training.  After receiving a call from Miss Melissa, someone with whom she danced in junior high and high school, about a new studio she was opening she started teaching at Expressions in 2008 until she moved to pursue an educational opportunity in 2012.  After finishing her doctorate in 2016 she moved back to the Quad Cities and is so excited to be part of the Expressions staff again!  When she is not teaching dance or tumbling she is teaching college students at Augustana.  In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.  Miss Jennifer is a certified tumbling instructor and teaches twirling tots, tumbling tots, combo 5&6, tumbling 5&6, ballet level one, ballet level two, ballet level three, conditioning level one, and conditioning level two. 


Melissa Sandau (Instructor) - COMING SOON


Telly Skahill (Instructor) - COMING SOON


Nic Stader (Instructor) - COMING SOON


Kristin Stewart (Instructor & Office Staff) -   


          Miss Kristin grew up in State Center,IA. She graduated from West Marshall High School. She’s been dancing for over 30 plus years and she’s going into her 12th year of teaching. She started dancing at the age of 4 from Kim Knox through the YMCA in Marshalltown. She’s competed with her dance studio and attended many dance conventions. Her background includes ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, tap and modern. While in high school Miss Kristin was on the football and basketball cheerleading squads all 4 years and performed in their half time shows. She was the captain of the football and basketball cheer teams her sophomore and junior years. Senior year she was co-captain of both teams. After graduating high school, she attended Marshalltown Community College for 2 years and still continued her dance training. Then transferred to Iowa State University in 2003, which is where she obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree in Performing Arts with an emphasis in Dance and graduated in the Fall of 2006. While at Iowa State she was part of a modern dance group called Orchesis II from 2003-2004. Where she performed and choreographed many of the shows, which included Footfalls, Images of Dance and the Madrigal Dinner. In 2004 she auditioned for Orchesis I and became a member from 2004-2006. As a member she performed in Style, Attitude and Class (SAC), Barjche and our Spring show. In 2006 Miss Kristin along with another dancer choreographed a piece for our Barjche show and that spring she choreographed a piece for our Spring show. In 2004 she performed in the Scholarship Benefit Concert, which the money raised goes to a dance student. In 2006 she helped and choreographed the Senior Show. As a member of Orchesis I, she served 2 terms as our Historian from 2004-2006. While being a member she’s participated in the annual North-Central American College Dance Festival were she’s performed in their GALAs and informal performances. While attending the festivals she’s taken classes from various instructors ranging from African jazz, musical theatre, tap, modern, jazz and ballet. In 2007 Miss Kristin moved to the Quad Cities, in which she accepted a dance instructor position at a local dance studio and worked as an administrative assistant. While there I taught ages 2-18 and tumbling ages 3-12. In 2009 she was asked to choreograph a lyrical solo for one of the competition girls. She won many awards from our area competitions. In 2014 Miss Kristin accepted a dance instructor/administrative assistant position here at Expressions. She’s currently starting her fifth year with the studio and teaches mostly the Tutu Tots, Twirling Tots and Tumbling Tots classes. In 2017 she became a certified tumbling instructor after taking some classes through QC Dance Network called Tumble Effect. On top of teaching she has a full-time job working at Blackhawk Bank and Trust. In my spare time when she’s not working or choreographing she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, going to the movies, reading and scrapbooking.