Setting high standards for excellence in our faculty starts at the very top. That's why for 45 years, Miss Linda's has strived to bring the young dancers in our community the best possible instructional experts around to create enduring experiences for every student.
Linda Fuller, better known as "Miss Linda," began studying as a young girl at Virginia Maupin’s Dance Studio in Minot, ND and has been dancing ever since. She has become a staple in the Great Falls and Montana arts communities as a performer, instructor and advocate of the arts. Performing work includes percussionist in University and Municipal bands, former member Great Falls Symphony; dancer in Mod Moms and ‘Lectric Ladies companies; theater roles Annie (Miss Hannigan), Anything Goes (Bonnie), Sweet Charity (Charity), Mame (Gootch), Sound of Music (Mother Superior).
Linda has choreographed for concerts, fully staged theatrical productions, cabarets, revues, school shows and more including local Dancing with the Stars, Marie Osmond’s Meet Me in Montana tour, Oklahoma!, The Music Man and 39 years of Miss Linda’s Spring Productions. She has served on the Montana Arts Education Council, Montana Dance Arts Association Board, and numerous committees and groups supporting and developing all arts in Montana.
Linda is co-founder of the Dorothy Monagin Music Endowment, a music scholarship program supporting Montana kids, and co-produced the very successful Big Band Broadcast last year at the Mansfield Theater. Linda has a BS in English from Minot State University in ND and holds teaching certifications in dance from Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America, James A. Rozanas method for gymnastics and tumbling, Mary Mayta Aerobics and Kelopecz Pilates.
Her passion for the performing arts and their benefits to people of all ages is what drives Linda to make sure anyone wanting to explore their creative side or expand their imagination can do so at Miss Linda's.
Sarah Dassinger comes to Miss Linda’s from Kansas where she trained in Cecchetti ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop. She has competed and received national awards in jazz and hip-hop from Co.Dance (Paula Abdul), Tremaine and West Coast Dance Explosion. Sarah has performed with Bowery Dancers and Topeka Ballet Ensemble where she performed Les Sylphide, Fantasia Corrette, LaBoutique Fantasque, Missione A Bombay and others.
Sarah is a graduate of Drake University and while there she taught and directed their Dance Team. She will be teaching ballet, jazz, hip-hop and contemporary as well as directing the Great Falls Ballet Ensemble and co-directing the Young Dancers Company. She served as Secretary on the Montanan Dance Arts Association board and is currently Treasurer, she is a wonderful addition to our dance family.
Wendy Masterson is a talented and sought-after master teacher, somatic practitioner, arts administrator and movement specialist with over 35 years of experience. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Dance, is a certified BMCSM Practitioner, a Somatic & Infant Developmental Movement Educator, is certified in GYROTONIC® and owner of The Motion Space, LLC in Great Falls. A former professional ballet dancer, Wendy has worked with prestigious educational organizations and professional dance companies including 25 years on the dance/director at Interlochen Arts Academy in MI. She spent 15 summers as an administrator at President and Mrs. Ford’s Vail International Dance Festival working with elite dancers, choreographers and pedagogics from around the world. She has been the Director of Program Development at Kinesthetic Learning Center for 5 years. She is currently serving as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Body-Mind Centering Association. As a leader in the field of dance pedagogy and artistry, Wendy has presented at the International Association of Dance, Medicine, & Science conferences in Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; and Basel, Switzerland and at the BMCA Annual Conference 2013 in Boulder, CO. Miss Linda is delighted to have Wendy as part of the ballet faculty.
Steve Olson is a part of the Act I Theatre Company team here at Miss Linda's and music director for Ballet Ensemble. A native of Belt, MT, he holds Bachedlors Degrees in Music Performance-Piano and Music Education from the University of Montana. He is an accomplished pianist and violinist playing with the Helena, Glacier, Missoula, Billings, and Great Falls Symphonies. He also sang in the Missoula Symphony Chorale. He has also done music arrangements and original compositions. Steve is currently the orchestra director at CM Russell High School. Another group under his direction is The Big Sky Telemann Players, a local GF baroque music ensemble. In addition he has a love for musical theater and has participated in and/or musically directed "Two by Two," "The Wizard of Oz,", "Sound of Music," "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," "Into the Woods," and Peter Pan to name a few. Steve says he couldn't be happier to be part of such an awesome team at Miss Linda's!
Originally from Florida, Virginia began dancing at age three, began assistant teaching at 12, joined the competition team at 13, was team captain her junior and senior years and at 17 began teaching her own dance classes. She competed at Dance Educators of America, Star Power, American Dance Awards and Showstopper. Virginia studied all genres of dance including ballet at the Orlando Ballet. After graduation Virginia worked for Walt Disney World and The Beauty and the Beast show. Virginia was recruited for the production company Chezzam! Where she performed for high profile corporate events. After 16 years of non-stop dancing she stepped away, traveled, started a family and is now settled in Great Falls and taking continuing education through MDAA and we are delighted her dancing shoes are back on!
Emily Merritt holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theater from the University of West Florida and got her Masters Arts Degree in Theater Education from Emerson College in Massachusetts. She is also a licensed theater teacher. Emily has been a Teaching Artist at Hurley Elementary School in Boston, Massachusetts and Theatre South in Orlando, Florida. Emily is skilled in teaching acting, improvisation, elements of plays and play writing, theater games, directing, choreography and music for theater and public speaking. Emily has worked as a performer for Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL working in all parks: Animal Kingdom Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and at special events. Emily plays the piano and violin, sings, tap dances and is a Conflict Mediator. She works as a substitute teacher in the Great Falls Public School system and is a member of the Act I Theatre Company teaching team. Welcome to Great Falls and Miss Linda’s School of Dance, Emily.
DeAnne Davis brings her joyful enthusiasm for the Arts and a wealth of knowledge as a seasoned professional. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Montana, she spent 10 years in New York City and 10 years in Los Angeles. Having earned her Union Status as a member of Actors Equity Association and Screen Actors’ Guild, she has enjoyed performing in over 25 professional productions and Theatrical tours. The role of Puck in the American tour of the National Shakespeare Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the title role in A. R. Gurney’s Sylvia are among her favorites. With continued professional training, she has experience in Commercials, Voice-overs, Industrial and Independent Films. DeAnne proudly served for 4 years as a volunteer and stock performer in the Hollywood area with the late Otto Felix’s company H.A.P.P.I. (Handicapped Artists, Performers & Partners, Inc.) She is happy to return to her home State of Montana and excited to participate this year with the talented young performers at Ms. Linda’s legendary school!