Shannon Rush Dance

Whether you seek a professional career in dance or just want to make friends and have fun, we are here to help you accomplish your dreams. At Shannon Rush Dance, our goal is to nurture and motivate children in a warm and friendly atmosphere. We have instructed many of the area's finest dancers for over 40 years. Our instructors are professional choreographers holding many degrees, certifications, and awards.  


Miss Amanda J. Karsner 

Studio Manager & Instructor. Amanda took on the role of Studio Manager in September 2016. Since 2005, Amanda has been an instructor for dancers in all levels and styles including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop. Amanda has been dancing at the Wheaton Studio since she was 5 years old. Amanda became DMA certified in 2015 through the Teachers Training School program in Buffalo, NY, where she studied dance education in levels from beginner to advanced. She has since been a member of Dance Masters of America (DMA) Chapter 17, and continues to attend workshops, classes, and conventions, both locally and out of state. She recently attended the N.Y.C. Dance Teachers Summer where she participated in classes taught by celebrity instructors including Twitch, Mandy Moore, Mia Michaels, and more. Amanda choreographed for the Petite Competition Team at the Wheaton Studio from 2016-2018. Her dancers have won overall high scores and titles in both Jazz and Lyrical routines and attended National Competitions in the Poconos & Ocean City. Amanda has now taken over choreographing for the Teen Competition Team at the Wheaton Studio, where her dancers just returned from a National Competition in Ocean City placing in the Top Ten overall scoring. In addition, she will be taking over the Petite Competition Team at the Damascus Studio in 2019-2020 dance season. Amanda has experience teaching on a competitive and recreational level. She especially enjoys our youngest dancers and being able to share her love of dance with them while creating a fun and educational atmosphere. As an educator, Amanda believes in the artistic potential of every student, and emphasizes that dance should be fun for all. Amanda looks forward to another dance season and is excited to pass on her love of dance to her returning and new students.

Miss Shauntrese Ambush

During her 20+ year career as a dancer and choreographer Shauntrese has traveled all over the United States performing and choreographing in shows for dance companies, organizations, dance competitions, and events. Many of her former students have gone on to perform with Beyonce, Usher, and Rihanna as well as on Broadway, Professional Dance Companies, Cruise Ships, and become dance instructors themselves. She studied locally with Maryland Youth Ballet, Jones and Haywood Ballet Academy, and The Washington School of Ballet. She trained in Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Gymnastics and Musical Theatre with Terry's School of Dance and Gymnastics as well as Frans Studio of Dance . While there she danced on their company teams ,and as a soloist, winning many Regional and National Titles along with numerous Overall awards. She recieved scholarships to Alvin Ailey, Gus Giordano and Philadanco where she trained and danced on their companies. Miss Shauntrese has also judged local and national competitions for dance and cheer. She has received numerous awards for her choreography from Overall High Scores, Top Teacher and Outstanding Studio. Throughout her travels she tries to remain humble and give her all in everything that she does. Her goal is to teach and uplift students in all areas of dance. She wants her students to love and appreciate the art form of dance as much as she does.

Miss Sara Bache 

Sara Bache has been dancing since 1996. She was the captain on the Good Counsel Poms Dance team. She went on to become the captain and President of the Salisbury State Poms Dance team from 2012-2015. She has been teaching dance for many years now and received her degree minoring in dance from Fulton School of Liberal Arts. Miss Sara's course work was dance appreciation, creative modern dance, ballet, jazz, and dance teaching. She has received many awards at dance competitions in the WMA area. She has taught all ages of dance teaching ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical. She participated in the Dance Teacher Summit in New York where she was able to gain information to further her teaching career while taking class with Mia Michaels, tWitch, and Mandy Moore. Miss Sara recently obtained her certification in Acrobatic Arts and is excited for the new acro program at the studio! 

Miss Emma Cooley

Emma Cooley is a dancer, actor, choreographer, and teaching artist based in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas.

She trained in ballet, tap, jazz, theatre dance, modern, contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, pointe, and acrobatics at Genesis Arts for 18 years. She then went to The Catholic University of America, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Music in Musical Theatre, in addition to spending a semester abroad at the Fordham London Dramatic Academy. She has performed in many musicals including Start Spreading the News: The Music of Kander and Ebb at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage; West Side Story, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Catch Me If You Can at MC Summer Dinner Theatre; and Kiss Me Kate, City of Angels, The Most Happy Fella, and Carousel at Catholic University. Emma also recently choreographed a production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Catholic University, in addition to serving as the assistant choreographer for Journey to the West at Constellation Theatre Company. She also has a competition background, traveling around the country to various regional and national events. Emma looks forward to not only helping her students build a strong technical foundation, but also helping them express their own storytelling through movement in a fun and safe environment.

Miss Tenay Graham  

Miss Tenay has been dancing for 18 years. She started her training at Wheaton Studio of Dance with Ms. Shannon, and continued to grow through Blake High School, and Shenandoah University as she studied dance. Throughout her dance journey, she has taken many masterclasses in New York, as well as in Washington D.C., learning from different choreographers and companies. Tenay has been fortunate enough to assist in choreography for musicals, such as Beauty In The Beast at a local private school. In addition, she has assisted the development of cheer choreography in Winchester, VA. She is very excited to be teaching for her home studio for the first time!

Miss Megan May McNellage

Miss Megan joined us in 2009 with 12 years of dance experience. She has been teaching dance for the past 9 years. Miss Megan was a student as well as an assistant teacher at the Mt. Airy Studio of Dance. Miss Megan has an A.A.T. in Elementary Education and an A.A. degree in American Sign Language from Montgomery College. Miss Megan is the President of The Damascus Theatre Company, where she has been performing, choreographing, assistant directing over the past 20 years.

Miss Haley Nachlas

Haley Nachlas is a New York based performer, teacher and choreographer. She graduated summa cum laude from Pace University with a BFA in commercial dance concentrating in performance, choreography and pedagogy. Throughout her education she worked with major choreographers such as Mandy Moore, Billy Griffin, Al Blackstone, Nick Kenkle, Fosse Rep restaged by Kathryn Doby, Dee Caspary, Lauren Gaul, Rhonda Miller and many more. Professionally she has performed in regional theatre most recently at the Totempole Playhouse. She has performed in several NYC benefit concerts such as Artists for Altzheimers where she performed Karla Garcia’s work.   She has presented choreography at Pace performing arts and has set award winning competition choreography. Haley has taught in the MD, NY and NJ areas and loves to share her passion for dance, technique and story- telling. She is currently represented by CESD talent agency.

Miss Jen Nardi  

Miss Jen is very excited to be joining Shannon Rush Dance this year. She has trained in the styles of Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Hiphop and Tap. She studied and took classes at Rhode Island College, Commotion Dance Studio and Shining Stars School of Performing Arts. She recently graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre with a concentration in Musical Theatre. She recently performed in Rhode Island College’s productions of Beauty and Beast, and Seussical. She has also worked with Damascus Theatre Company. Most recently she was a part of their production of Into The Woods Jr. She is very excited to teach and continue sharing the love of the arts.  

Mr. Darren Wilson

Mr. Darren's love for sound and rhythm began at a young age. He studied dance at Knock on Wood Tap Studio in Silver Spring, Maryland as a member and dance captain of the resident Tappers With Attitude Youth Tap Ensemble. The countless rehearsals, master classes, and performances in venues such as the Kennedy Center and  Wolf Trap were made all the more enjoyable because he could share it with his mother; who was a member of the co-resident Step Aside. He went on to attend Michigan State University to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism. While there, he served as a rhythm and Broadway tap instructor for the award winning Synergy Dance Academy competition team in Okemos, Michigan. Darren's passion for teaching extends far beyond the studio. He is entering his 9th year teaching in the Montgomery County Public Schools System. Darren is excited to join this amazing faculty and can't wait to hit the floor. In the words of one of his favorite dancers Sammy Davis Jr: "If I should die, let me do it with my tap shoes on."

Miss Christina Zarrelli  

Miss Christina has been dancing since 1998 at Dawn Crafton and Olney Studio of Dance. She was on the Company Dance Team at Olney Studio of Dance from 2007-2009, attending competitions promoted by StarQuest and Showstopper. She taught dance classes at Sherwood High School from 2010- 2013. She began teaching at Concepts In Motivation in 2011. Her styles of dance include Ballet, Jazz, Hip hop, Tap, and Lyrical. Miss Christina has a  Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland.