Valerie Lyons - Director and Dance Instructor

Valerie Lyons is a professionally trained dancer who studied at the dance conservatory at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She began formal dance lessons at the age of eight and quickly discovered a love for the art as she progressed in her education. Valerie began teaching dance at the age of sixteen and two years later opened Lifesong Dance Studio while simultaneously leading the dance ministry and studio programs at City Christian Fellowship Church. During her first year of college in Kansas City, she was accepted to be part of the dance team at the International House of Prayer. While studying at UMKC, she improved and developed her skills in different techniques, styles, and teaching disciplines. She also developed an understanding of the dancer's anatomy for injury prevention. 

After college and seven years with Lifesong Dance Studio, Valerie and her husband felt God was leading them from Arkansas to Texas. Valerie enjoys sharing her passion and providing the opportunity for young students to discover a love for dance, just as she was able to do. Everyday she is excited to bring her experience to Illuminate! Creative Arts Studio and looks forward to training and bringing out the creativity of any generation.

Celestine Pierce - Dance Instructor

Celestine Pierce, a native Hawaiian from Polynesian descent, began her formal training at Kamakani O Ka Moku 'Aina Hula studio at the age of four. She continued to study dance and train in hula, and at the age of sixteen began performing professionally for Island Breeze Productions. In 2000, Celestine began teaching the same hula classes that she trained in as a young student, and was also hired as a trainer and assistant choreographer for Island Breeze Productions. In 2013, Celestine married her husband, Isaac Pierce, and moved to Texas to open Ike & Tine's Dance and Fitness Center, which has morphed into Illuminate! Creative Arts Studio and Shiloh Fitness.

Sarah Kearns - Dance Instructor

Sarah Kearns is originally from Jackson, Mississippi. While in Jackson, Sarah was a member of Army 4 One, a dance and drama ministry, for six years. She began her dance training at the age of 3 in the school of the arts at Ballet Magnificat, "America's Premier Christian Ballet Company." Styles while training there included Vaganova technique of Ballet, Pre-Pointe, Pointe, and Jazz.

At the age of 18, Sarah moved to Texas to become part of Ingredients Professional Dance Company's Trainee program. She was a trainee for one year and the following year was promoted to company. Styles while dancing at Ingredients include Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop, Strengthening, Conditioning, and also Biblical Application classes. Ingredients Dance Company performances included benefit concerts, art shows, Gateway's PINK Impact for two years, Covenant Church's Easter show at American Airlines Center with BeBe Winans, and Grace Community Church women's conference in Houston.

While in Ingredients Dance Company, she toured with the national convention Dance Revolution. Touring with Dance Revolution, she performed with Ingredients Dance Company, world renowned DR staff, assisting classes including senior ballet, and participating in 3 original Dance Revolution productions over the two years.


Jonathan Dickson - Theatre Instructor

Jonathan Dickson is a graduate from the University of Evansville where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Performance. He has acted professionally for the Colorado and Kentucky Shakespeare festivals, The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The New Harmony project, and numerous companies from New York to L.A.  Jonathan enjoys work-shopping and performing new work and has performed in premiers at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., off-Broadway, and the New York Fringe Festival. Jonathan's love for the art and craft of acting extends from the stage to the classroom where he enjoys introducing the fundamentals of acting to new students. Jonathan strongly believes the skills and tools needed for acting are as beneficial to non-actors as they are to those pursuing their acting careers.


Tumi Mphahele - Art Instructor

Tumi Mphahele has had a passion for art from a young age and has experienced many of the art capitals of the world including the Louvre, the Van Gogh museum, the Rembrandt museum, and more - which fueled her desire to pursue an art education. She began her formal education as a child in elementary school, continued through her high school years, and is now studying at North Central Texas College. Along with foundational art classes, Tumi has studied ceramics, pottery wheel throwing, welding, and other unique courses. Tumi has been working with children since 2010. She has developed the art portion of the curriculum for our Experiencing the Arts classes introducing six different art mediums over 15 genres and styles of art history to her students ages 3-15. Tumi finds great joy in seeing her students' own love of art and artists bloom each week they are together.


Sam Dickson - Drum and Percussion Instructor

Samuel has been a drummer and percussionist for 19 years. He started learning the fundamentals in drum line and progressed to drumming for his local church. Sam has been teaching drum lessons since 1998.  He has a passion for teaching untraditional methods that he has created over time, combined with basic fundamentals. His teaching style is geared toward learning by ear with a practical approach toward becoming a unique drummer and/or percussionist. Sam has taught a variety of age groups ranging from 2 to 60 years old. His opinion is "there's no one too young or old to learn."

Tiffany Smith - General Music & Piano Instructor

                              Assistant Office Manager

Tiffany Smith is our piano instructor as well as lead instructor for our music program for six month - eight year old children. She comes to us with many years of training in both piano and voice. Tiffany has served as pianist for several different organizations. She has a natural gift of working with children. Her goal is to get both adults and children off to a great start in music while making it fun to learn. Tiffany also serves as our Assistant Office Manager. She and her husband, Aaron, live in Denton and have three children.

Madeline DeHart - Violin Instructor

Madeline DeHart is an honors student at Texas Woman's University where she is studying Music Education. With a start in the 5th grade string program in Denton, Texas, Madeline has played through high school and will soon complete her ninth year of violin. She has also played on the Glory of Zion worship team for over three years. Her previous experiences teaching have been with private students and academic tutoring, while most of her early musical development occurred in orchestral group lessons. Madeline is currently under the instruction of Dr. Ania Bard-Schwarz, concertmaster of the Plano and Irving Symphonies.


Mistie Lohse - Office Manager

Mistie Lohse came to Illuminate! Creative Arts Studio with years of experience in administration and operational management. From being drill team captain in high school to hiring and training employees in later roles, she has become efficient in creating an atmosphere of drive and dedication. She is passionate about young children reaching their potential in all areas of life. She is dedicated to see the vision of the studio come into fruition in the coming years.

Jessica Rana - Marketing Manager & Event Coordinator 

Jessica Rana joined our administrative team here at Illuminate! in 2015. She has been an elementary school teacher for the past 11 years. She brings our team a unique perspective as she's been immersed in educational settings for over a decade. While Jessica's role in the studio is broad, she has a major role in writing curriculum, planning studio events, as well as marketing and promoting the studio to local and surrounding communities. Jessica loves seeing the students here at the studio express themselves through various art forms and enjoys meeting their families. She has two small children who are also students at the studio studying dance, music, art and theatre.