Company Artists

Anazao Dance Company Members 

Emerson Mertens (Director)

Emerson’s love of performing blossomed at a young age when she was chosen to perform the lead role of Clara in The Nutcracker with the Minnesota Ballet Company. Having tried and loved her first ballet class at age four, she began serious study of classical ballet by age eight. Throughout the years she added additional training in contemporary and neoclassical ballet, modern, jazz, acting, and various other dance styles. She began choreographing at age nine, which led to her beginning her dance ministry at age fourteen. This ministry soon grew into Anazao Dance in 2012.

After graduating high school at age sixteen, Emerson trained and performed with the Storling Dance Theater professional company. Emerson has also had the opportunity to perform as a soloist and ensemble dancer with VidaDance, Infinity Company, Anazao Dance Company,The Moscow BalletThe Culture House, Lexington Ballet Youth Company, Kansas City Ballet Company SchoolMid-Missouri Dance Theater and others. In 2014, Emerson was offered a position Missouri Contemporary Ballet’s instructor staff and taught the professional ballet company class. Along with teaching for the professional company and directing Anazao, Emerson has also had the opportunity to perform in over 50 individual pieces and 30 shows throughout her career, as well as create  her own original choreography, which have been featured in multiple productions over the years.

Emerson is grateful to be able to share her love of the arts through teaching dancers of all ages and levels. She is honored to have worked with so many dedicated and talented artists throughout the years, and looks forward to continued performing, choreographing, and teaching for many years to come.


Anazao Dance is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these talented and inspirational artists:

Lindsey Smith



Lindsey Smith is originally from Northern Virginia, where she began her formal training at the Ravel Dance Studio. She was invited to join the studio’s pre-professional Company, and performed multiple featured roles in Cinderella, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Giselle, The Nutcracker, and as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. She then attended Mercyhurst College, where she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Dance. While there, she studied ballet, pointe, pas de deux, variations, modern, jazz, conditioning, and tap, with a summer intensive in New York City with American Ballet Theater. While at Mercyhurst, she choreographed a piece about human trafficking that premiered at Raw Edges XIII, and also performed at the Project Abolition benefit concert she produced. Her piece “If” has been performed at school lecture/demonstrations and was invited to be presented at the National Dance Association’s annual conference gala in San Diego in April 2011. In addition to performing with Anazao Dance, Lindsey has also danced withVidaDance, Störling Dance Theater, and Dramatic Truth Ballet Theatre. Lindsey also teaches dance classes at local studios, Johnson County Community College, and VidaDance Studio.



Julie Smith - Company Member
Julie Smith

Julie grew up in Kansas City, Kansas studying dance from the age of 3 at Carol Byrd’s Dance Studio. She stepped away from dance for many years returning to it at the age of 18. While working toward her degree in education she studied ballet, pointe and jazz under Michelle Hamlet-Weith and Maura Neighbor Landers. Upon graduating from college, Julie used her degree in education and passion for dance to jump into full time dance education at Academy of the Arts as an Assistant Dance Director. Julie teaches, writes curriculum, supervises assessments and trains other instructors for Academy of the Arts. Julie is also a certified Cecchetti Classical Method of Ballet instructor receiving a Pass Highly Commended in her teaching exams. In addition to teaching, Julie has danced with the Potter’s Clay Sacred Dance Company, Ryan-Strati Dance Ensemble, and Kacico Dance. She performs and choreographs for various churches throughout the Kansas City metro area.



Cheyenne Stucky

Cheyenne Stucky asked for dance lessons from the time she was old enough to talk. Her dream came true when she was five years old and she has never looked back. Cheyenne’s journey in dance has taken her to Dazzlers’s Christian Dance, Dramatic Truth School of the Arts, The Lawrence Art’s Center, and The Culture House Academy of Performing Arts. Through the years she has experienced many performance and choreography opportunities and has received many awards. In addition to that, she has created original dance choreography used in dramas for international missions trips. Some of those dramas include “The Choice” and “The Time is Now”. Cheyenne also danced the role of Mary in “Joseph was a Dream Guy”, a Christmas drama performed at a fundraiser for a youth ministry that ministers to people worldwide.
She feels blessed to have studied under so many incredible teachers throughout the years, including Mona Storling Enna and Tobin James. Cheyenne also has a passion for music and has studied classical violin since she was six years old and now enjoys teaching violin as well. She also plays guitar and has played in multiple worship bands. Wherever her journey takes her next, Cheyenne, wants to continue using the Arts to spread the message of TRUTH and to glorify her creator.

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