Brandon Graves is a performer and educator based in Lawrence, KS. He is the Head Drumline Instructor at the University of Kansas and the Director or the Music School and Faculty Percussion Instructor at the Culture House in Olathe, Kansas. In addition to a full teaching schedule, Brandon is an in demand clinician and performer on drum set. He can be seen playing drums locally with his band the Wrong Kata Trio as
well as backing up local artists such as Mandy Boothe and Christena Graves. Brandon has played hundreds of live shows across the country with artists such as Waterdeep, Tim Halperin, Christena Graves, The Khrusty Brothers, Don Chaffer, Sara Swenson, Brian Baggett, Amy Marcus, Darrell Evans, Brad Kilman, Paul Wright, Paul Clark, and Andrea Hamilton. Brandon was a founding member of the band Waterdeep, with whom he spent
many years touring the country and recording. Recently, he was featured on the Vic Firth home page performing his piece Between the Waters. Brandon is a Yamaha Artist/Clinician, REMO clinician/educator and a member of the Vic Firth Educational Team and can be found on his YouTube page Brandon Graves Music.
-As a member of the Yamaha team, Brandon has performed clinics on both drum set and marching percussion for Sounds of Summer camps over the last 5 years. He also performs clinics at area high schools and middle schools.
-From 1998 to 2011, Brandon was on the percussion staff for the Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment who placed 16th at BOA Grand Nationals in 2011.
- Brandon has played hundreds of live shows across the country with artists such as Waterdeep, Tim Halperin, Christena Graves, The Khrusty Brothers, Don Chaffer, Sara Swenson, Brian Baggett, Amy Marcus, Darrell Evans, Brad Kilman, Paul Wright, Paul Clark, and Andrea Hamilton.
- Brandon has recorded on hundreds of tracks with artists such as Waterdeep, Don Chaffer, Lori Chaffer, Sara Groves, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Sara Swenson, Mandy Nousain, From the WoodsPaul Clark, Andrea Hamilton, the Wrong Kata Trio,
Maeve, Gerram Matthews, Paul Wright, and Brad Kilman.
- Over the years Brandon has had the good fortune to work with great musicians and producers like Steve Taylor, Darrell Brown, Dennis Matkowsky, Don Chaffer, Cason Cooley, Stan Sheldon, Phil Keaggy, James Ward, Brandon Draper, Jeff Harshbarger, Luke Sullivant, Micahjah Ryan, and UJ Pesonen.
- Brandon is a constant student of percussion and his desire to learn has led him to study with great percussion educators including, Tom Aungst, Mike Stevens, Ed Argenziano, Todd Strait, Dr. Tom Morgan, Bruce Becker, Kevin Bobo and Doug Auwarter.
- Brandon is a former member of The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corp and Masquerade Drum and Bugle Corp.
At The Culture House, Tobin James serves as Associate Artistic Director of the Störling Dance Theater. Tobin is passionate about working with dancers of all ages, offering them new experiences through the arts. “I find it enriching to be part of helping young people develop into artists,” Tobin says.
As Associate Artistic Director, Tobin directs the Störling Dance Theater, including choreography and rehearsals. She also serves as a liaison among dancers and Störling’s Artistic Director. Tobin’s role includes recruiting guest artists for productions too. She teaches several dance classes throughout the week, including modern and pre-modern, fitness and company classes.
Tobin earned her bachelor’s of fine arts degree in dance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She then went on to dance professionally at Philadenco in Philadelphia, and trained at the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York. Tobin continued her career as a performer in the Störling Dance Theater, and soon became Associate Artistic Director, partnering with Mona Störling Enna.
Kathleen Schuler, a native of Kansas City, is the Director of Störling Dance Theater’s Artist Development Program at The Culture House in Olathe, KS. This program is uniquely designed for dancers to develop into the artist they were created to be and experience professional training in dance and production at the collegiate level. Kathleen is also a teacher at Notre Dame de Sion Girls High School in Kansas City, MO teaching Dance and Musical Theater.
With a B.F.A. in Dance from Belhaven University in Jackson, MS, Kathleen has trained for over 20 years in Ballet and Modern. Her modern focus was in the Graham and Horton Techniques. Including attending a summer intensive at the Martha Graham School in New York City and performing a work by former Graham Company member Steve Rooks at Belhaven University. Kathleen started dancing at age 8 with Heart of America’s Dance Center Homeschool Program under Amber (EuDaly) Eames and Rachael (EuDaly) Gravitt, she then trained with Liz Dimmel at Dramatic Truth School and finished out high school as a trainee with Störling Dance Theater in their Artist Development Program. After graduating from Belhaven University Kathleen danced professionally with Störling Dance Theater for 2 seasons before taking over ADP.
Kathleen loves to travel around the world performing, choreographing, and teaching. Her Choreography has been performed in Kansas City, Colorado Springs, New York City, Boston (MA), Atlanta (GA), Orlando (FL), Lancaster (PA), Jackson (MS), Paris, France, London, England, Jerusalem, Israel, and Romania. Kathleen’s performance experience includes: Störling Dance Theater, Belhaven University Dance Ensemble, Belhaven Dance Ministry Ensemble, Mississippi Improv Alliance, Maxxas Dance Theatre, and Project Dance in New York City, NY, Atlanta, GA, Orlando, FL, Kansas City, MO, London, England, and Jerusalem, Israel.
While traveling in Europe, Kathleen has taught master classes in Rome, Italy; Champagne-Ardenne, France; and Jerusalem, Israel. Kathleen also had the pleasure to choreograph and perform with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in Paris, France for 5 summers.
Kathleen has choreographed and directed 2 original dance production, choreographed 7 musicals, and co-directed/produced 4 community arts concerts collaborating with visual artists, musicians, and dancers. In addition she has also been a costume designer and seamstress for musical theater and dance productions.
With a passion for youth and ministry Kathleen served for 3 years in a full time ministry residency at Indian Creek Community Church. During this time she started and led their college ministry, was an assistant youth pastor for middle school and high school students, and led their Dance Ministry.
Mona Störling Enna
“No one should ever be told you’re never going to be anything,” says Mona Störling Enna. And it’s with that heart that she serves at The Culture House, as co-founder and artistic director. “Every child and every person is unique and should be encouraged to be as good as they can be.”
Mona spends her time at The Culture House playing many roles. She directs Störling Dance Company alongside Tobin James and teaches company classes. Mona also choreographs with the company and directs rehearsals, as well as the end-of-year recitals and events. In the evenings, Mona teaches upper level ballet classes and conducts rehearsals with younger students. “You get to see the kids thrive,” Mona says. “It’s a whole family approach, and we’re all involved here.”
Mona had always loved dance, and studied classical ballet to become a professional dancer. She began her classical dance training at the Ostrobotningen Dance Academy in Kokkola, Finland, and went on to train under Jill Miller at Dansivintti in Helsinki. She supplemented her training under the Paris Opera and Finnish National Ballet as she formed her first dance company in Helsinki, called Kadosh, together with Titta Tunkkari.
Mona received the Finnish Young Choreographers award in Helsinki for her work, “In The Storm.” She toured with Kadosh throughout Europe and then joined Eternia Dance Theater in 1992 as a soloist. She became ballet mistress and costume designer for Eternia’s production, “Sacrifice.” Her choreography for “A Prayer For Bosnia” was requested for the vigil concert in the Blue Hall in Stockholm, home of the Nobel Peace Prize, to perform with top conductors and orchestra musicians.
Mona met her husband, Jeremiah Enna, while in Israel at a dance conference, laying the foundation for The Culture House. “Jeremiah and I travelled for work all over Europe and Asia, and we experienced all these cultures and met interesting people,” Mona says. “So we wanted to start a similar place, where people can come from all walks of life and connect to their creative gifting.”
In 1996, Mona and Jeremiah moved to Kansas City to establish The Culture House. As co-founder of The Culture House and Artistic Director for Störling Dance Theater, Mona has choreographed many productions, including “Between Earth & Sky,” “Sower,” “Parables & Prayers” and “The Prodigal Daughter.” “Underground,” a powerful telling of the history and heroics of the Underground Railroad was Mona’s first major collaboration with choreographer Tobin James and was touted by critic Paul Horsley as one of the Top 10 Performances of the Decade (2000-2009). Mona has been featured in Dance Studio Life’s magazine as one of America’s up-and-coming new choreographers, as well as a guest teacher and choreographer for national dance conferences. Today, she and Jeremiah live in Merriam, Kansas, with their four children.
Amy LaGrone Sander
What sets The Culture House apart to Amy Sander, General Manager, is the environment. “I’ve been teaching and directing for 25 years, and the difference at the Culture House is the environment. It's uplifting, encouraging and focuses on the all around growth of the student - as a performer and as a person."
As General Manager, Amy has her hand in all aspects of this environment. Although no two days are the same, Amy supervises staff, programming, scheduling, productions and marketing, plus teaches Adult Tap and a high school Triple Threat Master Class. She is also a regular director for youth and adult productions at TCH, as well as our Broadway Summer Musical Theatre productions at The Kauffman Center and Yardley Hall.
Amy grew up in Topeka and had her acting debut at age six. Hooked on showbiz, Amy spent her youth and early adult life performing in theatrical and dance productions. During college, Amy discovered she had a strong passion for working with youth and began teaching dance and directing a summer theatrical program.
After 17 years of training and teaching, Amy became the founder and director of a youth performing troupe, Topeka Youth Players (for ages 9-13). Within 10 years, Amy had worked with hundreds of youth, directed over 20 productions, choreographed and music directed more than 10, and also served as set, lighting and costume designer for almost all of the shows.
Upon relocating to Kansas City in 2009, Amy began teaching and directing at The Culture House. In addition to theatre and performance, Amy also brings a background in marketing, communications, fundraising and events. Her resume includes PR work with nonprofits, health insurance, financial planning, performing arts and even zoos. Today, Amy lives in Olathe with her two incredible children. Amy’s role as a mother is what she calls the role of a lifetime: “I’m beyond blessed!”
At The Culture House, Lana Jensen says, “the person comes before the performer.” As the director of the School of Theater, Lana loves seeing the tightly-knit Culture House community thrive.
Lana spends her time at The Culture House teaching, directing and choreographing. She also oversees costumes, storage, rental and organization of theatre equipment. Furthermore, Lana supervises rehearsals of many kinds. She is most passionate about the opportunities she has to teach and invest in her students.
Lana became involved with The Culture House in 2005, building on her background in performance from around the metro area. Upon high school graduation, Lana connected with The Culture House as both a performer and educator. Since then, she has taught classes and directed shows. She became the School of Theater Director in the fall of 2013.
As Director of Dance, Courtney Kierl-Bourman feels most passionate about seeing The Culture House dancers grow in their craft as they change society for the better through art. “A student grows from a toddler who doesn’t know a plié from a tendu into a strong dancer who can go out and compete with other top-level dancers. It’s rewarding to see a student's excitement for dance increase and to see him or her come to admire and appreciate the excellence of dance,” Courtney says.
Courtney teaches classes throughout the week, in addition to rehearsing dancers and choreographing for Störling Dance Theater. She also oversees student productions and end-of-year recitals. Courtney has been an instructor of ballet at The Culture House since 2005 and became Director of Dance in 2010.
As a dance educator, Courtney instructed ballet for ten years at the American Dance Center in Overland Park, Kansas, and has been on the faculty of the Regional Dance America Mid-States Festival, Kansas City Ballet’s Reach Out And Dance Program, Project Dance New York, Project Dance Kansas City, American Academy for Dance and the Kindred Arts in Santa Monica, California, Culture House Artist Development Program, the School of Ballet Omaha, and the Louisiana Dance Festival.
Courtney's formal dance training began in Kansas City with Kathy and Dennis Landsman and continued with scholarship study at the San Francisco Ballet School where she trained under influential master teachers Larisa Sklyanskaya, Irina Jacobson, Jonathan Watts, and Henry Berg. She went on to a professional career with the Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Omaha, and was formerly a premiere soloist with Tulsa Ballet Theater. She appeared with companies as a principal guest artist and was a featured dancer with modern company Storling Dance Theater for seven years. With a performing career spanning three decades, Courtney was sought out by choreographers for her versatility and artistry. During her career, she had the opportunity to perform the works of twentieth-century choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Lila York, Laura Dean, Charles Moulton, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Ann Reinking and Robert North and was privileged to dance leading roles in full-length classics as well as principal roles in ballets by George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Anthony Tudor, Todd Bolender, Arthur Mitchell, John Butler, Frederic Franklin, Lew Christensen, Mauricio Wainrot, and others.
Courtney has set her own original pieces on schools and companies across the country and has been the recipient of four awards for choreography including the Monticello College Foundation Award for Outstanding Female Emerging Choreographer in 2000. Her works have been performed at Regional Dance America Festivals in the Pacific and Midwest regions, many chosen for gala evenings, and she was the recipient of the Mid-States Choreographic Recognition Plan Award in 2002 and 2009. She was also awarded the coveted Choreographic Plan Award at RDA’s National Festival in Pittsburg, PA in 2007 for her piece entitled 'Tribute' which was created in memory of the victims of September eleventh. In April 2010, she was honored to have this piece performed in New York City’s Times Square. In addition to her work in the arts, Courtney is the very proud mother of her two children, Aiden and Isabella.