Claire Leivestad

Events & Operations Director, Co-Owner, Core B/C Faculty

Claire grew up in a military family, dancing across the country, from coast to coast! She studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and modern, starting at three at the Joy of Dance in San Jose, California. Claire received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Mississippi State University while continuing to dance with Mississippi University for Women.

Claire found the Academy through Ms. Julie’s adult ballet class in 2003 while she and her B-1 pilot husband Derek were stationed in Rapid City for the first time. She was thrilled to perform in the world premiere of the 2004 New World Opera. After several years away, Claire and her family were lucky enough to be stationed again in the Black Hills- this time to stay. Claire’s family includes Zach and Jason.
Claire began teaching dance at the Academy in 2012, first in the adult program and then including ballet, tap and jazz. She has served as PTA president at Wilson Elementary and Zion Lutheran and taught grades 5-8 at various schools in Texas and South Dakota. She also served as the lead Key Spouse in the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth AFB. She is an active board member and scholarship chairperson for the non-profit all-volunteer community NPO: Black Hills Dance Theatre. She has served local students by presenting The Nutcracker professional production to local audiences biennially.

Her passion for helping young teens navigate life through dance is close to her heart and drives her desire to continue the Academy's mission to see each child, meet them where they are and help them grow into lovely, resilient adults, one sweet step at a time.

As part of the ownership team at the Academy of Dance Arts, she is thrilled to utilize her southern hospitality and serve as Event, Operations and Enrollment Coordinator.


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