Our Staff

The diversified Staff at Sonja’s Studio is made up of highly qualified instructors teaching a variety of dance styles, cheer, tumbling & acro techniques.  Our teachers commit to teaching and inspiring proper technique, determination, dedication, self-discipline and a love of the performing arts in each student.

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Sonja Babcock

Owner

Sonja has been a dancer, teacher, choreographer and arts administrator for over 25 years in Alaska. Graduating from Vincennes University in Community Recreation, Sonja, along with family, built from the ground up the prestigious Babcock Fine Arts Building which houses Sonja's Studio of Dance, Cheer, Tumbling, Acro, Art, Piano and Musical Theater classes. Sonja also founded Giggletime Preschool, A+ Academy and Enliven Adult Dance Company. Sonja's mission is to provide classes in the arts that are fun, supporting and inspiring. 

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Jessica Atkinson

Studio Owner, Director of Alaska Pride Dance Company,  Acro Instructor

Jessica was born and raised in Alaska. She started dancing at the age of 3. Jessica danced and competed all over the country. Following high school she received a full ride to the College of Eastern Utah where she studied dance as part of CEU's Ballet Repertory Ensemble. After graduating with her degree, she then returned home to teach at Sonja’s Studio. She is the founder and director of the award winning Alaska Pride Dance Company and she co-directs the Alaskan Nutcracker each year. Jessica has certified in dance technique and stretching through UDA. She has trained in many genres of dance including but not limited to: Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Clogging, Hip Hop, Modern, Ballroom, Partnering and Lyrical.

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Lena Edwards

Director of Tumbling, Giggletime Preschool Instructor, Acro Instructor. 

Lena's love for gymnastics started 40 years ago. She has been coaching for 26 years nationally including in Washington, Wyoming, and Alaska. Lena is a Women's Gymnastics Judge and Stunt Cheer Official. Additionally, Lena has a combination of 14 years experience teaching preschool traditionally and Montessori philosophy. While growing up, Lena was a competitive gymnast for 10 years and enjoyed many dance programs along the way. 

Mary Sparrs

Director of Ballet

Mary trained under Steve Primis of Chicago Opera Ballet, Alice Bassler-Sullivan of Ballet West and Minnesota Ballet, Michelangelo Canale of Vaganova Ballet Academy and Royal Winnipeg Ballet, summers with David Howard at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Fine Arts Festivals. She has performed for Anchorage Opera Association, Academie de Danse, Alaska Dance Theater, Ballet West, Alberta Ballet, Anchorage Classical Ballet, Enliven, and the University of Nevada Division 1 Dance Competition Team. Mary holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology/Childhood Development and first began teaching 20 years ago.

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Jamie Metcalf

Director of Contemporary

Jamie was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and began dancing at the age of 3. In high school, she was a member of the school's drill team and became President of the dance company, and during her senior year was chosen as the “Dance Sterling Scholar”. She pursued and acquired a degree in dance at Utah Valley University and was a member of the University’s Modern Dance Company. Jamie has taught dance at several different studios throughout the 16 years of her teaching career, but is most proud of the last 13 years as a staff member at Sonja’s Studio of Dance.

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Ashley Harman

Studio Owner, Director of Giggletime Preschool,  Alaska Pride Cheer & Acro Instructor

Ashley graduated from the College of Eastern Utah where she studied dance as a member of the CEU Ballet Repertory Ensemble and was a member of their cheer squad.  She has been coaching cheer at Sonja's since 2007 and was the Palmer High School Football Varsity cheer coach for 7 years before resigning to start a family.  She has trained in many genres of dance but cheer & tumbling have become her passion.  Ashley was a STUNT Cheer Official for the Anchorage School District in 2017 & 2018 and is certified in First Aid & CPR, Heads up Concussion, Heat Illness Prevention, Anaphylaxis & Epi Pen Auto Injectors, and Creating a Safe Environment. Ashley is safety certified for cheer/dance through the following programs: AACCA, NFHS, & NYCC. 

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Pam Burlingame

Director of Sonja's Studio Enliven Dance Company

Pam was raised in Fairbanks, studying jazz, ballet and tap. She received her MS in physical therapy from Boston University where she founded FUSION dance company. She is the director of EnLiven, Sonja's adult dance company. EnLiven strives to share their love of dance with our community. EnLiven has been seen at various community performances/fundraisers as well as collaborating with the Glenn Massay Theater to bring you "Chicago" and sharing dance with foster children at their annual summer camp. Their performance video "The Sound of Silence" has been used for educational purposes with MSBSD. Pam loves bringing music to visual life.

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Amber Anderson

Music & Musical Theater Instructor

Amber has been involved in music since she was a very young child. With a background in voice, piano, violin, and flute, she considers herself fairly versatile. She has taught music K-5 in the Valley for over 10 years, taught piano in several states for over 30 years,  as well as vocal coaching and private lessons. Her love for music is infectious and has carried on to her 9 children. She looks forward to sharing her love with you and/or your children. 

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Cheryl Cheney

Giggletime Preschool Instructor, Director of Employee Childcare 

Cheryl was born in Fort Knox Kentucky and grew up traveling most of the West Coast. Cheryl has had a passion for working with children since she was young herself. After graduating from high school she worked as a preschool teacher and received her CDA in child education. Later Cheryl went on to earn a bachelors degree in Child Development from Brigham Young University Idaho. After receiving her bachelor's degree she completed an internship with Sonja's Studio's Giggletime Preschool and is continuing to work with the preschool program today. 

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Leticia Wade

Dance Instructor

Leticia Wade is a born and raised Alaskan girl beginning her dance career at a young age on her daddies toes. She grew up studying dance and music, and a varsity cheerleader during high school taking the state title in 02/03. Leticia began with sunshine generation performing with Disney in her elementary years, continuing musical theatre through junior high and high school and went on to compete with Stars Dance Company, Studied dance with UAA, performed and competed with UDC Hardcore into her adult years and then a member of Momentum dance collective. Leticia now dances with Enliven. She has instructed and choreographed for various groups and shows in Alaska and Washington and most recently became the choreographer for the Miss Teen and Miss Alaska United States pageant. She loves all kinds of dance, focusing on Latin, hip hop, jazz and modern. 

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Kelsi Crump

Dance Instructor

Kelsi grew up in her mother's dance studio and has been dancing since she could walk. She has trained professionally in many genres of dance. Kelsi attended Idaho State University on a dance scholarship from 2006-2009 where she was a member of the nationally ranked Bengal Dancers; 2008 USA Jazz and 2007 USA Hip Hop National Champions. Kelsi first started teaching in her mother's studio at the age of 15 and fell in love with sharing her passion with the youth. She has since taught at numerous studios and is so grateful for the opportunity to continue sharing her passion for teaching with the dancers at Sonja's Studio of Dance.

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Erin Babcock

Dance Instructor, Giggletime Preschool Instructor

Erin was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She grew up in Southern Colorado where she began taking dance classes in a small town dance studio. She was asked to be a teachers assistant at the age of 12 and developed a strong passion for teaching kids the art of dance. She moved to Wasilla in 2010 where she continued her dance training under the finest teachers in Alaska. Erin has trained in aerial fabric, has performed annually in The Alaskan Nutcracker, and is a member of Enliven Dance Company. She loves anything to do with dance and her greatest joy still comes with passing her knowledge and love of dance to the youth of Alaska. Erin has been teaching for Sonja's Studio for almost 8 years. 

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Leticia Jensen

Office Staff

Leticia has always been a fantastic help to the Studio but is now thrilled to be an official part of Sonja's Studio as a new member of our office staff. She has a dance background and was a medical biller before starting her family.  She is excited to be back in a world she loves, making magic with her kids and yours. Leticia is also a member of Enliven Dance Company.

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Casey Dietz

Dance Instructor

Casey was born and raised in southern Colorado and moved up to Alaska at the age of eleven. Casey started dancing at age 7 and has extensive training in competition style clogging as well as Hip Hop. Casey has proudly been a staff member at Sonja’s Studio of Dance for over 3 years now.

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Lisa Townsend

A+ Academy Teacher

Lisa taught school for 12 years (8 years in Wyoming and 4 out in Bristol Bay), before taking time off to be a mom. She graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor's degree in education, and a few years later completed her Master's degree in curriculum and instruction: literacy. She comes from a family of educators. Her dad was her high school English teacher, her mom taught special education and she even married a teacher (her husband teaches at Colony High School)! Teaching is a challenging career but she can't imagine one that is more rewarding or fun!

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Josh Schoeneberger

Dance Instructor

Josh has been dancing for 19 years and has received training from top choreographers from around the world. He was a part of Debbie Allen’s Elite Company in California for 3 years and performed in her famous Hot Chocolate Nutcracker that has also aired on BET. Josh has trained with choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance, World Of Dance, as well as other famous dance choreographers from Katy Perry, Chris Brown, and Taylor Swift. He is trained in hiphop, ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, latin fusion, flamenco, tumbling, cheer, and african.

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Jessilynn Ezell

Dance, Tumbling, Cheer and Giggletime Preschool Instructor

Jessi has been dancing at Sonja's Studio since she was a little girl. She has taken a variety of dance, tumbling and cheer classes. She's known as one of Sonja's best tumblers! She has been a teacher's assistant for multiple staff members for many years now.  She is recently graduated from high school and will now be teaching or co-teaching some of our pre-level classes. Her caring and enthusiastic personality make her a great fit for our younger levels. 

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Cindy Hale

Giggletime Art Director, and Studio Costume Seamstress

Cindy is the "Nana" of our studio. She takes care of us all, old or young. She is a huge help with costumes during our busy nutcracker season and is our go to person for the Arts and Crafts portion of our educational classes. She currently teaches A+ Academy's art class and preps all of the art projects for Giggletime Preschool. 

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Joy Russell

Office Staff

Joy Russell is new to the front desk but you’ve probably already seen her around the studio cheering on her daughter. She has lived in almost 15 different towns and cities over the course of her life and has broken her own record by now calling the MatSu Valley home for over 5 years. She has a background in accounting office work and recently completed her Bachelors degree in Accounting. Joy is thrilled for the opportunity to support the amazing staff, dancers, and families of Sonja’s Studio of Performing Arts!