Meet Our Dance Creator & Instructor

Tanya Kaye Lewis

Founder & CEO
Tanya Kaye Lewis (Sobeck-Murdock)

Tanya has a passion to motivate others to succeed! Through her personal and professional experiences, she thrives in building connections. She has successfully designed, developed, and applied multiple programs using creativity and innovation with long-term and beneficial results.
She is humbled and honored to share her story…her journey.

Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Tanya’s passion developed when she first experienced her grandmother’s positive impact and inspirational influence. Her Grandmother Lydia Wade had an enthusiasm that radiated when teaching her Students with Special Needs, creating and building Community Events, and in her daily life when in the community or at home with family! Tanya’s hope and goal is to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, for in her heart remains the sight of the students’ smiles each day she “waltzed” into their lives and her enormous SMILE she warmly shared with all!

Tanya’s professional experience in designing and developing successful programs began upon graduation from high school when she earned her Lifeguard Instructor Certification and was promoted to Head Water Park Trainer at Family Land Waterpark (now Mt. Olympus Water Park & Theme Park Resort) in Wisconsin Dells, WI. Throughout her combined 7 years with the Water Park each Spring/Summer, her very first professional leader, in partnership with the park owners, coached her through leadership and believed in Tanya’s ability to lead, teach, guide, create, and apply programs. In addition, they had faith in her abilities to mentor and represent the Mission, Vision, and Philosophy of Family Land Waterpark. She joined the Hiring Team, managed multiple Lifeguard Teams and Training Programs, and designed, developed, and implemented the Tidal Wave Training Manual…components of which are still in use today; all resulting in effective teamwork and hundred of lives saved! She was INSPIRED beyond measure by her very first leader, Park Manager Carrie Rohrer… and is filled with APPRECIATION and THANKFULNESS to her and the Family Land Waterpark Owners for BELIEVING in her with every stride!
Tanya attended Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, earning an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa – National Honor Society. Upon graduation, she transferred to Hope College in Holland, MI. As an upperclassman, she learned how to craft her interests and passions, obtaining a BA in Psychology, earning membership in Psi Chi – National Honor Society in Psychology, Communication, and Dance, also earning membership in Sigma Omicron – Dance Honor Society. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hope College. Throughout both Colleges, she is GRATEFUL for each and every Professor and Mentor she had the privilege to meet, learn from, and be inspired by. Tanya is THANKFUL to her fellow students for the camaraderie, teambuilding, and tutoring. And, she is HONORED to have been surrounded by positive encouragement…a belief that through Hope and Courage…Dreams can come True…and new Dreams be born.

While attending Hope College, Tanya’s experience and drive enabled her to achieve a Practicum in Abnormal Psychology with an outstanding program called, Art For All at the Holland Area Arts Council. This program was created for individuals with Special Needs ~ Intellectual/Physical Disabilities. Each week, the class would meet for two hours with students dividing their time between Art and Dance. Tanya’s focus was with the Dance Component of the program where she learned how to create, design, and implement Creative Dance Lesson Plans, enabling all Students with Special Needs to explore, create, and achieve ART! She studied under the direction of Program Director and the “Guiding Light” of Mae Van Ark and Dance Component Leader Cindy Disney-Gainey. This was Tanya’s first professional opportunity in applying that which she had learned from her grandmother…to Inspire!

As Tanya successfully completed her Practicum, Cindy Disney-Gainey was preparing to move and explore a new
professional adventure in a nearby state. As Tanya was preparing for her 2nd Semester of her Junior Year, she received a BLESSED OPPORTUNITY! Program Director Mae Van Ark and Leaders from the Holland Area Arts Council invited her to continue the Dance Component of the Art For All Program as Leader! Completely HONORED, she LEAPT at the opportunity to take the tools she had learned from Cindy in addition to her personal and professional skills, and continue the Fine Art of Dance Education! With this, Tanya’s added responsibilities included leading, directing, and guiding fellow Hope College Students…providing written Practicum Student Final Evaluations to Hope College Professors. She was delighted to partner with area community members, area leaders, and Hope College Professors! Tanya maintained this position until graduating from Hope College. Tanya is GRACIOUSLY THANKFUL to Mae Van Ark (retired in 2009), Cindy Disney-Gainey, and the Holland Area Arts Council Leadership for believing in her abilities to build lasting connections through Dance. And, she is thrilled the Program continues to thrive in Holland, MI, today!

Honored to bring her expertise and talent in Lifeguarding full-circle, Tanya was recruited by the Walt Disney World Resort for an Internship with the Disney College Program, Summer 1999. As the first student from Hope College to earn an Internship with The Walt Disney Company, Tanya aimed for SUCCESS while earning College Credits and Professional Work Experience. She learned the Heritage and Tradition of the Disney Brand, Excellence in Guest Service, Cast Member Connections and Team Building, and the Values of Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency as Disney welcomes Guests Globally. Learning through the superb College Classes and Lifeguarding at Disney’s Polynesian Resort (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort) taught lifelong skills…enabling tools designed for SUCCESS! With her approach and motivation to be successful in a professional environment, she enthusiastically applied for and accepted the next level of Internship, Advanced/Professional Internship, directly upon College Graduation. This 6-month Advanced/Professional Internship beginning in January 2000, provided Tanya a Role with Human Resources at Disney-MGM Studios…Disney’s Hollywood Studios…assisting Cast Members with their personal and professional goals through networking, Learning Activities, providing professional resources and literature, and resume building.

Tanya beamed in creating Magical Moments for both Disney Guests and Cast Members. She is delighted whenever she receives a call to this day from Hope College Students who are aiming for Internships through the Disney College Program!

Striving to excel in all areas of collegiate study, Tanya auditioned and was selected to bring her talents to the Walt Disney World Resort Entertainment Team. She performed in a variety of Parades and Shows, including: The Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Magical Moments Parade at Magic Kingdom, SpectroMagic! at Magic Kingdom, Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland Hoedown Show, Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Share A Dream Come True Parade at Magic Kingdom, Opening Cast of Magic Kingdom’s Trolley and Welcome Show, Disney Dreams Come True Parade at Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parade at Magic Kingdom, Celebrate the Season (Holiday Show at Cinderella Castle), and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade at Magic Kingdom, also airing on ABC.

With her ability to connect with others in a variety of expertise and her drive to motivate and inspire, Tanya auditioned and was selected to represent The Walt Disney Company as a Facilitator on the 2004 Traditions Team! She welcomed new Cast Members to the Walt Disney World Resort, building connections, and providing tools for success while sharing the Heritage and Tradition founded by Walt and Roy Disney…carrying on the Disney Brand and Legacy!

Tanya had never had the opportunity to come to Walt Disney World before being hired as a Cast Member! HOW MAGICAL!!! What a DREAM COME TRUE to come to Walt Disney World Resort…to Work, to Live, to Play!!! Each Role has left an imprint on her heart…forever!
As in the Lyrics of Disney’s “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes”
“Have faith in your dreams and someday,
your rainbow will come smiling through.
… The dream that you wish will come true!”

Tanya has always maintained the belief to FOLLOW DREAMS! With the hope and goal of continuing to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, Tanya’s long-term passion of encouraging individuals with Special Needs ~ Intellectual/Physical Disabilities to reach their full potential through Creative Dance thrives. Through Tanya’s personal and professional experiences, her foundation has been built on enabling, enhancing, empowering, and encouraging learning with caring, sensitivity, and role modeling as the base. With this foundation came the launch of Creative Dance Expressions in May 2006. A company devoted to students of all ages and levels of development. Creative Dance Expressions’ drive to partner and build connections exemplifies Tanya’s passion in motivating others to

A tribute to a passion passed down

Their Smiles radiated each day she “Waltzed” into their lives!

That “Dancer” was my grandmother, Lydia E. Wade. As a child in rural Wisconsin, I saw first-hand my grandmother’s passion as she taught students with Special Needs at the Reedsburg Middle School (now Pineview Elementary). She adored incorporating Dance into the lives of her students and throughout Community Events also. Being so involved in her life, I learned the benefits of Dance at an early age. My grandmother’s ever-present and assured encouragement in motivating her students to achieve their fullest potential brought about immeasurable self-confidence. The pure JOY felt with each Dance is ingrained into my Heart, Always.80th-Birthday

At age 85, On Sunday, August 12th, 2007, my beautifully inspirational Grandmother Lydia Wade went Home to Heaven. In the days, months, and now years since, I still find myself wishing I could pick-up the phone to call her…for advice and counsel…to share stories of JOY! She was SO ELATED about the founding of Creative Dance Expressions in 2006.

She was the matriarch of our family and is so deeply missed by each and every one of us. We will TREASURE her, Forever.
A dear friend shared,

“Now she has the best seat in the house for your Dance Classes and Performances!” The editor of a local newspaper in Wisconsin wrote in memory, “Lydia Wade could light up a room. I will always remember her warm smile and loving heart that brightened the lives of so many.” (Editor Jeff Searing, “Reedsburg Independent”)

Indeed, she was an INSPIRATION to all who knew her. I can only hope and aim to emulate her. Now more than ever, I am humbled and honored to carry on her Legacy. Her light in my life radiates each and every Dance Class and in all facets.