Ankeny Dance & Performing Arts Academy Faculty and Staff

Mark Ferree
Academy Owner/General Manager

Mark Ferree

Owner/General Manager Ankeny Dance & Performing Arts Academy/Instructor in Vocals/Theater

 After years of on-air television experience as a news reporter and meteorologist, Mark Ferree brings his love of music, theater and performance to Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy. After receiving a liberal arts degree with majors in both Communications and Theater Arts from the University of Minnesota, Mark went back to school through Mississippi State University to complete all major coursework in Meteorology. Mark has more than two decades of live on-camera experience in broadcast television markets from Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, and here in Des Moines, Iowa. You can still see Mark on-air from time to time filling in on the KCWI-23 morning show, Great Day!

 Mark has always enjoyed the theater, music, and dance, and first began formal training in music at the age of four. Mark competed in numerous piano competitions, even winning the Minnesota Music Teacher's Association Ten Pianos Competition twice, earning the opportunity to perform onstage at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Mark began vocal training in junior high, was a member of the district 281 All-District Junior High Chorus, and sang in the adult Chancel Choir at Brunswick United Methodist Church beginning in eighth grade. In high school, Mark played piano in jazz band, played saxophone in symphonic band and marching band, became drum major of the marching band, played jazz piano for the nearby community college while still in high school, and sang in select choir. Ferree also discovered his love for the theater in Senior High, and began acting, dancing, and singing in onstage drama and musical productions at E.J.  Cooper Senior High School. He polished those skills and appeared in productions while studying Theater Arts at the University of Minnesota. While there, in addition to acting, voice, and movement he also enjoyed studying jazz piano, taking classes with renowned jazz pianist and musician Reginald Buckner. Mark also performed in the Minnesota Golden Gopher Marching Band and was a rank and section leader on saxophone. (He can still play the Minnesota March and the Minnesota Rouser by heart, something he doesn't admit much to here in Iowa).

 On stage, some of Mark's favorite roles were as Tommy Trainor in No No Nanette, Jimmy Curry in 110 In The Shade, Hap in the U of M Peppermint Tent children's theater production of Hap and the Riddle Machine, and as Rocky, a ballplayer in the musical Damn Yankees at the Des Moines Playhouse. In fact, Mark met his wife Sarah on stage at the Des Moines Playhouse when both were cast (Sarah played Lola) in that production! More recently, Mark and Sarah appeared again together onstage at the Ankeny Community Playhouse in the playhouse production of A.R. Gurney's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Love Letters.

 In addition to his continuing involvement with the performing arts, Mark enjoys the challenges of owning and managing a business, and the wide range of skills it requires, from customer service to managing an office and even creating and maintaining a website and online presence. He also appreciates the opportunity to use his knowledge of set construction from his college courses in theater arts to help create set and prop elements for our Ankeny Dance & Performing Arts Academy productions, although Mark has a knack for "over-engineering" and building set elements that require a crane ... or at least eight dance dads ... to lift! He has enjoyed working with students in the vocal program and believes the best part about being at Ankeny Dance & Performing Arts Academy is helping to inspire young people to achieve in the performing arts.

You can contact Mark at