Owner & Head Instructor
Miss Whitney has over 30 years of dance experience and 14 as an instructor, with a background and qualifications in modern, jazz, contemporary, ballet, tap, gymnastics, aerial dance, and pointe. She began her training in both dance and gymnastics at Parish School of Performing Arts in Jerseyville, Illinois at the young age of five where she was a member of State St. Performing Company. Throughout her time there she competed nationally and achieved awards such as Distinguished Performer, Star Performer, LA talent agent semi-finalist, American Dance Idol finalist, National Entertainer Award, performed in the halftime show at the NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii and performed work by Eddie Garcia at the International Dance Festival in New York City. She was also a recipient of a Broadway Dance Center Scholarship under the direction of Sheila Barker. From there, Whitney went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance from the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago where she graduated with honors. Upon graduation, Whitney became an instructor and later a studio manager as well at All About Dance Chicago, a unique dance studio full of positive energy where kids and adults share their passion and love for dance. Through All About Dance she has taught dance at several summer camps, after-school and community outreach programs in Chicago such as The British School of Chicago, The Latin School of Chicago, and Francis W. Parker.
Throughout her professional dance career, Whitney has had the opportunity to perform professionally with The Seldoms (A Chicago-based contemporary dance company) and Aerial Dance Chicago (formerly known as Ameba Acrobatic and Aerial Dance Company). Yes, she’s one of those dancers that can climb up silks and hang from the trapeze! She has also had the privilege to attend and choreograph at American College Dance Festival and perform choreography by Merce Cunningham (set by Paige Cunningham) and Liz Burritt in Chicago. She has attended workshops such as Joe Goode Dance Theater, and Zephyr Arts Integration Workshop. Throughout her years of training she has studied at Broadway Dance Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Paul Taylor Studio, Peridance Center, the Merce Cunningham Studio, The Edge, Lou Conte as well as internationally at Mad Dance House in Australia and The Dance Mill in England.
As a trained and versatile dancer, choreographer, and teacher she strives to take her experiences even further by introducing her diverse knowledge and love for dancing and the arts through offering and encouraging an exciting, inspiring and physical learning environment that will be beneficial and engaging to all students at Dance Canvas. She strongly feels that creativity and exploration in the arts is the key to loving life and enjoying each new day. Dance Canvas is her heart and she could not be more thrilled to dance into another year with all our amazing staff, dancers and families!
Instructor & Company Director
Leann has over 20 years of dance experience, with training in Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Modern, Hip Hop, Pom, and Kick. She started her training at the age of three at L.A. Dance Center in Florissant, MO and has loved dance ever since. During her time in St. Louis, Leann was a member of her studio's Production Teams and also performed in area events. In addition to this, Leann was also a member of her high school's dance team and was captain during her senior year. She became an instructor at her studio during her high school years and has enjoyed sharing her love for dance with others ever since.
Leann left St. Louis to attend Missouri State University and earned her Bachelors of Science in Management. While at MSU, Leann took Ballet and Jazz classes and also had the opportunity to perform in various dance concerts. Outside of the college’s dance department, she had the opportunity to participate in, choreograph, and lead parade routines, small competitions and a large 50-member dance production.
In 2015, Leann joined the Dance Canvas team as an instructor and knew this would be her new dance home. As the studio continued to grow, and a competition team was formed, Leann helped co-lead Dance Canvas' Company Program. In 2019, Leann was thrilled to take on a full time position with Dance Canvas as the Company Director and Assistant Creative Director. In her role, Leann continues to teach classes, as well as lead Dance Canvas' Company & Competition program. She loves to share her passion for dance with her students and is honored to be a member of the Dance Canvas team.
Maria joined the Dance Canvas family in 2015. With 19 years of dance experience, Miss Maria has trained in tap, musical theater, jazz, hip hop, ballet, pointe, contemporary, lyrical, and pom. Her dance journey began at Center Stage Academy of the Performing Arts, at the age of three years-old. When she turned 16, she was given the opportunity to begin teaching, and has been a dance instructor ever since. At Center Stage, she not only trained and competed in these styles of dance, but held several lead roles in musicals put on by her home studio and the University of Central Missouri. Some of her favorite roles included Dorothy in the 'Wizard of Oz' and Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast'.
Although she has trained in many styles, her passion lies with tap. Her love of this style has given her the opportunity to learn from several brilliant tappers, including: Avi Miller, Ofer Ben-Amots, Jason Samuels Smith, Evan Ruggiero, and Brooke Paulsen-Zelus. There is nothing she loves more than sharing her passion for tap with the kiddos at Dance Canvas!
After graduating from MSU with her B.S. in Child and Family Development, Maria moved to St. Louis to pursue her M.S. in Child Life Studies. She still plans to be a part of the Dance Canvas team, shifting from an instructor role, to a guest tap choreographer for the studio. Miss Maria will also be guiding the tap classes from afar!
Sydney is from Monett, MO, where she received 16 years of dance training. Sydney has been trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, and musical theater. She has competed at numerous competitions throughout her dance career, bringing home multiple awards and scholarships. When Sydney started high school, she was a part of her high school dance team, known as the Pizzazz Poms. She was a team captain her senior year and was awarded the “Cub Award” for her leadership. She led the Pizzazz Poms to many victories at regional and state competitions. Sydney was recognized as an All-American Dancer through the Universal Dance Association (UDA), and was invited to travel across the states to be a UDA instructor after graduating high school.
Sydney was given the opportunity to start teaching dance when she turned 18 and that’s when she found her calling. She has worked at Dance Canvas for a total of three years and has loved every second of it.
Sydney is now a student at Elite Aircraft Services Flight Training, where she is working towards becoming a pilot. She is hoping to use her pilot licensing to fly in her spare time. Sydney is so grateful to call Dance Canvas home, and her fellow instructors family. Sydney’s love for Dance Canvas is only second to her love for dance and she cannot wait to continue teaching at Dance Canvas for many years to come.
Madeline’s 16 years of dance experience has come from learning at Center Stage Academy of the Performing Arts, located in Warrensburg MO. Madeline is trained in jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, musical theater, ballet, and pointe. She was involved in over ten of her studio's musicals, such as performances in 'Legally Blonde Jr' and 'The Wizard of Oz'! Her home studio trained Madeline in over ten years of ballet technique, along with six years of learning en pointe. Over the years she was grateful to earn many principal roles in Center Stage’s annual productions of the Nutcracker, such as the ballerina doll, lead marzipan, and lead Neopolitan!
Most of her dance training comes from her experience as a competitive dancer, starting at nine years old. Her and her teammates have accomplished many awards around the Midwest, and a recent national championship at Talent On Parade in 2021 for her musical theater and tap group routine. During her junior year of high school, she started to self-choreograph some routines, such as her solo, and a duet for her and her twin sister. Dancing competitively in a large variety of styles has inspired Madeline the most to continue her passion as a teacher, along with showing the importance of teamwork, perseverance, and versatility in performing!
In 2021, Madeline graduated from Warrensburg High School and became a student at Missouri state University for the upcoming fall, as a Graphic Design and Illustration Major! Dance Canvas has welcomed her and her sister Rebecca with open arms, and she cannot wait to continue instructing and assisting in such a wonderful and positive environment!
Hattie has been dancing since she was five years old, and teaching dance since she was 16 years old. She danced with The San Diego Ballet for three years, a Performing Arts school for two years, and at Springfield Ballet for 10 years! In her time dancing she has studied ballet, pointe, jazz, musical theatre, tap, modern, contemporary, West African, classical and contemporary partnering, and choreography. Growing up she danced in numerous productions of The Nutcracker, as well as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Snow White, and other fairy tales!
Hattie is currently attending Missouri State University for her B.F.A. in Dance as well as a minor in American Sign Language. After graduating,she wants to continue choreographing, teaching, and dancing in whatever ways she can!
Since attending MSU Hattie has had several performance opportunities with professional contemporary companies and work with guest artists. She also was on the executive board of the Missouri State Dance Company organization on campus for two years as Fundraising Director and President. She also founded Resonance Dance Company at Missouri State University, a concert dance company in the Spring of 2022. Hattie is so thrilled to continue being a part of the Dance Canvas team!
Rebecca has been dancing since she was two years old! Now with 17 years of experience, she can confidently say that dance is the greatest part of her life. Rebecca started dancing at her hometown studio Center Stage Academy of the Performing Arts in Warrensburg Missouri. There she studied in tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet, pointe, modern, musical theater and hip hop. In the summers, she was a part of ten musical theater performances over the years, including 'Aladdin', 'Legally Blonde' and 'The Wizard of Oz'. Her studio held an annual Nutcracker production each year and Rebecca has performed in many select roles such as Lead Spanish, Waltz of the Flowers, Clara's Friend, and more!
Competition season has always been Rebecca's favorite, and over the years she's won National Titles and various other awards. In high school she would choreograph her own solos and duets, and believes that these opportunities helped launch her into her current role of teacher and choreographer.
One of the best parts about growing up a dancer has been the opportunity to dance with her twin sister Madeline! They shared nearly every dance class and performance together and are absolute best friends. They have even had the amazing opportunity to teach alongside one another at Dance Canvas. They are grateful to call Dance Canvas home to continue their passion for choreographing and influencing young dancers!
Rebecca now attends Missouri State University and is a sports medicine major with plans to become a physical therapist. She is so excited for another season at Dance Canvas and can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Front Desk / Instructor
Caitlin was born in St. Louis where she trained in dance for 15 years. Her dance training included ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pom, and hip hop at both the recreational and competitive level. While taking classes growing up, she also assisted with teaching elementary aged students' ballet, jazz, and tap classes. She spent one year on her high school's dance team but found that she felt more at home in a dance studio setting. After high school, she moved to Springfield to attend Missouri State University. While there, Caitlin rejoined the dance world with both Dance Canvas and Mo State Dance Co. She graduated with a degree in Elementary Education in 2022 and is now an elementary teacher in Springfield Public Schools. Caitlin is so happy to have found the family that is Dance Canvas!
Graycen is from St. Louis Missouri. She has been dancing since the age of 1 and a 1/2 and received her training from Dance Connection Performing Arts Center. She is trained in jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, musical theater, hip hop, and pointe. She has been dancing competitively since the age of 9 and is still dancing competitively as a Sugar Bear at Missouri State University. The Sugar Bears are a nationally recognized team, and have placed in the top 10 at a national level for 25 consecutive years. While training in studio, she received many placement and specialty awards, scholarships, as well as national titles. Graycen currently attends Missouri State University and is studying Marketing Management. She plans to pursue sports marketing in the NFL as a social media manager. Graycen has been with Dance Canvas for a year now and she can’t wait to continue to share her passion for dance with the Dance Canvas family!
Quin is originally from Manhattan, KS where she received 9 years of dance training. She then moved to Springfield, MO where she received 2 more years right here at Dance Canvas. She trained in many styles including: ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, musical theater, contemporary, and lyrical. Quin was part of the competition team in Kansas and at Dance Canvas where she traveled to compete and take convention classes throughout the year.
Quin is now attending Evangel University and majoring in Allied Health (Pre-PT). After graduating she hopes to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and become a practicing Physical Therapist. She is so excited to continue her dance journey here at Dance Canvas by working as an assistant and at the front desk. She is thrilled to be a part of this dance home and cannot wait to continue making a difference in children’s lives!
Kelsey has been dancing for 16 years, and has studied a variety of styles including tap, ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, contemporary, lyrical, musical theatre, hip hop, and dance team pom. She started dancing at the Springfield YMCA when she was three. Kelsey was also a member of the Central High School Dance Team, and was the captain of the team during her senior year of high school which gave her the opportunity to choreograph all of the dances for her team, as well as coach them through the year. Kelsey is currently a Sophomore attending Missouri State University for her B.S in Dance, as well as her B.S in Film & Media Studies. She is the current Publicity Director for the Missouri State Dance Company organization on campus, and prior to teaching, choreographed many different dances in different styles for Ozark Dance Academy. Kelsey is very excited to be a part of the Dance Canvas team!
Dance Classes for Kids & Teens
in Springfield, Missouri