Owner & Head Instructor
Miss Whitney has over 25 years of dance experience and seven as an instructor, with a background and qualifications in modern, jazz, contemporary, ballet, tap, gymnastics, aerial dance, and Zumba. 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 continued to train and demonstrate extensively through invite only at Broadway Dance Center as a Counselor. 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 in 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 hopes 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.
Instructor & Co-Company Director
Leann is from St. Louis, Missouri and has 20 years of dance experience including Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Pointe, Modern, Hip Hop, Pom and Kick. She started dance at the age of three at L.A. Dance Center in Florissant, MO and became a part of the studio’s Production Team. Leann was also a part of her high school’s Dance Team.
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 Leann had the opportunity to participate in, choreograph and lead parade routines, small competitions and a large 50-member dance production. Leann is also our Co-Company Director, and manages Dance Canvas' three Company teams!
Maddison has 15 years of dance experience including extensive training in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, contemporary, pom, and kick. As a Springfield native, she grew up dancing and competing in the local dance community and holds an All-American designation from the Universal Dance Association. Maddison is the former coach and choreographer for the Willard High School Tigerettes dance team. In this position she choreographed and competed with numerous award-winning routines at local and state competitions and parades. Maddison graduated with a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Missouri State University and is currently an elementary teacher for Nixa Public Schools. Maddison loves sharing her passion for dance with Dance Canvas!
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, as well as scheduling for our teachers!
Even with her diverse interests, dance has been a constant thread for Elizabeth. She began her training at age 5 in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. From age 12-15 she danced with the North Carolina State Ballet Company and enjoyed lead roles in The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. She was then a senior performance member at the Belleville School of Ballet in Belleville, IL with lead and solo roles in The Nutcracker. She also enjoyed competing with her high school dance team for 2 years.
She came to Springfield to attend Missouri State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Dance. While at MSU, she toured with Inertia, the MSU dance company, as well as performed and taught at the American College Dance Festival. She attended the American Ballet Theatre Summer Collegiate Intensive in 2010 and has also attended jazz and contemporary workshops from international performers and choreographers in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Elizabeth has been teaching, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical and Modern in the Springfield area since 2012. She stays actively involved in the area dance community as the Executive Director of the Springfield Dance Alliance and the coach and choreographer for the Ozark High School Dance Team.
Emily is from St. Louis and has been dancing for over ten years. She started competing with her studio at age eleven and trained extensively in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, musical theatre, tap, and pom. Emily has received a variety of awards throughout her career, including the title of Magic Performer of the Weekend. She received various scholarships and special awards at competitions and placed in the National Senior Dancer of the Year competition at Masquerade Nationals in 2015.
Following high school graduation, Emily accepted an offer to travel with LA Dance Magic as a company member, where she assisted well-known choreographers at convention competitions across the U.S. With the company, she demonstrated choreography, performed with faculty members, and worked competitions in a variety of cities, including national finals in Anaheim, CA. The following year, Emily transferred to Missouri State University, where she was a member of the Sugar Bears dance team. Her choreography was performed at various football and basketball games, as well as special events such as homecoming and out-of-state tournaments. She also competed as a finalist in Division I Jazz and Pom finals during her years on the team.
Emily is currently studying Fashion Merchandising and Marketing at MSU. She recently moved back to Missouri after completing an internship with the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida and couldn’t be happier be a part of the Dance Canvas faculty!
Amanda joined the Dance Canvas family in 2019. She has over 25 years of Dance experience and is trained in hip hop, jazz, musical theatre, tap, ballet and contemporary dance. Amanda was captain of the Glendale Pom squad, where they won first in three categories at the Missouri State Dance competition her senior year. Amanda attended the University of Arkansas where she was a member of the Arkansas Razorback Pom squad, where she received a scholarship and danced at the razorback football, basketball and baseball games as well as made several public appearances. While at Arkansas, Amanda received a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics.
After teaching at several dance studios including 5678 Dance Studio in Bentonville, Ar, and William’s Dance and Gymnastics Center in Fayetteville, she moved to West Palm Beach Fl., where she taught at Movement Arts Dance Academy for 6 years. Amanda also was a member of the Preston Contemporary Dance theatre group while in Florida.
Amanda has had the opportunity to take classes with renowned choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Wade Robson, Desmond Richardson, Laurie Ann Gibson and Barry Youngblood among others. Amanda is currently enrolled in a graduate program at Missouri State University, where she is in the Health Promotion and Wellness Management Program. Amanda is enthusiastic and positive and is looking forward to many more fun experiences in the future with the Dance Canvas community!
Owner & Manager
James was born and raised in Yorkshire, England and worked for the government in the United Kingdom for three years before moving to New Zealand for a two-year motorcycle tour, where he met Whitney in 2012. He has an Associates Degree in Business Management and has managed restaurants, bars and small hotels in three different countries. James is a certified and experienced first-aider and has experience in several fields including marketing, agriculture, hospitality, construction, horse racing, training & development and publishing.