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 & 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' four Company teams. She loves to share her passion for dance with her students and is honored to be a member of the Dance Canvas team.
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!
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. 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!
Hattie has been dancing since she was five 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, classical and contemporary partnering, and choreography. Hattie is currently attending Missouri State University for her B.F.A. in Dance as well as Ozarks Technical Community College for her Associates of Arts degree and a minor in American Sign Language. She has had several performance opportunities with professional contemporary companies since attending MSU, she is also the Fundraising Director for the Missouri State Dance Company organization on campus. Hattie is so thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the Dance Canvas team!
Lauren has almost 20 years of dance experience in many styles such as ballet, tap, contemporary, modern, jazz and musical theatre. She started dancing in Lakewood, CA and grew up competing in many competitions on the West Coast. She has had chances to work with and take classes from people like Gregg Russell, Al Blackstone, Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo, and many more. Lauren graduated from Missouri State University with a BFA in Dance and a minor in psychology. She also has a passion for musicals and has performed in various shows including West Side Story, All Shook Up and Footloose. Lauren has had a few choreographic experiences as well at her old theatre company in California and in a production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in Mt. Vernon. Shortly after graduating, Lauren completed an internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and since then has been living in Republic. She is so happy to be part of a beautiful community of dancers!
Instructor & Front Desk
Gabrielle was born and raised in Quincy, Illinois. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science at Truman State University and is now in the Masters of Occupational Therapy Program at Missouri State University with the goal of becoming a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. Gabrielle has danced since age 3 and was trained in ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop until age 13. She began her competitive dance career in 8th grade with QDance studio and competed in jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and hip-hop. Her studio traveled to numerous competitions and brought home many titles and special awards at local and national competitions.
Gabrielle was a part of her high school’s varsity dance team (Q-City Pommers) and her team earned their way to IDTA State Championship competitions each year. Her team earned three podium placements and two State Champion titles. Gabrielle was the captain of her team her senior year and choreographed each dance including the state competition routine.
Teaching Assistant / Front Desk
Hannah grew up in O'Fallon, Missouri and has 18 years of dance experience, including competitive. She has trained in jazz, ballet, hip-hop, tap, musical theatre, pom, lyrical and contemporary, and performed in the Nutcracker with the Joffrey Ballet at age 10. Hannah was the captain of her high school dance team and was on the varsity team, giving her extensive choreographing experience. Hannah taught hip-hop in O'Fallon and was on the MO State Movement dance team in her freshman year of college.
Hannah is studying Social Work at Missouri State and loves to impart her passion for dance to her students at Dance Canvas!
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. James likes books, his son Leo and potatoes.