Meet the Dance Instructors
Marsha Butcher: As a student, Marsha was a member of the Springfield Ballet Company. She also attended summer dance intensives with Nashville Ballet and David Howard. Marsha is a 2008 graduate from Illinois State University with a double major in dance and elementary education. While attending ISU, Marsha was a member of Illinois State Dance Theatre and president of Illinois State Dance Association. She also had the opportunity to perform works by a variety of guest artists including artists from Joe Goode Performance Group, Hubbard Street, Paul Taylor, Trisha Brown, Eddy Ocampo and Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre. Marsha choreographed and performed for the American College Dance Festival. Marsha taught ballet, modern and jazz at Interlochen Center for the Arts during their summer camp program. Marsha currently teaches at Springfield Dance in Springfield, IL.
DeeDee Dixon-Pearl i
s a dance teacher and fitness instructor. DeeDee joined Tracey and Heather’s Dance Synergy (formally Turnout Movement Arts Studio) in 2007 where she has competed with the adult hip hop group at regional competitions, winning first place in numerous categories. DeeDee teaches hip hop dance fitness aerobics, step aerobics and hip hop dance to the kids at summer camp each year along with being a personal trainer at the local YMCA.
DeeDee has done a lot to bring hip hop to Springfield through workshops and celebrity guest invites. She was chosen to coordinate a three-day hip hop dance workshop for dancer/actor Darren Henson, where the local kids were taught the fundamentals of hip hop. She also had the opportunity to bring Extreme Hip Hop step celebrity Phillip Weeden in to do a one-day workshop for hip hop step aerobics. DeeDee has choreographed for local middle and high school dance teams and has been featured in the National Association of Professional Women for being an up and coming local hip hop fitness instructor. DeeDee feels that dance and fitness is her passion and purpose and loves sharing it.
Tracey Sims Kopecky is well known for her extraordinary choreography. Tracey has instructed many students who have received numerous dance scholarships. Tracey is a regional and national title winning dance instructor and had studied at both the EDGE Performing Arts Center and Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles, California. She has been awarded such honors as: Top Teacher, Top Studio, Overall Studio, Best Choreography, Most Entertaining, High Power High Energy, Show Stopper and the list goes on. Tracey brings unique, cutting edge choreography and incredible energy to each dance. She continues her own studies in classes and workshops and was recently awarded a Teacher Scholarship to “Pulse on Tour.” As a teacher and choreographer, she teaches Master Hip Hop classes for other dance companies, high school and college dance teams. Tracey is also certified in Kripalu DanKenetics and Shake Your Soul, which draws from Movement Therapy, Qi Kung and Yoga. Tracey has expanded her passion for teaching into the college classroom. As an adjunct instructor in the psychology program at the University of Illinois at Springfield, Tracey is able to share her expertise and passion for working with at-risk special needs populations. Tracey earned a BSW degree in social work as well as a master of arts degree in INO- movement and wellness from the University of Illinois at Springfield. A judge for Star Systems National Talent Competitions, Tracey strives to help dancers of all levels achieve success. She was nominated by readers of the Illinois Times and was chosen as Springfield’s Best Dance Instructor in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Tracey is the owner of and instructor at Tracey and Heather's Dance Synergy.
Kendra Sagle Schmulbach
At the age of two, Mrs. Kendra began taking dance classes. After a couple of years of sitting the wrong way and blundering through recitals, her parents and dance instructors thought gymnastics might just be a better fit. In 1980 she started training at L & M Gymnastics School. Throughout the years she has achieved many notable accomplishments including USGF, USTA and AAU/USA National titles. Among her most memorable accomplishments are qualifying as one of six gymnasts to represent Illinois at the Junior Olympic Games in Tallahassee, FL. as well as representing our nation at the Canadian National Championships, not once but twice! A broken back derailed her gymnastics career for a short time. Not wanting to sit idly by, she set her sights on cheerleading. In 1992, she was chosen as a UCA All-Star. This honor enabled her to travel to London for the New Year’s Day Parade where she was also chosen to perform for the Lord Mayor of Westminster himself. Mrs. Kendra then moved on to Southern Illinois University as a physical education major with a specialization in exercise science. While at SIU she was a member of the Saluki Shaker Dance Team. As a member of this squad, she was selected as captain and then an NCA All-American.
Mrs. Kendra believes she has been so blessed and somewhere along the way she found her calling. Teaching at L & M throughout high school and college, she expanded her knowledge by becoming a USATTA tumbling judge. She continued to further her love of the sport by coaching the cheerleaders and dancers at Riverton High School from 2001 – 2006. In 2009, Mrs. Kendra became part of TurnOut Movement Arts Studio, now Tracey and Heather's Dance Synergy.
Sharon Flynn Stidham
is a certified Irish Dance Teacher (TCRG) and internationally sought-after Adjudicator (ADCRG). She travels throughout the United States and Europe judging competitions, running workshops, and creating opportunities for Irish dancers and instructors to perfect their craft. Sharon's experience in Irish Dance began in 1969, when her father, the first president of the Tara Association in New Brunswick, NJ, invited dancers from the Ed Sullivan show to perform. Sharon then moved on to study with one of the founding members of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA), and the teacher of many of the finest Irish dancers in the history of US Irish dance. As an individual competitor, Sharon won numerous local, regional and national championships, qualified regularly for the World Championships, and performed at Carnegie Hall. In 2008, she was part of the team that created the North American Irish Dance Federation, LLC, and spent five wonderful years as its chair; the organization has since merged with the second largest Irish Dance organization in the world.
is the owner and head instructor at Studio M Dance Centre in Chatham. Ashlie grew up in Springfield and has 28 years of dance experience, and is a certified dance instructor through Dance Educators of America. She was a member of Linda Ushman’s Dance Centre from the age of 3, started competing at the age of 7 and continued dancing on her college dance team. Ashlie has studies under many professionals from all over the world, receiving several honors including scholarships from LA Danceforce and Dupree Dance Convention. She studied at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, competed in many regional and national competitions, and has performed twice in Disney’s Magic Music Days program in Orlando, Florida, the “Nutcracker on Broadway,”and Carnival Cruise Lines. Ashlie graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a dual degree in early childhood elementary and special education K-12. She lives in Springfield with her husband Danny and their two beautiful children. She is excited and honored to be a part of this program and has been having an amazing time working with the young dancers!
has 29 years of dancing experience, and is a certified dance instructor through Dance Educators of America. She has received scholarships to the Broadway Dance Centre in NYC as well as LA Danceforce and Dupree Dance Convention Scholarships. She was chosen as a “Sweetheart” scholarship winner at the I Love Dance dance competition, and was also chosen to participate in the “Success America” scholarship program through the Star Systems nationals competition, where she was invited to attend several classes in New York and participate in a special performance for industry professionals. She has studied under many professional instructors from all over the nation, including NYC and LA. She has also competed in regional and national competitions, has performed in the “Nutcracker on Broadway,” Disney’s Magic Music Days program in Orlando, Florida and was a half-time performer at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. She performed in the opening act for Phyllis Diller at the PCCC, was a Universal Dance Association instructor and was a member of the Illinois State University’s competitive dance team. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Springfield where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in management. Following in her footsteps, many of her students have also received scholarships on the convention circuit, All-Star scholarships, and the most notable was a two-week scholarship to the Edge Performing Arts Centre through the Tremaine Dance Convention. Miss Heather would like to say thank you to all of her students, past and present, for helping to shape the person and educator she is today!