Favorite word: INSPIRE
"My favorite word is INSPIRE. This word is so powerful that simply hearing the word alone sends chills through my body. Every dancer and dance teacher that I have had the pleasure to encounter in my life has thoroughly inspired me to be who I am today. The greatest compliment to receive from someone is, “You inspire me.” As a ballet dancer and teacher, my goal is to inspire every child to be their all around best selves, not only in their dancing, but also as human beings."
Alexandra joined our staff in our 2018-2019 Season 13! She trained under the direction of Kee Juan Han at the Washington School of Ballet. In 2014 she joined Washington Ballet’s Professional Training Program and was selected to participate in Suzanne Farrell’s Master Class Series at the Kennedy Center. Alexandra has attended summer programs at Ballet West, the Washington Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Orlando Ballet and Ballet Arizona. Upon graduating from high school in 2016, Alexandra joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Graduate Program for 2 years. She had the to opportunity to perform in the Balanchine’s Western Symphony, Yoshi Nakano’s New Work: The Symphony, Swan Lake and Harald Lander’s Etudes, as well as Terence Orr’s the Nutcracker with the main company. Alexandra dances with Avant Chamber Ballet and is excited to be teaching at Lifesong!
My favorite word is Kindness. No matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing, being kind will only ever serve you in a positive way. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others, even when it can be difficult to do. In the words of Harry Styles, “treat people with kindness."
Brittany joins the Lifesong staff in August 2022. She began her dance journey in 1999 and for 15 years trained at Forcher’s Dance Studio, becoming a well rounded young dancer in many different styles. Brittany went on to attend Texas State University where she received her BFA degree in Dance: Performance and Choreography in the Spring of 2018. Some of her most notable achievements include: Being a member of the world-famous Texas State Strutters for 2 years and a member of the faculty led, pre-professional contemporary dance company, Merge, for her remaining 2 years. During her time with these teams, she had the privilege to perform both internationally and at numerous university events and showcases. Following her graduation, Brittany lived in Austin for 2 years and taught for Pivotal Academy of Dance in Buda, Center Stage in Pflugerville, and Carnival of the arts in Pflugerville. She taught every age group from 3-18 and every dance style from Ballet to Hip Hop. Following the Covid pandemic Brittany moved back home to Bedford, TX and taught at L.D. Bell High School as the JV Drill Team Director in 2021-2022 school year. Working at her Alma Mater under the Director who inspired her to attend Texas State and become a Strutter was a very full circle moment in her Dance Career and now she is beyond excited to be joining the Lifesong faculty!
Favorite word: CREATIVITY
"My favorite word is CREATIVITY because it means being open to new things or innovation ... allowing the Lord to give us His freedom to try new things, make changes, and take risks in the creative process."
Candice Harrison joined the Lifesong family in February of 2019. She grew up in the Dallas/Fort worth area and has been involved in the fine arts since childhood. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas Woman’s University, which included a studies abroad program in Cortona, Italy and then earned a Master of Fine Arts with a full scholarship from Texas Christian University.
“Along with my great love for art I have discovered a passion for teaching. My teaching experience includes both early childhood and at a college level. I have worked as a college art assistant at TCU, taught children’s fine art camps all over the DFW area, children’s art lessons, children’s fine arts semester courses, held children’s art activity night events, and taught preschool ages 18 months to 4 years. From toddler to adult, I enjoy teaching all ages. It brings me so much joy to see others discover their creativity and talents they may have not known they possessed. I really can’t think of a better combination, to make art and to teach art.”
Favorite word: LOVE
"It's practically impossible for me to pick just one favorite word, but if I can only choose one, it's LOVE! Why? Because I believe that love is a part of all of the other words on our wall and the glue that holds them all together. Love is simple, yet profound. Without love, nothing else matters. Love truly is the greatest of them all!"
Carolyn loves people and the arts and Lifesong is the perfect place for her to express her heart for both. Carolyn’s life has been preparation for Lifesong. Her formal music training began at the age of 8 when she started piano lessons. Her musical gifts were encouraged by her school music teachers from elementary through high school, where she was the only accompanist for her school choirs from 5th grade through high school graduation. She played piano weekly in her church from the age of 14 until the summer of 2006. Her love for theatre began in high school when she was cast in her first high school play and is inspired now by her daughter Maddie’s love and talent for the stage. Her love and appreciation for the art of dance came when her daughter Taylor began dancing at the age of 3. She is inspired daily by her family, their talents and their shared love for the arts! Her passion for people and the arts took a new direction when she became the Worship & Arts Director at Compass Christian Church in Colleyville, serving in that position for 2 years from 2004-2006. Carolyn’s life experiences in the arts and in ministry as well as in the corporate world have all played a significant role in preparing her for her position as Owner and Director of Lifesong Studio. Carolyn is thankful to God for the privilege of Lifesong and to her family for sharing in her passion and commitment to making it a special place!
Favorite word: KINDNESS
"If I had to choose one word it would be KINDNESS. I believe acts of kindness are about being generous and considerate of others. It moves us to not think about ourselves, but instead celebrate others. Kindness improves relationships."
Daniel joined the music staff in the 2017-2018 Season 12. He is originally from San Francisco, CA where his love for music was born. At the age of ten, he began to play trumpet and soon after started to learn bass, piano, and guitar. After graduating high school Daniel decided to move to Dallas, Texas to pursue his love for music, where he studied music and audio engineering. Daniel began to play with many well-known worship leaders in the Hispanic community, which led him to travel to many countries in Europe, Central America, and South America. After traveling and touring for a bit, Daniel continued his education and love for ministry and attended Christ For The Nations Institute where he had the opportunity to play alongside well-respected musicians and worship leaders. Daniel now resides in Denton, Tx with his wife Ruth, where they serve their local church leading worship and pastoring pre-teens. Daniel continues to play around the DFW area and continues to pursue his love for music by teaching people of every age.
Favorite word: COMMITMENT
"COMMITMENT: I love this word and emphasize its value to my students. In the improv world, you stay committed to the character you create, to an idea that’s presented, or to a scene partner. You don’t do anything halfway—you’re 100% all in! And you can do this confidently because you know that the people who surround you on stage are also fully committed and have your back no matter what! That’s a good feeling."
Emily joined the Lifesong staff in our 2009-2010 Season 4. She came to us with several years of acting experience and specializes in improvisational acting. Emily has been performing professionally for several years with the improv comedy group, Pavlov’s Dogs. She can also be seen and heard in several toy and game commercials for Hasbro and Electronic Arts, including Gloworm, Littlest Pet Shop, Charm Girls Club, Cranium, and more. Emily received a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication with a minor in Theatre from Texas A&M University. She has also trained with acting and improvisational luminaries from The Second City and The Groundlings, including Charna Halpern, Gary Austin and the late Del Close. Over the past several years, Emily has taught improv workshops and theatre classes to children and adults, and she is excited to continue helping students develop their God-given gifts and talents at Lifesong. Emily can sometimes be seen on stage or in video at Fellowship Church, where she is a member with her husband Dale and sons Benjamin and Aaron. Despite several roles throughout her career, Emily’s most treasured performance was twirling her glitter baton in a home video known by her family as Christmas Video for Grandma, a hilarious must-see for anyone who still owns a VCR!
Favorite word: PATIENCE
My favorite word is PATIENCE. I think this is so fitting in both the arts and in life. Great things are not built overnight and patience is necessary in order to persevere and accomplish your goals. Patience is so important in life because often we get in a rush and try to carve our own paths instead of following the one God has already paved for us. Whenever you are patient in dance, you are able to put in the work that is necessary to make sure that everything you do is to the best of your ability. Whenever you are patient in life, you are able to sit back and be in awe of how God’s plan for your life is so much better than any plan you had for yourself.
Haley joined the Lifesong staff in January 2022. She began dancing at the age of 8 and it has been a major part of her life since! Haley was a member of the elite dance company at Lifesong where she competed at many regional and national competitions. She graduated from Birdville High School where she was a member of the Golden Motion Dance Team and was captain her junior and senior year. After high school, Haley went to Texas Tech University and was a member of the Texas Tech Pom Squad. During her time at Tech, she won 3 NDA National Championships and graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology. Now Haley travels around the country teaching and choreographing for various high school dance teams and studios. She also works for Marching Auxiliaries where she teaches at summer camps as well as judges competitions. Haley loves being able to combine her love for kids with her passion for dance and couldn’t imagine doing it at any better place than the studio that helped shape her!
Favorite word: FOCUS
"My favorite word is FOCUS which is an essential quality for all of us to achieve our goals. This is true when we play music or sports, and when we study in school."
Dr. Tzu-Ying Chan, originally from Taiwan, joined the Lifesong staff in our 2012-2013 Season 7 and is an active violinist and teacher. She has performed as a member of the “212 Ensemble” in New York, the Dallas Chamber Symphony, as well as the symphony orchestras of Irving, Las Colinas and San Angelo in Texas, Monroe in Louisiana, and South Arkansas and Texarkana in Arkansas, among others. Additionally, in 2018, she performed as a member of the Caminos del Inka Ensemble in collaboration with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale in a series of concerts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An accomplished Baroque violinist, she has made numerous appearances at the Boston Early Music Festival and the Baroque Performance Institute at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio. Her performances have taken her to some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and the
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Taiwan’s National Concert Hall. In addition to maintaining a successful private teaching studio in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Dr. Chan is currently an Adjunct Instructor of Violin at the Tarrant County College, as well as a violin teacher at the Fort Worth Country Day School and the Lifesong Studio. She has also taught at the Coppell Conservatory of Music, at
the Independent School Districts of Lewisville and Northwest in Texas, and the Melody Music School in New York City. She received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Taipei. After a two-year teaching appointment at the Fuxing Elementary School in Taiwan, she came to the United States and received a Master of Music degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York, studying with Ann Setzer. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the tutelage of Julia Bushkova at the University of North Texas, where she wrote a dissertation about Baroque improvisation practice in England as illustrated by 17th- century English music publisher John Playford. She has also taken additional post-graduate studies at the Temple University in Philadelphia under the guidance of Yumi Scott.
"My favorite word is LOVE. When Jesus was asked 'what's the greatest commandment?" ... His response was LOVE God and LOVE others - everything else hangs on these 2 things. Love really is where everything begins!"
Jay has served our community as a pastor since January of 1992. Jay’s experiences in ministry, music, dramatic productions, architecture and construction have all enhanced and prepared him for his role as Co-Owner of Lifesong Studio. Jay is committed to people, first and foremost, and his influence at Lifesong is of utmost importance. Not only does he provide a supporting role in leading the staff, but he also manages the facility’s needs, builds sets and props for our dance and theatre studios and generally does “whatever it takes” to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone has what they need. His “part-time” position has a “full-time” impact on Lifesong’s commitment to excellence and “shaping hearts through the arts!”
Favorite word: GRACE
"GRACE is my favorite word on the wall. I’m always amazed and in awe of God’s grace! He sees me … He knows me … and He still loves me!"
This native Texan came to Lifesong in July of 2015 and oh my what a difference she has made! Jeannie brings administrative experiences from other dance studios, performing arts schools, and various ministries where she used her gifts of administration, organization, and event planning. Her varied work background and gift for connecting with and caring for people, supports Lifesong’s mission. The families and staff at Lifesong have quickly become her passion. She enjoys being part of “shaping hearts through the arts” at Lifesong and appreciates the opportunity to be a part of the family! LIFE PURPOSE : “IMPART … WITH ALL MY HEART” I Thes 2:8 “We loved you so much we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but to impart our very lives as well.”
Favorite Word: JOY
JOY is my favorite word because there is JOY to be found in every single situation. Our new Joyful Hearts program at Lifesong brings JOY to everyone! Every single aspect of Lifesong has brought JOY to my family.
Jennifer has been part of the Lifesong family since her daughter started taking dance in 2011. She officially joined our staff in August of 2021. Jennifer has danced since the age of 3 and was involved in musical theater and drill team in high school. She attended Kilgore College where she as a member of the World Famous Kilgore College Rangerettes. During this time, she also started teaching for American Dance/Drill Team School. Jennifer graduated from The University of North Texas with a degree in Speech/Language Pathology and has been teaching special education since August 2000. Jennifer started volunteering on the theater side when her son started participating in shows. She approached Carolyn last year with a big idea of starting a special needs program and Joyful Hearts was born! She also joined the theater staff as an acting teacher in August 2021. Jennifer and her husband, Craig, live in Keller. They have 3 children - Bennett, Grace, and Maggie - all of whom are involved in theater and dance at Lifesong.
Favorite word: GENEROSITY
"I love the word generosity! I believe that dance is meant to be a generous art form. When on the stage you have the opportunity to share a piece of yourself with the audience, and this requires both courage and generosity! As a teacher it is my goal to share freely in the knowledge I pass onto my students, and to train up dancers who are courageously generous artists!"
Jessica Lohr grew up in Houston, Texas where she began her dance training at age seven. She trained under the direction of Victoria Vittum, James Payne, and Bridget Payne through her high school years as well as spending her summers training at intensives around the United States including Boston Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, Ballet Magnificat, and The Washington Ballet. Jessica was then accepted into The Washington Ballet’s Professional Training Program where she danced in productions of Don Quixote, Etudes, and The Nutcracker. In 2014, she joined Ballet Magnificat as a trainee and was promoted to the Events Company the next year. She danced with the Events Company for two years performing productions including Jiri Voborsky’s Ruth, Light has Come, and Tara Thibodeaux’s The Arrival. With the Events Company Jessica had the opportunity to tour Honduras, Guam, South Korea, and China. Jessica joined Chicago based company Ballet 5:8 in 2017 and was promoted to Company Artist in 2018, and Soloist in 2020. Her repertoire with Ballet 5:8 included soloist and principal roles in Julianna Rubio Slager’s Golden Sessions, Butterfly, The Space in Between, and Four Seasons of the Soul. Jessica is excited to be moving to Dallas this year to dance with Zion Dance Project and excited to work with the students at Lifesong!
"I pick KINDNESS! The world becomes so much brighter with every little bit of kindness we give. A smile, hug, or unexpected gesture can make a huge difference in someone’s day, and even in their life. Wouldn’t it be so sweet if we baked someone cookies when they cut us off on the highway instead of tailgating them? I sure think so. :)"
Jordyn joined the Lifesong staff in August of 2016. She moved from Alexandria, Minnesota where she taught piano lessons and led a local worship team. She began taking private piano lessons when she was a young child. She went on to play in a kids band at her church, and later led worship for teens and young adults. In high school, Jordyn performed in several classical competitions and festivals. Now, she is part of the worship team at 121 Community Church. When she isn’t teaching, you can find her touring the country with her husband’s illusion show. Along with teaching the basics, Jordyn enjoys working with students to learn how to read charts, write songs, or play their favorite pop songs. Her goal is to give students a strong foundation in music technique, theory, and note reading while providing a fun and creative atmosphere.
Favorite word: PASSION
My favorite word on the wall is PASSION! Passion is a strong desire that, paired with hard work, can result in AMAZING things. I believe a desire fueled by passion will undoubtedly bring the greatest results! I like to use the word passion interchangeably with words like determination, conviction, ambition and love. When you have passion for something, you love it even when you hate it. :) While passion never protects us from failing, it is what helps us weather the storm no matter how hard it is. I believe the secret to living out our dreams is hidden in our passions and what we choose to do because of them."
Kari joined the Lifesong staff in our 2007-2008 Season 2! Kari is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Texas Christian University. Kari and her husband, Zack, are proud parents of two beautiful daughters, both of which share an early love for dance! Aside from her dance training in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Kari has studied under scholarships at various performing arts studios in Los Angeles and under numerous instructors from the East to West coast. Kari has performed in several Industrial shows and has been the recipient of many national choreography awards. Her work has been featured on board the Star Ship Oceanic Tour, Festivals at Sea, in halftime performances, numerous theater productions and on competition stages throughout the United States. Kari's performing Dance Company was selected by the National Goodwill Ambassador Program to tour and perform in Russia as Goodwill Ambassadors of the U.S.
Aside from the thrill of performing on stage, it was evident to Kari early in her dance career that teaching and dance education were her true passion. She toured the U.S. as a Dupree Dance instructor and adjudicator for thirteen years before taking over the company entirely in 2010. Kari and Zack consider it an honor and privilege to run a high caliber, family-friendly convention and competition that is dedicated to shaping both dancers bodies and minds. Kari’s dynamic personality and enthusiasm, combined with her unstoppable energy and creativity, continue to be the perfect recipe for success both in the classroom and on stage.
Favorite word: TEAMWORK
"My favorite word on the wall is TEAMWORK. Teamwork in the arts is crucial because it delivers better results from the sum of the total team members than would be achieved from each member acting alone. Teamwork also creates a sense of unity and enthusiasm for the common interests and a desire to share in fulfilling responsibilities assigned to the team. The arts build teamwork and collaboration amongst both educators and students. Learning to work as a team is a life lesson and what a child or teen learns on the stage manifests itself off stage. Dance and theatre is an exciting platform for all of us to work on as a team, creating a world full of imagination!"
Kayla Rose Shaffer joins the Lifesong family in our 2021-2022 Season 16. She has been dancing from the age of 2 and grew in her aunt's dance studio, where she soon realized she had a strong desire for creativity and teaching. She started teaching at a young age, while singing, dancing and acting in various productions. She was in a highschool performing arts program that prepared her for college at the University of Tampa, where she received a BFA in Performing Arts with a minor in dance. She then moved to New York City, where she pursued her dreams of performing and teaching. Kayla took numerous workshops and intensives with the Radio City Rockettes, Rhona Malkin, Lloyd Culbreath, Fosse and Wicked's, Alexis Carra, James Kinney, and when not teaching during the day, was auditioning and performing. She was last seen in Dracula, and working for INTAGLIO Productions new show entitled "The Storm," which starred Sharna Burgess from DWTS, as the show is preparing for a Broadway workshop. After 10 years in the big city, she is excited to pursue her career in the DFW. She is a teacher at Bransford Elementary and is the Dance Director for Colleyville Middle Schools Stars Dance team. She is looking forward to working with the Lifesong dance and theatre community.
We are excited to welcome Mackenzie Jones to the Lifesong staff in March 2022. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Mackenzie began her ballet training at age 7 with Emerald Ballet Theater under the direction of Viktoria Titova and with Ballet Masters Roman Zinovyev and Tatiana Liabina. She then went on to continue her ballet training with Evergreen City Ballet under the direction of Kevin Kaiser and then Gillmer Duran, in the Performance Division, choreographing several pieces for them. Mackenzie has also had the opportunity to train with Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz, former principals with Pacific Northwest Ballet. Mackenzie has competed in Youth America Grand Prix multiple times. Placing third in the classical pre-competitive age division, second and first in the Pas De Deux category, top 12 in the junior classical and contemporary categories and top 12 in the senior classical and contemporary categories. She was able to go on to compete in the New York City finals for 4 years. Mackenzie has attended summer programs with Ballet West, and American Ballet Theater in New York and Florida. Some of Mackenzie’s highlighted roles have been; Sugar Plum and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, and principal in Kiyon Gaines’ A/Rythmia. Mackenzie joined the company at Ballet North Texas in August of 2020.
"So many of our words jump out at me ... and I’m choosing TEAMWORK as my favorite. I love the way the staff works together as a team. I love that the team makes me better! And that is such a great skill that we are passing on to our students - we work together, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. (Aristotle)"
Kristie is an original staff member at Lifesong! She brings to Lifesong many years experience as a voice instructor and early childhood music educator. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from West Texas A&M University, where she was privileged to study under the exceptional tutelage of Miss Elsa Porter, WTAMU Professor Emeritus. She obtained her teaching certification in music for all levels in 1990. Kristie is a member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), and has been a member of the Texas Music Educator’s Association. Kristie also has ten years of piano training, two of those at the college level. While attending WT, Kristie participated in many musical theater and opera productions, her favorite being the role of Casilda in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. She also performed in the musical drama “Texas” in Palo Duro Canyon for four seasons. Originally from Amarillo, Kristie and husband Joel moved to the metroplex in 1991. Not long after, Jay and Carolyn Franks also moved to the mid-cities from Amarillo, and Jay promptly recruited Kristie for his church choir. Thus began Kristie’s many years of participation in the music ministry of Highland Meadows Christian Church, from the praise and worship team, to choir and dance ministry. Kristie served as vocal coach to the choir and helped direct two of Highland Meadows’ productions. Kristie has enjoyed teaching music to preschoolers since 2000. When Kristie first began teaching, she had no idea that she would love it so much! Committed to providing her students the best instruction available, Kristie continues to attend training seminars and workshops to stay informed on the best methods in the industry.
"Hard to pick one word ... I like them all! At this moment in time, I pick PATIENCE. Why? Patience means you can remain calm ... even when you've been waiting forever ... or dealing with something painstakingly slow ... or trying to learn something or teach someone how to do something and they just don't get it. The last sentence is related to our line of work as educators but applies in all situations. I strongly do believe that we all could use more patience in our lives. Everyone processes things differently ... some do it gracefully and some not so much. If we all exercised a little more patience in life and towards others, we could teach each other so much more ... and the world would be a much better place to live in."
Ludo is an original staff member at Lifesong! Ludo is originally from Italy and grew up in the south of France where he graduated from the Dante Agostini jazz school of Drumming and the classical conservatory of music and arts where he studied classical music. He started his career as a professional musician at the age of 16. After graduating, Ludo decided to make the big move to Los Angeles, CA in 1988 where he went on to graduate from the Percussion Institute of Technology in Hollywood and studied with Joe Porcaro, Ralph Humphrey and Steve Houghton. Ludo started playing professionally in the Los Angeles area with different recording artists and bands in all styles of music. After 8 years playing, recording and writing music in Los Angeles, Ludo had the opportunity to move to Nashville, TN to continue his career as a session drummer and music composer. In 2002, Ludo moved to Dallas, TX, to work with the most respected musicians in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area where he is the owner of “La Dolce Vita Recording Studios” and the independent record label “Luna Records.” Through the years, Ludo has worked nonstop as a drummer on stages and in recording studios all over the world. As a drum teacher, he has taught and conducted drum clinics all over the world for over 20 years. He is also a well respected music composer and producer for his work with various international artists, television shows and the motion picture industry.
Favorite word: INTEGRITY
"INTEGRITY is my favorite word. To me, integrity is true honesty from the heart and doing the right thing when no one is looking. I believe this is foundational for everything that pertains to life and godliness."
Lynda joined the music staff at Lifesong Studio in our 2010-2011 Season 5. Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, she began her musical journey at the age of 5, playing her older sister’s lesson music by ear, after hearing her practice. At age 9, her family moved to South Texas. She began playing the piano for church and writing original music at the age of 11. In her teens, she and her siblings formed a band to perform vocally and instrumentally as an outreach to the community. In her twenties, she started leading worship from the piano. Though she was self-taught for many years, she began to study piano formally in her 30‘s, which included classical and jazz music. For several years, she was a Piano Instructor at New Horizons School in McAllen, TX, as well as at her home, teaching both sight-reading and how to play by ear. During her many years as Youth Pastor, she led the Youth in dance and drama performances. She later formed a music group named “Destiny Youth Band” who ultimately recorded live at a Mission Trip Fundraiser. Her passion for music in the areas of worship and outreach kept her active, singing and playing at church and performing in local restaurants until the spring of 2010 when she relocated to the Grapevine area. She continues to sing and play at various venues along with her husband, Ken. She also found an incredible outlet for her gift of teaching, here at Lifesong Studio. She especially enjoys teaching the art of playing by chords. She enjoys arranging music for her students so that they can play their favorite pieces at their level. The highlight of her day is when a student lights up as they “catch on” to a new musical concept!
Favorite word: ENCOURAGEMENT
"My favorite word on the wall is ENCOURAGEMENT. The arts can be such a difficult world to navigate on your own. What I love about Lifesong is that we create an uplifting atmosphere where we encourage one another to do and be their best. Encouragement is the strongest tool we have!"
Maddie has been a part of the Lifesong family since the very beginning! She began assisting classes as a young student and is now a full time instructor and leader in all aspects of the studio. As a student, she was cast in many of the LifeStage Theatre productions; some of which include Beauty & The Beast, Annie, Into The Woods, Once Upon A Mattress and many more! Prior to graduating from Grapevine Faith in May 2015, Maddie was a member of Lifesong’s Elite Tap Company where she received several high point awards and scholarships. She studied business at TCU for 2 years where she gained valuable tools and experience which are put into practice daily at Lifesong. Maddie is thrilled to be a part of the teaching and administrative staff and thankful that she gets to share her passion and experience with such wonderful kids and families!
Favorite Word: ENCOURAGEMENT
"My favorite word is PASSION. The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling. I encourage people to always do what you love and what makes you happy. That happiness shines onto others. One of my favorite quotes: 'There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.'"
Paige joined the Lifesong staff in January of 2017. She started dancing at the age of three and has over 25 years of experience and training in many styles including jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, modern, hip hop, clogging, Irish, drill team, technique and barre fitness. She grew up in North Richland Hills and graduated from Birdville High School in 2007. She danced with the Golden Motion Drill Team for 3 years and was Jr. Lieutenant Officer 2005-2006 and Captain 2006-2007. In 2007, she was named “Miss Texas State” top Soloist and led her team to win “Texas State Champions” at Show Makers in San Marcos. She also received “Overall Solo Winner” in Rowlett at American Dance/Drill Team Competition 2007. After Highschool she received a Dance Scholarship to Mclennan Community College in Waco, where she danced on the MCC Dance Team for two years. As Captain in 2008-2009, she led her team to win the NDA Collegiate National Championship Div. III in Daytona Beach, Flordia. She was also named NDA Collegiate “All American” Dancer 2007 & 2008. After MCC, she continued her education at The University of North Texas and studied Hospitality Management while teaching dance and choreographing for drill teams and soloists. In 2013, she decided to go on a new adventure and trained in California to become a certified Cardio Barre Instructor where she then taught in Southlake for 3 years. She found a second love for the Cardio Barre work out and enjoys bringing her fitness experience into the dance studio teaching students proper technique. The past two years she worked as Assistant manager at Suffolk Dance Boutique where she became a Professional Pointe Shoe Fitter and got to experience dance retail. This year, she decided to get back to her roots and start teaching again and focusing on her passions. In addition to teaching at Lifesong, she also teaches barre at the NRH Centre. She recently started her own business, Letters By The Page, where she does freehand lettering and makes handmade décor. She’s so happy to be where she is and is excited for what the future holds. She’s recently married to the love of her life and has a five-year-old boy named Kieran, who is about to start Kindergarten. Favorite quote – “Love the work you do, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life!”
"My favorite word is LOVE ... it's "the greatest of these" because if we love others we will be honest with them. If we love others we will be generous and kind to them, even when no one else is watching."
Robin joined the music staff at Lifesong in February of our 2018-2019 Season 13. She is a wife, mother, and recent grandmother who has many years experience in piano performance and teaching. Robin began playing the piano at ten years old. A few years later she was playing piano accompaniment for her middle school choir and learning to play the clarinet in the school band. She remained active in both band and choir throughout high school, providing piano accompaniment for the high school choir, vocal ensembles, the jazz band, and school theater productions. She also played the clarinet, oboe, and the marching bells in the school band. While pursuing a degree in Elementary Education at Oklahoma State University, Robin was active in the music department, taking piano and voice lessons along with music history and music theory, providing piano accompaniment for vocal ensembles and voice recitals, and playing the harpsichord and singing at the annual Madrigal dinner. She earned her degree in Elementary Education with a music specialization and began teaching the fifth grade in Grand Prairie, Texas. While teaching in a regular classroom, she assisted the music teacher in preparing for school music programs and provided piano accompaniment. After five years as a classroom teacher, Robin chose to stay home with her own children and teach them at home. While homeschooling her children, she played piano accompaniment for the city’s youth choir and taught elementary and high school classes in home school cooperative groups. Her children are now grown with careers and families of their own. Robin currently plays piano most Sundays between church services at her church and occasionally accompanies soloists during church services. Robin is excited to join the Lifesong team and share her love of the piano and music with young musicians.
Favorite word: CONNECTION
Favorite word: BELIEVE
"My favorite word is BELIEVE. You can do anything that you set your mind to ... take a leap of faith and go all in! Dance is my escape, my outlet, my expression and my soul. It is something that completes and surprises me. I began dancing in high school, but began even later ... and that is where my true passion lies. In contrast to the sometimes negative personification of hip hop music and dance, I BELIEVE it is something that truly speaks to our youth. This is the reason I began to teach and choreograph for young people. Not only do they learn part of the art form of dance, but they gain discipline, respect and strength. Music is what drives my process, as I use movements to provide beats and expressions that are not always a part of the song. I love to work with young people and watch them fall in love with movement. My goal is to continue to perform, teach and change the lives of adolescents, for they are our future.”
Stori joined the Lifesong staff in our 2012-2013 Season 7 as our hip hop teacher. Beginning with our 2020-2021 Season 15, although she is moving away, she is staying connected as our social media coordinator and for that, we are grateful! A native of Columbus, Georgia, Stori moved 12 hours away from friends and family to pursue her dream of dancing for the Dallas Cowboys. Not only was she a 3 year Veteran of the first NFL hip hop team, the Rhythm and Blue Dancers, but has also been pursuing a degree in Dance Education from Texas Woman’s University. Stori began dancing at the age of 14 at a small studio in Alabama. Shortly after, she became a member of her high school’s first ever dance team, the Dancing Devils. Two years later, she was voted Captain and led her team to win 2nd place at the Eastern Dance National Championship Competition. After graduation, she auditioned and became a lead dancer for the State Theatre of Georgia, the Springer Opera House, where she performed in many musicals such as The King and I, Carousel and Oklahoma. Shortly after working there, she auditioned for the Lady Lions, a semi pro dance team for the Indoor Football League. She quickly realized that performing at football games was what she wanted to pursue and soon after moved to Texas. After her last season with the Cowboys in 2011, Stori auditioned to be a part of a very unique dance team for FC Dallas and has loved being a part of soccer game day entertainment.
"My favorite word is KINDNESS. If everything is done in kindness, you'll be wrapped in a multitude of all the other amazing words! Kindness is in LOVE ... for our passion, our teachers, and our students. Kindness is in our HUMILITY as dancers when we go out into the world. Any word on the wall can be exemplified with kindness ... and to me, any word that can make another feeling or emotion better is a winner in my book!"
Taylor is an original member of the Lifesong family as a student and staff member. She began dancing at the age of 3 and has never wanted to stop! She was a competitive dancer for 8 years and member of the Lifesong Senior Dance Company for 6 years where she received many top scores, awards and scholarships. She graduated from Colleyville Heritage High School in 2012 and was a member and officer of the Panteras Drill Team. Currently, Taylor works as an assistant with Dupree Dance, a nationally acclaimed dance convention and competition. Most recently, she performed in Wanderlust Dance Project at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas in the summer of 2016. Her experiences both as a student, assistant and teacher, along with her compassionate teaching style, creativity and artistic choreography have opened the door of opportunity for her to share her life-long passion for dance with one of her other great loves … kids!
BELIEVE is my favorite word on the wall. So much of what we do each and every day requires us to believe in ourselves. Believing and having a positive mindset can help you overcome any obstacles and achieve your dreams. After all, “anything is possible if you just believe!”
Taylor joins the Lifesong teaching faculty in our 2022-2023 Season 17. She is a graduate of The University of North Texas with a BBA in Marketing. She has had several years of dance experience from teaching, to professional cheerleading, to industry work with major corporations and famous music artists. She is a Dallas Desperados Dancers and Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers alumni. With both teams, she attended appearances all over the country. She was the only rookie on the team chosen to perform on the hit television show America's Got Talent, Good Morning Texas, and DFW Sports Beat. She has also done industry work with Pepsi, Party City, Drake, and Rascal Flatts. She is former cast member at Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line. There she danced in several shows, commercials, parades and brought world famous Disney characters, such as Princess Tiana, to life. Currently, she is a choreographer for dance/drill teams throughout the metroplex, and a Sideline Prep Accountability Coach, which helps dancers train for their dreams of being professional cheerleaders/dancers.
Favorite word: PERSEVERANCE
"My favorite word is PERSEVERANCE because it will see you through all the adventures life presents to you. Perseverance applies to all types of lives: dancers, artists, athletes, scientists, academia, doctors, and business; being able to persevere will help you grow through life's obstacles and tough times. It will guide you in times of uncertainty, and will bring so much more respect and sense of reward to your successes."
Whitney joined the Lifesong family during the 2013-2014 Season 8. She attended Oklahoma City University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor’s of Performing Arts in Dance Performance, and a minor in History. While in college Whitney received pedagogy training in Ballet, Jazz and Tap. After graduation, Whitney returned to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where she continues her education, freelances with many companies in the concert dance genre, and appears in corporate entertainment industrials as well. Whitney performs as a first soloist with Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet, and is a company member with Ballet North Texas and with Ballet Dallas (formerly Contemporary Ballet Dallas.) This past June, she returned for her sixth summer to Fort Worth’s Ballet Concerto, in their annual Summer Dance Concert, where she performs classical ballets, original Spanish Flamenco ballets, and original contemporary ballet premieres. Whitney has appeared in the Dallas Morning News, and was mentioned by Cheryl Callon of Theatre Jones as being “... a versatile performer... her acting and technical abilities make her one to watch.” (Theatre Jones, Le Train Bleu, Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet, March 2015). When not performing concert dance, she can be seen in multiple entertainment industrials such as: Sally Beauty, Mary Kay (as of Friend of Tyme), and on behalf of Lightwire Theater in the downtown Dallas Neiman Marcus flagship store promoting the Lightwire’s A Very Electric Christmas. Aside from dancing, Whitney works to build her film experience. She has been cast in a Texas Lottery Commercial, appeared as an extra on USA Network’s new tv show Queen of the South, and can be seen as the principal ballerina in Polyphia’s music video “Nightmare” off of their full length album Renaissance. She also played the role of Melanie in the independent film Stuck, directed by Jenni Tooley and filmed in Dallas, which will premiere in later this year.