At AMPA the teacher's primary goal is to instill in their dancers values that they will carry with them throughout their lifetime of achievements!
Originally from Paducah, Kentucky, Tressa Wilham travelled the nation competing in both regional and national dance competitions. In 2003, Tressa travelled to New York City to attend Hunter College Manhattan. During college, Tressa auditioned and performed as a principle with the Hunter College dance company. She extensively studied such renowned choreographers such as Josè Limòn, Martha Graham, and performed with the 'Urban Bush Women'. Tressa graduated from Hunter College in 2006 with a BA in dance, and a minor in Economics.
After college, Tressa continued dancing and training with such choreographers as Andy Blankenbuehler, Jack Hertzog, AC Ciulia, and Mia Michaels. In addition to dance, Tressa went on to get her NSCA personal trainer certification. As a personal trainer, Tressa is not only able to instruct the technique of dance, but to teach the anatomy of the human body (something that is very important for all dancers to know).
In 2009, Tressa made the dream of owning a dance studio a reality with the opening of AMPA. She is dedicated to offering incomparable dance training, top of the line dance studios, and exposure to top dance choreographers. As director, not only is Tressa dedicated to teaching her students proper dance technique, but she is also committed to enstilling in her students creativity, confidence, and body awareness.
Technique, Recreational Instructor
Lauren Walker is a native of Paducah, KY. Her love for dancing and choreographing led her to further studies in a university setting. Lauren graduated from Western Kentucky University with honors, where she received a degree in Dance and Performing Arts Administration. During her time there, she appeared in the ensemble and as a soloist in the WKU Dance Company.
She was also privileged to study and perform with Balletto di Civitavecchia in Rome, Italy, where she also studied with artistic director Caterina Lunati. Lauren also trained under Rueben Edward, Mitzi Adams, Shaun Parry, and the wonderful faculty of WKU. Lauren has chosen to continue her 8 year career through teaching and choreographing for students and companies of all ages and abilities. Most recently, she has been a guest artist for the Jenny Wiley Theater Company and the Purchase Players. All of her classes emphasize musicality, confidence, proper terminology, and fun!
Lauren’s philosophy of dance education is to give her students the confidence, passion, and work ethic needed to accomplish any goals they may have. She is so happy to be back in Kentucky, and excited to have this opportunity to share her love of the arts and passion for dance with the students at AMPA.
AMPA is proud and excited to have Lauren as part of our staff.
Tap, Technique, Recreational Instructor
Becky grew up dancing in the Paducah area and upon high school graduation decided she couldn't stop dancing. She went on to continue her education at Western Kentucky University where she received a BA in Dance and a minor in Performing Arts Administration. While at WKU, she performed as a soloist and in the ensemble of the WKU Dance Company. During her time at WKU she had the privilege of working with fabulous professors and guest artists from around the world. As a member of the WKU Dance Company, she attended the American College Dance Festival where she performed and worked with an array of different teachers which exposed her to even more styles of dance. Becky also had the privilege to travel with the WKU Dance Company to Italy. After graduating, Becky decided to spread her love of dance by teaching and choreographing for students of all levels. She is very excited to be a part of the AMPA family!
AMPA Dance Instructor, Ballet/Technique
Rachel Elizabeth West is originally from Miami, Florida
where she started Cuban Classical ballet training at age three. Throughout her
eighteen years of training she also studied Vaganova, Cecchetti, Bournonville,
and Balanchine methods. Her love for ballet grew as she competed in dance
competitions while holding a record for consecutive wins across the state. She
studied at the prestigious summer programs of Houston Ballet, American Ballet
Theatre and Ad Deum Dance Company. She has had extensive
training with Claudio Munoz, Dawn Scanell, Franco De Vita, Joan Miller, Eileen
Hebron and Randall Flinn. Rachel started dancing on a professional level at age
thirteen for the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. She has performed throughout
the country in over thirty different classical and contemporary ballets. Rachel
performed for the Dance Ensemble at Palm Beach Atlantic University before she
moved to Murray, Kentucky. She holds a Bachelors Degree and teaches ballet at
Murray State University. She has eight years of teaching experience and is
thrilled to share her passion with our students here at AMPA.
Douglas P. Arnold,
Office Manager / Vocal / Instrumental / Drama
Growing up in Southern
Illinois, Douglas got his love of music from his parents. With the help of his
father, a master pianist, he taught himself to play piano in middle
school. During the summers of 1984 &
1985 Douglas performed for the Liberace Foundation in Las Vegas, Nevada, and
after only 4 years of intense study and training, he won the Chopin Piano
Southeast Missouri State University and studied theater, piano, voice, trumpet,
and music theory. While in college he was one of the trumpet soloists for the
Golden Eagles Marching Band. After college he worked at Shivelbine’s Music
Store in Cape Girardeau as the primary piano and vocal instructor.
Douglas plays 37
different musical instruments
and teaches many of them. He primarily teaches vocal and piano lessons, but has
also taught such instruments as organ, harpsichord, harmonica, auto harp,
accordion, bagpipes, drums, and numerous band instruments, as well as
composition and music theory.
He has played in
numerous bands and orchestras including the Paducah Jazz Ensemble, and
presently is the director and arranger of his own 16 piece orchestra. Douglas
also studied voice under Dr. James E. Moore of Vienna, Austria, who served as
conductor of the Chor der Alten Burse.
Douglas has been
involved with community theater since his early years in high school in the
tri-state area. He has served as the accompanist, music director, lighting
director, and sound engineer. He has also been music director for musicals at
Ballard County High School and St. Mary High School.
He has worked as
organist and music director at church since his freshman year in high school,
then director of music at the Newman center at SEMO and was the Director of
Music and Liturgy for 18 years at St. Francis de Sales Church.
Douglas now continues
teaching, playing, and for the past few years he has been tuning pianos and has
been coaching students for beauty pageants in the Miss America system. In the past few years he has also been music
director for musicals at Market House Theater. Doug lives in Lone Oak and has
recently married the love of his life, Nevelyn.
Corps de Ballet - National Ballet of Canada,
AMPA Guest Instructor
Originally from a small town in Nebraska, Joseph Steinauer did not take his first dance class until the age of 18, yet it was obvious to him that dance was his true calling. Upon completing high school and with only one year of dance training, Joseph was accepted into the prestigious Ann Lacy School of Dance and Arts Management at Oklahoma City University. After deciding ballet dance was what he wanted to make a carreer out of, Joseph transferred to Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the celebrated institution that has give the US and the world some of ballet's greatest dancers. It was at CPYB that Joseph truly began to understand how ballet dance should be studied, learned, and approached. After just two years in Pennsylvania, Joseph signed his first contract as a apprentice with Nashville Ballet in 2009. Currently, Joseph has signed a new contract at the prestigous National Ballet of Canada (his dream company).
Joseph is excited to stay on staff at AMPA as a guest instructor.