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!
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.
AMPA Dance Instructor, Mommy & Me Instructor
Emily Suhrheinrich-Weeks has been taking and teaching dance in Western Kentucky for over twenty years. She is the founder of the Murray State Dance Company STudent Organization, and has been teaching in Paducah since graduation from Murray State University. Her motto is anyone and everyone can dance, all it takes is passion!
AMPA Dance Instructor, Special Needs Instructor & Competition Company Assistant
Trish Steckenrider began dancing at the age of 3 under the
direction of Joan Crawford in Paducah, KY. This year marked her 36
year of dance! Trish received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in
Dance from Missouri State University. Trish has training in Tap, Jazz,
Ballet, Contemporary and Ballroom. She did obtain a Masters of Science
degree from NYU, but not in dance….it’s in Hospitality and Tourism Management
and Marketing. This serves her well as her full time job is Executive
Director of the Greater Metropolis CVB in her hometown of Metropolis, IL.
Trish loves working with the Company Dancers at AMPA, however
her other 2 focuses in the studio are truly a passion for her.
Trish works with many of AMPA’s Dance 1 and Dance 2 classes and the
Dancers with Special Needs Class. “I take it as a gigantic responsibility
that many times I am teaching first time dancers. I have the task of not
just laying their foundation technically but also fostering their love for the
sport and art of dance that will carry them throughout their lives. That
is something I do not take lightly. For our dancers with special needs it
is not just teaching movement but allowing them to express themselves and
develop through what they are learning in the studio that makes this a true
passion for me.” When not in the studio, Trish loves being with her
husband Steve and 3 kids, Logan, Kaden and Ella.
I’ve danced longer than the other teachers have