OUR TEACHERS

KATHRYN SIMPSON

Owner

Miss Kathy has over 35 years of teaching experience in the Indianapolis area.  Kathryn Simpson was a dance major at Ball State University and studied under Madame Elena Imaz de Bourgeot, principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet Company. Kathy was a founding member of The Ball State Ballet Society. She studied with Helene Charisse (cousin of Cyd Charisse"Singing in the Rain"). She has taken class with Al Gilbert (from the movie "The Jolson Story") and Jack Copeland at Jordan College of Dance. Miss Kathy has studied voice, piano and modeled with Act I Modelling Agency of Indianapolis. In the 1980's she co-directed a local children's television show "The All StarKids" .But her most outstanding mark in the dance world was with her dance school, Tippy Toes School of Dance (one of largest in Indiana). She has been able to do what most dance teachers have found nearly impossible - to instill the love of ballet in nearly every single child that has passed through her school. Her students have won numerous awards in dance such as Prelude finalists, Miss Dance Indiana, Dancer of the Year.  Her daughters Ashley Manship and Scharmaine Lakstins (co - directors of IYBC and Tippy Toes) were both accepted in the gifted and talented programs in dance at college level while still in high school. Many of her students have gone on to study dance at college level and have become performers and dance teachers themselves! Miss Kathy has always been a source of encouragement and motivation to her students. 





ASHLEY MANSHIP

Instructor/Director
Recital Coordinator
Co-Director of the Releve Dance Ensemble
IYBC Ballet Mistress

Miss Ashley has been teaching dance for 23 years. She has studied under Kathy Simpson, Rebbecca VanBriggle, Yu Qin Hao (Royal Ballet of China), Roberta Wong (Butler University and Dance Kaleidoscope), Laura Byram (Jordan College of Dance) and many more. At the age of 13 she performed with the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre in Sleeping Beauty at Clowes Memorial Hall. As a recipient of the gifted and talented program at Butler University, Ashley was able to attend college classes and receive credit in Ballet, Jazz, and Body Placement while going to high school part time. In 1996 she was a Prelude Scholarship finalist and performed at Penrod. In 1997 the Indiana State Dance Championship awarded her the title Miss Dance Indiana. Miss Ashley was a tap instructor at Rebecca's School of Dance for many years.  She has staged and choreographed many award winning original works. In order to stay up to date with her teaching, she attends Musicworks Dance Teacher Convention.  A highlight of attending conventions was in December 2011 when she was able to take a class with Tyce Diorio (from So You Think You Can Dance) and the choreographer from "Glee"!   Her students have won many awards and scholarships while attending conventions, such as scholarships to New York City Dance Alliance, Retter's Academy of Dance in L.A., the Keith Clifton Project in California, and many more, including a top 10 finalist on So You Think You Can Dance (Valerie Rockey). Her students have performed in Disney World and New York. Indiana State Dance Championship recently awarded Miss Ashley a Judges Choice Award for Stylized Choreography. According to Miss Ashley, being a good role model for the children and passing on the love of dance is what she strives to accomplish here at Tippy Toes.

​*Valerie Rockey, a former student and teacher at Tippy Toes, was the top girl finalist on So You Think You Can Dance Season 11!  Miss Ashley was Valerie's first teacher and continued to teach her award winning tap solos and duets for many years. Valerie took dance with Tippy Toes from age 3-18. We hope one day she will return to her dance family and teach again with us!  We love Miss Valerie!







SCHARMAINE LAKSTINS

Instructor
Co-Director of Releve Dance Ensemble
IYBC Director 

Miss Scharmaine has been teaching for over 15 years. She has studied under Kathy Simpson, Rebecca VanBriggle, Yu Qin Hao (Royal Ballet of China), Laura Byram (Jordan) as well as many teachers while studying at the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre. Miss Scharmaine has received many awards from Indiana State Dance Championship as a dancer and then later as a teacher.  Miss Scharmaine has earned college credits in dance from University of Indianapolis. Her students have won many awards and scholarships to places such as Retter's Academy of Dance in LA, the Keith Clifton Project in California, New York City Dance Alliance, and many more.  Her former student
was the top girl  contestant on the 11th season of  So You Think You Can Dance (Valerie Rockey) Her students have performed at Disney World and New York. She is currently the instructor for our Apprentice program for RDE as well as the Artistic Director of IYBC. Miss Scharmaine is truly an invaluable teacher at Tippy Toes.  






KAREN SUDLER

Instructor
Costume Coordinator
Tippy Toes Training Program Instructor

Miss Karen has been teaching at Tippy Toes School of Dance for over 25 years. Miss Karen has been working closely with Miss Kathy, the studio owner as well as her sister, since 1986. This is Miss Kathy's "right hand man". Miss Karen has attended classes at Jordan Dance Acedemy. She attends the Al Gilbert's MusicWorks teachers conventions each year where she studies with top national choreographers such as Cody Green (Broadway dancer and Mia Michaels dancer) as well as Gina Badone, Thommie Retter and Janice Barringer. Many of her students have continued their study of dance and have become teachers at Tippy Toes. One student performed a lead child role on Broadway! While Miss Karen is continuing to teach, she is taking on the new role of being a "Teachers' Teacher" heading up the Tippy Toes Training Program for our new instructors. Miss Kathy is hoping Karen's kind, successful method of teaching will be a great influence on the new teachers! Miss Karen is also head of the costuming department and an expert on fitting the children at Tippy Toes with all their dance attire.





PAM KEOWN

Instructor
IYBC Ballet MIstress

Miss Pam is entering her 25th year in dance. Miss Pam is a Ballet Mistress and Guest Performer for the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company.  She began her dance training at age 10. Miss Pam attended Rebecca VanBriggle’s School of Dance and the Indianapolis Ballet Theater studying under Therese Chatelaine, Clark Blakely, and Rebecca VanBriggle. She competed and won many awards at the Indiana State Dance Championships and Preludes. After high school, Miss Pam auditioned for Butler University’s extremely selective Dance Major Program and was accepted. While attending Butler University she studied Classical and Contemporary Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, and Character dance. Her teachers included: Rossana Ruffo (student of the Vaganova School in Russia and former principle dancer for the National Ballet of Panama), Michelle Jarvis (Current Artistic Director for the Butler Ballet), Marek Cholewa (former principle dancer for the National Ballet of Panama), Stephan Laurent, Rochelle Zide-Booth (former member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo), and Cynthia Pratt (guest choreographer and teacher at Dance Kaleidoscope). While at Butler Miss Pam was the only Sophomore to be invited to study jazz and modern dance at a summer intensive at Steps in New York City. She was also a company member and toured with Butler Ballet. Miss Pam began teaching at Rebecca VanBriggle’s School of Dance in 1996 and was promoted to Assistant Artistic Director in 2001. She have staged and choreographed many original ballet and tap numbers. Miss Pam also taught for Showtime Dance studio where she taught company classes in tap, jazz, and ballet. This year she continued her dance training at the Dance Makers Inc convention.  Miss Pam began teaching for Tippy Toes in the fall of 2003 and has been loving every minute of it! This will be Miss Pam's 13th recital at Tippy Toes!
 
















































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LARA CZAP

Instructor
Weekend Manager

Miss Lara's dance training began at the age of three under Tippy Toes' owner Miss Kathy.  She continued her tap, ballet, and pointe studies through the age of 19 at Tippy Toes as well as under the excellent instruction of Rebecca VanBriggle.  After moving to Delaware and while attending the University of Delaware where she eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Mathematics Education, Lara trained at Katherine Ciminello's School of Dance.  She has attended numerous dance conferences in New York and Indianapolis.  Miss Lara is a wife and mother of four beautiful children.  Her ten and seven year old daughters love taking classes at Tippy Toes.  In addition to her weekend manager role at Tippy Toes, she continues to teach Mathematics at New Palestine High School, where she was nominated for "Teacher of the Year".  Miss Lara hopes to continue encouraging and motivating young dancers to love the art of dance for many years to come.




BETHANY HUNT

Instructor

​Miss Bethany is happy to begin her 4th year as an instructor at Tippy Toes. She began her dance training at the age of 18 months under her aunt and studio owner, Miss Kathy, who shared her contagious passion for dance with all whom she taught. For the next 13 years she enjoyed taking ballet, tap, as well as pointe and summer workshops from Miss Kathy, Miss Ashley and Miss Scharmaine. She attends the MusicWorks Dance Teacher Convention each year where she is privileged to study many forms of dance. She enjoys taking master classes from instructors such as Michelle Rogers, Darryl Retter, Linda Bernabei Retter, Janice Barringer, Becca Retter, Gina Badone, Thommie Retter, Chris Rogers and Joan Lather.  
Speaking from her personal experiences while growing up, she believes dance helped her build confidence as well as self-esteem and is a wonderful outlet for self-expression. Regarding her childhood and now her career she says, "I truly love dance and could not imagine my life without it."
Miss Bethany took a break from dance to pursue other goals in her life such as getting married, having a career and starting a family. She is a wife and mother of 2 young boys who also enjoy starring in featured roles in our recitals!
Because she missed dance so much, she returned several years ago to take adult dance classes offered at the Tippy Toes studio. She is excited to share her love of dance with her students this year and also looks forward to seeing them all perform on stage!
















CHRISTIE CATT

Instructor
Director and Instructor of Special Needs Program

Christie Catt is a long time student and friend of Tippy Toes School of Dance. She studied under the instruction of Kathy Simpson, owner and founder of Tippy Toes, for 13 years and during this time, she continued her love of ballet by taking Pointe and Technique classes at Rebecca VanBriggle’s School of Dance. She learned a lot of life lessons and self-confidence through dance. Miss Christie is an Instructor of Ballet and Tap for Preschool to Adult Lessons and the Director/Instructor of the Special Needs Program here at Tippy Toes. Miss Christie loves teaching children and her special needs students to dance. “I love dance and sharing it with my students and daughters.  There is more to dance, you learn discipline, gain self-esteem, lessons of life and so much more”. Miss Christie attends The MusicWorks Dancce Teacher Convention yearly. She has studied Ballet, Tap, Intro to Aero, Beginning Pointe,Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Hip Hop; under the direction of Karen Sudler, Ashley Simpson, Michelle Rogers, Darryl Retter, Linda Bernabei Retter, Janice Barringer, Becca Retter, Gina Badone, Aleks Wojda, Thommie Retter, Chris Rogers and Joan Lather. Miss Christie pursued college and raising her family. She now is a wife and mother of three beautiful talented girls. Her older daughter is a Princess Partner in her Special Needs Program and her two younger daughters are students here at Tippy Toes. She enjoys spending time with her family. She is so excited showing her love of dance with her students.




SAVANNAH SMITH

Instructor/ Assistant Director of RDE
Former IYBC Principal Dancer
Former RDE Member


Miss Savannah recently graduated Franklin Central High School with Honors and is attending IUPUI in the fall to study exercise science.  She danced the past 16 years with Tippy Toes and was one of the original members of the Releve Dance Ensemble (RDE).  As part of RDE, Savannah has been awarded many titles and scholarships over the years.  Some of those titles include Miss Senior Dance Maker, Miss Teen Dance Maker, Miss Legacy, Miss Headliner, Top Entertainer, Miss Senior Indiana State, Miss Teen Indiana State, Title Winner Revolution, Junior Miss Starpower and Dancer of the Year.  Scholarships awarded include Retter’s Academy of Dance, Clifton Project, Artist Simply Human, New York City Dance Alliance just to name a few.  Last summer Savannah was offered a "Go Pro Scholarship."  She got to spend a week in Branson, MO where she took classes from professional choreographers and was a cast member in three professional performances by KIDZ ROC at the Clay Cooper Theatre.   Savannah is also an honorary principal dancer with The Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company.   Savannah has taken classes from many world famous choreographers (some known from So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars) such as Sonya Tayeh, Tyce Diorio, Kent Boyd, Chelsie Hightower and Kathryn McCormick.  She has also studied under world renowned ballet dancer/author Janice Barringer.  Most recently, Savannah attended Dance Makers Nationals where she was selected to be a member of their “Collective” team.  Eleven dancers were selected out of the thirteen hundred in attendance.  She will spend many weekends touring with Dance Makers this year, studying under their faculty, and performing. 






















































































TAMMY GREGORY

Instructor
Student Teacher Trainer

Miss Tammy has been teaching for 16 years at Tippy Toes. She studied dance at Chariesse School of dance and attended classes at Jordan Dance Academy. But her BEST training came from her sister, Miss Kathy. It was Miss Kathy's love for children and her drive to make ballet fun for them that inspired Miss Tammy to become the dance teacher she is today. Miss Tammy has a unique way of making every child feel good about themselves and getting them to do their personal best! With Miss Karen staking claim to being Miss Kathy's "Right Hand Man", Miss Tammy claims "Left Hand Man"! Using her business skills, she has helped Miss Kathy through the years build her dance school into a successful business as well as a sweet dance studio. She along with Miss Karen, heads up The Tippy Toes Teacher Training Program. As a young adult she attended IUPUI Education for Business and was a Marketing and Admission Director for Beverly Enterprises. She has been in the Health Care for 30 years and currently works for Community Health Network. But because of her joy for teaching children, she has always made time in her busy schedule to teach classes at Tippy Toes!



ERIN CURTISS

Instructor


Miss Erin has been a member of the Tippy Toes family since the age of 2. She has studied tap, ballet, and pointe under Miss Necia, Miss Ashley, Miss Yu Qin(Royal Ballet of China) and Miss Pam. She was a soloist in the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company. Miss Erin enjoys attending Musicworks Dance Teacher Conventions in the summer with her fellow teachers to expand her teaching abilities. She is currently finishing her bachelor's in psychology and child development at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and plans to further her education after obtaining her degree. Miss Erin finds her greatest joy in sharing her love of dance with her students and working to instill that love for dance in them. With each class, her endeavor is to help the children develop their dance skills, but more importantly to build their self confidence and help them find their passion for dance. She is thrilled to be a part of your child's dance experience.


















JENNI GAITHER

Instructor

 Miss Jenni began dancing at Tippy Toes at the age of five under the Instruction of Miss Karen. She continued learning ballet, tap, and pointe under Miss Ashley through the age of 18 and was a member of the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company. Currently, she is entering her tenth year of teaching at Tippy Toes. Miss Jenni is also a wife and mother of two little dancers! She and her husband Brandon have been married for the last 6 years. Her oldest daughter, Makenna, is 5 and starting her fifth year of dance and her youngest daughter, Maleah, is 21 months and is starting her first year of dance in a Mommy and Me class! Miss Jenni has had a full time career for the past six years working as an auditor for the State of Indiana. No matter how busy life gets, she continues to find time to teach and always will! She loves the inspiration that comes from working with such sweet little dancers and is excited to start another year!



ERIN CONNELL

Student/Instructor
RDE Member
Featured IYBC Dancer

Miss Erin has been dancing with Tippy Toes for 12 years. She is a featured dancer with the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company as well as a member of the performance group, Releve’ Dance Ensemble. Some of her dance achievements include: being chosen as a member of the Power Pak dance group  to dance in Disney World, and a scholarship recipient from the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, Dance Makers Inc, Tremaine, Legacy, and Talent on parade. Erin also has done numerous dance solos, many of them getting Platinums and High Firsts. One of her performances, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, won the overall high score in her division! Erin has assisted teachers for the past 3 years including Miss Pam, Miss Karen, and Miss Jenni. She has also been called upon to be a substitute teacher. Erin is currently an honors student as a sophomore at Franklin Central. She is a member of the Franklin Center Symphonic Orchestra, the most prestigious orchestra at her high school. Erin is also a certified Super Sitter with St. Francis. Her enthusiasm for performing on stage is contagious and she is so excited to join Tippy Toes as a Student Instructor and to teach your little ones. 











YU QIN HAO


​IYBC Ballet Instructor

Once a dancer with the Royal Ballet of China, dancing for two US presidents and coming to the US in the 1980s to dance for The Indianapolis Ballet Theater, Miss Yu Qin is now one of our honored Ballet Mistresses for our Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company






Ruth Bowen

Student/Intern
IYBC Member

Miss Ruth has been dancing at Tippy Toes School of Dance for the past seven years. She has taken classes from Miss Pam, Miss Tammy, Miss Jessi, Miss Heather, and Miss Yu Qin. She has also taken master classes at Dance Makers Incorporated and ballet classes from Janice Barringer. Ruth has a passion for performing that is seen in her dancing and acting. She loves being a member of the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company (IYBC) and enjoys participating in its yearly performances. Ruth has had the privilege of assistant teaching under Miss Karen, Miss Pam, and Miss Tammy for preschool through elementary ages. She also enjoys assisting Miss Christy in the special needs classes. Ruth loves being around children of all ages. She has an enthusiasm and vibrancy that is contagious in the classroom. Ruth is looking forward to an exciting year teaching your child and sharing her love of dance with them.






Olivia Smith

Student/Intern
IYBC Principal Dancer
RDE Member

Miss Olivia has been dancing with Tippy Toes for 13 years and this is her second year teaching.  She is a member of the competitive dance team, Releve Dance Ensemble.  Olivia has won several awards over the years, including several top ten finishes.  She has also been awarded many scholarships including Retter's Academy of Dance, Power Pak, Pacific Coast Dance Fest, Hall of Fame All Star, Broadway Dance Center,  and Dance Makers Regional and National Scholarships.  Olivia attended world famous choreographer, Kate Jablonski’s summer camp and was selected as an “All Star” receiving an all paid scholarship to attend again the next year.  She danced at Disney World as part of the Power Pak team where she was awarded Miss Power Pak.  Olivia has received many special awards over the years almost always complimenting her “Big Personality.” Olivia was the winner of the 2011 Franklin Township Star Search.   She has taken classes from many world famous choreographers (some known from So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars) such as Sonya Tayeh, Tyce Diorio, Kent Boyd, Chelsie Hightower and Kathryn McCormick.  She has also studied under world renowned ballet dancer/author Janice Barringer.  Olivia is a principal dancer for the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company. Olivia was recently selected to model for Sugar and Bruno, a local dance wear company,  and will appear on the cover of their fall catalog.   In addition to dance, Olivia is a Junior Varsity Cheerleader for Franklin Central where she attends high school.  She maintains excellent grades and is also involved in yearbook.  




Kelsie Clayton

Student/Intern
IYBC Soloist
RDE Member


Miss. Kelsie has been dancing at Tippy Toes for 13 years. She is a member of Releve Dance Ensemble and a soloist dancer for the IYBC. For four years, she has assisted teachers such as Miss. Karen, Miss. Necia, and Miss. Lara, and has recently had the opportunity to assist Valerie Rockey. She has worked under many world-renown choreographers such as Gina Badone, Kate Jablonski, ballet dancer/author  Janice Barringer, Yu Qin Hao, Valerie Rockey,  and many others from So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars. Throughout her years of competing, Kelsie has won many titles such as; "Miss Showbiz Tap Icon," "Miss. Junior Legacy," "TOP Entertainer," "Miss. Encore," "Miss. Petite Starpower," "Dancer of the Year," "Miss. Junior Dancemaker," "Miss. Teen Dancemaker," "Franklin Township Star Search Winner", received first place overall at Marion County Fair, and 6th place overall at nationals in Missouri. She has also won scholarships to Intensity Dance Competition, Encore dance competition nationals at Kings Island, and to the Prestigious Broadway Dance Center in New York. Kelsie has danced in Disney World for PowerPak nationals, at numerous Fever and Pacer Games, and for Marion County and Indiana State Fairs. At school, Kelsie is an A honor roll student. She is a member of the Student Council, Riley Dance Marathon, and radio. She enjoys being with kids and is looking forward to a new dance year with new students! 










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