MEET OUR TEACHERS
ABOUT US . . .
Terri Shaffner, Director of Encore Performing Arts, Inc. has been in the dance industry over 30 years. She started with a dance studio in Middletown and expanded to Trenton and Springboro. She has choreographed for Middletown Lyric Theater, Hamilton Civic Theater as well as the Miss Ohio Pageants. After being diagnosed with MS, she sold her studios and acquired a paralegal degree. Her health issues subsided and she re-entered the dance industry by forming a national dance competition, Encore Talent Productions, Inc. In 2010 she acquired Encore Dance Center, now known as Encore Performing Arts. Moving to the new location with a larger facility and new teachers, Terri hopes to offer more opportunities to the students. Terri established a non-profit division to expand the musical theater aspects of Encore Performing Arts. The non-profit organization also funds scholarships for students who meet the criteria of talent and financial need and partners with Project Manana, a foundation that aids the impoverished children and families in Dominican Republic .
Kristi Lowe-Murphy, currently teaching ballet to our dance team members, received her ballet training at American Ballet Theatre school on a full artistic scholarship. She joined the world famous ballet company at 18, hand picked by Michael Baryshnikov. Ms Murphy danced and toured with the company for 5 years. Upon leaving ABT, she continued her career in ballroom dancing. Ms Murphy and her partner won many completions, including World Cup champion. They were invited to dance all over the world, doing shows in England, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hong Kong and Russia. Ms Murphy has enjoyed teaching both ballet and ballroom dancing throughout her career as well as after retiring to start her family. We are fortunate to have her on our Encore staff.
Kristin McSwain, born and raised in California, Krisin moved to Ohio with her family in 2010. She is married to her best friend Daniel McSwain and they have two daughters Isabella and Adisyn. Kristin has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Fresno Pacific University with an emphasis in Performing Arts. In addition, Kristin has her Teacher Credentials in English and Physical Education. Kristin began dancing at age two and has continued ever since. In junior high and high school she enjoyed competing at local and state competitions. She has been trained in various genres including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, ballroom and musical theatre. Kristin has taught dance for over 18 years in diverse settings including public schools, dance studios, musical theater programs, and churches. She loves being a learner and has continued growing her repertoire by taking college courses whenever she can. Above all else, Kristin loves building self-esteem in her students. She wants to encourage her students to reach their maximum potentials and continually see the joy and passion that comes through the gift of dance.
Stephanie Mackey studied under the direction of Phyllis DeWeese at the Academy of Dance Arts in Middletown in her early childhood. She furthered her dance education studying at the National Ballet School in Toronto and the Lou Conte and Ruth Paige School of Dance in Chicago and the St Petersburg Fla. Ballet Company. Stephanie was on the All- American Drill Team and has performed with Middletown Symphony and Sorg Opera Company. Stephanie has been the choreographer and accompanist for Monroe and Middle High and Middle School for choir, show choirs and musicals. She has been an instructor of ballet, tap and character dance at the Academy of Dance Arts for over 35 years and has been excited to join Encore Performing Arts staff this year. She is also an staff nurse at Bethesda Butler Emergency Department.
Bonnie Galvin brings 48 years of experience to our studio. She has danced professionally, choreographed for schools and corporations, and owned her own studio where she also taught for that entire time. She has performed in ballet companies, on television and with the Cincinnati Opera after training in ballet, tap and jazz. Her students have performed on Broadway, on cruise ships, at theme parks, in movies and in commercials, and several now own their own dance schools. Her former studio’s traveling dance teams participated in competitions around the country in hip hop, lyrical, tap and ballet often winning at the highest levels regionally and nationally.
Emily Kinker graduated with honors from the University of Cincinnati in June 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts was a varsity member on the UC Dance Team winning 3 National NCAA Titles. After graduation, Emily began her professional dancing career with Royal Caribbean Productions. She has sailed the high seas for 5 years performing in various Las Vegas-style production song, dance and aerial shows. Since March 2010 until August 2012 she added to her repertoire the Broadway Musical, Hairspray. Emily most recently performed the role of Brenda, live at sea, at the 2012 telecast of the 66th Annual Tony Awards viewed by 7 million people from all over the world. She has also danced professionally for the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Theater, Cincinnati Children’s Theater directed by Jack Louiso and Paramount’s Kings Island. Emily’s dance training was based right here in Cincinnati. Emily furthered her training with such legends as Dee Caspary of SYTYCD, Andy Blankenbuehler and Barry Youngblood, a nationally renowned Hip Hop dancer/choreographer. She has trained at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, at the EDGE in Los Angeles and at The Rock Center for Dance in Las Vegas. Emily has taught all areas of dance since the age of 16 in and around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. She has choreographed routines for the Anderson High School Dance Team and is a national, award-winning solo choreographer as well. While working with Royal Caribbean Emily, taught Swing, Salsa and Hip Hop.
Victor Rocha- Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Victor is now subsiding in Lebanon, OH where he is currently an Principal Dancer at De La Dance Company. After moving to New York City at the age of 7, he started training at the School of America Ballet and upon graduation in 2007, he joined Sao Paulo Companhia de Dance where he performed works of Balanchine, Groecke, and many more. In 2012 Victor joined the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium, and then in 2016 he was hired by RWS Entertainment Group in New York City to be part of the creation of a brand new show package for Holland America Cruise Line. After performing all of the world on cruise ships for over 4 years, Victor is happy to settling down and fulfilling his teaching and choreographing, while also continuing his love for performing.
Trevor Downey- is a native of Lebanon, Ohio and was most recently a Show Supervisor at RWS Entertainment Group in NYC for Holland America Cruise Lines. Before that he lived in LA and was a Principal Dance for the Union Project Dance Company where he got to perform at Jacobs Pillow and also was in the opening cast of Disneyland’s Mickey and the Magical Map where he performed weekly for 5 years. Other credits include Phaedra in the 1st National Tour of La Cage Aux Folles starring George Hamilton, Radio City Christmas Spectacular in NYC for 3 years, the Soldier in New York Musical Theatre Festival's Petrouchka in which he was awarded the Best Individual Performance Award in 2010, Mr. Mistoffelees in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of CATS, A-Rab in West Side Story, Sugar... Some Like It Hot Disney World's Celebrate the Seasons, etc. and more. Trevor has also taught all over the world and has choreographed musicals such as Pippin, High School Musical, Chicago, Suessical.. the Musical, Sweet Charity, Once Upon a Mattress, Sound of Music, and more.
Maryann Sprague, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio has over 25 years of dance and performance experience. She has performed on stage as well as on camera in commercials and music videos. She studied dance at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she was selected as a core member of the Belmont Dance Company and honored by the faculty with the "Outstanding Achievement in Dance" award. From 2010 to 2014, Maryann danced professionally with Epiphany, a modern dance company, and served as the Co-Director for Dance South Performing Arts Conservatory in White House, Tennessee. Her jazz, tap, lyrical, and hip hop choreography has received national awards and recognition. In 2013, Maryann was invited to choreograph for Nashville Children’s Theatre’s production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Maryann has extensive experience performing, instructing, and choreographing all genres of dance, and her scope of choreography encompasses artistic, competitive, cheerleading, show choir, musical theatre, commercial, and more. Maryann holds a Master of Arts degree in clinical mental health counseling and focuses on the treatment of eating disorders, self-esteem issues, and body image concerns while working to promote awareness within the dance community."
Kara Lam has been involved in the dance industry for over 20 years. Her formal training began in Dayton, OH and consists of many technical dance genres. To supplement her technical training, Kara’s background includes competitive dance both with teams and as a soloist, where she won many regional and national titles. In college, Kara continued training at the University of Cincinnati's CCM and Planet Dance Cincinnati. She also served as an adjudicator for the Ameridance competitive organization. More recently, Kara has choreographed, instructed, and rehearsed dozens of award-winning competitive routines and recreational performance pieces, including assisting with a local production of the Nutcracker. Additionally, Kara is certified to teach the Acrobatic Arts professional Acro-Dance curriculum. She continues to expand her training, teaching, and choreography techniques by attending teaching conferences, conventions, and master classes. Outside of dance, Kara has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Communication Design, and currently works full-time as a User Experience Designer at a local IT consulting firm. She is so excited to have the opportunity to continue her passion for dance and teaching at Encore!
Traci Garnelle Staggs is from Tampa, Fl and began her dance training at the All American Dance Factory. She danced competitively for over 12 years winning many special awards and national titles. Her first job was right out of High School at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fl. After two years she decided to take her performing to the high seas. Traci danced for Norwegian Cruise Lines and Holland American Cruise Lines. After those contracts she was cast as a principle dancer in “ONE” The Show at the Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach, SC. She was there for over 4 years and met her husband while performing. Traci now lives in Germantown, OH with her husband and little daughter Nelle and has been teaching dance for the past 7 years. She loves to inspire young minds with her passion for dance.