Gina Kennedy- Owner

Gina Kennedy began her dance training in ballet, tap, and jazz at the former Take Five Dance Studio in Peoria, IL. She has also attended various master classes and conventions where she took classes from Gus Giordano, Joel Hall, Dan Karity, Chris Judd and Barry Youngblood to name a few. She has taught dance throughout Central Illinois for over 25 years. She is the owner of Water Street Dance Company. Gina has won several choreography awards for her works in competitive dance from Showbiz National Talent Competition, Starquest Dance Competition and Dancers Competition, and Applause Talent. Her choreography has been performed multiple times at the Chicago Bulls half-time show and Walt Disney World. Gina’s competitive dance group has taken top over-all awards regionally and also nationally at Star Systems Talent Competition, Rainbow Dance Competition, and Midwest Starz Dance Competition. Several of her students have gone on to dance at collegiate and professional levels. In 2003, she was awarded the YWCA Tazewell County’s Outstanding Arts Award for demonstrating achievement and leadership in the arts through her involvement in dance. Gina is very involved with the studio. She does all the behind the scenes and office work plus she teaches rec on Wednesday nights.

Devery McCoy- Competition Director

Devery McCoy grew up dancing from the age of three. After graduating from Metamora Township High School, she looked for a university to develop her passion – the fine arts and in particular, dance. Devery graduated from Point Park Unversity in Pittsburg, PA with high honors and returned to Central Illinois to share her talents with young people. Since then Devery has been busy as an adjunct teacher at ICC and a coach for the MTHS Varsity and JV dance teams. She also choreographs for MTHS musicals and other dance teams in Central Illinois. In addition, Devery serves as the guest teaching artist for the Chicago Opera Theater where she choreographs and teaches for inner-city Chicago public schools. Devery and husband, Ryan are proud parents of three daughters, Kameryn, Bronwynn, and Aubrey and son, Hawkins, who reside in Metamora. She works with our competitive team on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays!

Gweny Kennedy- Recreational Director, Media Manager, & Competition Teacher

Gweny Kennedy began dancing when she was 2 years old and has been dancing at Water Street since it opened! She started competing at the age of 8. She wScreen Shot 2022-07-13 at 6.28.46 PMas also on her high school dance team at Peoria Notre Dame. She was an assistant teacher at the studio when she was 15 until she graduated high school. After her senior year of high school, she became a teacher at Water Street. She just graduated from Illinois State University as an Exercise Physiologist. She teaches on Sundays and Mondays working with the competition kids and teaches  Mondays and Wednesdays for recreational kids. She is our recreational director and runs all of our social media platforms and website!

Abbey Steger- Assistant Competition Director

Abbey began dancing with Gina at the age of 3. She started competing at the ageIMG_1269 of 5 and competed all the way through her senior year of high school. She also danced for Pekin Community High School all 4 years and was captain junior and senior year. After high school, she danced for the University of Wisconsin-Madison dance team for 4 years. The team placed top 10 in the nation at Nationals each year. Abbey has been teaching and choreographing for Just Dance since high school. Abbey and her husband, Josh, just added a new addition to their family this june – their baby girl, Lucy! Abbey now teaches on Thursdays, working with the competitive team!

McKenzie Schroeder- Competition & Recreational Teacher

45365639_742683902739008_3156753387207262208_nMcKenzie began dancing when she was three years old. She danced at Water Street from the age of 8 until she graduated. She was also on her high school dance team for four years at Metamora Township High School. She also did competitive cheerleading and tumbling for many years. She was an assistant teacher at the studio when she was 15 until she graduated. This year she will be a senior at Bradley University majoring in elementary education. She is also on the Bradley Cheer Team. McKenzie loves to work with kids and watch them succeed and achieve their goals. She teaches the flips & tricks classes on for competition and teaches rec classes on Mondays!

Leigh Stephens- Competition Teacher

6D7D2AF4-F689-40F4-AFC7-BF69B462D925Leigh began dancing for Gina at the age of 5 and danced with her through her senior year of high school on the competition team as well as being a part of the Morton High School Dance Team where she choreographed dances and danced all four years. She also danced my freshman year of college for the Southern Illinois University Saluki Shakers. She recently came back to choreograph for the competitive team and work with them on a Sundays throughout their competition season.

Kenzie Johnson- Competition Teacher

IMG_1270Kenzie Johnson began dancing at the age of 3 years old with Gina and continued dancing competitively all the way through her senior year of high school.  Kenzie was also a 4-year member of the Pekin Community High School Dance Team where she served as captain her senior year.  During her senior year, the dance team won 2ndplace at IDTA State in both the lyrical and jazz division with routines co-choreographed by Kenzie.  Kenzie continued to choreograph competitive routines for both this studio and the PCHS dance team in college and post-college. Kenzie now works at District #50 in Washington, IL as a speech-language pathologist. She works with the competitive team on Thursday nights.

Barbie Tiesman- Competition Teacher

Barbie comes to WSDC from Northern Illinois, where she acquired a B.S. in Education with a double major in Dance and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University. She alsoIMG_1587 traveled with NIU traveling dance company. She studied Classical Ballet, Modern, Tap, Lyrical, Pilates, and Jazz, choreography, Exercise Physiology, Anatomy, personal training, and group fitness and earned a Physical Education K-12 teaching certificate. Since then, Barbie has taught Physical Education in the East Peoria Schools, choreographed several children’s musicals, taught dance and swim lessons for area park districts and has over 20 years of experience Personal Training and teaching Group Fitness Classes. Barbie has also been employed by the creators of R.I.P.P.E.D. and SilverSneakers as a Master Trainer, where she traveled, taught Master Classes, evaluated, and certified others to teach. Barbie currently also works at EastSide Centre in East Peoria where she manages Group Fitness, teaches, and trains. She lives in Washington with 1 of her 3 children, Kara. She teaches competitive fitness classes on Tuesday nights!

Molly Loudermilk- Competiton & Recreational Teacher

Screen Shot 2022-07-13 at 6.44.00 PMMolly began dancing when she was 3 years old. She started dancing at WSDC in 8th grade and was a member of the senior comp team for 2 years. During high school, she was also on the Morton High School Varsity Dance Team for 4 years and captain her senior year. She then went to college at Illinois State University to pursue a middle level education degree and to continue her dance career with the Redline Express Dance Team. The team performs at all home ISU football and basketball games. After graduating this past spring, She is now a 7th grade ELA teacher at Morton Junior High School . She is super excited to be back at WSDC to teach recreational and competition classes Wednesday nights!

Shelby Hildebrand- Competition & Recreational Teacher

Shelby Hildebrand is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer from north of Indianapolis. She received her training from Central Indiana Academy of Dance anScreen Shot 2022-07-17 at 11.18.35 AMd spent her summers doing intensives with companies such as Grand Rapids Ballet and Oklahoma City Ballet. Shelby attended Mercyhurst University on scholarship and earned her B.F.A. in Dance Performance. She has danced professionally with SoMar Dance Works and Montgomery Ballet, dancing featured roles such as Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Taglioni’s variation in Pas de Quatre, and The Fairy of Courage in The Sleeping Beauty. She is excited to now be joining Central Illinois Ballet for their 2022/2023 Season. She is teaching ballet on Mondays and can’t wait to join the WSDC family!

Kenzie Johnson

Kenzie JohnsonKenzie is a 2015 graduate from the University of Iowa and is currently completing post-graduate work to become a speech-language pathologist. She began her dance career with Gina Kennedy at the age of 7 and continued dancing through high school. Kenzie is currently living in the Central Illinois area and is thrilled to be back teaching at her home studio!

 

 

Summer Tharp

dance bioSummer came to WSDC during her high school years and then joined our competition team. She was accepted into Columbia College Chicago’s dance program, where she is currently working on her Bachelor’s in Dance. During her studies, she hopes to be a part of a contemporary/modern company, which is her favorite style of dance. In the future, she plans to go on to do the Master’s in Dance/Movement Therapy.