Kathleen Radke Whittaker
Kathleen Radke Whittaker, a New Town resident since 2006, has been a dancer her entire life. She trained locally at Alexandra Ballet School and graduated from Webster University training with Gary Hubler and Becca Voigt. She has performed professionally with Webster Dance Theatre, MADCO, Stages St. Louis, Crown Uptown, several theaters in Branson, in Guam, and in Vegas. Kathleen is trained in the Vaganova Ballet syllabus, is ABT certified, and has over 20 years of teaching experience. She taught at COCA for almost 20 years and was the Ballet Mistress of the Ballet Eclectica Second Company for 10 years. Kathleen has rehearsed local students for the Joffrey Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker performed at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, and has worked with ODC San Fransisco to rehearse local students in their production of The Velveteen Rabbit. She is excited to bring her love of dance to New Town.
Jazz/Dance Team Instructor
Leah Fiske began dancing at age three and has studied ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical dance. As a student, Miss Leah participated on a studio competition team. In high school, Ms. Fiske served as the choreographer for her nationally ranked school dance team and their performance was broadcast on ESPN. As a college student, Miss Leah was a member of her school’s hip-hop danceline and performed with both a professional jazz dance company and a local modern dance company.
Ms. Fiske has been teaching dance for over 25 years. In addition to teaching in the studio setting, she has worked as an instructor for Universal Dance Association camps and she has choreographed for both high school and college dance teams. Ms. Fiske has served as the Head Coach of the award-winning Whitfield Varsity Dance Team for over 20 years.
Miss Leah has served on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Dance Team Association for 16 years and she feels honored to be able to share her love of dance not only with her own students, but also with all of the dance teams and coaches in the state of Missouri.
Miss Leah feels very fortunate to have the great honor of helping dancers to develop confidence through the art and sport of dance. She loves spending time with her students because they are energetic and creative, and they teach her something new every day.
Carrie Fernandez began her dance training here in St. Louis, where she ultimately earned a position as principal dancer with Gateway Ballet of St. Louis. She has studied at the Joffrey Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Fernandez has been a guest artist to many regional ballet companies and has danced in numerous shows around the New York area, including starring roles in Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Les Sylphides, The Nutcracker and many others. Fernandez has been teaching dance since the late 1990s, including developing the children’s program at Kozlov Dance Academy. Carrie is trained in the Vaganova Ballet syllabus and is an ABT certified instructor.
Hip Hop Instructor
Laura Maier-Schuepfer began her dance training at the early age of three, studying tap, ballet, and jazz. Her teaching and choreographing experience started in 1990 for Becky Kern’s Dance Studio. Since then, she has instructed students of all ages and levels at various studios over the last 28 years. She remains the primary tap instructor for Dimensions Dance Center, has taught at Angie’s Dance Studio in the St. Louis area and Civic Dance Center in California. Laura performed in the musical “Anything Goes” with the University of Illinois and danced with the University of Illinois Dance Department. She graduated with a BS in psychology (emphasis in child psychology) from the University of Illinois and earned her elementary education teaching certificate from the University of Laverne in California. After several years working as an elementary school teacher, she continued her dance training and went on to study a new and inventive form of tap dance with Rosie Radiator. This led to her becoming a member of the tap dance troupe “Rosie Radiator and the San Francisco Rad Tap team”. She performed throughout the streets of San Francisco during the annual “Tour De Tap for Clean Air”. Her experiences with the Rad Tap team offered her the opportunity to perform with the famous tap dancer, Arthur Duncan, as well as many other performances at the Royce Gallery in San Francisco. Her love for all dance has continued to grow over the years, but her true passion is tap dance. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge and years of tap experience with her students!
Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, Bailey Walker moved to the St. Louis area after graduating from Clemson University in December 2019. She started dancing at 3 years old and joined her studio's competition team at the age of 10. Bailey has experience in jazz, tap, ballet, pom, acrobatics, and contemporary. In high school, she danced for her school's dance team and was a co-captain for her junior and senior year. Bailey was also a student teacher while in school and has taught summer camps for college dance team prep. During her 4 years at Clemson she was a Tiger Dancer where she performed and traveled with the University's Band. Bailey was able to perform at several college football games and even had the chance to perform at 3 National Championships! Since moving to Missouri, she has been a part of the St. Louis Bombshells Dance Team and the St. Louis Bandits Cheerleaders.When Bailey is not dancing she loves to go shopping, visit friends, and go to the lake or beach. She is excited to start teaching at NTDA!
Ballet/Competition Team Instructor
Ella Radke is a graduate of Whitfield School where she was the captain of the Dance Team, led the team to receive first place in the mix routine three of her four years, and graduated with high honors. Ella began dancing at 2 years old. She has performed with the Joffrey Ballet, COCA Ballet Eclectica, Alexandra School of Ballet, The Nutmeg Conservatory, Miami City Ballet, Kaatsbaan Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and most recently has performed with the New Town Dance Academy Competition Team. Ella has been assisting in all the Primary classes and beginning ballet and jazz classes since she was 13! She will be attending University of Iowa as a Biomedical Engineering Major and a Dance Minor.
Nicole Alper-Esko is a current student at Whitfield School. She is the Captain of the Dance Team, and member of the Tennis Team. Nicole loves to dance, swim, and play tennis. She is a current member of the NTDA Competition Team. She loves children and is excited for the opportunity to teach classes at NTDA!