Nancy McReynolds, Artistic Director
Although a Decatur native and a graduate of Millikin University in the areas of Speech, Theatre, English, and Dance, Mrs. McReynolds received her Master in Theater Arts at Denver University in Colorado. Even though she has attended many master classes and training schools, the most notable is her training certification with the Royal Academy of Dance (Based in England) in all grade levels (Pre-Primary through Grade 8) in Fort Wayne, IN, and Champaign, IL, as well as, her training in Evanston, IL, at the Gus Giordano Dance Studio.
Her performing experiences include high school and college plays, as well as, several Theatre 7 productions. She performed with the Twin City Ballet Company, USA Ballet, Agape (Christian Dance Company) and Synergy (which are all located in Bloomington, IL). She also has participated in many dance concerts in Bloomington, IL, and Decatur.
Her choreographed productions for Theatre 7 include the following: Quilters, Brigadoon, Annie, Leader of the Pack, Into the Woods, Fiddler on the Roof, and She Loves Me; Richland Community College productions: Metropolis [Decatur Herald’s Choreographer Award] and Fantastiks; school productions in the area; and many dance concerts throughout the years. She has co-directed and choreographed several ballets including The Nutcracker Ballet, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and Coppelia.
Her experience as a director began at Millikin University with Green Pastures and later as an assistant director for several other productions at Millikin which gave her an opportunity to direct and work with professional actors on stage. In the area of dance she assisted Alexander Bennett for several years with productions in Bloomington, IL. One of the highlights of her career include her work as Ballet Mistress for the Scottish American Ballet in Edinburg, Scotland, where she worked with Andrei Ustinov, formerly of the Kirov Ballet, and Jaroslov Slavicky, Ballet Master of the Prague Opera in Czechoslovakia, in rehearsals, classes, and performances.
Originally from Decatur, I have danced through several spots to find my way back to my hometown. I did go to high school here. I was a Saint Teresa Bulldog. I was a cheerleader and also involved in the Drama Club at St. T. I studied dance at Millikin University under Gary Schull. Then it was off to college. I went to a small school in Rockford, IL, called Rockford College. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis on Dance. While in Rockford, I also performed on a Semi-professional dance team called the Rockford Lightning Silverstreaks. During my junior year of college, I studied abroad in London, England, where I studied dance, music theory, and other general education classes.
Upon my graduation, I decided that I wanted to be a star, so I packed up and headed to Hollywood. There were quite a few trials and tribulations in California, but I always tried to stay focused on my dance path. I studied dance in California at Debbie Allen’s Dance Studio, as well as Debbie Reynolds’ Dance Studio. Although becoming a star never quite happened, there I was able to enjoy perfect weather for about three years.
After having enough fun in the sun, I returned to the friendly sights of the Midwest and landed in Chicago, IL. I was a choreographer and a model for the Chicago Hair Association Annual Hair Show. I was on television for a show called ATV (After Hours Television), where I was and still remain Crazy Daizy. I took several classes at Lou Conte Dance Studio and decided it was time for me to start teaching dance again. I worked in Chicago at a Homework Hangout type place, helping kids at Lifetime Fitness. It was at this point in my life when I began to realize why I was put on this earth.
I have to say that I was put here to teach dance and to make people appreciate how good life can be, no matter where they live. Experiencing all of these different places and unique people allowed me to grow into the person that I am. I just want to bring all of my findings and knowledge back here to Decatur, my hometown. I thought at one time, stardom would bring happiness, but it is the smile on each student’s face that makes me feel famous. I have learned through the years that you have to be the star of your own show. I want to teach everyone I encounter to be the star of their own show, the star of their own life. Hopefully, I will get a chance to meet and dance with all of you!
Amy Little is a Decatur native and a graduate of St. Teresa High School and Millikin University. She has been dancing since 1992 and has been a dance instructor with Richland Community College since 2002. In addition to teaching ballet and jazz for Richland, Amy is also an elementary school teacher in Decatur Public Schools District #61.
Amy was an active participant in her high school musical theater productions of Damn Yankees and The Wizard of Oz. She was also a member of her high school and college cheerleading teams and helped to choreograph several routines for those squads.
She has participated in a number of dance recitals and productions over the years including Aladdin, Les Meserables, Coppelia, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and Graduation Ball. Amy has held several lead roles in these productions as well. Also, she has danced in the Nutcracker Ballet each year since it began under the instruction of Nancy McReynolds over 15 years ago. Some of the roles Amy has danced in the Nutcracker include Clara, The Snow Queen, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Currently, Amy is one of the assistant directors for the Nutcracker Ballet at Richland Community College.
Hannah Little graduated from St. Teresa High School in 2009. At St. Teresa, Hannah participated in sports, drama, and the Honors Society. Throughout her four years at St. Teresa, Hannah was involved in softball. She played third base and won the Spirit Award two years in a row. She also was involved in drama at St. Teresa. She had chorus roles in Good News!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and All Shook Up. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the Thespian Society.
Hannah is currently a student at Millikin University. She is pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Hannah has been involved in ballet since the age of six. Hannah began taking classes at the YMCA and enjoyed productions such as Romeo and Juliet, Copellia, and the Nutcracker. Then at Richland, Hannah participated in many Richland Dance productions such as The Wizard of Oz, Graduation Ball, Sleeping Beauty, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Phantom of the Opera, Paquita, Swan Lake, Don Quixote and Romeo and Juliet. She has participated in the Nutcracker Ballet thirteen times and danced in fourteen Spring Dance Recitals. Hannah also took two years of Advanced Jazz and was a member of the Richland Dance Company for two years.
Leanna Miller has been dancing for thirteen years, training in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and lyrical with Linda Bozzelli’s Dance Studio and Gina Beebe’s Dance Studio in Michigan. She also trained at Dance Innovations and Dove Dance in Oklahoma, and Richland Community College’s Dance Program in Illinois.
Leanna took master classes in ballet, modern, and pointe from Ballet Magnificat! when they came to Oklahoma City on several tours. She also had the opportunity to take master classes in tap from Brownie and Reggio at the Oklahoma City Tap Festival and Robert L. Reed, and in all styles from numerous DMA (Dance Masters of America) teachers. She has performed in several national competitions, at churches, conferences, and various outreach events. Leanna was also blessed with the unique opportunity to dance in the Oklahoma Centennial Parade in 2007. She enjoyed serving as a teacher’s assistant for several years in Oklahoma.
More recently, Leanna has enjoyed touring with the Richland Dance Company and participating in Richland’s productions of the Nutcracker and Cinderella. Leanna is an accomplished pianist and French horn player with the Decatur Youth Symphony Orchestra. Her training in dance and music will prove beneficial as she plans a career in occupational therapy. Leanna has a passion for dance and looks forward to sharing this passion with her students.