Edwina McPhail Worley began her dance education at age of two, eventually becoming a dance teacher at age 16, under the direction of her mother and dance teacher, Shirley McPhail. As a young woman, she had aspirations of becoming a Tap Dancing Veterinarian! After studying dance and piano at Sullins College in Bristol, VA for one year, where she first experienced modern dance, she transferred to The University of Texas in 1975. Because UT did not offer a dance education program, Edwina took a degree in Physical Education. Post-graduation, she opened a Shirley McPhail School of Dance location on 183 and the rest is history!
In 1976, Edwina took her Ballet examination for the Texas Association Teachers of Dancing. She switched gears, and studied tap in the 1980-90s in Austin, Los Angeles, and New York. She is now a Tap Examiner for TATD, and has assisted Jackie Troup Miller in the writing of the TATD Exam book: Tips on Tap. Edwina heads the adult tap program at SMSD, and is happy to teach many levels of tap dancing to ages 18-92.
Edwina and her mother Shirley shared studio management duties together for 18 years before her untimely passing in 1997. She now shares these duties with her younger daughter, Kristin Smith. Her older daughter, Elizabeth McComas, also lives in Austin and works in the media field. Edwina’s high school sweetheart and husband of almost 40 years, Neal Worley, also runs his family business, Worley Printing. Edwina’s father, Larry McPhail, is still her business partner and #1 fan; her Bonus Mom, Judy, runs the Cotillion Program and is Marketing Director at SMSD.
Edwina’s other interests are Community Bible Study, fishing, jazz piano, handbells and Mah Jongg. She is excited to become a grandmother this spring!
Judy McPhail has always loved dance, and had the unique opportunity of serving as captain of the world’s first drill team, the Greenville Flaming Flashes. Greenville High School PE teacher, Gussie Nell Davis, created the concept of the drill team, and also later went on to found the incomparable Kilgore Rangerettes.
After earning a BS in English and Education from The University of Texas, Judy worked in administration and telecommunications, while rearing her two children, Brady Moore and Amanda Moore Oelrich.
In 1973 Judy was introduced to SMSD when daughter Amanda took dance class with Miss Trish. Today, two of Judy’s grandchildren, Millie and Murray, attend SMSD.
On a date in 1998 with Edwina’s father Larry, Judy attended an SMSD dance recital. Surprised to discover that the studio offered adult tap, she enrolled the next week and has been a dedicated tapper at SMSD ever since. Her other interests are tennis, entertaining and Mah Jongg. She and Larry feel blessed that their entire family lives in Austin—which includes twelve grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and another on the way!
Judy serves as Director of Marketing and Advertising at SMSD. She also does project management and design, as well as works with Larry on Quick Books and other business and financial matters. In 2005 she created SMSD’s Cotillion Austin-Style program, which teaches manners, etiquette and social skills to pre-teen boys and girls.
Kristin Smith – Teacher & Troupe Co-Director
Kristin is the granddaughter of Shirley McPhail, and the youngest daughter of Edwina McPhail Worley. She began dancing at the age of three with renowned former SMSD teacher Ms. Trish. Kristin now teaches ballet, tap, and jazz at SMSD, and also directs the studio’s Troupe and Company alongside long-time dance teacher, Teresa Pearce.
Kristin graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduating, she taught 2nd grade in East Austin, before arriving at the studio as a full-time dance teacher. Kristin enjoys sharing her free time with husband Winn and pup Toddy. Kristin and her family look forward to welcoming their first child, James, this spring.
Kristin says she is blessed to be able to share her grandmother’s love of dance with children and the Austin community!
Lauris Blackwell grew up singing and dancing at SMSD! After attending Austin College, Lauris was a scholarship winner to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She has performed professionally around the world. Some of her favorite roles include the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rose in Bye, Bye Birdie, Amnesia in Nunsense, Lily in Annie, and Rhetta in Pump Boys and Dinettes.
In Conjunction with the Children’s Literacy Program, she performed at the White House and Kennedy Center during the Bush and Clinton Administrations. She also performed in the Natchez Opera for ten years, and was fortunate to be the soloist for then Governor George Bush’s Inauguration.
Since moving home to Texas, she has performed or choreographed with Waco Children’s Theater, Temple Civic Theatre, The Public Domain, River City Pops Buzz Productions, Akins High School, and Austin Summer Musicals For Children. She has also served on the RCP and ASMC Boards. At SMSD, she teaches tap, ballet, jazz, and musical theatre to all ages. Most recently, outside of studio teaching, she is the dance instructor and Resident Choreographer for Christian Youth Theatre. Lauris enjoys spending time with her husband and son when not dancing.
Veronica Boccardo was born in Venezuela, and began her early dance training at the age of five on Margarita Island, Venezuela, learning Ballet and Flamenco. She has called Austin her home since 2006.
In 2017, she graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.F.A. specializing in Dance with a Certification in Dance Education. During her time at UT, she performed works by Alvin Rangel, Shen Jun, and Charles Anderson. She performed UT’s production musical Little Women, creating her own choreography for her role. She also trained at Joffrey Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, ABT Austin, Ballet West and more. She competed for YAGP and has performed in the Nutcracker as the principal reed flute and the Arabian pas de deux (Allegro Ballet of Houston).
She has trained extensively in the Vaganova technique; however her teaching repertoire spans beyond ballet into jazz, contemporary, improvisation and hip hop. She has also trained in social dance (Ballroom, Latin, and Country) by Sonia Jupiter. She has experience with commercial work and freelance projects, in addition to studio teaching. Veronica currently teaches ballet and pointe classes at SMSD.
Whitney Cook – Teacher’s Assistant
Whitney Cook was born and raised in Austin, TX. She started dancing at the age of five at Tinka’s Dance Studio. She then danced at Dancer’s Workshop from ages 7-15. She progressed through ballet, pointe, tap and jazz. In high school, Whitney was a member of the award winning Anderson High School Trojan Belles Dance Team. She performed in recitals and shows, in addition to competing and earning awards for performances. She enjoys all forms of dance, but is especially interested in tap. In her personal time, Whitney enjoys taking the adult tap classes at SMSD, cooking, crafting and spending days on the lake fishing, kayaking and wakesurfing. Whitney currently assistant teaches young children’s dance classes at SMSD. She strives for her students to have fun and discover the joy of dancing. Whitney believes that a childhood spent in dance leads to poise and self confidence that will help students throughout their lifetime.
Mersadyz is primarily known as the Princess of the Dancehall, and also teaches several urban dance style around Austin such as hip hop, street funk and heel. She currently teaches teen Hip Hop at SMSD. She is also currently the Assistant Choreographer to Leslie Garcia and the Assistant Director/Social Media manager for the 3 time Grand National winning hip hop crew, The Empire. Mersadyz is also the lead backup dancer and choreographer for hip hop artist Bri Berlay. Sady’s other dancing credits include backup dancing for the hip hop group Triplets, backup dancing at Pride Fest Austin, and backup dancing for Austin’s Drag King Oral Gami. Mersadyz was also a scholarship winner at The Streetz Dance Convention. Some fun facts about Mersadyz: she is a professional hairdresser and makeup artist. She has been a Dj for Graham Bro. Entertainment.
Rebeca Gamborino has 25 years of dance training and has worked and choreographed for award winning companies and studios. She was the Competitive Dance Director for Frisco Dance Force and assistant Company Director for The Dance Zone. She is a well rounded dancer and teacher and has experience teaching ages 2 and up. She has won multiple choreography awards as well as entertainment awards and special judges awards.
As a performer, Rebeca has had the privilege of choreographing and performing in her own work at various Texas Dance Festivals including 10 Min Max in Austin as well as choreographing for The Dance Project. She was a member and performed with Muscle Memory Dance Theatre, a contemporary dance company based in Dallas. She is now performing with the Andrea Torres Dance Company.
Rebeca holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Texas State University. She brings with her charisma and energy as well as new training techniques to build stronger dancers. Her choreography is both athletic, artistic and full of energy from beginning to end. Rebeca currently teaches advanced teen jazz at SMSD.
Bursting onto the scene at the wee age of five in Tempe, AZ, Mandy Jay (MJ) Goerger was hooked for life on the groovy fever of dance! Lover of all styles, MJ finds the most pizzazz in the various styles of jazz. MJ has been a performer her entire life and has been in Austin since 1994, where she began teaching adult hip hop at age 17. She is currently a hip hop teacher at SMSD for children and teens. MJ is also the Founder/Director of MJ’s Fly Crew, a variety revue style entertainment troupe and StarDancers Youth Performance Team. MJ is currently working on earning a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling at Texas State University, and plans to incorporate the performing arts into her therapeutic processes.
Georgia Holloway is a Southern Peach born in Atlanta, Georgia. Naturally, her favorite foods include biscuits and grits, made the Georgian way. Georgia studied Cultural Anthropology, Graphic Design and Fine Arts in the Northwest US, on the East coast, and in Germany. She also apprenticed in Business Management in Munich, Germany. She is a former foreign language teacher, and currently the Office Manager, Bookkeeper and Graphic Designer for SMSD. You can find her working behind the scenes in the studio office along with her four-footed helper, studio mascot Arlo. Together, they keep SMSD running en pointe!
In her free time, Georgia is poet as well as an artist, working with pencil, ink, pastel, watercolor, oil and digital design. She also enjoys creating music, reading, crocheting, yoga, and attending family events. She is an avid world traveler, and enjoys the adventure of being out of her comfort zone.
Arlo Holloway is from places unknown, and was adopted by Georgia in April 2018 from the Cocker Spaniel Rescue of Austin & San Antonio. He is Georgia’s faithful follower, and mostly known for his helpfulness when anyone is having a bad day. He is also known for his Paddington Bear-esque cute looks, and soft fur. He loves to greet children large and small, and always has a tail wag for everybody he spots. Arlo is also known for his tippy-taps, and is most likely a tap dancer at heart.
Laure has loved dance since time eternal, and was initially nicknamed “Twinkle Toes” by her parents as a small child. Hailing from a family of singers, musicians, and dancers, Laure was quick to dance to the beat of the drum. Her journey at SMSD began twenty years ago, when she enrolled in the studio’s adult dance program. Shortly afterwards, she was invited to assist in dance classes, and later became a full time dance teacher. She feels blessed beyond measure to be able to share her love for dance with young children, who fill her heart with indescribable joy. As a teacher, she continues to dance, study and train in the many genres of dance.
Since 1979, she is married to the man of her dreams, who has been a great supporter of her dance years at SMSD. Together they have three adult sons, two of whom took classes at SMSD!
Paige Kroll was born and raised in Austin and began dancing at the age of five with D’Ette & Co Dancers. Paige was a dedicated member of the Rhythm Force Dance Troupe for 8 years and studied many genres of dance including, ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and hip hop.
In high school Paige was a member of the James Bowie High School Silver Stars and served as the captain during her senior year. After graduation, she began teaching and choreographing at a local Austin dance studio while pursuing her bachelor’s degree.
Paige graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Public Relations in May 2016. After a couple of years working in this industry, Paige realized that dance education is her true passion. She is thrilled to be a dance instructor at SMSD. There is nothing Paige loves more than helping children and teens grow as dancers and as people.
Adriana Mojica – Dancer’s Den Manager
Adrianna was born and raised in Round Rock and has loved dancing since she was a young girl. She participated in jazz, ballet, hip-hop and musical theater when she was in middle school. Adrianna has performed in Willy Wonka as well as working behind the scenes for Shrek the Musical. Since May 2017, you can find her fitting leotards and shoes on little feet in the Dancer’s Den, SMSD’s retail shop, which she now manages.
Kayla is a soon-to-be-graduate of Texas State University where she majored in dance education with two minors in Theatre and English. She was also a four year member of the nation’s largest precision dance team, the Texas State Strutters, on which she also served as line officer for two of those years. She has performed globally and nationally, including Disneyland Paris and recently in the inaugural parade in Washington DC. Kayla began assistant teaching at SMSD in 2017, and now teaches combo classes to young children. She is so excited to spread her love of dance and begin her teaching career!
Maddie Owens is joining SMSD for a second year of teaching tap dance to teens and adults. She is in her third season with Tapestry Dance Company under the direction of Acia Gray. She has been on the faculty of several tap festivals and intensives, including Tapestry’s own Soul to Sole and Rhythmic Soul’s Summer Festival in 2017. She has taught tap, ballet, jazz, musical theatre, modern and contemporary for nine years, and taught ages ranging from 2 to 70. Tap dance is her passion, but she also enjoys playing music and spending time with her dog.
Teresa Pearce started at the age of five at SMSD. “Miss Trish” was her very first dance teacher! As a teenager, she performed with SMSDance Troupe and Company, Ballet Austin, Third Coast Jazz and UCA in London. She also won the first scholarship to be given by TATD (Texas Association Teachers of Dancing).
Whilst teaching for SMSD, she was also a teacher’s aide for 15 years at Westminster Presbyterian Day School. In addition to directing SMSD’s Troupe and Company for the past 18 years; Teresa choreographs for private individuals, churches, drill and gymnastics teams; and coaches at Champions (WAYA).
She values continuing education, and attends dance classes and conventions herself throughout the year. She has been a member of the Texas Association of Teachers of Dancing since 1995, and now serves on the board of Directors of TATD.
Teresa enjoys free-time with her loving and supporting husband David. Together, they have a 14 year old daughter named Riley, who is a level 10 gymnast and the regional beam champion in 2018. Teresa says God has blessed her with a wonderful family both at work and home. She feels inspired to teach the joy of dance to children of all ages!
Courtney Sanders – Adult Jazz, Contemporary & Praise Dance
Courtney Sanders graduated Sam Houston State University with her BA in Dance/Secondary Education. She has danced professionally with Kista Tucker Dance Company and Keshet Dance Company; she has also trained with Bill Evans, Patti Obey, Shapiro and Smith Co. She instructed High School Dance programs for 4 years, after which she initiating the dance program at Houston Christian High School. This will be her second year with SMSD teaching praise dance, contemporary and jazz to adults. She is grateful to have begun the first praise dance class at SMSD!
Susanne Sekrettar hails from Frankfurt, Germany and is a former flight attendant for Private Air and Japan Airlines. She has traveled around the world, and called Austin her home for the past several years. She did not grow up dancing but discovered her passion for ballet as an adult, and currently dances in ballet class at Ballet Austin. Susanne enjoys attending customers in The Dancer’s Den. She looks forward to helping dancers of all ages find their perfect outfit! When she is not in The Dancer’s Den you might see her walk her dog Buddy through the NW Hills neighborhood or find her in a nearby yoga or Pilates class.
Beth has studied various forms of dance but is particularly fond of tap. She studied with members of Dayton, Ohio’s professional tap dance company Rhythm in Shoes for eight years and was an understudy for its production of Nova Town in 2000.
In 2005, Beth began studying tap with Becky Hoag in Columbus, Ohio. She joined the Columbus Tap Project! One year later and performed with CTP! in Tappy Holidays in New York City in 2006 and 2007. In 2012, Beth moved to Austin and began dancing at SMSD, where she now teaches adult tap classes. Beth enjoys learning from master tap teachers at festivals such as the Soul to Sole festival in Austin and the Third Coast Rhythm Project festival in San Antonio.
Beth has taught dance to adults and children of all ages and choreographed competition tap routines as well as high school musicals. She currently dances with the Austin Tap Ensemble.
Patti Wilkins – Tap
Patti Wilkins is an Austin Dancing Institution! She began her training as a child with various local teachers and continued throughout her early teen and High School years. She began teaching at age 16 with Barbara Peevey, then continued with Shirley McPhail for a number of years. At 18 she studied Classical Ballet with Stanley Hall at The University of Texas; she was also a member of Austin Ballet Theater, performing monthly at the Armadillo World Headquarters. Later she taught ballet for the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet, and then moved back to Austin where she continued to teach at her own studio in Westlake Hills.
Patti and her husband, Eric, studied tap and sat on the Board of Directors for Tapestry Dance Company for 5 years. Patti currently teaches adult tap at SMSD. Tap continues to be her passion and she enjoys helping students learn while having fun in class.