INSTRUCTORS AND STAFF
Business Owner & Director
Ms. Lexi is the business owner and director of JPDC. Lexi has been a dance educator for over two decades with a complete passion for the growth of children through dance. Lexi is originally from Nebraska where she started her passion for dance! She has had the wonderful opportunity of studying at the Performing Arts Center in California under an apprenticeship. After High school, Lexi took the stage in Branson, Missouri for the show “Legends in Concert”. In 2006 she found her way to Kansas City and auditioned for the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders. She was a part of the prestigious team for 2 years. As a Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader Lexi was Co-Captain, and was awarded performer of the year both years on the team. She also had the humbling experience of performing the “Variety Show” for the Cheerleaders which involved traveling to Mexico City, Mexico and a Mediterranean tour performing for our beloved troops in the military. Lexi has been under the direction of many choreographers and instructors in the industry, she received numerous scholarships and continues to educate and train supplying JPDC students with the very best training. She has choreographed for many high schools and college dance teams and was one of the dance coaches for the Olathe East High School Talons Dance Team for 10 years. Recently her choreography has been highly awarded at prestigious competitions for company routines. Lexi adores teaching all styles to all ages. Besides busting a move on the dance floor, she has received her black belt in Martial Arts and continues to practice the art. She is a wife and mother of three precious boys who allow her to pursue her dreams of dancing and educating todays youth through movement. Lexi is passionate about the art of dance and is so excited to continue the legacy of JPDC.
Jody Phillips started taking dance classes at the age of 3 in Greeley, Colorado where she studied tap, jazz, and ballet. She earned a scholarship in Dance at the University of Northern Colorado and went on to become a Company Member of the Garlutzo Dance Company in Denver, Colorado. While she was a key member, Jody performed with Olympic Gold Medalist Robin Cousins, and many fitness/dance icons while being the main choreographer in tap and jazz.
Annual trips to New York, Chicago, LA for workshops in dance have enriched her training via study with outstanding artists such as Gus Giordano, Broadway Dance Center, Joe Tremaine, Doug Caldwell, Jo Rowan, Art Stone, Mia Michaels, Napoleon & Tabitha, Misha Gabriel, Merce Cunningham, and many more.
Over the last 40 years, Jody has established studios throughout the years in Nebraska, Illinois, and Kansas where she has been recognized locally and nationally for her excellence as a Dance Educator and Choreographer. She has won numerous choreography awards and continues to be recognized for her excellence in dance training. Ms. Phillips is also on a costume advisory board for a large costume manufacturer evaluating new fabrics and designs.
Competitive Director- Jazz Styles, Technique, Tap & Hip Hop
Kansas City native Tarrah Lybarger is both a dance teacher and active professional dancer. She grew up dancing competitively and began teaching dance while in high school. Tarrah attended Park University and graduated with a degree in Organizational Communication and a minor in Education. While in college, Tarrah helped to start a dance program for children with special needs, where she taught classes weekly. This program still continues through Seamless Dance Theatre (Project Access). After she graduated college, she moved to California where she danced, trained, and taught while representing Go To Talent Agency. At just seven years old, Tarrah was picked to be on an ESPN special with Paula Abdul. Other performance credits include Ginuwine’s Kansas City tour, Lonnie McFadden, numerous events with That’s Entertainment KC, Seamless Dance Theatre, various commercials, music videos with many artists such as Tamba Hali (Funkie) and JL with Strange Music, films, and experiencing Road to Buildabeast where she was offered a spot straight to finals for the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Auditions. Tarrah’s favorite styles of dance are tap and jazz funk, but she is also trained in jazz, heels, hip hop, musical theater, lyrical, modern, contemporary, and ballet. She choreographs for many studios, dance teams, and shows. Tarrah is also a lecturer at the University of Kansas where she has taught both jazz and hip hop. Her patience and the relationships she forms with her dancers is something very special. Her passion for both dance and teaching is unmatched.
Ballet, Acrobatics, Tap & Contemporary/Lyrical
Amanda began dancing at the age of 3 and competitively at the age of 7 in Des Moines, Iowa. Amanda has trained and performed in many styles for over 20 years of dancing including ballet, jazz, contemporary/Lyrical, tap, musical theatre, hip hop, and acrobatics. She continued her training at the University of Kansas receiving her BFA in Dance in May of 2018. While at KU, she was a part of many university company shows as well as student-produced shows where she performed in the black box theatre on campus, Lied Center of Kansas, Lawrence Arts Center, and Links Hall in Chicago. After graduating, Amanda moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue her dream to dance with a professional modern company. She danced with the Noumenon Dance Ensemble performing at venues such as the Chicago Dramatists theatre. Amanda also taught dance to kids. She is excited to be back in Kansas, where she is currently in her second year dancing for the Kansas City Contemporary Dance Company and sharing her passion for dance and acrobatics at JPDC.
Brianna Thomas graduated from Oklahoma City University with a degree in Dance Pedagogy, where she graduated summa cum laude and cum honore. She is excited to join the JPDC family, working with all ages in a variety of genres, spreading the love and joy of dance. In addition, she is the dance and color guard coach at Shawnee Mission West. Brianna has multiple years of experience in color guard, musical theatre, instrumental and vocal technique, and dance technique training. She has formerly danced with the American Spirit Dance Company and the Spirit of Grace Liturgical Dance Company at OCU. She is honored to be teaching and coaching in the Kansas City area, and becoming a part of the tremendous JPDC family.
Competitive Director & Office Staff
Ms. Whitney began dancing in Overland Park, KS at Miller-Marley School of Dance and Voice. She is trained in multiple disciplines including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, lyrical and contemporary all the way through high school. She was a member of the Miller Marley Entertainers, lead choreographer of the Blue Valley North Stars Drill Team and a four year member and two year Captain of the Pittsburg State University Crimson and Gold Dancers. While attending Pitt State she began teaching tap, jazz and hip-hop for JPDC in Pittsburg. After graduating with her BA and MA in Communications she moved back “home” to Olathe, KS where she began teaching for JPDC in Overland Park in 2015.
Instructor & Office Staff
Taylor has always had a love for dance. She started dancing at the age of 3 at Miller Marley School of Dance and Voice in Overland Park and continued all through till she graduated high school. In college, after playing 2 years of basketball for McPherson College she transferred to Pittsburg State University where she was on the dance team for 2 years. While in Pittsburg she taught hip hop for the JPDC studio there. After graduating with her BA in Fashion Merchandising shesoftwave and her now husband moved back home to the Kansas City area. She always kept up with the dance world due to her sister and niece dancing with JPDC and when her daughter showed interest in dance she knew she wanted to get more involved. She now is so happy to be one of the office managers at the studio. She loves getting to work with all the dancers, their families, and the staff.
Sara Johnston began acrobatic training and performing in exhibitions at the young age of 6 in Hawaii. At age 10 she began training competitively in gymnastics, which expanded to competing in many regional competitions, and competing on her high school gymnastics team. She was also a part of her high school dance team where she choreographed and performed acro stunts. During college she continued to dance at a private dance company in San Diego while attending San Diego State University. For the past decade she has been teaching and coaching acro and dance in San Diego, until her recent move to Kansas City. Sara’s passion is to be able to take each individual student at any level, from the very beginners to the more advanced, and excel to their next level while achieving individual goals. JPDC is excited to welcome Ms. Sara to our JPDC Family! She is very excited to be teaching at JPDC, as well as, have her daughter begin her dance training at JPDC!
Modern, Lyrical, Jazz, Tumbling
Ms. Karen received a BFA in Dance with an emphasis in modern from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. She has had the pleasure of performing with local Kansas City companies Seamless Dance Theater and Quixotic Performance Fusion. Through Quixotic she has been able to work with many of the Kansas City Ballet performers, including Kim Cowen, Andrew Lamar, and Lateef Williams as well as So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Sonya Teyah. She was also given the opportunity to choreograph on Quixotic in the summer of 2009. With Seamless, Karen was given the opportunity to travel to the Capezio A.C.E. awards, where they competed against choreographers from across the country, such as Travis Wall. Karen is still in the performance company with Seamless Dance Theater, which was honored as one of the “Best of Fringe” in the summer of 2011. Her choreography at Jody Phillip's has been awarded at numerous competitions for both group pieces and solos. As always, she’s extremely excited to get started this year!
Technique & Jazz
Darian began dancing at age 3 and competing as a member of the Starfire Dance Company at age 7. She is also a competitively trained gymnast and cheerleader. As a dancer, she has travelled throughout the United States performing, competing and choreographing. Darian was featured as a young dancer on Disney’s “Make Your Mark” and decided then that dance would always be an important part of her life. She was named Performer Of The Year and received many other honors including 4 year NCA All-American, 4 year NDA All-American and 4 year recipient of NDA Top Gun Leaps. She graduated from KU with a Degree in Exercise Science and a BA in Dance, she was a member of the KU Rock Chalk Dancers for four years where she served as line leader and chorography caption for her 4th year. She is currently an NCA Staffer and Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleader. Darian also choreographs for several high schools and dance studios.
Technique, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop
Coming from an extensive background in all types of dance, we’re thrilled to have Ashley as an essential member of the Dance Company. Ashley started her dance education at Leigh’s School of Dance from age 3. She started competitive dance at age 7 and competed until age 18. She was an Olathe East High School Talon all 4 years of High school. While on the team, she was awarded numerous awards and achievements. After High School she started her passion for teaching. She was apart of Johnson County Community College Golden Girls in college. She haves been the coach to many junior high schools and was the head JV dance coach at Olathe West High School. Her passion for dance will never end. She's love seeing kids grow their passion for dance and achieve their goals.
Stars, Technique, Tap & Jazz
Ms. Olivia grew up in Virginia and started dancing at a young age following in the footsteps of her two older sisters who were dancers as well. Upon moving to Kansas, she trained at Performing Arts Academy and later was on the Jody Phillips Competition team in high school. While in high school, she was a member of the Olathe East Talons Drill Team and was a Captain her senior year. Ms. Olivia was on the University of Arkansas Pom Squad for 3 years where she cheered the Razorbacks. She has had the opportunity to perform in front of 70000+ fans at the Razorback football stadium as well cheering on the Razorbacks in bowl games, SEC tournaments, and at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Ms. Olivia has been on staff with American Dance and Drill Team (ADTS) based in Texas where she has taught multiple summer camps and judged dance competitions and nationals. Upon moving back from Texas, Olivia is so happy to be back home at JPDC and continue to share her passion to dance. In addition to working at JPDC, Olivia works as an Occupational Therapist at the University of Kansas Health System and Nativity Parish.
Ballet Academy Director
Ms. Chara is a native of New Orleans, trained intensively with Harvey Hysell and performed with the New Orleans City Ballet, Jefferson Performing Arts, Westbank Ballet Company, and the University of Kansas Dance Company at the University of Kansas, where she received her B.A. in Dance. She recently relocated back to Kansas after working with the New Orleans Ballet Association where she was the Education Coordinator managing educational programs for 9,800 youth annually, specializing in after-school dance programs for over 850 students in 11 locations, and directing the Pre-professional program and company. She has studied under Maestro Vincenzo Celli-former Master of Ballet in Milan, Diane Carney, Myra Mier and Jerel Hilding. She has been teaching for 17 years and release her children's book The Cajun Nutcracker in September of 2011.
Jazz & Technique
Coming from an extensive background in all types of dance, we’re thrilled to have Maddie as an essential member of the JPDC. Being a JPDC alumni student, Maddie's is trained in all genres of dance. She is a graduate from the University of Missouri and was a member of the prestigious Golden Girls Dance Team. Her passion for dance continues as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders. She is excited to come back home where her dance journey began and instill the love of dance and performance in a new generation of JPDC dancers.
Ballet, Technique, Tap & Contemporary
Mr. David began his training at the age of nine in Overland Park, KS. David trained in the genres of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and gymnastics. David started competing with senior jazz and tap troupes at the age of twelve, competing throughout the United States. During this time, David received many scholarships and special awards and titles such as: Scholarships with Tremaine, West Coast, and L.A. DanceMagic. Titles such as International Dance Challenges Mr. Global international 2002 and Rainbow dance competitions male entertainer for Kansas City 2001. In 2003, David became the 1st runner up Teen Mr. Dance for Dance Masters of America Heart of America chapter 28. In 2004, David was titled Mr. Dance for chapter 28 getting the opportunity to compete in Orlando, Fl. After high school David started teaching and choreographing for the competitive troupe he grew up with. In his first year he led their troupe to win a national championship with StageOne Dance Competition. David has also received multiple choreography awards in the past 10 years for both group and solo dances. Along with teaching a competitive troupe, David was dancing for the University of Missouri Kansas City’s dance and theater department, has been a guest artist for Metropolitan Ballet of Topeka, and Ballet Wichita and has been training with well respected teachers and artists with Kansas City Ballet and professors at University of Missouri Kansas City. In 2011, David danced with MOVE: the company under the direction of Joshua Beamish in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. There he taught at prestige dance studios, taught for MOVE: the company convention and had the opportunity to dance on tour throughout the United States, Canada, and Asia. After returning to Kansas City David has been a guest teacher and choreographer for local studios and performing throughout Kansas City.