Meet our "inspiring" teaching staff!
Heather Shutt - Owner/Director
Say “hello” to Inspire Dance Academy’s studio owner/director, Heather Shutt. Heather is in the process of receiving her B.A. in Dance, from the University of Kansas. She has taken a short break from school, as she opened her own business, Inspire Dance Academy. While running her business, Heather is a current member of a professional dance company, Kansas City Contemporary Dance Company in Kansas City. Heather has been dancing ever since she learned to walk and has studied many dance forms such as, Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hip, African, Classical East Indian, Improvisation, and others. Throughout her years, Heather has attended many dance conventions and competitions, across the United States, where she has had the chance to train with many well known dancers, Tokyo, Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Travis Wall, and many more. She has also been a dancer in choreographic works with Sonya Tayeh, Bruce Campbell, Tina Cooper, Janet Langer and Laura Edwards. Heather grew up dancing at various local dance studios, where she competed for approximately 14 years, and has performed in performances in Branson, Missouri with Kidz Roc!, as well as at the Lied Center of Kansas and Salina Community Theatre, with the University Dance Company. Heather assisted a competition dance team for a number of years and has placed many choreographic works on many students through out the area at dance studios, junior high schools, and high schools. Heather has always dreamed to make dance her life long career. Dance is not just an extracurricular activity to Heather, it is her passion, the reason she breathes. Heather strives to challenge herself everyday while she shares her love of dance with her students and inspires those around her.
Dena'h Gregory - CoDirector
Dena'h Gregory grew up in Stilwell, Kansas, and started dancing when she was 3 years old. When she was 9, she began training and assisting with a professional choreographer named TOKYO. She traveled all around the USA as well as out of the country assisting. Additionally she assisted multiple choreographers (such as Dwight Rhoden, Misty Copeland, Sasha Radetsky, Christopher Huggins, Mollee Gray, Misha Gabriel, Nick Lazzarini, Bobby Newberry, Kenny Wormald, Braham Logan Crane, Blake McGrath, Shannon Mather, Ade Obayomi, Mandy Moore, Doug Caldwell, Dee Caspary, Teddy Forance, & Joe Lanteri) at several dance conventions. Dena'h has also assisted for the following dance conventions: Artists Simply Human, Jump, Coastal Dance Rage, Intrigue, Wild, New York City Dance Alliance, NRG, LA Dance Magic, ihollywood, Sugar and Bruno Dance Camp, MOVE the world, Gain, & Push the Limit, along with other various in studio workshops. While traveling and assisting Dena'h was also the assistant director for a pre-professional dance company for three years. When she turned 14, Dena'h focused her training on ballet and performed the lead roles of Cinderella, Kitri, Odile, Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian Princess, Snow Queen, Rose, Russian & Lilac Fairy. Additionally she has danced professionally in the following contemporary companies: TOKYOtheCOMPANY, Concept Zero, & XY Dance Project. She has choreographed & taught Master Classes for several dance studios & dance teams. Her choreography has won 1st Overall, 1st in Category, Specialty Awards, & Title Winner at competitions plus she has received Choreography Awards. After experiencing dancing professionally & graduating from high school with honors, she is excited to focus her love of dance by sharing her knowledge with dancers. Dena'h is incredibly grateful for her family & friends that continue to love & support her throughout her career of dancing, teaching, &
Debi Gregory - CoDirector
Debi Gregory was born in Indiana & grew up in Stilwell, Kansas. She started dancing at age 3 and gymnastics at age 8. She was on the dance teams at Johnson County Community College (Captain), Blue Valley High School (Co-captain), & Blue Valley Middle School. Debi graduated from BVHS as a member of the National Honor Society. She graduated from JCCC with her Associate of Arts Degree & a member of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honors Fraternity of 2 Year Colleges. She graduated from Wichita State University Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor's of Education Degree & a member of Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society in Education as well as a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. While teaching full time at BVHS, Debi continued her education & received her Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas. She taught mathematics (Algebra 1 through AP
Calculus) at BVHS for 17 years & coached the Tigerette Dance Team for 10 years. She was selected to be part of Who's Who Among America's Teachers. Debi co-owned a competition dance studio for 4 years, owned her own pre-professional dance company for 3 years, and now she is extremely happy to be working side by side as co-director with Dena'h for Devotion Dance. She has trained dancers that have won multiple awards such as 1st Overall, 1st in Category, Title Winner, Grand Champion, World Champion, Choreography Award & many others. Dancers she has formerly trained are members of College Dance Teams and Professional Sports Dance Teams such as Oklahoma City Thunder Girls, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, & Comets Galaxy Girls. She also toured with the convention Artists Simply Human on the crew for 2 years. Debi is very thankful for her family & friends that have encouraged her throughout the hurdles of life. After surviving 3 open heart surgeries, she appreciates every moment of life spent with her family & pets!
Lori Tochtrop - Cheer/Tumble Director
Lori brings to us over 35 years of experience in dance, gymnastics, and cheerleading. She started her training at age 5 in Topeka, KS where she studied ballet, tap, and jazz at the “Dance Factory” and was a Level 8 competitive gymnast for “Capital City Gymnastics”. While training upward to 20 hours a week, Lori transitioned from competitive gymnastics to cheerleading in High School where she was named NCA “Top All-American” (out of 500 cheerleaders) and was asked to be on the prestigious All-Star Cheerleading Squad “Pro-Cheer”. In 1992 she was a member of the first All-Star Cheerleading Squad to bring a National Championship to Kansas and was featured on ESPN. That opportunity landed her a position on the Kansas University Cheerleading Squad where she was also an “All American” and served as captain. While coaching through college, she also continued her own dance education in New York for 3 summers and earned her master’s teacher certification from Dance Educators of America. While attending the DEA program she got to train with many Broadway legends and accomplished her teacher apprentice at the New York City Ballet. Her love for the sport led her to open up Dance City/Spirit of Kansas, a dance, cheerleading, and gymnastics facility in Lawrence, KS in 1997. Right out of the gates, Lori's dancers landed their first National Championship title and continued on for 13 years running one of the biggest All-Star Cheerleading and dance programs in the area. Her resume includes numerous choreography and technical awards, 29 National Titles, Regional Studio “Best Director”, and was even featured in American Cheerleader magazine as one of the top 25 programs in the US. In 2010 Lori decided to semi-retire from coaching to focus on her family, but in 2013 came out of retirement and landed a spot on the “Art in Motion” dance company and served as the director for the City of Lawrence gymnastics program. Lori brings to us a positive, patient, fun, and disciplined coaching style and is very excited to get back to her dance roots and bring all of her experience and expertise to Inspire Dance.
Taylor Calvert has over seventeen years of dance experience. She has trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, and hip hop. Taylor danced all four years of high school as a Gardner Edgerton Blazerette. She also danced through her college years, and then went on to continue her dance experience at Johnson County Community College. Taylor is a mother of two young girls who are starting there journey of dance at Inspire. Taylor is very excited and blessed to be joining the family at Inspire Dance Academy. She is excited to share her passion of dance with the students.
Allie Droste is a dancer who works with all ages and skill levels to create, develop and improve dancing skills.
She believes all dancers, regardless of age or skill level, have the capability to create movement. Allie also believes fiercely in the power of presentation and showmanship along with the need for technique! A dancer’s most important asset is the understanding of their body and the movement that flows through it. By creating movement, one improves strength, character and confidence.
Allie’s experiences include being apart of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders for the 2016-2017 season, Co-Captain of the University of Arkansas Pom squad from 2012-2016, and she has also won numerous National Titles as not only a soloist but a Team Dancer dancers as well within her 17 year Career.
Allie has trained with the talents of Sonya Tayeh, Brooke Pierotti, Tokyo Inyoue, Shannon Mather, Emily Shock, Fred Odgaard and Bruce Campbell.