Let us introduce ourselves…
Hello! I am Ms. Britani! Pep & Pizzazz is my dream career come true and I am so blessed each and every day to get to do what I love! I began dancing at age 3 and have been dancing, cheering, teaching, or coaching ever since! As a young dancer, at the Dance Company, I competed in various competitions and won several awards. After cheering at Southwestern High School for four years, I attended the University of Kentucky where I was on the dance team and took many college courses through their dance minor program. I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education in 2008. While attending UK, I began coaching the Southwestern High School Cheerleaders. This year, I am starting my 13th season with them as their coach and am so proud that I can say we have won TWO National Championship Titles and a State Championship. I also coach the Southwestern High School Dance Team and was able to take them to dance nationals for the first time ever! Dance and cheer have never just been hobbies for me! They are my passion! I love teaching at Pep & Pizzazz because I am able to help my students do things they never thought they could do! My motto is “Dream Big, Work Hard, and Never Give Up!” I try to live by this each and every day and try to pass that same mentality on to my students!
Stacey began dancing at the age of three at Kim Turpen’s School of Dance. When she was eight, Patty Grider opened The Dance Company, where Stacey grew to love tap and jazz even more. She began teaching at The Dance Company when she was thirteen and taught all ages until she graduated from college. Now Stacey is a full time mom, teacher, and missionary, who just can’t walk away from her love of dance! She enjoys teaching as often as her crazy life will allow with the tiniest dancers (Groovin’ with the Grownups) and the most mature dancer (the adult class) being some of the highlights of her hectic schedule! She and her daughters love being a part of the Pep and Pizzazz family
My name is Maddie Cravens and I’ve been at Pep and Pizzazz for two years now! I’m a junior at Southwestern High School. I love seeing my kids grow and learn throughout the year, and finally get to show off their skills on the big stage! My favorite part about teaching is getting to form close bonds with the kids… they brighten up my day!
I started taking gymnastics over 14 years ago when I cheered for Southern Middle School. I continued to cheer for Ms. Britani at Southwestern High School being apart of her first team to make it to finals. After graduating high school in 2011 I went to Western Kentucky University where I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Marketing. During college I spent my summers working for Universal Cheerleaders Association as a head instructor teaching schools from all over the country how to cheer, dance, stunt, and tumble. Since the fall of 2012 I have been a Varsity judge, judging school and all-star cheerleading all over the country including UCA High School Nationals and International All Star Nationals. I have been teaching gymnastics for over 8 years and love to watch students progress and their eyes light up as they learn skills they never thought were possible. Safety and correct technique are my number one priority when working with our students, and our levels and progression minded approach are key to maintaining safe and effective classes. While in high school I got to watch Ms. Britani begin to form Pep and Pizzazz and I’ve been lucky enough to watch her passion grow the studio into what it is today. After working for many great gyms over the years, both in town and in other cities, I know that there is no other gym or gym owner I would rather work for.
Hello! My name is Christine Dodson. My love for cheer and dance started at the Dance Company with our very own Ms. Stacey when I was 5 years old. I cheered through elementary, middle, and 2 years of highschool where I was part of a top 10 nationally ranked cheerleading squad coached by Ms. Britani. I am pursuing a career in nursing, but my love for children, dance, and cheer have always remained a constant passion. I joined pep & pizzazz in August 2016. I love getting to spend my evenings with little familiar faces, and new ones too! I appreciate all of the parents who trust me to instill work ethic, teamwork, and goal setting for their kids week after week – watching them grow and become proud of their accomplishments is invaluable!
Hi, I’m Mahala and dance is my passion! I have loved to dance since I was 8 years old. I started taking classes at Pep & Pizzazz a couple years ago and since then I have matured as a dancer. I have competed with Pep and Pizzazz and won 1st place in our division multiple times. I have also been a part of the first two Nutcrackers that Pep &
Pizzazz has put on. I hope to instill dedication in my students to not only work hard in class, but to work hard in life as well.
Hi, my name is Kelsie Pitman. I recently graduated from Southwestern High School and I have been cheering for 12 years! I am now a 2015 NHSCC National Champion and a 2016 KHSAA State Champion all thanks to my amazing coach Britani Shoemaker! I have now been working at Pep for 2 years and I absolutely love it! Nothing is better than seeing my students dedication to come in each week and finally get the skill that they have been working on! But my favorite thing is how I can form a bond with every one of my students and watch it get stronger each week!
Hi! I’m Brandalyn Polson. I have been dancing for 7 years. Dance is my passion! I am a competitive dancer and have been competing solos for 3 years. This past year, I also competed with the Pep & Pizzazz group lyrical routine. Since I have been at Pep and Pizzazz I have found a second family and a second home!
Cathy Smith has been a dance teacher for more than 35 years. She began her dance training in Florida with Genia Howard, a previous member of the Palm Beach Ballet Guild and Joan Miller of Palm Beach Ballet Center. During her training years, Cathy studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Lyrical, studying with instructors as Joe Tremaine, Art Stone, Doug Caldwell, Jackie Sleight, Nilo Teledo, Marcea Lane and many more. Also during this time she was a competition kid, attending Tremaine Conventions, Dance Olympus, Dance Masters and others.
Cathy has been very lucky and has been a performer and choreographer throughout the United States in several variety style shows in CA., FL., N.C. and IN. Her professional career performances also included, being a featured dancer at the 1982 Worlds Fair, and a role in the movie “Cocoon”.
After she stopped performing, Cathy started teaching and soon opened her first studio. She’s owned three successful dance studios, with competitive dance teams, as well as being the dance coach for middle and high school teams. She and her competitive teams have won many awards. While owning studios she tested with and joined Dance Masters of America. She’s a member of Dance Masters of America, Chapter 40. Cathy has had great success as a studio owner as well as being on staff with Cincinnati Ballet Academy and Louisville Ballet School. She is very excited to be joining the staff at Pep & Pizzazz!
Hi, I’m Latoshia Toohey. I started taking gymnastics, tap, jazz and cheerleading at the age of 3. I have been on several competitive cheerleading and power tumbling teams throughout my 16 years of taking classes. I graduated from SWHS where I cheered all four years and went on to cheer at EKU. I have three girls who are all also very active in the gym at Pep and Pizzazz. I look forward to being able to work with your child and helping them grow!
Hi, I’m Jaclyn Troxtel. I have been a student at Pep & Pizzazz since it first opened and have loved every minute of it! Now not only do I get to dance with amazing people, but I get to teach amazing kids too! I love getting to pass down my love for dance to the kids I teach.
Hi, I am Kaytlin Van Hook! I graduated from Southwestern in 2015, where I cheered all four years and won two National Championship titles at UCA high school national championship. From there I started working for UCA during the summer doing summer camps in the mid-south region and in the fall would also work cheer competitions. I am super excited to be a new teacher here at Pep and Pizzazz and have cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics in my life again!! I can’t wait to meet everyone!
Gina Marie West
I’m Gina Marie West. I started taking gymnastics, tap, and dance at the age of 3 from The Dance Company here in Somerset, Ky. I took for 15 years until the studio closed in 2001. I graduated from Pulaski County High School in 2001 where I cheered all 4 years. I graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2006 with a Bachelors of Science in Public Health. I have taught gymnastics throughout the years and love every minute of it! I was honored to join the Pep & Pizzazz family in August of 2014. I love being apart of such an awesome place and being able to share my love of dance and gymnastics. There is nothing better then the excitement on my students’ faces when they’ve been working so hard and learn a new skill. I appreciate all the parents that allow me to be apart of these sweet students life’s every week.
Assistant Instructors & Office Staff
Hi, my name is Cailey. I was a part of the Southwestern dance team for four years. I was also a member of the Southern Middle School dance team for three years. I have been a student at Pep and Pizzazz for four years. This past year, I was a part of the Pep and Pizzazz dance competition team. My favorite thing about Pep and Pizzazz is getting to see all of the kiddos big smiles when they learn something new.
Tanya (“Ms. Yotie”) Boyle
I’m Tanya Boyle. My main job is doing office work, but I also am there to help with a few classes. I love being part of the Pep & Pizzazz crew because of the staff and kids I am able to work with each week. Seeing the kids be excited to come to class each week is the best part!