Company

Artistic Directors

Audra Kucharski, Co-Artistic Director, received her BA in Psychology from Hawaii Pacific University in 2004.She has over 10 years of teaching experience with Jeanette Popp School of Dance, and has also instructed advanced jazz dance at Wright State University. She began her dance training with Jeanette Popp School of Dance, and furthered her dance education with Dayton Ballet School, Pontecorvo Ballet Studios, Ballet Met, University of Cincinnati-CCM, numerous dance studios in Hawaii and at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Her instruction and choreography has received regional and national acclaim. Together with her knowledge and passion for teaching, directing and choreographing, Audra is thrilled to continue in the footsteps of her mother, Jeanette Popp, by promoting excellence in dance training and education.

Kandee Thacker-Mann, Artistic Director, hails from Flint, MI where she began studying tap dance under Alfred Bruce Bradley at Creative Expressions Dance Studio. As a part of the youth tap company, "Flintstone Hoofers," she performed in the Savion Glover's "Footnotes" tour in Detroit, St. Louis Tap Festival, Detroit Tap Festival, and the Human Rhythm Project. Kandee was also member of the Showtime at the Apollo winning act "Stepettes" with friends Alexandria and Frances Bradley. As an emerging artist, Kandee choreographed for and instructed at Troy Dance Connection where her works won several choreography and special awards.

Since Kandee's 2004 relocation to Dayton, Ohio, she has continued to spread her love of tap dance through teaching, choreography and collaboration. She taught classes at the Ohio Dance Festival, instructed and organized tap workshops with the legendary Dianne Walker, and taught as adjunct instructor at Wright State University.

Her passion for the enrichment and success of youth propelled her to direct the Dayton Tap Project, which included a dance program at East End Community Service, where she educated several under-served children in the art of tap dance. The event culminated with a joint tap dance showcase with children and renowned international tap dance guest artists which was quoted as being "an unbelievably entertaining and heartfelt evening."

Other notable performances and credits include: Tap Extravaganza on Broadway, Judge at "For Tappers Only Dance Competition," and The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show which has also included artist such as Lupe Fiasco, the Roots Black Thought, and hip hop artist Common.

Ashley Walton, Co-Artistic Director, a native of Dayton, Ohio began her training at Dayton Ballet and South Dayton School of Dance. She received additional training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, The Rock School, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, International Summer Dance, National Choreography Intensive, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Ashley attended Point Park University, under the direction of Susan Stowe, where she worked with faculty and guest choreographers Darla Hoover, Margo Sappington, Christian Holder, Alan Hineline, Ron de Jesus, Doug Varone, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and Ron Tassone. The highlight of her time at Point Park University was earning the opportunity to perform at Kennedy Center, where she was awarded Northeast Performer of the Year. Ashley danced professionally with both Atlanta Ballet and Dayton Ballet, and had the opportunity to perform principal roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Alan Hineline’s Thresholds, William Whitener’s Caprice, and Stuart Sebastian's Dracula. During the 2009 Regional Dance America Northeast Festival, Ashley received the Monticello Award for Best Emerging Choreographer and the Barbara Weisberger Award for Best Choreography for her piece Aloft. During the 2010 and 2011 RDA festivals she earned both the Project Tier Award, as well as the National Choreographic Award two years in a row for her pieces Sudden Impulse and Guerriere. Distinguished adjudicators chose four of her ballets to be presented at the 2012 National Festival in Montreal, Quebec. Since then Ashley was granted four additional National Choreographic Awards for her work throughout the Northeast and Pacific regions.