Artistic Directors

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 Pabst (Walton), Co-Artistic Director, a native of Dayton, Ohio and graduate of Point Park University. Ms. Pabst has worked with many notable instructors and choreographers such as Darla Hoover, Margo Sappington, Robert Battle, Julie Nakagawa, Christian Holder, Alan Hineline, Ron de Jesus, Doug Varone, Lynne Taylor-Corbett. While at Point Park University Ms. Pabst was chosen to perform at Kennedy Center, where she was awarded Northeast Performer of the Year. Ashley went on to dance with both Atlanta Ballet and Dayton Ballet, where she performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Septime Webre’s Peter Pan, Stephen Mills’ There Once Was a Time, John McFall’s Nutcracker, Alan Hineline’s Thresholds, William Whitener’s Caprice, and Stuart Sebastian's Dracula. In 2009, at Regional Dance America’s Northeast Festival, Ashley received the Monticello Award for Best Emerging Choreographer and the Barbara Weisberger Choreographic Award for her work Aloft. In 2010 she received both the Project Tier Award and The National Choreographic Recognition Award for Sudden Impulse. Since then Ms. Pabst was granted ten additional National Choreographic Recognition Awards for her work throughout the Northeast and Pacific regions. Ashley has been commissioned to stage several new works by professional companies such as Sacramento Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, GreeneWorks Projects, Stivers Dance Ensemble, Southern New Hampshire Youth Ballet, Mid-Columbia Ballet, Ballet Yuma, Long Beach Ballet, Dayton Dance Conservatory, Delaware Dance Company, Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, Vineland Regional Dance Company, IABD Festival, and Jazz Dance World Congress. In addition to her repertoire works, Ms Pabst has also created original full length ballets such as Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, Snow White, Cinderella, and Miscellany: A Jazz Nutcracker. Ashley’s professional teaching credits include International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS, Regional Dance America Northeast, Mid-states, and Pacific Festivals, adjunct faculty at Wright State University, Cinicinnati Ballet, National Choreography Intensive, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Delaware Dance Festival, Mid-Columbia Ballet, Dayton Dance Conservatory, and Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater.