Our faculty is home-grown, but with experiences that reach beyond Premier Dance Academy, we offer an amazing variety of knowledge and personalities. Our instructors provide a unique balance between that warm feeling of “home” and the professionalism of dance educators who have studied extensively to provide the best possible education. You will find a common thread of kindness, support and honesty among all of our instructors. And although we each have something unique to share with our students, we all have the mission of Premier Dance Academy at heart.
As the owner and director of Premier Dance Academy, Miss Shannon provides guidance and direction for all of our faculty. Her dance education and experience is extensive and she strives to share her knowledge not only with her students, but also with our faculty. Shannon began dancing at the age of three. Her first teacher was Virginia Davis, and then shortly thereafter, Virginia Lee Mackesey became her primary teacher. Shannon is trained in classical ballet, tap, and jazz, but ballet has always been her favorite. Miss Shannon’s advanced dancers have teasingly nicknamed her “The Ballet Genius”, acknowledging her vast understanding of ballet technique and it’s terminology. Shannon has studied with the Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet West. Not long after graduating from high school, Shannon successfully auditioned for the Duluth Ballet Company (now the Minnesota Ballet). After a season with the Duluth Ballet, Shannon decided to return to Madison. She graduated from the UW-Madison with a degree in English. Shannon is a Certified Dance Educator through Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, a member of National Dance Education Organization and the current President of Dance Masters of Wisconsin. She is also the creator and owner of Elevate Dance - which helps dance studios across the country to teach more than the steps. Shannon is happily married to Chris Stotesbery, and they have a son, Brecken. Outside of the dance studio, Shannon enjoys reading, baking ridiculously sweet desserts, and snowboarding with Chris and Brecken.
Miss Zebbie grew up dancing in Madison under the instruction of Virginia Lee Mackesey. She has been a member of Dance Masters of Wisconsin for 30 years. Although Miss Zebbie has advanced training in ballet, tap and jazz, her forte is tap. She is our advanced tap and jazz teacher at Premier, and the dancers all look forward to becoming advanced enough to attend her class. Miss Zebbie was a member of Jazzworks for many years, including serving as their co-director for a year. She is been very active in the community, choreographing for Edgewood High School’s theater department, as well as Middleton Players Theater and Children’s Theater of Madison. Recently, Miss Zebbie was inducted into Edgewood High School’s Hall of Fame. In addition to teaching dance, Miss Zebbie works full time for NET Technology. She has two sons, CJ and Damon, and a daughter, Kennedy, who is a Premier graduate and now a faculty member at Premier.
Miss Becky found an interest in dance while watching a parade and seeing a Baton and Drum Corp go by. A neighbor was in the group and the next weekend Miss Becky was on a dance float thru the parade. She told her Mom, “I don’t want to sit and wave, I want to dance!!” Miss Becky grew up dancing with Miss Shannon and has many wonderful memories with Mrs. G as her baton teacher. As she got older she attended many DMW and CNADM workshops. Her teaching career started when she was 18 years old. To this day, she looks forward to the start of each school year to see all the new little dancers start their first ballet class. The excitement and energy of the little ones she teaches makes each class so special. To watch the little ballerina’s she teaches become beautiful, young, talented dancers brings a tear to her eye each year at recital. Miss Becky, her husband Noel and daughter Sarah, love adventuring in Northern Wisconsin, gardening and spending time with family and friends.
Miss Tia began dancing with Miss Shannon when she was 4 years old (when Premier first opened). Her love of dancing didn’t stop after high school - Miss Tia continued dancing in college at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, earning her bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in dance. She performed in a total of 6 shows during her college career, and went to ACDF (the American College Dance Festival) twice, performing via adjudication each time. Miss Tia choreographed multiple dances for shows during her junior and senior years, and eventually went on to use this knowledge teaching at Premier. She danced competitively with her fiancé in ballroom dance for two years as well, learning everything from Latin dance to the Waltz and Foxtrot. Currently, Miss Tia works as a communications and design specialist with the state of Wisconsin.
Miss Kennedy is the daughter of our own Miss Zebbie! Miss Kennedy began dancing at Premier at age 3, and was eventually a member of Petite Company, Junior Company and then Senior Company. She graduated from Memorial High School in 2015. While in high school, Kennedy had her eye on the UW-Madison's marching band, so in preparation, each summer she performed with The Sound Of Sun Prairie Marching Band. In the fall of 2015, as a freshman, Kennedy successfully tried out for the UW-Madison Marching Band. This year, as well as last year, Kennedy holds the prestigious position of Assistant Drum Major! She graduated from the UW-Madison in the spring of 2019 with a degree in Psychology and Legal Studies with a minor in Criminal Justice. Kennedy is a first year law student at the UW-Madison.
Heather Ver Meer
Miss Heather has been dancing all her life! Heather danced at Belle Academy of Dance in Davenport, Iowa from age 4 through her senior year, where she took ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, and modern and taught little ones. Heather graduated from Northwestern College in 2020 with a degree in Christian Education and Youth Ministry, where she competed and served as manager for the Northwestern Dance Team and choreographed for RUSH, a student-led dance concert. Heather works as the Director of Children & Family Ministry at Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison. She and her husband, Ryan, love to enjoy the outdoors together.