Our Instructors

We want to develop in our dancers...

  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Creativity
  • Focus
  • A drive to learn

We want our dancers to feel...

  • Loved
  • Confident
  • Inspired
  • Motivated
  • Accomplished
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The Next Step Dance Studio is committed to providing high-quality dance classes to enhance the overall development of the child. We provide a safe and child-centered environment to encourage our students to explore dance with qualified, nurturing instructors.

We believe that dance training encourages young people to develop a positive self-image as they increase awareness of their physical being. Along with improving coordination skills and developing muscular awareness, dance classes give children the freedom to express themselves through movement.

The highest educational standards are expected from all The Next Step Dance Studio faculty members. They are lifelong learners who continue to educate themselves through certification programs, instructor-training schools, conferences, and other learning opportunities.

What our instructors are saying...

"I love teaching at NSDS because I get the incredible opportunity to work with and inspire the best dancers ever!  I love seeing my students growing and forming life long friendships with every leap,turn, and 6 step they complete! I also have the world's best best boss, so, you gotta show some love for the fabulous Darcey AND all the dedicated dance moms and dads that believe in their dancers! What's NOT to love about dancing and teaching at Next Step? It's the best studio there is!"
-Jessica M.


Ms. Darcey - Director/SODC Head Coach

"I absolutely love my job! My world is DANCE! My favorite thing about being the director of the Next Step is watching all of the dancers grow up at the studio!"

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While growing up in a dance family, Ms. Darcey found her calling as a dance instructor when she was just thirteen years old. In 2010, Ms. Darcey followed her dreams and introduced The Next Step Dance Studio to Bloomington/Normal. Ms. Darcey was the owner of the Next Step until 2013, when she decided that the students, learning new styles of dance technique, and the annual studio showcases were her passion, rather than business administration.  Ms. Darcey is now proud to call herself the director of the Next Step Dance Studio and head coach of Steppin' Out Dance Company.  

Ms. Darcey has been dancing for twenty-five years and her favorite kind of dance is tap. Ms Darcey. has also attended many dance conventions/competitions including CNADM, DanceMakers, Shock, JUMP, Dupree, Monster's of Hip Hop, and more.  Darcey was also on her high school cheerleading and competitive dance squad.


Ms. Polly - Owner

"I'm so thankful and proud to be a part of this studio. It truly is a place that encourages kids to express their individual personalities and creativity through dance. All of my staff are 100% committed to helping each child grow not only as a dancer, but also in grow in self-confidence and in relationships with others."

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Ms. Polly has been the owner of The Next Step Dance Studio since December 2013. As a successful entrepreneur, Polly has owned several businesses and enjoys helping others fulfill their personal and business goals. Polly and her husband Kelvin have 5 children...3 of whom currently dance at the studio.

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Ms Cyndie - Office Manager

"I love watching all of the children grown into beautiful dancers!"

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Ms. Cyndie has been the office manager for the Next Step Dance Studio since the studio opened in 2010. Cyndie is the mother of Ms. Darcey and has been around the "dance world" for twenty-five years.


Miss Katie - Assistant Director/SODC Head Coach

"The dance studio truly is my happy place. No matter how bad of a day I have had I can guarantee that after a night with my dancers I will walk out with a smile on my face. There is no place I would rather be."

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Miss Katie has been dancing for eighteen years and has been a teacher at the Next Step Dance studio for five and a half years. Miss Katie is also a coach for the Steppin’ Out Dance Company. Her passion for dance continues to grow each session, and there is no place she would rather be than at the studio with her dancers. Growing up Miss Katie was a member of a competitive dance team for eight years. During that time she competed all over the midwest and attended many dance conventions including: DanceMakers, Shock, JUMP, Dupree, and Monsters of Hip Hop. Miss Katie also was a member of Orchesis Intercity Dance Company in high school.

Currently Miss Katie is pursuing her dream of becoming an elementary education teacher at Illinois State University. She is in her senior year of college. Although Miss Katie is almost always at the dance studio she will not be seen as much this 2015-16 session as she finishes up a year long internship teaching in a first grade classroom in Springfield, IL. Once Miss Katie graduates she plans to return to Bloomington and return to the studio with as many classes as she can possibly teach.

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Miss Amber - Instructor/Assistant

"I love NSDS because it's the place where I grew up and everyone treats you like family."

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Amber has been a part of NSDS for about 8 years.  The Winter/Spring Session will mark her third session as an instructor.  Prior to teaching, Amber assisted classes for three years.  She is also a member of SODC and has been competing for 5 years around the Midwest.  Amber has studied all styles and hopes to expand her dance education to pass down to her students.  Amber feels very blessed to have the opportunity to share her passion with the students at the studio.

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Miss Annie - Instructor

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Annie is a junior Dance Education major at Illinois State University and has been a member of the pre-professional company at the school, Dance Theatre, for four semesters. She was a member of the dance team and the Eurythmic Dance Company at her high school, choreographing a dance for her senior concert. She was also a member of Matrix Dance Improv, under the direction of Corey Nagel, and performed with this group at events like the Regional Alternative Dance Festival and Dance Chicago. She choreographed a duet that was showcased in the Dance Inventions concert this past February. She has taken master classes and participated in intensives with Thodos Dance Chicago, Visceral, and at the Illinois High School Dance Festival. In addition, she received the opportunity to study dance abroad in Brazil last summer. She would like to thank her parents and her other friends and family for supporting her in her passion for dance and her choice to pursue this passion as a career.


Miss Jessica - Instructor/SODC Assistant Coach

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Miss Jessica joined the Next Step family in 2014, and loves every minute of it.

Miss Jessica discovered her love for dance at the young age of three years old at her local studio. She then branched out of the area to find her home at Transcendance Studios where she danced in the three resident companies (HipHop Transfuzion, Jazz Transaxion, and Trans-Rhythm Tap) and received the Transcend the Norm Scholarship.

Jessica has competed multiple pieces in Applause Talent Competition, Headliners Talent Competition, Starbound Talent Competition, Talent on Parade and VIP Dance Competition. She has also attended several master classes and dance conventions such as Monsters of HipHop and Chicago Human Rhythm Project Summer Festival.

Jessica has performed in The Joffery Ballet’s Nutcracker, "Fame" movie promotion at Lakes Theater, Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on State St., Reggio McLaughlin's Nuttapper, DanceFest at Great America, Six Flags Fright Fest, ISDT Fall Dance Concert and over sixteen annual showcases!

In 2010, she was given her first teaching opportunity and fell in love with inspiring young dancers to be the best that they can be. Since then she has taught students ages 3-19 in various styles including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, HipHop, Lyrical, and improv workshops.

Jessica’s choreography has been featured in a number of performances including Devonshire’s Jr. Theatrical productions of Guys and Dolls and School House Rock Live, Elmwood Park’s Relay for Life, Guerin Prep’s talent showcase, and multiple high school pep rallies.

Having been studio trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-hop, Breakdance, Lyrical, Pointe, and Modern Jessica was driven to further her dance education. She is currently a Dance Performance Major at Illinois State University with the high hopes of obtaining all the knowledge and experience possible to pass on to her students. Miss Jessica is also an assistant coach for Steppin' Out Dance Company.


Ms Jesica - Instructor/SODC Head Coach


Miss Morgan - Instructor/SODC Assistant Coach


Miss RJ - Instructor/Assistant

"It's such a privilege to get to be a part of these little dancers' lives, and I have loved watching them grow up over the years!"

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Jesica ​has been dancing and teaching in the Chicagoland area for the past twenty nine years. While she is classically trained in all genres of dance, gymnastics and tumbling, her focus is on ballet, contemporary, and jazz. Jesica attended Illinois State University as a dance major, was a company member to the Illinois State Dance Theatre, and has traveled the country to perform in selected dances at the American College Dance Association. Jesica has danced for Brian Brooks, Eddy Ocampo, Joffrey Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Company. She has taken classes from American Ballet Theatre, Joel Hall, Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Company and Lou Conte. In addition, Jesica is a dance competition judge for Starpower International Talent Competition; the worldwide leader in talent competitions.

Jesica's teaching career has brought much success as she has been recognized both regionally and nationally for her choreography and costuming. She has been nominated multiple times for choreographer of the year and she was awarded 2015 Teacher of the Year. Under her directorship her students have equally shared in great success as they too have won numerous judges awards, first place overall awards, and grand champion awards on the regional and national competition circuit. The art of dance and performance has given Jesica many wonderful opportunities which have thus far defined her as an individual, and she is excited to share her knowledge and love of dance!

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Miss Morgan has been dancing since the age of five. She began taking classes in Springfield, IL at Jan’s Dance Studio and finished her High School years at Tip Tap Toe School of Dance.

This is Miss Morgan's second year as an instructor at the Next Step Dance Studio where she teaches various age groups in styles such as Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Ballet, and Contemporary. Miss Morgan is also an assistant coach for Steppin' Out Dance Company.

Miss Morgan has received training in a wide variety of dance genres, but tap has always been her favorite. She grew up going to conventions and competing on a regular basis where she received multiple gold or first place awards for her tap solos as well as other group dances. Miss Morgan has earned a scholarship for twenty free summer classes at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City as well as a scholarship to attend the Southern Association of Dance Masters Ballet Forum in Tennessee. She was a member of Rochester High School’s Poms squad for four years and was a co-captain her senior year. Now, Miss Morgan attends Illinois State University with a major in Publishing and a minor in Dance.

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The Fall 2015 session will be Miss RJ's third session as an instructor for the Next Step. Miss RJ has been an assistant under the direction of Ms. Darcey and Miss Katie for four years, and she is a senior at Normal Community High School.

Miss RJ has been dancing for many years, but with The Next Step Dance Studio for 6 years and loves it here! She was on a competitive dance team for 3 years in competitions such as JUMP and Dance Makers. Miss RJ's classes currently include ballet and jazz.

She hopes to be the director of her own studio one day. We are excited to give her the opportunity to start her career with us.

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Miss Lauren - Instructor

"I enjoy teaching at Next Step because I get to share my passion with great students and staff!"

Miss Melody - Instructor

"As a coach with strictly gymnastic experience, it is a unique opportunity for me to coach at Next Step. Working with dancers offers me a new perspective on gymnastics, but also allows me to share my expertise with them."

Miss Tara - Instructor

"I enjoy teaching at the Next Step, because I love to share my passion for cheer and tumbling. I love watching the kids grow and accomplish their goals."

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Miss Lauren has loved dancing for as long as she can remember. Growing up, Lauren was a part of the Legacy Dance Ensemble for many years, doing competitions, conventions, and performances around Chicago. Lauren found her love for tap at a young age and has trained with some of the world’s best tap dancers, including Jay Fagan, Martin Tre Dumas III, and Sarah Savelli. Lauren’s training in tap, contemporary, and jazz has led her all across Chicago, training at locations such as the American Rhythm Center, Lou Conte Dance Studio, and Joel Hall Dance Center. Lauren is currently pursing a minor in dance at Illinois State University, where she is the founder and director of Illinois State Tap Circle. She is excited for the opportunity to share her love of dance with Next Step this year!

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Melody was five years old when she took her first tumbling class and completely fell in love. At eight years old, she began taking classes at Palmer’s Gymnastics where she worked up and competed through GIJO level 5. In middle school, Melody switched to cheerleading and was on the football, basketball, and competitive team throughout high school, holding the position as captain her senior year. It was also in her senior year that she was recruited to begin coaching at Bartlett Gymnastics Academy, where she's spent the past two years coaching recreational gymnastics (pre-school through intermediate levels) and cheer tumble (beginner through advanced). Melody graduated from Wheaton Academy in 2014 and currently attends Illinois State University studying middle level teacher education.

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At the age of five to age nine, Tara was on a competitive cheerleading team called Knights Elite. When she turned ten, Tara decided to start figure skating. After seven years of competitive figure skating, Tara decided that she wanted to get involved in high school. So, she started taking tumbling classes in 8th grade, and when she landed a back handspring within two weeks, she fell in love with tumbling. In high school, Tara was a four year varsity cheerleader at Glenbrook South, and she was chosen All Conference cheerleader in 2014. She was captain during her senior year.  Tara also worked at the Glenview Park District as an assistant coach to their competitive and game cheerleading team. In addition, Tara taught cheerleading summer camps for two years.



Miss Megan

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Miss Megan has been assisting classes for the last year. Megan also teaches the Wednesday morning dance classes for the Next Step. She is thirteen years old and is in 8th grade.

Miss Megan began dancing at the age of four, and has tried many styles of dance. Her classes now include ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap and contemporary. Miss Megan is a member of the Steppin' Out Dance Company.


Miss Melissa

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Miss Melissa has been assisting classes for a year. She is fifteen years old and is a sophomore at NCHS.

Miss Melissa has been dancing since the age of four, starting with ballet and tap classes. Since then, she has tried many other styles of dance. Her classes now include ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, contemporary, and lyrical. Miss Melissa has been on The Steppin’ Out Dance Company team for two years and has competed at several dance competitions including Intrigue, Groove, and Dupree.


Mr. Dylan

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Mr. Dylan has been an assistant at the Next Step for a year. Dylan has been dancing since the age of ten, and his favorite genre is Hip Hop & Lyrical. He also enjoys Tap, Ballet, Jazz and has recently started studying Contemporary. Dylan has been a member of Steppin' Out Dance Company for two years, and has competed at competitions that include Intrigue, Dupree, and Groove. He is a freshman at Normal West.


Miss Taylor

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Miss Taylor started assisting this summer. Taylor is 12 years old and loves to dance. She dances everywhere she goes, in the aisles of a store, in the parking lot, and all over her house. She constantly is making up dance routines and enjoys teaching her friends new dances. She started dancing in 2012. Her first class was hip hop. After her first class she was hooked. In 2013 Miss Taylor added more classes to her schedule such as, dancenastics, hip hop, and jazz. In 2014 she joined Steppin' Out Dance Company competing in jazz, hip hop, and lyrical. During the 2015 SODC season she performed her first solo and competed in hip hop, contemporary, and jazz. Taylor is excited for the upcoming season and ready to learn new dances.

Special Thanks To:


Ms. Angie

Ms Angie has been around the dance world for many years, and is the Aunt of Ms. Darcey. You will see Ms. Angie helping at showcase picture day, showcase day, and much more.


Ms. Hollie

Ms. Hollie has been helping at the Next Step Dance Studio for five years now. Ms. Hollie helps at showcase picture day, showcase day, and much more. Ms. Hollie started taking dance at young age at her local dance studio in Heyworth, IL. Her love continues by helping out at the Next Step.

"I love to help make every dancer's experience at the NSDS a memorable one!"

-Ms. Hollie


Ms. Stacy

This will be Ms. Stacy's fifth year helping coordinate events for the Next Step Dance Studio. Ms. Stacy helps on showcase picture day, showcase day, and much more.

Ms. Stacy is Ms Darcey's aunt and her daughter has taken dance under the direction of Ms Darcey for seven years. Ms. Stacy's daughter has been a part of Steppin' Out Dance Company for two years.

Ms Stacy is also the fundraising coordinator for Steppin' Out Dance Company.


Ms. Jenny

Ms. Jenny has been helping out at the Next Step for five years. Ms. Jenny helps on showcase picture day, showcase day, and much more.

Ms. Jenny's daughter has taken dance under the direction of Ms Darcey and Miss Katie for five years and is a part of Steppin' Out Dance Company.


Mr. Jeff

This will be Mr. Jeff's fifth year helping out at the Next Step Dance Studio. Mr Jeff helps organize showcase picture day, showcase day, and much more. Mr Jeff is Ms Darcey's uncle and loves helping make the studio a success.