KATHIE BREEK – Founder of Sonshine Performing Arts Academy in Springfield, Missouri, the 5th largest Dance Academy in the state, retired after 30 years of teaching. She graduated from Indiana University with a double major in Speech/Theater and Dance and is a Master Teacher in Ballet, Tap, Modern and Jazz. She has choreographed countless shows for the community, including eight International shows and one Around the World Tour.
NORVIN BREECK – Norvin studied dance at an early age in his hometown in Indiana. During his Junior and Senior years of high school, he and his cousin drove to Cincinnati, OH on weekends to study
ballroom dancing from the Fred Astaire Dance Studios. After graduating high school, he became a teacher at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio for two years until he was drafted into the Army. After his honorable discharge from the Army, he returned to teaching at the Fred Astaire Dance Studios. In the Fall of 1968, he began college at Indiana University. He met Kathie the first day of his Freshman year. Norvin graduated with a BS in Speech and Theater and a minor in Modern Dance.
Norvin taught at the SONSHINE PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY for 16 years. After the death of their son, John-Christopher, he needed a change and decided to start performing again. Norvin was hired by the Shoji Tabuchi Show and has been a dancer, co-dance captain, and entertainer for 24 years. Although he is still a full-time employee for Shoji’s, Norvin helps around the studio teaching classes, coaching, and being the “clean-up” man.
DIXIE AHNE – Miss Dixie worked with Miss Kathie and Norvin for several years before the opening of Sonshine Dance & Fitness, and has been the Front Desk/Studio Manager since the doors opened in September 2010.
She has been a singer, musician, and dancer since she was a young child. She has had the privilege to perform in such places as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Yonok, Thailand. Her love of dance is shared by her dance partner and husband, Bryan and her children Baron and Contessa. Baron was in the Andy Williams Christmas Show and both Baron and Contessa performed in the Dino Kartsonakis Christmas Show in 2012. Miss Kathie considers them her “oldest” students here in Branson. Dixie divides her time between Sonshine and Trinity Christian Academy where she is a full-time Pre-Kindergarten teacher.
MELINDA ANDERSON – Miss Melinda always wanted to dance as a child, so when Sonshine opened in 2010, she and her daughter, Valora, were some of the very first students. This sparked a new beginning for Melinda and she started a whole new dance career at the age of 30! On top of the many performances Melinda has done, both she and Valora performed in the Dino Kartsonakis Christmas Show in 2012 with other Sonshine students.
Melinda became a certified Zumba Instructor in 2011 and also teaches adult ballet. She is now a stay at home mom to 3 children, Valor, Sarai, and Luken, but she still finds time to work the front desk, teach, and dance.
PATTY GEORGE – Patty was the first to join the new studio in September 2010. Her high energy level and “quirky” personality make her a fantastic instructor and motivator!
Patty is a certified teacher in floor aerobics, step aerobics, group exercises, weight training and ab workouts. She owned her own fitness center in Iowa for 5 years, but when she and her husband decided to move to the Ozarks, she wanted to continue teaching. For over 11 years Patty has taught all types of aerobics and weight training in several of the gyms and studios in the area but last year opened her own place in Branson West.
MELINDA PRINCE – Melinda took dance for 7 Years as a child and young teen at Branson Performing Arts Academy. During that time, she danced in many shows in Branson including Jim Stafford, The Promise, and Dino Kartsonakis where she met Miss Kathie who was the choreographer.
After bringing her daughter to dance class in 2012, Miss Kathie convinced Melinda to start dancing again, which she did. Last year Melinda began helping Miss Kathie by demonstrating in some of the younger classes and assisting with the older girls. Melinda also began performing in our shows.
Melinda graduated from College of the Ozarks with a BA in English with a Music minor, but gave up her career to have her 4 kids (Jason, Alivia, Brenna, and Alton) who all take dance class at the studio, and her husband, Michael, is the tech geek who helps with all the studio’s computer, music, and technological issues and takes our class pictures. And, you may have seen him as one of our onstage performers. Their family has embraced the Sonshine Family as their own and is here to help serve other families with their BecauseFamily.org ministry which is dedicated to family internet safety. Michael is available for personal and group speaking engagements on internet safety.
JESSICA NGUYEN – Jessica is our outgoing 2018 Senior. She was the fourth student to enroll at Sonshine when the studio opened its doors in 2010 and has been taking classes and dancing ever since. Jessica has been assisting in classes and teaching at the Studio for the past two years. We have enjoyed watching her blossom into a beautiful dancer and a lovely young woman.
Jessica is an honor student at BHS and has won many awards for her scholastic achievements. She is also a member of the Medical Explorers Team. She has had the opportunity to travel around the country and to Costa Rica.
We look forward to seeing all the wonderful things in store for her in the years to come.
TRACY O’DONNELL– Tracy is from the Chicagoland area and began training for dance at the age of 3. By the age of 7, she was performing professionally with the Indianapolis Ballet in The Nutcracker. She trained with the Chicago City Ballet under Maria Tallchief and Anna Paskevska. She also attended scholarship programs at Alvin Alie and had ballet classes under Finis Jung, then performing professionally with Ballet Chicago. She has also been involved with other styles of dance, in Busch Gardens Totally Television as the Dance Captain, performing in the chorus with Radio City Rockettes Christmas Show, traveling the world with Cunard Crusie Lines, then back to the US in the Poconos Mountains, American Music Theatre in Lancaster, PA, then to Branson Missouri at the Shoji Tabuchi show with Norvin Breeck, finally involved in the Magic with Kirby VanBurch Show. Now retired from professional dancing, happily married with three beautiful children.