We have an incredibly dedicated and talented staff at Steppin’ Out Dance Studio. Each instructor is highly skilled and educated in their field and has extensive experience working with a variety of age groups. The entire staff takes great care in creating age-appropriate classes where each student receives individualized instruction and attention.
Hayley Dennison is proud to be the director of Steppin’ Out Dance Studio. Hayley danced competitively at Steppin’ Out and began teaching at the studio in 2009, when she was a sophomore in high school. She has been the director of Steppin’ Out since 2017. Hayley holds a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology (the study of the mechanics of body movements) from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she graduated in the top 10 percent of her class. As an American College of Sports Medicine registered certified kinesiologist, Hayley applies her skills in the studio, helping students with proper strengthening and conditioning and taking a safe and healthy approach when training dancers. As a dancer, Hayley won numerous regional and national titles in competitions, and has helped lead the Steppin’ Out team to five national titles, plus a large number of regional awards as a teacher and choreographer. Hayley’s favorite type of dance is contemporary. While at UCO, in addition to her regular classes, she studied modern dance, jazz, ballet, and contemporary. In addition to Steppin’ Out, Hayley is the director of Bloom, a professional dance company. In their first few years, Bloom performed at the Women’s Conference in Oklahoma City, showcased their talent in a number of video projects, and took part in the Young Choreographers Festival in both Toronto and New York City. At New York, 800 choreographers applied to participate in the festival and only 10 were chosen, including Hayley’s choreography for Bloom. Hayley says that her favorite thing about Steppin’ Out is how the dancers and families truly care for each other. “It’s a family. We support each other. That really showed when our former studio director, Carrie Blakey, got sick. The whole studio came forward and supported her and her family during her illness and eventual passing. We’re not like other studios. I want to know you, I want to know your family, and I want to know how I can support and serve you better.” Her favorite thing about teaching is helping dancers to find their personal artistry, and to help cultivate that. Hayley and her husband, Kenny, live in Tuttle with their two German Shorthair Pointers, Koen and Ezra.
Krislyn Gottman has been with Steppin’ Out Dance Studio since the doors opened in 1994, first as a student, and then as a teacher. She was a part of the national award-winning competitive Steppin’ Out Starz team in high school and began working with the studio after she graduated from Tuttle High School in 2006. Krislyn’s favorite dance style is tap, and she excels at pushing her competitive tap students to new levels, teaching them traditional styles while incorporating new, exciting moves and steps into their routines. She is also trained in pointe, having danced en pointe both in groups and as a soloist, and brings her knowledge of technique, posture, and balance to all her classes. She currently teaches tumbling, pointe, and tap, plus competitive jazz, acro, tap, contemporary, and open jazz. Krislyn is the owner of Fourth St. Theater and the director of the Oklahoma Children’s Acting Guild, and has been teaching musical theater for more than ten years. Her own stage performances include shows with the University of Central Oklahoma, Poteet Theatre, Jewel Box, the Oklahoma Children’s Acting Guild, Stage Door, Chickasha Community Theatre, and Tuttle High School. She studied dance and musical theatre at the University of Central Oklahoma and has performed all across the state, including at the Governor’s Mansion, and completed a number of master class workshops focusing on a variety of dance styles at the New York Dance Center.
Briana Potter began dancing at Steppin’ Out when she was four years old and started teaching at the studio when she was 16. She has now been with the studio, as a student or instructor, for 26 years. Briana danced on the competitive Steppin’ Out Starz team and won several national titles, including her first as a Mini Starz member when she was eight. Briana also was on the state championship cheerleading team at Tuttle High School and was chosen for All-State. After graduation, she went to Oklahoma City University and was on both the cheer and pom squads. While she was there, OCU Pom won three national championships and OCU Cheer won two national championships. She was also named an All-American Dancer for three years by the National Dance Association and was co-caption for the pom squad during her senior year. Briana holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from OCU, and spent almost four years teaching first graders before choosing to stay at home with her then newborn son. In addition to working at Steppin’ Out, she is also the co-coach of the Tuttle High School pom team. Her favorite thing about teaching at Steppin’ Out is watching the students as they grow and learn to dance, and seeing their excitement as they master new concepts and steps. Briana and her husband, Cory, are the parents of three year old Easton, and are expecting a baby in March!
Madison Blakey specializes in acro and pom classes at Steppin’ Out. She is a graduate of Tuttle High School and is now a nursing student at Oklahoma City University and is a member of the OCU stunt team. She has also been a part of the OCU pom team. Madison was a long-time member of the Steppin’ Out competitive teams and won many solo, small group, and large group regional and national awards and titles. Madison also works at Healthy Bod Fitness and Edmond and loves helping others reach their health goals.
Sam Jones, from South Bend, Indiana, trained at Southold Dance Center with Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. In 2008, Sam was offered a full scholarship to The Joffrey Ballet’s first trainee program in Chicago, and while there he performed with the company in works such as Lar Lubovitch’s Othello. Sam then joined Cincinnati Ballet, where he performed with the corps de ballet for five seasons. During that time, he worked with renowned choreographers Val Caniparoli, Amedeo Amodio, Adam Hougland, and Trey McIntyre. He also attended the University of Cincinnati on scholarship, graduating summa cum laude. Sam joined Oklahoma City Ballet in 2017, and has danced with the company in August Bournonville’s La Sylphide, and Robert Mills’ Swan Lake and The Little Mermaid. He was featured in Mills’ The Means to Fly and in Cayetano Soto’s Adam, and has also performed principal roles such as The Cheshire Cat in Septime Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland) and the Cavalier in Mills’ The Nutcracker. He and wife, fellow dancer Courtney Connor Jones, have a young daughter, Gwyneth and a newborn son Felix.
Emily Blakey danced at Steppin’ Out for 16 years. During time time on the competitive team, she has won a number of national titles, including the top title for her solo at nationals. Emily has studied in NYC in a master class on contemporary dance, which is her favorite style. She has also taken part in numerous dance conventions, winning dance scholarships and being selected for elite convention dance teams. Emily is a graduate of Tuttle High School and is currently a student at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. Emily says that she doesn’t like to be sad, so she takes her emotions and pours them into dance. “It’s how I tell stories. Instead of writing or art, I dance. It’s how I express who I am.” She also loves being at Steppin’ Out because she loves being around people and she loves her dance family, so she says it’s always fun to be with them and dance with them. Emily says her favorite thing about teaching ballet to new students how they are like a fresh slate when it comes to dance, and she loves to teach them the basics of ballet and start them on their way in the dance world.
Chrissy Whitten has a passion for fitness and it shows! She’s been teaching fitness since she was 12 years old, and now teaches a variety of fitness classes at Steppin’ Out Dance Studio, including barre, PiYo (a combination of pilates and yoga,) fitness mix, and pilates, for all ages, men and women, boys and girls. Chrissy is certified in barre, group exercise, water aerobics, PiYo, Pilates, strength and conditioning, and personal training. She has taught at the Cushing Youth Center, Stillwater Family YMCA, Thornton YMCA and Downtown YMCA in Tulsa. She also served as fitness director at Stillwater Family YMCA and owned her own fitness business, The Phoenix Experience, in Sand Springs. Chrissy and her husband, Michael, now make their home in Tuttle and have three daughters. Piper and Daphne are both on the competitive team at Steppin’ Out Dance Studio and attend Tuttle Schools. The family’s eldest daughter, Lilian Grace, went to heaven in infancy. The Whittens attend services at Tuttle Christian Church. Chrissy is also a runner and is currently working on a book detailing her experiences during Lilian Grace’s life.
Our student teachers are a vital part of our studio. These students draw upon their years of dance experience to help assist our instructors and help young students to learn and grow as dancers.