Gina Kennedy- Artistic Director/Owner

Gina Kennedy began her dance training in ballet, tap and jazz at the former Take Five Dance Studio in Peoria, IL. She has also attended various master classes and conventions where she took classes from Gus Giordano, Joel Hall, Dan Karity, Chris Judd and Barry Youngblood to name a few. She has taught dance throughout Central Illinois for over 20 years. She is currently the owner and artistic director for Water Street Dance Company in Washington where she teaches tap, jazz, hip-hop and competitive dance. Gina has won several choreography awards for her works in competitive dance from Showbiz National Talent Competition, Starquest Dance Competition and Dancers Competition and Applause Talent. Her choreography has been performed multiple times at the Chicago Bulls half-time show and Walt Disney World. Gina’s competitive dance group has taken top over-all awards regionally and also nationally at Star Systems Talent Competition, Rainbow Dance Competition and Midwest Starz Dance Competition. Several of her students have gone on to dance at collegiate and professional levels. In 2003, she was awarded the YWCA Tazewell County’s Outstanding Arts Award for demonstrating achievement and leadership in the arts through her involvement in dance.


Devery McCoy

Devery Christ McCoy grew up dancing from the age of three. After graduating fom Metamora Township High School, she looked for a university to develop her passion – the fine arts and in particular, dance. Devery graduated from Point Park Unversity in Pittsburg, PA with high honors and returned to Central Illionis to share her talents with young people. Since then Devery has been busy as an adjunct teacher at ICC and a coach for the MTHS Varsity and JV dance teams. She also choreographs for MTHS musicals and other dance teams in Cental Illinois. In addition, Devery serves as the guest teaching artist for the Chicago Opera Theater where she choreographs and teaches for inner-city Chicago public schools. Devery and husband, Ryan are poud parents of three daughters, Kameryn, Bronwyn and Aubrey and son, Hawkins, who reside in Metamora.



Samantha Riber

WSD13_1092Samantha Riber was born in Peoria, Illinois and began dance training at the age of 7 in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Acrobatics and Modern. She graduated from Metamora Township High School and then continued her dance passion at the University of Iowa where she recently received her B.A. in Dance and minor in Italian. At the University of Iowa she performed and choreographed many pieces and was a member of the dance department’s touring company, Dancers In Company. She has taken classes from artists such as Julie Bour, David Dorfman, Maria Gillespie, Nina Watt, Alan Sener, Jennifer Kayle, and Joanna Rosenthal. She has attended and performed at the American College Dance Festival and the Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary Dance Intensive in New York City.



Sarah Cowan

WSD13_1043 Sarah began dancing at the age of 3 with Diane’s Dance World in Pekin, IL. Loving tap, jazz, ballet and tumbling, she began competitive dance at the age of 9 with the Rising Stars. It was a children’s dance group that was affiliated with the Peoria Riverkids. She continued competitive dance with Gina Kennedy until the age of 19. Throughout high school she assisted classes with Gina, then eventually became an instructor for Just Dance home of Water Street Dance Co. She also trained in tumbling with Jon Williams and Linda Laaker to be a well rounded cheerleader for high school competitions.
She also taught and choreographed dance at the Pekin Park District, United Starz Academy/Cheertime, USA, Eastside Center Dance, and Tumbling & Cheer. She was the High School dance team coach for Limestone for 2yrs, attended ISU Dance Camp and was a member of Black Pearls, the dancers for the Peoria Pirates Indoor Football league.
Sarah attended Illinois Central College and received her Associates in Arts and Science and majored in interior design. She lives in Peoria and is married to Cory Cowan with 2 sons, Jax and Knox.

Barbie Tiesman

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 1.42.06 PMBarbie comes to WSDC from Northern Illinois, where she acquired a B.S. in Education with a double major in Dance and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University. She spent time learning dance production, performance, education, and history. She also traveled with NIU traveling dance company. She studied Classical Ballet, Modern, Tap, Lyrical, Pilates, and Jazz, choreography, Exercise Physiology, Anatomy, personal training, and group fitness and earned a Physical Education K-12 teaching certificate.

Since then, Barbie has taught Physical Education in the East Peoria Schools, choreographed several children’s musicals, taught dance and swim lessons for area park districts and has over 20 years experience Personal Training and teaching Group Fitness Classes. Barbie has also been employed by the creators of R.I.P.P.E.D. and SilverSneakers as a Master Trainer, where she traveled, taught Master Classes, evaluated, and certified others to teach.

Along with her degree and experience, Barbie holds multiple Fitness certifications. AFAA Group Exercise, AFAA Personal Training, CPR, USA Olympic Powerlifting, Yoga Fit Level 3, PILOXING, R.I.P.P.E.D., Mat Pilates, Turbo Kick, Group BLAST, Group Power, and most currently, Poundfit, to name a few.

Barbie currently also works at EastSide Centre in East Peoria where she manages Group Fitness, teaches, and trains. She lives in Washington with her husband, Darrell, and 2 of their 3 children, Adam and Kara, who both have a strong love for the Fine Arts as well. Barbie loves dance, music, and fitness.

“Together they are perfect as they ALL need each other for success.”

Amanda Heinold

IMG_6643-001Amanda Heinold (Chilton) began dancing at the age of two and a half with Lori Baker at Carousel of Dance in Morton, where she continued with Tap and Jazz dance lessons until high school. She began competitive dance at the age of 8 with the Rising Starts division of the Peoria River Kids and continued as a competitive dancer with the Peoria River Kids. She then participated with The Company Dance and finally with the Water Street Dance Company until the age of 18.

Amanda has over 10 years of Jazz and Hip-Hop training with Gina Kennedy, several years of ballet training with Michelle Belo and Liz Curtin and several years of Tap Dance with Christian Naven.

After graduating high school she continued to teach dance as the Dee-Mack High School Pom Coach for 3 years, managed the dance program and taught for the YWCA of Kewanee for 9 years and managed the dance program and taught at Eastside Centre for 2 years.

She is now married to Casey Heinold. They have 2 sons, Lucas and Logan!


Abbey Steger

Abbey Steger began dancing with Gina at the ageabbey of 3. She started competing at the age of 5 and competed all the way through her senior year of high school. She also danced for Pekin Community High School all 4 years and was captain junior and senior year. The dance team won 2nd place at State her junior year. After high school, she danced for the University of Wisconsin-Madison dance team for 4 years. The team placed top 10 in the nation at Nationals each year. Abbey has been teaching and choreographing for Just Dance since high school. She has decided to move back home to Pekin and will start working for Just Dance again this fall! We are so excited to have Abbey back and teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays!



Kenzie Johnson

Kenzie JohnsonKenzie is a 2015 graduate from the University of Iowa and is currently completing post-graduate work to become a speech-language pathologist. She began her dance career with Gina Kennedy at the age of 7 and continued dancing through high school. Kenzie is currently living in the Central Illinois area and is thrilled to be back teaching at her home studio!



Summer Tharp

dance bioSummer came to WSDC during her high school years and then joined our competition team. She was accepted into Columbia College Chicago’s dance program, where she is currently working on her Bachelor’s in Dance. During her studies, she hopes to be a part of a contemporary/modern company, which is her favorite style of dance. In the future, she plans to go on to do the Master’s in Dance/Movement Therapy.