Established in 2009 by classically trained dancer Becca Swisher, Tippy Toe Dance Studio is dedicated to the fundamentals of ballet. TTDS also embrces the future of dance with yearly original works and progressive projects in dance throughout the year.
Tippy Toe Dance Studio specializes in performance, individuality, confidence through movement, ballet vocabulary and choreography. Check out our staff bios below!
Want more information on our curriculum? Check out the classes we offer here!
Rebecca Swisher, Owner & Artistic Director
Becca Swisher is a classically trained dancer and owner of Tippy Toe Dance Studio. She has trained and performed in styles of dance including ballet, modern, hip-hop and International folk. Becca has worked locally as a choreographer for organizations such as Pentacle Theater, Corban University, Oregon School for the Deaf, Howard Street Charter School and Blanchet Catholic School. She enjoys her time teaching dance and raising her daughter Rylee.
Nicole Tea-Pelley, Studio Manager
Nicole Tea-Pelley has been dancing at TTDS for 8 years, but has been performing on stage for over a decade. She directed and choreographed Ophelia in early 2017, and is credited as an assistant choreographer in many of TTDS's recent productions. In addition to her work with Tippy Toe, she has worked in the community at Blanchet Catholic School, Corban University, and S.K.I.T Theater choreographing and teaching dance and musical theatre for the last few years.
Willow Shamain, Ballet Instructor
Willow Shamain has been dancing for seventeen years. She started at a local studio in Salem and transitioned to Tippy Toe Dance Studio when she was 13. She's trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and contemporary. Have participated and competed in Tremaine Dance Convention. She performed with our studio at TedXSalem earlier this year. Willow loves seeing her students grow and achieve something great within dance. She is inspired by her students because she can always learn something new from them.
James Strubel, Instructor
James Strubel has been dancing for just 4 years and assisting with classes for 2. He has trained with the Portland Ballet, and competed with our competition team (as well as assisting with the Junior team). He dances with our principal group and performed with us at TedXSalem this year. He has helped Tippy Toe with many of our community-based events, including leading One Billion Rising in the winter. James feels that this connection with the community really inspires his dancing, teaching, and choreography when we gets to meet and interact with these diverse groups of people.
Jette Rainwater, Contemporary Instructor
Jette Rainwater started ballet when she was three years old, and in the 16 years since, she has studied Jazz, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Tap at local studios. At TTDS she is a principal dancer and our Contemporary teacher! During the day Jette is at Chemeketa Community College working on a degree in nursing. Jette loves teaching at Tippy Toe because of the family atmosphere and the changes she makes in a dancer's lives.
John Schmiedl, Hip-Hop Instructor
John has been dancing for five years, beginning with Hip Hop before learning ballet this past year. He danced with XQuizit Dance Crew at St. Louis University, the last year of which he was president of the team. With XQuizit, he compted at Prelude Midwest Urban Dance Competition and hosted his own dance showcase. When it comes to teaching dance, he enjoys seeing the focus people have when they connect with his choreography. He finds it personally validating when his own style of dance can be a conduit for someone else in understanding their own movement. He does have a coined nickname, and you may hear us at the studio calling him "Johnny B"!
Sabie Phan, Breakdance Instructor
Our breakdance instructor Sabie Phan has been dancing for 11 years, and teaching in this style for 6 years. He began teaching in schools with grades K-12 and moved on to teaching in local studios. He danced for a local breakdancing street crew “Salem Cypher” for years, but as his skills began to build, he felt he needed to share his talents with everyone. His passion grew as he watched people younger and older than himself grow as he taught them. He wants the next generation to be able to carry on breakdancing for many years to come, and inspire others to take up teaching as well.