Patty Gray embarked on her dance career at the tender age of three. Following many years of disciplined training, Patty studied and danced at Dance Educators of America for four years and danced professionally in both New York City and Chicago. Patty has danced her way through countless seminars, courses, auditions and performances.
For over thirty years, Patty has bridled kid's energy from age two to eighteen and beyond into the art of beautiful, inspiring and just plain fun dance. Patty loves and stands strong with her pupils as is evident from her students returning year after year, and show after show. Whether an elegant relevé, a spirited pirouette or a funky jump, her students learn it with poise and precision (and the occasional giggle.) Patty was Ottawa High School’s Swing Choir’s choreographer for fifteen years as well as for many Pirates Invade the Ballroom Booster Club dancers and the Ottawa and Marquette High Playmakers. She mentors oodles of dancers from the Fine Arts Festival, pompom teams, cheerleading squads and dance competitions.
Patty is no stranger to community. It’s her passion, it’s her mission. Her school has performed for over thirty years in the Easter Seals telethons and she single handedly raised over $8,000 in her own dedicated show for the cause. She produced Miss Ottawa Pageants and Cerebral Palsy Telethons. She has even pulled out her “Simon” as a judge for the local “Dancing with the Stars” competition.
Patty is without question the quintessential student, teacher, mentor and volunteer.
Lisa Lemke - Grew up in Ottawa Il, has been dancing with Patty Gray since the age of three. She has a masters in dance education from Dance Educators of America. She was a choreographer for the Shepard poms squad and choreographed pieces for Marquette Poms. Lisa has judged numerous pom and cheer try outs through out LaSalle Co. She has choreographed many high school plays and musicals, organized pom camps through Ottawa city recreation. Lisa enjoys working with a The Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra every other year choreographing for The Nutcracker Ballet. Her passion is teaching ballet, point and tumbling. She is married to her husband Adam, she has a step daughter Payton 11 and a son Kaiden 15 months.
Ms. Nangle is a graduate of Lincoln Christian University with a B.S. in Early Childhood. She has taught since the age of 15 and has worked with the Girl Scouts, high school dance teams and many local theatre productions, Vermillion Players Theater Group, and is currently on staff for the Central Illinois Dance Fest. Becky also teaches in Pontiac, Streator, and Bloomington, and is co-director of the Dancenter Performance Company.
Jason Williams began dancing at Gray's School of Dance in 1999. He got his start in tap, but soon explored the other styles of dance offered at the studio. Once in high school, Jason became increasingly involved in the arts, participating in Band, Jazz Band, Choir, Jazz Choir, and performing in high school theatre productions. Jason kept dancing at Gray's until he graduated from Ottawa High School in 2004.
Though he was often away, Jason always dropped in for some brush up classes and recital performances. Since graduating high school, he has earned his Associates Degree from Illinois Valley Community College, and currently is completing the Elementary Education Program at Northern Illinois University where he will graduate with a B.S. Ed. and six endorsements.
Jason has performed at community theatres in Streator, Mendota, DeKalb, and Rockford. He was an entertainer at Walt Disney World from 2007 - 2011 performing in all four parks. He was given the opportunity to dance five roles in NIU's The Nutcracker in 2010. In the Summer of 2011 he also taught tap classes at Motion Evolution through Gymnastics Academy of Rockford.
Grace Lethiot is a familiar face at Gray's School of Dance, having begun lessons here at the age of 3. By 15, she was working for Patty as a class assistant, and as a commuting college student, was given the opportunity to teach several classes of her own. While attending Illinois State University, Grace was part of Illinois State Dance Theatre and several other theatrical productions. In 2007, she spent six months as an intern for Walt Disney World Entertainment, for which she is still a seasonal performer.
In May of 2010 Grace graduated from ISU and now holds a B.A. In Theatre Studies, with a focus in Creative Drama. After graduation, she traveled to Castiglioncello, Italy to take part in a 6-week dance intensive with ProDanza Italia. Here she was further instructed in Jazz, Hip-Hop, Afro-Cuban, and Modern dance by notable teachers, including Chicago native, Billy Siegenfeld. Grace is a performer and choreographer for the Follies Theatre in Utica, IL and is currently living in Chicago. However, she never strays too far from her family at Gray's, who taught her the importance of poise and confidence in every aspect of her life.
Joely Harden was born and raised in Ottawa, IL. She began dancing at age 4 after attending bring a friend week at a local dance studio. She danced all the way through high school and into her first year of collage at the University of Iowa. Joely then transferred to Illinois State University where she majored in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She taught several ages of tap, jazz, hip hop and ballet while still in college. Joely graduated from Illinois State University in 2006 and returned home to Ottawa. At that time she took a short leave from dance in order to find her way in the work world. In 2009, she found my way back into dance and began teaching jazz classes for Patti. Joely has enjoyed working with the dedicated staff and wonderful families here at Gray’s.
Samantha discovered her love for dance in 1996 as a student at Patty Gray’s. Furthering her love she became a class assistant in sixth grade and then as high school approached, she was offered to teach classes on her own. As a senior at Ottawa high school, Samantha has been involved in the dance squad all four years, where she was captain for two years and choreographed routines. Samantha received the Pin it Forward Award, from the Universal Dance Association for being an outstanding leader and role model. Also, she received the All American Dancer Award, from the Universal Dance Association, which reflected upon all her hard work and dedication.
Although Samantha spends much of her time at dance she finds time to be the Main Editor of the Yearbook and was President of Junior Achievement her senior year.
Outside the community Samantha has been involved with making up routines for The Ottawa City Recreational Pom Camps and the Ottawa Youth Football Cheerleaders.
Upon graduating from High school, Samantha plans to further her education and receive a four-year degree. However, she plans on staying with her Gray School of Dance family for as long as possible.
Sydney Strobel is currently a senior at Ottawa Township High school. She began her dance career at Gray's School of dance at the age of 3.
Her love for dance has grown through out the years. She has performed in numerous recitals, talent, and benefit shows. Sydney has been an Ottawa Pommerette all four years, and was also given the honor of being a captain. Sydney loves to teach her students all about dance.