Staff

Thomas Korpitz – Owner

Tom Korpitz is originally from Chicago, IL.  He began his dancing career in Austin, TX and was the Texas State Novice Champion in 1979.  After teaching for 4 years he began managing the Austin studio in 1982.  He moved to Memphis in 1988 and opened his own Fred Astaire Dance Studio.  Mr. Korpitz operates the studio’s daily affairs.  With the assistance of his highly qualified staff, his Memphis Studio is consistently one of the top Fred Astaire Studios in the United States.  Mr. Korpitz philosophy- “We ask our students what they want and we give it to them.  Make it fun and easy, set goals and achieve them!”  Mr. Korpitz loves his work and proudly advertises his studio as the “happiest, friendliest spot in town!”

Sandra Korpitz – Instructor

Sandra Korpitz hails from Memphis, Tennessee and has been a dancer since she was a child starting out with ballet, tap and jazz.  She has been a ballroom dance instructor for Fred Astaire Dance Studios for over 5 years and is certified in all ballroom dance styles.  When competing, Sandra has focused more on rhythm and is a Regional Smooth & Rhythm Champion as well as a National Runner-Up.  Sandra has won Top Female Guest Getter multiple times in her region, which highlights how her enthusiasm and passion rubs off on her students.  She has trained under Dancing with the Stars’ Tony Dovolani and Fabian Sanchez as well as National 9-Dance Champion, Sergei Shapoval.  Sandra explains why she became a ballroom dancer by saying, “I always knew I wasn’t the type that could sit at a desk all day.  When I was a student, it dawned on me that people get paid to dance all day…I knew this was the job for me!”

Stephanie Korpitz – Instructor

Stephanie Korpitz has been dancing and teaching for FADS for more than 21 years.  She is qualified to train new instructors as well as advanced students.  As a professional competitive dancer, Ms. Korpitz has won numerous regional championships throughout the country in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Tucson, Phoenix, and New Orleans to name just a few.  She holds three National titles to her credit in both the Smooth and Rhythm American styles making her a NINE DANCE CHAMPION.  She is a respected choreographer and coach and has worked in this capacity throughout Texas, Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee.  Ms. Korpitz is an Advanced Student Specialist and her passion for dancing and teaching makes her second to none in the FADS organization.  Stephanie explains what sets her apart as a ballroom dance instructor, “Many of my students over the years have gained confidence to overcome struggles they were going through in their life.  It’s my job to make sure my student has a good experience they can gain from on and off the dance floor…as a dance instructor that is always my #1 goal.”   

Mike McKerlie – Instructor

Mike McKerlie hails from Aberdeen, North Carolina and was invited to come work at the Memphis Fred Astaire Dance Studio by owner, Tom Korpitz.  Mike is a certified ballroom dance instructor with almost 6 years of experience.  He has been a Regional Finalist for Smooth and Rhythm, National Semi-Finalist for Smooth and Rhythm in the West Coast Dance Championships and won multiple Freddy Awards through the FADS organization.  Mike has trained under Dancing with the Stars’ Emmy-Award Winning, Mark Ballas, and Dancing with the Stars’ and Mambo World Champion, Fabian Sanchez, and Tony Dovolani who trained Jennifer Lopez for the hit movie Shall We Dance?

Jody Jonakin – Instructor

Jody Jonakin is a Memphis, Tennessee native and has been a ballroom dance instructor for 5 years.  Beginning his ballroom dance career as a student, he was eventually offered a spot in the studio’s training class to become an instructor.  Jody is certified in all dance styles and has won multiple awards including the Silver Award in American Rhythm.  Jody has trained under some of the best in the business:  Sergio Shapoval, Chantal LeClerc, Jack Davey, Richard Silver, Nicole Carroll, Tommie Travato and Izabella Lewendowski.  When asked what makes him stand out as an instructor, Jody says, “I enjoy working on technique, but most enjoy coming up with different ways to teach it so my students feel good about their dancing.”

Brandon Booth – Instructor

Brandon Booth came to the Memphis studio from Hoover, Alabama over a year ago.  Brandon grew up in the ballroom dance business as his parents owned a Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Little Rock, Arkansas for nearly ten years. Brandon is a certified ballroom dance instructor and regularly wins awards for Top Male Guest Getter and Top Male Specialist in his region out of 35 studios.  He has trained under top ballroom professionals such as National 9-Dance Champion, Sergei Shapoval, and ballroom dance coach/judge, Diane Korpitz.  Brandon explains why he became a ballroom dance instructor, “I grew up around the Fred Astaire atmosphere.  My parents who are now out of the business, always talked about how the best times of their lives were when they worked at Fred Astaire Dance Studios.”

Meredith Corning – Public Relations & Instructor

Meredith Corning is a Little Rock, Arkansas transplant and has been in the dance business for four years.  She was originally trained at the Little Rock Fred Astaire Dance Studio under the tutelage of Mike and Dena Dill who now own Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Tallahassee.  While at the Little Rock studio, Meredith trained under the only instructor in Alabama to have been a United States Dancesport Superbowl Finalist, Sterling Burroughs, and 10-dance champion, Armando Martin.  Meredith grew up taking tap, jazz and ballet then spent approximately two years in performance dance as an adult for various dance troupes across Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. She took a break from dancing to focus her efforts on her second love, marketing and public relations. Meredith now handles the marketing and public relations for the Memphis studio and also serves as a dance instructor.  Meredith explains why she became a ballroom dance instructor, “I always said I would grow up to become a dancer and am happy I have found a home with Fred Astaire Dance Studio Memphis.”