Evan Wellemeyer – Owner
Evan began dancing at the age of 15, taking Ballroom and Latin classes regularly until age 20 when he was hired as an instructor. He then began competing professionally and won numerous regional titles as well as being a finalist in larger national competitions. Evan has coached with top professionals throughout his career in dance including Max Chmerkovski, Diana McDonald, Toni Dovolani, Taliat Tarsanov and many more from New York and across the country. He has pushed himself, and practiced hard to become the dancer he is today. Because of this Evan continually produces top competitors and confident social dancers. Evan joined the Fred Astaire team in the spring of 2007 and started breaking records immediately. As a teacher Evan consistently performed as a top teacher in the New England region, as a studio owner he has continually lead his team to be the best in the company. “I focus on creating a very high standard for the quality of dancing with the professionals in the studio. We are very proud of the quality of dance that our studio puts out. When you compete against yourself, you’re always winning!” says Evan.
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 at the age of 5. 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 she was a teen she was involved in a national winning, competitive cheerleading team and began ballroom dancing at the age of 10. As a dance professional she focused mainly on the American Rhythm Style, becoming a finalist in many national competitions. Sandra has trained under Toni Dovolani, Fabian Sanchez, and Sergei Shapoval. Sandra says, “I love helping my students get to have fun dancing. Whether it’s socially, or competitively. Either way, it’s a magic moment.” Sandra enjoys working at Fred Astaire because, “It’s not just a community, it’s a family. You have friends all over the country that you can reach out to and they’re always willing to help.”
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?
Anya Drake – Instructor
Anya is an exceptional part of the Memphis TN team. As a Memphis native, Anya began dancing ballet and tap at the age of 3. At 10, she began to include jazz, contemporary and hip hop and started competing as well. She stared dancing at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Memphis as a student at the age of 16 and has been dancing here ever since. Hired as an instructor in the summer of 2018, Anya has completed her teaching certifications and brings a diverse understanding of dance to the team. When asked some of her favorite things about dance Anya says, “I love watching my students get excited about learning a valuable and enriching new skill. I enjoy getting out of my head and being able to move my body to music.”
Varvara Zhigulskaya – Instructor
Varvara comes to Fred Astaire Memphis all the way from Moscow Russia! She began dancing at the age of 7 in Russia and then later traveled to Latvia to compete in the under 21 International Standard program. She competed in, and became a finalist in many International competitions and world championships in different countries across Europe. Varvara has trained under Sergei & Olga Konovaltseva, Vaidotas Lacitis, Veronika Golldneva, Ivan Novikov, Elena Provatorova and Juozas Aleksandvauicius. What Varavara loves most about teaching is watching people improve themselves. Seeing them become more confident, excited about life and happy when they dance. Varvara is always striving to improve herself, and enjoys the feeling of excitement and happiness when she is on the dance floor. When asked what she likes best about Fred Astaire Varavara says, “It’s like a big family where you’re always welcomed. You can enjoy what you do and see a future. It’s a great kind of community to be a part of.”
Danila Dudin – Instructor
Born and raised in Moscow Russia, Danila has been dancing for over 14 years. He has lived in Russia, Germany, and Poland where he has competed in many competitions in the international standard program. Beginning at ge 7 Danila has trained under Andrea Ghigiarelli, Szymon Kalinowski, Ivan Novikov, Elena Provatorova and Roman Goncharov. Danila was drawn to dancing initially for the happiness it brought to his life as a child. He has since found that it disciplines him to stay focused and achieve his goals while having the opportunity to be taught by talented and caring coaches. Danila says his favorite part of working for Fred Astaire Dance Studios is “Working in a kind and friendly atmosphere and with creative and interesting people.”