Artistic Director & Choreographer - Tasha Patterson Shirley
Under the direction of Tasha Patterson Shirley, dancers have graced the stages of the Treasure Coast for over ten years and some have progressed further to the global stage. Audiences rave about the energy and passion of the shows created and performed by the Wings to Fly Dance Company. Their shows Quest (2010, 2011), Time (2012), Life (2013) and Journey (2016) were emotional and memorable masterpieces that staged the incredible talents of local and professional performers.
Before moving to Florida, Tasha lived in Japan and performed with Madonna, Christopher Cross, Dianna Ross, Earth Wind and Fire, and Cyril Takayama. Choreography work includes Guys and Dolls, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Cats, Geki Dan Shiki, and for many contemporary dance companies here and abroad. Music videos include Namie Amuro, Southern Allstars, and Salt N Pepa. She created events and shows for Budweiser, Coca Cola, Toyota, MAC Makeup, Prada, Sony, Virgin Cinemas and various cabaret shows. Commercials include Glico, Sony, Pizza Hut, Swatch, and Suzuki.
Tasha’s passion to help create a peaceful and compassionate world permeates all that she does. Living in India, Nepal and Japan she learned techniques from Masters (Zen, Buddhist and Vedic meditation, yoga and healing modalities) and her own mastery has been an influential force in her choreography and themes of WTFDC shows. Tasha is the Executive Director of our integrated dance company and teaches yoga to groups and private clients. With 27 years of choreography experience, Tasha Shirley now works with her family to create an exciting and diverse repertoire, engaging in unique collaborations with a wide variety of talents.
Assistant Director, Choreographer, Dancer - Tara Marie Anstensen
Assistant Choreographer & DancerAmanda Irwin
This is Mikayla's sixth year with Wings to Fly, having previously preformed in WTF’s shows Life and Journey. Her dance training began at age 16 with South Florida Dance Company. She has a degree in Fine Arts for Dance from Indian River State College and is currently working as a certified dental assistant in Port St. Lucie. The experience of dancing alongside the wheelchair bound dancers has shaped Mikayla’s perspective of not just her own dancing, but her overall outlook on life and people. “Working with Casey, Sabrina, Alex, and everyone else in HOPE changes how you look at yourself and the people around you. You start to realize how unimportant it is to be able to kick your leg as high or do as many turns as your fellow dancers, and you learn to appreciate the privilege to just move and express through dance. Wings To Fly has given me the opportunity to work with individuals that I would have never otherwise known, but who have made such a powerful positive impact on my day to day life, and for that I am eternally grateful”.
For Seventeen years Thomas has been coaching gymnastics, cheer and dance and presently is the owner/director of Aerial Elite in Stuart. He is nationally certified by USAAF in stunting and tumbling and has worked with Mia Michaels, Vanilla Ice, and NiShay Fisher. As a performer and a guest choreographer in WTFDC’s past five shows his passion and love of dance inspires all, with and without disabilities. Tom is fully committed heart and soul to the mission of Wings to Fly. If he is not lighting up the stage, he is backstage helping with wheelchairs, spreading positivity and joy always. Tom is now a proud father of two. This year Tom has created a special works created just for Hope. His children and students will be joining him on stage in a piece about offering loving guidance in a lyrical Hip Hop routine.
Mary Weeks has received her training from South Florida Dance Company over the years as well has attended workshops at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts. Also, she has taken part of many performances with SFDC, community shows, and performances with Wings To Fly Dance Company. Mary is currently working in the community of Stuart as a Licensed Esthetician at Skin Serenity in Stuart, and enjoys her time and energy with Wings To Fly.- "Being a part of Wings To Fly Dance Company is a blessing and an honor. I love the energy and connection we have with each other, and the ability to release and breathe through the movement of dance."
Dance holds a special place in my heart, from the moment I started dancing until now. When I dance I feel like I can suddenly breathe, I feel as if I’m invincible, reborn. Dance is my life and has indeed changed my life in numerous ways. One thing I have learned as a dancer is perseverance. When you fall or make a mistake, courage is needed for you to get back up and try again. Dance to me means ‘freedom’, freedom to move and express yourself in ways you didn’t think was possible. Working with Wings to Fly Dance Company has taught me the true meaning of freedom. Freedom is the condition of being free from restraints. Dancing with people in wheelchairs has brought the statement of ‘anyone can dance’ to life for me. They have taught me to slow down, and take the time to just look around and take in this beautiful world and all of the simple joys we are blessed to encounter every day. Seeing a smile on their faces every chance they get to dance makes me as a person even more grateful for dance myself. Working with Wings to Fly has changed me for the better.
Dancer & Guest Choreographer
Samara began studying dance at The Dance Academy of Stuart at the age of three. She continued her dance education at Florida Arts & Dance Company, and later became a member of Wings To Fly Dance Company under the instruction of Tasha Patterson. She has performed in local productions as well as with The Rock School of Ballet in Pennsylvania, and The Joffrey South in Georgia, and Broadway Dance Center in NYC.
In 2013 Samara was accepted to The Joffrey Ballet School in NYC where she studied, choreographed, and performed under the instruction of artistic director Michael Blake until 2015. Here she studied with principal dancers, teachers and choreographers stemming from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Alvin Ailey, as well as master classes from award winning choreographers such as Sonya Tayeh and Ellenore Scott at Broadway Dance Center.
She currently dances and choreographs with Wings To Fly Dance Company and teaches contemporary, ballet, and jazz at Florida Arts & Dance Company.
“I am forever grateful for all that Wings To Fly Dance Company has taught me, and the impact it’s made on my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating a space to become and to be an artist.”