Melanie Keen - Owner, Director, Choreographer, and Instructor
After watching a classical ballet on television, Melanie knew she wanted to become a ballerina. She enrolled in classes at the age of nine at the School of Dance Arts in Florence, S.C. under the direction of Barbara Counts and the late Shirley Jacobs. She joined the Civic Ballet Company at the age of ten. Over the next few years, she danced lead roles in ballets such as “Sleeping Beauty”, “Cakewalk” and “The Nutcracker”. She also performed tap and jazz as a member of the group “Jazzmatazz” and held key roles in “A Chorus Line” and “42nd Street” with the Florence Little Theatre. As a top ten contestant in the Miss South Carolina Pageant, she performed Kitri’s Variation from “Don Quixote”.
Melanie danced lead roles at Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston under the direction of Radenko Pavlovich and the late Thomas Richards, both of the South Carolina Ballet Theater and Barbara Howse-Meadows, renowned choreographer. She studied under former Prima Ballerina Patricia Miller Baker of the Joffrey Ballet, William Starret of the Columbia City Ballet, and the instructors of the Broadway Dance Center in New York City including Frank Hatchett, jazz director. Her personal favorite performance was that of the Sugar Plum Fairy under the direction and choreography of the well known Robert Ivey.
Melanie served as an assistant instructor at age sixteen and started teaching her own classes at seventeen. She taught for over eight years at the School of Dance Arts.
Melanie believes that dance as an art helps to build character, confidence and self discipline. It is also a way to insure physical fitness while having fun! She looks forward to sharing her love and passion for dance with many children in the years to come.
Gillian Gray- Instructor and Choreographer
Gillian Gray is currently in her twelfth year of dance, and first year of dance at the College of Charleston. Her dance career began in 2006 at Ballet Caliente where she was a Yellow Submarine in the original ballet “Letters from Daddy” by Sheryl Marie Dunaway. For the next nine years, Gillian danced at Ballet Caliente and performed in nine original shows with diverse roles from Rockin’ Robin in “The Art of Dancing” to Religious Freedom in “American Heirlooms”. In 2013, Gillian auditioned for, and was accepted to the Dance Theatre of Harlem Master Class Series. In 2014 and 2015, Gillian had the opportunity to dance at St. Mary’s Ryken High School and performed at the high school’s Pep Rally both years as well as their Fall and Spring Fine Arts Festivals. At St. Mary’s Ryken Gillian was provided with the opportunity to explore many different styles of dance in a diverse environment. Gillian performed Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical Contemporary, and Hip Hop. In addition, while at St. Mary’s Ryken, Gillian had the opportunity to teach Art to Heart Dance classes. Art to Heart is a program that brings together disabled adults in the community with the Arts. In 2015, Gillian moved to South Carolina and began dancing in the company at Hilton Head Island Dance School under the directorship of Karena Brock-Carlyle and John Carlyle. There she danced her first Nutcracker, as Snow Corps, Flower Corps, and Torte. Gillian was also cast as Waltz Corps, Vision Corps, and Snow White in Sleeping Beauty. Gillian is excited to have joined The Dance Arts Studio as a Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Hip Hop teacher
1150 Hungryneck Blvd., Suite A
Mt. Pleasant, SC
Lauren Gudger- Instructor and Choreographer
With more than 25 years of dance experience, Lauren is an instructor & choreographer from Atlanta, GA. She grew up training and performing at the competitive level in both dance and musical theatre. Much of her early dance training came from Steps Dance Center in Woodstock, GA and she began teaching classes at the age of 15. She is a graduate of The University of Georgia, with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She was a principal member of the Dancefx Athens Concert Dance Company from 2006-2011, including an award-winning performance at the Italian Grand Prix in 2008. Lauren directed the youth program at Dancefx Athens from 2009-2011, implementing many new companies and programs at the studio. After moving to Charleston in 2011, Lauren began teaching elementary school in CCSD, and taught third grade for 4 years. She has taught and choreographed for local studios Dance Lab, Dancefx Charleston and DanceCarolina. Her choreography has been recognized at several regional competitions. Lauren is currently a Co-Director of the Competition Crew at Dance Lab, as well as a preschool teacher at Hibben Preschool in Mt. Pleasant. This will be Lauren's first season teaching for The Dance Arts Studio, bringing contemporary, jazz & tap expertise to her classes.
More Instructor info coming soon!
The Dance Arts Studio is centrally located at 1150 Hungryneck Blvd, Suite A. The studio offers dance classes in Classical Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, and Contemporary to all ages. Classes are offered weekdays and evenings. We are proud to offer a safe, fun and positive learning environment for dancers. To learn more about The Dance Arts Studio, its dancers and choreographers, please visit our Facebook page by clicking here or our link in the top right corner of the page.