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.
Kevin Nichols- Instructor and Choreographer
Starting ballet and tap at the age of four at The School of Dance Arts in Florence, SC, Kevin never thought of himself as a company dancer. It wasn't until he started taking full ballet classes from Mrs. Betsy Moore that she saw something in him and told him to try out for the South Carolina Dance Theater Ballet Company. After making the cut into SCDT, he danced there for five years studying under Mrs. Susan Rowe and Ms. Elizabeth Collins performing ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and many Classical Concertos as well as annually performing The Nutcracker. After leaving SCDT he continued performing all over SC and studying his ballet, partnering, tap, jazz and hip hop skills under such instructors as Cecilia Sprawls, Cherie Richardson, Mike Minery, Lenora Hickman Harley, Ben Hankinson, Patricia Miller and Elizabeth Collins who still is his personal friend and mentor. Kevin started teaching ballet and tap at the age of fourteen, later moving on to teach jazz and hip hop as well. He has assisted with choreography for many musicals and has performed in Guys and Dolls and Oklahoma. Kevin has also been a musician since starting Kindermusik at the age of 12 months. Since then he has moved on to play Piano, Guitar, Drums and Vocals. Because of his musical background, tap has always been close to his heart. Taking tap intensives for several years he was even offered an audition for Tap Kids in New York, but sadly could not partake. Kevin started taking classes at The Dance Arts Studio in September of 2012 and has been an instructor for The Dance Arts Studio and it's Company since January of 2013. His goal is to help each student become the dancer they want to be through technique and music theory and for it to remain fun along the way.
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.