Meet the Instructors
You’re in Great Hands
Meet our talented team of instructors at The Dance Arts Studio. Focused on teaching exceptional technique and creating unforgettable experiences, our staff is committed to our dancers’ satisfaction and success. Read through our instructors’ bios below, and if you’d like to set up an introductory meeting, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Studio Owner - Director - Instructor - Choreographer
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.
Haley, originally from Denver, Colorado attended a dance birthday party at the age of two and has been hooked on dance ever since. She danced on a competitive team growing up and has performed across the country, including various Disney properties and throughout Europe. Some of her favorite performance memories include Broncos and Nuggets halftimes. Haley has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, and was even on her schools cheer leading team in college. Haley has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Marketing from Metropolitan State University of Denver, CO, and has studied abroad with Bond University in Australia. Haley taught dance for two years at Ovation Academy of Dance in Denver, CO, and believes it is one of best things she has ever done. Although her passion is watching young dancers grow, she is at home watching her own family grow right now. Haley and her husband welcomed their daughter, Cooper, in September of 2019, and Baby Kennett is set to arrive in December 2020! Mrs. Haley remains on staff as a substitute and choreographer for our competition team. We are so thrilled for her growing family and can't wait for her to be back in the classroom at some point in the future!
Rachel Byarlay was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee where she trained in Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. For years Rachel danced competitively and was the captain of both her dance and cheerleading teams in high school. She now attends The College of Charleston where she is double majoring in Dance and Arts Management. Along with her studies she is a member of the DanceFX Holy City Siren performance company. The performing arts have played a huge role in Rachel’s life since a young age, and she is excited to share this passion with all her wonderful students during her second year at The Dance Arts Studio.
Lila Knull is currently studying dance at the College of Charleston, double majoring in elementary education and dance, on track for a concentration in performance and choreography. In high school, Lila was a part of her school’s dance team and competed and performed with the Performance Company at Trinity Performing Arts under the direction of Shawn Horne, receiving top placements and awards both for her dancing and choreography. Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina she started dancing when she was 8 years old, and has trained with many mentors and teachers in the Charlotte area. When she’s not studying at The College, she enjoys teaching and setting choreography at various studios, sharing her love for dance with the next generation. We are thrilled for her to begin her first season on staff at TDAS!
Originally from Jackson, MS, Hannah started dancing when she was 5 years old. In her hometown she danced at Rhonda Whitehead’s School of Dance and Gymnastics and was a member of the Xpress Dance Co. After moving to Mt. Pleasant in 2011, she participated in the Wando High School Dance Program and danced in the Wando Dance Company in 2013-14. Hannah graduated from the College of Charleston in May 2019, where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance with an emphasis on Performance and Choreography. At the College, Hannah was given opportunities to showcase her choreography in performances such as "Chapel Moves!" Overall she has been trained in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop, and Contemporary/Lyrical. Hannah has dreamed of becoming a dance instructor for a long time. She is so excited to share her passion for dance and choreography, in her second year on staff, with the students at The Dance Arts Studio!
Virginia is a Charleston native who first began dancing at the Dance Arts Studio at the age of 5. She danced with us until she was 18, training in Classical Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Lyrical. She performed many roles in our annual “Holiday Spectacular” in which our Company performed excerpts from the “Nutcracker Suite”.The role of Snow Queen was her favorite to perform. Virginia participated in the Miss Wando pageant at Wando High School during her Senior year, and walked away winning Most Talented, with a dance performance she choreographed herself. Since then, she has graduated from Clemson University with a BA in Architecture and is working at a residential firm downtown. Virginia says she is excited to be back home and to be teaching dance at her favorite studio for the second year!
Cheyenne is a Charleston native and former student at TDAS, where she danced as a young girl in Ballet class. A Graduate of Charleston Southern University, she has worn many hats in her early career life. She has been a teacher at TDAS previously before flying out to be a flight attendant with American Airlines. Cheyenne is now a teacher at Crown Leadership Academy at the North Charleston campus where she teaches English and History to middle and high school aged students. She also has danced with the Holy City Sirens at DanceFX in Charleston. Cheyenne has joined our staff again as a teacher and choreographer and we couldn't be happier to have her back in her second season at TDAS!
Rachel Cramer is a junior at the College of Charleston double majoring in English and Theater. She has been dancing since she was three years old and is currently a company member at DanceFX Charleston. She is from Melbourne, Florida and is so happy to be teaching in her second season at The Dance Arts Studio in Mt. Pleasant!
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