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. Her passion is watching young dancers grow and she is thankful to be a part of the wonderful experience of teaching them at The Dance Arts Studio!
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.
Holland Fava, a native of Charleston, started formal dance lessons at the age of three with Charleston Ballet Theatre. Her introduction to the stage was the role of a baby mouse in The Nutcracker. Other professional performances followed as her love of ballet grew. In 2014 she started attending Charleston Dance Institute, majoring in all areas of dance including Ballet, Pointe, Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary and Modern. Dancing lead roles in their Broadway and Youth Ballet Companies as well as having roles in performances with their professional company, Ballet Evolution, her love and passion for dance continued to grow as did her serious pursuit of the art. CDI gave her the honor of choreographing her first public performances in 2016 and 2017. She competed in Youth America Grand Prix in 2012 and 2013. Believing in the importance of giving back to her beloved Charleston, she volunteered with The Purple Tutu, a not for profit organization that teaches ballet to children with Down Syndrome, and served as the president 2016 - 2017. Holland started attending Bishop England High School in her eleventh grade year where she branched out into yet another genre and earned a place as a member of their Pom Squad, a cheer and dance team. She spent the summer of 2015 with the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. Currently she is a student at The College of Charleston and a third year member of the Cougarettes Dance Team. She divides her time between her family home in Mount Pleasant, and her downtown apartment she shares with her one year old female Pomsky, affectionately named Willy. Holland is grateful for the opportunity to share the artistry and beauty of dance with others during her second year at The Dance Arts Studio.
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 is a recent Graduate of the College of Charleston, 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 has been a substitute teacher at TDAS for the past year and she is so excited to share her passion for dance and choreography 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!
Lauren Plummer comes to us from Georgia. She got into the dancing game pretty late, taking her first ballet class at age 13. Once she entered high school, Ballet took a back seat as she got involved in Musical Theater. She had a few premiere dance roles in musicals like “Grease” and “The Music Man!” After two years of musicals she returned to Ballet and joined the Pre-Professional Training program with the Atlanta Academy of Ballet & Dance where she stayed for two years. Lauren danced roles in “Cinderella”, “Coppelia”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “A Christmas Carol” & “Beauty and the Beast”. While dancing with AABD she spent her summers at the Atlanta Ballet Summer Program in 2016 and Orlando Ballet Summer Program in 2017. After dancing in the Orlando Ballet Summer Program for six weeks, Lauren was offered a year round position with the Orlando Ballet School. Due to a major hip injury which required surgery, she was unable to attend and participate in that program. Fast forward two more years and she’s finally dancing again and sharing her talents with the students at The Dance Arts Studio. Lauren is excited to be an assistant teacher on Monday nights with Mrs. Melanie and she can’t wait to get to know all of your sweet dancers!
Rachel Cramer is a sophomore 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 dance at The Dance Arts Studio in Mt. Pleasant!
Get in touch to learn more!