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Meet The Staff of South Carolina Dance Company of Lexington, SC

The staff members at SCDC value every student and family. SCDC is committed to treating students and families with the highest level of professionalism, respect, and courtesy.

The staff members of SCDC encourage you to let us know at anytime if we are not meeting your expectations or providing you with the level of services you desire. SCDC instructors and staff members have Christian beliefs and support comes from the staff through prayer and ministry by guiding students (young and old). We believe that if we train our children in the way they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it.

Our goal is to provide each dancer the opportunity to grow and learn in all disciplines of the performing arts while providing a safe, happy, and nurturing environment with Christian staff members. Our goal is for South Carolina Dance Company to be the BEST DANCE STUDIO IN THE MIDLANDS!

Danyele Gardner – Owner and Artistic Director of South Carolina Dance Company

Danyele Gardner currently serves as owner, director, instructor, and choreographer of the South Carolina Dance Company. She has directed, judged and produced many spring concerts, pageant productions, theater/church performance, regional and nationals dance competitions, and numerous special events. Some of Danyele’s students have been invited to attend Governor’s school of the arts, New York Programs such as Kids Artistic Revue, JUMP, and the Rockettes as well as other intensive training sessions. Her training began as a young student at Calvert Brodie Studios when she was the age of 3. Her repertoire includes Peter Pan, Grease, Crazy for You, Wizard of Oz, Road to Victory, The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, etc. Danyele’s passion is for the parents, students, and staff to be a part of the best dance education and facility in SC. She continues to train, mentor, and afford students the opportunity to develop their dance career. Along with Ashley Howell, Danyele was awarded Teacher of the Year Awards in 2012, 2013, and 2015 and Choreographer of the Year 2013, Top Primary Studio 2013, and Elite National Grand Champions 2013 at Kids Artistic Revue Nationals. Recently SCDC was awarded 2 Best of the Best Awards and National Top First Call Studio in Charleston, SC at Applause Nationals Finals. Danyele attended the Dance Teacher Summit last summer in NYC to further her dance education and enjoys traveling across the country judging dance competitions. She is elated to CELEBRATE her 12th year at South Carolina Dance Company. Danyele currently resides in Lexington, SC with her husband Jonathan, and her two boys Jon David, 10, and Jonah, 5.

The Staff of South Carolina Dance Company 2015

Ashley Howell – Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, and Company Co-Directer

Ashley Howell

Ashley Howell

Ashley is currently in her 6th season here at South Carolina Dance Company. She began her dance training at the age of 3 at ShaMar Dance Studios. At the age of 10, Ashley was accepted into Columbia City Ballet II an began training under William Starrett and Maricalre Miranda at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. At the age of 15, she was asked to join the Columbia City Ballet and performed many soloist roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Hootie & The Blowfish, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Off the Wall & Onto the Stage Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green. In addition to her ballet studies, Ashley begin training at South Carolina Performing Arts Center for jazz and tap and became a Senior member of Company One, winning top overall awards for solos and groups. Over the years, Ashley has trained with world-renowned choreographers such as Jason Parsons, Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Travis Wall, Chris Dupre, Stephen “Twitch” Boss, Allison Holker, Cynthia Harvey, and David Howard. Now retired from her dance career, Ashley enjoys sharing her love for the art with her students. Her choreography has been recognized at the regional and national level. Along with Danyele Gardner, Ashley was awarded Teacher of the Year Awards in 2012 and 2013, and Choreographer of the Year 2013, Top Primary Studio 2013, and Elite National Grand Champions 2013 at Kids Artistic Revue Nationals. Recently SCDC was awarded 2 Best of the Best Awards and National Top First Call Studio in Charleston, SC at Applause Nationals Finals. Ashley recently attended the Dance Teacher Summit last summer in NYC to further her dance education and enjoys traveling across the country judging dance competitions.

Claire Rose Norris – Daily Operations, Preschool, Lyrical

Claire Rose Norris

Claire Rose Norris

Claire entered the world of dance as an eager, energetic 5-year-old student at the well-respected Crosby’s School of Dance in Aiken, SC. By age 11, Claire was invited to join the Aiken Civic Ballet Company as an apprentice (ACBC) where three years later she earned a position as a full member of the ACBC, under the direction of Carl Crosby. A committed dance student, Claire developed skills in tap, ballet, Pointe, jazz, hip hop, and musical theater. As Claire developed her dance skills, she was invited to perform as a guest dancer with the Augusta Civic Ballet in several productions of the classic, The Nutcracker. Claire continued her dance study throughout work on her bachelor’s degree at Winthrop University where she graduated with a degree in Mass Communications in 2001. Following graduation, Claire spent a year working at Walt Disney World in Orlando where she learned the Disney way of using aspects of performance as life skills as well as the value of excellent interpersonal customer service skills. She enjoys working in the theater world as well both acting and choreographing. She won the award for “Outstanding Choreography” for her work on the Aiken Community Playhouse’s production of “Grease”. Aside from dancing, Claire’s greatest joy is spending time with her husband, Clay, and their beautiful toddler daughter, Macie.

Amanda Breedlove – Ballet

Amanda Breedlove

Amanda Breedlove

Born and raised in Columbia, SC and a graduate of Spring Valley High School, Amanda began studying Ballet at the age of four with the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. She has trained under Mariclare Miranda, William Starrett, Serge Lavioe, Kerrie-Anne Dunn Sparks, Ashley Howell and Kimberly Langley. She danced on stage with the Columbia City Ballet beginning at the age of five, became a member of CCBII, the junior company, at the age of seven and continued until she became a full company member at age 17. While with Columbia City Ballet she has performed in numerous Ballet productions since 1997 totaling over 60 rolls. Amanda began competing with Columbia Conservatory Dance Company when she was 12, first in Ballet then in Jazz, Lyrical, Contempo- rary and Musical Theatre winning numerous solo and group awards. Amanda has attended summer programs at the Boston Ballet and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre where she had the privilege of taking classes with Li-Chou Cheng, David Howard, Gelsey Kirkland, Dennis Marshall, Laura Young among many others. Amanda recently attended the Dance Teacher Summit in New York City to further her teaching education. Amanda plans to attend the University of South Carolina in the future majoring exercise science and physical therapy.

Lauren Strickland – Ballet, Jazz

Lauren Strickland has been a dancer her entire life. She started out at age 5 at Linda Watkins’ School of Dance in Southwest Virginia, where she danced as a lion to music from The Lion King in her first recital. Lauren danced with Mrs. Watkins until she graduated from Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke, VA where she was on the dance team and also trained in ballet, tap, and jazz and competed regionally for Linda Watkins. From there she went on to study English at Virginia Tech, where she was a choreographer and the Event Planner for Fusion Dance Team at VT. Lauren graduated in the spring of 2012 from Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in English and proceeded to work full time in Roanoke. She also taught ballet, tap, and jazz and coached the competition team for LWSD for two years, until moving to Lexington, South Carolina last summer. She has choreographed many jazz, contemporary, and lyrical pieces that have been performed and competed by LWSD dancers – many receiving High Gold and Platinum awards, as well as placing in the Top 5 at regional and national level competitions. Lauren is incredibly excited to begin her second year teaching at SCDC!

LeighAnne Davis – Jazz, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical

Leigh Anne Davis was born and raised in Columbia, SC. She started dancing at the early age of 2 1⁄2. During Leigh Anne’s competition days she traveled from New York to Las Vegas to Los Angeles competing and training at some of the best conventions and competitions. She was honored to receive numerous scholarships and awards from LA Dance Magic, NYCDA, JUMP and the title of Regional Teen Miss Starpower. Leigh Anne graduated high school a year early in ’05 as valedictorian and later attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angels California where she majored in Fashion Design. Leigh Anne had the opportunity to choreograph many pieces over the years that went on to receive numerous awards such as: Judges Choice, Entertainment, and Best Choreography. Her dancers that she has trained have won many national overalls and national titles. Leigh Anne also enjoys working with many pageant girls who dance as their talent. One of her former students won the title of “Miss Teen South Carolina” and even went on to win “Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2013.” She is still designing and sewing hundreds of dance costumes, pageant dresses, theme wear and active wear that have also won their fare share of awards. She specializes in jazz, technique, lyrical, acro, tumbling, contemporary, performance, jazz funk and hip-hop. She is very excited to be back in Columbia teaching and going back to college to get her Bachelor of Fine Arts and minor in Fashion Merchandising. Leigh Anne is so thankful to be a part of South Carolina Dance Company!

Lauren Walters – Clogging, Tap

Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters has danced for eleven years and danced competitively for nine years. She has been a member of the South Carolina Dance Company for 6 years where she has studied under Danyele Gardner and Ashley Howell. She has studied ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and clogging. She has had the opportunity to study under many dancers and choreographers such as Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Allison Holker, Cyrus Spencer, Bobby Newberry, Kim Mcswain, Mike Curtis, and many others. She has been part of many overall award winning dances at SCDC including Star Show case dances and places in the top five at Nationals. In 2010 she was invited to attend a workshop in New York where she studied under Broadway instructors. Lauren is currently a Senior at White Knoll High School and plans to go to medical school in the future.

Emma Buchman – Jazz, Ballet, Tap

Emma Buchman

Emma Buchman

Emma Buchman began her dance training at the age of 3 and has been dancing for 10 years. She has been company member of the South Carolina Dance Company and trained under Danyele Gardner and Ashley Howell for 7 years. She has studied ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, tumbling/acro, contemporary, lyrical and hip hop. During her six years competing, she has earned many top overall placements along with her teammates and has been invited to compete in the Star Showcase at Kids Artistic Revue Nationals and Best of the Best at Applause Nationals against some of the best talent in the nation. Emma is a Senior at Lexington High School and will graduate in 2016. Emma is very excited to be a staff member this season and looks forward to sharing her passion for dance with our young students.

The Student Teaching Assistants for South Carolina Dance Company 2015

Philip Taylor

Jenna feaster

Molly Matthews

Rebekah Cheatham

Kaiya Cook

Isabella Cook

Sabrina Conyers

Maddie Derrick

Rylie Miller

Natalie Rooks

Katelyn Parvesse

Emma Webb

Jade Polson

Jon David Gardner

Molly Mathews

Molly Mathews

SCDC Office Staff

Claire Norris

Ashley Arnold

Debbie Buchman

Michelle Cheatham

Amber Clarkson

Lara Mathews

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