Skip to content

Meet the Staff



Miss Emma Mead

I am originally from England and have danced for as long as I can remember! At the age of 11, I attained my first classical ballet scholarship and at 13, I left home to train at one of the most renowned ballet schools in the country- Elmhurst Ballet School in London. I trained for 3 years in traditional ballet as well as many other genres of dance. I studied under some of the most knowledgeable teachers in the world, while at the same time continuing my academic studies. For the next 3 years I furthered my education at a dance college in the North of England, and this is where my passion for teaching dance started to develop. I completed all my vocational exams and teaching qualifications with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD), before venturing off to start teaching around the world! 

My love of teaching has evolved immensely throughout the years; so many different aspects of my career have molded me into the teacher I am today. Mentors, colleagues, teachers, friends, students, family, languages and cultures – everything has played a role. 

Over 15 years ago I met and married my husband while living in Germany. Together we have spent many years travelling the world as he served in the US Air Force. In 2007 we were blessed with amazing twin girls and now we are settling here in beautiful Virginia. 

As I continue to grow and learn from all the wonderful people around me, I also enjoy every moment in the dance studio teaching the dancers of today. I have a passion for teaching: it is in my blood. I have a love for dance: it is in my bones. I am so happy I have the opportunity to do both every day. 

I have always dreamed of having my own dance studio, and now that dream is a reality. 

Please come and join me in my new adventure DANCE WORKS and share my love of dance. 

Core Teaching Staff

Miss Emma and her excellent Dance Works team are always welcoming and friendly.  They are committed to high standards, working hard, and providing you with the best possible dance classes for you or your dancer.  We are proud to not only teach dancers how to dance but, also model the behavior and set an example of being good citizens and help prepare young people for a successful future.  Whether you are new to dance, new to the studio, or pass through our doors multiple times a week, our welcoming environment is just the start.  We are here for you, to help you every step of the way.


Ms. Danielle Merian

Danielle grew up in the Fredericksburg, Va area where she began dancing at the age of 3 years old. She has a background in ballet, tap, modern, pointe, jazz, and hip hop, and competed heavily. As she grew older, her love for dance grew as well, and she branched out into Musical Theater scoring an adult role in the Music Man while she was in the sixth grade. She coached and choreographed for her high school dance team, and joined the Silver Storm dance team at Christopher Newport University. She graduated from CNU with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and also joined the sorority Gamma Phi Beta. Ms. Danielle was welcomed into the Dance Works family a few seasons ago, and has loved absolutely every single memory that has been made with everyone at the studio. 


Ms. Madison Clement

Madison grew up in Massachusetts where she began her dance journey at the age of 3. She is trained in many areas including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, musical theater, lyrical, and competition dance. Madison is currently finishing up her Bachelors of Arts in Dance at Dean College with a concentration in studio management, and a Business Minor. She is a part of the National Honors Society as well as the National Honors Society for Dance Arts. As she graduates early, she hopes to continue her education with an MBA program. Madison was elected Dance Captain at her high school for two consecutive years where she choreographed, performed, and produced shows for the school. She currently is captain of her dance team at college as well where she coordinates performances, choreography, and community services. She was named a principal dancer with the contemporary dance company Ash & Elm based in Northern Virginia. Madison loves to be in the classroom working hard and is excited to continue by sharing her love for dance with the Dance Works family! 


Hannah Mead

Hannah has lived in Newport News VA for 13 years now. Since she was 3yrs old she has been dancing. Hannah started dancing at Dance Works in 2013. Her additional love for teaching dance started when she qualified for the Dance Works Assistant Teacher Program at the age of 10. Hannah has trained with many different teachers throughout the years at Dance Works as well as attending Dance Conventions. She has also performed at many local events as well as in regional dance competitions.
Hannah has worked her way up through the DW AT program from Jr AT and is now part of the teaching staff..
Hannah worked as a Performer #2 at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, the summer of 2023 as a Sesame Street Costume Character.
Hannah also continues to work at the Victory YMCA, teaching dance.

Hannah is heavily involved with the theater department at her school (HRA). She has been in many musicals and plays. The 2023 musical of The Wizard of Oz, Hannah played the scarecrow, which had 2 dancing solos one being a tap solo!

Hannah is excited to continue to learn all she can from the DW staff and students as she gains more experience. She loves performing and sharing the love of dance with her students.


Sarah Mead

Sarah was born in Italy and lived there for 3 years then moved to Virginia. She began her dance journey at age 3, and started dancing at Dance Works in 2013.  Sarah has been in the DW Assistant Teacher program from age 10 and has progressed through to Head AT, to  Intern last season and now on the Teaching Staff. Sarah has always loved performing and being on stage, she spent years on a Competition Team and has done many local performances over the years. Sarah has always loved teaching and has really found a passion for sharing the love of dance. Sarah worked as a performer for Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, throughout the summer of 2023. Sarah is also currently a Dance Teacher at the Victory YMCA, has volunteered over 50 hours and now works at Restore Life Wellness Center, in Yorktown. Sarah is currently in her Junior year of high school at Hampton Roads Academy. At school, Sarah has been a part of clubs such as Forensics and Chorus, as well as being heavily involved in the Theater Department in musicals (Legally Blonde, The Wizard of Oz) and plays.

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Megan Leonard

Megan began dancing at the age of 2 years old and has over 20+ years of training in ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, contemporary, musical theatre, and hip-hop. She grew up as a competition dancer where she trained with many well-known instructors, winning various national titles. Megan’s love for dance led her to The University of Alabama where she received her B.A in Dance. While at Alabama, Megan was a member of Yonder Contemporary Dance Company and toured the East Coast. She also participated in Alabama Dance Repertory Theatre, Dance Alabama! and was also a member of the Dance Honors Society. Megan recently graduated with her masters degree from Liberty University and is a full-time middle school teacher during the day. She is excited to bring her passion for dance and teaching to the Dance Works family.

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Hannah Luper

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Shayley Skinner


Olivia O’Malley

Olivia has been with Dance Works for over 10 years! Olivia has over 20 years of dance, gymnastic, and cheerleading experience; including 13 years of teaching/choreographing for all ages and abilities, competitions, and training. As well as having a knowledgeable dance background, Olivia has also had over 10 years of office manager experience at local family owned businesses- which she applies in the back office of the studio working as the Recital/Production Coordinator. When not in the dance studio, she enjoys spending time with her “expanding” family and her career in nursing. Being at Dance Works for the last 10 years, she has been able to continue to surround herself with what she loves most.

Guest Teachers

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Melissa V. Cartwright

Melissa is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico and growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, considers herself a “Georgia-Rican”. She is a graduate of Point University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Ministry and Vocal Pedagogy. Over the last 20 years, she has performed professionally, both in the Atlanta theatre community and in Virginia with Virginia Musical Theatre & Virginia Repertory Theatre. She has also worked both in television and radio and had the privilege of working on the set of Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes To Jail”. Melissa is the owner and head vocal coach for MVC Performance in Newport News and also teaches music for York County’s Middle School Arts Magnet. Her favorite roles are that of “wife” to Shawn and “mom” to their two daughters, Gabriella & Mikayla. When she’s not singing or dancing, you can find her out running with her dog or enjoying coffee with a friend.   

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Jennifer Pyle

Jennifer Pyle is a classically trained ballet dancer as well as a stage and film actress. She began her ballet training at the age of seven under the tutelage of Gene Hammett, Susan Borree, and Mary Marshall. Jennifer attended the summer intensive program at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City as well as summer intensive at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Jennifer was a principal dancer and soloist with the Esperance Dance Theater and the Peninsula Ballet. One of her favorite roles was Hermia in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Most recently, Jennifer choreographed and performed the pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet as part of the Phantom Players production of Phantom of the Opera in Richmond, VA. 

Jennifer enjoys teaching and choreographing, and is passionate about helping dancers of all ages be the best they can be and have fun! 

Alumni Teachers

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Lainey Griffin

Lainey was born and raised in Virginia and has been dancing since age two. She has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and acro and has close to five years of competition experience. Lainey is currently majoring in dance and exercise science at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA with plans to obtain a doctorate in physical therapy specifically for the performing arts. Lainey trained with Dance Works for five years and absolutely loved her time there. She played Alice in Dance Works production of “Alice the Dansical” in 2016 as well as Indian Chief in “Pan & Tink” in 2018 when she was awarded dancer of the year. She was also a part of York County’s School of the Arts dance program throughout high school and graduated from Grafton High School with highest academic honors. Lainey returns to the area each summer, to be the Stage Manager for our Recital/Productions and then enjoys teaching for Dance Works’ Summer Session. She is always excited to have the opportunity to teach and share her joy and passion for dance with younger dancers. 

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Emma Bryant

Emma Bryant was born in Landstuhl, Germany and has been dancing for 13 years. She began dancing at the age of two and has loved dancing ever since! Her family moved to Missouri in 2005 and Emma was put back into dance right away! She learned to love jazz because of how much attitude she got to use and at the age of 9, Emma became apart of her studio’s competition team. In 2010, Emma and her family moved to Yorktown, Va and went to one other dance studio before coming to Mrs. Emma’s in 2014. At Dance works, Emma has been an assistant teacher for four years, a head assistant teacher, and an office intern. She also auditioned for the Dance Works Dance Company and has been apart of it for all of her years at Dance Works. Some of her favorite memories from Dance works was getting to play the role of “Alice” in Dance Works’ “Alice the Dansical” and being awarded the title of Dancer of Year in 2016. Outside of Dance Works, Emma was apart of The School Of The Arts Dance program for four years.  Emma graduated from Grafton High School and is attending Longwood University to study Speech-Language Pathology and special education, where she is also on the Dance Team. Emma also teaches dance at a local dance studio, while at college. Then each summer returns home, is Miss Emma’s substitute teacher during Recital/Productions and then teaches for the Dance Works Summer Session.  

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Jeanne Billings

Copy of Purple simple logo-Dance Works logoSMALL

Summer Neil

2023-2024 Teacher Training Programs:

Dance Works is a studio that not only trains dancers to be the best they can be, but also helps mold our young people of today for a successful future. Our unique programs allow dancers to grow throughout the program, as they grow up and develop these valuable skills.

Intern and Apprenticeship Programs gives high school age dancer’s an insight into the “behind the scenes” works of the studio, more experience as a solo teacher in the studio, opportunity for choreographing, giving them many more additional skills before college or possibly becoming a full-time dance teacher.
Assistant Teaching Program gives young dancers an opportunity to assist the Teachers, in the dance classes, to gain teaching experience and in turn solidify their knowledge of dance in addition to many other important assets.

Within the AT Program dancers with more experience can level up to be a Head Assistant Teacher giving them more of a leadership role within the program.
Jr. Assistant Teaching Program, this gives even younger dancers or first time AT’s, a chance to help and learn how to become an Assistant Teacher.

Our new Assistant Teacher “Prep” Program, gives even younger dancers a stepping stone into the Assistant Teacher Program.

All dancers in our Assistant Teaching program must have been dancing at Dance Works for at least one year and go through training before to be accepted into the season program, they must keep up their academic grades throughout the year as well as dedication in their regular dance classes to continue in the program.

Dancer of the Year

Erin Maguder 2022-2023

Abigail Gorski 2021-2022

Emily Staul 2020-2021    

Rachel Cobb 2018-2019

Lainey Griffin 2017-2018

Emma Bryant 2016-2017

Caila Carlstrom 2015-2016

Gracie Fotis 2014-2015

Shayley Skinner 2013-2014

Back to top