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.
Ms. Kimberly Franco Ruiz (Coming soon!)
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. Rachel Cobb
Rachel is a senior at Kecoughtan High School, and has danced since the age of 6. She’s grown up in the Hampton Roads area, and doesn’t plan on moving too far away for college. Her very first dance class was with Miss Emma and has danced with Miss Emma ever since! She is experienced in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical and contemporary, and has attended many conventions that included many more genres. From the ages of 8-16 she competed in local and national competitions. During the pandemic Rachel passion changed from competitive dance into a new found love for teaching. She’s has found her calling and is thrilled to be able to continue to learn as she teaches at Dance Works, as well as complete her senior year as an Advanced Dancer. Outside of the studio, Rachel loves to hang out with friends, jam out to music, and ride roller coasters! Last season Rachel was in the Dance Works Apprenticeship Program now, this is her first season as an “official” teacher and is excited to start her new journey!
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!
Ms. Jenneva White
Jenneva was born in New York and started dancing at age 2. She fell in love with dance and has been dancing ever since! She grew up in Fresno, CA dancing competitively and has been trained in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Modern, Acro, Musical Theater, and Cheer/Poms. She had the opportunity to be trained by retired Rockettes, NFL Cheerleaders, and StarSearch champions. She has taught dance for over 9 years in California, Germany, and South Korea. While in South Korea, she started a dance program for military families living in the country. She loves teaching dance and seeing children and adults find joy and gain confidence while dancing. This will be her first year teaching at Dance Works and she is excited to share her love of dancing with all of you!
Ms. Avery Inge
Avery was born, raised, and trained to dance in Montpelier, Virginia. She is currently a student at Christopher Newport University, majoring in Political Science and American Studies with a minor in Dance. She began her dancing career at age two and has a background in ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, and musical theater. She has competed and was a part of her home-studio’s company and also served as Dance Captain and Choreographer for her high school dance team. She has a strong theater background and used her dance training to perform in many shows such as, Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins, and West Side Story to name a few. This is her first season with Dance Works and she can’t wait for a fun and exciting season!
Ms. Olivia O’Malley
Olivia grew up dancing in a local studio for many years. Olivia has 20 years of dance, gymnastic, and cheerleading experience; including 9 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 7 years of office manager experience at local family owned businesses- which she applies in the back office of the studio. When not in the dance studio, she enjoys spending time at the beach with her “expanding” family and her career in nursing. Being at Dance Works for the last 5 years, she has been able to continue to surround herself with what she loves most.
Ms. 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.
Ms. 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!
Ms. 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.
Ms. 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.
Ms. Brooke Buchanan
Brooke grew up in Poquoson, VA and has been dancing since the age of 3. She has danced at Dance Works since 2013 where she has gained skills in ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical. Brooke has been a part of the Assistant Teacher program since 2016 where she became a Head Assistant Teacher during the 2017-2018 Dance Works season and worked as an Intern during the 2018-2019 season. Brooke was very honored to have received the “Star Senior Award” during the 2018-2019 dance season. Throughout her assistant teaching and dance classes, she has learned of her love for dancing and helping other students grow in their dancing. From the work that Brooke has put in at Dance Works, she has learned how to use those skills to teach students.
Brooke is attending Longwood University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Brooke returns to Dance Works to assist with everything Recital/Production related and then teaches for the Dance Works Summer Session, between visiting family, during the summer! Brooke loves children and is very excited to have the opportunity to teach classes while she is home from university!
2021-2022 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.
Jr. Assistant Teaching Program, gives new AT’s the first few years of training to focus 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.
Head Assistant Teachers
Junior Assistant Teachers
Viviane BugnoAbigail Gorski
Dancer of the Year
Emily Staul 2020/2021
No recipient 2019/2020 Season
Rachel Cobb 2018-2019
Lainey Griffin 2017-2018
Emma Bryant 2016-2017
Caila Carlstrom 2015-2016
Gracie Fotis 2014-2015
Shayley Skinner 2013-2014