• Josée Garant

    Josée Garant

    Dance Dance Department Chair

    Josée Garant has had an active career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and administrator. A Native of Canada, Ms. Garant received an MFA in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival, a BFA (honors) degree in Dance from York University in Canada and graduated from the National Ballet School of Canada Teacher Training Program.

    After a successful career as a freelance modern dance performer, Garant shifted her focus to choreography and to the education of young dancers. She joined the faculty of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. During this long association she created the Modern Dance and Choreographic Programs, was the director of the postgraduate Aspirant Program and collaborated as a choreographer on many productions with Winnipeg’s GroundSwell New Music Series.

    As a choreographer Ms. Garant has garnered numerous choreographic awards, including the Youth America Grand Prix competition in Connecticut and at the International Choreographic Competition in St-Sauveur, Québec. In 1988, Ms. Garant was nominated by l’ADISQ for a ‘Felix’ for Stage Direction and for Scenographer of the Year for her work with singer songwriter Daniel Lavoie.

    Ms. Garant’s choreography has had an international impact and has been presented on many stages around the world ranging from the Olympia Theatre in Paris to the New York Joyce Soho Theatre. Her work has been produced by diverse organizations such as by the Festival of Women in the Arts in North Dakota, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Du Maurier New Music Festival, and by the 1999 Pan American Games. She has created works for international dance competitions held in Istanbul, Tokyo, Jackson Mississippi, and New York City.

    Prior to joining SCGSAH, she founded Josée Garant Dance in Miami, Florida, a company with a dedicated mission to educate, promote, and increase the public’s awareness, knowledge and appreciation of contemporary dance and arts. While living in the Miami area, she also worked at New World School of the Arts and Harid Conservatory and was awarded the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Choreographer Fellowship Award. Ms. Garant has served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Dance Association from 2008 to 2012.

  • Gregory Belton Chesney

    Gregory Belton Chesney

    Dance Dance Accompanist

    Gregory Belton Chesney was born in Fountain Inn, SC in 1959. He began piano studies at the age of 9 and organ instruction at 13. Upon graduation from Hillcrest High school in 1978, he attended Brevard on Scholarship and was student choral accompanist for Robert Shaw. Mr. Chesney was awarded the Kenan Organ Scholarship to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance in 1982. Named Strader Organ Scholar at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, Greg was a graduate student of Roberta Gary. While in Cincinnati, Mr.Chesney was staff accompanist for the Cincinnati Ballet (Company and Academy), the School for Creative and Performing Arts, and the University of Cincinnati (Dance Division and Preparatory Dept.) A highlight of his tenure at the College-Conservatory of Music was working with Balanchine Trust artists – including Darcy Kistler, Maria Caligari, Bart Cook and Joysanne Sidimus. It was a particular honor to work with the late Freddie Franklin as a rehearsal accompanist for Pas-de-Dix. Mr. Chesney returned to South Carolina in 2013 and is currently organist at historic Fairview Presbyterian Church (1786), accompanist for the Fountain Inn Civic Chorale and Staff accompanist for the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities dance department.

  • Elisabeth Boyle

    Elisabeth Boyle

    Dance Dance Accompanist

    Elisabeth Boyle is a private piano instructor and musician with 20 plus years of experience. She has worked in schools dedicated to a strong emphasis on the arts, and loves being a part of learning environments which strongly promote the arts. Her goal as a musician and instructor is to help students achieve a life-long love of music and appreciation for excellence in the arts.  

    Elisabeth is originally from the Washington, D.C. area, and has played piano since she was walking, first taught by her mother. 
    After completing a degree in Piano from Bob Jones University, she has called Greenville home, and has served in the community, volunteering for non profits, and various musical groups as collaborative pianist. Elisabeth enjoys creating original music
    and has published albums and arrangements for piano and cello. Elisabeth treasures time with her family of four, and special dog, while always searching for beauty and joy in everything, every day.

  • Jacqueline Calle Hernandez

    Jacqueline Calle Hernandez

    Dance Graham Technique Dance Instructor

    Jacqueline Calle Hernández was born in Queens, New York (USA) in 1995. She went on to study at The School of Carolina Ballet Theatre and The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina where she graduated as the Sheffield Wood Scholarship Recipient in 2013. In 2016, Jacqueline joined The Metropolitan Opera in New York City where she later graduated from The Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase in 2017. In 2018, she was invited to join Natalia Osipova's ISADORA Russia tour, and Arthur Pita's production of The Tenant, as an apprentice dancing alongside principal dancers of American Ballet Theatre. Since then, Jacqueline has had the honor of participating in numerous dance festivals where she has traveled to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Laussane, and Berlin learning the works and methodologies of choreographers such as Jiří Kylián, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan, and Wim Vandekeybus among others. In New York, Jacqueline has performed works by choreographers Bill T. Jones, Merce Cunningham, Jose Limon, Kim Brandstrup, Vladimir Varnava, Alexandra Beller, Guangei Hui, Helen Simoneau, and Belinda McGuire among others. In Spring of 2021, Jacqueline traveled to Kigali, Rwanda to become a teaching artist with the Mindleaps program directed by Rebecca Davis. 

  • Ruth deVroomen

    Ruth deVroomen

    Dance Yoga Instructor

    Ruth began practicing yoga shortly after her son was born in 2006 and she immediately fell in love. Not only did she feel better—both physically and mentally— yoga taught Ruth to be more ‘in-tune’ with her body and mind. As a result she learned to be kind to herself and respect her own limitations with grace and confidence. This shift in her outlook continues to this day, but she has learned in order to stay connected to herself and others with calmness and clarity, she must continue with her yoga practice. 

    Ruth completed a 230-hour teacher training program with Karen Noonan of Yoganize in 2017.  She currently teaches yoga at a climbing gym in Traveler’s Rest. When she is not on her mat you can find her paddling down the river, climbing at the gym or spending time with friends and family and her beloved dog, Chewy.

  • Beth Dill

    Beth Dill

    Dance Yoga Instructor

    Beth Dill, owner of the Yoga East studio in Taylors, South Carolina balances life as a yoga instructor, businesswoman, mother, and wife. She began her personal yoga journey in 2008 and earned the 200-hour registered yoga teacher (RYT) certification from Yoga Alliance in 2012. Beth’s teaching involves flowing motions combining a variety of yoga styles and Pilates movements. She builds in time for relaxation and meditation which helps her students balance their minds and bodies. Regular yoga practice with Beth can help you achieve deeper and better sleep, live with greater intention, and be more present in your daily life.

  • Maeghan Hobbs

    Maeghan Hobbs

    Dance Contemporary Dance Teacher

    Maeghan Hobbs named one of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch in 2010, was born in Baltimore, MD. She studied at the Baltimore School for the Arts where she performed works by David Parsons, David Grenke, and John Clifford. She received a scholarship to Dance Theatre of Harlem, where she performed with the Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble. While living in NYC Maeghan studied at Steps on Broadway and performed with Extended Dance Company. Maeghan also performed Off-Broadway under the direction of Tony Award winner Hinton Battle. She has participated in the Chicago Dancing Festival, Bald Ballerina No One Can Survive Alone Benefit Concert, Jazz Dance World Congress, The Miss America Parade, and Dancers Responding to Aids Benefit. In 2005 Maeghan received a scholarship to the Giordano Dance School, and in 2006 became a Performing Apprentice. 2007 marked her first season with Giordano Dance Chicago, and she enjoyed 13 seasons performing in places such as Hawaii, Latvia, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Netherlands, Turkey, Guatemala, Italy, and Israel. Along with establishing herself as a dancer, she has also had the opportunity to set her own work on the Giordano II Company. Maeghan has had her work performed on the Joyce Theater Stage, through Dancin Downtown at The Joyce, as part of the DRA Benefit. In 2011 her piece "Angelica" won the Performance Award and performed in NYC for Central Park Summer Stage. Her piece "If", also part of the DRA Benefit in 2013, won the Performance Award, and they performed for Central Park Summer Stage as well. Her choreography has been recognized with awards such as Outstanding Choreography/Choreographer. Regional Ensemble Winner and Outstanding Choreography Award at Youth America Grand Prix and has placed twice in the top 12 Ensemble Category at YAGP Finals in NYC. Maeghan also received the 2018 YAGP National Choreographer Award with the opportunity to travel to Russia to set her work on the Bolshoi. Her ensemble work had the honor of being part of the YAGP "Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow" tour. For the past 5 years, she has served as a Judge with YAGP. In the Summer of 2014, she was on the School Faculty at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS, and was invited to be on Faculty at CNADM in the Fall of 2015. She continues to travel for both Choreography and Master Classes to share her immense love for dance.

  • Katie Hughes

    Katie Hughes

    Dance Pilates Instructor

    Kathleen “Katie” Hughes is a native of Greenville, South Carolina and an active member of the Upstate movement/wellness community. A born mover, Katie spent most of her childhood on the ice as a competitive figure skater before shifting focus to dance in high school. She graduated from the Fine Arts Center’s dance program in 2006 and attended the University South Carolina as a dance major the following year with the Senior Scholarship from SCDA (South Carolina Dance Association). At University, Katie’s path weaved away from dance temporarily. She earned a double bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Spanish only to return to movement in 2018 with the opening of Indigo Flow and Art. Together, she and her mother/fine artist, Julie Hughes Shabkie, created the duo fine art gallery and movement studio in the Village of West Greenville Arts District. At Indigo, Katie instructs group classes in vinyasa flow yoga, classical mat Pilates and barre fitness.

    In March of 2017, Katie received her 200hr RYT certification from Asheville Yoga Center. She completed her intermediate classical mat and apparatus teacher trainings through Power Pilates in November of 2020 (mat) and June of 2021 (apparatus). Be it yoga, Pilates or barre class, Katie’s years of training in both ballet and contemporary dance are reflected in her fluid yet methodical teaching style.

  • Miriam Mesa Pelly

    Miriam Mesa Pelly

    Dance Dance Faculty

    Miriam Mesa-Pelly, BFA, was born in Havana, Cuba, where she was a 1st Soloist with the world -renowned “National Ballet of Cuba (BNC)” under the direction of Fernando and Ballerina Assoluta, Alicia Alonso. In 1948 this couple, along with choreographer Alberto Alonso, founded the Cuban Ballet Company where Ms. Mesa-Pelly danced for 24 years.

    Ms. Mesa-Pelly danced Principal roles in works by such prominent choreographers as Alberto Alonso, Brian McDonald and Alberto Mendez. She performed throughout Europe, Latin America, the United States and Canada in such venues as the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow; the Opera Theater of Les Champs Elysées; the Colon Theater in Buenos Aires; La Scala in Milan; the Beaux Arts Theater in Mexico City; the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

    Additionally, Ms. Mesa-Pelly taught ballet at the National Ballet School of Cuba in Havana and received a Golden Diploma of Performing Arts and Dance from the “Cuban Superior Institute of Arts” from Havana University. Ms. Mesa-Pelly also taught ballet at the Fomento Artistic Cordobes (PROVER) in Cordoba, Veracruz and taught Ballet, Pointe, and Repertoire and was a teacher for the Bachelor of Methodology in Ballet at the Mexican National School of Classical and Contemporary Dance (ENDCC) in Mexico City where in 2004 she wrote a textbook for ballet teachers, “Classical Dance Technique,” edited and published under the “National Institute of Fine Arts” (INBA).

    In the United States, Ms. Mesa-Pelly has also participated as a juror for the “Valentina Kozlova Regional International Ballet Competition” in New Orleans. Ms. Mesa-Pelly currently teaches ballet at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and for the Dance Department is the Coordinator for the Youth America Grand Prix International Competition (YAGP).

  • Keeley Mezzancello

    Keeley Mezzancello

    Dance Nutrition Instructor

    Keeley Mezzancello is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Licensed Dietitian (LD) in the state of South Carolina. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Certified Health Coach (Wellcoaches). She is currently a Registered Dietitian and Health Coach for Wellview Health. Keeley received her undergraduate degree in Business from Boston College and her Master's in Nutrition from Hunter College in Manhattan. She has experience in private practice combining nutritional counseling with strength and conditioning in New York City. She has also worked in a variety of outpatient settings including rehabilitative, corporate wellness, and multiple eating disorder clinics. She has provided Nutrition and Fitness education to adolescent aspiring models and attendees of Modeling Camp NYC and has lead nutrition seminars for the dancers of the Performing Arts Academy of Marin (PAAM). She holds a certificate in Adult Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has served on the board of the Piedmont Dietetic Association and volunteered as a panel dietitian for LiveWell Greenville. Keeley loves the strong sense of community within Greenville, and enjoys dining out, cooking, travel, the outdoors, running, and yoga.

  • Irina Peace

    Irina Peace

    Dance Dance Accompanist

    Irina Peace is a collaborative pianist and piano teacher. She has served as accompanist for the Music Department at Converse College, Furman University, and Governor’s School. Ms. Peace has collaborated with SC Opera Company, Converse Opera, Furman Lyrical Theater, and Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theater. Ms. Peace is a native of Ukraine. She received her musical training, M.M. and B.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Donetsk State Conservatory and Kherson Music College. Prior to moving to the U.S. in 1995, Ms. Peace lived and worked in Ukraine, where she held a position as staff accompanist at Khmelnytskyi State Philharmonic and taught at Khmelnytskyi Music College.

  • Thomas Shoemaker

    Thomas Shoemaker

    Dance Dance Faculty

    Thomas Shoemaker was an acclaimed principal dancer with companies including the Atlanta Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Augusta Ballet, and Charleston Ballet Theatre in a professional career that spanned 25 years. As a guest artist and choreographer, he has worked with numerous dance and theatre companies throughout the U.S. and abroad.  As an educator, Mr. Shoemaker has taught elementary through college-aged students in studios, schools, colleges and summer programs throughout the southeastern United States. He received a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival. Before joining the faculty of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Mr. Shoemaker taught and choreographed for the Vanderbilt University Dance Program and was Artistic Director of Vanderbilt Dance Theatre. He also served on faculty with Middle Tennessee State University Dance Program, Austin Peay State University Dance Program, Tennessee Governors School for the Arts Summer Program, and American Dance Festival. Mr. Shoemaker also served as
 Associate Artistic Director for StillPoint Dance Theatre.

    In May 2009, Shoemaker’s ballet “just let go” was awarded “Best Ballet” at the Panoply Choreographic Competition. In 2010, he won the same award for VS.  His ballet Foreverly (based on the lives of the Everly Brothers) was awarded “Best Live Performance of 2005” by the Augusta Chronicle.

    As artistic director and ballet master, Mr. Shoemaker has staged or restaged numerous works including Nutcracker, Cinderella and Les Sylphides; George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Tarantella; Fernand Nault’s Carmina Burana and many classical pas de deux.

    Mr. Shoemaker teaches Men's Ballet & B Ballet Technique, Men's Technique, Junior & Senior Men's Ballet Variation, Pas De Deux, Repertoire, Dance History, Junior Career Preparation, Aspects of Production, Coaching & Stretch & Strength, and is an Audition Preparation and Senior Showcase Mentor, and the YoungArts Coordinator.

  • Christine Smith

    Christine Smith

    Dance Low Country Youth Dance Academy (LYDA) Modern Instructor

    Christine Smith is a dancer, choreographer and educator located in Summerville, South Carolina. Trained in classical ballet from a young age, Christine has studied dance at Hilton Head Dance Theatre, Rollings Middle School of the Arts, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities, the Classical Ballet Centre, and the University of South Carolina. Christine graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Dance Education from the University of South Carolina. She also holds a K-12 South Carolina Teaching Certificate. While in school, she was an active dancer and choreographer with the UofSC Dance Company. Christine is an avid arts advocate and dance researcher. She has participated in Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the SC Statehouse. In 2018, Christine traveled to New York on a grant to research and write a middle school arts integrative curriculum with dance and social studies. Currently, she is a dance educator at Rollings Middle School for the Arts. 

  • Rachel Solomon

    Rachel Solomon

    Dance Low Country Youth Dance Academy (LYDA) Modern Instructor

    Rachel Salomon grew up in Farmington hills, Michigan, where she trained at the Rochester School of Dance under Cornelia Sampson and the home of the Michigan Ballet Theater.  She spent her summers taking classes at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and River North Dance Chicago. She has won regional and national competition choreography awards and the Wayne State University Copperfoot Award in 2005 for contribution of repertoire. Rachel has been teaching dance for over 12 years in dance studios and public school programs. She has spent 4 years as a full time public school dance teacher with several teacher of the year nominations from 2008-2012. She started the first elementary school dance department in the Fairfield Country School District at Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science in Winnsboro, South Carolina. From 2010-2012 she was the Dance Department Head Teacher at Summerville High School. There, she built the first competitive dance company and active National Honors Society for Dance through the NDEO. Rachel is currently the manager of the Hanahan location of Dance Moves of Charleston and is also the Associate Director of the Dance Moves of Charleston Youth Company, a modern dance technique based Performance Company for dancers in the low country.

  • Irina Ushakova

    Irina Ushakova

    Dance Dance Faculty

    Irina Ushakova was born in Chelyabinsk, Russia, and trained at the Perm State Choreographic College. Upon receiving her Diploma with Honors she became a soloist with Chelyabinsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre (Russia). Shortly after joining the company, she danced the roles of Maria (Fountain of Bakhchisarai), Aysha (Gayane), and Giselle (Giselle) before being promoted to principal dancer. She was awarded the Best Role of the Season prize for the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. In 1986 and 1988, she became a bronze and silver medalist at the International Ballet Competition “Arabesque” in Perm, Russia. In 1989, she toured the United States with the Donetsk Ballet, followed by a tour of Israel and Turkey with the Bolshoi Ballet. She was invited to join the Donetsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre (Ukraine) as a principal dancer in 1989. Ms. Ushakova was a finalist in the 1990 International Ballet Competition held in Jackson, Mississippi.

    Since her arrival in the United States in 1990, Ms. Ushakova has been a principal dancer with both Ballet Mississippi and Tulsa Ballet. She has performed leading roles in many classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Nutcracker, Coppelia, La Sylphide, and others, as well as neoclassical works such as Andre Prokovsky’s Anna Karenina, Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, Ronald Hynd’s Rosalinda, George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco, and Who Cares? She also has danced contemporary and modern works. In 1997, she returned to Russia as a guest artist to dance the role of Anyuta in Vladimir Vasiliev’s Anyuta with the Chelyabinsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre.

    Since 2002, Ms. Ushakova has been a faculty member of the Dance Department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, South Carolina. In 2007, she graduated from Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University (Russia) with a Master’s Degree in Dance and Education.

    Ms. Ushakova teaches A & B Ballet Technique, Pointe, Senior Ladies Ballet Variation, Historical Dance & Character, Repertoire, Methodology, is an Audition Preparation and Senior Showcase Mentor, and the National Honor Society for Dance Arts Coordinator.

  • Elizabeth Wright

    Elizabeth Wright

    Dance Modern Dance Instructor

    Elizabeth Disharoon Wright, from Baltimore, Maryland, is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts and The Juilliard School, where she received Scholastic Distinction for her thesis on Nutrition and Dancers. Elizabeth is a principal dancer with the Isadora Duncan Dance Company, led by Lori Belilove. She has performed both nationally and internationally with the company since 2002, and has taught residencies and master classes for the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation, as well as regularly teaching company class. From 2003-2011, Elizabeth was also a senior member of Jennifer Muller/The Works, creating and performing signature roles throughout the repertory, as well as teaching, assisting, and coaching, both within the company and for outside workshops and master classes. As a freelance dancer in New York City, Elizabeth also performed with Buglisi Dance Theatre, Eidelon Ballet, Fly-by-Night Dance Theater, Andrew Jannetti & Dancers, Sue Bernhard/Danceworks, Laura Glenn Dance, Saba Dance Theater, J Mandle Performance, and Nimbus Dance Theater, among others. Elizabeth has performed throughout New York City on such stages as the Joyce Theater, the State Theater, and City Center, and internationally in Italy, Hungary, Russia, Bolivia, Brazil, Thailand, and China.  In addition to numerous company residencies, Elizabeth has taught at Randolph College, Mills College, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, The Ailey School, Totts Gap Arts Institute, Silva Dance Academy, and the Fine Arts Center. Her own choreography has been presented in New York City at Alice Tully Hall, the Juilliard Theater, the Clark Studio Theater, the HATCH Performance Series, and the Storm Theater on 46th Street, and also at the Kate Theater in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, where she shared a program with Julia Pond Dance. In 2015, Elizabeth relocated to Greenville, South Carolina.  In addition to teaching ballet and modern at the Fine Arts Center, she has choreographed for their annual concert at Wade Hampton High School and staged a suite of Duncan dances that were performed at Artisphere and the Kilgore-Lewis House in downtown Greenville.