MEET THE FACULTY

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KAREN DEESE

Owner

Karen Brown-Deese graduated with honors from the University of Greensboro with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance. At UNC-G and while living in New York City, she studied with Twyla Tharp, Phil Black, Luigi, David Howard, Broadway Dance Center, Martha Graham and the Alvin Ailey Dance Companies. In 1977 she opened The Academy of Dance Arts in Mooresville, NC. The studio later became known as The Academy of Dance and Fine Arts, Inc. (ADFA).

 

Over the last 43 years, Karen has taught thousands of dancers and numerous students who have gone on to become professional dancers and dance educators. Former student accomplishments include dancing at The Carolina Opry, The Alabama Theater, and Tokyo Disney, as well as performing in numerous Broadway tours of West Side Story, A Chorus Line, and Hairspray. Additionally, several of her students have performed on numerous international ships, in Vegas shows, and in various European performances. In the Ballet world, former students have danced with companies in Nashville, Boston, Milwaukee, and for Ballet Pacifica. Karen was an assistant, choreographer,  and dancer with the Miss NC, Miss Virginia, and Miss Mississippi Pageants (for a total of over 20 years).  She has traveled the world working with Kennedy Entertainment, choreographing and directing revue shows for numerous cruise lines including: American Hawaii, Crown, Cunard, and Stella Solaris. Karen has also worked as a choreographer for Norwegian Cruise Line. In 1998 she began directing and choreographing Paramount’s main stage theater shows in Cincinnati, Ohio, Richmond, Virginia, Santa Clara, Ca, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Toronto, Canada.  In 2002 her “Graveyard Shift” show in Cincinnati received the IAAPA Award for the most outstanding theme park show internationally, and her “Superstars” show in Toronto received the 2nd place international IAAPA award.  

 

Karen now judges across the United States for Kids Artistic Revue dance competition on regional and national levels and has choreographed for their opening productions in Las Vegas and NYC. She has also choreographed the opening numbers for the Brunswick County and Horry County Dancing with the Stars. The Academy of Dance and Fine Arts at North Myrtle Beach won the Top Primary Studio at the  National Kids Artistic Revue Competition. Karen’s goal is to produce another studio offering the finest instruction for students who wish to dance on a competitive level or just for fun and recreation. She and her husband Larry currently reside in North Myrtle Beach.

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MARCIE WILLIS

Director, Ballet Mistress

Marcie began studying dance at the age of three. She has trained extensively in Classical Ballet, Pointe, Pas de Deux, Lyrical/Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, and Tap. She began her training with the Fredericksburg Ballet Centre, and performed for many years with the Fredericksburg Ballet Company. Her feature roles with the company include Clara in "The Nutcracker", and the Lilac Fairy in "Sleeping Beauty". Marcie also danced with the Fredericksburg Ballet's touring company "Allegro".  Marcie is a 2009 graduate of Coastal Carolina University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She was a dancer in the Alabama Theater Christmas Show from 2008-2013. Additionally, Marcie has performed as a dancer for the local production of Dino's TV Variety Show in Myrtle Beach. We are excited that Marcie is teaching at our studio for the fourteenth year and sharing her talent and love for dance with our students.  

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STEPHANIE BONN

Instructor, Special Events Coordinator

Stephanie was born and raised in Mooresville, North Carolina, where she began dancing at the tender age of three.  She was very fortunate to study under the direction of Karen Deese at The Academy of Dance and Fine Arts in Mooresville, NC for 15 years. Discovering her passion for performing at an early age, it was no surprise that Stephanie would continue on to pursue dance as a career.  Less than a week after graduating from high school, she was in rehearsals for her first cruise ship, the Crown Dynasty.  From that point, she began touring the world as a featured dancer on a variety of different cruise lines, including Cunards Queen Elizabeth II, Commodore, American Hawaii Cruises, and Disney Cruise Lines.  She later made the big move to New York City where she landed a leading role in an Off-Broadway production of A Thin Line-A Dance Drama.  Stephanie also had the unique opportunity to travel to Athens, Greece, where she starred as the lead dancer in the five month tour of The Magic of Musicals. For over a decade, Stephanie entertained audiences nightly at the Carolina Opry in Myrtle Beach. In addition to performing, she also served as Dance Captain and Assistant Choreographer for The Carolina Opry Show, Good Vibrations, and The Carolina Opry Christmas Spectacular. We are so excited to have Stephanie joining our staff again this year and feel fortunate to have someone with her talent and performing experience. Stephanie resides in North Myrtle Beach with her husband, Jacques, and their children Connor, Sophia, and Oliver.

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RHONDA LAMBERTH

Instructor

Rhonda Lamberth is originally from Conover, North Carolina.  She began dance lessons at the age of six, and has been trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, clogging and tap, with tap being her personal favorite.  She studied with various instructors all over North Carolina, including the ADFA in Mooresville, NC during her teens. Growing up, she competed in numerous local, state and national talent competitions and pageants.  After graduating from high school, she traveled all around the United State, as well as England, Scotland and Wales, with the Paula Scott Elite Dance Company, performing at various events and charity fundraisers.  Although she enjoyed performing, teaching dance was her passion.  Rhonda attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a Dance Education major, and in 1989 she opened the Lamberth Academy of Dance in Newton, North Carolina.  During the next 18 years, her students won numerous local, state and national talent competitions. Having always been a beach lover, Rhonda relocated to the Myrtle Beach area in 2006, and now works in the veterinary field.  An avid animal lover, Rhonda resides in North Myrtle Beach with her three cats.

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LAURA PERRY

Instructor

Laura Perry is a dancer-aerialist originally from Ontario, Canada. She trained in multiple styles of dance at Sondra’s Tri-Dance Company and graduated with honours from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance Dance. In 2009, Laura completed the final examination of the Royal Academy of Dance and attained the coveted Solo Seal Award. She is a member of both the Royal Academy of Dance and the British Association of Teacher’s of Dancing. Laura loves to train aspiring young students and has been teaching for over fifteen years. She has performed onstage in Japan at the Tokyo Theatre Orb in Broadway Christmas Wonderland. She spent seven years as a dancer-aerialist for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, traveling internationally and dancing on some of the world’s largest cruise ships. Most recently Laura performed as an aqua dancer in Oceanaria onboard the Allure of the Seas. Currently, Laura is the dance captain at the Alabama Theatre, where she performs in One and The South’s Grandest Christmas Show. 

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MARISA ANGELINO

Instructor

Marisa Angelino danced for 20 years before graduating from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She is passionate about children developing their love for dance while building their character. Dancing competitively for 8 years taught her discipline, focus, and the importance of pursuing things we love with our whole hearts. She hopes to instill these values while creating a solid foundation for the young students she teaches.

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SAVANNAH RION

Instructor; Director of Musical Theatre

Savannah is a Myrtle Beach native. She began dancing at the age of 4 and trained in genres of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and musical theatre. She danced competitively for 14 years and spent her last 3 years at ADFA under the direction of Karen Deese. During high school, Savannah fell in love with theatre. She recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Coastal Carolina University with a BA in Theatre and a Music minor. Savannah has performed as a dancer in musicals at Theatre of the Republic including Catch Me If You Can, Elf the Musical, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. She was also cast in the role of Rebecca in It Should’ve Been You and Gloria in Boeing, Boeing. Savannah is the choreographer for Coastal Youth Theatre. She has choreographed Aladdin Jr, Madagascar Jr, Willy Wonka Jr and is currently directing/choreographing Wizard of Oz Jr. Savannah is excited to be back at ADFA to share her love of teaching!

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KRISTINA CLEMMONS

Instructor

Kristina began dance lessons at the age of three where she went on to train in ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, musical theatre and hip hop. She was a competitive dancer beginning at age 6 and continuing throughout her teen years. She was an assistant instructor during her high school years, and went on to begin teaching at local studios during the first two years of college at Coastal Carolina University. Kristina then opened a dance studio in North Carolina in 2006 where she trained students in recreational and competitive dance. After the birth of her son Bentley in 2011, Kristina stepped away from the studio but continued to teach solo lessons to a small group of students. With a daughter, Kinsley, who is following in her footsteps as a competitive dancer Kristina is excited to be back pursuing her passion of dance and helping to inspire students at ADFA.

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Jules Szabo

Founder of The Dancer's Workout®

Jules Szabo, founder of The Dancer’s Workout®, is a classically trained ballerina from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Click here to read her inspirational story on the UNCSA website!  Jules has an infectious and inspiring love of dance and is passionate about helping former dancers rediscover their love of dance through her classes! Her signature adult dance fitness program, entitled The Dancer’s Workout® (TDW), features various one-hour masterclasses which use ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance choreography, plus toning exercises, to provide former dancers an emotionally and physically safe path back to dance while offering current dancers an exhilarating dance experience.

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LINDSAY LINK

Instructor; Private Music Lessons

Ms. Lindsay Link holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the University of Kansas. She has worked with elementary through high school-aged students in voice, theatre, dance, piano, guitar and ukulele in the Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Grande Strand areas. As a performer, director, choreographer, and costume designer, she has worked on countless shows such as West Side Story, The Music Man, Shrek, A Christmas Story, Little Shop of Horrors, and most recently, High School Musical: On Stage! Ms. Link enjoys teaching at the Academy of Dance and Fine Arts and is entering her 13th year in private music lessons. She is currently the Director of Chorus and Musical Theatre at North Myrtle Beach High School.  As an educator for the past 11 years, she's built an established program in Horry County. In her spare time, she enjoys singing karaoke, going for long walks with her boyfriend Sam, traveling any chance she gets, and playing with her cat: Kitty Puppy. Her goal is to inspire students to have the confidence to succeed in their chosen future careers, and to have a lifelong passion for the arts!​

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TOM HOLLOWAY

Instructor

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KIM HOLLOWAY

Instructor

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