Dance Works

  Owner/Head Teacher:

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 12 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. 

            Introducing the 2016-2017 Dance Works

At Dance Works we pride ourselves on a family friendly, safe atmosphere, 

with a dedicated staff who love doing what they do.

  Office Staff:

Ms. Melissa Cartwright


 As successful teachers we promise to "never stop learning", we are proud to have a young energetic faculty who are ready to learn and grow as well as pass on their dance knowledge to others, in a way that shows their true love of dance.

Ms. Danielle Peters

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 moved to North Carolina for a short time, but we are happy she decided to move back to Hampton Roads. She is very excited to start teaching and choreographing again, and we are looking forward to her and her daughter joining the Dance Works family.

Ms. Jolynn Jones

Ms. Jolynn was born and raised in Utah, and moved here to Hampton Roads with her family a few years ago. She has danced since she was a little girl and taught at many different studios around The States. Jolynn was an Assistant Princaple at a big dance studio back in Utah, before they made the move. You may have seen her teaching or working-out at the YMCA! Ms. Jolynn has a real passion for teaching and motivating children to be healthy, eat well, and exercise.  She has a wonderful family including her husband, 4 children and Dog "Hershey". 

We are so excited to have Ms. Jolynn on our team, she is committed to her job and family and that's what we are all about.

Ms. Samantha Landers

Ms. Samantha Landers was born in Charleston, West Virginia where she began ballet at the age of 4. After her family moved to Virginia, she continued dancing under the guidance of Ms. Muriel Evans. At the age of 11, she was invited to dance with the Hampton Roads Civic Ballet. While with the HRCB, she was honored to perform in many ballets, including The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and Coppelia. She has also attended the School of Richmond Ballet’s summer intensive program. 

Ms. Samantha began working with Miss Emma and Dance Works in the Assistant Teacher Program when she was 14. She is currently homeschooled and when she graduates, plans to attend college as a dance major. We are very happy for Ms. Samantha to be teaching at Dance Works this year.

Ms. Jordan Williams

Ms. Jordan Williams was born and raised in Newport News and just started at Christopher Newport University, majoring in History and minoring in Dance. She also plans on obtaining a master’s in Education. She started dancing when she was three years old. While in high school, she was a part of the Woodside Dance Magnet and a part of Nu Delta Alpha, the dance honor society. She plans to continue in Nu Delta Alpha at Christopher Newport University. Before graduating high school she participated in the assistant teacher program at Dance Works and taught as an assistant at her previous studio. 

Ms. Jordan loves being able to motivate and teach children through dance and we are so excited to have finally have her on the teaching staff at Dance Works, we are all excited to see what the future holds. 

Ms. Victoria Garoutte

Ms. Victoria grew up in Hendersonville, TN. She started dancing when she was 3 years old and then eventually performed and competed with Smartt Steps Dance Company. She was also a member of her High School Dance Team. After graduating high school she attended College in Jefferson City, TN and of course continued to dance and teach at local studio's. She met her husband and moved to Hawaii, where she continued to study and teach dance. As a result of her husbands dedicated career in the USAF, they were fortunately stationed her in Hampton Roads, VA. This year Ms. Victoria successfully graduated college with a Bachelors degree in Human Resources and is now a Recruiter for a local Staffing Firm.

Ms. Victoria has been an important part of Dance Works, committed to all she does and continuing to grow both as a dancer and a teacher. We are proud to have her on our teaching staff for yet another year.

Ms. Olivia Staul: 

Olivia was born in Texas and moved to Hampton Roads with her family over 17 years ago. She graduated from Grafton High School and is now following her passion for pediatric neurology, at Virginia Wesleyan College.  Olivia has many years of dance, gymnastic, and cheer-leading experience. Including 4 years of teaching/choreographing for all ages and abilities. As well as having  a knowledgeable dance background, Olivia has also had over 5 years of office manager experience, at local family owned businesses. 

She loves family time and hanging out with her Dog "Ace"! We are very excited for her as a part of the Dance Works team. 

Ms. Jen Jones

Jen Jones is a recent addition to the Dance Works team. She moved to the Hampton Roads area last June to be with her husband, who is in the Navy. She began her training in dance at the age of 3 at Studio B in Decatur, IL, where she grew up, and has a minor in dance from Millikin University also in Decatur, IL. She teaches hip hop at the studio but has trained in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, modern and theater dance. In her free time, Jen likes to hike, camp, kayak, and hang out with her dogs.

 Guest Teachers:

Mr. Thomas McDonnell

Thomas McDonnell was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended San Francisco City College, the Academy of Art College of San Francisco, and New York University’s Tisch program.  Thomas started dancing at the age of nineteen at the San Francisco Ballet School and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. 

He studied with Alonzo King and worked with Michael Smuin.  He danced professionally for more than twenty years, including with the Empire State Ballet Company in Buffalo, New York; Ballet Omaha; and Minnesota Dance Theatre.  

Thomas is also a certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner.  It is his passion to help people become aware of how to train and retrain their own neurological paths for the purpose of total body freedom.  

We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Thomas as a Guest Teacher at Dance Works.

 Head Assistant Teachers 2016-2017:

 Lainey Griffin, Caila Carlstrom, Emma Bryant, Shayley Skinner.   

Assistant Teachers 2016-2017:

Brooke Buchanan, Hannah MacDonald, Tricia Reynolds, Skylar Chace, Samantha Ramsey, Rachel Cobb, Meadow Dawes, Emily Graver, Isabel Spielberger.

Jr. Assistant Teachers 2016-2017:

Macky Williams, Jordan Hempeck, Chiara McCool, Sydney White, Lilly Ricklin, 

Aaliyah Lee, Hannah Mead, Sarah Mead.

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.

We have an Assistant Teaching Program that 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.

New this seasons is our Jr. Assistant Teaching Program, this gives even younger dancers a chance to help and learn how to become an Assistant Teacher.

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

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