Staff

Allison Shenton

Allison Shenton

Artistic Director

Allison Shenton started her dance training in 1981 at Dance Arts, Inc. She enjoyed dancing the Nutcracker with Dance Arts every December performing such roles as Dew Drop, Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Allison attended the University of Georgia where she received a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences and a minor in Dance Education. At UGA she was a company member of the UGA Ballet Ensemble under the direction of Joan Buttram. Many of the roles danced at UGA inspired her love for classical ballet. Such include Myrta, Queen of the Willis in Giselle, the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker with the Athens Symphony, the Pas de Quatre in Act 1 and Corps de Ballet in Act 2 Kindgom of the Shades in the full length production of La Bayadere, Flowers in collaboration will Ballethnic Dance Company’s Urban Nutcracker, and corps de ballet in the full length La Sylphide. After graduation from UGA, Allison also had the opportunity to work as a professional dancer in Atlanta Festival Ballet. She was directed by the world renowned dancer Nicolas Pacana. Allison danced in many productions including The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. She did many original works arranged by Mr. Pacana and enjoyed dancing in the lead trio for the work Symphony in C. At Atlanta Festival Ballet School she served as the Director of Operations. In 2003 Allison returned to Dance Arts, Inc. Her students have gone on to study and have scholarships to many summer programs, selected for the Governors Honors Program, as well as compete at the Youth America Grand Prix under her direction. She is proud to have many of her past students studying at major Universities as Dance Majors including Florida State University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Belhaven College and Valdosta State University. In 2014, Allison was happy to join the Dance faculty at Valdosta State University teaching Ballet and is proud to be a Blazer.

Shannon Thomas

Shannon Thomas

Instructor

Shannon Thomas began her dance career in Douglas, Georgia at The Dance Company, under the direction of Caroline Post. She Competed for 10 years with their competition team, Dance Attack, traveling the country and attending competitions and conventions hosted by the nations top choreographers. After high school, she attended college at The University of Georgia where she was a member of The Redcoat Marching Band as a member of the dance line, the Georgettes. In 2002, Shannon opened Now Dance This in Douglas, Georgia. For 7 years her students competed and won top awards for choreography, technique and entertainment, as well as many national awards. In 2009, Shannon began teaching at Dance Arts teaching tap, jazz and ballet.

Ansley Maurer

Ansley Maurer

Instructor

Ansley Maurer began dancing at the age of two and continued throughout college. She was an instructor at Dance Arts for several years before attending graduate school and moving to New York. While a student under Linda Chase, Ansley danced many roles including Clara, Dew Drop, and as part of the Arabian trio in the Nutcracker. Ansley is truly excited to return to Dance Arts as an instructor in the 4-5 year old tap/ballet class and ballet 1 class.

Kassi Bosco

Kassi Bosco

Instructor

Kassi Bosco is a current student of Valdosta State University getting a BFA in Dance. She is currently an NDA (National Dance Alliance) All-American and is the Captain for the competitive VSU Red Hots dance team. On the side Kassi works for UDA (Universal Dance Association) coaching dance teams and judging competitions across the east coast. With 18 Years experience as a dancer across all styles, she’s been a lead teacher for the past 7 years specializing in Tap, Jazz, Contemporary and Hip hop. Kassi trained and taught at the Academy of fine arts in Columbus,Ga for many years with multiple platinum and first place awards in dance and choreography. She prides her self on the success of her students and enjoys teaching young dancers.

Alice Berguson

Alice Berguson

Instructor

Alice Bergeson danced professionally in New York for eight years. She was in A Chorus Line, the Movie, several MTV videos, and she danced in Broadway shows for world- renowned choreographers, Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins. In Bob Fosse’s revival of Sweet Charity, Alice was featured in “Big Spender” and she was the lead dancer in “The Rich Man’s Frug.” In the original cast of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, she was a soloist in the “Somewhere Ballet” and was one of the three “Cool Girls.” She trained at the School of American Ballet in New York, San Francisco Ballet School, North Carolina School of the Arts, and later with Maggie Black in New York. She taught ballet and jazz classes at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Florida State University, Syracuse University and Cornish College of the Arts. She also choreographed for SD Prism Dance Theatre, ARC Dance Productions and the Seattle Theatre Group. While teaching and choreographing in Seattle, Alice attended Seattle University and graduated with a degree in chemistry. She currently teaches chemistry at Lowndes High School, and she is happy to join Dance Arts for another exciting year.

Meghan Barnard

Meghan Barnard

Instructor

Meghan began her dance training at a young age, with her formative dance years at Mrs. P’s School of Dance and Acrobatics in Coral Springs Florida. It was here she first discovered her love for performing, choreography and dance instruction. Meghan became a certified dance instructor through Dance Educators of America in New York City, studying under such greats as Gus Giordano, Charles Kelley, Henry Danton and Joe Tremaine. This first inspired her teaching career spanning more than 25 years. While she continued to teach, compete and perform throughout Florida she earned various credits as lead choreographer and soloist. Meghan also became an active participant in pageantry, winning several titles and competing in the Miss Florida Pageant as part of The Miss America Scholarship pageant, further following on to dance across the U.S.A. as an assistant with Dance Caravan. Soon after, Meghan began living and working in Tokyo,Japan as a featured dancer and soloist in Tokyo Disneyland’s main production,”One Man’s Dream”. A year later and upon returning to the states, she continued to choreograph and emcee local talent shows and beauty pageants while attending college continuing on to become a Licensed Massage Therapist.

Subsequently, during Meghan’s travels as a military wife and mother of two sons, she has continued to freelance at various dance schools and establishments spending several years at New Mexico Dancewear in Albuquerque as their General Manager and pointe shoe fitter. Locally, she has created and staged productions for VHS Theater Arts program under the direction of Ricardo Ipina, taught at Dance Arts from 2011-2014 under the direction of Linda Chase and taught at Sutherland Yoga. Currently, as a 200 hr registered yoga instructor though Yoga Alliance, Meghan has logged in over 500 teaching hours in various disciplines of yoga and mind body connectivity. She continues to instruct and study extensively in this area, teaching group and private yoga classes wherever she travels. Meghan is delighted to be on staff once again at Dance Arts under the new direction of Allison Shenton and looking forward to a successful dance year.

Danielle Lanier

Danielle Lanier

Instructor

Danielle Lanier began her dance training under Linda Chase and Dance Arts at the age of 4. She started her Nutcracker career as a Little Mouse and has continued with a variety of roles including Clara, Snowflake, Waltz of the Flowers, Arabian, Candy Cane, Russian Duet, Snow Queen and Dew Drop. Danielle was nominated twice for the Governor’s Honors Program in Dance where she was an alternate. She has also studied dance with Joel Ruminer in Biloxi, Mississippi, Darrin Hensen in both Atlanta and Tampa and at Atlanta Festival Ballet in Atlanta. She was also a member of the Valdosta State University Competition Dance Team. Danielle was an assistant instructor at Dance Arts throughout high school. Now she enjoys teaching many classes as she has for years.

Monique Sineath

Monique Sineath

Instructor

Monique Sineath grew up in Jacksonville Florida. She started dancing at the age of 3 under the direction of Donna Freyberg. At a young age she became a member of the Junior Ballet Guild and at twelve she became a senior member of the guild. Monique studied extensively under Frank Rey of the Tampa Ballet, Rudolf Nureyev of the Kirov Ballet (who later defected to the Royal Ballet of London), Bill Martin Viscount of the Canadian Ballet,  Violete Verde of the Canadian Ballet and Carl Radcliffe and Virginia Barnett of the Atlanta Ballet. Monique studied jazz under Gus Giordano of the Chicago Jazz company and Nilo Toledo of Tampa. While living in Jacksonville, Monique got a little taste of Valdosta as she was fortunate to be a dancer of the outdoor drama at Jekyll Island, GA which was affiliated with Valdosta State University and  produced by the State of Georgia performing in ” Drumbeats Over Georgia ”   At seventeen, she moved to Valdosta and was hired by The Arts Inc. through a grant from the National Endowments for the Arts. During that time Monique met and was hired by Linda Caddell Chase to teach at Dance Arts Inc. She taught with Ms. Chase for fourteen  years and after that she continued to work with and be a part of the arts in Valdosta/Lowndes County. Now, years later, Monique is proud to be a part of Dance Arts again! She teaches Advance Ballet, Intermediate II Ballet and Intermediate II Jazz. Monique enjoys her life teaching dance, tending to her roses and playing bridge, but more importantly she takes great pride in being a mother of two and a beyond blessed grandmother of two.

Megan Foose

Megan Foose

Instructor

Megan Foose is from Waukesha, Wisconsin and is currently working towards her BFA in Dance at Valdosta State University. She has been dancing for 16 years for a competitive dance company, specializing in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, and Pointe. She looks forward to joining the Dance Arts family and working with the students to help improve their craft.

Melissa Pihos

Melissa Pihos

Instructor
  • MFA in Choreography/Dance University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • BA in Biology University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Professor of Dance at Valdosta State University

Melissa Pihos began dancing at a very young age and has been performing professionally for over 20 years. She has performed all over the United States and her film work has screened in several film festivals across the country. She has danced for Flatlands Dance Theatre, Van Dyke Dance Group, John Gamble Dance Theatre and Sidelong Dance Company. She has also performed in works by Martha Graham, Larry Keigwin and Twyla Tharp.

She is an award-winning filmmaker and is currently touring her work, PIHOS A Moving Biography as Alzheimer’s disease awareness events. PIHOS A Moving Biography is a documentary dance/film performance that explores the life of her father, NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Pete Pihos and his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The work has toured to Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Lubbock, TX, Philadelphia, New York City and Santa Fe.

Holding an MFA in Choreography/Dance from UNC-Greensboro, her previous dance faculty appointments include UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, High Point University and Salem College. Pihos is also a national dance judge for Showstopper and Dance Machine.