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Burns Dance Studio Staff

VOTED Aiken's Best Dance Studio for 2016 by readers of the Aiken Standard!

Rhoda Burns, Corey Burns, Kristin Allen, Erin Harms,
Stephanie Stafford, Ashley Barton, Sorelle Campbell, Mike Hess

BDS Faculty

Rhoda Burns, Owner
You mention “Rhoda” in Aiken, and everybody knows who you are talking about. In 1982, she began transforming the dance landscape in Aiken to have the only studio offering comprehensive instruction in tap, ballet, and jazz. She began Burns Dance Studio in 1982 after many years of teaching in northern Ohio and central South Carolina. After 7 years with the well-known Freed School of Performing Arts in Sumter, SC, a move to Aiken inspired her to open her own studio. For over 30 years she was director of Burns Dance Studio. Under her leadership the studio has taught thousands of children and been responsible for placing many in dance careers. She has been able to attract high quality instructors for classes and maintain a great reputation among convention, costume, and competition companies. She has instilled the love of dance, discipline, time management and life skills to dancers and parents with her meticulous organization of the recreational classes, basketball halftime-shows, performing company events, and charitable functions that students from the studio participate in each year. She will continue to work with our pre-school students, tap classes, and costumes.
Corey Burns
Corey Burns, Director
Now in his 3rd year full time at the dance studio, Corey brings his high energetic classes to kids of all ages each week. Anchoring the performing company, jazz, hip hop, and strength/agility classes, dancers know they will be in great shape with a solid technical foundation after his class. This year he will be choreographing the Halftime Show and overseeing daily operations at the studio. Corey began dancing at age 3 in Sumter, SC and continued his training as he grew up in Aiken. In high school he was the first male jazz company dancer at the nationally known Southern Strutt Dance Studio. In addition to dance, he was active in soccer, basketball, and football here in Aiken. He went on to choreograph and perform on live TV as well as teach and perform at dance conventions all over the United States. He has choreographed for high school and college dance teams, pageants, plays, halftime shows, studio competitions, weddings, banquets, and televised fundraisers. Along with Asst. Athletic Director Angie Osbon, he founded and continues to work with the USC-Aiken Dance Team. He is a Les Mills Certified GRIT Coach and BodyCombat Instructor. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from USC-Aiken and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from USC. After being a public school teacher, assistant principal and principal, he is now the full time director of operations at the studio. He is married to Kristen with 2 kids: Kayla and Jonathan.
Kristin Allen
Kristin Allen, Instructor
Kristin Allen is the definition of HIP HOP! She has the ability to create some JAWdropping choreography for our dancers. She also will be teaching the Hip Hop Hustle class. Kristin began her dance life as a young child which led her to becoming a member of the USC-Aiken Dance Team. During her time on the dance team, she was a captain and voted MVP by her teammates. Her professionalism, talent, and creativity was quickly noticed by dance team founders Corey Burns and Angie Osbon, and she now continues to work with the Dance Team as an alumni. She graduated from USC-A with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and earned an MBA from American University. She works as a recruitment counselor in the office of admissions. Her fresh ideas and hip-hop choreography have been very popular among the kids.
Erin Levenson
Erin Levenson Harms, Instructor
Beginning her 3rd year at BDS, Erin’s talents will be on full display as she teaches Acro, ballet, contemporary, and tap. Erin began dancing as early as she could walk at the well-known Freed School of Performing Arts in Sumter, SC. She participated in the Sumter Civic Ballet and continues her affiliation with the studio today. Upon graduation from high school, she attending USC and earned a degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. She followed that up with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. While in the dance department, she specialized in contemporary dance and performed the works of Martha Graham. She frequently traveled to New York City to continue her training at Broadway Dance Center and the Martha Graham School. She is on the “Artist in Residence Roster” to teach in SC public schools and holds USA Gymnastics safety certifications.
Stephanie Stafford 
Stephanie Stafford, Instructor
Stephanie Stafford grew up in Frederick, Maryland where she trained with Donna Grimm of Dance Unlimited for 15 years and was a member of the Dance Unlimited Repertory Company, (DURC) for 8 years. Stephanie relocated to Conway, SC to attend Coastal Carolina University and received her Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion in 2011. Stephanie continued dancing while in South Carolina, training under Barbara Hartwig, Burke Daniel and in master classes with many other reputable instructors. Stephanie loves sharing the joy of dance with the next generation and has been teaching and choreographing at various studios and cheerleading programs throughout the Grand Strand and North Carolina since 2008. Stephanie has also worked at the collegiate and high school levels as former coach of the Coastal Carolina University and St. James High School dance teams. Stephanie also works within the competition circuit as event staff and judge for various companies. Stephanie, a fitness enthusiast holds a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a Yoga Specialty from NETA and is an ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist. Stephanie has had the pleasure of incorporating her love of fitness into the dance world, working with various dance studios and cheerleading gyms to develop personalized strength and conditioning programs. Stephanie now lives in Aiken, SC with her husband Keith. She continues to teach and choreograph throughout South Carolina, Georgia and Maryland and is currently studying for her Masters in Youth Development Leadership from Clemson University.
Ashley Barton
Ashley Barton, Instructor
Ashley’s choreography was AWARD winning at Hollywood Vibe and DMI competitions, including BEST DIRECTION award and 2 National OVERALL awards at DMI in 2014. This year she will continue teaching pre-school classes, jazz classes, and competition choreography. Ashley began with Burns Dance Studio at the age of 9. She is a former member of the Burns Dance Studio Performing Company and graduate of Midland Valley High School. She was an assistant in the studio during high school and upon graduation, a member of the faculty. She is employed by Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management from American Public University. She and Josh will welcomed their first child, Graeme, in March.
Sorelle Campbell
Sorelle Campbell
One look at Sorelle’s Facebook page will demonstrate how talented this young lady is. Sorelle will be working with our young dancers in the pre-school program and apprentice company. She has demonstrated her ability to choreograph great routines, perform at a high level, and creative talents with hair and make-up for recitals, competitions, and weddings! She has grown up in the studio and graduated from Silver Bluff High School in 2015. Sorelle's future is bright and we look forward to having her in the studio this year as teacher and choreographer.
Mike Hess
Mike Hess, Karate
Looking for a structured, high value, safe Karate experience? Come check out Mike Hess Karate. Since 1987, Mike has been setting a strong foundation for hundreds of Martial Arts students. No belts are given in his program, all are EARNED. Check out www.mikehesskarate.com.



2016 Readers Choice

1560 Hamilton Drive, Aiken, SC 29803
PO Box 6257, Aiken, SC 29804
803-648-7659 or 803-270-1438
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