Meet our Teachers, Choreographers, Creatives & Dreamers.
These are the people who create the magic at dance 101. Today they are names on a screen but soon some of these extraordinary people will become very important to you.
*To read their full bios, click on faculty's name

Kendall Martin Thanos

Class: Jazz 101

Kendall is an Atlanta native and began her dance training at the age of 5. She was initially trained in classical jazz, ballet, and tap at Dancentre South under the instruction of Marcus Alford, Annie Day, and Terrell Paulk. In her teen years, she expanded her training into the areas of modern and contemporary dance while performing and choreographing for her highschool dance company. Kendall attended Cornell University and received her Bachelor's Degree in Hotel Administration. During her time at Cornell, Kendall captained a 30-person contemporary and hiphop dance team called Base Productions. After graduating, she moved out to the West Coast to pursue a career in event planning. While living in Las Vegas, Kendall continued her jazz training with Shawn Hughes at the Rock Center for Dance. Kendall recently moved back to Atlanta, where she has continued her love of dance through taking classes, performing, and teaching at Dance101!

Khalil Johnson

Class: K-Funk Hip Hop

Caribbean in blood but born in California, Khalil Has Been Dancing Since the age of 8. He Has trained in various styles as seen in his style Of choreography that he calls "Special K Style.' He has danced and worked with artists like Monica And TLC!

Ashleigh Hughes

Classes: Reb3l Groove & Reb3l Strength 

Ashleigh does not come from a dance background but discovered it only by trying to "lose the baby weight". She went to a dance fitness class back in 2009 after her second son was born and became hooked! The baby weight started to melt off and it was a release, it was fitness and it was fun! She continued to go to that class until she moved to Colorado in 2011 where she became a certified fitness instructor herself.

Peter Poulos

Classes: Pop Jazz, Video Pop & Lyrical Jazz

Peter Poulos has been an established instructor and choreographer in the Atlanta dance scene for over 20 years and on faculty at dance 101 for 9 years. His signature high energy jazz choreography regularly packs out classes at dance 101 and is popular among dance team celebrities needing to stay in shape in between seasons. With a focus on technique, athleticism and execution, Peter is regularly sought out by dance team hopefuls who have heard about his career and reputation in the pro-sports dance world. He has worked with successful candidates in every aspect from pageants to pro cheer as well as members of the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders and the Atlanta Hawks dance teams. Peter has also been a judge for the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders for many years.

Lauren Michelle

Classes: Body Language (Contemporary) & Intro to Ballet Basics

Lauren Michelle is a freelance movement artist and teacher in Atlanta. She has performed in soloist and ensemble roles throughout the U.S. with Fuerta Dance Company, The Esthete Collective, Chicago Repertory Ballet, the Portland Opera, and in other movement art projects. Her training has included artistic scholarships under Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, NW Dance Project, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Lauren Banks Soderstrom

Class: Ballet Barre Fit

Lauren Banks graduated from Kennesaw State University suma cum laude with a B.S. in Communication and a Minor in dance. Upon graduating, Lauren began performing with Young Audiences at the Woodruff Arts Center and later the Atlanta-based contemporary dance companies Gathering Wild and Ellisorous Rex and the Dance Machine. She is a featured dancer/actress in a Home Depot and Lifetime Original Series Devious Maids commercial and has worked as a freelance dancer for a number of prominent Atlanta choreographers (Bubba Carr, Emily Christianson, Corian Ellisor, and Jerylann Warner) for over 10 years.

Kevin Tyson

Class: A-Town Funk

Kevin Tyson discovered his passion for dance as a Drum Major with his high school band in Decatur Georgia. Shortly after entering college in 1997, his exceptional dance ability earned him a spot on the Georgia State University Hip Hop dance team performing at halftime shows. In 2001, he was recruited to join Culture Shock Atlanta as a principal dancer.  During his  four year dance career with Culture Shock Atlanta, Kevin traveled and performed in California, South Carolina and all over Georgia. In 2005 he joined D.O.P.-Dancers On Pointe, a phenomenal hip hop dance troupe that opened up for Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, and danced at the Apollo Theater.  Kevin's signature A-Town Funk style of Hip Hop was developed during his time with D.O.P. In 2008 Kevin joined the faculty at dance 101 and  A-Town Funk made its stellar debut on the weekly schedule - where it remains to this day! 

David Rossetti

Class: Centerstage Jazz

David Rossetti is excited to be subbing at the amazing Dance101! He has performed on Broadway (Annie Revival), in four national tours (Fame, Hairspray, Joseph…Dreamcoat, & Something Rotten), and conducted workshops and intensives all over the country (and Japan!). He served as Associate Choreographer to Tony-winner Andy Blankenbuehler (Cats, Hamilton, In The Heights, Annie) for the national and international tours of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He made his Broadway debut in the revival of Annie at The Palace Theatre where he was dance captain, swing, and understudied the role of “Rooster.”

Barry Thomas

Classes: Tap (beginner & intermediate levels)

Barry Thomas received his B.A. in dance at the prestigious Butler University. Several seasons in summer stock found him with his first job in New York and the world famous Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. After numerous shows in and around New York, Michael Bennett cast Mr. Thomas in the role of Don Kerr for the Broadway and International Company of A Chorus Line. He performed with the company for a year, where they eventually headed for Atlanta.

Susie Payne

Class: Intro to Contemporary

Susanne Payne was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio where she danced professionally with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s touring company, performing works by such noted choreographers as Eleo Pomare, Donald Byrd, Rennie Harris, and Ron K. Brown. She has also danced with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in New York City as well as Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Payne received her BFA in Dance with a minor in Psychology from Wright State University and has set several choreographic works for both professional companies and regional academies nationwide.

Lara McGee

Classes: Intro to Ballet Barre & Ballet Relevé

Lara Davis has danced professionally with The Georgia Ballet, Watershed Dance Theatre, Dance Canvas, and Refuge Dance Company. She trained at the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance in Roswell, Georgia where she was a member of the student company, Roswell Dance Theatre (RDT), for 8 years. As a member of RDT, she received training in ballet, pointe, Horton and Graham modern, jazz, and contemporary. During the summers, she trained with American Ballet Theatre, The Rock School, Joffrey Ballet NYC, Joffrey Ballet South, Dance Canvas, METdance Houston, Point Park University, Colorado Conservatory of Dance, the National Choreography Intensive, and the 2012 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program as a Dance Major.

D. Norris

Classes: Hip Hop Fit, Latin Fiesta & Fuego!

D. Norris is a native of Atlanta, GA. He obtained a degree in Business Management from Alabama State Univ. He started choreographing in high school. D. has choreographed and danced for numerous theater and stage performances across the globe, including Miami, San Diego, Montreal and Mexico. He has worked with various artists, including Mary Mary and Dirk Chaney (R.I.P.). Culture Shock Atlanta, Infinite Movement Dance, CHOSEN and Contagious Entertainment are among the dance companies he’s been affiliated.

Brad Dorfman

Classes: Tap Basics & Intro to Tap Workshop

Are you learning to dance for the first time as an adult? Well, Brad WAS you. 
After getting his start right here at Dance 101 as an absolute beginner, he tapped his way to a spot in the Atlanta Rhythm Keepers before returning to Dance 101 as a teacher and choreographer. 
With a background in orchestral music and a love of jazz, he has a passion for sharing his love of tap with others, regardless of their level of experience. He’s tapped in studios in Berlin and Paris, as well as performing as a Burlesque tapper back here in the states.
Chantal Maurice

Class: This is Soca!

Dancing to the beat of her own drum. Chantal's passion for dance started at an early age. Throughout college, she taught dance and was a backup dancer for local music artists in South Carolina. After college, she moved to NYC and began training in multiple Afro/Caribbean dance styles.

In her journey to connect more with her Haitian Roots, she fell in love with the Caribbean Culture & SOCA music. Her SOCA dance classes provide a Caribbean Carnival experience through choreography & cardio.

Kevin K'Smoove Maddox

Class: MADD-X Fitness (dance fitness)

Kevin is an established fitness instructor, originator of MADD-X Fitness, Hip Hop choreographer, founder and Executive Director of Culture Shock® Atlanta (a nationally recognized professional hip-hip dance organization that, among other things, produced some of Dance 101's most popular dance teachers: Elaina Whitehead, Kevin Tyson, D Norris and Jeremy McShan). Kevin is considered the most influential pioneer of Dance Fitness in Atlanta, being one of the first trained dance professionals to cross over into fitness.

Shelly Collins

Class: SoulFull (Contemporary)

Shelly is a dance educator in the public school system with 16 years of teaching experience. She holds a dance degree from Brenau University, located in Gainesville, Ga. She is the mother of two amazing daughters and looks forward to presenting new and innovative dance experiences to the world. Catch her class, “SoulFull w/ Shelly”, Monday nights at 7pm

Katie Britt

Classes: Dance Fitness & Barre Intensity

Katie Britt has a Bachelors in Musical Theatre and is an ACE® certified Group Fitness Instructor and Functional Movement Specialist.  Before all the degrees and titles though, Katie grew up dancing - first at a classical ballet company through age fourteen, then expanding horizons with forays into ballroom, jazz, and even Irish step dance.  

Ricardo Aponte

Class: On Broadway

Ricardo is a professional director and choreographer for theater, industrials, and televised specials. Most recent theater credits include: Kiss of the Spider Woman (Actors Express), Ain't Misbehavin' (Atlanta Lyric Theatre), The Buddy Holly Story (Georgia Ensemble), Altar Boyz (Horizon Theatre), How I Became a Pirate (Theatre in the Square), Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer (Center For Puppetry Arts), Kiss me, Kate, Annie Get Your Gun, The Dinosaur Musical, (Aurora Theatre),

stephanie kirksey

Class: Heel & Now

Stephanie was born in Buffalo, NY (GO BILLS!) and grew up overseas. It was in Germany that she discovered her love for dance and developed her foundational skills in ballet. Throughout high school and college, Stephanie had numerous opportunities to perform with Paramount's Kings Dominion, Richmond Speed Arena Football League Dance Team, a full dance Scholarship with the University of Tennessee Dance Team, and as a University of Tennessee Dance Company Soloist.

Caitlin Gray

Class: Jazz Roulette (intermediate jazz)

Born in NYC, Caitlin Gray's diverse background, which includes dance, gymnastics and circus arts, has made her a much sought-after teacher and choreographer. She believes that teaching is an integral part of giving back to the dance community and has taught master classes all over the U.S. and abroad, including South Africa, United Kingdom, U.A.E., Turkey, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and Australia. 

Jared James

Classes: King of Hearts (int. hip hop) & J-Roc (beg. hip hop)

Jared was born April 1, 1990. Inspired by street dancers and poppers he started dancing at the age of 11, and that’s when Jared and his brother came up with the crew name Royal Flush. Throughout the years he continued to grow as a dancer and choreographer, despite the negative comments from his parents and his high school basketball coach. Now Jared has danced and choreographed for singing groups and danced in many videos.

Nick Walker Jones

Class: Broadway Repertoire

Joining the Dance 101 staff from NYC, Nick is so excited to share his love of musical theatre dance and Broadway rep with the Atlanta community! While based in New York, Nick participated in several workshops of new musicals, performed off broadway, toured the country, and danced and sang around the country from St. Louis to Boston. Now in Atlanta, Nick is active in the local theatre and dance communities and is loving all that the city has to offer! 

Ofelia de La Valette

Classes: Dancer's Stretch & Conditioning, Jazz It Up & The Dance Fundamentals Workshop

Though a passion for dance has been with her since childhood, it wasn't until the age of 34 that former insurance executive Ofelia de La Valette dedicated herself to her true calling. For 10 years in pursuit of her passion, she navigated her corporate career, being a mother to two, and intensive training in jazz,  hip hop, ballet and modern dance. Showing natural talent early on, she was asked to teach adult beginner jazz classes at Emory University.  Having learned to dance later in life, Ofelia developed a unique method of teaching dance to adults in accordance with how adults process and apply information. Her teaching method was so successful that after two years at Emory, she took a huge leap.

Tara McCurley

Classes: Ballet Center, Ballet Fundamentals & Pure Ballet

Tara began her training at age 3 in Enola, PA, later dancing with the pre-professional Cumberland Dance Company and studying at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. At 15, she was invited to study on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet in New York City, where she danced principal roles in Allegro Brillante, Concerto Barocco, and Flower Festival for the school’s workshop performances, as well as principal roles in Symphonie Concertante and Serenade for the New York City Ballet’s 1993 Balanchine Celebration.

Grace Carter

Classes: Intro to Hip Hop & Sexy, Crazy, Cool + Turns, Hip Hop & Jazz Workshops

With her mother and aunt being dance teachers, Grace was born and bred into the world of dance. She started her training at the age of 3, delving into any and every style she could sink her teeth into, eventually coming to love jazz and hip-hop most. Grace furthered her training at the CAP21 Musical Theatre Conservatory in NYC, studying with theatre dance legends such as Marilyn D’Honau, Alex Sanchez, and Lloyd Culbreath. Upon graduation, she very soon began touring with the Broadway musicals Mamma Mia! and Shrek, The Musical, performing in 47 states and 10 countries.

John James

Classes: Hip Hop 101 & Hip Hop 201

John James is a native of Atlanta, GA whose life has centered around music and dance.

Since birth, John has been surrounded by vocalists, producers, and musicians which naturally helped him develop both a love and understanding for the entertainment industry. At a young age he studied instrumentation and music performance from some of the best directors in the southeastern United States. After becoming a singer/artist at age 16, John realized that his truelove lie in dance.

Bryn Chafin

Class: Ballerobica

Bryn has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She trained in a number of different styles including ballet, jazz, modern, character, and flamenco with the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. As a teenager and a pre-professional with the Atlanta Ballet, Bryn was given the opportunity to perform roles with the professional company in ballets such as "The Nutcracker" and Michael Pink's world premiere of "Romeo and Juliet". Also during high school, Bryn attended many Summer dance intensives including a program in Beijing, China to train with the Beijing Ballet Academy.