Gear-Up Convention



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A Convention where you actually take classes that are technique and performance based…not just learning combinations…we have gathered a sensational faculty that wants to help you and your dancers take their technique, conditioning, and performance to the next level.

2017-2018 Events

Rock Hill, SC-November 4th & 5th

Rockingham, NC-February  17th & 18th

**Rockingham includes an On-Stage Competition Element**


**Must attend both days to eligible for Scholarship Awards**


A Glimpse at 2017-2018 GEAR-UP Convention Faculty…we are still contracting our Amazing Faculty!!!

Melissa Pihos holds an MFA in Choreography from UNC-Greensboro. She 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 currently dances for Christine Bowen Stevens and Van Dyke Dance Group and danced for John Gamble Dance Theatre, Sidelong Dance Company. She has also performed in works by Martha Graham, Larry Keigwen 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. She is adjunct faculty of dance UNC Charlotte and Salem College. She has also taught at UNC-Greensboro and High Point University. She is currently a Professor for the Dance Program at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA.

Eileen Juric danced as a soloist with the Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet. Under the direction of former New York City Ballet prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, she performed Balanchine repertoire with such notable dancers as Jacques d’Amboise, Ronald Perry, Hinton Battle, and Daniel Baudendistel. Eileen trained on full scholarships at the Joffrey Ballet School and the School of American Ballet (school of the New York City Ballet). She had the great honor of studying with prominent New York teachers Finis Jhung, David Howard, Robert Joffrey, Maggie Black, Zena Rommett, and Lawrence Rhodes. After her performing career, Miss Eileen returned to the Joffrey Ballet School to pursue a teaching career in the children’s program. She later served as a faculty member of the Princeton Ballet School (official school of the American Repertory Ballet). For fifteen years, she owned and operated her own studio, Basically Ballet, in New Jersey. Her students have progressed to incredibly successful dance careers on the stage, on the screen, and in the classroom. Seeing a need for a fresh approach to ballet in mainstream studios, Miss Eileen developed the innovative teaching program BalletBarreNone. Her 3-DVD series entitled “The Children’s Hour of Power” takes students away from the barre and presents a progressively layered approach to harnessing the essence of ballet movement in three levels designed for ages 3-5, 5-7, and 7-9. The series has sold in over 17 countries worldwide. Since the program’s debut, Miss Eileen’s work has been featured in multiple national dance publications, and she has been invited to teach dance instructors at multiple high-level venues. Miss Eileen is returning this summer as a faculty member at the Dance Teacher Summit in NYC as well as the Florence Summer Dance Intensive in Italy.  She has presented at Dance Masters, Dance Teacher Summit, Dance Studio Life Conference, and IDEA.

April Cook is an NYC-based teacher, choreographer and dancer. While attending UNC-Chapel Hill, she studied with Gene Medler, director of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble. April currently teaches throughout the country, and is a judge and teacher for several competitions and conventions including Mainstage Productions, Dance Theater USA, and The PTC Productions Annual Teacher Workshop. She has been on faculty with Broadway Dance Center since 2004, and has had the pleasure of leading several workshops and projects throughout her years there. She has been a guest speaker at Dance Teacher Magazine’s Summer Conference, a tap instructor for Rosie O’Donnell’s Rosie’s Broadway Kids theater scholarship program in Manhattan, a guest teacher at the Osaka School of Music in Osaka, Japan, and had the privilege of performing nationally with Savion Glover. April is also the current liaison between Good Morning America and BDC for dance segments, and has been a movement coach for two of their surprise proposal flash mobs. Performance credits include: The Colbert Report, tap dancer at Usher Raymond’s birthday celebration at the Rainbow Room in NYC, Up Front for Cartoon Network, Britney Spears’ Elizabeth Arden fragrance launch party, Neil Young and Crazy Horse Greendale Tour NYC dates, the WNBA Charlotte Sting dance team, Mable Lee’s Dancing Ladies, Good Housekeeping’s Shine On at Radio City Music Hall and A Shared Evening: Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, as part of the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church.

Daniel Browning is from Augusta, GA. He was a national finalist in the Shine Showcase in Orlando Florida. Daniel was a National Champion and Choreographer at Hall of Fame Dance. He was the winner of CSRA’s Got Talent 2015. Amateur Series Finalist and participant in America’s Got Talent. He is the creator and owner of Dance 2 Inspire and the Unleashed Convention. He travels across the country performing, teaching, and speaking to young people using the art of dance to inspire this generation to be better than they were yesterday! He has worked with Trending Topic (RnB group out of Atlanta, GA), Leon Lee (Beyoncé, Boyz 2 Men, Ciara, and Akon), Chris McGriff (Ne-Yo, Mindless Behavior, Chris Brown, Plain White T’s)  Stephen “Stevo” Jones (Step Up, Llyod, Jacob Latimore, and Lindsey Sterling) He is one of Beth Spangler’s (Season 7 of The Voice) dancers. He is currently signed with two talent agencies out of Atlanta and Charlotte and have had the pleasure of working in movies (Billy Lynn), commercials (Harley Davidson) and music videos (First Room, Kara Alyse, Plastic Yellow Band, Cash Bledsoe) along the way. Daniel’s most recent accomplishment is the creation of New Start Talent Management.

Kyle Plunkett is a native of White Hall, AR where he is the Co-Owner/Choreographer of MK Studios. Kyle has been dancing since the age of 4. His love of tap dancing defeated any of the other activities he was involved in as child. His tap dancing eventually grew into a love for jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop. In addition to dancing locally for various events and shows, he has achieved numerous regional and national titles with his choreography in cities such as Las Vegas, NV, Panama City, FL, and Myrtle Beach, SC, to name a few. Kyle is a proud member of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) as well as an affiliate member of the Association Of Dance Conventions and Competitions (ADCC). He has been published numerous times in Dance Studio Life Magazine. In addition to his love of dance, Kyle holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and currently works as a Registered Nurse at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. In addition to spending time at his studio, Kyle enjoys traveling to judge, host Master Classes and contract work for choreography – partnering with various charities, competitive cheer teams, and local arts schools where he enjoys inspiring students of all ages.

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