225-A Market Street
Cramerton, NC  28032
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Cathy Layton-Aupied, Competition Dance Director & Creative Director
Cathy Layton has been around dance in one way or another her entire life!    She started taking dance at a young age and has never stopped!  

Cathy has a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from National University out of San Diego, California.  She is a North Carolina Certified Teacher and has been teaching K-12 Dance in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system for 20 years.  Cathy has taught dance, both competition and recreational, in the Gaston County area for over 30 years.  She was the former Artistic Director/Owner of A Dancer's Place, a premier dance school located in Gastonia, and a Competition Tap instructor with BB Dance Productions in Charlotte for 9 years.

While with CMS Cathy has been trained in several different areas to help better teach children and deal with any issues that might arise during a class.  She has training in International Baccalaureate Studies, as a Peer Mediation/Conflict Resolution Advisor, Corrective Reading Levels 1 & 2, and is currently beginning training as a New Teacher Mentor for CMS.

Cathy's dance pedigree is just as impressive as her teaching one!  Before his death, Cathy had the honor of taking classes with Dr. Henry LeTang in Las Vegas for 10 years.  In 2007 she attended the Tradition in Tap Workshop in New York City.  For 5 years Cathy attended the St. Louis Tap Festival Summer Intensives and for over 10 years she has attended the Broadway Dance Center Classes & Workshops in New York City.

Cathy is not just a teacher!  She has performed in several musicals through local theater groups.  She played the role of Eve Harrington in "Applause" and was a lead dancer/assistant to the choreographer in "Gypsy".  She appeared in "A Chorus Line" as Sheila in collaboration with Belmont Abbey College Theater Department and Gaston College.  She has also performed with the Modern/Ballet Department of Central Piedmont Community College with Choreographer Kathryn Horne.

Cathy is currently the choreographer for the Miss Gastonia Pageant and is celebrating her 11th year in the position.  She has instructed several Miss North Carolina contestants including several Top 10 Contestants.  She choreographed several numbers for the Alabama Theater show "One" in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Some of her many Competitive Dance awards include Top 10 overall awards at Showstopper, Showbiz, Rising Star, Star Power, Starbound and Dance Magic.  This past year her teams won 1st Overall Winners at Dance Makers Inc. Regional & National Competitions!  Cathy's students have performed and worked in places all over the world!  Students have traveled to Reno, Los Angeles, New York City, Tokyo and Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.  Her former student Chase Brock is currently the new choreographer for the Broadway musical "Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark".

Melissa Moore, Owner, Recreational Dance Director & Competition Instructor

Melissa has 16 years of dance experience including 8www. years of competitive dance, 8 years of gymnastics and 7 years of cheerleading.  Melissa has taught dance and gymnastics for many years and has been a cheerleading coach for middle & high school and competition teams.  She is a certified Medical Assistant with certification in first aid and CPR and has Childcare Credentials I & II.

Suzanne Van Dyke, Instructor
Suzanne started dancing before she started walking!!!    Suzanne graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Harding University in Arkansas.  She taught third grade for two years and Kindergarten for four years in both private and public settings.  Suzanne has been teaching dance for 12 years and has taught recreational and competitive tap and lyrical.  She specializes in gymnastics, acrobatics and character dance and has had students place Overall in several competitions.  Suzanne is very gifted with children and is looking foward to teaching dance for many many years.

Lauren Farris, Instructor
Lauren has 16 years of dance experience.  Through years of performing and competing, she has developed a love and a passion for teaching and developing others to be the best dancers they can be.  She had the privilege to study at the St. Louis Tap Festival, the New York Tap Festival, North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival and many others.  Lauren also had the opportunity to study with the late Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Professor Robert L. Reed, The Silver Belles and many other greats.  

Over years of competing, she has won numerous awards, including many top first places, platinum awards, double platinum awards, first overall awards, Top finalist in Miss Dance and was Miss Gastonia's Outstanding Teen 2011.

Lauren is currently a Cosmetologist who offers on location services.  She is also carrying on her skills and teaching Tap, Ballet, Jazz and Gymnastics classes here at Studio Elite!

Paige Jamison, Instructor
As a Gastonia native, Paige has been dancing competitively in local dance studios her entire life!  After graduating from high school, Paige went on to become a Charlotte Checkers Checkmate and performed at the Checkers games!  Miss Paige was also a Honey Bee at the Hornets games for several years!!! We are thrilled to have Miss Paige as a Competition Team instructor!!

Stephanie Johnson, Ballet Instructor
Stephanie has over 20 years of dance experience.  She began dancing at the age of 3 with Clover School of Dance.  Stephanie danced with Gaston Dance Theatre for 6 seasons, performing in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Giselle.  She attended summer intensive dance programs with the SC Ballet Conservatory, Charlotte City Ballet, High Point Ballet and Gaston Dance Theatre.  Stephanie also attended the NC Governor's School for dance.  She was invited to perform in the Winter Festival of Dance at the NC School of the Arts.

Stephanie attended college and obtained her Bachelor's Degree from UNC Wilmington in Marine Biology with minors in Theatre and Anthropology. While attending UNCW she performed with the dance department at the university.  She also danced with a dance company in Wilmington called The Dance Cooperative.  While performing with the company she danced in The Cucalorus Film Festival, The NC Dance Festival, many local events and participated in the NC Emerging Choreographers Showcase.  Stephanie currently lives in Rock Hill, SC with her husband and two dogs.  She is employed with The City of Gastonia's water department where she works in the lab

Meredith McMillan, Instructor
Meredith has been dancing  since the age of two and we are thrilled that she is bringing not only her dance experience to Studio Elite, but also her teaching experience.  Meredith has been teaching in Gaston County Schools for several years and has served as the Preschool Minister at Catawba Heights in Belmont for the past 7 years.  We are so excited that Mrs Meredith has joined the Studio Elite team!!

Angie Williams, Instructor
Angie has been a competitive dancer for years.  You may recognize her as one of our dancers, she danced with Studio Elite for many years and has done multiple group dances, as well as solos and duets and won many overall awards!  She is currently a licensed cosmetologist at a salon in Belmont, NC. Angie is currently teaching two 3 to 4 year old classes a 5 to 7 year old class and our Monday evening Mega Class. We are excited to have Miss Angie as a part of our staff!!

Maddi Ownbey, Instructor
Maddi has been dancing competitively for many years with Mrs. Cathy and Studio Elite.  This is Maddi’s third year as an instructor at Studio Elite and she is loving teaching our Mega Class and Recital Hip Hop class!! Maddi is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina, and is a middle school teacher in Rock Hill, SC.

Lauren Gaff, Instructor
Lauren was a competitive dancer for many years!!  We are so thrilled to have Lauren teaching at Studio Elite.  This year she is teaching a 5 to 7 year old class and for the second year our Adult Tap and Hip Hop Class.  Lauren is a wonderful addition to our Studio Elite Staff.

Pam Russell, Owner, Office Manager

Pam has been a dance student for 20 years.  As a Gastonia native she attended Ashbrook High School and went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications Public Relations.  Pam also has a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has 10 years experience as an office manager.