You’ll Love to Dance with Us!
Melissa Kelley Clark
Melissa Kelley's Dance Studio of Braintree, LLC was founded by Melissa Kelley in 1991. Melissa has been teaching the art of dance for 25 years. She began her own dance education at age 2 ½ with Leslie Vinson and the Quincy School of Ballet. During her earlier years as a dance student, Melissa danced many principal roles in ballets such as Coppelia, Hansel and Gretel, Alice in Wonderland, La Boutique Fantastique, Circus Days, Cinderella, and many more. In 1989, Melissa graduated from The Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston/American Society teacher training course, and has been a member of DTCB/AS since 1992. She is certified by test to teach.
Melissa is also a member of the Greater Brockton Dance Teacher's Association and is a past president. She has also held positions on association committees as well as worked as scholarship chairperson for many years, and continues to find extraordinary staff to bring to the club's workshops and competition judging panels.
While attending Bridgewater State College, she was a member of the Dance Company. Melissa helped with choreography for Winterdance, the annual holiday performance in 1990, and was highlighted as a soloist.
During the regular dance season, Melissa participates in many programs offered by major dance organizations, sometimes as a student and sometimes as faculty. She has taught for various competition workshops and master classes and has also had the privilege of teaching and judging for DMA Boston as a ballet judge for their scholarships. She has performed for noted composer and choreographer Dr. Leland Owen Clark, and has danced as the soloist in one of his videos for classical piano music. Melissa also teaches many master classes and choreographs competition pieces for many other dance studios as well as at DSOB.
From 1991 to 1995, Melissa was the choreographer for the Archbishop Williams High School drama department. She worked with the students on such plays as Saturday Night Live, Bye-Bye Birdie, The Pajama Game, Pippin, Anything Goes, and her favorite, Godspell. It was this time that gave Melissa a great opportunity to explore her love for stage direction and producing shows outside of her annual dance recitals. This was a stepping stone toward the big plan – her own ballet company.
For many years Melissa entered her top-level dancers in dance competitions at both the regional and national levels. Her students have been awarded some of the highest medal standings possible, in addition to numerous high scores and special awards. Melissa has received awards for “Overall Excellence” for her ballet and pointe choreography, as well “The Carole Miller Award” for having the highest standards for dance education. Some of Melissa’s students have gone on to win both regional and national dance titles. Her choreography often wins judges’ choice awards for the judges’ favorite.
Many of Melissa's students have gone on to college after receiving dance scholarships. These scholarships have been awarded from top dance organizations as well as colleges, based on audition and testing scores. Melissa is also proud to have students that have moved on to dance at the professional level as performers, teachers, and choreographers, and directors.
Besides teaching at her own studio, Melissa is often asked to teach master classes in classical ballet, pointe, and lyrical dance. She has taught classes for private dance schools as well as organizations such as Dance Masters of America, Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston, and Dance Ovations Performing Arts Competition. Melissa has also worked as a judge at both regional and national levels of competitions and scholarship programs. Melissa developed a special ballet program, "A New Way To Ballet," that she has taught for some of these master classes. The program was also nationally recognized in a feature article in Dance Studio Life magazine.
Melissa continues her dance education by attending classes and workshops to provide the most current trends in dance to her students, as well as educate her dancers with the newest techniques on classical styles. She continues to give every opportunity to her dancers that she is able to, with hopes that they will enjoy the art of dance to its fullest.
Courtney Austin has been with the studio since the age of 5. Courtney grew up in the studio, following in her older sister's footsteps, and quickly became one of the high-scoring soloists of our competitive team. Courtney has had many years working as a class assistant in tap, jazz, and ballet classes, and she has recently been welcomed as a full-time instructor. She is well-versed in classical ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, and lyrical dance. Besides working well with our older students, Courtney has a special love and gift for working with the youth of the studio. Courtney's list of credits goes well beyond her winning scores in competition. She has also been a principal dancer for The Braintree Ballet Company, our resident ballet company. Courtney has starred in many classical ballets, as well as many company originals. She also worked as a coach for the company rehearsals, and has assisted with production planning of both ballets and our annual recitals. Courtney has been a huge help with our annual Summerdance sessions and has been on faculty as an instructor. Her love of dance and love for teaching are a perfect recipe for the wonderful teacher she is.
Ricardo Machado is celebrating his 17th year with our studio. "Mr. Rick" came to us after experiencing dance life at Bridgewater State College. He quickly picked up on many styles of dance, but found ballet to be his favorite. After years of dancing, studying, reading, attending performances, and trying his hand at choreography, Rick was asked to officially join our staff for education. Rick has taken years of classes in classical ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, musical theatre, and pas de deux. Rick has danced many years in principal roles for our own Braintree Ballet Company. His partnering skills are outstanding and work ethic is to be admired. He embraces all that our studio stands for and is constantly thought to be a motivator and mentor for all of our students. He has graced our audience with his choreography in ballet, tap, jazz, pas de deux, lyrical, modern, and musical theatre. He always has something new ready to show and excite us. It is an honor to have him on staff.
Tony Tucker first visited our school in 2008 as an assistant to teacher Jeffrey Louiza. Now as a teacher himself, he provides us with outstanding hip-hop and contemporary choreography and classes. Tony is our resident hip-hop instructor and has brought such a fantastic level of energy to the curriculum at DSOB. Tony also trains with our ballet company, as well as continues his dance education with other programs we offer. He never stops finding inspiration, and also continues to inspire others. A true artist in every sense of the word!
Besides being a member of our own Braintree Ballet Company, Tony has danced with the Boston-based modern company Deborah Able Dance Company, and guest performs with Bosoma, another popular Boston dance troupe. He is the founder and director of Street Hype, his own outstanding hip-hop company. Tony spent a few summers involved in the Boston University "Reach" program, a summer dance program that educates and mentors the community's youth through dance. His training includes hip-hop, Krump, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, ballet, partnering, and Haitian Folk. Some people are just born to dance, and Tony is one of those people! Tony’s fantastic energy and creative choreography keep our students motivated and challenged. We are so proud to have him with our school.
Derrick Louizia, a Boston native, was a member of our ballet company and is a substitute guest instructor. He graduated from the Boston Arts Academy and then continued his dance training at Dean College. His training consists of everything from ballet, tap, and jazz to hip-hop and cultural dance. He is a member of his family's own Arc en Ciel Dance Company and travels all over New England performing traditional Haitian Dance. He has performed with Festival Ballet as a guest dancer in their Nutcracker Ballet, as well as taught jazz and hip-hop for their academic program. He is well known in New England as a great dance teacher with his own creative and evolving style. Derrick is a wonderful addition to the DSOB family both on stage and off. He works well with the youth of the school and really knows how to motivate anyone he works with.
Derrick has created numerous pieces of choreographic work that have been seen on stages of college dance performances, competition stages, and recitals. But his favorite way of sharing his love of dance when not in the classroom is through his videos. Derrick writes, directs, and performs in his own concept videos that receive rave reviews on many forms of social media. He is a true, well-rounded talent.He is residing in Salt Lake City Utah teaching and performing. We look forward to him coming home to visit and inspiring us!
Jeffrey Louizia, our "King of Hip-Hop," is one of our favorites. One of our guest faculty members, Jeffrey, currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah, comes home often to be with family and always finds plenty of time to visit us and teach a great class. His fusion styles really allow our trained dancers to express their technique in ways they don't normally see or feel in the more classical styles. Jeffrey teaches hip-hop, tap, modern, contemporary, and Afro-Haitian dance. He goes well beyond the rules of choreography and thrills both dancers and audiences with his gift for the art of dance.
A graduate of Dean College, Jeffrey currently holds his Bachelor of Arts in dance and teaches at many dance studios. He guest taught at the Boston Conservatory, Boston Arts Academy, and others. After living in L.A. for a period of time where he worked on a short film, danced for live shows/concerts, and appeared in a Black Eyed Peas video, he moved to Salt Lake City to join Odyssey Dance Theatre. He is a principal dancer with the company and has also landed the job as director of hip-hop at the Pointe Academy, one of the leading dance studios in the Salt Lake City area. He teaches at workshops across the country with many of the SYTYCD past winners. Jeffrey is also the creator of Lovolution of Hip-Hop, a series of workshops that inspire and motivate the future of hip-hop dance. Jeffrey is a true gem and one we are so happy to have as part of our dance family -- even if it is part time for now.
Jeryl Palana Pilapil
Jeryl Palana Pilapil is a native of Massachusetts and a graduate of Dean College, earning her B.A. degree as a dance major. She has experience and knowledge in dance composition, pedagogy, and Laban Movement Analysis. Jeryl has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Modern, and Contemporary. She has performed in much of the Boston dance scene and has been a member of some of of the most well known and loved companies in the Boston area. She is well known for her energetic and craeuve classes, contemporary being her favorite to teach. Jeryl wrks for many dance studios and her students have won serveal high scores for her choreography. She is one of our most loved guest faculty members and we get excited when we know she is coming in to teach as it guarantees us a great class and creative choreography!
You can learn to love dance too! Contact us at 781-380-8856.