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About Stage Door Dance Arts - Studio and Story

The Stage Door Difference

The philosophy of Stage Door Dance Arts is simple and clear: dance education empowers and defines self-esteem, discipline, creativity, self-confidence, respect, and a sense of community.


We desire to make dance a fun experience for all involved, while providing a holistic dance program, which may include training in voice, theater, choreography, dance history, dance health, and employability.


Our fundamental mission is to maximize the physical, social, emotional, and academic benefits of dance in the students we educate, in a loving, encouraging, yet professional environment where mutual respect is of utmost importance.


Read more about Stage Door Dance Arts

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Our Founders

Co-founders, Michelle Knell and Haley Harmon-Ashford, are the best and brightest mother-daughter team in the dance community.

Our Story

Once upon a time, over 40 years ago, a little girl named Michelle had a dream of becoming a dancer. Well, that dream came true, but was eventually surpassed in beauty by the honor of becoming a mother. Then, one day, another little girl named Haley put on her first pair of dance shoes...and the next chapter began. She wanted to be a dancer, too!  So, my daughter, Haley Harmon-Ashford, and I have been sharing our love of dance not only with each other, but with students all across the southern states for over 20 years.


At Stage Door Dance Arts, we continue to share our love of “dancing with joy, passion, and excellence” with students of all ages. Most importantly, we teach more than just dance classes – we teach each child valuable life-lessons about self-confidence, teamwork, integrity, and the importance of knowing that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  We are a studio created by a family of dancers to serve families and dancers!  


We employ professional teachers who offer our students excellence in dance instruction in a fun and uplifting atmosphere. SDDA offers classes for 2 year olds through adults of all skill levels.  Dance classes include creative movement, ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, modern, pointe, musical theater, contemporary/lyrical, clogging, cheernastics, and acro. We also offer many other specialized classes to build well-rounded dancers.


In addition to our dance technique classes, we offer optional competition teams, giving students the opportunity to compete at both the regional and national levels. These competition teams are a great way for students who love to perform to further expand their talents and build life-long friendships.


If you have any questions please feel free to call, email, or schedule a personal visit!  

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