Our Staff

The Havilah Dance Company staff have over 75 years in combined experience in teaching recreational and competitive dance.


Miss Brooke Hardiman - Studio & Creative Director

Brooke’s love of dance and performing began at a young age. She trained and competed with local studios in the Charlotte area from age 3 to 18, and is experienced in all styles. She has been teaching for 15 years and is passionate about body alignment, strength and flexibility training, technique and acrobatics. She is a certified E-RYT yoga instructor as well as a certified Acrobatic Arts Instructor. She has her MA in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University with a focus on work with Adolescents.

Before opening HDC, Brooke was able to bring her training and education full circle when she was accepted to an internship position with the Choose to Invest organization, where she worked on a discipleship program that equips leaders in rural Africa to impact their communities utilizing the arts, sports, science, experiential learning, and relationships. Whenever she has the opportunity, Brooke loves to travel with her husband, Brian, finding inspiration in all corners of the world.

Miss Brittany Vachon - Dance Education & Choreography Director

Brittany began dancing at the age of 2 and worked her way up in the competition and convention world. During her years spent competing, she was awarded many honors; both on regional and national levels. She also received various scholarships allowing her to travel the country taking class from world-renowned teachers. Brittany is a born choreographer, and began creating solos for herself, as well as assisting and choreographing for others, at the young age of 14. Her love of dance and passion for the next generation is, of course, what prompted her and her family’s creation of Havilah Dance Company. When Brittany is not teaching, she cherishes the time she is able to spend with her 1-year old baby boy and husband, Joey!

Miss Gail Dawkins - Office & Account Director

Gail was a competition ‘dance mom’ for 19 years, during which she grew to love the art form and watching her daughters perform. When her 2 daughters, Brooke and Brittany, showed an interest in creating a new studio home for the next generation, she could not have been happier. Gail now owns one third of Havilah Dance Company where she manages the office, accounts, and loves meeting new dance babies! Her years of ‘dance mom’ experience bring a unique and knowledgeable perspective of ‘dance-mom-life’ to the table, and her years in business management and ownership bring priceless wisdom to the operations aspects of HDC.


Kristen Baughn - Tumble & Acro Coach

Bio coming soon!

Emily Bowen - Director of Ballet & Lead Ballet Mistress

Emily was born and raised in Harrisburg, PA. She received her dance training at Cumberland Dance Company in PA, the School of North Carolina Dance Theater (now Charlotte Ballet) and Houston Ballet Academy.  While in Houston Ballet II, Emily competed in the prestigious Prix De Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland. During her 10 year career as a performer with Houston Ballet, she was featured in many works by world renowned choreographers including: George Balanchine, Sir Kenneth McMillan, Anthony Tudor, William Forsythe, Stanton Welch, Wayne McGregor, Jiri Kylian and Nacho Duato. In 2013, she was one of the featured dancers in Jordan Matter’s print work Dancers Among Us photographed in New York City.  After retiring from the stage in July 2016, Emily is excited to begin this new chapter in her ballet journey.  She is also an instructor at Charlotte Ballet, and we are thrilled to welcome her to our HDC team.

Michelle Pettine - Recreational Program Manager & Director of Tap (ages 12 & under)

Michelle brings over 20+ years of dance training and experience to our HDC staff. She danced all through her childhood, majored in the dance academy in high school, took classes in college, and eventually started teaching at local studios. She is experienced in tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, and ballet but her favorite is TAP! She is married to her loving husband and has 2 children. Michelle likes to spend her spare time with family doing spontaneous activities and enjoying life!

Ariana Schott - Recreational & Company Instructor

Ariana started dance at the age of three. Her senior year of high school, she received a scholarship/internship to broadway dance center to study under various artists including Pam Chancey. She has extensive ballet training with instructors from the Washington ballet/ Abt and The Avery ballet. Her freshmen year of college she joined the nationally ranked Towson University Dance Team where she earned the title of Grand National Champions. From there she went on to join the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders where I was able to perform overseas and tour other countries including Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Italy as well as perform with Kennedy Chesney. Ariana started teaching dance in 2007 and fell in love. Her free time is spent chasing three little boys and enjoying time with family. She loves to travel to the beach and the mountains. Her favorite day of the week is Sunday where we spend our time serving and attending our awesome church and having family time.

James Schuller - Directory of Tap (ages 13 & up) & Company Instructor

James is a Business and Finance major at the University of South Carolina who has had a passion for dance his whole life. He started dancing and performing all disciplines of dance with Dance Productions in North Carolina where he studied tap under Sabrina Perrell at the age of 11. He has been the Assistant Director and Director of Tap for Columbia City Jazz under Dale Lam for the past 7 years, where he has worked with many world renowned choreographers such as Anthony Morigerato, Mike Minery, and Travis Wall.

Austin Smith - Recreational Instructor & Tumble and Acro Coach

Austin Smith started dance training before the age of two and began her Acrobatic training at age three. Joining competitive dance at the age of eight, Austin was a consistent high scoring soloist receiving multiple Regional and National titles. Becoming more interested in the art of Ballet at twelve, Austin participated in Summer and Winter Intensives and Performances at North Carolina School of the Arts, trained with members of Alvin Ailey, NYC Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre, and many others. She began her teaching career instructing Acrobatics in 2011. In 2012,  she moved to Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet genres and Competition Teams. She believes, and teaches, that you can never stop learning new things about this amazing sport. She is certified in Acrobatic Arts and has developed an Acrobatic program that coincides with Ballet training providing progressions for safe and effective training. 

 With a true love and passion for the Art and Athleticism in dance, Austins encouraging, yet strict, team oriented training style is a unique asset for all of the students she encounters.

Mae Hinson - Recreational Instructor

Mae Hinson began dancing at three years old. She attended Central Academy of Technology and Arts where she was a member of the dance academy. She has training in dance styles including tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, ballet, pointe, acro, hip hop, jazz, and musical theater. After high school, she furthered her dance experience by being a member in the Contemporary Dance Ensemble at Virginia Tech where she was the “Remembrance Through the Arts” scholarship recipient. She currently attends Wingate University where she is majoring in elementary education. In addition to dance, community service and helping others have been key importances in her life. Mae is extremely excited and thankful to join the Havilah family.

Sydney Buchanan - Ballet Mistress & Recreational & Company Instructor

Sydney has been dancing since the age of five. Ever since she was younger she knew that this was the career path she wanted to take. After graduating high school, she attended East Carolina University to continue her studies in dance. She has studied under various professional artists while being in university. She graduated in May of 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Dance with a concentration in performance and choreography. She is so excited to be apart the HDC team!


Sydney Smith - Assistant Office Manager and Recreational Instructor

Sydney Smith is the assistant office manager at Havilah Dance Company, where she is responsible for customer accounts, overseeing office operation and helping lead the staff to a greater tomorrow. Sydney is currently a full time student at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte, working towards a B.S. in Business Management with a specialization in corporations, expected to graduate in May 2023. After dancing for fifteen years, Sydney appreciates being a part of a dance environment again and having the opportunity to share her experiences in the field with fellow HDC dancers! Sydney is originally from Detroit, Michigan, enjoys spending time on a beach, and is so blessed to be the first face you get to meet at HDC!