Katelan Kranz - Studio Owner / Tap Director
Katelan is happy to serve as studio owner, director, instructor and choreographer for Stepping Out Dance Studio as of June 2014! She began her dance training at age four under the instruction of Rhonda Marchant. She was a member of the Stepping Out Dance Company for over fifteen years as an award winning group and tap soloist. Katelan has been a successful choreographer and teacher of tap, jazz, lyrical/contemporary and musical theatre for the past nine years. She offers the most sought after and highest quality of tap dance instruction in South Carolina! Her choreography is recognized for its innovation, creativity and unique style and has won numerous awards and achievements in the regional and national competition circuit including "Elite Highest Score of the Day." She has choreographed several talent winners in pageants and most recently choreographed and coached South Carolina's Distinguished Young Woman's overall talent winner of 2015. She enjoys traveling to studios to teach master classes and setting choreography for groups and soloists!
Katelan graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a minor in dance. Her and her husband Logan welcomed their daughter Lily in November 2016 and reside in Lexington.
Katelan has a unique way of connecting with her students to share in her passion for the art of dance and helping them become the best dancers they can be. Having been involved in every aspect of Stepping Out her whole life, she is ready and excited to take this studio to the next level!
Patti Carson - Competitive Team Director
Patti's love of dance started at age three at Dee Crump School of Dance where she studied tap and jazz for fifteen years. She received her license as a Veterinary Technician from Tri-County Technical College and studied Animal Science at Clemson University. She became involved in the dance again with her daughter and began teaching over four years ago and has enjoyed teaching several award wining competitive groups. She is excited to assume the role of Competitive Team Director at Stepping Out.
When not at the studio, Patti enjoys spending time with her husband Tom, spending time at the lake, gardening, and watching the Tigers play. Admittedly her greatest accomplishment is being Mom to Turner and Jayna who both love to be on stage! She loves to teach and share her enthusiasm and love for the art of dance with all students.
Natalie Wood - Financial Director
Natalie began to love dance when her daughter Hannah started dancing at Stepping Out in 2007 and quickly became involved as a parent volunteer and president of the Stepping Out Booster Club. Natalie was born and raised in Montgomery, West Virginia, where she attended elementary, middle, high school, and college all in the same town. She received her B.S. in Health Services Administration from West Virginia University Institute of Technology in 2000. Since then she has worked in various industries such as health care, staffing agencies, and supply distribution, always managing various types of customer or patient accounts. She relocated to Lexington, SC with her husband, son, and two daughters in 2006.
When not at the studio, she enjoys volunteering with teenagers at Willow Ridge Church, spending time with her softball coach/husband Ben, watching her daughter McKaiah play softball, and listening to her son Isaac lead the youth praise & worship team at their church. She is very excited to be serving the families of Stepping Out under the new ownership!
Nadine Conte - Ballet Director
Nadine (Dini) was born in Romania and grew up in Ontario, Canada where she received her early training from Canadian Children's Dance Theatre. She continued her training as a scholarship student at Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, spending the summers training in New York at American Ballet Theatre. She later joined The Joffrey Ballet School as a full scholarship student, performing throughout New York City and the surrounding areas. In 2008 she received her first professional contract with The Sarasota Ballet, dancing many roles choreographed by the esteemed Matthew Bourne, John Cranko, Dame Ninette De Valois, Sir Peter Wright, and Sir Frederick Ashton, among many others. In 2011 Dini moved to South Carolina to join Columbia City Ballet where she performed many featured roles like Chinese in The Nutcracker, The young girl in Twas The Night Before Christmas, and The Crab in The Little Mermaid, among various others. In 2012 Dini joined Columbia Classical Ballet expanding her classical repertoire. In 2013 she rejoined Columbia City Ballet. Other highlights of her professional career include performing Giselle with guest stars Alina Cojocuru and Johan Kobborg and guesting with The Joffrey Ballet School in the role of Kitri from Don Quixote.
Dini received her teacher training from The Joffrey Ballet School and has been teaching since then at numerous schools across the east coast. She will be offering ballet classes with knowledge passed down from George Balanchine, Robert Joffrey, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland and many other masters of the art. Dini is so excited about joining the team at Stepping Out and sharing her passion, love of dance and knowledge with all the students.
Anna Cary - Jazz, Combination Classes
Anna has been a dancer as long as she can remember. She studied a variety of dance forms including classical ballet, lyrical, jazz, modern, clogging, tap, and hip hop. She studied with the Carolina Ballet under Mimi Wortham-Brown and several other local studios and dance professionals.
Anna graduated from Presbyterian College with degrees in dance and psychology. Anna was a member of the PC dance ensemble for four years. In her time there, she featured some of her choreography in lyrical, ballet, and clogging performance. Anna did honors research on dance for the physically and mentally disabled entitled "Bodies in Commotion." As part of this research she had several opportunities to work with and dance with a variety of dancers.
Anna has been teaching dance for 10 years and has taught children and adults of all ages. She is an award-winning choreographer and has won several regional and national awards in the competition circuit for her dance performance and her students dance performances throughout the years. She challenges her students to be the best they can be and is a positive and nurturing dance instructor.
When not teaching Anna enjoys spending time with her husband, Spencer, and her two children. Anna is excited to re-join the Stepping Out family and continue teaching where her love for dance began in Lexington.
Michelle Nienhius - Tap, Ballet, Combination Classes
Michelle's love of dance began at age 3. She completed 15 years of dance (tap, ballet, clogging and jazz) with Lexington School of Dance, Lexington Dance Studio & Stepping Out. Michelle had the opportunity to "come back" to the dance world when her daughter, Ashley, began dancing 11 years ago. Being a dance mom is fun, but she also enjoys teaching tap and ballet at Stepping Out.
Michelle also serves SC as Prevention Coordinator for the SC Dept. of Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Services. She has worked with this prevention system in SC for for more than 14 years in various roles. She is married to her husband, Nathan, & they have 2 children, Ashley and Jeremy.
Michelle also teaches aerobics at the Lexington Leisure Center two evenings a week. She enjoys teaching low impact aerobics, step aerobics, and cardio/strength training.
Katie Hilliger - Hip-Hop, Technique Classes
Katie Hilliger loves nothing more than sharing her passion for dance with students of all ages and ability levels! As the first ever Dance Education graduate from the University of South Carolina Katie has enjoyed a wealth of rich, artful experiences as a Dance Educator, choreographer, and performer. Some notable opportunities include coaching the University of South Carolina Coquettes Dance Team, leading and managing the Tumble Tree Dance Program, opening Meadow Glen Middle School and developing a comprehensive and advanced Dance Program, choreographing for multiple theatre organizations around Columbia, coaching dance teams at both Irmo and River Bluff High Schools, guest teaching for studios in the Columbia area, and maintaining a consistent and extensive private lesson studio.
Among all of these wonderful experiences Katie made time to further her Dance knowledge through taking class, making time to attend multiple professional performances, and continuing to perform herself! Katie views Dance as a way to express our truest selves while building confidence, developing artistic relationships, and expanding creativity. She absolutely cannot wait to share her electric energy, high expectations, and love for Dance with Stepping Out dancers this year!
Katie Fitts - Tap and Ballet Classes
Katie Fitts is currently a Senior at Hammond School and plans on studying pre-med in college. She began dancing at Stepping Out Dance Studio at the age of 3 and has been a member of the competition team for 14 years. Katie has trained in a variety of dance styles including tap, ballet, jazz and more. Throughout the years, Katie has been awarded over $10,000 in dance scholarships at several competitions and conventions throughout the country. She has also been a part of numerous award winning routines, many of which have won national titles. Katie was a participant of the Youth American Grand Prix, an international ballet competition.
At Hammond, Katie is an active member of the National Honor Society and is chairman of the morale committee for Dance Marathon. She is also a founding member of the Hammond Dance Club, which has won two state titles since 2015. She is very excited to join the Stepping Out staff and share her love of dance with others!
Meg Burgess - Clogging, Combination Classes
Meg is a senior Psychology major at the University of South Carolina. She started dancing at the age of two at DC Danceworks where she completed sixteen years of dance. She has trained in the styles of Pointe, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and Clogging. Her favorite style to perform and teach is Clogging. She was on the DC Danceworks Competition Team for many years where she competed in Jazz, Hip Hop and Clogging. She has been an instructor at her home studio of DC Danceworks for many years and is excited to begin her second season with us at Stepping Out!
Jayna Carson - Hip-Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary Classes
Jayna Has been dancing since the age of two, and has been competing since the age of four. Currently she holds the titles of Miss Teen Dance Inferno, 4th runner up in Miss Dance America and Miss Fusion. Jayna trains in Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, Hip Hop, Acro, Musical Theater and Tap. She was a member of the Lexington Middle School Dance Company and awarded "Dancer of the Year" in 2016. Now she is a part of the River Bluff Dance Company where she competes and performs. Also as a member of RBDC she is a sideline dancer at football and basketball games.
Over the Summer she works with current Lexington Middle Dance Company members to set and choreograph pieces for them. She also choreographed an opening number for the entire Competition Team at Stepping Out for their Spring recitals. Jayna has received many awards and scholarships which include the Artist Simply Human Scholarship, Hollywood Summer Tour Scholarship, top finalist for Miss Junior Platinum, Fusion Star Team dancer and was awarded with excellence in Hip Hop and Tap at the Platinum Dance Experience. She was also a qualifier in the dance division for the Talent America National Finals. When Jayna is not dancing she enjoys hanging out with friends.