Hunter Lamm Peebles opened Hunter’s Dance, Inc. in 1983 after graduating with a BFA degree in Ballet from the UNC School of the Arts. Admission to the NC School of the Arts is through an audition process and a yearly invitation following an annual jury in front of the dance faculty. All of Hunter’s instructors were former professional dancers with the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Jose Limon, and Martha Graham. Hunter’s plan to move to New York to pursue a career in dance changed when her mother passed away from cancer a month after graduation. Hunter decided to open a dance studio while she continued to raise her 2 younger brothers. Upon the youngest brother’s graduation from high school, Hunter realized she was doing what she loved and decided to stay in Wilson to continue teaching dance.
Hunter began her dance training at the age of three at the Hinnant School of Dance. At the age of twelve, she studied with Jean Harris and John Walker. Hunter spent several summers in New York City at the Broadway Dance Center, the American Ballet Theater School, and Steps while also attending the American Dance Festival at Duke University and Rosella Hightower’s Ballet School in Cannes, France. During college, Hunter spent her summers at the Washington Ballet School, the American Dance Festival at Duke University, and the UNC School of the Arts. Hunter declined an invitation in high school to attend the NC Governor’s School to study abroad instead. After teaching Hunter at ADF, Betty Jones from the Limon Dance Company wrote her recommendation to the UNC School of the Arts. During Hunter’s last two years of high school, she performed with the Raleigh Civic Ballet Company often as a soloist.
Even though Hunter’s professional career was cut short by her decision to stay in Wilson, she was able to perform across the country in the National Touring Company of “Jazz Is.” Hunter performed from the Lincoln Center in NYC all the way to Los Angeles, California. Hunter was one of three female dancers selected to perform in this “once in a lifetime” show. Hunter was invited by the NC Theater to perform in “West Side Story” as a dancer in 1984.
Hunter married Mike Peebles from Raleigh in August of 1986. Hunter and Mike have a son, Tucker (1990), who graduated from NC State in 2013 with a Major in Business Administration and a Minor in Accounting along with a degree in Video Game Development from Wake Tech, a son, Blake, (1992) who competed in National Guitar Hero competitions in NYC and Los Angeles and has a Video Game Development Degree from Wake Tech, and a daughter, Caramy, (1995) who loves spending time at the dance studio. Hunter has a Daughter in Law, Elizabeth Kennedy, who is joining Hunter’s Dance as Head Administrator in 2017. Even though Hunter’s family and friends have begged her to open a studio in Raleigh, Hunter has continued to drive back and forth from Raleigh to teach in Wilson. Looking back, Hunter knows this was God’s perfect plan for her life!
Caramy Blythe Peebles, Hunter’s daughter, was born with Kabuki Syndrome and received a kidney transplant from Mike in 2001. Caramy has developmental delays, learning disabilities, and several health issues. In spite of everything, Caramy loves life and loves spending time with her friends at dance. Because of Caramy, Hunter now accepts other students with “special needs,” who can participate and enjoy being in a dance class! Hunter started teaching dance to special needs children at the Frankie Lemmon School in Raleigh after Caramy was born. Normally developing students have learned many valuable things from having children with special needs in the dance classes. Several of Hunter’s students have done projects about “Special Needs and Dance” and some have pursued careers working with children with learning differences.
Caramy helps as an assistant in the Preschool Classes at the studio. Caramy is so helpful and patient with all of the little ones! She is good at helping the younger dancers deal with separation anxiety or any other issues they might have. Caramy knows every dancer’s name and is able to help parents with any questions. Even though Caramy has special needs, she is very productive and has proven that she plays an important role at the studio and in the little one’s lives!
Tammie Fish is the Tumble Instructor at Hunter’s Dance Studio and Director of the Tumble Team. Hunter is thrilled to have her cousin on staff at Hunter’s Dance Studio! Tammie was on the Gymnastics Team at Lakewood in Durham for 7 years. Tammie won top awards during her years of competing nationally on the Lakewood Team. Tammie started teaching gymnastics in Highpoint when she was in college. Tammie has a BS in Early Childhood Education and taught in the public school system for 7 years. Tammie is the former owner of “Dance and Tumble Creations” where she taught tumbling for 14 years. Once Tammie’s tumble students reached a certain level, they started competing and won top awards at national dance/tumble competitions. After selling her studio, Tammie transferred a very successful and fun program of tumbling to Hunter’s Dance. The Tumble Team, a select group of girls who have accomplished certain skills, perform in a Spring Showcase and in the dance recitals. In 2014, Tammie took a large and small group to competition as a part of HCDC and they won top awards at competition! Tammie is a wonderful, nurturing, and encouraging teacher who brings out the best in her students. The tumble students have made remarkable progress since Tammie started the tumble program. Tammie has 3 daughters – Vandon (Tumble Instructor at Hunter’s Dance) Tatum (Guest Instructor and Choreographer at Hunter’s Dance); and Faith, her 14 year old daughter with cerebral palsy who loves participating in all the monthly “Themed Parties/Sleepovers” hosted at the studio by Tammie! Better late than never, Hunter and Tammie are living out their childhood dream of working together!
Melinda Smith, originally from Kansas City, began her ballet training at the age of eight. At the age of twelve, Melinda was asked by Artistic Director, Todd Bolender, to join the Kansas City Ballet under scholarship. During her study with KCB, director and choreographer, Phil Vitug, was happy to have her in Advanced Tap, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. Just before high school, Melinda went to City Ballet of San Diego for a summer intensive. She worked with phenomenal guest teachers including David Howard, Fernando Bujones, and Susan Jaffe(Current Dean of Dance at the UNC School of the Arts). While taking classes with KCB and C.O.D.E. she auditioned to be a part of her high school dance team. During National Dance Alliance camps for the squad, Melinda received many awards including the All-American Award, which gave her the opportunity of a lifetime to dance with Kelly Clarkson, Trace Adkins, and Ashley Simpson in the 2005 Florida Orange Bowl. Finishing her senior year at Winnetonka High School, she lettered in Dance Team, Orchestra, and Debate/ Forensics.
During college, Melinda worked as a Dance Instructor with Bella Studio of the Performing Arts in Kansas City teaching Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Tap. At the same time, she was discovered by Anthony Magliano and invited to join Quixotic Dance Fusion Company. This was such an amazing opportunity to work as a professional dancer. While attending Santa Monica College, Melinda continued studying all types of Dance at the Edge of Performing Arts. This is where Melinda expanded her dance education into Dance Funk and Break Dancing. She was invited by Lisa Estrada to participate in the Laker Girl Auditions where she was a top 30 finalist out of over 800 entries.
Always looking for opportunities in Choreography, Melinda was offered a coveted Choreography Job by Summit Entertainment. Melinda was selected to contribute to the “Step Up Revolution” film choreography in the Museum Scenes and worked along side Jamal Sims, Christopher Scott, and Travis Wall. Now fully exposed to the world of choreography, Melinda decided to see what she could offer her peers and auditioned to be a student choreographer for Santa Monica College. She was recognized as a Contemporary Choreographer and Performer for the Synapse Dance Ensemble. She was also asked by Global Motion Company to perform in their production in Ballet and Hip Hop. Both were held at the Broad Stage in California.
Upon finishing her education in California, Melinda went to Connecticut to dance under the direction of Goran Subotic with the Mystic Ballet Company as a F.A.D. dancer. Once the program ended, she moved back to Los Angeles and became a Dance Instructor with the Michelle Langley Dance Studio. Melinda taught all ages from pre-school to adults. Melinda has been actively judging Dance Competitions and teaching at local studios in the Raleigh area. She also worked with Travis Wall choreographing for the Top 20 Dancers on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Melinda teaches Regular, Elite, and Competitive Classes and choreographs dances for HCDC. Her HCDC Groups won some of the highest awards and placements at competition! We are thrilled to have Melinda as a part of Hunter’s Dance!
Amanda McCullum Bennett is originally from Wilson, NC. She began her dance study under the direction of Debbie Driver at The Massey School of Dance, where she served as a teaching assistant and competed in many competitions, winning several top awards. Upon graduation from Beddingfield High School she decided to pursue dance as a career and began her study at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC in the fall of 2002. During her time at Meredith College Amanda attended the American College Dance Festival every year as part of the Meredith Dance Theatre, an audition based Performance Company. At ACDFA she performed in adjudicated concerts showcasing both faculty and student work. She graduated from Meredith with a BA in Dance with a concentration in Private Studio Teaching and her K-12 NC Dance Licensure for public school instruction. She was awarded the Meredith Dance Theatre Dedication Award, an award voted on by her peers, and the Metamorphosis Award, an award given by the Faculty at Meredith for amazing growth during collegiate study.
In 2007, she pioneered the Dance Program at Hunt High School and served as the director there for three years (during which she had the pleasure of instructing both Miss Kirstie and Miss Staci). During her time at Hunt she was awarded a Grassroots Grants from the NC Arts Council for a residency with the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble. In 2010 she led her students to perform at the 2010 Orange Bowl in Miami Florida, choreographed by Chris Judd. This was Wilson’s first out of state dance performance from a group of public high school students. In 2010 she decided that although she was immensely happy with her career as a high school teacher, in order to be the kind of educator that she sought to be, she needed to be a master of her craft. In 2013 she graduated Magna Cum Laude from The College at Brockport, SUNY in Brockport NY with her MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography. While at Brockport she served in the coveted position of Graduate Teaching Assistant, Production Assistant, and was the President of the Brockport Chapter of the National Dance Education Organization.
She has received scholarships from the North Carolina Dance Alliance and Jacques and Dawn Lipson for summer study at the Dance Professionals Workshop at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. She has performed professionally in the works of Zelma Badu – Younge, Talani Torres, Telly Fowler, James Hansen Dance, Maura Keefe, Anna Milling Smith, Jason Aryeh, Darwin Priouleau, and The Carol Finley Dance Group. She has performed extensively on the East Coast including performances in NYC, Washington, DC, Miami, and the esteemed Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Beckett, Massachusetts. She has presented dance research in Rochester, NYC, and NC. Amanda is highly interested in the art of dance in every aspect – from arts advocacy to dance scholarship and research – but her true passion lies in the field of dance education. She feels truly blessed by the opportunity to inspire art in her students every day for the rest of her life. Amanda is married to Brooks Bennett and is proud to begin a new chapter in her life in a place that she loves – Wilson, NC. She is very excited to become part of the dance family at Hunter’s Dance.
Gail Cannaday is from Chesapeake Virginia, and came to North Carolina when she was accepted into the dance program at East Carolina University. She recently graduated in May 2014 with a degree in Dance Performance. She has accumulated a total of eighteen years of experience in various genres of dance including Tap, Ballet ,Lyrical, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Contemporary, and Pointe. Gail has also had a lot of experience in choreography. Her choreography has been performed in regional and national competitions throughout Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Recently, Gail’s Contemporary and Tap pieces were chosen to perform alongside ECU faculty in the ECU Fall 2013 Contemporary Concert and the ECU Spring Random Acts Performance. Gail has performed in numerous performances within her four years at ECU. Gail’s training not only consists of studio work and classes at ECU. Gail spent June 2011 and June 2012 taking classes at the North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival. In July 2012 and July 2013 Gail also attended the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World Tap Festival. At these festivals Gail trained with professional tap dancers such as Derick Grant, Michelle Dorrance, Jason Janas, Dianne Walker, and many more. Gail was also selected to work as a summer intern for the Chicago Human Rhythm Project from May 3013- August 2013. Gail hopes to continue her training and intends to be a professional tap dancer.
Vandon Sharpe graduated from UNCW in 2011 with a B.S. in Finance and Economics. Vandon started taking tumble at the age of 4 until she graduated from High School. She was a member of the Triad Tumblers at Dance and Tumble Creations where she won top awards in Dance/Tumble Competitions. She started assisting her mother, Tammie, with tumble classes throughout high school. From 2007 to 2011, Vandon coached the Artistic Gymnastics Team at Carolina Gymnastics Academy in Wilmington, NC (levels 3-6). She also attended several USAG Spotting Clinics. Vandon has been teaching Tumble Classes at Hunter’s for 4 years. She has been an asset to the Tumble Team Program and the Competitive Tumble Groups! Vandon loves working with children and enjoys watching the students’ progress from year to year!
Tatum Shields is a Hip Hop and Jazz Instructor and Choreographer. At the present time, she is finishing her Cosmetology Degree at Cape Fear Community College. Tatum started taking Dance and Tumble at the age of 5. She competed for 10 Years with “Extravadance” Dance Team and the “Dancer’s Edge” Dance Team. Tatum has won regional and national awards in solos, duos/trios, and groups including the Most Entertaining Soloist Award. Tatum also won 5 Top Soloist Awards at Star Systems and received a Dance Scholarship. She worked with Cathy-Lee as an assistant at the Dancer’s Edge for 4 years. Her favorite types of dance are Hip Hop and Jazz. Tatum studied under many top choreographers including Justin Man and Jackson Alvarez. In 2013/14, Tatum taught jazz and hip hop at Studio 1 Dance Conservatory in Wilmington, NC (Kim and Philip McGee’s Studio)! Tatum choreographed several Hip Hop routines for HCDC and several solos/duos! One of her Hip Hop Groups won “Most Entertaining” out of the entire weekend of dances at “On Stage America” Dance Competition! Tatum also does hair and make up for competitions. The dancers and tumblers love Tatum’s personality and her choreography! We are so excited to have another one of Ms. Tammie’s daughters working at Hunter’s Dance!
Kaleigh Allen grew up as a competitive dancer in Raleigh, NC. In 2013, she placed Top 5 in the Miss Dance of North Carolina Pageant. She has recently graduated from East Carolina University with a BFA in Dance Performance. Kaleigh is currently working for Elevate as a dancer, performer, and model. She has had the opportunity to perform in several states around the United States, including New York, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Throughout her dance career, she has choreographed for the NCAA Men and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship, MOSCHINO! A Tribute Event, One in Nine: Pink Tie Affair for Breast Cancer, The Scarlet Wedding Tour, and The Home Builders Association Awards Banquet, to name a few. Kaleigh has performed for companies such as Bloomin’ Brands, American Heart Society, Pardon Moi French, Nexus Global, and UCB Biosciences, to name a few. She has also trained with choreographers such as, Emily Schoen, Tiffany Rae Fisher, Richard Smith, and Joe-Joe “Grooves” Smith. Kaleigh has also modeled for Charleston Bridal Magazine, Boone Hall Plantation, Southern Bride and Groom, and Ferreira Dance. She is Stewards of Children TEDI BEAR certified, as well as a member of the East Carolina Dance Association, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Hunter’s Dance is excited to have Kaleigh working with HCDC, The Grinch, Recreational and Elite Classes!
Ginger Edwards Godwin started dancing with Jean Harris of Wilson. When Hunter opened her studio, Ginger joined and danced until she graduated from High School. Ginger studied all types of dance and was a soloist in “The Nutcracker” at Hunter’s Dance. In 1988, Ginger attended the UNC School of the Arts Summer School and in 1989 and 1990 she attended the American Dance Festival Jazz Workshop. Ginger was accepted in the UNC-Greensboro Dance Department as a Dance Major. She transferred to the UNC School of the Arts and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance. Ginger also attended the Jose Limon Summer Dance Program @ SUNY Purchase in 1991 and the London Conservatory of Dance Summer School in 1992. Besides performing in the Nutcracker for two years, Ginger also performed “Ghost Dance” @ UNCG 1989, “Untitled” Duet by Dianne Markham @ NCSA 1992, “Faces” by Dianne Markham performed in and around London, England 1992, “The Little Prince” by Dianne Markham @ NCSA 1993, “Seven Deadly Sins” by Richard Kuch @ NCSA 1994, and “Celestial Navigation” by Laura Dean Musicians and Dancers 1999. Ginger is married to Mark Godwin and has two daughters – Noelle and Barrett and a son – Jake. Ginger owns her own business, Remedy Massage and Bodywork in Wilson. She also teaches and choreographs for Regular and Elite Classes and “The Grinch!” Ginger is a wonderful instructor and we are thrilled that she has found her place at Hunter’s Dance.
Jennifer Patz studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Pointe at Hunter’s Dance for 12 Years. She was one of the most talented dancers of her age! Jennifer worked extremely hard in her classes on technique and she had a great stage presence when she performed! Jennifer has worked at Hunter’s Dance for 5 Years teaching the Preschool/K5 Classes. Jennifer also leads the little ones in their dances in the Young Dancer’s Recitals. Jennifer is such a loving and patient instructor and the little dancers look forward to her classes! When Jennifer is not teaching, she is working in The Dancer’s Pointe helping parents! Jennifer has a son, Kodi, who is the love of her life! Being a mother has made Jennifer an even better instructor! We are so happy to have Jennifer as part of our staff at Hunter’s Dance.
Tonya Shepard Sorenson is a talented teacher of Rhythm and Broadway Tap. Tonya started dance lessons at the age of three from Deborah Blanton in Burgaw. Tonya studied tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, and acrobatics and attended several dance conventions throughout high school. Tonya was selected to attend the NC Governor’s School in Modern Dance in High School. During her years at BYU, Tonya continued to take college level classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, and tap through the dance department. Tonya spent two summers at the Summer Utah Rhythm Tap Festival, an intense tap program with professional instructors. She also attends the NC Rhythm Tap Festival each year and has studied with Brenda Buffalino and Dereck Grant. In 2009, Tonya took a tap group to competition for the first time. The Tap Group won top awards at all three competitions and Tonya continued choreographing the tap dances for future competitions! She is married to John Sorenson and has a son, Adam and three daughters – Caroline, Ashton, and Hollan. Tonya is an asset to the studio as an instructor and choreographer! Tonya teaches Rhythm Tap and choreographs competition tap for HCDC.
Paula Evangeline Cowper is originally from Austin, Texas and began her pre-professional training at Austin School of Classical Ballet under the instruction of Jennifer Felkner. She continued training across the country at Kirov Academy of Washington D.C., Colorado Ballet, Bossov Ballet Theatre and Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet. She attended the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. She also got the opportunity to perform in St. Petersburg, Russia and attended master classes with ballet teachers from the highly prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy. Paula has performed in many full length classical ballets and has performed soloist and principal roles in ballet such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Gisselle and many more. Hunter’s Dance is VERY excited to have Paula teaching Ballet and Pointe.
Elizabeth Peebles graduated from ECU in 2014 with a degree in special education and minored in reading education. After graduating, she took a job at The Hill Center in Durham where she tutored children with learning differences. She also managed 79 tutors and did all of the administrative tasks for the tutoring department. Liz has been part of The Grinch for the last 6 years as Mrs. Lou Who. In 2017 she married Hunter’s favorite son, Tucker and officially became part of the family. Liz loves working with children and is going to be a huge asset handling some of the administrative tasks at the studio.
Follow the trail of glitter…. And you’ll find me, Cathy Daniel!
This is where I was able to create a happy place where students of all ages can come together and do what they do best; be imaginative! This is ArtDaze! Regardless of what mediums, materials or projects we work with, every single student will be given the chance to stimulate their own imagination to help them visualize their ideas. My goal is to inspire the love for the Arts & Crafts!
My love for the arts have been lifelong and family strong, from sorting buttons as a little girl to selling art as an adult. I strongly believe if you surround yourself with energetic creativity, your life will be impacted in positive ways, I want to be an impactor!
I work 100 percent with ArtDaze, my mind is always running, what we can do new, provide opportunities with guest artists, I like to keep the studio new, active and welcomed.
When I’m not at ArtDaze, I like to spend time with my family, friends, along with alllll my animals and trips to the beach!