Allie Williams, Instructor

Born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. Allie found her passion for dance at the age of 6. She has trained in lyrical, ballet, pointe, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, musical theater and tap as well as in acrobatics and gymnastics. She participated in competitive dance with The “Edge Dance Studio” in Amarillo, Texas under the instruction of Stacie Hall for 6 years. She also trained at “SB Dance Academy” under the instruction of Shae Burley where she also participated in competitive dance. She has attended many nationally recognized competitions. These competitions included;” Show Stoppers”, “Encore”, “Hollywood Vibe”, and “Hall Of Fame”. In 2009, Allie co-founded the “Tascosa High School Belle's” dance team. She was also appointed as Co-captain of the team. The Belle's performed at pep rallies and various performances all over the city. In 2011 she was accepted into the “Landance Conservatory of Ballet” under the instruction of Mark Lanham and Stephanie Parker. She later performed in the 2012 Nutcracker Ballet. In 2012 Allie was also a member of the Amarillo, Texas “Venom Vixen Dance Team”. In 2013, Allie sought out to continue her training in Charleston, SC, where she found “Dance FX of Charleston”. Allie has taught and choreographed for several studios all over the Charleston area and dances professionally with the  “Charleston Performing Arts Center” where she has performed in Broadway musicals such as “Summer Lovin” and “DUKE. The King of Jazz”. Allie has a passion for dance that is unprecedented. 

Steps Ahead Dance Studio 

Tiara Scarlett, Instructor

Scarlett, a dance major with Texas Tech University, has worked throughout the Charleston area as teacher and choreographer for the past three years.  She has been a teaching assistant with Steps Ahead Dance Studio since its opening in 2012. In addition, Scarlett has been a substitute dance instructor at River Oaks Middle School and Fort Dorchester High School in the DD2 school district. Scarlett’s talents and passion for dance education are equally evident in her choreography. Her attention to detail, passion for new styles, and her unique choreographic style have given her a cutting edge among some of Charleston’s best artists. Scarlett’s choreographic credits include work with the professional dance company, Adande African Drums and Dance, Trident Technical College’s Dance Ensemble, and the River Oaks Middle Schools Dance Company’s latest tour to Disney. 

​​​Heather Merritt,  Owner of Steps Ahead Dance Studio

 Assistant Director of Magnolia Dance Academy

Heather Merritt grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where she began dancing at the Atlanta School of Ballet. At the age of thirteen Heather was chosen to be a company dancer with the Atlanta Ballet II, a preprofessional company to the Atlanta Ballet. In addition to her training in Atlanta she spent summers continuing her dance education at such prestigious schools as the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica, Ca., the David Howard Studio in New York City, and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. 

Heather received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance from the University of Utah. During her four years of college, she was awarded the Olga V. Alexandria dance scholarship and performed in a wide variety of ballet and modern productions with the University’s Ballet Ensemble and the Utah Ballet showcase. After graduation Ms. Merritt began her professional career in the outdoor musical drama, Utah! and continued for over a decade to dance professionally with Charleston Ballet Theatre, the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, The National Ballet, and the International Ballet at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Since the age of nineteen Heather has taught simultaneously for private dance studios while maintaining a professional dance career. Her area of expertise covers a vast array of dance genres and in 2007 she was awarded " the best ballet technique driven instructor of Memphis, Tennessee" by Destined 2 Dance.

In 2007, Heather returned to Charleston to continue her teaching career. Heather proudly considers Charleston her home. Ms. Merritt is now excited to have her own studio, Steps Ahead Dance, where she is dedicated to bringing her experience, expertise, and love for dance to the future dancers of our community. 


Frankie Anne (aka Francine Sama), Guest Choreographer, Master Classes 

Frankie Ann is a Triple Threat Talent (both behind and in front of the cameras), has developed a career in Film, TV and Stage, with credits as Producer, Director, Choreographer, Dancer, Singer and Actress. Her diversity in the entertainment industry coupled with her vast teaching experiences have gained her attention from the celebrity world who often reach-out to Frankie Anne as a Celebrity Coach (working on their Vocal, Dance and Acting needs for upcoming projects & auditions). Her Celebrity clients include Nichole Richie, Shannon Elizabeth, Bold and the Beautiful star Heather Tom and So You Think You Can Dance's Jessica Peralta. Frankie Ann has recently worked with "White Collar" star Tim Dekay, "Justified"s Nick Searcy, Jason Ritter, Criminal Minds Joe Mantegna, Jame's Edward Olmos, Dan Lauria, and Ed Begley Jr. with whom she collaborated in creating the Musical Staging and Choreography for the hit musical Cesar and Ruben, and also portraying Helen Chaves. She's credited as Producer/Choreographer for her smash Los Angeles Production of Frankie's Gypsy Roses which gained her the attention and credits as Producer/Choreographer for the Showtime Series L.N.C starring Shannon Elizabeth and Producer/Actress for the Comedy feature film ARTIE starring Heather McComb and Kevin Farley Frankie's stage credits include Broadway Nationals & Tours of West Side Story (Anita), Smokey Joe's Cafe (Brenda), Barbara Striensand's "Timeless" tour, Janis Joplin's Big Brother & The Holding Co., CnC Music Factory and more. Frankie Anne is a creative director/choreographer and visionary in her own right. Her various styles of work began in her New York dance days at Broadway Dance Center and Steps Studios, and include Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk, musical theater, character work, and more. Frankie Anne's passion and work with (Bob) Fosse Styles (of which she offers workshops) has been a strong influence to her works. Choreography credits span commercials, music videos, industrial projects and more including; Lady Foot Locker, Warner Bros. Cats & Dogs, Scooby Doo, See Spot Run, AMFAR (Madonna hosted benefit) American Express, Toyota, Micheal Jackson's World Hunger Assos., Events, Metlife and more. She is now producing and directing the documentary "Robert Altman-Through The Lens", a passionate look into former Rolling Stone Magazine Chief Photo Journalist and the music and counter culture times of the late 60's-70's. She is also the Producer/Director of The Confetti Kids- a children's audio book series narrated by Robert Guillaume. 


Osagie D. Ehigie, Guest Choreographer, Master Classes

Osagie D. Ehigie is an American performer born and raised in Austin, TX and comes to the South Carolina area from his home in Las Vegas, NV to perform at the Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach. Having earned his BFA in Dance Performance from Oklahoma City University's School of American Dance & Arts Management, Osagie leads two successful careers as both a performer & national educator. Currently, he is seeking his Masters of Fine Arts Degree. Osagie is blessed to have worked with stars such as The Killers, Lady Gaga, & Janet Jackson! Recently, Osagie was privileged to work with Broadway legend Chet Walker, as an original cast member featured in a brand new Las Vegas show. Osagie’s regional theater credits include Singin’ In The Rain, Evita, and Oklahoma. Osagie is every bit of a showman, and without a doubt you’ll see his passion for both performance and education. Discover more at