ALUMNI TESTIMONIALS

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“My time studying dance is time that I will always cherish. I made some of my best friends at the studio and being an alumni, I still keep in touch with all of my dance friends. Being out of this studio for four years and in college, some of my youngest friends are still in middle school. I remember when they were the minis. And age doesn’t matter--I don’t think about how old they are, I just think about the friendship we have. And recital was one of the best times of the years. Getting to be up there with my friends made it even better. It makes me so happy to come back and to see how amazing my friends are doing and how much they have improved.  Many of them have improved so much that I am starting to see them dance the best I have ever seen them dance. Being a part of this studio and having such wonderful teachers has inspired me to pursue a minor in dance while at school. Performing on a stage is an indescribable feeling. I have great memories of spending countless hours at the high school. Dancing not only gave me friends but people who inspired me. I look up to all of the teachers I have had and still to this day want to be just like them. I got a second family. These people mean more to me than any Xcaliber award ever could.”

-Colleen Garrison

“The competitions I attended were about more than just the medals around my neck and plaques in my hands at the end of day. Win or lose, I was doing it with not only my friends, but my family. The bonds created strengthened over my 10 years at the studio, and they continue to even now that I’m gone. The buddy system helped to bridge the gap between the younger and older dancers giving the younger ones a role model to look up to and someone to help them with whatever they needed. Competitions gave me the opportunity to watch my friends and cheer them on as they shared that same passion. I enjoyed getting to watch all of the dances that were worked so hard on all year which expressed the creativity of the choreographers and talent of the
dancers. I love coming back and seeing how much they have grown as dancers and people at such young ages, and this is just the beginning for them. I am currently continuing that love for the dance at school and I hope to continue long after. And in the end seeing the pieces of the show coming together as a whole. Looking back at my time in dance, I grew not only as a dancer, but as a person. It was my second home. I will forever cherish my time at as a dancer and the memories and friendships I created will last a lifetime.”

-Brenna Garrison

“Growing up, dance has always been my life. But, being a dancer at MHD was really the most remarkable part of my amazing experience. Waiting backstage as we all get butterflies in our chest, and nerves running through our body is a feeling every dancer will never forget. The long seconds on stage before the music begins are seconds full of many thoughts. But, what always got me through nervous times was that I always had a group of amazing girls right by my side. Being an alumni at MHD is something I am so proud of. My ten years of hard work at this studio resulted in gaining a family and friendships that will last a lifetime, memories that will forever be some of the best days of my life, and endless support from a group of people that continue to be there for me even as an alumni. If it was not for my amazing teachers always pushing me to be the best dancer I could possibly be, working me to my hardest ability, and

believing in me every step of my journey, I would not be the woman I am today. Dance has not only taught me how to put on a show, or win competitions, but has given me life lessons that will follow me into my future, and has shaped me into the hardworking female I am today. This time a year ago I was lost knowing that it would be my last recital. The sweat, and tears between
eleven dances and that senior recognition speech every member of MHD dreads hearing was finally here. The thought of not taking the stage with my team anymore, or not being around the people I have been with every day of the week for ten years made me distraught, and heartbroken. One thing that my life as a dancer never lets me forget is that even though I graduated, I am always a part of the family, and the studio will always be home. Everytime I
come back I am attacked with love, and it feels like I never left. I am beyond blessed that dancing has given me an amazing life growing up, and skills that will follow me forever, and hand me success in my future.”

-Debra Pietranico

“When I started dancing here, I was six years old and I only joined because I decided I didn’t like soccer. Our studio was in the back of the old gym in Greenwood Lake and I’ve been with you through three moves, and an entire renovation. You allowed me to grow along with the studio and that’s an experience I’m forever grateful for. You have showed me this "thing" that I
fell in love with and because of that, I’m now chasing my dreams as a BFA Dance major and could not be happier. Since 2004 you have provided me with a space of comfort, love, and support and without you, I’d be nowhere. Thank you. For being my second home for all those years and for continuing to allow me to grow, now as a teacher, in your studios. Thank you. For showing me that dance is more than turns and leaps; it’s passion, it’s determination, it’s artistry
and creativity, it’s anything you want it to be. For giving me this art form that is not only my source of frustration but my source of relief and safety; there’s nothing else like that in the world.  For bringing out a side of me that I will never be afraid to show people. And for giving my one of my closest friends and second little sister I never knew I had. To Lanie. To DJ. To Ashley, Cassandra, Miss Hannah, Alyssa, Jyliann, and Suzanne, I am forever grateful for everything you’ve done for me. You’ve pushed me to lengths I didn’t know I could go to and you’ve influenced me as not only a dancer, but as a person as well. I am who I am today because of you and I can only hope to impact a child’s life the way you’ve impacted mine. I can’t imagine what
my life would be like without dance and it makes me so happy to see that other, younger dancers are growing and falling in love with dance, just like I did. Laugh, Dance, Be Merry. There are not enough "thank yous" in the world.”

-Julianne Wagner

“My sisters had danced for years: be it ballet, tap, lyrical or even Irish step. It was something they did and I happily I went and clapped for them as they did for me at swimming and martial arts. Until one day, Miss Becky needed a giant boulder, the one from Indiana Jones and an Indiana Jones to go with it. My father and I built the boulder and I became Jones. After that Becky convinced me to try a class. I was interested because I felt it could help my flexibility
with swimming and karate, never realizing that small acceptance would lead to something that would become part of my soul. The class was never meant to be more than stretching but Becky must have seen something because the next thing I knew I was part of tribal dance up on stage for the recital. For the next six years, dance became another way for me to express myself. Dance
incorporated all facets of my life. I was able to combine the magic and beauty of martial arts with the tribal dance and later on as the first Nutcracker Prince, I brought to life the bo staffs in the fight scene. My sisters and I have always been close, but dance brought that to a whole new level. This gave us another bond, another connection. After four years as Mouse King, nothing
swells my chest with pride more than seeing my sister take over "my role". Throughout the years I was fortunate to work with many different teachers. Each one helped me grow in different ways. Dance is a way to showcase not only creativity but feelings and allows dancers to showcase many talents. As I headed off to college, I did not have swimming or martial arts to fall
back on, but there was a dance team and my transition to college was made easier by falling into a comfortable role and familiar spot on stage. This is all part of what makes a MHD more than a studio, but a part of my soul.”

-Connor Frisbee

“M’lanie Hunter Dance greatly helped shape me into the person I am today. So many life lessons are learned within those walls. It is a place that creates dreams and allows you to fulfill them. MHD is a family, a sisterhood, a safeplace, and a home. Dancers gain confidence and self worth, and can always find acceptance and encouragement. This place is so special to
me and I can not imagine where I would be without it. Today I am the proud founder and owner of Jump Move Dance in Maryland. Opening my own studio has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had. My time at MHD is one of the leading factors in all my successes.  The faculty shaped me to be a leader, to be confident and smart, to stand up for myself and
what I believe in. They taught me to be proud of who I am right now in this moment and at any moment. They showed me how to conquer my fears, they taught me strength and resilience. I learned to never give up and to continually fight for my dreams. In the six years since my time as a student at MHD ended I have continued to watch and gratefully be a part of educating the
next generation of dancers here. I have had the pleasure of watching innocent and naive little girls and boys grow into incredible, strong, and amazingly kind young men and women. Lanie and her incredibly equipt faculty believed in me when others didn’t. They saw strength in me that I couldn’t find in myself. They loved me when I felt alone. This place has been a safe haven for me, it has taught me so much more than dance. It is an honor to be an MHD alumni
and I will carry the lessons I learned here with me for the rest of my life.”

-Jyliann Davis