Our senior instructors, Emilie Tobias and Valerie Ganiev, along with all instructors at The Ballroom Dance Center, pursue continuing education and certification on a regular basis. With a passion for learning and excellence in dance, our teachers have combined teaching experience totaling over 60 years.
We have learned over the years that most people do care about how well they dance and are willing to invest their time and money into doing so. Learning to dance is not always fun and easy. It can be hard and challenging. However, at The Ballroom Dance Center, we have the professional teaching staff to guide you through this process. Sometimes you will be asked to get out of your comfort zone, but always in a safe environment that fosters learning. We believe you want to have fun, but we also know you really want to learn. We have the team of professionals to guide you through this process.
Emilie is a professional ballroom dance teacher, choreographer, performer, competitor and business owner. She attended Davidson College earning a Bachelor’s in History Degree with graduate work at the University of Virginia in Student Personnel Administration. Early in her career she worked as a college administrator in international and business education in Virginia and Boston.
Her love of dance began when she was five years old after seeing a ballet. She toured as an actress for three years with the Children’s Theatre Company out of Boston, Massachusetts, and studied Mime at The Mime Center in London. She began her ballroom dancing career as an amateur in New England. With partner Shawn Smith, they eventually became the New England Latin Dance Champions.
In addition to performing with the Augusta Symphony, she toured in the United States, Argentina and Brazil as a professional Argentine Tango Dancer with Washington-based QuinTango. As a professional ballroom dancer, she and partner Val Ganiev are United States professional finalists in the American 9 Dance Division and have competed and performed throughout the United States.
With an early career in higher education coupled with a performing arts background in theatre and dance, Emilie brought her vision for academic excellence into the creation of The Ballroom Dance Center. “Anyone teaching dance should be both teacher and dancer, always getting better themselves so they can inspire students,” stated Emilie.
In 1998, she directed the building of the current 5,000-square-foot studio. With a huge, floating, “leg-friendly,” hardwood dance floor, featuring a large and small ballroom, it is the premier dance facility in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). The Ballroom Dance Center is also the longest operating partner dance studio in the CSRA with a full staff of accomplished and professionally certified instructors.
Today Emilie uses her unique background and skill set to present ballroom shows that transcend a routine ballroom dance recital. Few studios in the country offer creative, themed showcases that incorporate music, dance, film, storytelling, history and theatre. She draws on her lifelong love of history and humanities as she writes and directs shows for The Ballroom Dance Center.
Emilie is also the founder of the Glory Dancers, which exist to glorify God through the beauty of dance and the power of dramatic storytelling. Using dance, theatre, film and music, the troupe seeks to touch hearts and open minds to the greatest story ever told, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Her professional certifications include the following:
Val and professional partner, Emilie Tobias, are United States professional finalists in the American 9 Dance Division. They have competed and performed throughout the United States and have also taught the accredited Ballroom Program at the University of South Carolina.
A native of Russia, Val loves rocks almost as much as dancing. He has two Master’s in Geology Degrees, one from Moscow State University and the other from the University of South Carolina.
Turning his early endeavors in Greco-Roman wrestling into the competitive dance experience, Val teaches both International style and American style competitive and social dance and focuses on the intense training demands of competitive dancers.
His professional certifications include the following:
Besides serving as the Ringmaster of The Ballroom Dance Center, Jillian welcomes everyone to the studio with her radiant smile, infectious laugh and dynamic personality.
She has an extensive professional background, ranging from customer service, to bookkeeping, to sales and marketing, to management information systems having held positions in retail, insurance, the medical field and the performing arts.
Drawn to The Ballroom Dance Center through her own love of dance and performing, Jillian never meets a stranger and makes both newcomers and veteran dancers feel at ease the moment they walk in the door.
She keeps the staff organized and the students happy in her own special “Jillian” way.
With a diverse business background, Vickie assists in the administrative, marketing and accounting functions of The Ballroom Dance Center.
Vickie first came to The Ballroom Dance Center as a student where her love of dance continued to grow. She enjoys participating in dance competitions and enjoys getting dressed up in the beautiful ballroom dresses a competitor gets to wear. She also enjoys dancing in the original productions each year at the studio. One of her favorite numbers was a waltz done in “Murder at Moulin Rouge.”
When she is not at the studio, she enjoys working at her church and spending time with her family. Sunday dinners with family are her favorite time of the week when everyone gathers together to eat and recap the prior week.
Jessika is one of the faces you’ll see at the front desk of The Ballroom Dance Center. She fell in love with dance as a girl and found a special meaning in praise and worship dance. As fate would have it, Jessika met her husband James when he taught fencing to the dancers in one of the original shows, “The Seven Deadly Pirates,” at The Ballroom Dance Center.
With a young daughter, Jessika traded her full-time position for a part-time one with The Ballroom Dance Center in order to devote more time to her family.
An avid reader and lover of things international, she studied abroad in Italy. Jessika has always had an artistic and stylish bent, culminating in her own cottage business, Little Hidden Gems, designing jewelry with innovative and eccentric pieces such as aluminum tabs from soda cans combined with stones and semi -precious jewels.
When questioned about wearing a boa to work, she quipped, “That is the norm at The Ballroom Dance Center!”
Joyce is also one of the faces you’ll see at the front desk of The Ballroom Dance Center. She and her husband, Jay, came to the studio as students looking for something fun to do as a couple. She enjoys the ballroom competitions and being a part of the original productions of the studio. If you have been to any of our shows, you may have seen her dancing on a table in “Seven Deadly Pirates” or being shot out of a cannon in “Under the Big Top.” There’s always something fun and original going on at The Ballroom Dance Center.
She is a computer whiz having obtained a Bachelor’s in Mathematics Degree and a Master’s in Computer Science Degree. She has also been employed as a teacher and has owned her own computer programming business.
When she is not at the studio, she especially enjoys family time and crafts. Her favorite stores? You guessed it; Hobby Lobby and Home goods.
The Ballroom Dance Center offers both novice and experienced teachers, competitors and performers an unusually harmonious, team-oriented work environment where we pursue excellence in dance and a “Raving Fans” customer service vision.
The Ballroom Dance Center has been teaching Augusta to dance since 1992, which makes it the longest continuously operating ballroom dance studio in the CSRA! Offering quality dance instruction, while still having fun, for both the competitive and social dancer has been the cornerstone of our success.
With that in mind, we offer an extensive four-month new teacher training program from June through September followed by an optional national certification process with eligibility for employment. At the same time, the current staff has ongoing dance education to achieve higher levels of certification. Individuals with backgrounds in dance, physical education, sales, education, sports and theater would find work at The Ballroom Dance Center fascinating.
Interested applicants should send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 706-854-8888.