Carla Gillespie Berry

Carla Gillespie Berry

While attending Emory University, Carla expanded her dance experience by moving into musical theatre choreography. As principle choreographer for the theatre department, she choreographed numerous musicals including, The Pajama Game, Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls, Godspell, Oliver, “South Pacific”, and “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”, Serving as president and choreographer of Ad-Hoc theatre, Carla established a musical dinner theatre group with all profits being donated to Egleston’s Children Hospital. Each year she produced and choreographed two musical theatre shows. Additionally, she volunteered her time to the Dekalb Neighborhood Playhouse choreographing their summer stock productions of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. After graduation from Emory, she was a member of the Dance Alive Dance Company and the Georgia Peaches. Performing with Tanzer Productions, she worked in musical theatre, as well as with convention and trade shows. Her work with special needs children won her state citizenship and leadership honors and the Outstanding Young Woman in America Award.

Many of Carla’s students have won national dance competitions, pageant titles, and numerous other dance awards. Five senior company graduates are currently dancing on the University of Georgia dance team. Two of her former students danced professionally in New York City. Jennifer Millman MacQueen a former student, who recently returned to Atlanta after living in NYC for ten years ran her own contemporary dance company, The Peyari Dance Project in Manhattan, and produced numerous off Broadway dance concerts. We are excited that she joins the CDF staff this year. Susan Hebach still resides in NYC runs The Tap Collective and was most recently feactured in Dance Teacher Magazine.

Miss Carla loves the Broadway style of dance and particularly loves Tap dance. She studies yearly in New York City with tap dance masters. By studying with the dance masters, Carla learns not only the styles that made tap dancing famous, but explores the trend setters of today. She teaches Broadway Tap, Rhythm Tap, Hoofing and Hip Hop Tap. Her certifications include but are not limited to: Leaps N Learn, a pre-school certification for ballet age’s 3-6years in 1998, and 2004, Dance Makers Teachers Workshop 2000 and 2001, Southeastern Tap Explosion 2003-2008, Radio City Music Hall Rockette Summer Dance Intensive at the Univ. of Alabama 2005, Tap Intensive with Horace Turnbull, Broadway and Radio City Music Hall choreographer, Teacher Certification and Broadway Dance Center Workshop 2008 and 2009. Additionally she has studied with Germaine Salsberg -tap teacher Broadway Dance Center and considered a teacher’s teacher, Thommie Retter-Tap teacher at Debbie Reynolds a haven for professional dancers and Broadway star in “Billy Elliott”, Mike Wittomer-hip hop and rhythm tap teacher at The Edge studio in LA and producer of “The World Is My Drum”, Jackie Patterson-Broadway Dancer in “The Tap Dance Kid”,”Crazy For You” and “Some Like It Hot”Addele Cassel-principal dancer in the Chicago Tap project , Dianne Walker-tap master, Avi & Ofer-tap master, Mike Minery-Hip Hop tap dancer and tap tricks expert, and a host of others.

Her faculty attends workshops, conventions, master classes and dance Bootcamps to keep up their skill set. Carla’s Dance Factory is trend setting in its lyrical and Jazz choreography winning the highest honors of platinum as they compete against other dance studio’s from around the Southeast. Miss Carla states “there is not another dance studio within a twenty mile radius that offers what we do for our students. So not only do we offer “Something Fun For Everyone”, we do it with excellence.”

In addition to her role as “Miss Carla” she holds a Bachelors Degree from Emory University and a Pharm. D degree from Mercer University and is a practicing pharmacist. When asked about her dual role she said that she continues to dance because she believes that what her dance school has to offer in the community is unique and different from all of the many other dance schools in the area.