Our Dance Instructors
Co-Owner, Professional Instructor
Kyle Barels has been dancing for over 14 years as a professional. He has studied ballet/tap/jazz/hip hop/and lyrical, and also instructed in these areas for six years before becoming a ballroom instructor in 2006. Kyle has been awarded Top Teaching Awards through the Fred Astaire organization, and has also received national recognition for his achievements. He has competed professionally for many years, and is currently active in the competitive circuit, where he holds several regional titles. Kyle is now co-owner of Dance Tonight Chattanooga, and he works closely with several nonprofit organizations helping to better the community and further the appreciation of the arts in Chattanooga. He believes that dance is expression in its rawest form, and loves pushing himself and others to new heights while sharing his passion of dance with everyone around him.
Co-Owner, Professional Instructor
Casey Haywood started teaching ballroom dancing in 2009. He came into the studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee with some previous experience with Latin dances in college. After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2007, Casey moved back to Chattanooga where he found his way into teaching social dance professionally. He has competed in several regional competitions, and loves working on his dancing to get ready for competing. He also loves participating in the non-profit charity events in Chattanooga that raise money to help those who are less fortunate. Casey believes that everyone has a desire to dance inside of them, and loves sharing his love of dance with others. Casey is now co-owner of Dance Tonight Chattanooga, and he aims to get all of Chattanooga up and dancing!
Emilie Cole began her dance career at Ballet Tennessee, studying ballet; upon discovering Tammy Wilson and Linda Hart’s ballroom studio she promptly fell in love with ballroom. She has studied ballet with companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, Alabama Ballet, and the Nashville school of Ballet, during which time she received instruction from nationally renowned instructors including Amanda McKerrow, Mel Tomlinson and Wes Chapman. Upon graduating high school she pursued ballroom to a greater extent and began teaching and dancing professionally. Primarily trained by Chuck Danza, 7 time World Latin Champion, she has also received instruction from Ron Montez, 5 time U.S. Rhythm Champion, and Jim and Jenell Meranto, 2 time U.S. Smooth Champions and 1 time World Standard Champions. Emilie has now been dancing ballroom professionally and teaching since 2013.
Rachel Clark graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Music, where she received the Minnette L. Starts Award for Excellence in Dance and the Jill Karp Award for Outstanding Dance student. She was a member of the Newcomb Dance Company and Project Motion Dance Ensemble. Clark has choreographed several pieces, including Les Sapphides, a full-length ballet which premiered at the New Orleans Fringe Festival in 2013. She has performed in New Orleans at The New Dance Festival, Santa’s Secret Workshop, Mardi Gras World, and in The Lily’s Revenge. Clark toured nationally and internationally with Lightwire Theater’s Ugly Duckling and Dino-Light. Locally, Clark has choreographed for WEAVE, Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts, Barking Legs Theater, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, and the Hamilton Academy of Dance. She now teaches dance for the Mountain Arts Community Center, Message in Motion, and Dance Tonight Chattanooga. In addition to dancing, Clark is a singer/songwriter. She performed in New Orleans and recorded an album of original music with Curie. Locally, she has performed at the Chattanooga Market, Honest Pint, Barking Legs, and Tremont Tavern with Appalachian Antidote. She is pleased to rejoin the arts community in her hometown.
Cari Brown was born in Seoul, South Korea and was adopted at ten days old. She has lived in the Chattanooga area for most of her life. Her passion for dance began in 2012 where she discovered her love for Ballroom. Cari strongly believes that anyone can learn to dance and is dedicated in helping people reach their goals. She enjoys all aspects of Ballroom including social dancing, teaching private lessons, and participating in competitions, performances and non-profit charity events. She also works in the hospitality industry at one of the Marriott brand hotels in Chattanooga. Cari is now a professional instructor and is excited to continue her growth in dance and share with others her passion!
Joel Thomas’s love of the human body and how it moves allowed him to find artistry in movement. Through this Joel explored more of his body’s capabilities through dance which lead him to train with the best that ballroom has to offer, working with many champions of different styles of dancing . Joel has been teaching students and competitively dancing in theatrical arts and cabaret divisions for over 7 years in Nashville tn. Joel has many regional and national top teacher titles along with being a finalist in his professional dancing at many competitions. Many of Joel’s students have also gained many top student accolades. As a Chattanooga native Joel is moving back to his roots to be near his family. Joel believes that absolutely anyone can dance , and strives to help his students reach all of their dancing goals. He has also helped many students make their dreams come true by helping them overcome their fears and dance on stage. Joel wants to help make Chattanooga a dancing hub and wants to push every student to be the best version of themselves, allowing them to take the benefits of ballroom dancing and apply those benefits to all aspects of their life!