Meet Our Staff


Christi Stanton

Owner / Director

Christi began studying dance at the age of 5 and continues her education on a yearly basis. She began teaching at the ripe age of 19 in her parents’ garage. This small studio grew into a state of the art, 10,000 square foot facility in Inman, SC that houses over 400 young dancers and tumblers each operating day, which expanded further in 2008 to include StarKidz After School and Summer Camp program.  In 2017 Christi opened up StarMakers sister school, Realta School of Irish Dance in Landrum, SC.

Christi has choreographed award-winning routines for numerous dance studios, colleges, and theaters, including a principal role in USC Upstate’s Steel Magnolias. Her studio has been voted one of the TOP 50 STUDIOS IN THE NATION by Dance Teacher’s Magazine and Dance Spirit Magazine and awarded numerous state and national titles for several years consecutively.

Christi is married to Nathan Stanton and has a daughter, Seren Mason Stanton. Christi would like to thank God, her family, staff, students, parents, and friends for blessing her with an amazing career.

FUN FACT: Christi is an All American Clogger and member of the American Clogging Hall of Fame.

Work at StarMakers!

Are you interested in working at a world-class dancing facility in Spartanburg, SC? Email your resume with a brief cover letter describing yourself and your qualifications to [email protected].

Kelly Fuqua

Office Manager

Kelly has been apart of StarMakers for 12 years.  She started out as a dance mom and now has the privilege of being apart of the StarMakers staff.  She is married to Jimmy Fuqua and they have two beautiful daughters Rebekah and Rachel.  Rachel danced at StarMakers for 9 years and now is dancing at Mars Hill University on the Bailey Mountain Clogging Team.

Char’Lee Stoehr

Char’Lee is the Company Clogging Director at StarMakers Dance Company.

Char’Lee has been dancing since age 5 and has competed in clogging, tap, and Irish.  She was selected as an All American Clogger as well as inducted in the America’s Clogging Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2004, Char’Lee was awarded a clogging scholarship to attend Mars Hill University near Asheville, NC.

Through dance, Char’Lee has traveled to folk festivals around the world, including trips to Spain, Germany, Canada, and Costa Rica. She has had the honor of dancing with several folk bands including Nickel Creek and The Duhks. She has directed the National Champion Bailey Mountain Cloggers of Mars Hill University as well as the National Champion StarMakers Dance Company. She enjoys sharing her passion of percussive dance with all the children she is privileged to teach, and she takes pride in the quality dancers produced by StarMakers Dance Company.

Char’Lee graduated with her Doctorate of Chiropractic in March 2013. She enjoys teaching kids and their families about healthy lifestyles. She owns Align Life Chiropractic in Greer, SC.  She currently lives in Greer, SC, with her husband and son.

Jordan Sisk

Jordan Sisk is an instructor and the Director of Mini Starz at StarMakers Dance Company.

Jordan is a graduate of Dorman High School, where she was a leader on the Blue Belles dance team.  Jordan has been teaching ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop at StarMakers since 2003. Jordan currently teaches StarMakers competitive mini hip hop and junior hip hop teams.

Jordan has the privilege of teaching at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind where she is able to share her passion of dance.

Jordan Says: “I have danced for as long as I can remember, in many different places…Disney World, Dollywood, Bowl games! Dance is such a passion for me, and I also love kids. That makes my job the best job ever! I have always had an aspiration to teach children and the best feeling in the world is knowing that I am using my talent to reach out to children and teach them the art of dance!”

She is married to the love of her life Hunter and they have a beautiful baby girl Huntly.

Caitlin Lydia

Caitlin Lydia has been a part of the StarMakers family since the age of 5.

Competing in genres such as Clogging, Tap, Hip Hop, Jazz and Irish Step, Caitlin has won numerous local state and national titles. She has made a number of appearances on “You’re Carolina” with Jack Roper as well as performances on Fox Carolina News. In 2010, Caitlin and her Sudden Impact Clogging team were granted the opportunity to travel to New York and audition for Paula Abdul’s “Live to Dance.”
After graduating from Dorman High School in 2012, Caitlin was accepted to Mars Hill University in North Carolina and became a member of the Bailey Mountain Cloggers dance team. Since her arrival at Mars Hill, Caitlin has, again, competed on local, state and national levels and has been fortunate to travel overseas to perform in countries such as Greece, England, France and multiple countries in South America. As she entered her sophomore year at Mars Hill, Caitlin was extremely excited to be awarded the title of Captain of the Bailey Mountain Cloggers. Now in her senior year, Caitlin plans to graduate with a bachelors in Physical Education.
We are very excited to have Caitlin back at StarMakers with us teaching and assisting our Company Clogging teams.

Rockey Gaines

Rockey is a Tumbling Instructor at StarMakers Dance Company.

Rockey has had a passion for tumbling since he was a kid.  He began tumbling in middle school, teaching himself at the football games. Later he went on to try gymnastics to realize it wasn’t for him. It wasn’t until his senior year in high school that he would tryout for cheerleading and become the 2nd male ever to cheer for Dorman High School.

After high school, Rockey continued to cheer and began coaching as well. Rockey has now coached and cheered since 2003. Within those years, Rockey has coached all-star cheerleading, competitive recreation, and high school squads. Rockey has also been a Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) instructor.

Rockey has won many national titles and competed at the World Cheerleading Competition in Disney four times. Rockey currently resides in Travelers Rest where he has his own tumbling facility. He enjoys training kids in various places across the upstate.

Shauna Hines

Shauna Hines is the Power Tumbling Coach and Tumbling Instructor at StarMakers Dance Company.  

Shauna has tumbled since age nine, reaching the Nationals and Worlds.  Shauna began coaching at the young age of fourteen and coached tumbling and trampoline at the National level for three years. Shauna also coached beginner gymnastics and competitive cheer in Wichita Falls, TX, until she joined the United States Army in 2001, with whom she traveled the world including Iraq (2003), Korea (2005), Iraq (2007), Afghanistan (2008), Caribbean and Haiti (2009).

In 2010, Shauna married Jeremy Hines, and together they have three wonderful children: Ryan, Jaydon, and Shaylee. In 2014, they decided to leave the army. Now, after thirteen years, Shauna is returning to the sport she so passionately loves. In addition, Shauna is currently attending Strayer University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Entrepreneurship.

Favorite Quote: “A true champion is someone who wants to make a difference, who never gives up, and who gives everything she has no matter what the circumstances are. A true champion works hard and never loses sight of her dreams.” – Dot Richardson

Taylor Connolly

Taylor Connolly is an instructor and the Company Team Manager at StarMakers Dance Company.

Taylor became a member of the StarMakers family in 2007 at the age of 15. However she discovered her passion for the art of dance when she was 11 years old living in Simi Valley, California. During her years in California, she was classically trained in Ballet and Pointe, along with Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Lyrical, and Contemporary.
After four years of competing on the GottaDance Academy Competition Teams, Taylor’s family packed up and moved from California to South Carolina where she was pointed into the direction of StarMakers Dance Company. From 2007 to 2012, Taylor had the opportunity of competing in numerous solo routines along with competing on the local, state, and nationally ranked Jazz, Tap, Clogging, Hip Hop, Irish, and Sudden Impact Top 5 company teams.
Since 2007, Taylor and her teammates have made numerous appearances on Your Carolina with Jack Roper and Fox Carolina News. In 2010, her Top 5 clogging team was granted the opportunity to travel to New York and audition for Paula Abdul’s reality show, Live to Dance. Also in 2010, Taylor was hired on as an instructor and staff member at StarMakers teaching Jazz technique classes and Ballet/Tap/Jazz combo classes. Taylor is currently the instructor for the Elite Jazz and Jazz Company Teams, Hip Hop Company and Elite Hip Hop Teams, Jazz Rec, Junior Clogging, Jr. and Sr Tap Teams as well as the choreographer for the Acro Team.
As of August of 2017, Taylor was named as the Company Team Manager for SMDC Company Teams.
StarMakers has not only been a place to further her career as a dancer/dance instructor, but has become a true second home and second family. Taylor could not be more thankful for all of the open doors that dance has provided in her life.

Courtney Frost

Courtney Frost is an instructor and the General Manager at StarMakers Dance Company.

 

Courtney Frost is a 2008 graduate of Byrnes High School and attended college at the USC Upstate.  Dance became a huge part of Courtney’s life at the age of two, when she began her first class. She immediately fell in love, and that love and passion for dance continues to this day. Courtney began her life of dance at StarMakers Dance Company 18 years ago, when she became a Company Team Member at the age of ten.

She has won numerous overall awards when she was competing as well as the title of SC State Dancer.  Some awards that her competitive teams have won are Overall Entertainment, Overall High Score of the day, and First Place Overalls.
Courtney has also danced in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and at Walt Disney World; been seen on Your Carolina, and performed at many other local venues. With dance being such a huge part of her life, she was thrilled to became part of the StarMakers staff as an instructor. She continues to work as an instructor since 2008 with Company Teams, where she specializes in clogging and Irish. Her love and passion for dance, as well as children, will continue to be a huge part of her life for many years to come.

Blake Sanders

Blake is the Jazz Company Choreographer at StarMakers Dance Company.  

Blake Sanders recently earned his Masters degree in microbiology from Appalachian State.  In 2010, he graduated Mars Hill College where he was a member of the National Award-winning team, the Bailey Mountain Cloggers. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. While with BMC he had the chance to travel abroad to Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Paderborn, Germany to participate in international folk dance festivals.

Blake was selected as a member of the 2008 America’s Clogging Hall of Fame clogging team in Maggie Valley, NC. He has been dancing since 1998 and has won numerous titles and awards throughout his dance career. He has auditioned for numerous shows and companies throughout the US. His most memorable auditions were Celine Dion’s A New Day show in Las Vegas, Alvin Ailey’s Dance Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, So You Think You Can Dance (Season 6), and the revival of A Chorus Line on Broadway. Blake has performed with the 80’s pop group, The Pointer Sisters, and was able to dance for Raven-Symone at Debbie Allen’s talent search in Los Angeles, CA.

Blake resides in Greenville, SC, where he is the co-director of the award winning Starz Artistic Cloggers and on staff at Dianne’s School of Dance where he teaches lyrical/contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and clogging. Blake is currently pursuing his doctorate in Microbiology at the University of Virginia.

Ashley Cloonan

Ashley Cloonan is a studio instructor at StarMakers Dance Company.

Ashley Cloonan is a graduate of Clemson University.  During college, she taught hip-hop and clogging at local dance studios and for Clemson University’s Clemson Dancers. Ashley trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, clogging, Irish step clog, and hip hop beginning at age 5. She was a member of all StarMakers Senior dance teams from 2001-2004 and was also an assistant teacher during this time.

Ashley is elated to return to StarMakers to teach and share her passion for dance. She resides in Chesnee with her husband and daughter. Ashley currently teaches 2nd grade in Spartanburg District 1, where she strives to incorporate dance and the arts into her regular classroom curriculum.

Kyleigh Southers

Kyleigh is a studio instructor at StarMakers Dance Company.  

Kyleigh is a sophomore at Converse College.  Kyleigh is studying in early childhood education and minoring in dance. She has been a part of StarMakers for 15 years and a graduate of Dorman High School Kyleigh enjoys teaching all ages of children and expanding there dance knowledge.

Hoyt Starkey

Hoyt is a Clogging Instructor at StarMakers Dance Company.

Hoyt Starkey has been clogging for 35 years and teaching for the past 30 years. He is the Co-Director of the Award Winning STARZ ARTISTIC CLOGGERS. Throughout his years of clogging he has had the opportunity to perform on The Grand Old Opery, Hee Haw, Club Dance, Disney and the Miss South Carolina Pageant. He has had many High School pageant winners as well as Miss South Carolina pageant preliminary winners. He also opened for Minni Pearl in Punta Gorda, Fla at their Tri-Centennial Anniversary. Hoyt had the privilege to travel abroad with the award winning Bailey Mountain Cloggers from Mars Hill University to Palma de Mallora, Spain and Paderborn, Germany to participate in the International Folk Dance Festivals. He resides in Travelers Rest, SC.

Ashlee Ratigan

Ashlee is the Jazz and Ballet Technique Coordinator at StarMakers Dance Company.

Ashlee has been dancing since she was five, most recently in a role at Walt Disney World.  Mrs. Ashlee Ratigan is a native of Greenville, South Carolina where she began dancing at the age of 5. She graduated in 2007 from Columbia College with a B.F.A in Performance & Choreography and a B.A in Dance Education certified K-12.

Mrs. Ratigan has studied under teachers from the International Ballet Academy, Central Florida Ballet School, Columbia Ballet School, and many other master teachers from New York and Los Angeles. She has also had the opportunity to perform in numerous shows such as the Miss South Carolina Pageant, Florida Citrus Bowl Half Time Show, Star Systems Competition Television Show, and most recently was a dancer/swing for the Walt Disney World Co. in Orlando, Florida where she danced with stars such as Anika Noni Rose at the opening of Princess and the Frog and Michael Phelps in honor of his Olympic Gold Medals. Her choreography has been showcased at the South Carolina Dance Association’s Kaleidoscope, The American College Dance Festival, and other venues throughout South Carolina. Mrs. Ratigan was named the South Carolina Dance Association’s state Dance Teacher of the Year in 2014. Her students have received scholarships and recognitions from the Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance Company, the Regional and National High School Dance Festivals, and some of the top colleges and universities such as the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She currently sits on the board for the South Carolina Dance Association and the South Carolina Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.

She completed a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from Winthrop University in December 2016. She is married to Patrick Ratigan and has two wonderful dogs Aubie and Gunner.

Lindsey Parris

Lindsey is an Irish Instructor at StarMakers Dance Company and Realta School of Irish Dance.

Lindsey is a graduate of Boiling Springs High School.  Dance has been a huge part of Lindsey’s life for the past 10 years.  StarMakers Dance Company is her second home.  Lindsey is a certified power tumbling & trampoline coach.  During her years at StarMakers, Lindsey has competed in many types of dance including jazz, hip hop, clogging, tap, acro and irish.  Although Lindsey loves all types of dance, Irish is her absolute passion.  She is currently training with Karl Drake at Drake’s School of Irish Dance in Atlanta and is working towards earning her TCRG.  Lindsey also has a heart for children and loves to work with them while watching them grow in dance, and reaching their fullest potential!  Lindsey is currently a freshman at USC Upstate.

Megan Blanton

Megan Blanton is an instructor and the Public Relations Coordinator at StarMakers Dance Company.  

Megan Blanton has been dancing since she was the age of three.  She started taking classes and competing with Starmakers in 2006. She performed and competed in Clogging, Tap, Irish, Jazz and Hip-Hop. She assisted with dance classes and worked at StarKidz until she moved for college. She went to Anderson University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre/Dance. While at Anderson, she choreographed for dance studios in the area and theatres including the Christian Youth Theatre of the Upstate and The Market Theatre. She performed and was dance captain for shows like Mary Poppins and White Christmas. She assisted in dance classes at Anderson University and her choreography was showcased in multiple performances such as Saint Joan, Me and My Girl and the annual Presidents Gala.  Megan teaches ballet at our sister school, Realta School of Irish Dance.  

Karl Drake

Mr. Karl has studios in Alabama, China, Florida, Georgia, Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.   

Drake Irish Dance, one of the most prestigious Irish Dance Schools in the United States, was founded in 1990 in Atlanta, GA by Dublin Ireland native, Karl Drake. Since it’s beginning, Drake Irish Dance has branched out across the southern states. After establishing itself in five southern states, Karl Drake went global by expanding into Mexico and China. Drake Irish Dancers have a record of competitive achievements to include Regional and National Champions as well as World Medal holders.
In addition to competitive achievements, The Drake Irish Dance Troupe travelled all the way to Shangai China in March 2013 where they performed at Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre and Dulwich College Shanghai, China.
Currently they hold the title of World Champions.

Kenley Lesak

Kenley is an Irish Instructor at Realta School of Irish Dance and StarMakers Dance Company.

Kenley started Irish dancing when she was nine years old after several years of gymnastics. She began dancing with a school in Charlotte, NC but moved to Atlanta, GA for a job opportunity and resumed dancing with the Drake School of Irish Dance. In her time in Atlanta, she has represented the Drake School in many local, regional, national, and international competitions. During her dance tenure, Kenley has competed at the World Irish Dancing Championships in 2003, 2009, 2015, and 2016 and is a two time world medal holder in ceili dancing. She has been in the top 15 dancers of the Southern Region every year since 2003. Driven by her passion to help kids reach their dreams, Kenley began teaching Irish dancing in 2006. She was also highly academic; with her outstanding grades and dance accomplishments, she was awarded the prestigious Cyril McNiff & the IDTANA Scholarship in 2009. Kenley took a break from competitive Irish dancing from 2009 to 2014 to attend NC State University. She was inspired to pursue a degree in Fashion and Textiles due to the fact that she made all of her own competition solo dresses. In her 4 years at NCSU, she was recruited to ballroom dance on the UNC Ballroom Dance Team where she won several national competitions and awards. She now designs performance industrial fabrics in addition to teaching dance. Kenley is TCRG certified