Gaynelle Costner opened First Class Dance Studio in August of 1998. Her enthusiasm, motivation and natural love of dance brought FCDS to the community. As FCDS’ motto “for those who have never experienced dance…and for those who expect the best” states, Mrs. Costner is not concerned with only the advanced student. Mrs. Costner teaches the Adult Modern class as well as Intermediate Ballet, Tap and Modern.
Jay Staten began his training at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. and is a BFA graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. Jay has danced with Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theatre and was a principal with the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco). Jay was most recently seen on Broadway in After Midnight.
I started dancing at the age of 3 at Pizzaz Dance Studio. Stopped dancing to do cheerleading, stepping, and gymnastics. Realized dancing was where I belonged, joined Umoja Creative Dance Studio at 10 and never looked back. I danced in high school on the CHF Pom and Dance team followed by Pure Gold Dance team at Bowie State University. I started teaching dance in 2012. Teaching dance allowed me to make the connection between the passion I have for the craft and educating youth.
Aneesah Blount starting dancing at the age of 2. In August of 1998, she moved with Mrs. Gaynelle to First Class Dance Studio. Aneesah is currently a preschool teacher at Appletree Early Learning PCS in DC. She teaches Beginner III Ballet, Tap, Modern and Hip Hop.
Brittney Clements started dancing at the age of 3 under the instruction of Gaynelle Brent. She loves to dance and sharing her passion for it with others. She teaches Intermediate Ballet, Tap, Modern, Contemporary and Advanced Hip Hop. Brittney is Assistant to the Artistic Director. Brittney also serves as the rehearsal captain for the older company members.
Chivas returns to our staff. He teaches Intermediate Ballet, Tap and Modern.
To empower students physically, emotionally, intellectually and aesthetically by developing their creative talent and leadership skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and cultural awareness through participation in the performing arts.
Rhonda began dance training at age 6. She then obtained extensive coaching in classical ballet with the Dance Theater of Harlem’s Residency Program at the Kennedy Center beginning age 9 and continued through age 14. Rhonda also received private tap lessons beginning age 9 and frequently traveled to New York City’s Woodpeckers Studio for additional workshops with legends like Gregory Hines and Dr. James “Busta” Brown.
Sharon Terrell-Lindsay (Ms. Sharon, aka Peaches) developed the desire to dance at First Class Dance Studio (FCDS), watching her daughter and other students grow into beautiful and graceful dancers. She brought her customer service skills and overall friendly, cordial, and motherly nature to support the FCDS front desk.
Nikki Sutton-Mackey started studying dance at the age of 2 and continued to study at Duke Ellington Arts High School, Univ. of the Arts, Philadanco and Alvin Ailey. She is currently teaching dance and P.E. at the Duke Ellington Arts High School and enjoys promoting fit and healthy lifestyles to all ages through dance and fitness!
Julia Walker joined the staff of First Class Dance Studio under the direction of Mrs. Gaynelle Costner in 1998. Julia has a love for dance that will never die, she enjoys working with children, and being the best dancer she can be. She teaches Beginner I Ballet, Tap and Modern. Julia also serves as the rehearsal captain for the young company members.
JoAnn recently joined the staff of First Class working the front desk during the week for the evening shift. JoAnn is very excited to be working at the studio where her son, Jay, is the Artistic Director. She loves greeting the kids when they come to class. Seeing their smiling faces is the highlight of her evening!
Nicole Wicker, affectionately known as “Ms. Nicki, has been a teacher at FCDS since its inception in 1998. Nicole teaches Liturgical Dance. Nicole always endeavors to keep God first in everything she does, and attributes her many successes throughout the years, both personally and in the dance world, to that fact.
My short time here has been amazing, fun and challenging thus far. I am an adult student and the amount of growth in ballet and modern in such a short period of time is priceless!! I know that the training I am receiving here will go a long way in my dance career!
FCDS has given me the drive to want to dance again. I have not danced since I was 6 years old and now I’m close to 40! Gaynelle has given me the passion to want to do it all again! My girls are so excited to attend class especially my youngest, she wants to call Gaynelle every time she’s not coming or going to be late, lol. FCDS is the place to be!
My daughter has been with FCDS since 2005…and still going strong. She has greatly improved in her dance skills and confidence. From the Director down to the staff, they take your kids under their wings and teach them the art of dance and how to have fun with it! FCDS is THE BEST!!!
I truly enjoy dancing with FCDS. Since joining, I can say I have become more confident in how I perform. It is evident in my learning different dance styles from what I am use to. Gaynelle has always been considerate with the type of dances to be performed as well as to wholesome music, and the final presentation is always done with “class.” I appreciate her and the FCDS staff for their being so kind, professional, and not to mention lots of fun!
As a parent, student and supporter of everyone at the front desk of First Class Dance Studio, it is great to be a part of such a family oriented atmosphere, like back in the day when everyone looked out for everyone. I love witnessing the positive impact that Ms. Gaynelle and the rest of the staff have on all the students, and you can rest assure that your child is in good hands! I look forward to being here another 16 years!! First Class, Yeah that’s Us!!
First Class Dance Studio has delivered a first class dance experience for my girls for the past twelve years! With three girls going through the program, I have personally experienced the genuine support, graceful dance and dedication provided by the owner, Mrs. Costner, and her staff. The amount of care and attention they give to their dancers is reflected in their performance year after year. I am proud to a parent of children who attend FCDS!
My daughter has been in dance for almost 7yrs. This is our first year at First Class & I must say in just 3 short months I have seen a huge difference in my daughters technique. I am impressed with what she is now learning & so very thankful we are a part of First Class!