About Us

It is through the director’s experience gained and teaching dance within the community for over 40 years that First Class has built upon. The director, as well as the staff of First Class, has taken numerous classes in dance.
Gaynelle Costner
Director, Teacher, Owner

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
Artistic Director

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.

Monet Andrews

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

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.

Jasmine Campbell

Jasmine currently teaches hip hop. She is a certified Zumba teacher in her other life!

Brittney Clements

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.

Donne' Hawkins

Donne’ has been dancing pretty much all of her life. She currently teaches hip hop, poms and the Intermediate II Level classes.

Adrian Vincent James

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 Jordan

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.

Chivas Merchant Buckman

Chivas returns to our staff. He teaches Intermediate Ballet, Tap and Modern.

Sharon Terrell-Lindsay
Front Desk/Office Manager

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

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

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.

Nicole Wicker

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.


Why Choose Us

The Best Dance Studio
We Are Experienced
We Love Our Kids