History

Miss Marion’s School of Dance opened in September of 1946, under the direction of Marion Feinstein, known professionally as “Miss Marion.” 

From humble beginnings in Miss Marion’s garage to one facility with four large studios, we are proud of our past as well as our future.

Miss Marion began her dance education as a child and continued it in New York City at Ballet Arts and Jack Stanley School of Dance. She then attended American Ballet Theatre, Broadway Dance Center, and JoJo’s Dance Factory. Miss Marion was later named one of the Who’s Who in American Entertainment and Education. She was also awarded a County Resolution award for her immeasurable contribution to the art of dance in Spartanburg County.

As a teacher, she was privileged and honored to teach and choreograph for numerous students who went on to shine in the dance world.

Our studio is now under the direction of Lori Axelrod, Miss Marion’s daughter, and Shauna Axelrod, Miss Marion’s granddaughter. 

Family Photo

History

Miss Marion’s School of Dance opened in September of 1946, under the direction of Marion Feinstein, known professionally as “Miss Marion.” 

From humble beginnings in Miss Marion’s garage to one facility with four large studios, we are proud of our past as well as our future.

Miss Marion began her dance education as a child and continued it in New York City at Ballet Arts and Jack Stanley School of Dance. She then attended American Ballet Theatre, Broadway Dance Center, and JoJo’s Dance Factory. Miss Marion was later named one of the Who’s Who in American Entertainment and Education. She was also awarded a County Resolution award for her immeasurable contribution to the art of dance in Spartanburg County.

As a teacher, she was privileged and honored to teach and choreograph for numerous students who went on to shine in the dance world.

Our studio is now under the direction of Lori Axelrod, Miss Marion’s daughter, and Shauna Axelrod, Miss Marion’s granddaughter. 

Meet Our Team

Lori Axelrod

Lori Axelrod

CEO / Dance Instructor

Lori Axelrod is the artistic director and owner of Miss Marion’s School of Dance. Lori holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami in Early Childhood Education. Lori has devoted her life to dance, beginning her dance education at Miss Marion’s with her mother Marion Feinstein, who started the studio in 1946. Lori and her mother both studied under the famous Jack Stanley, who was also one of Gene Kelly’s teachers. Lori has trained at the Miami Conservatory of Ballet, the North Carolina School of Performing Art and with numerous teachers at the Broadway Dance Center and Steps in New York. Her professional dance career is highlighted by her work as a New York Radio City Music Hall Rockette. Lori’s students have danced in the 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremony, have worked on Broadway and television, and have won several national dance competition awards. Lori has also been the recipient of numerous choreography awards at both regional and national dance competitions. She was a nominee for the Boiling Springs, S.C. Jaycees Award for the South Carolina Young American Woman, and in 2006 she was awarded the Spartanburg Community College Award of Achievement and Contributions to Women.

Lori’s dance experience comes from studying under an array of professional dancers. She has studied under Broadway Dance teachers such as Charles Goddertz, Phil Black, Frank Hatchet, Sue Samuels, Cholly Atkins, Sam Weber, Jason Samuels Smith, Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Breanda Buffalino, Jay Fagin, and Acia Gray. Lori was also able to recently work with the famous vocalist Adam Met. Adam and his brothers formed the band AJR in 2006. They compose and perform original works. AJR has opened for major musical acts, such as Demi Lovato.

Lori has used her many gifts to benefit the Special Needs community in Spartanburg to assist with fundraising for the Cancer Society, both locally and statewide, and to encourage her students to volunteer their talents by performing at charity functions and nursing homes. She and her dance partner, Dr. Jay Bearden, won the dance competition at the South Carolina Colorectal Ball, and she choreographed for the 2007 and 2009 Spartanburg/Cherokee Counties Dancing with the Stars.

She is currently the Director of the Carolina Youth Dance Theatre and is a member of Dance Masters of America. Lori has served as both Performing Arts Chair and Scholarship Chair for Southern Council of Dance Masters.

Lori recently received a proclamation from the City of Spartanburg for her advocacy on breast cancer awareness and fundraising through Paint Our Town Pink. She is an avid supporter of the Bearden – Josey Center for Breast Health. She is married to Rob Axelrod and they have three children Marisa [Kent], Shauna and Steven, and two grandchildren, Mason and Saylor.

Shauna Axelrod

Shauna Axelrod

Dance Instructor

Shauna began her dancing career at age 2 under her mother, Miss Lori, and grandmother, Miss Marion. She won the titles of Petite Miss Dance and Junior Miss Dance of South Carolina. At age 11, she performed the role of Clara in the International Ballet Academy’s production of the Nutcracker and at age 14, she continued her training at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities under Stanislav Issaev and Irina Ushakova for all four years of high school. Shauna attended several prestigious summer programs that include The Harid Conservatory, Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, Alvin Ailey, International Ballet Academy, and SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. She received a Bachelors of Fine Arts at the University of South Carolina where she studied ballet under Stacey Calvert and Kyra Strasberg. She had the opportunity to perform Stars and Stripes and Serenade with principal dancers from the New York City Ballet. Upon graduation, Shauna moved to New York City to work at the largest talent agency in the world, Creative Artist Agency. After several years, Shauna decided to continue her grandmother’s legacy and move back to Spartanburg, SC. Shauna has taught in dance studios all across the world, but is thrilled to be back where it all began to work alongside her mom and sister.
Marisa Cecil

Marisa Cecil

Dance Instructor

Marisa Cecil was recently named President of the Charles Lea Center Foundation. She has spent more than a decade working for nonprofits in the Spartanburg area, most recently as the director of development for the Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas. She also spent nine years in various roles at the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System including working as the Director of Philanthropy for the Spartanburg Regional Foundation.

Marisa is the granddaughter of Miss Marion and is the daughter of Miss Lori. Dancing since the time she could walk, Marisa has a long resume of dance achievement. She was chosen as a young child to perform with the Broadway Kids in Broadway on Broadway in New York City. She was selected at age ten to tour with Dance Caravan as a Caravan Kid. Marisa is the recipient of numerous regional and national dance awards. In 2007 she was chosen to be an intern with the Tony Awards in New York and was also a production assistant for the 2007 Boston Pops 4th of July television program with Craig Ferguson and John Mellencamp. Marisa was Teen Miss Greenville 2002. She assisted the Radio City Rockettes at the Rockette Experience in New York City. If you are a fan of the CBS reality show, “The Amazing Race,” you will have cheered for Marisa during Season 13.

Marisa is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism. She has a minor in Dance Performance. She is a Leadership Spartanburg Alum and was named the 2019 Young Professional of the Year by the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce (One Spartanburg Inc.) She is married to Kent Cecil and has two children- Mason (7) and Saylor (3) Cecil. Marisa is thrilled to see the legacy continue with her daughter Saylor in dance.

Susan Harris

Susan Harris

Dance Instructor

Susan has been affiliated with Miss Marion’s since she was a young child, and now shares the Miss Marion’s tradition with her grandchildren. A former Marionette, she was a finalist at Dance Master’s National Championship in New York, and was an original protégé of the North Carolina Chapter of Dance Masters under the direction of the legendary Beale Fletcher.
A former director of the Miss Duncan-Lyman-Wellford pageant (a preliminary to Miss South Carolina), Susan also directed the Byrnes High School Pageant for several years. She has served as a certified judge for the Miss South Preliminary Pageants, and has judged many South Carolina and North Carolina talent competitions. She is a former assistant with the Byrnes High School Color Guard. Susan continues her dance training by attending numerous dance workshops around the country. Susan’s former students have gone on to perform on Broadway as well as to dance in the 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremony. She is the proud mom of four sons who are known in the Upstate for their clogging ability. Susan is even prouder to be the grandmother to 8 grandchildren and one great-grand child.
Lydia Sanders

Lydia Sanders

Dance Instructor

Lydia is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Dance and a Minor in Psychology. She has trained with the Cincinnati Ballet, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Carolina Ballet. Lydia has performed in various ballet performances such as the Nutcracker and Aladdin in the Virginia National Ballet and Swan Lake and Walpurgisnacht at the University of South Carolina Dance Company. She has experience teaching Classical Ballet, Variations, Pointe and Contemporary, Creative Movement, and Pre-Ballet. Lydia is excited to continue teaching and sharing her love for dance at Miss Marion’s.
Destiny Carpenter

Destiny Carpenter

Dance Instructor

Destiny has been in the dance world her whole life. She is 19 years old and she specializes in Hip Hop. Destiny is a graduate of Carpenter’s Academy of Faith and she currently attends the University of South Carolina Upstate. She has been a part of the Miss Marion’s “dance family” for 16 years. Growing up Destiny studied Hip Hop, Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, and Tap. She has also performed in various functions in the Western Caribbean Cruise, the Disney World Main Street Parade, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Destiny considers it an honor to have won Miss Dance and she has been awarded the Mr. & Mrs. Feinstein Award. She looks forward to sharing her love of dance with the next generation of dancers.
Amy Andrus

Amy Andrus

Dance Instructor

Amy Andrus is a former student and competitive dancer of Miss Marion’s School of Dance. During that time she received many first place, high score and over all honors. Amy studied tap, jazz, ballet, and contemporary as a student at Miss Marion’s. From there Amy went on to become a member of the Lander University Dance Company, an instructor and choreographer and toured with the Indianapolis based band “The Born Again Floozies” as their tap dancer and percussionist. Today, Amy is the Regional Director of Business Development for Pristine Environments.

This year for the second time Amy competed in “Dancing with the Spartanburg Stars”, a fundraiser benefiting the Cancer Association of Spartanburg and Cherokee counties. She is a board member and the chair of special events at the Middle Tyger YMCA. Amy also volunteers through the River Ridge Elementary PTO and is a co-leader for Girl Scout Troop 1952.

Kellianne Pate Floyd

Kellianne Pate Floyd

Dance Instructor

Kellianne Pate Floyd began her dancing career at Miss Marion’s School of Dance at the age of two. She developed her passion for dance while dancing and working as an assistant teacher at Miss Marion’s. Kellianne has had many opportunities to perform through Miss Marion’s including the 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Carnival Cruise Lines, and many trips to New York to take classes. She won Miss Lancaster 2002, performing a tap dance, and then went on to compete for the title of Miss South Carolina 2002. Kellianne has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Education, and has been teaching for 16 years. She is the 2020 recipient of the Palmetto State Arts Education Ray Doughty Arts Integration Award for her efforts in dance education and the integration of dance into the academic classroom. Kellianne currently serves on the board for Palmetto State Arts Education Organization. She is excited to be home at Miss Marion’s, where she will continue teaching and sharing her love of dance.
Hannah Gunta

Hannah Gunter

Dance Instructor

Hannah began gymnastics classes at the age of 6. She continued to train in gymnastics and at the age of 11 she began acrobatic training. After competing for 2 years in acrobatics, she then went on to compete in Wisconsin's National Competition. Preparing for this competition afforded Hannah the opportunity to learn from and study under coaches from Ohio and Maryland. Hannah's experience in competitive gymnastics opened the door for her to teach at Spartanburg Gymnastics, where she began teaching at the age of 14. Hannah now hopes to share her love and talent for gymnastics with the students of Miss Marion's School of Dance. She feels very fortunate to begin teaching for a studio that cares deeply for student's individual needs as dancers.
Cheryl Cutlip

Cheryl Cutlip

Guest Instructor

We are excited to have the Rockette Experience taught by Cheryl Cutlip along with Lori Axelrod and Sandi Freidman. This experience is to teach techniques and kicklines performed by the Radio City Rockettes. Cheryl’s calling to positively impact culture through the arts led her to produce dance performance events in major cities throughout the world including New York City, Sydney, Hong Kong, Toronto, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, London, Penang, Kansas City, Puerto Rico and Manila. These events began after of 911 and draw more than 1000 dancers annually who desire to perform with integrity to inspire. Dance Spirit Magazine has named Project Dance one of the top ten dance events in New York City. She also directs ATMOSPHERE, a company of Project Dance, an all volunteer professional dance ensemble with locations in New York and North Carolina. She also co-produces a monthly urban variety show at the famed BBKings called BROADWAY UNDERGROUND which highlights up and coming talent from New York City.

Student Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Opening Ceremonies 1996 Olympics in Atlanta
  • Danced at World’s Fair Performance 
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 
  • NFL Pro Bowl Halftime Performance 
  • Carolina Panthers Inaugural Parade 
  • Students attended South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities 
  • Touring Cast of Broadway’s 42nd St 
  • Southern Council of Dance Master’s Title Holders (Petite, Mr, Junior, Teen, and Miss Dance)
  • Performed at the Statue of Liberty in NYC
  • Radio City Rockettes
  • Radio City Summer Intensive
  • Dance Caravan Kid USA
  • Small Business of the Month for OneSpartanburg, Inc. 
  • Miss Black Spartanburg
  • Miss Spartanburg
  • Miss South Carolina
  • Won Scholarship Awards for Dance Conventions (Tremaine, Dance Makers, Dance Masters, etc)
  • High Overall at Regional and National Dance Competitions