Melissa Briggeman is regarded as one of the leading dance entrepreneurs in Tennessee. Before her business adventures, Melissa grew up 10 minutes from Houston, Texas and trained extensively in jazz and contemporary under several well known Houston dance teachers and choreographers. She has toured and performed with many leaders in dance including Steven Boyd, Frank Hatchett, Shawn Welling founder and C.E.O of Plant Funk Academy, Kim Johnstone former Houston Rockets Power Dancer.
Melissa has danced professionally for Planet Funk Academy, Houston Aeros Sonic Boom, Houston Outlaws – Semi Professional Football team, and Grounded Contemporary Dance Company. During her twenty years of teaching dance, she has developed several award-winning dance programs in Knoxville and in Houston. Her most recent accomplishment has been rebuilding the Knoxville Catholic High School dance program. She has won numerous, overall, choreography, and team performance awards, best in studio, and NYCDA critic’s choice award. She has current and former students that have been selected for Broadway Dance Center Internships, College Dance Programs, Houston Texan Cheerleaders, Houston Rocket Power dancers and San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers.
In the summer of 2017, Melissa announced the transformation of dance in Knoxville, launching Fusion Dance Project. With a constant commitment to creativity and a large group of parent support, she is determined to bring dancers to the forefront of the new dance world. In addition, Melissa continues to open doors to her career in leading a new generation of choreographers to achieve fullness of creativity. Melissa is the proud mother of three boys who continue to keep her grounded in this complex world of dance!
Emily Archer was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee and received her early training from Cindy Ferguson with The Dance Agency. Growing up, she had the full experience of working for Talent Trek Agency on various commercial, video, and print projects, Dollywood Entertainment, Gaylord Opryland, and performing in musicals for local and regional theaters. She spent her summers training and performing with the Oak Ridge Playhouse, Bijou Theater, and North Carolina School for the Arts. As a youth, Emily received numerous accolades and awards for outstanding achievements in music, acting, and dance.
Emily brings to Fusion Dance Project a record of exceptional instruction, award-winning choreography, and leadership with over ten years of studio instruction, experience dancing professionally, and has studied dance since the age of three. Emily holds a B.A. in Theatre and Dance from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee and performed with Epiphany Dance Company, a professional modern dance company. In college, she performed in over eight musicals and assisted in the choreography.
After graduating, Emily worked for seven months as a singer/dancer for Norwegian Cruise Lines before returning to Knoxville to teach dance technique classes in jazz, musical theater, contemporary, and tap. This will be her 9th year setting competitive competition routines. She continues to remain in high demand throughout as a choreographer and teacher who wants to make a difference. Emily is married with two young children and is thrilled to be a part of this innovative project!
Jessica began her professional gymnastics and acrobatics career in 2002. She served as the preschool director, taught general classes, and upper level competitive teams in Dyersburg, Tennessee, where she was born and raised.
After coaching in Dyersburg, Jessica moved to Knoxville in 2006 and began teaching with Premier Athletics and their upper level competitive teams. She is best known for her work traveling with competitive teams coaching gymnasts on balance beam and floor routines. Jessica is a master teacher at conditioning and facilitating gymnasts and dancers to increase their flexibility by 25% within the first two months of classes.
Jessica traded the gym life for the dance studio in 2012, when she brought her intensive Acro program to dancers in the West Knoxville area. In the dance arena, with perseverance and dedication of dancers who follow her technique regimen, she has a proven record of teaching students to master a new Acro skill in six months or less. In addition, Jessica also taught dance colleagues how to incorporate flexibility, conditioning, and Acro within their competitive routines and recreational classes.
Jessica works part-time for a local company in Knoxville and has three beautiful children, two of which have competed in gymnastics and dance for the past 13 years. All of these experiences have given Jessica a very broad breadth of knowledge in not only Acro and gymnastics, but in the nuances and intricacies of being a successful performer all around. She is excited to be a part of this amazing company and help bring flexibility, extension, and new skills to dedicated dancers!
Heather Van Dyke
Heather VanDyke, born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, began her dancing career at the age of four studying the styles of jazz, classical ballet, pointe, tap, modern, contemporary and kickline. She has taken classes from numerous studios in the Knoxville area.
During high school, dance conventions and competitions played a large role in her performance experience. These conventions and competitions mainly included the following; Break the Floor Productions (24/7 and Jump), Nuvo, Showstoppers, Stage One, Hollywood Connection, and NYCDA. During the summer of 2010, she studied with the Smuin Ballet in San Francisco, California. At Smuin, she learned to push the boundaries of contemporary ballet within a distinctly American style, combining classical ballet training, technique, and artistry with uncommon physicality and expression.
Since graduating from high school, Heather has taught various levels of dance at a local Knoxville studio and has served as the Assistant Dance Coach for Knoxville Catholic High School. Heather has performed and choreographed with BOSS Dance Company at the University of Tennessee since 2013. Currently, Heather is a member of Grounded Contemporary Dance Company and is working on obtaining her masters in Social Work. She is excited to join the Fusion Dance Project staff and can’t wait to see what the future holds!