Kristen Carder began dancing in Virginia Beach at the age of two. She started her training at Broadway Dance Academy and later attended Elevate Performing Arts Center to join their award winning competition team to further her dance education. She competed in many different dance competitions and won several awards, including, but not limited to, a choreography award for a dance she choreographed with her fellow team members. She has studied all styles of dance, with her favorites being tap and jazz. Kristen has attended the Rockette Summer Intensive in New York City, as well as taking several dance classes at Broadway Dance Center in New York. She has performed at theme parks such as Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion. Kristen is looking forward to being a part of the Elevé Dance Center's team and is excited to keep dance in her life while sharing her passion for dance.      

Mrs. Sarah

Instructor - Tiny Twos, Preschool, Assistant

Although Elevé Dance Center is newer to the Hampton Roads area, we are very rich in history. Many of our dancers began their dance education at Wilkins School of Dance, but the studio closed in 2014.  We were fortunate enough to keep our studio family together and in doing so, Elevé Dance Center was born in June of 2014.

​Elevé Dance Center is based on a dance term meaning "to rise." When choosing a name for our new studio, the word rise had many meanings - the literal meaning is to go up on the toes, something that our dancers of all ages learn from the beginning.  Secondly, we strive not only to teach our students the technical side of dance, but the importance of discipline, hard work, and self-confidence. We want our dancers to embody the grace, poise, and passion that dance instills. We truly believe not rising to meet others, but rising to meet ourselves is a creed that we can carry with us long after our dance shoes no longer fit.​​​​


Ms. Leah

Instructor - Company Ballet

Our Story

          Jahnice Davis began dancing at the age of two at The Academy Dance in Newport News, Virginia. She later attended Denise Wall Dance Energy in Virginia Beach, Virginia to further her dance education and training. She was also a part of her national award winning dance company. Jahnice graduated from Woodside High School where she participated in the Dance Magnet program as well. She is currently enrolled at Old Dominion University and is pursuing a career in the medical field to become a Nurse Practitioner and a Licensed Pharmaceutical Technician. Janice has worked under many professionals in the industry such as Travis Wall, Dana Foglia, Will Loftis, Twitch, Stacey Tookey, and many more. Jahnice's motto is to show others that even if dance isn't the career choice, it will always be an outlet of expression and a safe space.

We feature two very large dance rooms and a comfortable waiting room with a reception area. 

Our brand new facility has first class dance floors and barre brackets with the names of our hall of fame recipients.

Ms. Sarah

Instructor - Adult Class (Tap & Jazz)

Mrs. Michelle

​Owner, Creative Director, Instructor

Preschool, Primary, Elementary Combo, Petites, Teens, Company

Leah Upchurch, a Virginia Beach native, began her classical training at Ballet Virginia from the ages of five to seventeen. From there, she was accepted into The Colburn School to continue her dance education in Los Angeles. While there, she performed leading roles in Jerome Robbins’ Antique Epigraphsand original works by Benjamin Millipied. Following The Colburn School, Ms. Upchurch became a trainee at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago where she performed in excerpts of Bournonville’s Napoli, company performances of Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces, and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Continuing into her professional career, Ms. Upchurch then joined Kansas City Ballet’s second company in 2018. Within her time as a second company member, she performed in Septime Webre’s world premiere of Wizard of Oz, Devon Carney’s The Nutcracker, and Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias. She also discovered her love and passion for teaching. By nineteen years old, Ms. Upchurch was already leading classes and assisting with choreography for the students of the academy. After a year with the Kansas City Ballet, she finally came back to her home in Virginia and went on to join Ballet Virginia once again as a company and faculty member.She has now been with Ballet Virginia for five seasons and has continued to perform various works with the company and academy. Ms. Upchurch has also been teaching and leading many classes in genres such as ballet, contemporary, modern, and variations and wants to continue her growth as an artist.       

Ms. Kristen

Instructor - Company Master Classes, Assistant

Our Faculty & Staff

Ms. Jahnice

Instructor - Company, Jazz Fusion

Our Facility

       Ms. Sarah is a lifelong dancer, she began dancing at Wilkins School of Dance the first year they opened.  Sarah also went to Woodside High School and danced with the performing arts magnet program.  She returned to dance as an adult by continuing at Wilkins both in the adult class and alumni class, but then when Michelle, a long time friend of Sarah's, opened Elevé Dance Center, it was an obvious choice to continue dancing there.  Sarah is also a hairstylist, she finds great joy in making people feel good about themselves, and finding confidence in their appearance.  These same ideas transfer to dancing as an adult because it's an amazing sight to see adults with or without years of experience get on stage and be confident in their abilities.  We are so excited to welcome Sarah to the teaching side of dance and we know she is going to be fabulous as our new adult class instructor!​

     Ballet - Tap - Jazz - Lyrical - Contemporary - Modern - Hip Hop - PointE - Acro    

         Sarah Forsgren Tetterton, loves dance! A Yorktown native, Sarah is a graduate of Elevé Dance Center and Grafton High School. When Sarah was 3 years old she began her dance education. Wilkins School of Dance was her dance home for her first 6 years. Sarah moved to England for a couple of years and trained in Imperial Classical Ballet, Tap, Contemporary, Modern and Character dance. Upon returning to Virginia, Sarah continued her dance education at Wilkins and was so very thankful to join Eleve Dance Center when Wilkins closed their doors. As a company dancer for Elevé, Sarah is trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Character. Sarah completed the Graduate program where she was a student assistant for 3 years with opportunities to learn Choreography and Teaching styles.
          In high school Sarah performed with the award winning Grafton Marching Band Color Guard. Sarah served as Captain for two years where she added to her experience in choreography and teaching. 
In Sarah's time since graduation she has worked as a performer at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. Additionally she worked as dance captain teaching and cleaning choreography for several seasons. In her free time Sarah enjoys choreographing and coaching colorguard for local marching bands. In the last 5 seasons Sarah has coached at Grafton High School, Tabb High School, and Matthews High School. She currently splits her coaching time between Grafton and Tabb.

          Sarah recently began the role of her dreams, MOM. Sarah and her husband Sam became parents summer 2023! Teaching at Elevé is the icing on the cake as Sarah continues to live her best life doing the things she loves.

Meet Your Elevé Dance Center Faculty!

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      Mrs. Michelle began dancing at three years old at York School of Dance.  When York School of Dance closed, Michelle auditioned and became a student at Wilkins School of Dance where she was a member of their Senior Company and 2002 hall of fame recipient. She successfully completed the Graduate program where she was a student assistant for three years.  Michelle has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, character, pointe, contemporary, and swing.  Throughout her years as a student, she attended and competed in Dance Caravan’s annual summer dance convention.  There she was able to take classes and learn from the very best; some of the professionals included, Mallory Graham, Jerry Rose, Scott Benson, Barry Youngblood, and Chris Smith.  Wilkins even offered the opportunity for its students to take master classes at the studio and perform in the annual Poquoson Christmas Parades.  Outside of the studio, Michelle and her Company members danced at nursing homes for community service which brought so much joy to everyone involved!  At Grafton High, Michelle was able to use her dance and performance skills as a varsity cheerleader. 

          After graduating from Grafton High school, she knew that she wanted to become a member of the Wilkins faculty and share her love for dance.  She completed her teacher training at Wilkins School of Dance and began teaching her own classes.  She taught and continued to dance at the studio for thirteen years and once Wilkins closed its doors, she knew that she wanted to open her own dance studio home thus Elevé Dance Center was born in July 2014.  Mrs. Michelle is so thankful to have her loving husband and family by her side supporting every “step” of the way and for making this dream of owning her own dance center become a reality!  Her dedication, passion, experience, talent, and knowledge are some of the many attributes she brings to this beautiful studio and offers the opportunity for dancers to receive a well-rounded dance education.  However, one of the most meaningful moments Mrs. Michelle can share with the community is how many of the Elevé dancers have begun to call this dance center their second "home"...we are FAMILY here! ​​