History

Betty’s School of Dance opened its doors in 1945. Betty Parlier, the original owner, created a studio that educated the community in ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics. Miss Betty, as she was called, had a sixty-year career in dance education until 2005, when she retired and passed her legacy on to one of her former students, Natasha Smyth Marko. Natasha had taken classes from Betty since the age of four, and taught and choreographed for her for nine years before taking over the studio.

HIstory1-01Betty’s School of Dance holds fast to the values that have always been associated with this studio: that ballet is an art defined by its dancers’ passion and talent, not by its sequins. Students receive a strong technical education in all classes through both movement and language. The studio offers a wide variety of classes, including ballet, Pointe, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, tumble, belly dancing, hip hop, break dance, and Zumba. With the technical skills taught at Betty’s, students have the tools to excel in any dance situation: from the challenging and original choreography of our own classes, to the fast-paced environment of auditions and conventions, to the advanced studies of higher education.

While performance is an important part of dance education at Betty’s School of Dance, we do not participate in National Dance Competitions. Our students find enriching performance opportunities through studio ballet, concerts, company performances, and charity and community events. Students are taught to compete with themselves and bond with their peers through challenging classes, studio performances, and national conventions.

about_bannerDance is an art through which students have an opportunity to positively express their ideas and emotions, and we strive to make this type of education available to everyone. Our costume rental program saves our dancers hundreds of dollars each performance on costuming, and we have several discounts to help students with the costs.

We are accepting new students! We are confident that our supportive classroom environment will help students of any age or level adjust easily. Please contact us for any information about our studio. We hope to hear from you!


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Our Team

Natasha Marko

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Natasha began studying dance as a student of Betty Parlier.  She studied intensively at Betty’s School of Dance, beginning at the age of four,  and also traveled for study at other programs and conventions.  She attended the NC Governor’s School for dance, and then continued her study of dance at Meredith College and UNC-Charlotte.   In 2005, Natasha became the owner of Betty’s School of Dance upon Betty’s retirement, having studied as an apprentice with the studio  for nearly nine years prior to the transition.  Miss Betty told Dance Teacher Magazine in the 2008 December issue that she was confident that her long-standing tradition of strong technical training and nurturing artistic development would continue gracefully.

In 2005, Natasha received a B.A. Degree in Anthropology from UNC-Charlotte, as she also began her career as the new studio owner of Betty’s School of Dance.  Since her ownership  of the studio, Betty’s School of Dance has grown into a spacious 9400 square foot studio in downtown Statesville.  Natasha currently instructs classes in ballet, contemporary, tap, and jazz.  She has directed and choreographed numerous concerts and productions including Cinderella, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, and the Nutcracker.  She has also worked as a performer and choreographer for productions and social events, and  continues her dance training through annual courses and certifications.  

Natasha is a graduate of the Dance Masters of America Teacher Training School at the State University of New York at Buffalo and is the Janet-Bachna Scholar for her graduating class.  She also continues to travel and stay current with choreography and dance trends by taking classes with those at the center of the dance and education scene.  Natasha is a current member of Dance Masters of America, Carolina Dance Masters, National Dance Education Organization and the North Carolina Dance Alliance.


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    Sara Koontz

    Sara is a full-time instructor and currently teaches classes in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and modern to students ages 3 through adult. She holds a BA degree in Dance from Elon College, and is currently performing with the Kearns Dance Project. Sarah also performed and choreographed as a member of the Elon Dancers in many productions throughout college and is a member of the North Carolina Dance Alliance. Sara is a certified Pilates instructor and is also certified by Dance Masters of America at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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    Lori Carbone

    The foundation of Lori’s training is Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), and she began at the Mallonee School of Ballet in Davidson, NC and Charlotte, NC by Linda Mallonee-Hovis, of the School of American Ballet and certified Royal Academy of Dance (RAD)/Graded Syllabus teacher. The training at the Mallonee School was of direct lineage of the great Anna Pavlova. Under the mentorship of Ms. Mallonee, Lori began her RAD teacher-training and taught technique for the Mallonee School and other area schools. Lori expanded her training under the tutelage of two other RAD-certified instructors: Gay Porter, Artistic Director of the Charlotte Youth Ballet; and Claudia Foltz of the Harkness Ballet. Lori is a high school alumna of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she trained under Melissa Hayden, Robert Lundgren, David Howard, and Sal Aeillo, among other acclaimed teachers and guest artists. She was a soloist with the Charlotte Youth Ballet, Wilmington Dance Theatre, and the Southern Appalachian Theater Association; a first violinist with the Davidson College String Ensembles; and a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG). Lori is a University Honor’s Scholar of New York University, recipient of the NYU Founder’s Award, Alpha Sigma Lambda, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and minor in Criminology. She trained with the Joffrey Ballet and the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute while at NYU, and holds certifications from Yoga Alliance, Flow-Yoga, Vasudha Yoga, Fitcore Pilates, and PiYo.

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    Danielle Abbott

    Danielle Abbott is the Marketing and Office Manager as well as an instructor for Betty’s School of Dance. Beginning her dance career as a young child she quickly fell in love with the movement. Danielle trained in numerous facets including ballet, Pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, and gymnastics. She studied with professionals such as Jacqueline Dormany and Emily Adams in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. As a cheerleader for six years she competed at the national level. Convinced that dance was her lifelong dream, Danielle was accepted into East Carolina University to further her dance career. After auditioning for the program, Danielle was quickly promoted to level III and IV during her freshman year. However, a devastating foot injury thwarted her dream of dancing professionally. Yet, Danielle had already accumulated enough hours to claim a minor in dance. Danielle persevered and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from ECU and immediately began her career as a Social Worker. After a three year sabbatical from dancing, she decided to audition for a pre-professional company in Eastern NC and danced there for approximately 1 ½ years. After relocating to Statesville to begin a family her love for dance was rekindled in 2008 when she enrolled in adult classes at Betty’s School of Dance. In 2012 she began teaching intermediate and advanced level tumbling, and she has also worked full time as a Social Worker for the past 17 years. It is Danielle’s belief that dance not only has the power of self-expression, but is a natural stress-reducer, and teaches discipline. Classes with Danielle are energetic, fun, and full of encouragement!

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    Tracy Robbins

    Tracy is BSD’s Director of Theatrical Design.  She designs and creates spectacular scenery and props for our stage productions and organizes our massive costume inventory.  Tracy’s extensive experience in theatre set design brings magic to our performances!  You will also find Tracy offering assistance at our front desk where she is also eager to put a smile on the faces of our students and their families.

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    Ingrid Eller

    Ingrid began taking dance with Mrs. Betty when she was only five years old.  When Ingrid was a teenager she realized that she had a real love and passion for dance. She continued training and student teaching at Betty’s School of Dance and then graduated in 2011. After graduating high school Ingrid attended Mitchell Community College where she earned her Associates Degree in December of 2013. While attending Mitchell Community College, Ingrid began teaching classes at the dance studio and gained a lot of classroom experience as an instructor and substitute for core instructors. Ingrid is currently attending UNC-Charlotte where she is double majoring in Dance and Religious Studies. She is also Level One certified through Dance Masters of America Teacher Training School at the State Univerity of NY in Buffalo and is currently pursuing further certification through DMA. Ingrid teaches, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, and Belly Dance.  She is also experienced in other styles of dance including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, and African Dance.

Photography and Design

Remember When-01Owned by Dina F. Chamberlain, Remember When provided some photography for the Betty’s website. Remember When creative photography has provided service to the Piedmont of North Carolina for over 9 years, striving to provide the best and most economical photography for Weddings, Social Events, Family, and all Special Occasions. For pricing and services, check out their website at rememberwhenphoto.us.


McCoy-01Hannah and Josiah McCoy designed and coded the website for Betty’s School of Dance. Josiah received a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Linguistics from UNC-Chapel Hill. Hannah received a BA in English and Art (Graphic Design concentration) from Covenant College. If interested in their work, they can be contacted by email at hplusjmccoy@gmail.com.

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