Raised in Dallas, Texas, Robin Hargest has been residing in Nashville, Tennessee for the past 25 years. She began her training at the age of 11 in classical jazz and quickly realized classical ballet was her forte. She has studied with renown teachers such as Arthur Mitchell, Myrtha Rosello, Randelyn Kaye, and Paula Moreland to name a few. She received a scholarship to attend summer intensives at Dance Theater of Harlem. She performed with Texas Civic Ballet, Dance Repertory Theater, and later realized her personal dream when she became a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
At the age of 18, she began her professional teaching career in the Dallas area. After relocating to Nashville and the birth of her children, she re-established her desire to teach and began teaching at dance studios in the area. In 2000, she started her own dance company, Nashville Dance Ensemble, where she has worked with numerous pop groups such as Jump 5, pureNRG, and other solo artists. She also teaches privately to students throughout the area, many which have gone on to work as commercial and professional dancers on tour with numerous established artists and on shows such as So You Think You Can Dance. In addition, several of her dancers have gone on to be excellent teachers and choreographers.
With her 35 years of teaching experience in ballet and jazz, Robin’s goal as a teacher is to develop her student’s technique and performance abilities. She wants her students to always strive for perfection even if it seems impossible by pushing and encouraging them to go beyond what is easy, and to always be the best they can be at all times.
BRITTANY (HARGEST) Prins
Brittany (Hargest) Prins, born in North Carolina, has resided in Nashville for 25 years. She has been trained extensively in classical ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and gymnastics beginning at the age of 3. She was accepted into the Kirov Academy of Ballet at the age of 9. She started vocal training at the age of 5, and within the year, began performing in live productions at Opryland USA Theme Park. In addition, she recorded with numerous renown artists such as Kenny Rogers, Bob Carlisle, Deanna Carter, and several Disney Acts. Brittany competed in dance and vocal competitions for many years, winning national awards and titles until she herself became a recording artist with the pop group Jump5 in 1999. She continued with the group for 8 years, performing across the world, and for many distinguished audiences including the President of the United States. The group put out 12 full length albums before she ventured out on her own as a solo recording artist. She has performed with countless artists which include Jonas Brothers, Hilary Duff, Kelly Clarkson, Jesse McCartney, and Aaron Carter.
Brittany has choreographed for several artists, and has helped them hone their craft by training them for stage performances. She has been teaching and choreographing professionally for almost a decade, winning national titles and choreography awards this time as a teacher. She has found a passion for creating and educating dancers by pushing them to reach their full potential, and is grateful for the opportunity to continue to grow alongside them.
Kemmian Beard began his dance training at age 12 in Jackson Tennessee. While attending Middle Tennessee State University, he joined the Middle Tennessee Performing Arts Company, and would later become an award-winning choreographer for the company, winning awards for best choreography for three consecutive years. He has also acquired awards at many professional intensives, including the Alvin Alley Award at the Horton Technique Dance Intensive in 2006. Kemmian has danced, choreographed, and worked for some of today's hottest artists and choreographers which include P Diddy(JC), John Legend, 112, Sheri Hauck, Toby Mac, Nappytabs, and Wade Robson. He was featured on MTV's hit television show, "America’s Best Dance Crew" season 4. Over the last 6 years, he has set pieces for many studios throughout the country racking up 17 choreography awards in multiple genres at numerous competitions. Kemmian now resides in Mount Juliet TN and is the owner of "THE WRK. PLC. for dancers" dance studio. He's also a core faculty teacher for the world renowned "Millennium Dance Complex"
Alicia Brooks is a Nashville native and we are excited she is a part of the Hargest family. She has a BA in dance from Western Kentucky University, having studied in a variety of styles, such as, ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern, and contemporary (along with pedagogy and has extensive tap training). Having performed with the Western Kentucky University company during the duration of her four years in college, she is thrilled to share her passion and love for dance in all styles, not only for daily training classes, but for company choreography as well. She danced with Giordano dance company and has performed in numerous music videos. She also has ACDFA experience.
Amanda Hurst began her dance training at age 6 with Elizabeth Williams in Sevierville, TN. She performed lead roles with the Great Smoky Mountain Dance Theatre in The Nutcracker and was awarded honors for solo and self-choreographed pieces at regional and national competitions. Recognizing the importance of classical ballet training, she attended summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Rock School for Dance Education, American Ballet Theatre and Nashville Ballet. Upon graduation from high school she attended the University of South Carolina, where she was a member of the USC Dance Company and on staff with the USC Dance Conservatory. While earning her degree in Dance Performance and Choreography with an emphasis on Ballet she had the privilege of performing in classical and contemporary works by choreographers such as Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, and Thaddeus Davis, and shared the stage with soloists and principal dancers of the New York City Ballet in addition to creating works of her own.
Amanda has enjoyed the opportunities to provide dance training to all ages in wide ranges of style and setting for over ten years. She takes pride in teaching proper ballet technique as a foundation for all styles of dance, and is inspired by the artistic possibilities allowed by the body when movement blends with music. Amanda is excited to be moved by new young dancers as she begins her first year on staff with The Hargest Academy for Performing Arts.
Melissa Hurley Cassidy
Melissa was born in Vermont where her mother owned a ballet studio for over 25 years, where she trained beautiful ballet dancers including her sister Kim and herself. Both of them went on to have professional careers in dance. At the age of 12-14, Melissa attended School of American Ballet and performed with the New York City Ballet children’s corps in productions of Coppelia, A Mid Summer Nights Dream and Union Jack at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. At age 15, her family moved to Southern California and she continued her studies under full scholarship at Stanley Holden’s Dance Center in Los Angeles. After graduating high school, she was cast in the NBC television series Fame for three seasons choreographed by Debbie Allen, Otis Sallid and later Jaime Rogers. During hiatus of the show, she danced with the Los Angeles Chamber Ballet for two years and expanded her horizons training in Jazz and contemporary/lyrical. Following the series, she was cast as a principal dancer in David Bowie’s Glass Spider World Tour, followed by Cher’s Love Hurts World Tour and Reba McEntire’s tour. Subsequently, her film, television and video career blossomed, dancing in over 17 featured films such as: Rent, That Thing You Do, and My Blue Heaven to name a few, working with outstanding choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Toni Basil, Debbie Allen, Marguerite Derricks, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Michael Peters and Paula Abdul. In 2000 and 2005 she and her husband traveled in two National Broadway Tours of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, touring 43 cities playing Mrs. Potiphar and Patrick as Joseph.
After settling down in Los Angeles and raising two boys, she continued to work as a dancer and expanded her talents into choreography and teaching, she delved into the sitcom world choreographing show such as CBS Last Man Standing, ABC family Ruby and the Rockets, and pilot United We Fall.
She taught at the Edge in Los Angeles, Joe Tremaine Dance Studios, Broadway Dance Center, Dance Educators of America and Dance Masters of America. For 13 years was on faculty at California Dance Theatre in Westlake Village, CA teaching Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Jazz, Contemporary/lyrical and tap to ages 11 through adults.
Melissa is currently living in Franklin TN and is on staff at Nashville Ballet. She has been teaching at The Hargest Academy of Performing Arts since June of 2020.
Greg is an army brat and has lived all over the world from Germany to Japan and practically every state in the US. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism. He was a director of the local News station in Gainesville, before he married and started a family in Dallas, TX, then he began a career in management. Greg has been in management for over 30 years, from general management to managing partner. He is co-owner and office manager of The Hargest Academy of Performing Arts. He will be in charge of all parent and student coordination, and all questions and concerns can be forwarded to him.
Ashley a native Texan, has lived in Nashville for 12 years. She is a classically trained pianist and also plays the Ukulele and guitar. She is very musical, writes music along with Brandon in their group called The Boy & the Bride. However, Ashley’s passion lies in modeling and acting. She has been modeling since the age of 15. Her resume is extensive, ranging from runway to print and commercial. She is currently working with a local production company to get a web series ready for TV.
Ashley’s sweet and gentle nature makes her a perfect fit for our children’s program. She is also the Acting and Modeling Director for The Hargest Academy of Performing Arts, where she will be holding workshops and seminars ranging from headshots and resumes, coaching sessions on what to expect at auditions, how to audition, modeling, and acting. We are very excited to have her available to us. If you are wanting a career in the entertainment business she is an excellent source.
Brandon Hargest was born at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina, and now lives in Spring Hill with his wife and son. He was trained in the Suzuki method of piano, starting at the age of 3. His vocal training began after watching his sister perform at Opryland USA, when he decided he wanted be on the stage as well. He joined Brittany for the next three years performing in the Christmas shows at Opryland. He has extensive training in classical ballet, jazz, hip hop, and gymnastics, and he also trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC. Like Brittany, Brandon has competed in dance competitions, and has won many awards and titles. He has numerous vocal credits on various recording artists albums, and was a member of the pop group Jump5 for almost a decade. After singing and performing with the group, he found a love for writing and producing music, and has produced several albums with his production company Split Fusion Music since the group disbanded in 2007.
Brandon is the music and video director for the Hargest Academy of Performing Arts, and will be having workshops on song writing, music and video production, and is also available for piano and vocal lessons. He is also available if anyone wishes to record a demo, or a music video.