• PLEASE excuse the construction outside our location.

    If you are having trouble getting to us CLICK HERE for directions!


    Modern Dance Primitive Light

    Join us for our annual winter solstice celebration. We are thrilled to return to the beautiful Laurel Theater for what will be our 27th MDPL. This year, you'll see work by CMD company members and artists alongside the work of many brilliant guest artists. And all of it is set to Live Music, by our MDPL 2018 House Band. It's a great show, we can't wait for you to see it!

    December 13th at 8pm
    December 14th at 7 and 9pm
    December 15th at 7 and 9pm

    CLICK HERE for tickets



    Modern Dance

    Open-Level Modern/Improvisation:

    Sundays 2-3:30 PM

    Open Level: Wednesdays 7:30-9:00 PM



    Open Level: Wednesdays 6-7:30 PM

    Ballet Barre: Sundays 1-2 PM


    Circle Modern Class Pricing

    Per Class Fee: $10 (First Class FREE!)

    4-Class Punch Card: $30

    Unlimited Class Pass (Jan-Nov): $200

    6-Month Pass (Jan-Jun or Jul-Nov): $125




    Open Level Class: Tuesdays 6-8 PM

    Student-led Training: Thursdays 6-7 PM


    Capoeria Pricing

    Capoeira Class Fee: $10 (First Class FREE!)

    4-Class Punch Card: $30


    For more DETAILED Information on classes and CLASS SCHEDULE/BREAKS please click on the links for information.


    ALL CLASSES HELD AT ANNEX STUDIO - click for location information and directions.


    Collaboration Makes the Circle Go Round

    It is the mission of Circle Modern Dance to provide an opportunity for area choreographers, dancers, musicians and performance artists to showcase their work.


    It is our philosophy that everyone is a dancer, and every body has the right to dance.


    Board of Directors

    Rob Collignon - President

    Open Position - Vice President

    Brad Phillis - Secretary

    Ashley Wagner - Treasurer

    Jewell Minnich

    Chris Milsaps


    Advisory Board

    Balasz Sipos

    Claire Barratt

    Jeff Christmas

    John Frey

    Kim Matibag

    Laura Howes

    Maria McGuire

    Whitney Ray-Dawson

    Ruth Horton





    The Emporium Center for Arts and Culture
    100 S. Gay St. Suite 104
    Knoxville TN, 37901


    Mailing address:
    Circle Modern Dance.
    PO BOX 1881
    Knoxville, TN 37901-1881


    Tel.:+1 (865) 309 5309

    E-mail: circlemoderndance@gmail.com


    All classes are held at the Emporium Center for Arts & Culture in the Annex Studio.

    The Emporium Building is located on the corner of the 100 block at Gay St. and Jackson Ave.


    Amelea Faith Everett biography coming soon.


    Amelia Breed has been choreographing and performing dance professionally for five years. In addition to the Knoxville dance scene, her work has been performed in Asheville, NC; Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN and Lewisburg, WV. Amelia has been a core member of Momentum Dance Lab and Circle Modern Dance, directing shows, choreographing, and teaching for both companies. She was the modern dance choreographer for the University of Tennessee Dance Society Showcase in 2013. She acted as administrator bringing two CounterTechnique workshops with Joy Davis to the Knoxville area in 2013 and coordinated the first Global Underscore site for Knoxville in 2014 with Lauren Phillis. Amelia feels grateful to have studied with various artists including Art Bridgeman and Myrna Packer, Chris Burnside, Joy Davis, Cindy Dollar, Vicki Fink, Angie Hauser and Chris Aiken, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Tere O’Connor, Stephen Koplowitz, Leah Pinder, Shelley Senters, Nancy Stark Smith, Ray Elliott Swartz, Amanda Thom-Woodson, and Doug Varone and Dancers. She teaches modern technique, improvisation, contact improvisation, and various forms of yoga to adults in the Knoxville area.


    Ashley Wagner moved to Knoxville, TN from Illinois in 2007 and has been loving life in the South ever since. She joined Circle from the world of color guard. Since age 11, Ashley has been performing with indoor and outdoor color guard groups in Illinois, Tennessee, and South Carolina. She has taught at various high schools in both Knoxville and her hometown of Peoria, IL. Ashley became a member of the Circle family in 2013 through Primitive Light and became a core member in 2014. She loves dancing, teaching, choreographing, and learning all she can. Ashley currently teaches Economics and Personal Finance at West High School where she also works with their marching band.


    Callie Minnich received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance and Choreography from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is originally from Knoxville, dancing from elementary through high school in the Knox County Magnet programs. She performed with the Austin East Dance Company in high school and performed in and produced shows for the Repertory Dance Company at USM. Callie loves working with Circle and is excited to keep exploring dance with them.


    Darby O’Connor is originally from Knoxville, TN, and began her dance training at a young age at Studio Arts for Dancers. During her time at Studio Arts, she attended numerous master classes with Helen Starr, former director of the Louisville Ballet, and David and Anna Marie Holmes. Darby now teaches Modern Dance classes at Studio Arts. She completed her third year on faculty in 2015. Darby is a founding member of GO! Contemporary Dance Works and continues to work with the company as a guest artist. During her time with GO!, Darby performed with Circle Modern Dance in their annual production, Modern Dance Primitive Light. Currently Darby is back in Knoxville after completing undergraduate education in dance from both the University of Alabama and Middle Tennessee State University. While studying with the MTSU dance program, Darby had the opportunity to work with Laurie Merriman and Teena Marie Custer as a student and performer. She has also attended master classes from Stephanie Batten Bland, E.E. Balcos, T. Lang and Alberto del Saz. She was an active member of MTSU Dance Theatre for three semesters and attended the American College Dance Festival in 2010 and 2011. Darby was privileged to represent MTSU in the ACDFA informal concert, performing Laurie Merriman’s work Family Portrait. Also while at MTSU, she studied under Erin Rehberg, artistic director of Core Project Chicago. Darby joined Core Project in January of 2011 and is still an apprentice with this professional dance company. In the summer of 2011, Darby toured with Core Project Chicago at Kansas City, Minneapolis, Boulder and Chicago Fringe Festivals. Darby became a Core member of Circle Modern Dance in March 2013.


    Lauren Wilson Phillis studied dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she earned a B.S. in Dance Education. She completed internships in dance education at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival as well as Bates Dance Festival, where she spent four summers as a student in the Professional Training Program. Before relocating to Knoxville, Lauren taught dance full-time at Chatham Hall in Chatham, Virginia and Mt. Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, NC. Lauren now teaches dance at Beaumont Magnet Academy in Knoxville and regularly choreographs and performs with Circle Modern Dance and Momentum Dance Lab. She became a Core Member of Circle Modern Dance in 2014.


    Lydia Alford biography coming soon.


    Mary F. Alford has studied dance for 35+ years. She has performed with the Knoxville Opera Company, City Dancers, Momentum Dance Lab, Optasia Productions, Studio Arts for Dancers, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Appalachian Ballet Company and Circle Modern Dance. She continues to work at her day job as Dr. Mary, serve on the Artistic Committee and as a Core member for Circle, and live with her large white puppy and her small black angel puppies on 5 acres of rampant vegetation in Blount County.


    Nate Barrett has been involved with Circle Modern Dance since 1996. Starting as an accompanist to classes and performances, Nathan has evolved over the last decade to now be a dancer, choreographer, and performance director. He directed and co-directed Modern Dance Primitive Light in 2008 and 2009 as well as conceptualized, directed, and performed in Authintensity, a salon-style show featuring improvisational movement and spoken word.

    Nathan is also well known around Knoxville as an accomplished drummer and percussionist, having performed and recorded with many local acts such as Greg Horne, Jodie Manross, Artvandalay, Same As It Ever Was, The Bearded, and many others. He currently can be seen performing with Hudson K. Nathan is a founding member of Capoeira Fundo da Mata, Knoxville’s first organized group for the Brazilian art of capoeira. Nathan also serves on the faculty for Knoxville’s Community School of the Arts as a percussion teacher.


    Sarah Whitaker has been studying and performing dance for twenty years. She has a BA in Dance and a BBA in Business Management from Radford University. Before leaving for college, Sarah danced with Pointe West Dance Company. She has studied and performed with Pro Danza Italia in Castigleonccello, Tuscany, Italy. When she’s not dancing she enjoys reading, painting, and cooking. Sarah is currently working on earning her M.B.A.



    Circle Modern Dance has been providing fun and affordable adult dance education in Knoxville for 25 years. Our classes are designed to uphold our vision that “every body has the right to dance.” Core company members teach classes that are accessible to dancers of all levels of experience and we are committed to providing classes at affordable rates. ***If you are a new student, please plan to arrive a few minutes early to fill out paperwork. The video at the bottom of the page provides a suggested route to the studio.***


    Class Cancellation Policy – if Weather or Otherwise: Check our Facebook page for the latest updates!




    Open-Level Modern/Improvisation
    Sundays, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
    This class is open to anyone interested in building their creative and technical capacity as a dancer. No previous experience in dance is required. Class will include modern dance technique as well as structured improvisation and movement exploration. Beginning dancers will learn new skills and vocabulary while more advanced dancers will have the option to increase the challenge when appropriate in order to strengthen their technical foundation. Improvisation exercises incorporated throughout the class will give students the opportunity to explore foundational concepts in modern dance in a creative and individualized way.


    Open Level: Modern

    Wednesdays 7:30-9:00 PM

    No previous experience in dance is required. Class will include modern dance technique as well as movement exploration. Beginning dancers will learn new skills and vocabulary while more advanced dancers will have the option to strengthen their technical foundation.




    Ballet Barre
    Sundays, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
    This open-level barre class is designed to help students build and maintain strength, flexibility, and coordination for ballet technique. This is a great class for beginning and experienced students alike.


    Open Level Ballet
    Wednesdays, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
    This is a basic ballet class open to students of all levels of experience and ability. Students will learn new steps, build coordination and flexibility, and learn choreography.



    Comfortable clothing that does not hinder movement is appropriate for all of our classes. No shoes are needed for Modern and Improv. Socks or ballet shoes are recommended for ballet class. For your safety and the safety of others, please avoid clothing with zippers and buttons as well as large items of jewelry.


    Remember to bring a water bottle to class. We don’t have a water fountain in the Annex, but we do have bottled water available for a suggested $1 donation.




    Remember, your FIRST class is FREE!

    Drop-In rate: $10 per class

    4 class card: $30
    Unlimited class pass (Jan-Dec) $200
    6 month pass (Jan-June, July-Dec) $125


    Class payments can be made with cash or personal checks.

    2018 - 19 Holidays & Special Events:


    • Classes resume July 9th, 2018
    • Labor Day: September 2nd-3rd, 2018 (no classes)
    • Winter Break: Starts November 18th, 2018
    • Modern Dance Primitive Light: December 13, 14, 15 2018
    • Open House: January 6th, 2019
    • First class of 2019: Monday Jan 7th





    Open Level Class: Tuesdays 6-8 PM


    Instructor: Joe Williams, Contra-mestre Avesruz

    Capoeira originated in Brazil and is a dynamic expression of Afro-Brazilian culture. It is an art form that encompasses martial arts, dance, and acrobatic movements as well as its own philosophy, history, culture, music, and songs. “a dance-like fight, a fight-like dance, a song, a way of life!” – Mestre Acordeon


    Student-Led Training: Thursdays 6–7 PM

    This class is an hour of student-led training and review of Capoeira skills and exercises. Come prepared to sweat!


    Per class fee: $10 (First Class Free)


    **Capoeira classes are not included in the CMD class card.**




    All classes are held at the Emporium Center for Arts & Culture in the Annex Studio.


    The Emporium Building is located on the corner of the 100 block at Gay St. and Jackson Ave.

    Parking is available on or below the bridge or in front of the building.


    To find the studio: walk south from the Emporium’s main doors to the metal walkway between the buildings. Descend the metal staircase, pass through the courtyard gate, turn left in the alley, and knock on the window on your left. Someone will let you in through the door.


    For handicap access directions please call

    (865) 309-5309 or email CircleModernDance@gmail.com.


    Here is a video we created to help you find the studio!

    Disclaimer: This is posted as one possible suggestion; each individual remains responsible for his or her own safety in choosing any route.




    Let us know if you are interested in having the opportunity to dance in one of our upcoming shows!


    There are so many ways to “join the Circle”, and part of our mission is to bring dance and the community together. We are always looking for dancers for upcoming shows, and the best way to get involved is to come to our classes. Sometimes we hold auditions so please join our mailing list so that you can be notified.


    Email circlemoderndance@gmail.com for more information and to let us know you’d like to dance with us!



    There are many opportunities throughout the year to perform and choreograph with Circle Modern Dance. The best way to get involved is by coming to class. Please let us know if you are interested in having the opportunity to dance or choreograph for one of our upcoming shows.


    For more information please contact us at circlemoderndance@gmail.com.




    We need the support of our community to continue to serve the Knoxville area through dance performance, education and outreach. There are many ways you could help us, and we’d like to talk to you. Please email us at circlemoderndance@gmail.com to find out how to get involved.



    Invest your support in Circle Modern Dance by donating today at the LINK HERE or at the top of the page if you're on a computer.


    Or mail a check to:
    Circle Modern Dance.
    PO BOX 1881
    Knoxville, TN 37901-1881


    We gratefully acknowledge all donations.
    Circle Modern Dance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations to the organization are tax-deductible, and will be acknowledged by letter. A copy of our annual financial report is available on request.





    100 S. Gay St. Suite 104
    Knoxville TN, 37901
    TBA based on class and rehearsal schedules.
    (865) 309 5309