Miss Cathy's love of dance began as a preschooler, and she has been teaching since her college years. Her primary teacher was always her mom, "Miss Janet", but she also studied with numerous world-renowned dancers such as Luigi, Frank Hatchett, Gus Giordano, Joe Tremaine, Lea Darwin, Roni Mahler, and Melissa Hayden. She also trained with Louisiana State University's gymnastics coach D.D. Breaux.
When the Hays family moved to Pittsburgh, Miss Janet worked with the Upper St. Clair High School Guidance Department to initiate an early-release program to take advantage of the educational dance opportunities available in Pittsburgh. As a result, Miss Cathy and her sister Jana were the first students to be able to attend high school in the mornings and classes with the dance majors at Point Park College in the afternoons. (Over the past 30 years, many other students have been able to participate in this "early release" program -- including the two younger Hays sisters: Terri and Jacki -- Thank you, Miss Janet!) Of course, the Hays sisters would always return home to dance at the studio in the evenings!
This Hays family love of and dedication to dance continues! Jana has several studios in New Jersey, which Terri helps her to run; Jacki has a studio in Orlando; Miss Janet runs an adult dance program within her Church in Orlando; and all of Miss Janet's granddaughters "live, breathe, and sleep" dance, including Miss Cathy’s daughters, Christine and Michele.
They danced at the studio for 16 years and continued their dance education in college. Christine started a dance team at Wheeling Jesuit University and continues to dance as part of John Carroll’s Dance Team where she is completing her degree. Michele was a dance minor at Seton Hill University and was captain of its Dance Team.
Miss Cathy has been certified in Performing Arts Instruction by the Dance Educators of America and holds a BS in Industrial Management (Business Administration) from Carnegie Mellon University. She has also been recognized countless times at competition for having the studio with the “Best Overall Presentation,” that is the “Most Entertaining,” and has the “Best Technique ” and “Best Choreography.”
Taryn Frey, Teacher
Taryn is a familiar face to many dance facilities in the region. She spent her early years studying dance in the Pittsburgh area before beginning her intensive dance training with Pittsburgh Youth Ballet Company. During that time, she was taught by world renowned artists such as Tamar Rachelle, Ernest Tlentino, Anastasia Bedard, Kevin and Patty Maloney, Gelsey Kirkland, Patrick Hinson, Ib Anderson, and Stephen Mills in not only ballet, but also in modern. While still a PYBC dancer, she studied theater with George Jaber and Kevin Maloney receiving a theater degree. She then received a B.A. in Performing Arts/Dance from LaRoche College under the direction of Ken Nickel.
She has danced Balanchine ballets such as Serenade, Who Cares?, and Concerto Barocco. Taryn has choreographed sections of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Le Train Blu, the Nutcracker, and original works of The Little Mermaid, The Frog Prince, and Snow White and the Seven Merry Maids. She has also staged pieces by Joe Istre and Ruth Leney-Midkiff.
Recently, she has been named the assistant artistic director of Oil Region Ballet. Her original choreography has received many acknowledgements like “Attention Grabbing” and “Clean Lines and Proper Technique… because that’s what dance is about.”
With her unique teaching style and upbeat, fun-loving humor, she connects with her students providing motivation. Recently, she has expanded her dance experience to help children make better life choices through ballroom dance, which aligns with her desire to change the world one dance class at a time.
Katheryn Hess, Teacher
Katheryn Hess grew up dancing in the Pittsburgh-area, studying all styles of dance, and fell in love with Musical Theater. Katheryn is a Duquesne University alum where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts. At Duquesne, she choreographed the productions of A Little Night Music, Dames at Sea, Orphie and the Book of Heros, and the film My Names on Your Lips in addition to directing many other productions. As a student, she also performed in over a dozen shows and was most recently “Miss Scarlett” in the Summer Company’s Production of Clue the Musical.
Katheryn always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the arts, but her experience in high school is really what inspired her to attend Duquesne’s program. While at Oakland Catholic High School, Katheryn was the Dance Captain for multiple musical productions and assisted in choreographing the shows.
Since graduating from college, Katheryn continued her directing career with the Pittsburgh New Works Festival and has assisted Pittsburgh CLO in the productions of Grease, Oklahoma!, Peter Pan, Rock of Ages, and Once. In her free time, Katheryn likes to volunteer and has participated in programs such as Gemini Children’s Theater and Duquesne Red Masquers One Acts for Charity.
Katheryn is thrilled to begin teaching at Janet Hays and Co. Dance Studio and sharing her love of the arts with the students. Her exposure to dance as a young dancer helped her follow her dreams, and she’s looking forward to sharing that passion with the students in the classroom!
Mallory McCracken, Teacher
Mallory has been dancing at Janet Hays and Co. Dance Studio since she was a preschooler. After training at the studio, she went on to attend Point Park University on a scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude as a Jazz major.
When Mallory danced at Janet Hays and Co., she was a 12-year Show Biz Kids company member winning scholarships and national awards. She was also invited to audition for the TV show Star Search, performed on Carnival Cruise Lines, and was the featured entertainment at the “Miss Pittsburgh Pageant.”In high school, she attended the Point Park Summer Dance Program and was a Bethel Park Cheerleader.
For many years, she was a teaching assistant at the studio, and now as a full time teacher, she loves sharing her knowledge and love of dance. Her students have won numerous platinum awards and overall high scores at both regional and national dance competition. Mallory is a talented choreographer, as well, with her dances winning “Best Choreography” and “Most Entertaining.” Her students have gone on to perform in New York City, Los Angeles, on cruise lines, and have been featured in commercials, TV shows, movies, and print ads. Many of her students have also received scholarships from colleges across the country for dance and musical theater programs.
Miss Mallory is very proud of all the wonderful dancers she has worked with and is looking forward to another great year.
Christine Mellick, Teacher
Dance has been at the center of Christine’s life for as long as she can remember. In fact, she started dancing here at her mom’s studio, Janet Hays and Co. at the age of 2 ½, and she has continued to dance through college.
Currently attending John Carroll University to complete her undergraduate degree in theology and philosophy, with a minor in fine arts, Christine is always excited to return home and help with the family’s business.
As a Janet Hays and Co. Show Biz Kid dancer, Christine consistently won highest score of the day honors with her solo performances and was often recognized with special awards, such as “Most Entertaining” and “Best Technique.” Besides competing, Christine also performed on Carnival Cruise Lines, in the Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker, with the Pittsburgh Power Sparks Dance Team, and at amusement parks from Kennywood to Disney.
In addition to performing with the studio, Christine was also the founder and captain of the Seton-La Salle High School Dance Team and the Wheeling Jesuit University Dance Team. Both teams had successful seasons under her leadership, consistently winning first place awards. Now, as a student at John Carroll, she has earned a place on the JCU Dance Team and can be seen performing at football and basketball games.
Christine truly enjoys being on stage – from dancing, to acting, to singing – and she has performed leading roles in her schools’ productions of Man of La Mancha, Copacabana, Leader of the Pack, Almost Maine, The Good Doctor, and Pippin’. She enjoys sharing this passion with others, so she started a “Girls’ Club” in Wheeling to teach dance to underprivileged students. Christine loves working with students of all ages, and her favorite moments are seeing the dancers light up on stage at the Recital.
Michele Mellick, Teacher
Michele started her dance education at Janet Hays and Co. when she was 2 ½ years old. However, dance has been a part of her entire life - her mom Miss Cathy is the owner and her grandmother Miss Janet is the founder of the studio. Beginning in kindergarten, Michele competed and performed at a variety of venues. She performed on Carnival Cruise Lines, was invited to audition for the TV Show Star Search, danced for the “Miss Pittsburgh Pageant” and on the KDKA News Morning Show, was cast in the Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker, was featured in the TV Dance Spectacular aired on ESPN, was cast as a dance team member in Matt Damon’s movie Promised Land, and was on the Upper St. Clair High School Hip Hop Team and the Dance Team where she was the dance team captain for two years.
Michele graduated from Seton Hill University with a B.A. in psychology and minors in dance and business and was the captain of Seton Hill’s Griffin Dance Team, cast in dance productions, and attended dance conferences. She then earned her J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law where she continued to dance with Duquesne’s Dance Theatre.
Competitively, Michele won the highest scoring solo five times at Nationals, including the title of “Miss International Dance Challenge.” Along with her high score awards, Michele’s recognitions include “Best Musicality,” “Most Entertaining Dancer,” “Best Technique,” and more. Her choreography has also been nationally recognized and has won platinum awards at Nationals.
Now, as a teacher at the studio, Michele looks forward to sharing her knowledge of dance with other students and making them fall in love with the art the same way she has.
Michele Utzig Philage, Teacher
Michele Utzig Philage grew up dancing in Buffalo, NY where she competed and performed at various venues. After earning a B.A. in Dance Performance from the University at Buffalo, where she was a member of the Zodiaque Dance Company, she moved to New York City. During her ten years in NYC, she continued her training at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, and Luigi’s Jazz Center.
Professionally, she has toured North America with Crazy for You, Peter Pan, and Barry Manilow’s Copacabana (where she met her husband, Brian). Regionally, she has performed with West Virginia Public Theater, Mill Mountain Theater, Mountain Playhouse, Fireside Theater, Gateway Playhouse, Theater by the Sea, and Trump Plaza in Atlantic City.
A proud member of Actors’ Equity, Michele has danced at Carnegie Hall with Elaine Stritch and was a dancer/hair model for L’Oreal Professionnel. You can see her dancing next to Matthew Broderick in The Producers (the movie musical) as a “girl in pearls.” Also an adjudicator for United States Tournament of Dance, she is a master class workshop teacher, choreographer for USTD Dancers Unite, and is a special awards judge. Michele has participated in the Finis Jhung Teacher Workshop in NYC.
She is happy to be celebrating her fifth year on staff at Janet Hays and Co. where she has won highest overall scores at competitions for group and specialty work. However, Michele’s greatest achievement is being Riley and Reese’s mom!
Madeleine Rebholz, Teacher
Madeleine grew up in Mt. Lebanon and Peters Township and attended Bishop Canevin Catholic High School. She started dance classes when she was two and a half, and her favorite was always ballet and pointe. Dedicated to pursuing a career in dance, she participated in an early-release pre-professional program that allowed her to leave high school early every day to take dance classes for credit.
In the summers, she also attended the Point Park Summer Intensive where she studied all styles of dance such as ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, and more. She has also been cast for lead roles in numerous ballets such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Symphonia and has performed annually in the Nutcracker.
Madeleine has had a successful career at Janet Hays and Co. with her groups earning the highest overall score at dance competition and multiple special awards.
In addition to working at the studio, she is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business at Robert Morris University and has already obtained associate degrees in both dance and paralegal studies.
Madeleine loves being a part of Janet Hays and Co. and looks forward to continuing to share her dance experience with our students.