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 Miss Jana were the first students to be able to attend Upper St. Clair High 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. Two of them are Miss Cathy’s daughters, Christine and Michele.
Christine and Michele danced from 2.5 through high school graduation and continued their dance education in college. Christine started a dance team at Wheeling Jesuit University and continues to dance in their musicals while continued her dance education at Seton Hill University as a dance minor and as captain of the Griffin 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-Misner, 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.
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 and Los Angeles 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.
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 since 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 Dance Team where she was the dance team captain for two years. Michele graduated from Seton Hill University with a bachelor of arts in psychology and minors in dance and business administration. In college, Michele was the captain of Seton Hill’s Griffin Dance Team for three years, was cast in every dance production, and traveled to and presented at regional conferences for both psychology and dance.
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 been nationally recognized and has won platinum awards at Nationals.
Now, Michele is pursuing her J.D. at Duquesne University School of Law. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge of dance with other students and making them fall in love with the art the same way she does every day.
Michele Utzig Philage, Teacher
Michele Utzig Philage is a passionate dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She received a B.A. in Dance Performance from the University at Buffalo, where she was a member of the Zodiaque Dance Company. After graduation, she moved to NYC where she lived for over a decade and continued her training at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, and Luigi’s Jazz Center. Professionally, she has toured North America and Canada with Crazy For You, Peter Pan, and Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. Regionally, she has performed with West Virginia Public Theater, Mill Mountain Theater, Mountain Playhouse, Fireside Theater, Gateway Playhouse, Theater by the Sea, and The 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, too, in The Producers (the movie musical). Each year she adjudicates, teaches master classes, and is a special awards judge for United States Tournament of Dance. Having taught all styles of dance throughout the NY and NJ areas, Michele is happy to be living in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children, and she is so happy to be celebrating another year with Janet Hays and Co. Dance Studio.
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. She was so dedicated to dance that when she was in high school, she participated in an early-release pre-professional program that allowed her to leave 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, like ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, and more. Madeleine has studied under ballet masters, such as Jean Gedeon, Peter Merz, and Cynthia Rifler. She has also been cast for lead roles in numerous ballets and has performed annually in the Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Symphonia.
Still a high honors student, she is currently pursuing a B.A. at Robert Morris University after having obtained her associates degree in dance.
Madeleine has had a successful career at Janet Hays and Co. with her dances earning special awards and the highest overall score at competition. She is looking forward to continuing to share her dance experience with our Janet Hays and Co. students.