Melissa Burns – President and Director
Melissa Burns has been a long-time, motivated member of the dance industry. Growing up dancing, at an early age, Melissa had the opportunity to dance on board the Norwegian Majesty Cruise Ship, at the Olympic Stadium of Munich, Germany as well as many other cities and countries all over the world.
She then went on to receive a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Fine Arts from Stonehill College located in Easton Massachusetts. At Stonehill College, Melissa studied with such dance professionals as Valerie Robertson and Adriene Hawkins among others. While attending Stonehill College, Melissa founded and directed the Stonehill College Dance Team, which she brought to national recognition in Daytona Beach, Florida. There, her team was featured on CBS Television and received high accolades.
After graduating, Melissa taught Vagonava ballet as well as jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical and contemporary throughout the New England area. Melissa was also featured at the Fox Theater of Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Connecticut and at the Avalon in Boston, Massachusetts where she was a finalist with the World-Champion Celtics Dance Team.
Melissa has been highly involved in competitive and non-competitive dance her entire life. During these times she had both positive and negative experiences in the competition industry. With her passion for dance, she saw the need for a professional, yet friendly and accommodating venue for dancers to be able to compete.
Nine years ago she began a journey to fulfill this need through founding the company Turn It Up Dance Challenge, Inc. Understanding what teachers, choreographers, and students endure during practice, performance, and competition, Melissa continues, through Turn It Up Dance Challenge, to give them a competition experience they deserve.
Courtney Tagliaferri – General Manger/Client Relations
Our General Manager, Courtney Tagliaferri, joined the Turn It Up team after years of working as a retail professional but is no stranger to the world of dance. She spent much of her childhood, including high school, attending dance competitions and conventions around the United States as well as abroad. Although a Massachusetts native Courtney attended college in Florida and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising. After a successful career in retail she felt something was missing and felt inspired at the thought of providing such a motivating platform for dancers of all ages. Her experience in customer relations and business operations combined with her passion for dance make her a perfect fit for the Turn It Up Dance Challenge team.
Elizabeth Girczyc – Office Director & Registration
Elizabeth Girczyc, also known as Liz, joined our team in 2013 upon graduating college from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marketing. Liz started dancing at the age of three and continued until she was 18. Her favorite styles include tap, hip hop, and acro. Aside from dance, Liz was heavily involved with cheerleading beginning at an early age. Liz cheered throughout high school and college and has even taken cheer beyond the collegiate level where she continues to be a part of a competitive adult all-star team. Her high school team won many league, regional, state, New England, and National championships. Liz also had the honor of coaching the UMass Dartmouth team for several years following her graduation. Liz enjoys working in the competitive dance industry and looks forward to growing with Turn It Up Dance Challenge!
Christine DeGrasse – Travel Manager & Event Coordinator
Christine DeGrasse discovered a passion for dance at an early age. She began taking lessons at a local dance studio at four years old and was a member of the studio’s competition team throughout high school. To further her dance education, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Dance Management and Instruction from Plymouth State University. At PSU, Christine studied Jazz, Tap, Modern and Ballet technique and enjoyed performing with the Contemporary Dance Ensemble and at the American College Dance Festival. Upon graduation, she began teaching dance and has loved working with students of all ages! She has performed as a precision dancer in Reagle Music Theater of Waltham’s “Christmas Time” and has been very grateful to attend the Rockette Summer Intensive in NYC for three summers. Christine is excited to continue working in the field she is most passionate about, and is thankful to Turn It Up Dance Challenge for all of the new and wonderful opportunities.
Jill Cassidy – Social Media Manager & Event Coordinator
Jill Cassidy, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, has been involved with the world of dance and cheerleading since the age of five. Her passion for the art lead her to cheering competitively in high school, eventually receiving the title of captain of her squad as a sophomore. She went on to attend Robert Morris University where she graduated in the top 10% of her class with a Bachelor of Science degree in both Marketing & Management. After college, she went on to do event marketing work with the NFL team – The Pittsburgh Steelers and USA Football, the Olympic governing body for football in the United States. She is excited and thankful to get back to the world of dance and be a part of the Turn It Up Dance Challenge team!
Joelle Bellmund – Client Relations & Event Coordinator
Joelle Bellmund started dancing at the age of 11, finding her love of Hip Hop at a friend’s dance birthday party. Her studio’s performance team in Clearwater, Florida offered amazing opportunities to open for chart topping artists such as Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, T-Pain, and more! While Hip Hop was always her passion she studied all styles, and went on to teach Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip Hop while in High School and College. Joelle graduated from the University of South Florida in 2014 with a degree in Public Health Sciences and started a career in disaster relief with the American Red Cross. A year later she was approached with the opportunity to return to her childhood dance studio as the Director of Operations. This began Joelle’s journey back to the dance world and she could not be more grateful for it! It quickly became clear that behind the scenes, figuring out what made studios/conventions/competitions tick, was where she was meant to be. As a former studio Director Joelle has an excellent understanding the registration process on both sides which makes her the perfect liaison for our clients. Joelle is incredibly excited to be part of the Turn It Up Dance Challenge family and can’t wait to see all of you at this seasons competitions and conventions!
Alyana Trammell – Scheduling & Event Coordinator
Alyana Trammell discovered a love for dance at the age of 3 when her Mom decided to enroll her in a tap class at a local studio in Connecticut. Alyana quickly became enthralled with the craft and began training in all styles, while also competing at the regional and national level. After graduating high school, Alyana moved on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Fitchburg State University. While in college, Alyana continued dancing and choreographing for the university’s dance club and surrounding community. Alyana was introduced to Turn It Up Dance Challenge in 2014, where she has been able to create countless memories working as a crew member. Alyana is excited to be following her passion in the competitive dance industry and is looking forward to continue growing with Turn It Up Dance Challenge!