January 2021 Instructors

Ready to “Role”

Melissa VanPelt

Melissa VanPelt was born and raised in Memphis TN, singing in the church choir, and performing in various talent shows and pageants. She is a proud graduate of Overton Performing Arts High School where she was a member of the Concert, Chamber, Jazz and Show choirs.
Melissa attended AMDA(The American Musical and Dramatic Academy) in New York City. Musical theater credits include¬†Hairspray¬†on Broadway as Inez,¬†Hairspray National Tour¬†as Inez/understudy dynamites ,¬†Ain’t Misbehavin,¬†Once on this Island,¬†Fame, and¬†Purlie. She also performed in the 25th Anniversary of Hairspray with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra featuring John Waters. While living in NYC, Melissa joined the USO Show troupe, stepping into the role of dance captain and traveling the country performing for the military and their families. Some notable performances with the USO include New Year’s Eve Ball drop performance in Times Square, opening for Katie Perry during fleet week, and singing the national anthem with Kiss Frontman Gene Simmons at Dodger Stadium.
Melissa has been a featured vocalist at various amusement parks and cruise ships through the years including¬† Libertyland¬† and Cedar Point where she won the IAAPA(International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions)award for female vocalist of the year. Most recently she worked as a guest entertainer on cruise ships with America’s Got Talent semi-finalist, Marcus Terell and the Serenades.
After 12 years in NYC, she returned to Memphis to be closer to family and continues to work in commercials,(Fedex,NST,¬†Southland Casino) TV (Bluff City Law) film, (Coming To Africa Independent film, This Can’t Be Life web series)and as a choreographer. Melissa currently sings with Emerald Empire Wedding band and can be seen in an ad campaign for Ampro Hair products.¬†

Basics to Broadway

Grades K-4, 5-7

Cheyenne Dyer

Cheyenne Dyer is a Memphis native who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in dance from the University of Memphis in 2018. With twenty years of experience, Cheyenne’s love of teaching dance began at an early age from assisting at the age of twelve to teaching classes at the age of sixteen, her experience encompasses various cities such as Oklahoma City, New York City, and her hometown Memphis, Tennessee. From Tap to Ballet and Jazz to Hip Hop, she has trained with professionals from all over the world while also studying their pedagogy to increase her knowledge in the field. Currently, she serves on the board as Sergeant at Arms and chair of the Junior Ambassador program of the Southern Association of Dance Masters, is the Fine Arts Director at Fayette Academy, and teaches dance at Joy McDaniel Academy of Dance and Gymnastics. She is thrilled to be able to teach for DeltaARTS and Crittenden Youth Theatre.

Grades 8-12

Emma Crystal

Emma has worked with CYT for years as a choreographer, director and teaching artist. Emma worked in NYC as a performing artist for 16 years before returning to her hometown: Memphis, TN. While in New York, she conceived, produced and performed in numerous school shows. Trained in Wolf Trap’s Early Learning through the Arts, she has enjoyed many years working as a teaching artist. She has a gift for working with children and enjoys engaging through arts residencies. Emma is an award-winning choreographer.

Thank You, 5!

Elizabeth Perkins

Elizabeth Perkins currently serves as the Director of Admission and Marketing for Westminster Academy in Memphis, TN, but started her career as the Production Stage Manager at Theatre Memphis. In the twenty years since, she has been involved in over 90 productions in the Memphis area, both on and off stage, including stage managing 30 of those.  Elizabeth also serves as a judge for the Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards and routinely leads workshops for those interested in stage management.  Elizabeth also serves as the Director for the Ostrander Awards.
She holds a BA in political science from the University of Memphis and an MBA from Union University.