Faculty

  • mariclare-miranda

    Mariclare Miranda

    Co-owner

  • William-Starrett

    William Starrett

    Co-owner

  • claire-rapp-instructor

    Claire Rapp

    Instructor

  • jordan-hawkins

    Jordan Hawkins

    Instructor

  • gabbi-gardner-1

    Gabrielle Gardner

    Instructor

  • erin

    Erin Jaffe Gardner

    Instructor

William Starrett

Co-Founder and Principal Instructor, Columbia Conservatory of Dance

William Starrett has taught at more than 30 schools and universities throughout the world from Texas to Berlin and from San Francisco to San Juan!  Starrett co-founded Columbia Conservatory of Dance in 1988 with Columbia City Ballet Prima Ballerina, Mariclaire Miranda and he is a principal instructor. Starrett also founded the Savannah Conservatory of Dance, where he was the principal guest instructor. In addition, he taught at The Harkness School of Performing Arts, New York City, the San Francisco Conservatory of Ballet; New York City’s David Howard School of Ballet; Dancemasters in America, New York City, and was a Master Teacher for the National Association of Regional Ballet. William has also served as an Adjudicator for both the 2015 and 2023 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. 

Handpicked by the renowned Ann Brodie to be her successor, Starrett has led Columbia City Ballet for the past 37 years and is the longest-serving Artistic Director in our state. Always passionate about education, Starrett created CCB’s Educational Outreach & Engagement Series in 1991, which has provided arts education to more than half a million students. He has been committed to ensuring Columbia receives the highest level of dance since 1977, (that’s more than 45 years!) Current Columbia City Ballet stars, principal dancer, Claire Rapp, and Soloists Jordan Hawkins, and Gabrielle Garner are faculty members of the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. William and the entire faculty are not only interested in technical proficiency but also in making certain students learn in a fun and supportive atmosphere. Aware that not all dance students pursue a professional dance career, Starrett is committed to teaching the myriad of ways in which dance training otherwise augments students’ lives. While Columbia Conservatory of Dance offers the very highest standard of dance training available, producing alumni such as American Ballet Theater principal dancer, Gillian Murphy, the school is not merely for students wishing to pursue a professional track, nor is extraordinary talent a prerequisite for enrollment. Training at Columbia Conservatory of Dance can and does improve the personal well-being, poise, self-confidence, and socialization of all its students. It’s also important to note that tuition is affordable and comparable to competitors. Parents can rest secure in the knowledge that their children are being provided with training that will positively impact their lives for years to come. “Why settle for a bargain variety dance education when Columbia Conservatory of Dance can offer you the premium brand?” – asks Starrett. He also adds that downtown Columbia is safe, easily accessible, and worth a few minutes of travel time for parents in surrounding areas. For unmatched knowledge, experience, and simply the best dance training available in our marketplace, Columbia Conservatory of Dance is the ultimate dance education destination. 

Mariclare Miranda

Co-Founder and Principal Instructor, Columbia Conservatory of Dance

Prima Ballerina of Columbia City Ballet from 1997 to 2006 – began her ballet training with Columbia City Ballet-founder and Artistic Director Ann Brodie. In 1976 she joined the Columbia City Ballet, becoming a soloist in 1980, a principal dancer in 1982, attained the rank of a ballerina in 1984 and became a prima ballerina in 1997, going on to dance every ballerina role in the Company’s classical repertoire. She has portrayed a myriad of roles in Executive & Artistic Director William Starrett’s original ballets, including Beauty & the Beast, Dracula, Dracula’s Revenge, Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, A Tribute to Fred Astaire, Don Juan, Frankenstein and Off the Wall & Onto the Stage. Choreographer Norbert Vesak chose her to dance in his ‘Belong’ pas de deux, a work which won a gold medal for choreography at the 1980 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. In 1997, she won the prestigious South Carolina Arts Commission, Fellowship. Miranda was recently featured on the cover of three compact discs produced by David Howard and has starred in many television works, notably A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake, Beauty & the Beast and Romeo & Juliet for SCETV. She is a Founder and Principal Instructor of the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. She retired from the stage in March 2006, dancing her final performances as the title role in Giselle. At her retirement gala, she was awarded the Key to the City of Columbia and the Order of the Palmetto. Since retirement, she has served as Ballet Mistress of Columbia City Ballet and as a guest instructor and choreographer.