About Us

In 1997, after years of consulting with dance professionals and fellow studio owners, ENCORE Dance Competition for the Stars became a reality with the premiere of the first competition in Charleston, South Carolina. With its rich southern history, and serving over 20 U.S. cities, it continues as one of the major dance events.

And now, Encore brings to the dance world, Encore Extreme, a highly unique Convention and Competition with the FOCUS on EDUCATION and LEARNING from some of the best choreographers.

rhonda-head-shot_new3Rhonda Marchant - Dancing since the age of 3, Rhonda is the former owner of Candice Ralston Dance Studios in Batesburg, South Carolina and previous owner of The Stepping Out Studio in Lexington, South Carolina. She has studied tap, jazz, and ballet with Naomi Calvert, Ann Brodie, and summer studies in New York at the Broadway Dance Center and Steps. She is also a USC Cum Laude Graduate with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She has worked for the SC ETV network as a host for the Carolina Journal show but has followed her heart to continue her career in dance with her own studios and competition with her former dance instructor and inspiration - Naomi Calvert. In 1989, she founded her very own Stepping Out Dance Companies to promote excellence in training and to provide students with more performance opportunities and community involvement. These teams consisted of 80 students who won numerous awards and national titles and were featured performers at Walt Disney World, the State Fair, the Miss SC pageant, aboard several cruise ships and at countless festivals and benefits. A former Junior Miss and State Talent Winner, Rhonda has been successful in training many statewide and national talent champions including five SC Junior Misses and Overall Talent Winners, and America's Junior Miss Overall Talent Winner in 2004. As a performer, choreographer and director, Rhonda has been involved with many college and community theater productions such as "Grease," "Oliver," "Fame," and "42nd Street." Rhonda now resides in Hickory, North Carolina with her husband, Andy, sons Aulston and Dillon, and daughter Mary Elle. In Hickory, she is also the founding director of the liturgical dance ensemble at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

staff_susanSusan Barnes began her dance training with Candice Ralston and Rhonda Ralston Marchant at the age of 2. She has been dancing for 24 years, and was an award winning soloist and founding member of the Stepping Out Dance Company. Susan was the Overall Talent winner and Top Ten finalist at South Carolina’s Junior Miss, and was a cheerleader for the University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks. Susan graduated from the University of South Carolina in May 2004 with a bachelor of science in Business Administration and a directed study in Public Relations and Retail. Susan has performed on many stages across the southeast and has also choreographed and directed musicals for many schools and community theaters. She is a former instructor at Stepping Out where she directed the Stepping Out Tap Companies. Susan continues to teach private lessons and is currently a group fitness instructor with The FIRM.  She is proud to be a business partner with Encore DCS which brings a third generation of dance experience to the corporation. Susan resides in Lexington, SC with her husband, Adam, and their children.