Welcome to my story! Well... some of it at least. My story is much deeper than my career, but you can definitely finds those highlights of my career here... Sorry, it's a little long, but the one thing you probably want to know is, my calling is to bring joy to people. I was definitely put on this planet to teach people dancing and bring more joy to their lives, but if you need to know my credentials, carry on!
I'd love to get to know you! Let's have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and chat sometime!
Shari began studying tap, jazz, and ballet at the age of five, performing in many shows throughout her youth. Her teaching and competing in Ballroom & Latin Dancesport started in September of 1992 at Fred Astaire Dance Studios (FADS) in Durham, NC.
Shari stayed at the Durham FADS for roughly 2 years learning and honing her teaching, dancing and sales skills. In 1994, she transferred to Winston Salem, where she excelled in both dance and sales, winning a Freddy Award in 1995 for top female teacher in sales for the Southeastern Region of FADS.
In 1996, Shari moved to the New York City area to study and train with top coaches and dancers in the field. Since then, she has won numerous awards regionally and nationally in her professional career, including Regional and Professional Rising Star Finalist and Open Professional Semi-Finals in American Smooth and International Standard.
Some of Shari’s other accomplishments in the Manhattan area include appearances on the popular soap opera “All My Children” and appearances with Julio Iglesias on the “Today Show” and CNN to promote his “Tango” album.
In April 1998, Shari returned home, to North Carolina, to pursue the dream of opening her own studio: Carolina Dancesport, Inc. While owning and operating her successful dance studio, she was the primary female teacher, as well as trainer of her staff in both sales and teaching abilities. In her studio, Shari created an environment for students and staff that was welcoming and enjoyable. During that time, she created many successful specialty and holiday parties, coordinated huge productions and recitals and showcased her ability to bring the dance community together for many special events.
Shari also continued to excel in worldwide dance competition. Having competed exclusively in American 9 Dance (Rhythm and Smooth) and International Standard, she expanded her knowledge and competitive career in 2000 to include Country Western Couples. After winning countless Grand Champion Titles in the UCWDC Couples Division I, she went on to capture the 2003 UCWDC World Championship Title in that division. Shari continued to compete at the UCWDC Masters Level (the highest level possible), winning several titles. She is a certified UCWDC Judge at the Masters level, judging the highest levels in both Line Dance and Couples Divisions.
In 2002 she embraced a new career with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Having spent many years in the dance business doing make-up on students and colleagues for shows & competitions, it seemed a natural progression of her creativity. Shari once again excelled in this type of sales environment earning countless top sales awards. In December 2005, she earned one of her most notable awards, the use of a Mary Kay career car. Just 6 months later, she progressed to Independent Sales Director, a leadership position in the Mary Kay Company; all this along side of her dance career.
After seven years of successful dance studio ownership, Shari simplified her life. In January 2005, Shari passed her dance studio on to her staff. It became Dance Plus, LLC, and now Elite Ballroom currently located in Morrisville and Shari is pleased to know that the legacy of good dancing she started in the Triangle Area, is still going.
In 2007, Shari started teaching and competing in West Coast Swing after friend and colleague, Darlene Long-Cree moved to China, and asked Shari to step in while she was gone. She had a great time dancing and teaching at Loafers Beach Club for the next 5 years. Shari achieved All-Star Status in WSDC Jack & Jills, which she did in just one year.
Shari once again stepped into the brick and mortar realm by opening and operating Southern Star Ballroom Center (SSBC), an 8500+ square foot dance & event venue, in North Raleigh in January 2014. During her time there, SSBC became the cornerstone of dancing excellence in the triangle area, hosting everything from world renowned teachers and coaches in all types of dance styles as well as weddings and social events. Sadly, SSBC closed in March of 2020.
Shari continues her passion of teaching in multiple ways. She designs and runs the Social Dance & Etiquette program at St. Thomas More Academy in N. Raleigh along side of teaching and coaching many styles of dance. Her students range from wedding preparation to competitive dancers of all ages and styles of dance. She loves to express her creativity through choreography and has started working with Kids' studios helping them learn the art of Ballroom/Latin dancing.
One of her newest ventures is owning and operating a dance convention with her husband, Matt, the Philly Fall Fest in Philadelphia, PA every October. This is a competition and workshops weekend with tons of social dancing near Halloween each year. This event is affiliated with the United Country Western Dance Council (UCWDC) and Shari enjoys working with this organization. With 30+ years experience teaching, she is blessed to love what she does!