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Our History

Dance Education
in Knoxville

Celebrating 30 Years of Education

Founded in 1990 by Artistic Director, Lisa Hall McKee, STUDIO ARTS for Dancers is known for developing well-rounded and technically proficient artists, thinkers, and collaborators. SAFD's mission is to develop technical excellence within each dancer while also nurturing creativity and individuality through a creative, positive environment, qualified and engaged teachers, a time-proven syllabus for each level and state-of-the-art facilities. For 30 years, SAFD has emphasized the development of students as dancers and individuals in and outside the studio and continues to innovate and incorporate contemporary approaches to classical dance education and student development. 

A hub for dance education and performance in Knoxville, we offer classes in ballet, pointe, Horton, modern, tap, and jazz for dancers of all ages. Our yearly Spring Show at the historic Tennessee Theater in downtown Knoxville gives students the performance opportunity of a lifetime, showcasing them in original choreography with professional costumes, props and sets. 

A Program for Everyone

Under the direction of Artistic Director, Lisa Hall McKee, our school provides correct and technical instruction in every genre at every level while nurturing a passion, respect and love for dance regardless of a dancer's ambitions.


SAFD offers classes for every child at each stage of development from creative movement to pre-professional. With year-round programs and performance opportunities for every age, world-class summer intensives with guest teachers from around the country, and drop-in classes for adults, we offer something for everyone. 

Young dancers in mint tutus holding garlands standing in a line

Our Faculty

The faculty at SAFD bring expertise and experience from around the world. As active members of the national dance community, they are well-versed in the current developments and innovations that define dance in the 21st century. Building on their foundation of classical training, our faculty bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to every class. 

Our Facility

State-of-the-Art Facilities

Our state-of-the-art facility houses four studios in two buildings all equipped with floating floors, top-of-the-line marley, stereos, mirrors and barres. In addition, each studio also contains a TV, anatomy poster, and whiteboard to aid instruction. Our spacious dressing rooms, lobbies, and bathrooms easily accommodate the 300+ students that come through our doors each week. 

Our full-time administrative staff is always available during operating hours to assist parents and students. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the studios and lobby along with children's books and coloring activities to keep siblings occupied. Parents and siblings may also observe live classes on one of the 3 monitors in our main lobby.

Our Alumni:
Where Are They Now?

College Dance Programs

The Ailey School

Arizona State University

Cincinnati Conservatory

Belhaven University

George Mason University

Georgia State University

Maryville College

New York University Tisch School of the Arts

The Ohio State University

Point Park University

Radford University

Rutgers University

University of Alabama

University of Georgia

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

University of Southern California

University of South Carolina

Professional Dance Companies

Yin Yue Dance Company

David Dorfman

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Columbia Classical Ballet

Forza Dance Company

Gin Dance Company

Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance

Summer Programs

American Dance Festival

Atlanta Ballet

Bates Dance Festival

Hubbard Street

Joffrey Ballet

Nashville Ballet

New Dialect

Orsolina28 Nunes/Flock

Pennsylvania Youth Ballet

San Francisco Conservatory of Dance

Tennessee Governor's School

Our Alumni

Start your dance education today. 

Enroll now.

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