Meet Our Instructors
Andrey Gergel began his dancing career at the age of 12 in the Ukraine and holds several titles, including: Ukranian National Champion, European Cup Finalist, and US National Champion. Andrey moved to the United States to join Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Charleston in 2001. In 2006, Andrey established International Ballroom, Inc. and has been the owner/operator of 2 very successful dance studios in West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant. In 2016, upon the 10th anniversary of International Ballroom, Inc., his two studio locations have evolved into International Ballroom Dance Studios of Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, continuing to provide the best dance instruction in the Low Country.
Lacey Bramblett has been professionally teaching ballroom dance in Charleston since graduating from Salve Regina University in 2004. She is currently the Director of International Ballroom Dance Studios of Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. She began her dancing career with Charleston’s own Robert Ivey Ballet Company, where she grew up dancing for 15 years. Her passion for ballroom dancing began with Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Charleston in 2004, and she has been a part of the International Ballroom family since 2006. Lacey has competed professionally in both the Smooth and Rhythm categories, is a 4-time FADS National Champion, a 2-time World Mambo Championship finalist, as well as a Freddy Award winner. She is also the Writer, Director, and Formation choreographer for their annual Sottile Theater Showcase Production.
Polly Bramblett-Guffin MSN, RN NE-BC, retired, is our West Ashley receptionist. She manages the desk, scheduling appointments and collecting payments, and is also a retired Nurse Manager from MUSC. A dancer in her own right, Polly has taught Belly Dance at St. Andrews Family Fitness Center since 2013 and is a member of the Palmetto Oasis Middle Eastern Dance Troupe, performing professionally since 2008. She also studies Flamenco and squeezes in Ballroom lessons when time permits.
Student Instructor Jesica Carden is a Charleston native with a wide variety of performing arts experience, which she began at a young age. She has eight years of experience in cheerleading where she competed with Wando High School. She joined the IBDS family in 2018 as a student teacher and is excited to watch not only herself grow, but her students as well through the happiness dance can bring to everyone!
Madelaine Hallman-Kenner grew up in a family of dancers; her parents being world masters in the United Country Western Dance Circuit and her grandmother still currently taking lessons at the studio. She has been dancing since she was 5 and teaching since she was 18. Needless to say, dance is a passion of hers. “I get to turn people into living, breathing art…it’s an amazing thing to be a part of!”
Artur Malakyan is an award-winning professional Latin-American and European Ballroom dancer and an experienced dance instructor, who has trained many generations of professional and amateur dancers in his hometown of Yerevan, Armenia.
He started dancing when he was six and it became his passion carving his future. He competed professionally, won top prizes, performed in many dance festivals all over Europe, lead numerous workshops both at home and abroad throughout his twenty-year career. He has been an invited judge to the majority of dance competitions in Armenia. He was also the first to introduce the culture of social dancing in Yerevan, where he enjoyed large recognition. Artur opened his private dance school in 2001, where he taught Latin-American and European dances to students of all ages. His advanced students took part in semi-professional competitions and performed in showcases.
His group classes combine dance-fitness with 10 to 20-minute warm-up to tone the muscles and prepare for the dance routines that follow.
He has recently moved to the USA, bringing his bright personality, energy and expertise to a larger arena. He is married and has a three-year-old son.
James Meek has been professionally teaching and competing in the ballroom community for nearly two decades. He joined Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Charleston in 1999 as a student then teacher, and has been a member of the International Ballroom family since 2006. He is both a Regional and National Champion in the professional smooth and rhythm divisions. Introducing new people to the joy that he found through dance is the best part of his career as a teacher.
Maksym Sidak moved to Charleston from the Ukraine in 2007 to join International Ballroom, Inc. He has been dancing and competing throughout Europe since he was a child and feels that dancing is his life. Since becoming a part of the IBDS family, Max has added Regional Champion and 5 time Freddy Award winner to his long list of awards. He is consistently in the TOP 10 of the region’s instructors, and has many medaled competitive students under his training who attend such prestigious international competitions as the Heritage Dancesport Classic and the Ohio Star Ball.
Instructor Scott tucker was introduced to ballroom dance in college at the start of 2014, with no prior experience in dance, theater, or music. Scott’s inner performer was released that day and he went on to compete throughout college, eventually becoming a USA Dance National Championship finalist. After college in June 2018, he moved to Charleston and began teaching at International Ballroom Dance Studios of Charleston. Scott continues to improve his own dancing abilities, and he loves all of the perks that dancing has to offer. “I come for the dance, but stay for the people. I’ve made such great friends through the dance community, and everyone is extremely supportive and encouraging.”
Born in East Lyme, Connecticut, Blake began his journey into dance at the same time he was working on his Chemistry degree. An offer to go to medical school, and his first professional dance contract came literally 2 weeks apart. He finished his Chemistry degree, but the first stage of his journey was that of a ballet dancer, for which he danced 15 years professionally.
As his career in ballet began to wind down, he had the opportunity to attend a ballroom competition in Vancouver, Canada. The energy, enthusiasm, technique, and beauty of the dancers participating, won him over. 2 years later, he made his way to Fred Astaire studio in Westerville, Ohio, and began the second part of his life’s journey.
Now in his 4th year as an instructor in ballroom, Blake resides on Johns Island, South Carolina. It is his sincerest hope to share the laughter, the creativity, and the magic that is dance with all of his students.
Annie is thrilled to be the newest smiling face behind the desk at IBDS! A recent Charleston transplant, Annie decided to leave the hustle and bustle (and snow) of New York City behind last year, and it has proven to be one of the best decisions she has ever made. Annie comes to International Ballroom Dance Studio with six years of experience working with children from birth to middle school and their families as a classroom teacher, school admissions officer, afterschool coordinator, and assistant camp director and four years of experience working at colleges as a live-in student affairs professional. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Education and is also a private reading tutor. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, cooking, reading, traveling, and perusing all the fantastic Charleston consignment shops. Annie and her fiancée, Matt, are getting married this September here in Charleston. Annie is excited to get to know everyone and learn more about dance!
Bryanna Najera was welcomed into the IBDS family in 2019 after moving from Chicago. She began teaching back in 2013 in Nashville, and has since been certified all the way through her silver level of dancing. Before ballroom, Bryanna had a strong background in gymnastics and yoga which she carries into her dancing career. In Chicago she spent time teaching, and performing in the Theater Arts/ Cabaret category, but she has also competed in both American Smooth, and American Rhythm throughout her years. Bryanna also has had experience choreographing for local DWTS events, and other shows in both Chicago and Nashville. She says her passion lies in showing people that they can do anything they set their mind to with the right attitude and a little hard work, and she lives this every day by teaching her students to dance and connect one step at a time!