Margaret Powell Browne was born and raised in Meridian, Mississippi. Ann Buckner Moise was born and raised here in Baton Rouge. Margaret later moved to Baton Rouge. These two young ladies met through a mutual friend, Helen Morehead. They all attended the same dancing school in Baton Rouge. In September 1943, Margaret Powell and Ann Moise rented a building at Main and 11th Streets, (catty-cornered) from the old Mcinnis Chevrolet, and that was the beginning of Powell-Moise School of Dance. In addition to their studio here, they conducted classes in Clinton, Zachary, Shady Grove and Greensburg. The Powell-Moise revues were held at the Paramount Theater, downtown on Third Street (four performances a day, forty-five minutes each.)
In the 50’s Ballroom Dance was a very big part of the studio business. Powell-Moise taught both children and adult classes,· these classes became so popular that they were booked several years in advance. By this time, the revues were moved to Baton Rouge High School and with the increase in enrollment, the revues would last one to 1 1/2 hours.
In 1958, Ann Moise moved to New jersey with her family when her husband was transferred. This was the end of her teaching career, but she stayed very active in the dance world. With growing enrollment, Margaret moved the studio to Perkins Road (in the little strip mall next to Billy Herroman’s). Then in 1963, Margaret bought the house in the next block of Perkins Road (the present location). She had the house raised and built the studio underneath. By this time, gymnastics had become very popular at Powell-Moise. The back part of the studio was built with high ceilings to allow for the gymnastics equipment. The studio was then called Powell-Moise School of Dance and Gymnastics.
Having much success in AAU gymnastics meets, the studio was no longer large enough for all the gymnastic students or equipment. In 1972, Margaret bought the lot on Horace Street and built a new gym to accommodate the gymnasts while the studio remained full of dance students. The revues were moved to Lee High School Auditorium for a short time.
In the 80’s competitive gymnastics at Powell-Moise began to fade, but dance classes continued to grow. Mirrors were put completely around the gym walls, mats were folded back and the gym became an additional dance studio as well. Instead of competitive gymnastics, the tide turned to competitive dance, which continues to grow today in both students and success. The revues were now held at the L.S.U. Union Theater.
In 1995, the studio was passed on to Donna Duncan Blanchard. Donna has been part of the Powell-Moise family since 1954. Starting at the age of four, studying and competing in both dance and gymnastics, she grew up with the expertise and tradition of Margaret Powell and Ann Moise. Fun, hard work, commitment, discipline, grace, poise, posture, self-esteem, character, and of course, the love of dance are what this studio has strived for, for 70 years!
“Miss” Powell and “Miss” Moise were both 50 year members of Dance Masters of America. They were both honored by Dance Masters as Member of the Year, Ann in 1989; Margaret in 1992. Both were members of Louisiana Association of Dance. In 1978, Ann Moise along with Margaret Powell founded Dixie Dance Masters, an affiliate of D.M.A.
In August 2001, we lost “Miss” Powell, and in July 2003, we lost “Miss” Moise, but, these ladies will never die! What they have given to so many generations will forever stay alive. Powell-Moise has earned an honored place in the Art of Dance and the respect of the Baton Rouge Community whose youth have enjoyed the experience of more than a dance education.
Member of Dance Masters of America, Past President of Dixie Dance Masters, Treasurer of Dixie Dance Masters (certified to teach by test), teacher and choreographer.
President/Owner, Teacher, Choreographer, member of Dance Master of America and Dixie Dance Masters (certified to teach by test) and the mother of two former Powell-Moise dancers, Courtney and Christen Smith. Her third daughter Liza White is a student and is on the competition team. “Miss” Lisa also teaches ballet at the Baton Rouge International School and tumbling at FUMC early learning center.
Member of Dance Master of America and Dixie Dance Masters (certified to teach by test), Associate Director for Of Moving Colors, a modern dance company teacher and choreographer.
Member of Dance Masters of America and Dixie Dance Master (certified to teach by test), teacher, choreographer and coordinator for all the busy paper work and communication for our competition team.
Trained at the Phyllis Guy Dance Center, the Dance Center, and Dream Factory Dance Academy. Further, she attended the Central Florida Ballet School and the Spotlight Dance Center while living in Orlando. She has also attended classes at The Edge in Los Angeles and was a UDA staff instructor. Leigh danced for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and was also an illusionist’s assistant in the LaRaf Illusion Show. Leigh once served as an associate director and as the interim artistic director for Of Moving Colors dance company. She performed with Of Moving Colors for ten years as a company member and soloist. Leigh spent five years teaching at Dream Factory Dance Academy, and this is her twelfth year teaching at Powell-Moise.
Donte D. Phillips, a Los Angeles native, has been a working dancer, teacher, choreographer for over a decade. He has been a principal dancer for Myo Dance Company, City Ballet of Los Angeles and also guested for Luminario Ballet Company. He has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazing and LA Magazine. He has been nominated for two Horton Awards. Donte has been seen dancing in industrials for; nike, jetta, red bull, and Indy 500. He has also had the pleasure of dancing in many international music videos. Donte has been featured on episodes of “The Cleaner” and assisted choreography for “So You Think You Can Dance”. One of his most life changing experiences was when he had the opportunity to dance for the World Expo in Shanghai, China. Everyday he is grateful for being able to do exactly what he loves to do.
Teacher and former student of June’s & Dance Warehouse where she was a moderator for 1 year.
Courtney Landry is originally from Baton Rouge, LA. She began her dance training at Machita & Company where she is now teaching and choreographing. Courtney moved to Los Angeles, CA, where she began her professional career performing, teaching and choreographing. While living in Los Angeles she worked with choreographers such as Mark Meismer, Keri LeGrand, Joelle Martinec, Nichelle Bane and Doug Caldwell. She is the lead choreographer for the Machita & Company competition team. Her students and choreography have won several Overall and Choreography awards at regional and national competitions across the US. Courtney is also a 6 year member and choreographer of the Contemporary Dance
From Baton Rouge and has trained with Revolution Dance Company for 4 years and competed competitively with them for 3 years. She was on West Coast Dance Explosion’s company her senior year giving her the chance to work with their faculty. She now presently teaches and choreographs at Revolution Dance Company and she traveled and assisted with Carrie and Brian Watson. Sarah started teaching Summer classes with us and will remain in the fall.
Former 15 year student of Machita and Company. She attended the Joffrey Ballet workshop on full scholarship for 3 years.
From Denham Springs, LA and began her dance training over 20 years ago. She has won awards and scholarships from many competitions and conventions as a dancer. About 7 years ago she began teaching at Colleen’s Studio of Dance Arts. She is currently teaching at Brittany’s School of Dance, where she as been for the last 3 years, and is excited to join the staff at Powell-Moise School of Dance. Ms. Splendid has instructed children of all ages in subjects from ballet to hip hop. She has choreographed for some local studios and won choreography awards with her work. Dancing has always been a big part of her life, and she is very thankful to have the opportunity to share what she loves with others. To inspire children and be inspired by them is one of the most filling and important aspects of dance for her.
Former Powell-Moise student, Office Manager and personal assistant.
Carrie C. Tatum
Powell-Moïse School of Dance | 2016 Perkins Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70808 | (225) 343-7312