Dawsonville Dance


Dawsonville Dance Studio was founded in 2010 by Mary Murdaugh. Mary opened Dawsonville Dance, formerly Ballet etc., because she felt a lack of professional dance training in the county.

It is our goal to bring high quality dance instruction to Dawson county and the surrounding area. Dawsonville Dance is a clean, safe environment for students to learn and where they are encouraged to excellence. We will always have modest, non-compromising costuming with clean dance moves and music. Our dance classes are always fun, upbeat, and wholesome.

What makes Dawsonville Dance different from other dance studios?
Dawsonville Dance is a performance based studio where the student’s well-being and happiness are the #1 priority. We recognize that only a small percentage of dancers continue into the professional world and yet truly believe that the lessons and skills, memories and relationships formed through dance will have a profound impact throughout each child’s life. We strive to provide your family with a happy, wholesome environment where childhood innocence is celebrated and where the best childhood memories are made.

About the Owner


Mary (Warnke) Murdaugh began studying dance at age 2. She has been trained in ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, hip-hop, modern, and lyrical. She studied privately with tap master, Jeremy K, who is a protégé of the famous tap master, Dr. James “Buster” Brown, a member of the Copasetics.

After studying with Jeremy K for several years, Mary won many trophies and awards in tap and hip-hop at dance competitions throughout the Southeast. She rounded out her dance training by studying with the Atlanta Ballet and performing in the “Nutcracker” at the Fox Theatre.

Since opening Dawsonville Dance in 2010, she has taught hundreds of students of all ages making her not only very knowledgeable but a very experienced teacher as well. Mary continues her education by attending seminars and conferences, as well as taking master classes and attending professional dance performances whenever possible. She is happy to fulfill her dream of bringing high quality dance instruction to Dawson county and the surrounding area, including North Cumming, and Dahlonega. Mary is honored to have the privilege of teaching your children at Dawsonville Dance.



Additional Instructors

Ensley Sisk – DiscoverDance and Level I Instructor

Ensley began dancing at age 11. She has studied ballet, pointe, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, tumbling, clogging, and tap. Ensley has extensive local performance experience including the Belk fashion show, National Dance Week flashmob, and the Santa Celebration and Christmas Parade at the Mall of Georgia.  She has also competed in The Power All-star Clogging Challenge competition in Woodstock GA where her team won 1st place.

Ensley graduated from the Dawsonville Dance program and has completed a teacher training program including assistant and solo teaching, choreographing, and lesson planning. Ensley is currently enrolled as a college freshman. She enjoys reading, shopping, and attending church.

We’re so happy to have her back as an instructor this season!




Abby Warnke – Hip-Hop and Violin Instructor

Abby began her dance training at age 3. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical. Abby is in her 9th year studying at Dawsonville Dance and is an original member of the Dawsonville Dance Performance Team. She has performed locally including the Moonshine Festival and the Dawsonville Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting.

Abby began playing the violin at age 6. She has competed in the Fiddler’s Convention for several years and in 2017, she was named 2nd Place Fiddle Champion of Georgia for the Jr age division. Abby was the star fiddler in the bluegrass band, “Hand-Picked in Dixie”, for 6 years and has performed all over the Southeast.

In addition to being our violin instructor, Abby also assists, teaches, and choreographs several styles of dance. Abby enjoys taking dance classes from different master instructors and looks forward to competing in regional and national dance competitions this fall. When she has a spare moment not dancing, Abby enjoys music engineering and playing Minecraft.



Lily Pittman– DiscoverDance and Level I Instructor

Lily began her journey in dance at the age of 14. She has trained in the styles of musical theatre, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, tap, Irish soft and hard shoe, with Irish and tap being her favorite. Lily has performed at the Cumming Fair, the Cumming Playhouse, numerous assisted living facilities, the Historic Holley Theatre, Jazz On Tap, Disney World’s Electric Nighttime Parade, and the Disney World Showcase, just to name a few!

Lily feels blessed to help children grow in their passion of dance and theatre. She is excited to be teaching at Dawsonville Dance, where she first discovered her own passion for the art of dance.  

Lily also has a Certified Nursing certificate and is in her second year at Lanier Technical College studying for her Phlebotomy Technician Certificate. In her free time, Lily enjoys to dance, perform at small theaters, hang out with her family and friends, and spend time with her dog Maggie.




John Warnke – Piano Instructor

John plays numerous instruments including the piano, violin, and mandolin. During high school, he played second violin in a youth orchestra. His senior year, he auditioned for the first time and was honored to make it to All State Choir as a second tenor. John also plays the organ and frequently plays at churches all over Georgia.

John enjoys singing in the church choir and participating in ensembles. He is also pursuing a computer science degree.

John has extensive musical knowledge that he explains to his students in a very understandable and patient manner. We’re very happy to have him teaching piano at Dawsonville Dance!

Want more info? Read our FAQs

Photography on this page due to Amanda Neeley of AMN Photography