Ballet, tap, hip-hop, pointe, dance team technique, or jazz—whatever your child’s taste in dance, they’ll find no better training and experience than at Dancer’s Edge Studios in Benton. Owned and operated by Saline County native Chelsea (Tarver) Gilbreath, Dancer’s Edge offers a recreational program, performance groups, acro and technique classes, and a competitive dance company that has grown and excelled over the last several years.
Dancer’s Edge offers not only a variety of classes and opportunities, but also life lessons that come with the discipline and dedication from the commitment to improve.
“It’s so much more than dance,” Chelsea says.
“What I love about Dancer’s Edge is that no matter what is going on in their lives, our girls will know they can come to the studio and feel loved and encouraged,” Chelsea said. “The studio is their safe space, where we try to create not just strong dancers, but strong women. We want to help these young girls grow and develop into responsible adults who can navigate through trials they face.”
Dance has played an instrumental role for almost all of Chelsea’s life. A performer since the age of eight, she excelled throughout junior and high school dance at Bauxite, earning two state titles and one runner-up state title.
Following graduation, Chelsea attended Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and performed as a member of the university’s Golden Girls dance team, serving as captain her senior year. “Dance has always been such a big part of my life. It helped teach me dedication, responsibility, commitment, and teamwork. I always knew it would serve as a big part of how I wanted to give back to my community.”
After college, Chelsea returned to teach speech and theatre at Bauxite and coach the high school Dance and Cheer teams. In three years, her teams earned a total of four 4A state titles, and Chelsea was named the Arkansas Dance Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2016. “I enjoyed my time at Bauxite and truly loved my students and athletes,” she said.
In 2016, after working at Dancer’s Edge under previous owner Dianna Prickett, Chelsea was presented with an opportunity to buy the studio, enter a new stage of her life, and take on the role of Saline County small business owner.
“My dad and I approached Dianna about possibly taking over, and everything just sort of worked out,” she said. “It was a God thing. It was perfect timing for Dianna and me, and I knew I wanted to continue to build the legacy she had started.”
And in just 28 short years, Chelsea had gone from performer to teacher/coach to entrepreneur.
“I was so nervous because of all the unknowns,” she said. “Among the uncertainties of being a small business owner, which I had never been before, was the fact that I realized everything was on me. I was on my own, and if this didn’t work out, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she added.
But thanks to her unyielding faith, Chelsea believed she was on the correct path and pressed on.
“I was leaving a job I loved, but I knew this was what God was calling me to do, and it was going to work out,” she said. “I believe God puts us in different places so we can do our best to love others and glorify Him. I am thankful I am able to be open and to share my faith with my students.”
And the students are what really matter to Chelsea and her team of twenty-two teachers. After taking ownership in 2016, Dancer’s Edge had about 80 students enrolled. Today, the studio has more than 300 dancers. “We teach students ages 2 to 18, and I have a phenomenal staff. I couldn’t do any of this without them. They are extremely hardworking and committed, they truly love our students, and they enjoy watching them grow and succeed.”
“My staff and I try very hard to encourage the girls on a weekly basis. It is so hard to be a girl, especially right now,” she added. “There are so many social pressures placed on them for how they’re supposed to look or act, and who they think they should be.”
And that’s where Chelsea says the importance of dance and teamwork come into play, opening up new possibilities and strengthening character from an early age.
“It is so important to me that we inspire students to be confident in themselves and who they are and to know that they are always enough. Their self worth does not come from other people.”
Finding the balance between work and life is often a challenge for small business owners, and Chelsea is no different. She just returned from 10 weeks of maternity leave following the birth of her second son.
“My family is amazing. I have THE most supportive husband, Tyler, and two sweet boys Laker and Locke. My mom has coached dance and cheer for 25 years and was the first person who helped me fall in love with dance. My dad taught me how to work hard in everything that I do and has guided me through every turn of owning my own business. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
She says she’s glad to be back in the studio, doing what she loves. “This community has invested so much in me throughout my life, and I’m going to do all I can to do the same for the young women in this area.”
Dancer’s Edge Studios is located at 19800 Interstate 30 in Benton. You can best reach them by email at email@example.com, or visit their website at