Mary Diane Toole Miller

Artistic Director

Diane Toole Miller has been the Owner/Director of the Crosby-Miller School of Dance since 2006. She has over 35 years of professional dance experience – as a Soloist with the Augusta Ballet under the direction of Ron Colton (formerly of New York City Ballet) and over 35 years teaching experience – teaching classical ballet to all ages.

Diane was born in Aiken and began studying ballet at age 8 under Carl Crosby. She joined the Aiken Civic Ballet at age 13. In July 1978 she was crowned Miss South Carolina, one of the youngest to ever win the title, and went on to compete at the 1978 Miss America Pageant where she received a Talent Award Scholarship. After attending Converse College and USCA she received a B.A. in English. She studied with Barbara Ferguson at the Spartanburg Civic Ballet, and danced with the Orchesis Modern Dance Theater and televised performances with The Miss SC Pageant Dancers while in Spartanburg. In 1982 she joined the Augusta Ballet, performing many ballets including Symphony 13 and Episodes by Duncan Noble, Tilt by Stanley Zompakos, A Place To Dance, Bagatelles, A Gift To Be Simple, and Hearth of Embers, as well as dancing in the Nutcracker as the Dewdrop Fairy, in Coppelia, Les Sylphides and in Augusta Ballet’s first Balanchine Ballet, Valse Fantasie. She danced in many Gala performances of SERBA (Southeastern Regional Ballet Association) including Charleston, Miami, and Atlanta with the Augusta Ballet as an Honor Company.

She has taught ballet previously at USC Aiken and has enjoyed choreographing ballets for the Aiken Civic Ballet which include the Nutcracker, Korean Cinderella, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and La Boutique Fantasque.

Diane is married to Charles Miller and they have 3 daughters.

Julie McLain

Competition Team Director

Jazz & Lyrical Instructor

Julie McLain’s love of dance and teaching experience led her to join the staff at Crosby’s Dance Studio as a jazz instructor in 2011. Julie, an Aiken native, began dancing at the age of 5. She spent much of her time in a dance studio throughout her elementary and high school years.

For eight years, Julie performed with a local dance company and traveled the southeast dancing competitively. In 1997, Ms. McLain graduated from Newberry College with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. In 2004, she received a Master’s Degree in Creative Arts in Education from Lesley University.

Julie has taught in Newberry County Public Schools, Aiken County Public Schools, Aiken’s First Baptist Kindergarten, and Aiken Preparatory school. She has experience teaching grades kindergarten through seventh grade. Julie continues to enjoy dancing as a hobby through teaching, and participating in adult dance classes.

Evelyn Mappus Beck

Tap Instructor

Evelyn Mappus Beck studied dance under Carl Crosby for fifteen years. She was a member of the Aiken Civic Ballet for many years and she has a Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson University. While at Clemson, she danced and taught dance with the Clemson Dancers. She has taught in several South Carolina dance studios. Evelyn has also taught fitness classes for the city of Aiken for the past 27 years.

Laura Rudnick Jones

Competition Team Assistant Director & Aiken Civic Ballet Artistic Director

Laura Jean began dancing under Carl Crosby at the age of four. For years she studied tap, jazz, and ballet before becoming a member of the Aiken Civic Ballet Company in 2007. While in the company she learned many different styles of dance, and also attended the University of South Carolina’s Dance Conservatory the summer of 2010. That following year, she became a member of Crosby Miller’s Competition Team, and remained a member until her senior year. After years of hard work and determination, Laura was casted the role as Sugar Plum Fairy in the beloved classic, The Nutcracker, her senior year.

After high school, Laura attended the University of South Carolina for two years. She continued her passion for dance by taking contemporary dance classes through the school and at a local studio in the area. This is where she fell in love with contemporary dancing. She then transferred to the University of South Carolina Aiken her Junior year to continue her dream of becoming a nurse.

While attending USCA she became a member of the dance team for two years. The team performed at all of the men and women’s home basketball games, school events, and at two competitions a year. They showcased many styles of dance, such as jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, and pom. Her first year, the team won first place at the Peach Belt Conference dance competition, and her second year she was elected team captain.

Laura started teaching contemporary at Crosby Miller School of Dance in 2016, and loves every minute teaching and interacting with the children. Currently, she is in the nursing program at USCA, and plans on graduating in December of 2018. After graduation she foresees herself working in an Emergency Department.

In Loving Memory of Carl Crosby

Carl Crosby was a native of South Carolina. Carl’s early training was in Columbia, SC, where he was considered for many years the outstanding male dancer in the state.  He studied extensively in New York under such renowned instructors as Leon Fokine, Maggie Black, Valentine Pereyaslaveek, Igor Scwezoff, and many others.

Carl danced on Broadway in several musicals and performed on television in the New York area and while in the military he taught dance for the USO.  Carl founded the Crosby School of Dance in the 1950’s and was director of the school for over 50 years.  In addition, he taught dance in the Aiken County Schools and at the University of South Carolina – Aiken.

Carl received a Certificate of Merit from the Governor of South Carolina and an award from the Director of the South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts in recognition of the superior training he gave his students.  He served on the Dance Advisory Committee for the South Carolina Arts Commission for several years.  Many of Carl’s students now dance professionally throughout the United States and Europe.