Emerge Staff

Samantha Tilton

Studio Owner & Head Coach

Miss Sam is the founder and head coach of Emerge Dance Co. Her dance training began at the age of 4 at Stacey’s Dance Studio in Marietta, OH. With a growing passion for the performing arts, Miss Sam began taking vocal and acting lessons in tandem with her dance training to pursue a career in theatre arts. She has a BA in Theatre and Dance from Ohio Northern University, and an MLA from the University of Richmond. She is currently pursuing her PhD in the Humanities. Miss Sam has been teaching and choreographing for over 8 years now, with 4 years of competition experience; styles include Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Lyrical, and Jazz. She is ready to work hard and inspire her team this season.

Oona Elovaara

Acrobatic Instructor

Oona Elovaara is a former competitive dancer and gymnast of 15 years. She has competed at the state and regional level. Currently, she is coaching women’s artistic gymnastics at Xtreme Heights Gymnastics in Richmond. She is also entering her senior year at University of Richmond. She is originally from Oulu, Finland, but has lived in Richmond for the last 8 years.

Ashley Mendoza

Administrative Assistant

Ashley Mendoza is the mother of three aspiring dancers. While she has no dance experience herself, she has been a dance mom for seven years from recreational performances to competitive experiences. Her full time job of over 15 years is working with clients on their success using web based software solutions to run their businesses, specifically with the tools developed by her company. Ashley is in charge of all web and portal concerns and is available for all administrative questions.

Nancy Rubin

Creative Movement Instructor

Coach Nancy and her husband are parents to two furbabies. She holds degrees in both Entertainment Management as well as Physical Education from Johnson & Wales University. She has been a performer for several years with experience dancing with Capitol Dance company for 9 years as well as performing with the Attache Show choir for 3 years. She has been casted in off Broadway performances including West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdy, Newsies and Footloose. For the two years she lived in Sydney, Australia, she spent her time managing event operations at the Sydney Opera House. Her love for creative movement started with her position at Stretch & Grow, which has given her the experience to foster a fun environment for your young dancers.


Working as a team to create a welcoming atmosphere for all dancers.

Hard Work

Whatever you put in the universe, is what you get out of it.


Our dancers will be held to a high standard that will teach them professionalism.