Meet the Faculty and Staff
|Artistic Director, Bruce Simpson joined the Louisville Ballet in 2002, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in the international ballet world. He studied at the Scottish Ballet School in Edinburgh before joining the Wuppertal Dance Company in Germany. In 1970, he was recruited by the State Theatre Ballet in South Africa, where he rose through the ranks to principal dancer. In 1983, he was appointed ballet master. In that role, he was repétiteur, teacher, and coach, refining productions of the Company’s repertoire of over sixty ballets. Mr. Simpson has received numerous awards of distinction for his interpretation of the classics. He has staged works by some of the world’s leading choreographers and has coached and danced with some of the greatest dancers of our time. Mr. Simpson has been a guest of the major dance companies and schools throughout the world. In 2000, he was invited to lead Texas Ballet Theater, where he was commissioned to create new productions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Mr. Simpson was the jury co-chair at the 2006 USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS.|
School Director, Elena Diehl a native of Fallon, Nevada, began her dance training with a neighborhood dance studio at the age of 13 in Aurora, CO. While in high school, Ms. Diehl studied as an apprentice with the Colorado Ballet under the direction of Martin Fredmann. As a full scholarship student attending the University of Arizona, she had the privilege of studying with such distinguished instructors as George Zorich, Melissa Lowe, Jory Hancock, Michael Williams, Amy Ernst, Susan Quinn and Sam Watson. She also enjoyed the opportunity to perform internationally with Quinn-Williams Jazz at the Jazz Dance World Congress in Chicago, IL (1994), Washington DC (1995), Nagoya Japan (1996) and Phoenix, AZ (1998) and also with the University of Arizona Dance Ensemble at the International Theatre School Festival in Amsterdam, Holland (1997) and the American College Dance Festival in Laramie, WY (1998). As a graduate student at the University of Arizona, Ms. Diehl received the 2000-2001 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Ms. Diehl graduated with honors from the University of Arizona, receiving both her B.F.A. in Dance and M.F.A. in Theatre Arts. She has danced professionally with the Louisville Ballet, BalletMet (Columbus, Ohio), Colorado Ballet and, most recently, as a member of Moving Collective in Louisville, KY.
Ms. Diehl has also performed professionally with La JAZDANZ in Shreveport, LA and the musical theatre production Space Dream (Berlin, Germany). She has been a guest faculty member with the Kentucky’s Governor’s School of the Arts, Boca Ballet Theatre, and Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet. Named Director of the Louisville Ballet School in 2008, Ms. Diehl is thrilled to share her love of dance with children and their parents, and to students young and young at heart.
|Senior Ballet Master, Harald Uwe Kern studied with the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera and at the Academie de la Danse de Princess Grace, Monte Carlo. He has received many awards including the Rudolf Nureyev Scholarship Award, the Paris International Dance Competition – prix d’interpretation and an Award for Artistic Achievement from the New York International Ballet Competition. Mr. Kern has performed as a soloist and principal dancer with the Vienna State Opera Ballet, Basel Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Internationale and Charleston Ballet Theater. He has danced leading roles in most of the major classical and romantic ballets and won critical acclaim for his interpretation of roles in ballets by Ashton, Cranko, Massine, Nureyev, Neumeier, Spörli, Balanchine, Kilian and many more. Under the guidance of Irina Kolpakova and Vladilen Semyonov, he became a teacher and coach. He has been the Associate Artistic Director of the Channel Islands Ballet (California) and a guest instructor with schools, colleges and companies around the USA, Europe and Japan. Mr. Kern teaches ballet in the Intermediate and Advanced Divisions.|
|Ballet Mistress, Mikelle Bruzina, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, is a graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and has been dancing with the Louisville Ballet since 1995. Ms. Bruzina began teaching in Japan in 1991 and has extensive experience teaching ballet and pointe technique as well as rehearsing and coaching young dancers throughout the United States. Ms. Bruzina credits one of her first teachers with instilling a love for the arts and the discipline for lifelong success. She continues her tenure this season with the Louisville Ballet as Ballet Mistress and is thrilled to continue teaching ballet in the Intermediate and Advanced Divisions of the Louisville Ballet School.|
|Helen Starr has danced and taught in 36 countries on five continents. She was born in Kent, England, and trained at the Royal Academy of Dance and the Royal Ballet School. Graduating into the Royal Ballet, she toured extensively as a soloist and assistant ballet mistress. During this time, she worked with Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Dame Ninette de Valois D.B.E., John Cranko, Leonide Massine and Rudolf Nureyev.Miss Starr joined the London Festival Ballet, now English National Ballet, and was made a principal dancer after dancing Odette in Swan Lake. Her roles included the leads in Giselle, Coppélia, Les Sylphides, Scheherazade, Prince Igor, Noir et Blanc, La Sonnambula, Bourree Fantasque and The Sleeping Beauty. Her partners have included such luminaries as John Gilpin, André Prokovsky, Peter Schaufuss, Peter Martins, Frank Augustyn, Alexander Lunev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, with whom she danced La Sonnambula, the pas de deux from Le Corsaire and Petrouchka.Recognized nationwide as a fine ballet teacher and coach, Miss Starr has staged ballets in Europe and the United States including Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Giselle, Les Sylphides, La Fete Etrange, Ashton’s Les Patineurs, plus original productions of Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet. Her roles with the Louisville Ballet have included Odette in Swan Lake, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, Colette in Paradise Gained, Desdemona in The Moor’s Pavane and Hecuba in The Trojan Women.|
|Ami Andersen recently moved from Minneapolis MN, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Northwestern College. Ami was introduced to ballet when she accompanied classes at the St. Paul City Ballet. She has also done freelance accompanying, taught private voice and piano lessons, and written music. Ami will be working the front desk and accompanying a couple classes and is excited to be part of the arts community here in Louisville.|
|Theresa Bautista trained in Southern Indiana and Louisville, gaining experience in both dance and musical theatre. While earning her biology degree from Indiana University, she continued her dance studies in a program headed by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. Theresa is a freelance dancer, choreographer and teacher and has danced with the Anna Sapozhnikov’s MOYAMO DANCE, Gordon Dance Projects, jan street dance theatre, and as a soloist with Art! Art! Barking Dog Dance Company. In 2006, she created and continues to co-produce Moving Collective, a venue to promote the works of independent choreographers and contemporary dance to the Louisville Region. Theresa was the Associate Director of Courtney Weber School of Dance and is currently teaching at several dance studios in the Louisville area. Theresa has been featured in several Louisville publications as a next generation of performers to watch, and her choreography has been presented at the Southeast Regional Ballet Festival in 2005 and 2009. Theresa teaches modern and tap in the Youth Open Division.|
|Tamara Begley is a graduate of the Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville, and earned her B.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Upon graduation, Tamara was awarded an internship in Washington, D.C. at Dance Place, one of the nation’s most prolific presenters of dance. She has performed with Jessica Marchant in Washington, D.C., John Gamble Dance Theater in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Louisville’s Art! Art! Barking Dog Dance Company and jan street dance theatre, and is currently a member of Beth Rodriguez Dance Projects. Tamara co-produces Moving Collective, a venue to promote the works of independent choreographers and bring greater awareness of contemporary dance to the region. In addition to her work as a producer, dancer and choreographer, Tamara joined the Louisville Ballet School faculty as a modern dance instructor in 2006 and teaches modern in the Youth Open/Elective Division.|
|Daniela Blechner, originally from Wisconsin, Daniela began her dance training at The Dance Factory of Delevan. She had the privilege of spending summers at the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive, as well as one summer attending Boston Ballet’s Summer Dance Program. She shifted her emphasis to modern dance as she began her college career at The University of Michigan, under the tutelage of Judy Rice, Peter Sparling and Amy Chavasse. Michigan offered Daniela the opportunity to attend summer workshops and internships through Paul Taylor Dance Company, as well as participate in the 2011 Bates Dance Festival. Post-graduation Daniela moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a career in both dance and arts administration. She has danced professionally with the D.C.-based company DancEthos, as well as worked for the Arena Stage Communications Department. Daniela looks forward to this new adventure in her career, and would like to thank her family for their unwavering support!|
|Tiffany Bovard was born and raised in Charles Town, WV and began her dance training at Vostrikov’s Academy of Ballet. She graduated magna cum laude from Butler University, receiving a BFA with honors in dance performance and business. Professionally, she has danced with Elements Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Mike Gosney. This will be Tiffany’s third season with Louisville Ballet and her second year teaching on faculty.|
Jamie Calzi is the mother of two beautiful daughters who were both very involved in dance into their teen years. While Jamie did not dance, she was an avid exerciser being dedicated to running as well as other forms of strength training. Jamie found yoga later in life when her daughters introduced her to Bikram Yoga in 2010. She immediately fell in love with Yoga and has not looked back. She most recently completed 200 hours of intense training under Scott Kleinfeld and Stephanie Miller of Bamboo Moves in NY City and is certified as a 200 hour registered yoga instructor. She teaches at Betsy’s Hot Yoga, does private yoga instruction as well as volunteering her time with many local community agencies. Jamie looks forward to her life long journey filled with Yoga and is excited to share the joy of Yoga with others in our Community.
Meredith Conroy has been practicing yoga for over five years and knew early on that she wanted to teach. After completing a five-week intensive training in the Moksha Yoga practice in Brazil Meredith received her 300 hour certification. Her journey continued with 11 more months of distance learning projects and she is now a 500 hour RYT.
As a life-long athlete with a background in gymnastics and as a University of Florida cheerleader she quickly recognized the physical benefits of improved strength and increased flexibility achieved with a regular yoga practice. Meredith continues to discover the other benefits yoga offers to overall mental and emotional health. Her philosophy is that yoga should be accessible to all levels of ability, from beginners to advanced practitioners. Her teaching style is relaxed and joyful and her goal is to tailor each class to the individual and ensure every student leaves class feeling better than they did when they came! Meredith has enjoyed expanding her teaching into vinyasa, fusion and core focused classes as well.
|Helen Daigle is a native of Louisiana and returns for her twelfth season with the Louisville Ballet. She has trained with the Decatur School of Ballet, the Dancer’s Workshop, The Joffrey Ballet School and The School of American Ballet. Prior to turning professional, she danced with the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre for eight years. Helen began her professional career with Feld Ballets/New York and has performed with Ballet Hispanico and the Miami City Ballet. She has performed featured roles in a range of works including Lark Ascending, In the Glow of the Night, Cold Virtues, Who Cares?, Scheherazade, Company B and The Magic Flute. Helen joined the faculty of the Louisville Ballet School in 2009, teaching ballet in the Intermediate Division.|
|Amy Trier Delaney, a Louisville native, holds a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Pedagogy from Indiana University, Bloomington. She has studied with, among others: Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, Jacques Cesbron, Nancy Bielsky, Finis Jung, Robert Barnet, and Jurgen Pagels. Mrs. Delaney has been a teacher, choreographer and Director in places such as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky. She directed the dance department at Appel Farm Arts and Music Center in New Jersey for four years, where she produced shows for the Center and the local community. Mrs. Delaney also taught for the Indiana University Ballet Program. She was an instructor at Ursuline School for the Performing Arts for their dance program and was on the faculty at Sacred Heart Academy as their dance instructor. Mrs. Delaney also served as a choreographer for both USPA and SHA productions. Mrs. Delaney founded, owned and directed The A.R.T. Centre – an Academy of Dance here in Louisville. She currently teaches ballet in the Elementary division.|
|Erica De La O, born in Los Angeles, California, trained at Le Studio under the direction of Cynthia Young, Phillip and Charles Fuller and continued studies with Stephan Wenta, Alicia Head and Daylena Ruiz. Erica danced with Columbia City Ballet before joining the Louisville Ballet as a First Soloist in 2003. She has performed the lead roles in works such as Simpson’s Giselle and Swan Lake; Jones’s Cinderella, Coppelia and Nutcracker; Balanchine’s Theme and Variations; Prokovsky’s The Three Musketeers; Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker and Four Seasons; and Heather Maloy’s Vampire. De La O’s repertory includes Hougland’s Cold Virtues, Fragile Stasis, Fleeflow, and Rite of Spring; Gamonet’s Nous Sommes; Stevenson’s Four Last Songs; McDowney‘s Group Therapy and Por El Fuego; Ashton’s Les Patineus; Cipolla’s Breathless; Picket’s Etesian; Choo-San Goh‘s In the Glow of Night; Taylor’s Company B among others. De La O was awarded 2nd place at the Music Center Spotlight Awards of Los Angeles and is a recipient of the 1999 John Orr Award from the Pasadena Arts Council. She was a finalist at the New York International Ballet Competition in 2003 and was invited to perform in the NYIBC Gala Performance at Lincoln Center receiving a favorable review from The New York Times.|
|Diana Dinicola holds a diploma for the advanced level intensive training program at the Fundacion Cristina Heeren de Arte Flamenco in Sevilla, Spain. She has attended the National Flamenco Institute at the University of New Mexico (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006) and returns to Spain yearly for continuing professional development. Diana trained as a theatre major at Northwestern University where she received a BS in Communications and her teaching certification. Diana is a veteran arts administrator and holds an MBA from Emory University. She performs regularly and has appeared with Antonio Vargas, Angel Munoz, Arturo Martinez and Jesus Montoya. Diana is a co-founder of Flamenco Louisville and an active educator, teaching flamenco dance in Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati and for the Governor’s School for the Arts. In addition, she is a Showcase Kentucky and Kentucky Arts Council Education Roster artist taking flamenco into the schools as a medium for teaching core Arts & Humanities curriculum. She also works with underserved communities in Louisville and throughout the state through ArtsReach.|
|Tracy N. Fischer, is a native of Northern Kentucky. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky. While in college, Tracy cheered for the University of Kentucky Wildcats for three years. While on the squad, Kentucky won two of the nineteen UCA College Cheerleading National Championships titles that Kentucky holds presently. During the summer college months, Tracy worked as staff member for UCA traveling throughout the country teaching cheer camps for high school and elite college cheerleading squads.After a career in the pharmaceutical industry, Tracy began taking Pilates classes. Tracy believed in benefits of Pilates so much, she became a certified Pilates instructor. Currently, Tracy works with clients with a variety of fitness levels. She helps clients to utilize their core, increase performance, increase mobility, and control mobility where they need stability. Tracy explains to her clients, that Pilates promotes flexibility along with working on a range of muscle and joints helping clients to move more freely. Last benefit? Creating long, lean muscles resembling those of professional dancers.|
|Natalie Hoffman, born and raised in a military family, has received dance training across the country. She is a 2009 graduate of Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts and is currently pursuing a BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood, from the University of Louisville. She has worked with the Walden Theatre, performs in regional theatre, and volunteers at The Kentucky Center for the Arts. Natalie is thrilled to join the faculty of the Louisville Ballet, teaching in the Primary Division.|
|Claire Horrocks is a recent graduate with a BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Oklahoma School of Dance. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, she trained in ballet, jazz, and tap for fifteen years under the primary instruction of Zippora Karz. In 2008, Claire danced nationally in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Arena Tour, and performed with the Oklahoma Festival Ballet throughout her four years at the University of Oklahoma. She is certified in both Mat and Standing Pilates with The Method Physical Mind Institute, and has recently completed a Physical Mind workshop with an emphasis on the human gait cycle. This will be Claire’s second season as a trainee with the Louisville Ballet Company. She is thrilled to teach ballet in the Primary and Adult Division.|
|Margie Kathleen has been teaching Ballet for over 12 years. Her credentials include Director of the Harmony Elementary Dance Club, Dance Designs, 360 Dance, New Castle Regional Ballet Company, and the Louisville Ballet School. Ms. Kathleen holds a B.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music where she attended on scholarship; performing Principal roles in Original Ballets and Contemporary pieces choreographed by Faculty and guest Artists from the Cincinnati Ballet and Houston Ballet. Her training started with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, New Castle Regional Ballet, and Mansur Kamaletdinov – former Ballet Master of the Kirov Ballet. Upon graduation; Ms. Kathleen retired from dancing due to chronic knee injuries; and is a dedicated mother and teacher. Promoting healthy children and dancers by becoming a Pilates instructor; to help young dancers and disabled children and adults prevent and rehabilitate injuries.|
|Taylor Kinney, originally from Fairfield, IL, is currently working on a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Counseling and a Music Ministry Minor with an emphasis in voice at Boyce College here in Louisville. She is excited to be a part of the Louisville Ballet School this season; Taylor will be working at the St. Matthews front desk.|
Alicia Kotheimer is a native of Louisville Kentucky, and has received training in ballet, tap and jazz since the age of 3. She developed a strong passion for ballet by the age of 12, and studied at the Louisville Ballet School for 4 years. During that time she had the opportunity to participate and perform with the Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble, and attend the South Eastern Regional Ballet Association (SERBA) festival twice. She has taught the art of dance to children of all ages for 6 years, and has loved every minute of it. Alicia has a passion for working with kids, both in and out of the dance studio. In August of 2013 she received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree, and currently practices as a licensed and registered pediatric occupational therapist at a local outpatient clinic. She is so excited to teach creative movement to children in the primary division!
|Lisa Lamar Konar returns to Louisville after teaching ballet for 22 years in San Diego, CA. She has earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dance and is a registered Royal Academy of Dance instructor. Lisa was Assistant Director at Jean Hart Academy of Dance in San Diego where she taught ballet, pointe and musical theatre dance; stage-managed and planned all recitals, and choreographed extensively for children from the age of 4 through 18. Lisa trained on full scholarship at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, IL and Gus Giordano’s Jazz Dance Chicago. She also danced with the Louisville Ballet Company while in high school and has come full circle now to teach at the Louisville Ballet School where she originally trained as a student.|
|Daniel Mallott joined to the Louisville Ballet School faculty in 2008. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Daniel trained with Inwood Dance Company, St. Paul’s School and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School before joining the Louisville Ballet in 2001. As a member of the Louisville Ballet for seven years, he performed leading and soloist roles in ballets such as In the Glow of the Night, The Golden Section, Beauty and the Beast, The Sleeping Beauty and Lark Ascending. Daniel has taught throughout the eastern United States and attended teaching seminars given at the American Dance Festival and by the Royal Academy of Dance. Daniel currently teaches in the Intermediate and Advanced divisions and serves as Ballet Master for the Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration – Computer Information Systems with a Minor in Mathematics from the University of Louisville.|
Courtney Martin was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. She has been dancing since the age of four and is experienced in multiple dance disciplines including ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, acro, and musical theatre. Courtney is a graduate from the Youth Performing Arts School as a dance major and recently graduated from the dance department at Western Kentucky University. During high school, she performed with Louisville’s modern dance company, Moving Collective and was chosen to study at the Governor’s school of the Arts (GSA). Courtney has also been selected to travel to multiple cities to perform in festivals and for companies such as High School Dance festival, American College Dance Festival, Jazz Dance World Congress, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and “OverSeas Dance” (Italy). She has studied dance with well-known companies in the professional dance world like Bill T. Jones Dance Company, Visceral Dance Company and Diavolo Dance Company. This summer, Courtney will be returning to GSA as the dance discipline assistant for 2014. She is thrilled to be working with the Louisville Ballet School students!
|Robert Morrow began his ballet training in New Orleans, Louisiana with Delta Festival Ballet and went on to train at renowned schools such as Virginia School of the Arts and The Joffrey Ballet School of NYC. Professionally, he’s danced for Nashville Ballet, Delta Festival Ballet, and Dayton Ballet. Some of his favorite roles include ‘Smee’ in Septime Webre’s Peter Pan, ’Renfield’ in Stuart Sebastion’s Dracula, as well as being featured in Alan Hineline’s Thresholds II. This is Rob’s fourth season with the Louisville Ballet.|
|Sophia Myers was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She started her ballet training at the Cincinnati Ballet Academy under the direction of Val Liberatore, Mishic Corn, and Joy Jovet. For high school Sophia attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts under the direction of Patricia Rozow and Daryl Bjoza for ballet and Ka-Ron Lehman for modern. There she had the pleasure of performing in many ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, and Tribute by Frederic Franklin. Sophia is excited to begin her second year as a trainee with the company and her first year teaching for the Louisville Ballet School.|
|Donna Richards is a graduate of the Los Angeles School of Performing Arts at UCLA with a BFA in dance performance. Upon graduation, Donna moved to New York where she lived for 12 years. She has performed and traveled with various Broadway shows such as Chicago, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, 42nd Street, Grease, Oklahoma, Showboat, and Pippin, to name a few. While living in New York, Donna taught for various dance studios in the New York area including the David Howard Studio, Steps, and the Broadway Dance Theater.Donna now lives in Brandenburg, Kentucky and is an active choreographer and guest teacher working for various education and production companies in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Donna has been involved in many facets of entertainment as a performer, a producer, choreographer, and costume designer. She has studied with teachers from all over the world and performed throughout the United States.
|Brandon Ragland, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, received his early training from Jacqueline Crenshaw Lockhart and continued his dance training at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. He graduated from Butler University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Dance-Arts Administration. He danced with Alabama Ballet for three seasons and had the opportunity to perform principal and soloist roles. He also served on faculty at The Alabama Ballet School, where he taught classes in Ballet technique, Jazz and Hip Hop. This is Brandon’s fourth season with Louisville Ballet and the Louisville Ballet School.|
Daylena Ruiz Garcia attend the Cuban National Ballet School and the Cuban University of Arts. She became a dancer in 1993 and performed in Thailand, Austria, Hong Kong, Italy to name a few. She has been teaching ballet, pointe, character, partnering, conditioning and repertoire since 1998. She has won top prizes in international competitions with her students. She likes to challenge each student to develop their fullest physical and creative potential. Ms. Ruiz Garcia strives to inspire and enrich her students by exposing them to the benefits of dance. She considers teaching a privilege and looks forward to the opportunity to inspire a new generation of young dancers.
|Nicole Sikora graduated cum laude from Bellarmine University receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Arts Administration. Nicole received most of her dance training in Lexington, Kentucky with Kentucky Ballet Theatre and the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, where she attended high school. She also studied dance at the Governor’s School for the Arts in 2004 and Cincinnati Ballet in the summer of 2005. In college, Nicole continued to perform with the Bellarmine University Dance Team for two seasons. Nicole has most recently performed with Moving Collective in March 2009, February 2011 and November 2011. Ms. Sikora joined the Louisville Ballet as the Patron Services Assistant in March 2010. She joined the School staff as School Administrator in 2011.|
Jessica Stone studied at the Louisville Ballet School from 1996-2000 and 2003-2005. In addition to performing with the Louisville Ballet Civic Company (now the Youth Ensemble), she performed corps de ballet roles in Louisville Ballet productions such as Giselle, Don Quixote, Serenade, and The Nutcracker. Jessica also studied at American Ballet Theatre NYC Summer Intensives (1999-2001), Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (2000-2002), Youth Performing Arts School, The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and Vail International Dance Conservatory. Jessica choreographed for the Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble and her ballet was chosen to be performed at the Southeast Regional Ballet Association (SERBA) festival in 2005. Most recently, Jessica danced with the City Ballet of San Diego while earning her J.D. from 2007-2010. She also taught at the City Ballet of San Diego School and provided private lessons to young advanced dancers who wanted additional training/guidance. In April of 2012, Jessica and her husband welcomed a baby boy into their family which motivated them to make the move back to Louisville.
|Tawnee Thompson, born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, trained at the North Star Ballet School under the direction of Norman Shelburne and Sue Perry. She spent 5 seasons with the Louisville Ballet. While with the Company, she performed in such ballets as Paquita,Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Graham Lustig’s Between Stillness, Lila York’s Celts, Val Caniparoli’s Vivace, Adam Hougland’s Right of Spring, and Swan Lake. Tawnee is also a choreographer, whose most acclaimed work, Fly Trapped in a Jar, has been performed several times in promotion of the Louisville Ballet Company. Tawnee is excited to continue her teaching career with the Louisville Ballet School.|
David X. Thurmond graduated Cum Laude from Bellarmine University in Louisville. He received his M. Ed. from the University of Louisville and successfully completed the Kentucky Department of Education’s Kentucky Leadership Academy for school administrators as well as the Alternative Certification Program in School Administration at Eastern Kentucky University. Mr. Thurmond is a former member of the Louisville Ballet and founder of the Youth Performing Arts School Dance program. Most recently, Louisville Ballet fans last enjoyed him as the Prince of Verona in the 2013 production of Romeo and Juliet. Over the span of his amazingly diverse career, he has performed, taught, and choreographed for performing arts organizations throughout the South and Midwest. Mr. Thurmond is excited to be back at the Louisville Ballet School teaching Fusion Fitness Dance!
|Ashley Thursby is a native of Richmond, Missouri and returns for her sixth season with the Louisville Ballet. While she trained primarily with the Kansas City Ballet School, she also studied with the San Francisco Ballet School, School of American Ballet, LINES Pre-Professional Program and Jillana, all on scholarship. In 2008, she graduated from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music with a BSOF in Ballet and Journalism and an outside certification in Pilates. While at IU she was coached by Violette Verdy in numerous roles, including Divertimento No. 15, in which she won 2nd Place in the National Society of Arts and Letters Competition. Ashley taught Creative Movement through Advanced Ballet classes within Indiana University’s Pre-College Ballet Program. She is happy to be teaching at the Louisville Ballet School, in the Intermediate Division.|
|Emily Bond Van Bogaert, a Louisville native, graduated magna cum laude from Bellarmine University with a Bachelor’s degree in Arts Administration and completion of an Honors Program senior thesis. Emily trained pre-professionally with the Louisville Ballet School and graduated from duPont Manual High School / Youth Performing Arts School as a valedictorian. As a student and member of the Louisville Ballet Civic Company (now known as the Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble), she performed children’s and corps de ballet roles in various productions with the Louisville Ballet. She has also performed throughout the region at Southeast Regional Ballet Association and Regional Dance America Festivals as well as several summer intensive programs. Emily joined the staff of the Louisville Ballet School as School Administrator in 2008. She welcomed the birth of her daughter in 2011, and now works part-time as the School Coordinator.|
|Brienne Wiltsie grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She spent her high school years training with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and also spent a season in their graduate program. In 2005, Brienne was offered a job with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and spent two years as a company member there. While dancing with PBT, she particularly loved performing in Balanchine’s Who Cares, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, and her all-time favorite classical ballet, Swan Lake. Brienne then spent two years teaching in PBT’s school before joining the Louisville Ballet for the past two seasons. She loved having the opportunity to perform in Val Caniparoli’s brand new Brown-Forman Nutcracker, as well as The Seasons, and enjoyed every moment of performing classics (Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Coppelia) with the Louisville Ballet. Brienne was thrilled to start teaching with the Louisville Ballet School in 2011.|
|Lew Winstead is a graduate of the Youth Performing Arts High School in Louisville, KY. After graduation, he attended the New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL, where he danced in the Fredrick Bratcher Dance Company. Lew has danced at Paramount’s Kings Island, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Walt Disney World. He performed in shows at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Pleasure Island. Lew was a back up dancer for Tonya Mitchell on the *NSYNC Pop Odyssey tour. He was also in the hip hop company, Culture Shock, in Chicago. Since moving back to Louisville, Lew has done his best to integrate himself in the dance community here. Joining the faculty in the spring of 2013, he is thrilled to work with the Louisville Ballet School students!|