Meet the 2023-24 Faculty

Marlena Marshall Abaza

MARLENA MARSHALL ABAZA began her teaching career in NYC at the prestigious Ballet Academy East, working alongside top teachers in the ballet community. She was ballet director for both the Greenwich House Music School and the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center of NYC, where she taught students of all ages in classical ballet, pointe, character, and creative movement.

Ms. Abaza was the Founder/Artistic Director of Sarasota Dance Theatre from 2007-2011. The studio taught children of all abilities and developed a thriving adult program for the community. From 2011-2020 she was a faculty member of the Sarasota Ballet School, under the direction of Iain Webb. During her nine seasons she taught students in numerous levels and founded a successful RAD program. After being promoted to head of Middle School, Ms. Abaza created syllabuses, choreographed/directed annual school performances, and oversaw all aspects of the department.

Her ballet training began at the age of 8 in East Hartford, CT and later with Ballet Florida, where she was a founding company member at 15 with their acclaimed civic ballet company. Ms. Abaza's summer training included the School of American Ballet, Hartford Ballet, and on full scholarship with Ballet West. She’s had the honor of working with such teachers as David Howard and Jacques d’Amboise, who selected her at 16 to take company class with NYCB during their Florida tour.

After graduating on scholarship from the Hartford Ballet's 2 Year Trainee Program, Ms. Abaza danced professionally with the Omega Dance Company, Dances Patrelle, the Metropolitan USO, and was a guest artist for numerous productions; including dancing at the historic Shubert Theatre and the world premiere of The Yorkville Nutcracker with Jack Soto and Lourdes Lopez of New York City Ballet. Her Broadway credits include, A Tribute to Angela Lansbury, with Lauren Bacall, Nathan Lane, and Jennifer Holliday.

Ms. Abaza completed the Royal Academy of Dance’s 3-year teaching program with honors (LRAD), is an ABT certified teacher (Pre-Primary-Level 3), a licensed Silver Swans and BeMoved instructor, and a graduate of Santa Fe College. Most recently, Marlena was on faculty at the Orlando Ballet School, teaching in the school and outreach programs. She led the Come Dance With Us! (CDWU) division for students with special needs and was awarded a 2021 National Dance Foundation Scholarship, in recognition of her teaching.

Marlena is thrilled to begin her 1st season with Atlanta Ballet School and assist students in reaching their individual dance goals.

Shirley Bennett
PC: Austin Hooper / Hair: Stacey South

SHIRLEY BENNETT has professionally performed with Ballet Russe, danced solos with Indiana Ballet Theatre, Tampa, Boston, and Brooklyn Ballets, and Jacob’s Pillow. She studied with renowned teachers at Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, and Harkness Ballet. She earned a BA in Liberal Arts and Education and studied in New York University’s Dance Masters program.

Ms. Bennett has taught and choreographed at the Ballet School of Lincoln Square (for Barbara Walczak of NYC Ballet), Washington School of Ballet, and directed principal dancers at the Wiesbaden State Opera Ballet (Germany). She choreographed one of five chosen pieces performed in professional competition with New Choreographers on Point in NYC.

She has extensive training in the art and science of dance teaching and ballet technique. Her high teaching standards have propelled students as principal dancers in the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, New York City Ballet, and many other regional ballet companies.

Darby Burgess
PC: Louis Fort

DARBY BURGESS grew up in Florence, AL taking part in dance, community, and professional theatre, as well as film at a young age. She danced competitively for 6 years and was ranked nationally and regionally around the Southeast. She was trained professionally in tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, pointe, and musical theatre, and has taken classes with greats such as Laurieann Gibson, Mia Michaels, and the Verdon-Fosse Legacy. In 2017, she graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a BA in Theatre Arts. She has been working as a professional actor and choreographer ever since on stages in Alabama and Georgia. Before moving to Atlanta, she was a Resident Teaching Artist at The Dance Foundation and Virginia-Samford Theatre in Birmingham, AL. Darby is also a certified Pure Barre instructor and serves as their Lead Teacher at the West Midtown location.

GEORGIE GRACE BUTLER is from Roswell, Georgia. She began her training at Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance, and in 2015 continued training at Boston Ballet School as a pre-professional and Trainee student. In 2018 she became a trainee with the Pennsylvania Ballet under the direction of Angel Corella. There she performed with the company as corps de ballet in Macmillian’s Romeo and Juliet, Angel Corella’s Giselle, and George Balanchine’s Nutcracker. In 2019 she became a member of Atlanta Ballet 2, where she danced in many company productions including Yuri Possokov’s Nutcracker, Giselle, Paquita, Don Quixote, as well as the Evil Queen in Snow White, and Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She was recently promoted to company member at Atlanta Ballet and is thrilled to continue her journey here at AB.

DIANE CAROLL (New York City, New York) began her dance training at the age of ten after receiving a scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet School. She later continued her training as a fellowship student at The Ailey School. A graduate of the esteemed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York, Ms. Caroll attended the University of the Arts in North Carolina on full scholarship before starting her professional career with Ailey II. As an original member of the Atlanta-based Ballethnic Dance Company and a member of Donald Byrd/The Group, Ms. Caroll toured throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and South Africa. In 2004, she was invited to serve as an adjudicator and guest Horton instructor for the annual SERBA (Southeastern Regional Ballet Association) Dance Festival. For the past 20 years, Ms. Caroll has taught and choreographed all levels of ballet and modern dance (Horton technique) for pre-professional students. She has extensive experience in teaching students in community-based dance programs with limited or no exposure to the arts. Ms. Caroll currently serves as the community partnerships director for Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education’s Community Engagement, where she oversees the in-school and after-school programs at Parklane Elementary School, Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy, Utopian Academy for the Arts, City of Refuge, and the Whitehead & Harland Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta Centre Dance program in addition to the Atlanta Ballet Youth Ensemble: Community Engagement. She currently serves as a dance judge for the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. Ms. Caroll was named a 2015 LUX LIST Honoree for her leadership in community-based dance programs in Atlanta. This is her tenth year on staff at the Atlanta Ballet and has currently joined their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion lead team for internal culture initiatives. Photo credit: Kim Kenney

SERENA CHU was born in Long Beach, New York, where she received her early training at the School of American Ballet, performed in numerous productions with the New York City Ballet, and danced in the 1990 Workshop performance of Puss In Boots by Robert LaFosse. After attending the Bolshoi Ballet program in Vail, Colorado, Chu went on to study as a scholarship student with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia, and was one of the first Americans to graduate from the school. She was a member of Sarasota Ballet before joining Tulsa Ballet, where she danced many featured rolls in works from renowned choreographers such as N. Duato, G. Balanchine, J. Kylián, W. Forsythe, V. Caniparoli, B. Stevenson, A. DeMille, P. Taylor, T. Tharp, C. Wheeldon and S. Welch. Some favorite ballets in Chu’s repertoire include Arenal, Without Words, Lambarena, Company B, Serenade, Nine Sinatra Songs, Remansos, Por Vos Muero, and SeAthrough, a piece created on her by Tony Fabre. Chu was a guest principal with Ballet Des Moines during its inaugural years and helped build a new regional company in the U.S. Chu has been seen in Dance Magazine, the New York Times, Newsday, the cover of the Tulsa World and DM magazine. She is a YoungArts award winner, and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning. In addition to performing leading roles on the stages of the Joyce Theater in New York City, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Chu has taught in many notable schools around the country, including Tulsa, Oklahoma; Salt Lake City, Utah; Des Moines, Iowa; Las Vegas, Nevada; and now in Atlanta, Georgia, where she has staged works with Atlanta Ballet 2, including their family ballets of Beauty and the Beast, The Swan Princess, and Snow White. Headshot: Ryan Morrison

Kelly Tonina Cooper
PC: Kim Kenney Photography

Originally from Chicago, IL, KELLY TONINA (K.T.) COOPER studied dance under the leadership of Ric Rose at the University of Florida. After graduating with a BA in Advertising and a Business minor, she continued her dance education at the Dance Theater of Santa Fe at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fl. After relocating to South Florida, she continued to choreograph for a number of special events, including pageants, fashion shows, and festivals, before starting her own ensemble dance group, On The Verge. She joined Atlanta Ballet in 2011 and is currently the Centre Administrative Director for the Centre for Dance Education. In 2019, she was appointed Co-chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion task force. Her role facilitates the DEI initiatives alongside fellow staff members, trustees, and community members to create a more equitable future for the ballet and especially future artists.

In addition to her work at the ballet, she serves as an executive board member for a local theatre, Out Front Theatre Company, and the DEI Director for Stonewall Sports Atlanta. In the spring of 2021, Kelly Tonina graduated with her MS in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University Shreveport and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Arts Administration with the University of Kentucky.

KAMERON DAVIS was born in Atlanta Georgia., where he began dancing at the age of 12 with the Atlanta Ballet Centre For Dance Education. During his time at the Atlanta Ballet, Mr. Davis had the opportunity to perform in a plethora of ballets. Some of those ballets include Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, and Atlanta Ballet’s BIG with Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, where he co-starred as the character “Little Big”. During the summers of 2009 through 2011, Mr. Davis had the opportunity to attend Alvin Ailey's Ailey Camp where he studied ballet, jazz, modern, and West African. In 2014 Mr Davis graduated from Columbia High School in Decatur Georgia. Mr. Davis is currently on staff with the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education’s Community Engagement and Centre Faculty.

PC: Lynda Louis Photography / Makeup: Inga Bailey Brows

MIA GIVENS was born in New York City, NY, and began her dance training at the age of two and a half years old at a local school in Atlanta, GA. At the age of six, she began to train at Atlanta Ballet, under the direction of John McFall and attended many prestigious summer intensives, including two summers with The Alvin Ailey Dance School in New York City. She performed, as a pre-professional dancer in Atlanta Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. During her summer intensives at Atlanta Ballet, she was selected to choreograph Class of We Made It, and Da Vinci.

While at Atlanta Ballet, she was an assistant ballet teacher where she taught ballet techniques and basic positions & movement to dancers ages 3-10. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the California Institute of the Arts, where she was selected to perform in performances of Facing Mekka, 28 Up From 9, and lead roles in Betrayal, Add Water and Stir, and De Desir D’Horizon. During her Senior year in college, she was asked to join Mouvement Perpetuelles, in Montpellier, France where she toured with the company during the 2021 season. Mia greatly looks forward to her second year of teaching.

PC: Keiko Guest

JENNIFER INMAN began teaching at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education in 2013. Before joining the Atlanta Ballet Centre faculty, she taught at the school of The Georgia Ballet for 16 years, where she also performed in the professional company for three seasons. In addition to teaching a variety of levels at the school, she also helped establish the inaugural DanceAbility class, a community program for special needs students. While at the Georgia Ballet, she had the opportunity to study with Marina Levasheva, Gina Hyatt-Mazon, and Janusz Mazon. Professional company repertory included George Balanchine’s Serenade, excerpts from Paquita and Sleeping Beauty, and the original casts of Going Bach and Carnival of the Animals.

Jennifer’s childhood training was primarily with Ballet Hysell School (the affiliate school of the New Orleans Ballet) where the faculty included Harvey Hysell, Vincenzo Celli, Diane Carney, and Barbara Forbes. She later studied with Joseph Giacobbe in New Orleans and at the Boston School of Ballet as both a summer and year-round student.

Jennifer began teaching ballet at The Lexington School of Dance in Virginia while earning her B.A. in American History and French as well as following her passion for classical music by studying music history and hosting a classical radio program.

In addition to teaching ballet, Jennifer with her husband Mark cares for their three children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum.

LA’TOYA PRINCESS JACKSON is a choreographer, dancer, and performing artist. She trained as a ballet dancer at the Ballethnic Academy of Dance. She was also a company member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Modern Dance Company and the Harvard Dance Project. She engaged in performance research under the direction of senior faculty in the Theater, Dance, Media (TDM) department at Harvard and presented her thesis Black Swans Shattering the Glass Ceiling. She has performed in several TDM productions and was the first graduate student to write and produce an original ballet at Harvard. She also was one of the lyricists and composers for Black C.A.S.T.’s original musical which premiered on the Loeb Mainstage at the American Repertory Theater. She began her ballet career as teaching faculty for the Boston Ballet School and has implemented free ballet programming in both the Atlanta and Boston communities for the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and Boston. She is currently the Residence Artist at Harvard College’s First Year Arts Program and she is in the choreographer residency for Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet’s symposium. She is the writer, producer, and creator of the Vanity Lane franchise, an original fairytale that includes an original ballet production, children’s books, ballet workshops, music, and merchandise. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts (Radio/TV/Film) at Clark Atlanta University and She graduated from Harvard University in 2019 with a Master of Liberal Arts degree in Dramatic Arts in an interdisciplinary study of music, dance, and performance from the Extension School.

Madelin Jamison
PC: Brooklynn Kelson (BYU Photo)

MADELIN JAMISON grew up in Northern California where she received classical training at Northern California Dance Conservatory before pursuing a BFA in Dance from BYU on scholarship. While at BYU, Madelin danced with Contemporary Dance Theater allowing her the opportunity to perform works by Jesse Obremski, Laja Martin, Francisco Gella, and others in New York, Barcelona, Paris, and Brussels. In addition to performing, Madelin's choreography was selected to be presented at ACDA (American College Dance Association) in 2022 and she has continued to present it around the world in California, Utah, Spain, and Portugal. Madelin has been teaching dance for 6 years and finds joy in classrooms that focus on building artists up and utilizing individual strengths.

COURTNEY JOHNSON started dancing in 2012 with Sugarloaf Ballet. She studied in the conservatory program. She held many roles with their repertoire of Nutcracker and fall classic ballets they performed. In 2019, Courtney started to train with Mr. Orlando Molina until 2020. She has been with Atlanta Ballet since 2020. She has performed in multiple performances for Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Ballet 2: Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White. Courtney has competed in ballet and contemporary programs. She placed Top 12 Contemporary at YAGP for 2 years, placed Top 15 Contemporary for UBC for 3 years, and placed Top 15 for UBC Classical Ballet at UBC. She also was awarded the Triple Threat Award from NYCDA. She was awarded a merit scholarship to Harid Conservatory to attend their summer intensive program.

SERGIO MASERO is from Madrid, Spain and began his training at the Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza Mariemma. At the age of sixteen Sergio was awarded a full scholarship to attend the San Francisco Ballet School. He then joined Ballet Memphis where he danced for three years. Sergio is now in his third season with the Atlanta Ballet and has performed principal roles like Basilio in “Don Quixote” and James in “La Sylphide.” In addition to dancing, he has always enjoyed teaching and choreographing. This will be Sergio’s second year as a faculty member of the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. Prior coming to Atlanta, he taught ballet technique for over two years at Dance Academy of Bartlett in Tennessee. Sergio has also been brought as a guest teacher for summer intensives and master classes across the nation, like Northwest Florida Ballet , Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, and DanceFest among others.

Armoni Moody

ARMONI MOODY is an empathetic and energetic dance educator who was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She began her formal training as a Dance and Education Studies major at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York, NY. While living in New York, Armoni also had the opportunity to train with Alvin Ailey Extension School and the absolute pleasure of serving on staff with Ailey Camp New York. Armoni earned her Master of Education in Arts Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the founder and director of an education brand called Mantra Movements which brings body-centered mental health and wellness support to college students of color. She is currently on staff as an Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education Community Engagement Faculty teaching Kindergarten and First Grade Ballet and Creative Movement classes.

AMELIA MURREN has trained in dance for 11 years and has studied the Cecchetti method, Vaganova technique, and the ABT ballet curriculum. She is a graduate of La Roche University, earning her bachelor’s degree in performing arts for dance. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta and The National Honor Society for Leadership and Success. While at La Roche, she choreographed a piece for Human Trafficking Awareness week and performed in a piece honoring the Tree of Life Synagogue. Amelia has danced professionally in Pittsburgh through the 2019-2020 season and taught through Bodiography’s outreach program. She has performed in works choreographed by Callum Newman, Gia Cacalano, Jackie O’Toole, and Christina DiMarco. She is passionate about ballet and contemporary styles and shares this love with her students. Photo credit: Joy Paillet

JULIA 'ARNESHUIA' NELSON, was born and raised in Augusta, GA where she started her intensive dance training under Sharon ‘Skepple’ Mayfield, Bessie Award Winner 1999. Coupled with her Ballet training at Augusta Ballet she graduated from Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School as “Best Female Dancer”. During this time she also received recognition through multiple Magazines and Dance competitions such as Dance American, and Urban pro-Weekly. This lead her to be accepted into the Boston Conservatory at 17 years old. Through the summers she taught dance for local studios in Georgia, California, and New York. After school, her Professional Dance career continued under the training of Garth Fagan for over a year. She has returned to Atlanta, GA to further her education in dance pedagogy through teaching and training for multiple performance art studios all while earning her certificate for Personal Training. Photo credit: Jarell Nikola Stevens

Kyra Opdyke
PC: Maximillian Tortoriello Photography

KYRA OPDYKE is originally from Atlanta, Georgia but began her early dance training at the Bel Air Dance Academy and The School of Pennsylvania Ballet under the direction of Arantxa Ochoa. She later returned to Atlanta and trained at the Atlanta Academy of Ballet and Dance under the directorship of Susan Beebe. She recently graduated from Butler University with a B.F.A in Dance-Performance cum laude with High Distinction and a Music minor. While at Butler, she had the opportunity to perform lead roles such as Dew Drop and Arabian Lead in The Nutcracker, Fastrada in Butler Theatre’s production of Pippin, and was cast in George Balanchine’s Serenade staged by Deborah Wingert. She also performed a new work by Jennifer Archibald titled Ourfire. Other ballets she enjoyed performing in include Giselle and Swan Lake, as well as excerpts from Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Le Corsaire, and The Little Humpbacked Horse. In addition, Kyra has attended summer intensive programs at Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and The Kirov Academy. She is excited to join the Atlanta Ballet faculty and to share her love of dance with her students!

ANNA PENNY has been dancing and performing since the age of four years old. Starting from rhythmic gymnastics until the age of ten. She was accepted into the Belarusian State Choreography College where studied classical, character dance, modern, and other styles of ballet. During this time she traveled with the college all over Eastern and Western Europe and Asia. Anna performed in international competitions Prix De Lausanne representing the country of Belarus. She performed many roles in ballets such as Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Corsair, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, and Raymonda. Anna performed for the Queen of the Netherlands and for Chelsea Clinton and participated in the movie “Russian Arc” which made the Guinness Book of World Records for non-stop taping in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Being the Valedictorian of graduating class, traveled to the United States with the International Group of Performers in 1998. She worked and performed with the Carolina Ballet and was also teaching gymnastics and ballet to children. In 2000, danced for the movie “A Parent’s Guide to Ballet”. In 2002 Anna started a professional teaching career at places like Cary Ballet Conservatory, Florida Dance Theater, and Southern Florida College. During this time she staged many classical ballets and choreographed original ballet, character dances, and contemporary pieces. Anna had the opportunity to coach and take students to YAGP. Some of her students now perform on stages such as NYC Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Carolina Ballet, and Los Angeles Ballet among many others.

CHANTIA L. ROBINSON has received professional dance training since the tender age of 2. As an Atlanta native with goals to master skills in both business and performing arts, she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a minor in dance, and a Master’s Degree in HR Management. She has also performed in numerous choreography showcases, concerts, and festivals with Atlanta Ballet, Spelman Dance Theatre, Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, Dance Canvas, Alvin Ailey, and more. She was a mentor for the Dance Talent Component for Usher’s New Look Foundation as well. In 2010, she gained a credited role as a dancer in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls. She started teaching dance at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education and furthered her experience with the Dance Institute of Washington where she has taught all divisions: Pre-Dance, Community, Pre-Professional, Adult Classes, and Senior Citizen Outreach initiatives in the Columbia Heights community of Washington, D.C. Since 2008, she choreographs annual Spring Concert pieces for dance organizations in both Washington, DC, and Atlanta, GA. Her choreography of a trio “Nostalgia” was presented at the following locations: Institute of Peace, the French Embassy for the 25th DIW Anniversary Gala featuring Dance Theatre of Harlem, and during a collaborative workshop with the National Symphony Orchestra. In 2019, she choreographed an award-winning lyrical piece “The Kids Are Alright” for Kimmestry. It was Kimmestry’s first lyrical piece and it received an outstanding High Gold award. She has always placed her vision and passion for dance within her students and continues to motivate and inspire others through her ongoing dance endeavors. She wants to keep sharing her love for dance with youth in dance studios and community outreach initiatives.

ROSCOE SALES is a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. He continued his training as a fellowship student at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. Mr. Sales began his professional career with North Carolina Dance Theater. He also performed with the Dance Theater of Harlem, The Metropolitan Opera House in " Porgy and Bess", the Atlanta Ballet, Greensboro Ballet, and High Point Ballet, and was one of the original members of the Atlanta-based company; Ballethnic Dance Company. Mr. Sales has performed in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Coppelia, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Carmina Burana, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and many others. In 1999 Mr. Sales made his debut as a choreographer with his version of " Othello " for Carolina Ballet. Mr. Sales has choreographed throughout the Carolinas and Atlanta. His choreography has been chosen for the SERBA dance festival (South Eastern Regional Ballet Association) and he has been on faculty for the festival for several years. Mr. Sales has judged competitions throughout the Carolinas and guest teaches in Virginia, Georgia, Michigan, and the Carolinas. He also served recently as an adjudicator and instructor for the West Virginia Dance Festival. Mr. Sales is currently on staff at the Atlanta Ballet, Metropolitan Ballet, Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance, and Price Performing Arts as a ballet and modern instructor.

ANDERSON SOUZA was born in Santo Angelo, Brazil. Anderson received his training at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Dança under Jorge Teixeira. After graduating, he joined the Cia Brasileira de Ballet in Rio de Janeiro, dancing in principal and soloist roles and competing in national and international competitions, including the Beijing International Ballet Competition. Souza traveled with the Company to perform in Colombia, China, Israel, and France. In 2013, he joined Gelsey Kirkland Ballet. Under the unique guidance of Kirkland, Anderson matured his artistry and received praise from national critics, including those at The New York Times. He has enjoyed dancing roles in The Nutcracker (by Yuri Possokhov) La Sylphide as Gurn (staged by Johan Kobborg), Sum Stravinsky (by Kiyon Ross), Sandpaper Ballet (by Mark Morris), Tuplet (by Alexander Ekman) and the world premiere of Catch (by Liam Scarlett). Anderson is excited to be joining Atlanta Ballet for his 4th season!

Jasmine Stevenson

JASMINE STEVENSON began her training at Norma's Academy of Dance and is a graduate of Tri-Cities High School Visual and Performing Arts. Ms. Stevenson received her BA in Dance from Coker College. Ms. Stevenson has worked with many summer dance programs and after-school programs in the metro Atlanta community.

ASHLEY SUTA is a graduate of Kennesaw State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance (Summa Cum Laude) with a concentration in Classical Ballet. During her college years, Ashley performed with the KSU Dance Company in works by Christine Welker and McCree O’Kelley, as well as student choreography by her peers.

With over a decade of experience as a dance educator, Ashley’s immense passion for dance pedagogy and working with kids of all ages led her to the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education in 2017. Ashley is one of the original faculty members at the Virginia-Highland Centre and is honored to further serve its families and student body as the new Virginia-Highland Centre Manager.

In the 2021-2022 season, Ashley aided in the soft launch of Educate.Motivate.Elevate, CDE’s student mentorship program, by serving as a faculty mentor. Most recently, she stepped into the role of Educate.Motivate.Elevate Program Coordinator with fellow faculty member Calla Vaughn.

For Atlanta Ballet 2’s production of Snow White in 2022, Ashley served as a Rehearsal Director for the CDE cast of Court Ladies. As a budding choreographer herself, Ashley premiered a new contemporary ballet work, titled “Châdash: REnew, REpair, REbuild,” in the Spring for Spring Dance Festival in June 2021.

PC: Amanda Neeley (AMN Photography)

CALLA VAUGHN graduated Summa Cum Laude from Kennesaw State University in May of 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a minor in Accounting.

Calla has danced professionally with City Gate Dance Theater, Ballet Southeast, and most recently, with The Esthete Collective in their 2022 show Wake. In college, Calla performed with the KSU Dance Company in works by Christine Welker, McCree O’Kelley, Martha Goodman, and Dr. Ivan Pulinkala.

Growing up in Middle Georgia, Calla trained with several dance studios in the area including Academy of Dance in Warner Robins, Georgia, International City School of Ballet in Warner Robins, Georgia (now located in Smyrna), and the Madison Studio of Dance Education in Macon, Georgia. Calla also trained for six consecutive summers at the Joffrey South Summer Intensive hosted by the Joffrey Ballet in Milledgeville, Georgia. Here, she studied with such instructors as Valerie Madonia, Olivier Wecxsteen, and Elizabeth Parkinson.

Aside from performing and teaching, Calla also enjoys working in arts administration and organization. In college, Calla was a member of both Nu Delta Alpha and the National Honor Society for Dance Arts at KSU. She had the privilege of serving as a student leader in both organizations, being elected Historian for Nu Delta Alpha her junior year and President of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts her senior year.

Calla is now entering her sixth season teaching for the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education as a ballet, tap, and creative movement instructor.

Born in Russia, NATALYA VYASHENKO began her professional performing career as a dancer with the Bolshoi Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Tashkent after graduating from the National Academy. Natalya was accepted into Tashkent University in 2002, where she earned a degree in Classical Ballet Choreography and Pedagogy.

Natalya began her teaching career in 2002 when she was hired as a classical ballet and character dance pedagogue at the Tashkent National Academy. Natalya relocated to Ohio in 2005 and was named artistic director of the Ohio Youth Ballet in 2007. Natalya then started a ballet school, which she and her husband, Nurzhan, ran for ten years. In 2017, Natalya became an ABT fellow instructor, and in 2019, she joined the ABT NTC team, as a certification examination proctor. Natalya and her husband, Nurzhan, were invited to join the Fort Wayne Ballet in 2019.

Natalya joined Atlanta Ballet Academy's faculty in the fall of 2021, and she could not be more excited!

Martine Weber

MARTINE WEBER began her dance training in her hometown of Chislehurst, England, where she was born and raised. She earned a place at the prestigious Laine Theatre Arts where she trained in both RAD and ISTD syllabi. In her early career, she danced professionally in Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean. Upon retiring from her dance career she discovered her love for teaching and now has over 15 years of teaching experience. Martine is an ABT Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher training through Level 5, she is an Actors Equity member and, most recently, completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training. A positive and dedicated teacher, Martine loves to teach children of all ages in the studio!