Take a look at the updated schedule. You will find all festival events on the schedule including our Friday night events for TAD members.

AspireDance Concert 

Join us at our new Saturday evening event, AspireDance.

Meet the performers at a special opening panel discussion on Friday evening at 7PM at the Fairfield Inn. 

*Our Spotlight dance concert moved to Sunday afternoon as the closiing event of the festival.

Featuring performances by


Collage Dance Collective

Collage Dance Collective works to inspire the growth of ballet by showcasing a repertoire of relevant choreography and world-class dancers representative of our community.

Founded in New York City and officially incorporated in 2006, Collage Dance Collec­tive received rave reviews for its 2007 national debut at the Lyric Opera House in Kansas City, Missouri. The performance was made possible, in part, by a gener­ous grant from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Founda­tion, through one of the largest awards ever given to an out-of-state dance company.

The company relocated to Memphis in 2007 to take part in the city’s exciting artistic renaissance and to fulfill its mission of extending the reach of outstanding classical ballet training. Since its move, the professional company has presented seven full-length seasons in Memphis with annual spring, fall and winter concerts. Committed to reaching non-traditional bal­let audiences, approximately 50% of attendees state that they have never attended a ballet performance

Collage Dance Collective presents a diverse range of classical and contemporary choreography. In addition to Artistic Director, Kevin Thomas, the company’s repertory includes works by Kevin Iega Jeff, Nicolo Fonte, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Sir Frederick Ashton, John Alleyne, Shawn Hounsell and Tiffany Glenn.

In 2014, Collage launched Dance on Broad, an eight-week festival celebrating the best of national and local dance and engaging community through community dance parties. The festival was made possible by a grant from ArtPlace America. Collage presented Camille A. Brown & Dancers in the festival’s inaugural launch and deepened its commitment to transforming its community through dance.

Collage believes that participation in the arts enriches communities and is critical to economic and social development. The company works to increase access to outstanding ballet training, increase diversity on professional ballet stages and increase participation by people of color at ballet and other fine arts events.



Staibdance is an Atlanta-based contemporary dance company. Since our founding in 2007, we have worked to boost the visibility and viability of contemporary dance in the Southeast through performances, workshops, and educational programming. With the establishment of the Staibdance Summer Intensive in Sorrento, Italy in 2010, we expanded our mission to include cultural and international exchange. Born in Tehran, Artistic Director George Staib often draws on his early memories of pre-Revolutionary Iran and his migration to the United States for movement inspiration.

Staib's work has been commissioned by companies and universities across the Southeast including Moving Current Dance Company in Tampa, the University of Florida, the University of Alabama, Spelman College, Auburn University, and Coker College. Most recently, the company traveled to Stockholm, Sweden for a teaching residency at Södra Latin performing arts college and a performance at Balletakademien.

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Kizuna Dance

Kizuna Dance is a NYC-based contemporary dance company founded by Artistic Director Cameron McKinney in June 2014. 

The mission of the company is to depict aspects of Japanese history and culture through the use of a unique blend of hip-hop, house, and contemporary movements. Kizuna Dance offers the dance community a new and unique approach to cross-cultural productions, celebrating the Japanese culture by bringing it to life on stage through the median of hip-hop vocabulary. 

Kizuna Dance works blend elements of breaking, house and lofting, and waving with modern sensibilities. Artistic Director Cameron McKinney brings his dynamic and idiosyncratic movements to the works, making them resonate with physicality, humanity, humor, and intricacy. 

In three short years, the company has toured and taught across ten states and internationally in Mexico and the UK. Hailed by the Stewardship Report as “compositionally fascinating”, “beautifully crafted”, and “intricately detailed”, Kizuna Dance has been presented three times by the Let’s Dance International Frontiers (UK), and by Movement Research, the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, Middlebury College, Against the Grain/Men in Dance, Gibney Dance, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, The Dance Gallery Festival, Nazareth College, Denmark Arts Center, The Wassaic Summer Project Festival, The Moving Beauty Series, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Triskelion Arts, and Dixon Place, among many others. The company has held residencies in New York, New Jersey, Maine, Vermont, California, Connecticut, and in Leicester, UK.

In spring 2018, Kizuna Dance will tour nationally and internationally, with guest classes and performances in New York City, Boston, Seattle, Indiana, California, and the United Kingdom. Fall 2018 will feature tours to Vermont, upstate New York, and Washington.  

Special Guest Faculty


Sarah Wingo

 At age four, after seeing the musical Cats, Sarah Wingo announced that she would one day be Victoria the white cat and so started her training. Sarah began extensive ballet training in Kingsport, Tennessee under the tutelage of Karen Gibbons-Brown, Jeremy Blanton and modern training with the beloved Judy Woodruff. Sarah was a TAD Scholarship recipient and went on to pursue a BFA in Contemporary Ballet at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Upon graduation Sarah moved to New York City where she joined Randy James Dance Works as a company member, as well as freelancing as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Sarah went on to tour nationally with the show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and then joined the national andinternational tour of Cats dancing the role of Victoria over 500 times, a lifelong dream come true. Favorite regional credits include: Beauty and the Beast, Cabaret, and Guys n’Dolls. Sarah also danced on the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour. 

Sarah is represented by MSA Agency and recently appeared in athletic print ads and commercials for: Cold EEZE, WeTV, Aleve, Rockport Shoes, Filas, Kohl’s (alongside celebrity trainer Shaun T) and in Pure Barre videos for Shape.com and health.com. Sarah also danced in the Golden Globe winning show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Sarah is a passionate dance educator. While on various tours she taught master classes across the country to students of all ages and abilities from public elementary schools to distinguished conservatories such as: Philadelphia School of the Arts, Rutgers University, Oklahoma City University and New Orleans Creative Center for the Arts. Sarah is an adjudicator for StarQuest International dance competition. She is also a regular faculty member at the Fort Wayne Ballet Summer Intensive and teaches workshops for The American Musical Theater Academy in New York City.





Endalyn Taylor

Endalyn Taylor began dancing at the age of seven at the Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago Ill, studying ballet, gymnastics and tap. She later trained at the Ruth page School of Dance under the tutelage of Larry Long. Ms. Taylor received scholarships to study with the Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem School.

In 1984, she joined Dance Theatre of Harlem’s company and became a principal in 1993. Ms. Taylor’s roles include Myrta and Peasant Pas in Giselle, Corsair Pas de Deux, Flower Festival in Genzano, Alonzo Kings’ Ground and Signs and Wonder, Dougla, Serenade, Agon, Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco, Stars and Stripes, Holberg Suite, Fete Noir, Etosha, Mirage, Concerto In F, Dialogues, Les Biche, Songs of Mahler and Medea to name a few. She has performed for such dignitaries as Coretta Scott King, Colin Powell, President Bill Clinton, the late Princess Diana, former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, and many others. 

In 1992, she made her Broadway debut in the revival of Carousel and went on to perform in the original Broadway casts of The Lion King in 1997 and Aida, 1999. An original cast member of all three shows, Taylor participated in the recording of the cast albums, two of which received Grammy nominations, as well as performed for the 1993 and 1997 Tony Awards.

As a teacher at Bergen Technical Academies, High School of The Performing Arts, New York University, and Alvin Ailey she had the pleasure of sharing her knowledge with her students. She has taught master classes to children and adults throughout the United States and abroad and ran a performing arts institute in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1995. Ms. Taylor was the Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem School where she taught, choreographed and staged numerous works on students in the Professional Training Program and the entire student body and, in 2010 was invited to bring ten of her students to the White House to participate in a new arts initiative of the Obama’s. In 2013, students of Taylor performed for the 1st Lady and the wives of the Heads of State’s Luncheon at the studio museum of Harlem. Since 2014, she has conducted workshops and master classes in Washington DC, Florida, Ohio, Hawaii, London, New York, Texas, Iowa, Illinois, Memphis, Pennsylvania and Virginia and will teach a series of technique classes as part of a mini residency at the University of California, Irvi

Ms. Taylor has been commissioned to choreograph several works including numerous productions for The Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Annual Spring Performances, Western Kentucky University, as Co-choreographer and Concept Developer for the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City, and Judas International Dance Company, NYC. Taylor made her triumphant Musical Theater choreographic debut in April with the production of Kiss Me Kate for the Lyric Theatre, Champaign, IL and Dream Girls in conjunction with Krannert Center for the performing Arts and Bridgewater Banks and Lewis Productions. Most recently, Taylor has choreographed works for Collage Dance Collective, performed the co-choreographed work Chalk Lines at the American Dance Festival in New York, and is currently working on a collaborative work entitled The Counterpoint Project, which will premiere in New York, NY on May 31, 2018. Additionally Taylor has gained recognition as a national spokesman for Black Ballerinas and has presented lectures at Coventry University in England, participated on a panel at the Collegium for African Diasporic Dance, National Association of Schools of Dance, Regional Dance Festival, organized a symposium about Black Ballerinas as part of the Flatlands Film Festival and served as Keynote Speaker at the Black Women Rock, Empower Me Award Ceremony, Champaign IL.    

Taylor received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in 2012 and currently holds an Assistant Professorship at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.





George Staib

Born in Tehran, Iran, George Staib is of Armenian descent and has been living in the United States since the age of ten. He began his dance training at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Though his BA is in political science, he actively studied dance, music and theater throughout his undergraduate years. He then went on to earn an MFA in dance and choreography from Temple University where he served on the faculty upon graduation. Notable teachers include Ann Vachon, Marcia Dale Weary, and Betty Jones; company credits include Ann Vachon/Dance Conduit, Coriolis Dance Company, Gathering Wild Dance Company, and Paula Kellinger and Dancers. In addition, the fall of 2006 provided Staib the opportunity to perform with the José Limón Dance Company as a guest artist in their re-creation of Missa Brevis. He has performed his critically-acclaimed solo NarcissEros extensively at venues across the United States and Europe.

As a choreographer, Staib has been honored with awards and citations both nationally and internationally. He received top honors for choreography in the Prague Dance and Theatre Prize 2000, held in the Czech Republic. His work has also been presented in London and various cities throughout Italy. National accolades include the Governor’s Prize from the Philadelphia Council on the Arts in 1994 while still a student, the Walkley Prize and the Weiss Prize for the Arts - both for his choreography. His choreography has been extensively commissioned and produced in over 20 states and selected for ACDFA (American College Dance Festival Association) Gala Performances. Recently, Staib’s work was commissioned by Moving Current Dance Company in Tampa, Florida where it was later selected to be included in the company’s 15th anniversary “Fan Favorite” concert.

As a teacher, he served as a Guest Artist-in-Residence at Temple University, Wilson College and the University of Nevada. He was also a resident choreographer and teacher at the Las Vegas Civic Ballet for four years. Staib has an extensive background in music and has been recognized nationally for his choreographic and design contributions to high school band and colorguard programs, as well as the drum corps and winter guard activities. In addition, Staib serves on the Executive Committee for ACDFA as Vice President of Membership and served as an adjudicator for the South Regional Conference in 2013.

In 2001 he joined the dance faculty at Emory University where he teaches modern and ballet techniques, choreography, and Contemplate, Create, Debate, a freshman seminar he created to introduce students to the practice of seeing and making art. He is also a regular advisor to honor’s candidates in the Dance and Theater and Music Departments at Emory.

In 2011, Staib received Emory’s highly competitive and prestigious Winship Award for senior lecturers. He then traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel where he spent five weeks studying both Gaga technique with members of the Batsheva Dance Company and release technique with Iris Enez and leading choreographic workshops and feedback sessions. His relationship with Israeli dance continues with the recent publication of his article in the online magazine “Dance in Israel” and the incorporation of Gaga technique in his summer workshop in Sorrento, Italy. Most recently, George was invited to Stockholm to teach at one of Sweden's top colleges, Södra Latin and to set work on SARACENO DANCE COMPANY, a Swedish contemporary company. 



Katherine Duke

 Katherine Duke began studying with Erick Hawkins in 1983. She made her professional debut with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company in 1986 at Lincoln Center. She has been a teacher at the Erick Hawkins School and taught composition for Lucia Dlugoszewski. Ms. Duke became a principal dancer under Hawkins’ direction and performed with the Company until 1991. 

Ms. Duke’s mercurial grace, purity of presence, and focused phrasing, as noted by Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times, brought her critical acclaim. Jamake Highwater has written, “There is little doubt that Katherine Duke represents the idealization of Hawkins’s four decades of creating dance.” 

In 1995, Ms. Duke returned to the Hawkins Company as a guest artist and teacher. At that time she assisted Dlugoszewski in setting Hawkins’ Journey of a Poet for Mikhail Baryshnikov. She served as rehearsal director to the Hawkins Company in 1999 and assistant to the choreographer in 2000. Ms. Duke became the artistic director of the Erick Hawkins Dance Foundation in 2001. In an effort to preserve and perpetuate the musical, compositional, and choreographic legacies of both Dlugoszewski and Hawkins Ms. Duke facilitates the reconstruction of classic repertory for universities and professional companies. She set Early Floating on Mikhail Baryshnikov 's White Oak Dance Project, produced Company performances honoring long time collaborator Ralph Dorazio, a New York season at Lincoln Center, as well as many Company performances throughout the US and internationally.

Her passion is to share, in its purist form, the beauty of the technique, the unique approach to choreography, and the principles of this legacy through intensives, workshops, and commissions of new work. She continues to bring the Erick Hawkins Dance Company into the present with archival research that has enriched the Company’s repertory through unexplored works by Hawkins and Dlugoszewski, commissioned choreographers, and her own work.



Kevin Thomas

Kevin Thomas began his dance training with Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec in Montreal, Canada, and has danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) in New York City. He joined DTH in 1995 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1999. With DTH, Mr. Thomas’ credits include leading roles in The Prodigal Son, Dialogues, The Four Temperaments, Othello, Adrian (Angel on Earth), A Song for Dead Warriors, Troy Games, Equuis and Dougla. He has performed leading roles in numerous ballets including, The Nutcracker, Tarantella, Agon, Who Cares, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Don Quixote, Consort Lessons, and Aureole. Mr. Thomas has made guest appearances with the Royal Ballet in London, Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York and Fleming Flindt and Peter Schaufuss in Denmark. He has also appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera. Mr. Thomas has served as Artistic Coordinator and Ballet Master for New Ballet Ensemble & School and has choreographed for Opera Memphis, Hattiloo Repertory Theatre, New Ballet Ensemble, Orpheum Theatre, Flint Institute of Music, University of Memphis and Collage dance Collective.



Lisa Ballo

Lisa Alfieri Ballo is a classical ballet dance teacher, who trained on  scholarship with the Pennsylvania Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the Cleveland Ballet schools.  Her career as a  professional dancer began with Cleveland Ballet, under Dennis Nahat, where she rose to principal dancer during her 10 year stay.  A few of her favorite roles were: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Swanilda in Coppelia; the lead in Balanchine’s Square Dance and Terpsichore in Apollo. For one year she also danced with Fort Worth/Dallas Ballet, under Paul Mejia, performing in many of Balachine’s ballets. Then, while being semi retired, she danced with both the Sandra Organ Company and Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston, Texas.  She first began teaching for Gilbert Rome and Margo Marshall in Houston, and later Vitoria Vittum, High School of Performing and Visual Arts, and at the School of Houston Ballet. Mrs. Ballo now lives in Memphis, Tennessee where she is teaching company class for both Ballet New Ensemble and College Dance Collective.


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 Cameron McKinney

 Cameron McKinney, the Artistic Director of Kizuna Dance, is a New York City-based choreographer, dancer, and educator. He was recently named a Choreographic Fellow in the Alvin Ailey Foundation’s New Directions Choreography Lab, provided through generous support from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. He has been commissioned twice by the Joffrey Ballet School, twice by the Let’s Dance International Frontiers Festival, and by SUNY Brockport, Periapsis Music and Dance, the Men in Dance Festival, among many others. His choreography was recently awarded the Audience Choice Award at the 2017 Men in Dance Festival in Seattle, WA. Cameron is currently on faculty at Gibney Dance Center.

He has presented choreographic work nationally and internationally at prestigious institutions and festivals such as The Japan Society, Performatica, Serendipity and the LDIF Festival, Gibney Dance, Movement Research, Middlebury Institute for International Studies, the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Against the Grain / Men in Dance, the Wassaic Summer Project Festival, KUNST-OFF Arts Studio, and Nazareth College, among many others. As a professional educator, Cameron has lead workshops, masterclasses, and residencies in ten states and internationally in Japan, Mexico, and the UK. He is currently building Nagare Technique, a training module for contemporary floorwork that blends streetdance styles and contemporary dance sensibilities.



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Tammy Hurt

Tammy Hurt,  originally from Washington DC began her training at the  Jones-Haywood School of Ballet. The Directors Doris Jones and Claire Haywood  recognized the ability of this precocious dancer and decided to place her in the Capitol Ballet Company at the age of 12. Ms. Hurt performed with several companies such as Jubilation Dance Company, DC Contemporary Dance Theater, DC Black Repertory just to name a few. Which also led her to working with a legendary group of choreographers through her lifetime  like Hinton Battle, George Faison, Alvin Ailey, Kevin IegaJeff and Louis Johnson.  Because of her love for children, teaching  and the progressing age of Doris Jones, Ms. Tammy (as the children loving call her) was asked to step in as acting Director for the Jones- Haywood School of Ballet. She taught ballet , jazz and also Directed the J-H Youth Dancers, a vibrant company of 30 between the ages of 8 and 18 for many years. She conceived and choreographed  "Black Heritage" a production celebrating Black History Month saluting the achievements of notable Black Leaders through dance, poetry and song. She continues to blossom and demonstrate the teachings and guidance of her dance mentors. Ms. Tammy is currently Director of Education with Collage Dance Collective in Memphis where she's committed her life's work of teaching dance to young and old.  Her approach to teaching dance strengthens the spirit within,  honors life and builds their character along with the art of movement.



Noelia Garcia Carmona

Noelia Garcia Carmona was born in 1973 in Barcelona (Spain). She started dancing at the age of 4 and at 17 she earned her degree in Spanish and Flamenco Dance from “Institut del Teatre i Dansa”. She was a founding member of Increpacion Danza, a Spanish Dance company that pioneered the fusion of Flamenco and Modern Dance. After 10 years of international touring with Increpacion Danza, she moved to Memphis where she met Katie Smythe, CEO and founder of New Ballet Ensemble & School. Noelia has worked at NBE for the last 14 years where she teaches Ballet and Flamenco classes and is Dance Program Director. Some of the works she has choreographed include Yendo, El Rey de Harlem, Dos, Tiempos blending Flamenco and urban styles in her work. She was featured in New Ballet’s Harlem at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra in May of 2014. 


 Penny Godboldo

 Penny Godboldo is Associate Professor of the Dance Education program at Marygrove College in Detroit and former Chair of Dance, a position she held for l8 years.  Godboldo has been Michigan's only certified instructor in the Dunham Technique since 1993, and served as Demonstrator for Ms. Dunham during master classes in Denver and performed in her works in St. Louis and Buffalo, N.Y. In 1991 she taught Dunham Technique in Japan for one month, in 1996 in Benin, West Africa for two months.  One of her proudest accomplishments is that in 1997 she was a guest teacher in the CHAF Conference, La Danse Haitienne: Histoire et Traditions in Port au Prince.  Professor Godboldo has conducted three dance study trips to Cuba 1996, where she researched and studied traditional and popular dances, such as rumba and salsa.  

Ms. Golboldo is Artistic Director of the P.G Institute which focuses on instruction in dance and music for youth and adults in the Detroit community, and Co-Director of the Detroit Legacy Project, an organization that promotes the legacy of Madame Katherine Dunham, and others who have greatly influenced the art and culture of Detroit and our world. Each summer the PG Institute hosts a mentoring program for adolescent girls, Discovery: GAP  (Girls’ Arts Program)

Photo by Bree Gant



Amanda Clark

Amanda Clark is an Associate Professor and Dance Program Coordinator at Western Kentucky University, where she teaches all levels of jazz and tap dance technique, Dance Appreciation, Choreography, and Dance Pedagogy. She is the artistic director of the WKU Dance Company, and creates original work for bi-annual mainstage dance concerts as well as WKU mainstage musicals. She earned her BFA in Dance Performance with an emphasis in jazz, tap, and musical  theatre dance from Oklahoma City University. She was a Graduate Fellow at The University of Oklahoma where she received her MFA in Dance with an emphasis in ballet and modern dance.  Amanda has completed the Nan Giordano Jazz Dance Basic Certification and the American Tap Dance Foundation Rhythm Tap Teacher level one training program. Amanda performed extensively with the American Spirit Dance Company and Oklahoma Ballet Festival and has appeared in the Leo’s Competitive Event of the Jazz Dance World Congress in Buffalo, New York and Monterrey, Mexico. Amanda’s choreography encompasses a range of dance styles and genres and has been presented internationally in Civitiveccia, Italy and Monterrey, Mexico.  She has created work for performance at the Jazz Dance World Congress Leo’s Competitive Event in Chicago and in Pittsburgh, Big Apple Tap Festival, St. Louis Tap Festival, Inaside Dance Chicago’s Choreographic Competitive Event, Cultivate: A Choreographer’s Showcase in Indianapolis, Tennessee Dance Festival, St. Gregory’s University, various regional American College Dance Festivals, Baylor School, and Chattanooga Center for the Arts. Amanda’s primary research interests lie in dance history and pedagogy, with specific focus on the curriculum development of jazz and tap dance.




Laurel Desmarais

 Laurel Desmarais  is a passionate movement professional dedicated to empowering my students with the tools to enjoy the joyful experience of being fully alive in their bodies. Her real investigation into how we move came through a traumatic back injury. As she learned more about how to safely move her body, she was amazed at the complexity of body mechanics and dedicated her life to empowering students through knowledge.  She has lived many teaching lives, some of the past highlights include training with Physical Therapist, Nelly Lugo-Larcheveque, in the Polestar Pilates Rehabilitative Program. Creating a Pilates curriculum for young dancers in The University of Hartford's Hartt School Community Division to help prevent injuries, where she also received highest honors BFA in Ballet Pedagogy. Participating as a guest teacher and choreographer in the Dance Forum, a ten day festival in northern Sweden bringing together dancers from all over the world. Creating a private practice in Williamsburg Brooklyn from 2012-2015. Now residing in Nashville, TN she created Maeva Movement, a boutique movement studio, as a place to build community around her passion for moving, to spread the joy that is movement as life!



 Shabaz Ujima

 Shabaz Ujima, formerly Hershel Deondre Horner,  first studied dance at Nashville School of the Arts and Nashville Ballet. He continued his training at New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL.  Shabaz had the the delight to dance with Nashville Ballet’s Second Company,  Graham II, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.  Mr. Ujima has performed works by choreographers such as Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Donald McKayle, Milton Myers, Matt Maddox, Susanna Linke, Jose Limon and Paul Vasterling, Ronen Koresh, Ray Mercer, and Christopher Huggins. Upon his professional dance retirement in 2014 he has explored the world of choreography and created works on the Franklin School of the Performing Arts, the School of Nashville Ballet and Sankofa Drum and Dance Ensemble.  He  choreographed Carly Simon’s Opera “Romulus Hunt” (Nashville Opera) as well the musicals Hairspray (Martin Luther King High School) and The Wiz (Fisk University)  and was chosen to be on the Nashville Ballet’s 2017 Emergence Program. He now teaches Graham based Modern and Contemporary dance full-time at The School of Nashville Ballet and adjunct at Belmont University. He also servers as a teaching artist for Nashville Ballet and the Global Education Center, where he teaches yoga in the juvenile detention center. “I GIVE because I have been given so much.”


Valeria Sinyavskaya

 Valeria Sinyavskaya is the artistic director and ballet mistress of Kingsport Ballet. She was trained at the State Classical Ballet Academy in Kiev, Ukraine. She graduated first in the class of the renowned choreographer Gallina Berezova, pupil of Agrippina Vaganova, the founder of the Russian method of classical ballet training. She holds a master of Fine Arts from the Lunacharsky Institute of Theatrical Arts in Moscow. Her performing experience includes all the major classical roles with the Novosibirsk Theater of Opera and Ballet in Russia, and as a guest performer in other Russian ballet companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet. During her professional performing career with Novosibirsk Ballet, she enjoyed numerous international touring engagements, performing as the company’s Prima Ballerina. Since that time she has gained extensive experience as a teacher, choreographer, and artistic director in the U.S. and abroad, including with the University of South Florida, Jacksonville University, Southern Ballet Theater, Orlando City Ballet, and the International School of Dance in Japan, where she served as a Principal Teacher and Choreographer, staging productions that blended the work of ballet students with professional performers from throughout Europe. She has staged ballet classics such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quisote, The Nutcracker, and Giselle, among other ballets, as well as choreographed original works. Ms Sinyavskaya teaches the Vaganova method of classical ballet. Ms. Sinyavskaya is honored to have received the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship award for choreography, KingsportArts’ artistic leadership award, YWCA of Bristol's Arts Excellence award, and most recently, Tennessee Association of Dance's Outstanding Teacher award.


The Junior festival

Our Junior Festival is for students 9-11 and features the following hour long classes.

Ballet with Kevin Thomas, Modern with Megan White, Jazz with Ashley Mushamba

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Dr. Ashley Mushamba

Dr. Ashley Mushamba is the founder/executive director of Dancing Through the Curriculum. She received her B.A. from Fisk University in Political Science with a minor in Dance. Afterwards, she received her M.A. from Trevecca Nazarene University and Ed.D from Lipscomb University in Educational Leadership. Dr. Mushamba is currently a dance professor at Tennessee State University, with over 8 years of experience working as a certified dance teacher for grades K-12 in Nashville public schools, and over 20 years of dance training in jazz, ballet, tap, and tumbling.

As a member of organizations such as Tennesseans for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, National Dance and Eduction Organization, and the International Association for Blacks in Dance, she advocates for the importance of dance and dance education for all dancers. She believes in the power of dance to increase the cognitive, psychomotor, and social emotional skills of individuals. Thus, Dancing Through the Curriculum (DTC) was created for girls of color to use the medium of dance to increase academic performance and develop self-appreciation through exposure to the art of dance.


Kevin Thomas

Kevin Thomas began his dance training with Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec in Montreal, Canada, and has danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) in New York City. He joined DTH in 1995 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1999. With DTH, Mr. Thomas’ credits include leading roles in The Prodigal Son, Dialogues, The Four Temperaments, Othello, Adrian (Angel on Earth), A Song for Dead Warriors, Troy Games, Equuis and Dougla. He has performed leading roles in numerous ballets including, The Nutcracker, Tarantella, Agon, Who Cares, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Don Quixote, Consort Lessons, and Aureole. Mr. Thomas has made guest appearances with the Royal Ballet in London, Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York and Fleming Flindt and Peter Schaufuss in Denmark. He has also appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera. Mr. Thomas has served as Artistic Coordinator and Ballet Master for New Ballet Ensemble & School and has choreographed for Opera Memphis, Hattiloo Repertory Theatre, New Ballet Ensemble, Orpheum Theatre, Flint Institute of Music, University of Memphis and Collage dance Collective.


Megan Ciccoline White

Megan, BS in Psychology, Dance, and Nutrition, is currently an Adjunct Professor of Dance for Columbia State Community College in Franklin TN.

The past twenty years Megan has been studying dance in Nashville, New York, and California. Sixteen of those years she has been teaching in the Middle Tennessee area where she has held title of Artistic Director of Tennessee Dance Arts Conservatory and of the Spring Hill Arts Center's School of Dance. In 2009, White founded Tennessee Dance Arts Conservatory to provide her local community with classical dance education. She developed a strong ballet and modern concentrated program that trained dancers to continue on at American Ballet Theatre, Joffery Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Next Generation Ballet, Scripps College, and Florida State University. 

As the Artistic Director, White presented over a dozen evening length works including The Nutcracker, La fille mal gardee, Carnival of Animals, and original productions. Megan’s contemporary choreography was noted and placed her student in the top 12 of the 2012 Youth American Grand Prix. In the summer of 2012 Megan co-taught a six week pilot program for Very Special Arts of Tennessee, teaching dance to children with down syndrome and autism. In the fall of 2012 she continued her work by creating a Special Needs dance program at Tennessee Dance Arts Conservatory.

Megan began studying modern dance technique, composition, and improviation as a child with former Nikolais and Louis company member, Kaylee Scott Cahoon. She trained under Cahoon at Franklin School of Performing Arts, in Franklin TN for twelve years, continuing on to teach modern, tap, and jazz at the school. During that time Megan had the amazing opportunities to take workshops and master classes from Donald McKayle, Luigi, Bill T. Jones, and Sean Curran, In 2001, Megan moved to Los Angeles to pursue school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, concentrating on Costume Design. This experience helped aid Megan in her work as a dance costume designer. Megan left California to go on tour with multiple touring acts, including a two-year run with Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. During this time she worked as a wardrobe mistress and taught pilates and contemporary dance on tour. Megan has continued her dance education by taking classes from Luigi and Brenda Bufalino, as well as, attending workshops at Giordano Jazz Dance, American Tap Dance Festival, NYC Dance Teacher Summit, and Tennessee Association of Dance. She has also taken courses in Laban Movement Analysis, Alexander Technique and Dance Movement Therapy.

 In 2018, Megan was awarded the Judith Woodruff, Professional Development Scholarship from the Tennessee Association of Dance, as well as, the Game On Grant from Aldi to implement a mindful movement program at McDowell Elementary in Columbia, TN. She is currently pursuing her K-12 Licensure in Dance from the National Dance Educator's Organization, and hopes to continue arts integration in the Maury County school system.