Vanbriggle002Becky Van Briggle – Owner and Artistic Director

Becky VanBriggle began her ballet training at the age of four. She studied at the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. Her primary teachers there were Jack Copeland, Peggy Dorsey, Colette Kaufman, Averil Johns, and Rebecca Rutt. She also studied tap with Linda Kelso and jazz with Larry Jones.

At the age of 5, she was chosen to perform with the Bolshoi Ballet during their visit to the United States and was given the nickname “Angel” by the Bolshoi company members. During her time as a student at the Jordan College of Fine Arts, she was invited to perform with the Butler Ballet in various roles under the direction of George Verdak.

Becky began her teaching career in 1982 as the owner of Rebecca’s School of Dance. At RSD Miss Becky’s students were introduced to many classical story ballets and many original works that were performed at the studio’s yearly spring performance. Among them  Paquita, The Princess and the Pea, Cinderella, Tales of Vienna Woods, For the Love of Sherbet, Swan Lake, Little Red Riding Hood, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Bolero, and Pas de Quatre were favorites. Miss Becky also instituted the very popular Winter Review, which she has re-instituted for Ballerinas Academy of Dance in Noblesville, IN.

Miss Becky’s students through the years have been accepted to the Dance Major Program at the Tisch School of Performing Arts at  NYU, Julliard’s Dance Major Program in New York City, Ball State’s Dance Major Program in Muncie IN, The Mason Gross School of Fine Arts Dance Dept. at Rutgers University in NY, the Laban Conservatory of Dance in London England and Indiana’s Butler University Dance Major Program. Several of her students have become excellent teachers, many of whom make up the faculty of Ballerinas Academy of Dance.

Miss Becky continues her dance training with Rob Jenkins, Ballerinas resident ballroom teacher. Her favorite style of ballroom are the smooth dances, such as the waltz and fox trot. She has also trained in modern dance with Michelle Buchannan.

Miss Becky is very pleased with the program and faculty that she has brought together for Ballerinas Academy of Dance. All current teachers share the same passion for bringing the joy of dance to our community.

Come Dance with Us!!

 

Head-Shot---CarolineCaroline Van Briggle – Assistant Director

Caroline VanBriggle began her ballet training at the age of 5 with Miss Laura in High Park, Vermont. Her first performing role was portraying a wood nymph in “Firebird”. Upon moving to the Indianapolis area, Caroline began training with Miss Becky in 1999 at the age of 14. In 2003, Caroline took on the role of assistant for Miss Becky’s preschool and kindergarten level classes. “Miss Caroline” loved what she was doing so much that her goal soon became that of becoming a teacher.

Caroline has performed many roles with the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company in Swan Lake, Cinderella, La Fille Mal Gardee, and Coppelia along with many original works while at Rebecca’s School of Dance.

Miss Caroline is currently teaching preschool, kindergarten, hip hop and Combo classes at Ballerinas Academy of Dance. Caroline is a certified Zumba instructor and has taken a master class from Zumba creator, Beto. Caroline excels in drawing the best out of her young students. She is a favorite of both students and parents. Caroline also serves as an Assistant Artistic Director and is indispensable to Miss Becky in many areas. She helps with recital preparation in all aspects, is responsible for music editing and preparation for performances and mainly performs her most important role in helping Miss Becky stay organized throughout the year!

 

Head-Shot---AprilApril Harmeson – Registrar – Director of Preschool and Kindergarten Program

Miss April began her dance training at the age of 15 with Rebecca’s School of Dance.”I have always loved dance. Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with ballet,” states April. “I now love seeing little girls learn to dance. They gain a confidence within themselves that is just precious. It makes them feel pretty and special, princess-like. I enjoy watching the little friendships that grow between the girls during class. Their coordination improves, their attention spans grow, and they learn how to be a part of a group and follow directions. Plus they gain a love for dance.”

April is married and has 2 daughters, Casey and Jessica. Jessica is a dancer and  a child with special needs. April’s experience with her child’s intense therapy schedule has opened her eyes to a need for these children to be able to participate in activities that are fun and yet encourage them to build strength. Dance is ideal for teaching balance, control and building strength. As a result she offers a dance class for children with special needs, and it is something that is very dear to her heart. April is much loved by parents and students alike.

April began her teaching career at Tippy Toes School Of Dance where she taught for three years. She is currently teaching Preschool, Kindergarten and Combo A classes at Ballerinas.

She also is serving at this time as our studio Registrar and is our Preschool/Kindergarten Program Director. For many of our parents April is the first impression they receive about our school.  Miss Becky is confident that you will appreciate her kind  and informative responses to your questions and inquiries.

 

Head-Shot---Christine-ThackChristine Colquitt Thacker- Advisory Director-Ballet Instructor

Christine received her B.A. in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University. She was a dancer with GHDT from 1998-2007, debuting in Out of Darkness In 2000, Christine received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Indiana Arts Commission. In 2003, she received a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Lilly Endowment. She was also awarded the prestigious Center for Leadership Development Award for Excellent Achievement in Arts and Theatre. She was a regular performed in National City’s Yuletide Celebration with the ISO. Christine was the Assistant Director of GHDT from May of 2003 through August of 2007. She was involved with the Student Dance Ensemble (now G2), and helped advise and direct The Nutcracker. She was thrilled to have toured to Eastern Europe twice with GHDT, where she performed alongside the company for the Latvian Head of State at the 11th Annual International Baltic Ballet Festival. She was honored to have also performed the final Pas de Deux from The Hunchback of Notre Dame with her partner Martin Casanova. As a dancer with GHDT, Christine performed in over 73 repertoire pieces. She has taught ballet for numerous years, beginning in Northwest Ohio in 1990, and has taught modern, jazz and tap as well.

Ms. Colquitt Thacker has recently performed and will be touring with Tony Award Winner, Beth Leavel (Drowsy Chaperone), Ted Keagan (Phantom of the Opera, Broadway), and Nick Adams (Fred Astaire Award Winner) in “Kander and Ebbs: Broadway”.

She is also a Professor of Modern Dance and Improvisational Dance at Anderson University.

 

 

Head-Shot---Katie-DewitteKatie Dewitte – Media Director – Combo, Jazz and Contemporary Instructor

Katie began dancing at the age of five, taking ballet and tap at a local dance studio.  She continued her training at Ball State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in dance performance in May 2012.  She has studied under Sharmaine Latskins, Ashley Manship, Becky VanBriggle, Sarah Mangalsdorf, Michael Worcel, Lou Ann Young, Audra Sokol, Christie Zimmerman, and Vladimir Stadnik.  She has taken ballet, pointe, tap, modern, jazz, choreography classes, and contact improvisation and many others that have forever changed her perspective on dance.  She says, “Through my 18 years of dance experience, I have grown into a confidant, artistic, and expressive dancer.  I love being able to share that energy and passion with my students.”  Katie was a soloist in the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company, and was a company member for Ball State Dance Theater multiple times.

Miss Katie will be teaching Preschool, Kindergarten, Combo and Jazz classes. Ballerinas is thrilled to have her on the faculty!!!

 

 

Head-shot---AnnAnne Heile – Ballet Instructor

Ann began her dance training at the tender age of 3.  Ann’s mother, Joyce, was searching for the perfect outlet for her dramatic little girl.  Upon the finish of her first dance class with “Miss Becky”, Ann announced, “That was it!” and Joyce knew she had accomplished her purpose.  Ann has never looked back.  She has studied dance year round for over 25 years.

Along with Miss Becky, Ann studied with Dale Shields and Jack Copeland as a child.  She also studied with Clark Blakely and Harold Uwe Kern at Indianapolis Ballet Theater Academy.  While attending Butler, Ann took all of the advanced level non-major ballet classes with Roberta Wong and was asked by Miss Wong to consider adding a major or minor in dance to her degree. Quite a compliment to Ann’s ability!!!

Ann was a principal dancer with the Indianapolis Youth Ballet Company, where she has danced leading roles in Cinderella, Swan Lake, La Fille Mal Gardee, and Coppelia. Ann began modern training 4 years ago with Lauren Beirne, has studied with Kristen Noonan  and continues this year, studying with Christine Thacker. Ann’s easy going and kind approach is sought out by parents and students alike. Miss Ann currently substitute teaches for ballet classes. Thank you, Ann!!!

 

Head-Shot---KarliKarli Azar – Jazz and Tap Instructor

Miss Karli begins her teaching career after intense training with Miss April. Miss Karli quickly won the hearts of students and parents alike with her friendly, out going manner and confident bearing. Karli began dancing at 2 years of age with Miss Becky at her west side studio. She also trained later with Pam Keown, one of Miss Becky’s former students.  She has also studied various forms of dance at Ballerinas including ballet with Miss Becky, jazz and tap with Dean Jones and modern with Kristen Noonan. She has studied jazz with Jennifer Ladner while attending Butler University.

Karli will be teaching Beginning and Intermediate Jazz and Intermediate Tap. We are so excited to have her on the team!!!

 

 

 

Baleigh---Head-ShotBaleigh Isaacs – Preschool, Kindergarten, Combo and Contemporary Instructor

Baileigh began dancing at the age of three.  What started out as something fun, quickly turned into the realization that she had a gift.  For the past 15 years, she has studied under Lauren Beirne, Kristen Noonan, Pam Keown, Ashley Manship, Sharmaine Latskins, Kathy Simpson, Yu Qin Hao, and Pat Heath, along with Victoria Lyras, Roberta Wong, Michelle Merrell, Mariel Greenlee, Scott Jovovich, and Karen Scalzitti-Kennedy at The Indianapolis School of Ballet.  She’s also had the privilege of taking master classes under renown artists Gillian Murphy, Louise Lester, Gailene Stock, and David Howard.

Baileigh has performed as a Soloist with the Indianapolis Youth Ballet.  She has studied under Becky VanBriggle, Dean Jones, and Christine Thacker at Ballerina’s Academy.  She is currently teaching preschool, kindergarten, combo A, and contemporary, loving every second of it!

Baileigh would like to thank all of Ballerina’s Academy for their belief in her abilities, their instruction, support, the many opportunities they have given her, and for the countless hours spent inspiring her to chase after her dreams.

In Baileigh’s own words, “dance is a classic tale of worn pointe shoes and fluffy tu-tu’s.  It is a mosaic of teaching, choreography and dedicated effort, and these three are the artists; one prepares the canvas, another mixes the colors and yet, another paints the masterpiece.  Dance to me, truly is a thing of beauty.  It energizes me.  It feeds me.  It is my passion, my extreme love.”

As of August 2016 Baileigh is a company member with the Indianapolis based Kenyetta Dance Company!

 

Jessica Rang – Modern Instructor

Jessica started dancing at the age of 9 in a small studio in Noblesville, IN. She was trained in classical ballet from the age of 9 until she graduated from high school at the age of 17. She then went on to study dance at Anderson University as a Dance Performance major. While in school, she was trained in Vaganova, Cecchetti, and ABT (American Ballet Theatre) for ballet; Graham and Horton/Limon-base for Modern techniques, as well as Musical Theatre, various styles of Jazz, dance composition and dance improvisation. She has choreographed for the student-run, fall dance concert her Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years of college and even had her work presented at ACDA (American Collegiate Dance Association) her Junior year. She has a strong interest in Dance for Camera and is intrigued by how one can use multi-media to enhance dance.

 


Hannah Sego – Modern Instructor

Miss Hannah began her dancing lessons at the tender age of three. Her best friend had begun taking lessons and Hannah just had to join her. She fell in love and has never taken a break from dancing, since. In an essay Hannah wrote about her love for dance, she says:  “Dance is something I do for myself. I love the feeling of finally performing a dance that I have worked on for a year. I love the satisfaction that I did it on my own, with my self determination to keep working on it even when it seems impossible!”

Hannah’s  first teacher was Scharmaine Lakstins. Hannah also studied with Pam Keown, both former students of Becky VanBriggle. Hannah also studied  modern with Lauren Beirne. Miss Hannah performed as  a soloist and principal dancer with the Indianapolis Youth Ballet.

Hannah wants to thank her mother Shiela, her biggest fan, for making it possible for dance to be such a big part of her life!!! Shiela is a true cheerleader setting the example for students and parents alike in always being supportive and encouraging to everyone.

Miss Hannah has received her Masters in Dance education from the Mason Gross School of the Performing Arts at Rutgers University where she was awarded a $40,000 scholarship for excellence in academics and talent. She spent her Fall semester of 2013/14 attending the Laban Conservatory of Dance in London England on invitation. She was accepted into American Ballet Theater’s Teacher Certification program in NYC for grades 1-3.

Miss Hannah will be choreographing contemporary YAGP and competition solos for select students at Ballerinas.
Miss Becky is very happy to have Miss Hannah on her team!!!

Michael Shelton – Tap, Jazz and Ballet Instructor

Michael Joins our team as a jazz and tap teacher. He brings a wealth of performing experience, that will surely motivate and inspire our dancers. He began dancing at the age of 5 and has studied various disciplines with many instructors. He is certified from the British American Drama Academy in association with the Julliard School  and The University of California at Los Angeles having studied at Balliol College, Oxford University, in Oxford England. Michael is a member of AEA, SAG and AFTRA with over 30 years experience in theater, film, TV, commercials, animation and voice over. He founded and, for it’s first seven years of existence, served as Artistic Director of Heartland Actor’s Repertory Theater.

Michael has performed locally, nationally, and internationally as a dancer, singer and musician in a wide variety of styles including classical, contemporary, folk, bluegrass, musical theater and rock and roll. Highlights include being a regular at the rock and roll dueling piano bar Howl at the Moon and touring with the John Prine Tribute concert.

As an actor, he has worked extensively at the Indiana Repertory Theater performing in numerous plays and musicals. He has worked at the Viaduct Theater and Victory Gardens in Chicago and played Andy Lee in the Broadway Tour of 42nd Street in Moscow Russia.

Miss Becky first came in contact with Michael may years ago when they shared the same tap teacher, Linda Kelso. She is very excited to see what the future holds for Ballerinas dancers with Michael’s influence. A complete list of Michael’s directorial and performing credits is available at the studio.

Emmaline Grimsey – Irish, Combo A, Preschool and Kindergarten Instructor

Emmaline has been studying dance at Ballerinas for several years. She is currently taking ballet, modern, jazz, tap and contemporary classes. She is an accomplished Irish dancer and will begin teaching beginning Irish at Ballerinas in 2016.. Emmaline also teaches Combo A, Kindergarten and Preschool classes.