Faculty

Ashleyanne Hensley

School Director

Ashleyanne Hensley, a native of Cleveland, Tennessee trained with numerous schools including Ballet West, Nashville Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater and American Ballet Theater. A significant teacher in her life was the late Peggie Wallis of Bentonville, Arkansas who instilled the passion for technical emphasis at the young age of fourteen. After pursuing a BFA in ballet for 3 years at Belhaven University, Ashleyanne joined North Caroline Dance Theater for a year as a trainee.  Then in 2005 she traveled to Atlanta, Georgia where she joined The Georgia Ballet. While at The Georgia Ballet, Ashleyanne has enjoyed performing roles such as "Cricket" in Pinocchio, "Dark Angel" in George Balanchine's Serenade and Sugarplum in "The Nutcracker" along with doubling for Heather Locklear and Molly Shannon in "Scary Movie 5". Ashleyanne taught extensively as Ballet Mistress of Steps of Faith Dance Studio before transitioning to School Director of The Georgia Ballet. In her 11th year at The Georgia Ballet, she has enjoyed seeing many grow up through the school to pursue professional careers in dance with many more to come!

 

Ashleyanne Hensley is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. 

Daet Rodriguez

Artistic Director & Pre-Professional Track

Daet was born and raised in Cuba and graduated from the National School of Ballet in Habana in 1990. His training consisted of his parents Jorge Rodriguez Vede and Clara Diaz along with Fernando Alonso, Alberto Alonso, Laura Alonso, Pablo More and Lazaro Carreno. Daet’s professional career began with Ballet de Camguey where he performed many classical and contemporary principal roles. In 1995, Mr. Rodrgiuez joined Teatro Centro de Arte-Leon Febres Cordero in Ecuador where his Balanchine performance experience added to his professional repertoire.  His career extended to many other countries including: Cuba, Jamaica, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Martinique, Guadalupe and the United States. In 2001, Daet and his wife Margit, opened their own ballet school, Cuballet-Ecuador, where they served over 200 students in a classical and contemporary training program. Daet and Margit have trained numerous students for competitions such as Youth America Grand Prix, CIAD in Ecuador, Latin-American Danza in Chile, Danzamerica in Argentina, All Dance International in Ecuador and the American Ballet Competition in the US. In February of 2015, Daet, Margit and their two children moved to the United States to set ballets and choreograph on several schools and to join us here at The Georgia Ballet.
The Georgia Ballet is very pleased to continue the growth of its Company with Mr. Rodriguuez at the helm.

Margit Peguero

Ballet Mistress & Pre-Professional Track

Margit was born in Cuba. Graduated of dancer in the “Escuela Nacional de Ballet” on Habana, Cuba. She was form with the teaching of prestigious teachers such as Ramona de Saa, Laura Alonso, Loipa Araujo, Fernando Alonso, Jorge Vede, Alberto Alonso, and Clara Díaz.

The career of Margit began in the “Ballet de Camagüey”, Cuba. In the company she interpreted principal roles of some classic repertories such as La Fille Mal Gardee, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Grand Pas de Paquita, Don Quijote and Giselle. And others like: “Carmen” of Alberto Alonso, “Tango Episodios”, “Formas para Concierto”, “Nicis Dominus” of Jorge Lefebre, “Vivaldiana” of José Antonio Chávez, “Le Jazz Hot” of Iván Monreal, “Sinfonía en D” of Menia Martínez and “Otelo” of Fráncico Lang.

Margit joined the ballet company “Teatro centro de Arte – Leon Febres Cordero” in Ecuador on 1998, where she danced with Daet Rodriguez and Arionel Vargas in the play “Walpurgisnacht Ballet” of Balanchine, “Concierto de Aranjuez” of Lotka, “Grand Vals” of Bruce Steivel and in all the principals classics of the repertory. Also Margit was part of the Company “Danzas Jazz” on Ecuador, here she danced plays like: “Cats”, “Anita la Huerfanita”, “Chigaco”, “Aladdin”, “The King and I”, “The Beauty and The Beast” and “Latinos”, working with choreographers like Gustavo Zajac, Jose Miguel Salem and Jasson Mazu.

She had dance in different countries on America and the Caribbean like:  Cuba, Jamaica, Argentina, Chile, México, Canada, USA, Martinica, Guadalupe and Ecuador.

Margit won the gold and the medal of excellence for the best dance of the event “Danzamerica 2010” on Argentina.

She rans and taught in her own academy “Cuballet-Ecuador” from 2001 – 2015 , where she and their students had achieved to win medals and awards at CIAD on Ecuador, “Latinoamérica Danza” in Chile, “Danzamerica” in Argentina, All Dance International in Ecuador, and the American Ballet Competition on Boston, USA.

The Georgia Ballet is thrilled to have Margit as the Ballet Mistress to the Professional Company of The Georgia Ballet for her third year.

Lauri Worril-Biggs

Conservatory

Lauri Worrill-Biggs (or “Mrs. Biggs” as she is known by her students) grew up in Atlanta and began her dance training at the Ruth Mitchell Dance Studio (now known as Georgia Dance Conservatory). As a student she was awarded full scholarships to attend University North Carolina School of the Arts and the Joffrey Ballet School (NYC) summer sessions.

  At the age of 16 she was invited to attend the Joffrey Ballet School for the school year on full scholarship, providing the opportunity to study under such distinguished teachers as Robert Joffrey, Meredith Baylis, Dorothy Lister, Basil Thompson and Mansur Kamaletdinov, Ann Parsons, and Donald Mahler. After 2 years she was accepted as an apprentice to the Joffrey II, under the direction of Sally Brayley Bliss and Maria Grandy.

  In 1980 Mrs. Biggs took a job with the North Carolina Dance Theatre (now known as the Charlotte Ballet, N.C.), under the direction of Robert Lindgren. During this time she extensively toured the U.S. and Europe, performing works by Salvatore Aiello (artistic director of NCDT), George Balanchine, Helgi Tomasson, Lambros Lambrou, August Bournonville, and Bill Evans, to name a few.

From 1986 to 1988 she returned to her home turf to dance with the Atlanta Ballet , under the direction of Robert Barnett. During her tenure there she worked with choreographers Tom Pazik, Fernand Nault, Dennis Nahat and Lisa de Ribere. As well as dancing renowned ballets by Eugene Lorring and Marius Petitpa.

  Upon retiring from the Atlanta Ballet and her professional dance career, Mrs. Biggs took a teaching position with Dance South in Macon, Ga. directed by Peter Garrick. Over her year there she taught special movement classes to students at the Ga. Academy for the Blind and was approved by the Board of Regents to teach Beginner Ballet at Gordon Jr. College in Barnesville, Ga.

  During the following years, Mrs. Biggs taught classes at the Ruth Mitchell Dance Studio and directed the dance division at the Whitworth Centre for the Performing Arts. In 1992 Kathy Thibodeaux, artistic director of Ballet Magnificat!, invited Mrs. Biggs to join the faculty of Ballet Magnificat! School of the Arts. (Jackson, MS)  where she spent the next 6 years implementing and directing  the Professional Training Division and Trainee Programs.

  When Ballet Magnificat! and Belhaven University partnered to offer a Minor in Dance at the university, Mrs. Biggs was brought in and after 3 years as an adjunct professor was invited to join as a full time faculty member. Mrs. Worrill-Biggs spent the next 7 years as an instructor and ballet technician for the Belhaven program. Teaching courses for the Dance Minor, BA, and BFA in Ballet as well as creating and implementing a grading system used to evaluate and grade student’s in their technique classes. She was also responsible for bringing into the course offering beginning and intermediate/advanced levels of the Pilates mat work. As Ballet Mistress for the Belhaven College Dance Ensemble, she had the opportunity to create her own works as well as restaging choreographic works from the classical repertoire.

Returning to GA in 2005 and settling in Marietta, to be closer to her family, Mrs. Biggs continued her teaching career by joining the staff of West Cobb Dance Explosion. Her students there competed to win top awards at many of the top competitions. Most notably, her Jr. dancers were invited to participate in the Youth America Grand Prix in NYC.

  Mrs. Biggs is pleased have been invited to join the faculty at The Georgia Ballet and is looking forward to working with the talented students of the Conservatory program.

Kelsey Stanhope

Pre-Professional Track

Kelsey, a Marietta native, received her training at The British Academy of Performing Arts and The School of The Georgia Ballet. She is currently in her sixth season as a Georgia Ballet professional company member. She has recently enjoyed dancing principal and soloist roles with the company. As a student, Kelsey attended summer programs at Carolina Ballet, The Georgia Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Atlanta Ballet. Kelsey is looking forward to teaching at The Georgia Ballet this year. Her goal is help each individual student improve their ballet technique and artistry!

Alexa Goldberg

Recreational and Pre-Professional Tracks

Originally from Columbus, OH, Alexa began dancing at age 4. At age 11, she began training at BalletMet Columbus and then Columbus City Ballet School. She participated in many BalletMet company performances. She spent 2 seasons as a trainee with the North Carolina Dance Theater and one year as an apprentice. She taught classes in ballet at Columbus City Ballet School for the summer, and began teaching at The Georgia Ballet in the fall of 2013. Since then she has taught many genres of dance at 7 different schools in the metro Georgia area. Her main focus is helping students create a strong and correct foundation for their technique and to foster a love for being in the studio. Alexa is excited to begin her 5th year as part of the Georgia Ballet faculty! 

Camille Jones

Pre-Ballet, Recreational & Tap

Camille is a Steps of Faith alumni and trained under Ashleyanne Hensley. This is her third year teaching at The Georgia Ballet.

 

She is entering into her senior year at Kennesaw State University where she is majoring in Dance with a ballet concentration. Through this program, she has trained in ballet, pas de deux, pointe, modern, and contemporary. 
 

Camille has been a part of the KSU Dance Company since her freshman year.  She has performed multiple pieces while a part of this company including pieces set by Christine Welker of The Atlanta Ballet, McCree O’Kelley, and Lisa Lock. Through this company, Camille has also had the opportunity to perform at the Cobb Energy Center, the KSU Dance Festival, and the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival. 
 

She is Progressing Ballet Technique certified and is passionate about injury prevention in dancers. This passion has led her to do undergraduate research in popular dance injuries. 

 

Camille is excited to be on staff at The Georgia Ballet for another year! 

Leslie Parker

Pre-Professional Contemporary

Leslie Parker began her dance training at the age of 3 at the Cartersville School of ballet. From there she attended Kennesaw State University, where she majored in Dance. During her time in the KSU Dance Department, she performed for 8 semesters with the KSU Dance Company, performed and choreographed for the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) 2014, and represented KSU Dance on a national level in the work Cranial Graffiti at the Kennedy Center in Summer 2014. Leslie was also a member of the KSU dance honor society Nu Delta Alpha. She graduated KSU in 2014, Magna Cum Laude, with a B.A. in Dance. After receiving her degree, she attended Atlanta School of Massage in Fall 2014. Currently Leslie teaches contemporary dance at The Georgia Ballet, Woodland High School, and Cartersville School of Ballet. She also runs her own massage business, Lotus Frog Massage. This is Leslie’s 4th year teaching at The Georgia Ballet, and she is very excited about the year ahead.

Shelby Chaney

Primary Ballet

Shelby began her ballet training at age 9 under Carol Smith and Angie White in Auburn, Alabama. Under their direction, she has danced 8 seasons with the East Alabama Community Ballet’s annual Nutcracker performing rolls such as Clara, Dew Drop, and Snow Queen. Shelby has attended summer intensives with Montgomery Ballet, American Ballet Theater, International Ballet Intensive, and most recently the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in New York City. After her summer with GKA she was asked to stay for their full year program, where she continued training for the next 3 years. Shelby had the pleasure of being taught by the former Prima Ballerina Gelsey Kirkland as well as other world renowned teachers including Vera Soloveyva, Nikolay Levitsky, and Luidmila Polonskya. While in the academy, Shelby had the opportunity to perform soloist roles in La Vivandiere and Les Sylphides. She has also performed in the corps de ballet for many of their company shows such as Don Quixote, Walpurgis Night, Stealing Time, and as Spanish Soloist in the Nutcracker. 

Courtney Locke

Jazz

Elizabeth Chapman

Guest Teacher

Elizabeth began her training with The Springfield Ballet Company in her hometown of Springfield, Illinois. Over the years she trained with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet School, The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and The Georgia Ballet.  She danced for Nashville Ballet for two years before joining The Georgia Ballet. She spent twelve wonderful years with The Georgia Ballet under directors Gina Hyatt-Mazon, Fiona Fairrie, and Daet Rodriguez Diaz. Elizabeth has especially enjoyed performing the title roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, and Janusz Mazon's Firebird as well as Dew Drop, Snow Queen, and The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She is thrilled to have had the opportunity to perform in many Balanchine ballets. Her favorites being Waltz Girl in Balanchine's Serenade and Turning Girl in Balanchine's Who Cares?.  Elizabeth currently performs with Dance Canvas and The Lume Foundation in Atlanta. Elizabeth's passion lies in sharing her knowledge and love of dance through teaching ballet to students of all ages. 

Mara Mandradjieff

Guest Teacher

Prof. Mara Mandradjieff (Part-Time Instructor of Dance at Kennesaw State University)

Doctoral Student of Dance, Texas Woman's University 
M.Ed., University of Pittsburgh Areas of Emphasis: Ballet Technique, Dance Pedagogy, Critical Theory 
Mara Mandradjieff began her ballet training with Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, where she performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Serenade, Valse Fantaisie, and Garland Waltz. Her summers were spent training at various programs such as the Chautauqua Institute, Miami City Ballet, and four summers at The School of American Ballet. Mara went on to dance professionally with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, Columbus Dance Theatre, Texture Contemporary Ballet, The Georgia Ballet, where she performed principal roles in The Nutcracker and George Balanchine's Who Cares, Dance Canvas, and City Gate Dance Theater Company.

Turning towards academics, Mara received her bachelors summa cum laude at the University of Pittsburgh in English Literature with a minor in Dance and a certificate in Gender Studies. She later finished her Masters in Education at the University of Pittsburgh with a certification to teach Secondary English Education. Once graduated, Mara remained at the University of Pittsburgh as a choreographer and part-time faculty member, in addition to her involvement with Point Park University.

 Currently, Mara is working towards her Ph.D. in Dance at Texas Woman’s University, where her research focuses on Posthumanism, Gender Studies, and Ballet. She teaches as an adjunct professor at Emory University and has called Kennesaw State University her home since 2012. Through these universities, Mara has choreographed contemporary ballets and performance art pieces. She has presented research nationally and internationally with forthcoming publications in Text and Performance Quarterly and a collaborative piece in Journal of Dance Medicine and Science.

Mara also runs the nonprofit Lume Foundation: an organization that uses dance to engage and inspire individuals at healthcare facilities. Over the years, Lume has performed for children’s hospitals and senior centers; it strives to promote the joyfulness of dance. For more information please see, www.lumefoundation.com

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The Georgia Ballet

1255 Field Parkway Marietta, GA 30066

Mailing Address: PO Box 670563 Marietta, GA 30066

770-528-0881

office@georgiaballet.org

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