Staff & Teachers

Wade Walthall

Artistic Director

Wade Walthall received his formal dance training under a Ford Foundation Scholarship and Stipend to the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. Coming directly from his academic training, he was offered a soloist position by then Director, Rudi Van Dantzig of The National Ballet of Holland. He lived in Amsterdam for several years and went on to dance an extremely varied and eclectic repertory, including works by some of the world’s foremost choreographers.

After a season as the principal resident guest artist for The National Ballet of Spain, located in Madrid, Mr. Walthall returned to Seattle in the United States in 1982 as a Principal dancer for The Pacific Northwest Ballet under the Direction of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell. After his 7 year performing career with The Pacific Northwest Ballet, Mr. Walthall was a requested guest artist and performed throughout the United States. Throughout his career, Mr. Walthall has studied, worked, and performed with some of the most prestigious figures in the Dance World. He has performed with artists such as Rudolf Nureyev, Alexander Gudanov, Wayne Eagling, Merle Parke, Leslie Collier, and Karin Kain, in cities including New York, London, Paris, Rome, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Jakarta, and Hong Kong.

As an instructor Mr. Walthall has taught various dance techniques at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Austin, The Hong Kong Ballet, The Washington Ballet, and San Antonio Dance Theater. In 1986 Mr. Walthall danced the male lead in the cinematic version of the STOWELL/SENDAK/BALLARD movie: NUTCRACKER: THE MOTION PICTURE. After his retirement from the stage Mr. Walthall received a degree cum laude in dance education from The University of Washington and was a pivotal figure in the creation and development of The Evergreen City Ballet where he designed, choreographed, directed, and taught for the school and company. He is mentioned in several listings of notable personalities throughout the world including Who’s Who in America and The Dictionary of American Biography.

Lisa Sheppard Robson

Artistic Director Emeritus

Ms. Robson joined Gwinnett Ballet Theatre in 1996 as guest artist and faculty member, and became Artistic Director in 1997. Ms. Robson directed GBT for 14 seasons, with the mission of bringing quality instruction and Productions to Gwinnett County. During this era, GBT fostered dancers who received admission and scholarships to many exclusive Summer Intensive dance programs around the Country, including the year round program with financial support for Nancy Casciano at School of American Ballet.
GBT student, Abigrace Diprima reached the New York City finals of YAGP and
performed on the Gala Program. Recent graduates have secured financial
scholarships in college programs such as; Point Park University, Butler
University, Florida State University, University of South Carolina, University
of Georgia, and Kennesaw State University. GBT toured Europe through two tours
of “The Stars of Tomorrow,” performing selections from GBT’s repertory.
GBT alumni received contracts in the following Companies: Colorado Ballet,
Ballet Arizona, Houston Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Richmond Ballet,
Company C, and Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Alumni Alessandra Ball received the
Bronze medal and the Grishko award in The Premio Roma International Ballet
Competition held in Rome, Italy and was awarded the 2005 Princess Grace award.
“Alex” performed on the Gala for YAGP to celebrate the careers of Patricia Mc
Bride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. Alumni Jessica Collado received the acclaimed
status of Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch” in 2009, and “Best Performance” in
2011, for her portrayal in Christopher Bruce’s Grinning In Your Face.

GBT Alumni Dancer and acclaimed choreographer Robert Dekkers received Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch”
in 2011 after launching his new dance company, Post:Ballet which debuted in San
Fransisco, Summer 2010. Ms. Robson is delighted for GBT to further pursue this
mission with the appointment of Artistic Director, Mr. Wade Walthall. Ms. Robson first met Mr. Walthall in 1985 while dancing with Pacific Northwest Ballet where Mr. Walthall was a Principal Dancer. The excellence and artistry he embodied inspired Ms. Robson then, and she is excited that GBT’s current and future dancers will be enriched by Mr.
Walthall’s wonderful skills as both a teacher and an inspiration.

Holley Calmes

Marketing Director

Lisa Sheppard Robson

Ms. Calmes has been involved in the arts in the Atlanta area for over thirty years. Her career has included positions with The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Academy Theatre, International Ballet Rotaru, the Gwinnett Philharmonic, and the Hudgens Center for the Arts among others.

Ms. Calmes has also maintained a presence on Gwinnett’s art scene by writing her weekly column for the Gwinnett Daily Post, “Art Beat,” for ten years. She has contributed volunteer work to the Georgia Council for the Arts and been the Chairman of Performing Arts and Volunteers for the annual “Barefoot in the Park Arts Festival” since its beginning in 2003. She is a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s “Arts Leadership of Atlanta.”

She is also on the Board of the acclaimed Atlanta arts presenter “New Trinity Baroque.” She is married to the well known dance photographer Richard Calmes, and together they contribute to the support and elevation of dance by contributing time and work for dancers across the country.

Predrag Gosta

Music Director & Conductor

 

The founding Music Director and Conductor of the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra, Predrag Gosta is steadily building a reputation as one of the most exciting conductors in the Southeast. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Atlanta’s acclaimed period instrument ensemble, New Trinity Baroque, as well as the Assistant Conductor of the National Philharmonic in Washington D.C. Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Gosta started playing violin at the age of six, and later continued his studies in voice, harpsichord and conducting. Educated at leading music conservatories in Europe, he is the recipient of both academic and performance scholarships from Trinity College of Music in London, Belgrade Music Academy, and Georgia State University in Atlanta. He received an undergraduate degree and Postgraduate Certificate from Trinity, three Master of Music degrees from GSU, and had attended masterclasses and summer schools in England, Germany, Russia and the United States. Gosta performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, including Boston, New York, London, and Belgrade. Most recently, he toured England, Finland, Sweden and Serbia, and guest conducted orchestras in Russia, in St. Petersburg and Moscow. He has over a dozen CD recordings to his credit and has published articles in leading music journals. He is the Artist in Residence and former Adjunct Professor at Oxford College of Emory University, and a member of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars and Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity.

Lillian Leung

Receptionist

GBT is happy to have Ms. Lillian Leung as our receptionist.

 

TEACHING STAFF:

 

Wade Walthall, Artistic Director

(See bio above)

Phyllis Allen

Ms.Allen has been teaching ballet for 40 years throughout the United States.  She studied at the Atlanta School of Ballet, American School of Ballet in New York, David Howard Dance Center in New York, and Luigi School of Jazz in New York. She performed with the Atlanta Ballet and danced professionally with Theatre Under the Stars in The King and I, Oklahoma, The Can-Can, Carousel, My Fair Lady and The Bells are Ringing. As a young performer in Regional Dance America, she was selected to work with George Balanchine in the Young Choreographer’s Workshop. During that time she also studied with such greats as Robert Joffrey, Leon Danelian, George Zoritch, and Patricia McBride.  At age 20 she choreographed Winnie the Pooh and Selections from Dr. Seuss which were televised on the PublicBroadcasting Channel.  She continued to teach and choreograph for studios across the nation.

She taught and performed in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Biloxi, Gulfport, Houston and Los
Angeles.  She was the founder and Co Director of the Brazosport Civic Ballet in the Metro Houston. Ms. Allen opened the Lawrenceville School of Ballet in August 1988. She was founder and Artistic Director of the Southern Ballet Theatre of Georgia for twenty years.
She has students that are now working professionally as performers with
American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Carnival Cruise Ships, and
teachers and choreographers all over the United States. She sold her studio in
2009 and has continued to teach in studios across Metro Atlanta. She is the
proud grandmother of four granddaughters and three grandsons.

Slava Belinsky

Mr. Belinsky brings 30 years of experience as a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer. He received his ballet training from the renowned Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow, Russia and the Kiev Academy of Ballet in the Ukraine. He spent two years with the State Army Dance Company as Ballet Master and Choreographer and has been a principal dancer with the Donetsk Opera and Ballet theatre and the Chisinau Opera and Ballet Theatre. His repertory includes solos in Giselle, Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, Raymonda, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, and Don Quixote. He has toured the USA with “Russian Roulette Show” and toured the United States three times with the Donetsk Ballet Company before joining the Russian Ballet Theatre of Delaware. he was praised for his commanding and charismatic presence on stage as well as his classical technique. He was chosen to play the role of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet choreographed by Daniel Baudenistel of the Joffrey Ballet. Choreographer Robert La Fosse cast Mr. Belinsky in the lead role of The Entertainer in his ballet Rags. Mr. Belinsky has peformed as a guest artist and teaches master classes in professional companies and schools and choreographed across the USA and Europe.

Indya Childs

Ms Childs has performed in such companies as gloAtl under Laurie Stallings and Nicole Johnson and for choreographers such as Lonnie E. Davis Jr., Brandi Barnett, lane Marie grosser, Zachary Richardson, Nicole Perkins, Devon Sims, Dr. Ivan Pulinkala and Eric Brandt Nielsen. She has performed for Dance Canvas, and in the American College dance Festival. her summer intensive studies include Alonzo King LINES ballet on Scholarship, at the Atlanta ballet and at Ballethnic. Ms. Childs is a Cum Laude Graduate from Kennesaw State University and was 2013′s Most Outstanding Senior Scholarship in Dance. She holds a B.A. in Dance from KSU and a B.F.A. in dance from Valdosta State University.

Rebecca Crawford

An Atlanta native, Rebecca Crawford Harman trained at Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, Atlanta School of Ballet, Joffery Ballet School, and the Kirov Academy of Ballet under scholarship. Continuing her training at the Miami City Ballet School, she performed
principal roles in such ballets as George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco,
The Nutcracker, Jewels, and Who Cares? With the
Miami City Ballet she danced in Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes and The
Nutcracker
, and in the Miami City Ballet’s Lecture Series, the role of
Odette in Swan Lake, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop in Balanchine’s The
Nutcracker, and Le Corsaire Pas de Deux.
Rebecca has also danced
professionally with American Repertory Ballet and Ballet Arizona. Rebecca has
been teaching at Gwinnett Ballet Theater since 2004, serving as a private
coach, choreographer, and rehearsal assistant.
She has served as a guest teacher at numerous summer intensives,
including Southeast Alabama Ballet and Georgia Dance Conservatory and has
coached a student to the finals of the Youth of America Grand Prix. She has her
B.A. in History and her Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State
University.

Elizabeth Galloway

Born and raised in Cheverly, Maryland Elizabeth began her
training at age 6 at the National Ballet School under the direction of Helen
and Pamela Moore. There she trained in the Cecchetti method taking exams
through the advanced level. During her high school training, Elizabeth was
accepted into Suitland High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Program where
she trained in ballet, modern, jazz and African dance.  Elizabeth was later accepted into the Mercyhurst
College Dance Program where she studied under the direction of Tauna Hunter.
While studying at Mercyhurst, she had the opportunity to perform in many
classical ballets such as Coppelia,
Giselle
and Lake Erie Ballet’s The
Nutcracker
as well as many contemporary pieces by both faculty and
students. In her senior year, her contemporary piece “Running Up That Hill” was
selected to be adjudicated at the American College Dance Festival. After
graduating with a BA in Dance in 2010, Elizabeth was offered a contract with
Atlanta Festival Ballet. While with AFB, she has had the opportunity to dance
such roles as “Spanish” and “Arabian” in
The Nutcracker,
“Pas de Trois” in Sleeping
Beauty
“Winter Fairy” in Cinderella and
the “Pas de Trois” in Swan Lake. Elizabeth is thrilled to be back for her
second year on the Gwinnett Ballet faculty.

BJ Hilburn

B.J. Hilbun toured for two years in West Side Story as ‘Baby John’. His credits include
musical theatre productions where he was both lead and dance captain. BJ
has performed in every facet of the business, as well as with ballet, modern,
and jazz companies from New Jersey to Georgia. His teaching credits include
many Atlanta area schools and schools in numerous cities in the U.S.A.
including New York City and Pittsburgh as well as Italy and Switerland.

Whitney Sue Jones

Whitney Sue Jones danced with GBT from 1996-2007.  She
performed lead roles in “The Nutcracker”, “Daphnis and Chloe”, “Sleeping
Beauty”, and “Paquita”.  Whitney Sue trained at summer intensives with
North Carolina Dance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Colorado
Ballet.  She was awarded the Eurotard Best of Festival Open Scholarship at
SERBA in 2005.  During the 2007-2008 season, Whitney Sue danced with the
North Carolina Dance Theatre as an apprentice under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.  She performed in “Beauty and the Beast”, “Romeo and
Juliet”, “The Nutcracker”, and “Who Cares”.  In the summer of 2008, she
continued training and dancing with NCDT in their Professional Certificate
Program while finishing her college degree with UNC Charlotte. She was chosen
to perform “The Waiting Room” from the Sal Aiello Trust restaged by Mia
Cunningham of NCDT.  Whitney Sue earned a “Professional Training
Certificate in Dance” from North Carolina Dance Theatre and graduated Summa Cum
Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education at UNC Charlotte
in 2010.  Today, Whitney Sue facilitates the teaching and learning of
students at Magill Elementary through the ArtsNow program that strives to
integrate the arts into the classroom.  She has been a member of the GBT
faculty since 2006.

Victoria Leigh

Victoria Leigh is a former
soloist with American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet of Canada, and
principal dancer in Kiel, Germany. She trained in Florida with Georges
Milenoff, and later JoAnna Kneeland, who also trained her to teach. Further
teacher training was included later in her work with Ruth Petrinovic.

Ms. Leigh began her full-time teaching career as Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Oklahoma. During the ten years at OU, she performed in a number of ballets and modern works, and choreographed musicals, operas and operettas,
and ballets. She taught guest classes and choreographed frequently for the
Bartlesville Ballet in OK, and was a guest teacher for a number of others
schools and colleges around the country. She also taught at several College
Dance and Theatre Conventions.

The University years also opened up the opportunities to study music and kinesiology, and to develop OU’s pedagogy program. She also taught ballet history, and team-taught kinesiology for dancers, with the help of the HPER department.

A move to Florida to teach for Ruth Petrinovic and her Academy of Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale was followed by six years of running Leigh-Franklin Academy, with her partner, James Franklin. She also taught for Ballet Florida and the Palm Beach Ballet
Center before being invited by Mary Day to teach at The School of the
Washington Ballet. She retired from WSB in 2006, after 13 years. During the
years there she did the audition tours for the Summer Intensive programs, and
helped to run the summer programs, taught in the upper division, and also some
Washington Ballet company classes.

Now living in the Atlanta area, she teaches part time, and continues to run Ballet Talk for Dancers, which she has done for about 15 years. ( www.dancers.invisionzone.com ) This is an educational Ballet Discussion Forum for students 13 and up,
teachers, parents of students, adult students, and anyone who loves ballet!

Lisa Lock

LISA K. LOCK holds a Ballet Diploma from the Grande
Ecole de Danse in Bern, Switzerland and a BFA and MFA Degree from the
California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, and had the opportunity to
study with some of the greatest teachers in the US, both in Ballet and Modern
Dance. She moved to Atlanta in 2012, where shecontinues to teach and choreograph. Lisa is very excited to join the faculty at GBT. She comes with many years of teaching experience both in the private studio setting and at the university level. Lisa has inspired a lot of her students to pursue dance professionally.

As a solo artist and choreographer Lisa has performed extensively throughout the L. A. basin, nationally and internationally. She was a recipient of an Individual Excellence Award by the Ohio Arts Council for her solo work, has been honored with a Lester Horton
Award for outstanding achievement in choreography in Los Angeles, as well as
voted best female dancer of the year 2004 by the Beverly Hills Outlook in Los
Angeles.

Lisa has also performed with many companies, starting with the Swiss Chamber Ballet  in Basel, Switzerland,  Hysterica Dance Company, the Francisco Martinez  Dance Theater, La
Danserie, and many more in L.A. She also has worked with Opera Cleveland, both
as a performer and choreographer, been Ballet Mistress for the former Cleveland
Dance Theatre, Dancing Wheels, a physically integrated Dance Company, and a
guest teacher and choreographer for the Great Lake Youth Ballet Company under
the Directorship of Ana lobe in Cleveland , OH.

Lisa Sheppard Robson

(See bio above.)

Erin Sipsy

Erin studied ballet for 15 years, 12 of which were at
Gwinnett Ballet Theatre. During Erin’s time at Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, she was
a company member for 7 years and served as a rehearsal coach and substitute
teacher. She taught ballet at A Step Ahead Performing Arts for two years. Erin
is currently a college student studying to be an elementary school teacher.

John Streit

John majored in Criminal Justice and Dance although he does not intend to teach criminals to dance!  He took his first ballet classes at Gwinnett Ballet Theatre under the
direction of Lisa Sheppard Robson.  He has since trained at Atlanta Ballet, The University of Georgia, and has spent summers at North Carolina School of the Arts and Point Park University.  John danced professionally with the Georgia Ballet and as a guest artist with
Atlanta Ballet.  In 2011, he earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from
The University of Arizona.  In addition to dancing, John has renewed
his love for singing and acting and in 2012 performed as Billy
in the musical Anything Goes on the Gwinnett Center
stage. In addition to teaching and performing, John has a strong
interest in choreography and his ballet se faire echarper was recognized
for outstanding choreography in the Access Broadway competition.  In
addition, his piece Let it Be was selected as a finalist in the Panoply
Choreographic Competition. He often choreographs for a few of the local
area high schools. John is also adjunct faculty at Brenau University in
Gainesville, GA.

Carl J. Windom

Carl J. is a trained triple threat from a small town in GA, by way of a native NYC father but has been residing in ATL for the past few years. He earned his B.A. in Communications with a Minor in Theater and Event Planning. Carl has earned credits from film,
tv/commercials, theater, vocal/recording, choreography, dance, and modeling. Some of artists and franchises he has worked with thus far include WNBA Atlanta Dream Dance team, Dancers On Pointe (106th park-BET), Disney “Let It Shine” &
“Million Dollar Arm” films, Ludacris Max Payne Movie Premeire,
Windcreek Casino,130th Anniversary for Coca Cola, Epoch Awards with Light the
World, Vegas Musical Pt 1&2 Strand Theater, Jasmine Guy, ESPN, Hooters
commercial, Atl Falcons/GA Lottery,”Cupid’s Requiem” staring Amber
Chaney(Hunger Games), Greg Alan Williams, TLC New BioPic Film, Raisin In The
Sun Stage Play & BET Hip Hop Awards 2012 to name a few.

In 2013 he was named an artist to watch by Myspace Relaunch. He works heavily with the Dance 411 Foundation & Actors Breakthrough under Greg
Alan Williams, teaching youth and adults step,
movement for actors, hip-hop, and salsa to name a few. He has been in a
total of 20+ plays/musicals since the age of 10 and performed in front of
crowds as large as 70,000 people. Recently in the dance world he has served as
head choreographer for WindCreek Casino, assistant choreographer for Bollywood
video shoot, and has assisted or help choreograph plays/musicals and live
concerts by emerging artists. He believes “open minds lead to open
opportunities”.