Marsha Newton ~ MA. PGCE. BA.(Hons)
Marsha has had the pleasure of teaching and directing theatre and musical theatre for over 25 years. This passion has taken her all over the world, and has enabled her to find a new home here in Atlanta, living her dream. She has directed a very wide range of shows, traditional musical theatre classics Oliver, Mary Poppins, Aladdin through to new shows such as Shrek and Addams Family.
Marsha is equally happy to be directing English Literary Classics such as Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Twelfth Night, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or Euripides Medea.
She loves directing ballets and helping dancers to bring out the artistry and storytelling in all performing arts genres. She has directed numerous ballets such as Giselle, Polar Express, Nutcracker Swings, Cinderella, Coppelia, amongst others; she believes that all performance genres are ultimately about storytelling and are intrinsically interlocked with the art of theatre.
She has had the pleasure of being the joint owner and director of The British Academy of Performing Arts for the last 10 years, this has taken her performing dream to numerous states in the US, with students winning awards. In 2016 she had the pleasure of taking 40 award winning actors to perform on Broadway.
Prior to moving to Atlanta Marsha was the director of an Educational Training Organisation in England for ten years, where she was responsible for over 35 educational programmes across London. This included teaching special needs, theatre, English, designing core curriculum, working with disadvantaged students in drug rehabs, refugee and women’s centers, and psycho-ed. units. She was an External Educational Examiner, and Regional Assessor for Royal Society of Arts. As an actress she had the pleasure of being invited to perform for Cherie Blair CBE QC – who was then Britain’s First Lady. Marsha studied acting and theatre at Brunel University, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College – University of London and completed her teacher training postgraduate degree at Middlesex University. She has five children and passionately believes in investing in young people, our next generation.
MARINA LEVASHEV – BALLET, Ballet Director
Miss Marina trained with her father, Vladimir Levashev, a world famous Ballet Master, rehearsal director, teacher and principal dancer with the Russian Bolshoi Ballet. Marina apprenticed with the Bolshoi Ballet and Moiseyev Dance Co. and earned her degree in Fine Arts and Dance at the studio of the USSR State Folk and Character Dance Academy under the artistic direction of Igor Moiseyev. She apprenticed with the Bolshoi Ballet for two years. Marina then performed with Beroizka State Academic Choreographic Ensemble for 20 years, where she not only toured 30 different countries, but also was the Rehearsal Assistant for new company members as well as a classical ballet teacher in the Vagonova technique. She later helped found the Diagilev Center Ballet School in Moscow as the Ballet Mistress in 1990. In 1992, Marina moved to the United States and began working with The (then) Academy of Ballet Arts, which is now The British Academy of Performing Arts.
Since then, she has taught and directed with several different programs including: Atlanta Ballet, Impact Dance of Atlanta, Studio D. School of Dance, Georgia Ballet, Clemson University, Michigan State University, Governor’s Honors Program, Governor’s School for Arts & Humanities in South Carolina, and many more. We are honored to have Marina on faculty at BAPA, and we are so grateful she shares her love of ballet with us and our dancers.
Born in Chisinau, Moldova. Slava Belinsky received his Ballet training from famous Bolshoi School in Moscow, Russia and Kiev Academy of Ballet in the Ukraine. He spend two years with the State Army Dance Company as Ballet Master and Choreographer. He has been a principal dancer with Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theater
(Ukraine) and Theatrul Natoinal de Opera si Ballet ” Maria Biesu” (Republic Moldova).
Since 1991, Slava has been residing in the USA. He has performed with the following companies in U.S: Pennsylvania Ballet, Dance Theatre of Wilkes- Barre, PA, Russian Ballet Theater of Delaware, Manassas Ballet Company, VA. His repertory includes in “Giselle”, “Swan Lake”, ” The Nutckracker”, “Raymonda”, “Coppelia”, ” Cinderella”, ” La Bayadere”, ” Romeo and Juliet”, ” Sleeping Beauty” and ” Don Quixote”. He has toured in the USA with ” Russian Roulette Show” (Reno NV, Los Angeles CA, Miami Beach FL, Atlantic City NJ). He spent 9 months with Happy Dance Ballet School in Monchengladbach Germany and Chisinau Ballet School in Moldova. Slava was teaching at professional Ballet company in Europe, Chisinau Opera and Ballet Theater (Republic of Moldova). He toured the United States three times with the Donetsk Ballet Company before joining the Russian Ballet of Delaware USA.
Mr. Belinsky 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 Baudendistel of the Joffrey Ballet. New York City Ballet, principal dancer, choreographer Robert La Fosse cast Mr. Belinsky in the lead role of the “Entertainer” in his Ballet ” Rags”. He performed in several ballet pieces, choreographed by Leslie Brown- principal dancer of American Ballet Theater. Performed as a guest artist and taught master classes and choreographed across the USA and Europe Mr. Belinsky brings 30 years of experience as a Professional Dancer, Teacher and Choreographer. Mr. Belinsky has taught professional ballet companies and many schools, he has 18 years in Ballet, Pointe, Solo variations, Pas de deux, Character Dance and Partnering.
Slava successfully organized tour to Germany for Woodbridge School of Dance inc. VA.
Rodney was trained at the Laurinburg School of Dance Arts, South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities, and Crystal McInnis School of Dance. He has performed with Crystal McInnis’ Senior Company and Werk! Contemporary Dance Company. In addition to performing he has served as captain and assistant choreographer for the Marlboro County High School Dance Team and was pageant director and chorographer for Delta Sigma Theta Jabberwock. Rodney spent last season with the Proia Dance Project. This is his first season with Ballethnic Dance Company!
Rebekah began dancing at the age of 12. She has had the time of her life dancing with incredible people in incredible places doing incredible work! She committed her whole life to dance and has loved every minute of it! Over the past year Rebekah took a step back to finish internship for a new career path and is super excited to be coming back to teach at BAPA!!
Jayme grew up in Pittsburgh, PA where she started her dance training at Pittsburgh Youth ballet under the direction of jean Gedeon. There she performed stars and stripes, valse fantesie, serenade, and western symphony. While in school she also studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. After high school she joined North Carolina Dance Theatre under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefeaux and Patricia McBride as an apprentice. while at NCDT, Jayme performed Jean Pierre’s nutcracker and Cinderella, Mark Diamond’s Little Mermaid, and Balenchine’s Ramonda and Union Jack. Before coming to The Georgia Ballet, Jayme danced for a year as a member of the Ballet Theatre of Maryland where she performed many pieces choreographed by the artistic director Diana Cuatto. Jayme has attended summer programs on scholarship to Chautauqua Institute, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Allison McDowell is thrilled to be joining the BAPA family! After growing up in Marietta, she has just moved back after spending many years in NYC. She made her Broadway debut as an ensemble member of “Chicago” the musical. Other professional credits include the National/International Tours of “La Cage Aux Folles” and “Chicago”. Regionally, she has done “Grease” and “Peter Pan” at The Muny (St. Louis), “A Chorus Line” at Sacramento Music Circus, and most recently, “Idaho! A new American Musical” at The Smith Center (Las Vegas). She is a proud alumni of The University of Michigan, graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre.
Jennifer is a teacher, choreographer, actor, singer, and dancer originally from Huntsville, AL. She began her dance training at Performing Dance Arts, and was a member of their Danz Artz Company for many years. She continued her training at the University of Alabama and was a company member of Dance Alabama. She lived in NYC for 3 years and continued to study dance at Steps, Broadway Dance Center and New Dance Group under many dance greats, such as Frank Hatchett, Stephen Harding and Brenda Bufalino. As a choreographer and dancer, Jennifer’s work has been presented in various productions all over the country. She most recently choreographed Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s hit production of Cats at the Cobb Energy Centre of Performing Arts. Other Atlanta Lyric Theatre choreography credits are Damn Yankees, White Christmas, and Annie. Jennifer was also the choreographer for the Atlanta Symphony POPS! productions of A Very Merry Holiday Pops and Classic Soul, and will be choreographing this year’s holiday production as well. As an actor, she has performed with The Gallery Players (NYC), Alliance Theatre Company (Atl), Theatreworks (National Tour), Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Theatre in the Square (Atl), and many others across the country. Favorite roles include Miss Dorothy (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Erma (Anything Goes), Lucy (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Rosie (Bye Bye Birdie), and Sister Amnesia (Nunsense). In NYC, she co-coordinated “Behind the Scenes Broadway,” an education program through which students workshop material with Broadway performers and choreographers. Jennifer has been teaching dance and acting for over 19 years now, and she holds a B.A. in Theatre and Dance from The University of Alabama.
A local resident in the Metro Atlanta area, Jerrod Royster has been teaching and choreographing for 10 years. He is proficient in styles of Ballet, Jazz, Theater, Hip Hop, Modern, Contemporary, Lyrical and Tumbling. Jerrod has danced professionally for Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disney Cruise Lines, Disney Channel, and in other various shows and music videos. He was a principal dancer at Central Florida Ballet and trained as young boy at Huntsville Ballet Company. Jerrod is excited and honored be joining the BAPA staff
Jey Sadeckas has been dancing since she was 18 months old. Beginning with a Mommy and Me ballet class, she went on to take classes in tap, ballet, jazz, and lyrical as well as occasional classes in any style of dance she could expose herself to including ballroom, hula, capoeira, clogging, belly dancing, and many more. Jey has a true passion for dance and an interest in all forms of dance throughout the world. She grew up dancing in Marietta, GA and was a member of a local studio’s tap and jazz competition companies. Teaching at various studios, Jey has been an instructor of tap, jazz, and musical theater dance for all ages and abilities for many years.She graduated Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Dance and a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Design Tech. Jey has also received an Associate’s degree in Management Supervisory Development from Chattahoochee Technical School. While at KSU, Jey was a member of the Kennesaw State University Dance Company and served the company as both a dancer and a stage manager for multiple seasons. This will be her 10th year teaching at the British Academy of Performing Arts and her greatest joy in life is watching her students grow and gain self-confidence through their dance.
Aleena Shah began dancing when she was 3 years old at The Academy of Ballet Arts (now known as the British Academy of performing Arts – BAPA). Aleena danced with the pre professional dance company, The Academy Dance Company, for 8 years as a junior and senior level dancer. She danced through her senior year of high school. Aleena graduated from Lassiter High School before attending Kennesaw State University where she will be graduating in the fall 2016 with a degree in communications and a minor in marketing. Aleena has been on the BAPA staff for 4 years working in the office, teaching summer camps and teaching 2-12 year olds ballet, tap and jazz.
I have often thought about what true beauty is and have come to the conclusion that it is the soul expressing itself through an instrument, whatever instrument that may be. When I dance, I create something beautiful, and this artform, along with all others, has always been meant to enlighten and inspire.After earning scholarships for dance to the Joffrey Ballet School for summer classes and another to Dance Masters of America for a monetary award,I pursued a career as a dancer in musical theatre productions including “More Glitz”, a repertoire of performances to songs from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, “The Great Gleason”, a show that took the audience back in time, revisiting skits from the Gleason Show, and “Broadway Showstoppers”, a show that toured New Zealand, highlighting a collection of performances to some of the best songs from Broadway theatre.As an instructor at BAPA, I am thrilled to be able to teach what I treasure. The thought of being able to pass on the ability to produce,what to me is true beauty, is priceless, and whether my students pursue a career in dance or become more educated and appreciative of this artform, I will have accomplished my goal. I look forward to a great year!
Bethany Butts Elias
A Marietta native, Bethany Butts Elias began dancing at The School of Dancing Arts and continued her early training at the Academy of Ballet Arts (now BAPA). She was a member of the Academy Dance Company for seven years, dancing many principal and leading roles. She later attended Birmingham-Southern College where she also performed many leading roles under the training of prima ballerina Mira Popovich. Bethany graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Dance Performance and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduation, Bethany was asked to join the Georgia Ballet. She danced professionally for six seasons with the GAB, performing as Myrtha in Giselle, Dewdrop in The Nutcracker, Carlotta Grisi in Pas de Quatre, and Amour’s Blessing in The Sleeping Beauty among others. Bethany also danced professionally for two years with the City Ballet of Los Angeles in California and has performed with LA Unbound. In addition to performing professionally, Bethany has been the assistant choreographer for Scary Movie 5 and has set choreography on CRound Danceworks, The Georgia Ballet’s professional company, Long Beach Ballet, and many other studios locally and on the west coast.
Bethany has been teaching dance for over fifteen years. She teaches ballet, pointe, variations, pas de deux, modern, jazz, and tap for all ages. She has choreographed and set many ballets on the Academy Dance Company including The Nutcracker Swings, Cinderella, Coppelia, Giselle, Rapunzel, The Wizard of Oz, The Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and The Winter Polar Express.
Kelsey, a Marietta native, received her training at the British Academy of Performing Arts and The Georgia Ballet School. While training with The Georgia Ballet School, Kelsey has performed in classical pieces such as The Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadère. In addition to classical pieces, Kelsey enjoyed performing in contemporary ballets created by Janusz Mazon. She has attended summer intensives at Carolina Ballet, The Georgia Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Atlanta ballet. Kelsey is currently a company member with The Georgia Ballet. Kelsey is very excited to begin teaching at British Academy of Performing Arts!
Katie Wright, an Atlanta native, found her passion for dancing when she was only four years old and hasn’t stopped dancing since. Katie grew up dancing in Fayetteville, Georgia with The Georgia Youth Ballet, taking dance lessons almost every day from the time she was in elementary school all the way through high school. Her senior year she had the opportunity to live in Philadelphia, PA and train with The Rock School for Dance Education. Here she had the privilege to participate in Outreach for children, perform with the Pennsylvania Ballet, dance in New York City, and even perform with the Delaware Opera. After graduating, Katie went on to dance professionally with The Washington Ballet for the next two years. Here she performed in Giselle, The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, and many other famous ballets. A chronic injury prematurely ended Katie’s professional career. Since then she has enjoyed sharing her passion and love for dance by teaching at various studios around the Atlanta area. Katie is also happily married and now a proud parent of a little girl who keeps her on her toes!
Irina graduated from one of the best Moscow dance school’s “Young Moscower”. Her teachers were graduates from Bolshoi Ballet, professional dancers from Moiseev ballet, Beroizka. After graduation from high school in Irina worked for next two years as a professional dancer for Moscow State circus ballet.
In 1984 she was accepted at Moscow University of Chemical Technology, where she received her Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering; while she was student, she became one of the founders and coaches of dance group “Contrast” (Moscow State University). For next 5 years she provided dance training to students, created shows: “Little Prince”, “Don Quixote” and many other dance compositions. In 1990 Irina relocated to the USA. While she was working at the chemical plant as a laboratory manager, she started teaching part time at Cobb Dance academy.
Irina has three kids; when her first two kids were little, she took a break from her professional life and started working as a paraprofessional teacher at special needs class (Cobb County school district). At that time she decided to incorporate her experience into teaching dance to kids with special needs. For eleven years Irina was leading class for kids with physical disabilities at GDC.
In 2003 Irina started her career as an accountant. However, dance is still very important part of her life. In 2013, she became dance teacher for Solo Russian School of art in Atlanta, where she developed educational dance program for kids ages 3-10. Throughout last 20 years Irina was teaching at Centre studio at Acworth, Kennesaw Recreational Center, Bravo, Georgia Dance Conservatory.
She is looking forward to bringing her love for dance to BAPA.
Peter Powlus’ experience is extensive, it includes several Performing Arts Magnet Schools throughout Georgia: Avondale High School/Dekalb County Performing Arts Magnet School, Pebblebrook High School/Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts, and Davidson Fine Arts High School in Augusta, GA.
He has frequently been a guest teacher/choreographer at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program and has participated in workshops throughout the region, including Greenville Ballet, Tennessee Dance Association, and the University of South Carolina Summer Dance Institute. Peter was the Jazz Dance instructor for the 1991 and 1996 Southeast Region RDA Festivals, where his singular technique and style were offered to hundreds of students from throughout the southeast.
Peter has served the Georgia community as a member of the Georgia Council for the Arts Dance Panel for Organizational Grants and on the Greater Augusta Arts Council. He was recognized by GAAC with the Individual Artist of the Year Award for 2006, having been nominated by his peers. Peter served The Augusta Ballet as Associate Director and Resident Choreographer from 1994 until 2006.
He then assumed a role with the Augusta Players as Artistic Director for two years. He recently filled the role as the Fine Arts Conservatory Director at Augusta Preparatory Day School where he also taught Dance and Introduction to Drama through the conservatory, as well as contributing choreography to the Upper School musical productions.
Peter also served on the Jazz and Tap faculty of the Augusta Ballet School for 18 years.
Rona D. Roberts
Rona D. Roberts was born on the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Under the tutelage of Atti van den Berg Bermudez—an accomplished dancer/choreographer, Rona developed a love for dancing and acquired this along with other theatrical performances at the age of six. From the age of nineteen she has taught classical ballet, modern, jazz, and Afro-Caribbean dances. Later performing with Otis “Sule” Alexander’s Street Theater, Inc. and then with Umoja African Dance Ensemble, Rona crafted an artistic style rooted in urban and contemporary modern dance. In 1989-1994, Rona co-founded Rhapsody Performance Ensemble while attending Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She was the group’s artistic director and principal choreographer. Her repertoire included several familiar musical dance renditions such as Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and “SundayMornin”, along with the colorful and lively Bele dance. Poetry then was incorporated into the program and many “poetry corners” were formed. Poems from the Harlem Renaissance period were eloquently presented, including poems by Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the late contemporary poet Maya Angelou. While a teacher at the Woods-Wilkins Center in Marietta, Rona recognized the hidden and workable talents in her students. This became the birth of the CrossRoads Players, and was quite a success from 1998-2000. Rona then moved to pursue her doctoral degree. She accomplished her goal and today holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from The University of Southern Mississippi. Presently, Rona is employed as an educator at Marietta High School and guest lectures at the university level. Rona loves teaching at BAPA each summer.