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.
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.
Aleena Shah began dancing when she was 3 years old at The Academy of Ballet Arts (now known as BAPA). Aleena trained with the pre-professional dance program, The Academy Dance Company, for 8 years, until she graduated from Lassiter High School. Aleena graduated from Kennesaw State in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a minor in marketing. Aleena is now beginning her Master's program at Louisiana State University Shreveport to obtain an MBA in General Business.
Aleena has been teaching at The British Academy of Performing Arts for five seasons as a member of staff, and her second teaching and rehearsing ADC dancers. Aleena teaches an age range from 3 to 18 year olds tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theatre dance and she works in the office.
She is excited to be starting her sixth season here at BAPA and cannot wait to meet and inspire her dancers to be the best version of themselves possible!
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 Plumley is a choreographer, actor, singer, and dancer from Huntsville, AL. Her choreography has been presented in theatre and dance productions in New York City, Hawaii, Atlanta, Denver, Texas, Connecticut and Alabama. As an actor, she has performed with Gallery Players (NYC), Alliance Theatre Company (Atl), Theatre in the Square (Atl), Atlanta Lyric Theatre,Theatreworks (National Tour) and many others all over the country. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Alabama as a Theatre major and Dance minor, and she is a member of Actors’ Equity Association. Jennifer has had the pleasure of teaching dance, acting and musical theatre at BAPA for 14 seasons, she’s choreographed numerous musical theatre shows and dance performances; and loves teaching at BAPA!
Meaghan Gallagher Paetkau
Meaghan is a Cobb County native come home! She attended Pebblebrook High Schools CCCEPA where she majored in Voice and double minored in Dance and Drama and was a member of ComPAny. She studied Musical Theater at The Boston Conservatory and from there went on to have an 11 year career as a lead vocalist for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. She is trained in many styles of dance and singing, including ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, classical voice, Broadway, pop, country and soul. Meaghan is very excited to be back home, and sharing her creative artistry with others.
After Graduating from The Paris Opera Ballet School, Alexandre Proia joined the Boston Ballet. In 1984 he participated in the first NYIBC, which got him a contract with the New York City Ballet where he performed the company's extensive repertoire as a soloist and principal. In 1995 Alexandre was featured in the Drama Desk and Tony nominated Broadway musical; Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Graciela Daniele.) In 1996 he joined the Martha Graham Company as a guest principal. In 1998 he worked with choreographer Martha Clarke and originated roles in Vers La Flamme and Hans Christian Anderson. Alexandre's repertoire includes works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, William Forsythe, Robert Wilson, Donald Byrd and Violette Verdy. He has choreographed and taught for many companies and schools including The New York City Ballet, Paris Opera, Teatro Colon, School Of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Alvin Ailey School, Joffrey School, Juilliard and Steps on Broadway.
Candis A. Taylor
Originally from Durham, NC, Candis is a 2007 graduate of Virginia State University with a B.A. in Public Relations: Mass Communications. Candis has over 16 yrs of training in Jazz, Tap, Ballet and Modern from celebrated instructor/choreographer Nina Wheeler. As well as over 10 yrs of competition dance experience and is an award winning choreographer. Her love for Dance has enabled her to work under the instruction of legendary, African Dance Choreographer, Chuck Davis. She has also been allowed the opportunity to perform in London, England, appear in shows on BET, perform for concerts featuring several chart topping artist and choreograph for an episode of Drop Dead Diva. Her teaching career started in Virginia and has now moved to Atlanta, Ga. While in Atlanta, Candis has performed with the African American Dance Review and has become the co- owner of MOVE! Dance Workshops and Seminars; a traveling dancer workshop circuit giving extremely talented choreographers the ability to share there gift of dance with others in the dance community. Candis is also the co- owner of Distinguished Emeralds, LLC (DE Agency and Management); which she, along with your business partner Deandra Clarke, have provided talent for MTV, National Dance Competitions, and more.
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!
John holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance from the University of Georgia and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Arizona with a specialization in teaching and choreography. John’s interest in dance was piqued upon being cast in his first musical. After such time, he began studying all styles of dance where he discovered an affinity for ballet. He has performed professionally with Georgia Ballet and as a guest artist with Atlanta Ballet. In addition, he has performed with the Arizona Dance Ensemble, The UGA ballroom performance group, The UGA Repertory Company, and Atlanta Lyric Theatre where he was recently seen in Cats as Mistoffolees. John has also danced as a guest artist in a variety of different venues, dancing much of the classical male repertoire as well as a variety of contemporary works. John also teaches and choreographs locally where he has trained and/or coached three YAGP Top 12 finalists and has produced several locally commissioned works.
Peter has taught throughout Georgia, he is 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. He also 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. Peter has served on the Jazz and Tap faculty of the Augusta Ballet School for 18 years. He has been a guest teacher every summer at BAPA since 2012, we are excited to have him with us again this year!
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). 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. 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 joined BAPA in 2015.
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 been teaching ballet at BAPA since 2016.
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.
Hey dancers! My name is Jacob Gilbert and I am a student at Kennesaw State University with a major in Nursing and a minor in Dance. I have been dancing since I was 15 years old and have loved it ever since. I began in Hip-Hop and branched out to Jazz, Modern-Contemporary, and a little Ballet. Currently, I am a full time student as well as the president and founder of the Hip-Hop and Street Jazz Dance Club of KSU. My organization has over 60 members and we currently perform in and around the Atlanta Metro area. I have choreographed many pieces for my organization using Hip-Hop and Jazz elements. I am excited to bring my experience as a leader and teacher of dance to British Academy of Performing Arts. I look forward to meeting all the beautiful dancers here!
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!
Christina began her professional training at age 8 with ballet master Leonid Lubarsky from the Kirov Ballet. She spent many years with him as well at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, The Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts high school (CAPA), and The academy for Arts Science and Technology in Myrtle Beach. Christina also has a passion for choreography and acting. She has choreographed and performed both in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Christina teaches multiple forms of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, and contemporary. She has been a guest teacher for The Academy for Arts Science and Technology and has also instructed for Myrtle Beach School of the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh Ballet House, and North Pittsburgh Dance. Christina often coaches students for competitions such as YAGP; she is happy to be teaching on staff at BAPA.
Faith Stevenson serves as Director of Dance at Shorter University, teaching dance technique, dance history and dance appreciation, and choreographing for Shorter’s musical theatre productions and dance concert. A dancer and dance educator,she graduated with her Master of Fine Arts in Dance at the University of Hawaiʻi. Faith has taught and choreographed in the non-profit performing arts sector since 2003, teaching dance technique to youth and young adults, and choreographing for dance schools and performing arts programs. She has extensive and varied performance experience, especially in Modern, Ballet, and Jazz, and has toured nationally as Rehearsal Director, Choreographer, and Dancer. She is a member of the National Dance Education Organization. Faith is thrilled to be a guest teacher at BAPA.
Jonathan Bryant was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and has been living in Atlanta for several years. He grew being involved in the arts especially singing and dancing and decided that dance was his passion. His style is unique and is an expression of his personality through which he displays his visions and creativity through movement. Some of his inspiration for dance comes from artist such as Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Usher, Britney Spears and choreographers like Brian Freedman, Laurie Ann Gibson, Jamie King and many others. He has a love for teaching and choreographing and has been dancing professionally since the age of 16.
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.
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!!
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 choreographer for Delta Sigma Theta Jabberwock. Rodney spent last season with the Proia Dance Project. This is his first season with Ballethnic Dance Company!