Esther Darden was born in Atlanta, Georgia and began dancing at age six. Her early training was at Dancers Studio Backstage (Jonnie Kelly) and Dance Centre South (Marcus Alford and Annie Day). After high school, she studied at Atlanta Ballet and Georgia Ballet, performing in Jazz on Tap, Picollo Spalleto Festival, Nutcracker with a Swing, and the Nutcracker of Cherokee County. In 2007, Esther attended a missions school, YWAM (Youth with a Mission), in Budapest, Hungary, where she studied and performed at public and professional performances throughout Hungary, Egypt, and India. In 2010, Esther trained with Sterling Theatre in Kansas City and attended the School of Dance Studies in Lakeside, Montana, where she was introduced to Modern technique and studied under Randall Flinn and Steve Rooks. Esther was most recently a member of Refuge Dance Company. In addition to directing Peachtree Dance, Esther teaches Ballet, Pre-Pointe, and Pointe, and choreographs for Peachtree Dance Company. Outside of dance, she has a huge heart for missions and is also a very talented singer!
Slava Belinsky, born in Chisinau, Moldova, received his Ballet training from the famous Bolshoi School in Moscow, Russia and Kiev Academy of Ballet in the Ukraine. He spent 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 Teatrul National de Opera si Ballet (Republic Moldova). Since 1991, Slava has performed with the following American dance companies: Pennsylvania Ballet, Dance Theatre of Wilkes- Barre, Russian Ballet Theater of Delaware, and Manassas Ballet Company. His repertory includes Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Raymonda, Coppelia, Cinderella, La Bayadere, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote. He toured in the USA with "Russian Roulette Show" and has performed in works by Daniel Baudendistel of the Joffrey Ballet, Robert La Fosse of New York City Ballet, and Leslie Brown of American Ballet Theater. Mr. Belinsky is praised for his commanding and charismatic presence on stage as well as his classical technique. He brings 30 years of international experience as a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer. Mr. Belinsky teaches Ballet and Pointe.
Patrick Condon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance Studies from Brenau University. While at Brenau, he performed with the Gainesville Theatre Alliance in their production of Chicago in 2014, as well as almost all Brenau University Dance Department performances. He has worked with renowned dance choreographers such as Vincas Greene, Carl Flink, Madia Cooper and Kristy Nilsson. Patrick originally came into the arts by studying Musical Theatre at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, Florida, where he was born and raised. While there, he performed in a professional production of Sound of Music and many musicals put on by the Maltz’s Conservatory of Performing Arts such as West Side Story, Pippin, Cats, and Bye Bye Birdie. Patrick is trained in Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Ballroom, and Spanish.
LaMia Dingle is from Camden, New Jersey, and a graduate of the city’s first arts high school. She attended the University of the Arts Philadelphia where she trained vigorously in ballet, modern, jazz and other cultural dances. LaMia’s artistic flare was recognized by recording artist, Jill Scottwhen she was in high school and was asked to appear as lead dancer in Ms. Scott's directorial debut music video. Always an avid student of hip-hop, LaMia delved into the dance style more intensely after joining Face Da Phlave, a Hip Hop company that focuses on pure hip-hop movement and positivity. Through Face Da Phlave, LaMia has trained in the styles of locking, popping, breaking, and house. She has also performed as a dancer for the Garden State Dance Festival’s repertoire company, Philadelphia's Putty Dance Project, and Project Dance in Washington D.C. LaMia has also performed and taught internationally with a non-profit arts organization in Philadelphia, where was the Director of Dance for youth and Co-Artistic Director and Writer of stage productions "Isola's Champion" and "Love's Journey". She and the group utilized dance and theater as an instrument of education for young women in Liberia, West Africa. LaMia possesses a hands-on professional and results-oriented passion. In addition to teaching at Peachtree Dance and around the Metro Atlanta area, LaMia is also the Executive Director and Co-found of REVEAL Movement Company. She brings with her nearly a decade of experience in the dance environment as an instructor, program developer, and project manager, as well as twelve years of intense training in various dance forms.
Sarah Emery is founder and artistic director of Watershed Dance Theatre. Her choreography has been set on various companies and schools in the United States including Canton Ballet, Delaware Dance Company, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Open Door Studios and Moving Poets Charlotte. Most recently, Sarah created a new work in collaboration with Dance Canvas and The Georgia Ballet. Sarah was the project tier recipient of the Choreography Connection Award through Regional Dance America’s Choreographer Intensive 2017. She has had the privilege of assisting in the staging of Martha Graham’s 1935 ballet, Panorama, under Kim Jones, former Martha Graham dancer. Sarah has taught ballet and contemporary dance for many schools over the past 20 years including Atlanta Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, Open Door Studios and Ponte Vedra Ballet and Dance Company. The majority of Sarah's professional dance career was with the contemporary and multi-disciplinary dance company, Moving Poets Theatre of Dance in Charlotte, North Caroline. Sarah was a principal dancer with Moving Poets for eight years under the direction of Till Schmidt-Rimpler and was brought on as co-artistic director from 2013-2015. Greatly influenced by the Moving Poets’ multi-disciplinary works, artist collaboration is frequently at the core of her work. In addition to the Moving Poets, Sarah’s professional career includes North Carolina Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet), Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Omaha Theatre Ballet, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, Alban Elved Dance Company and Echo Contemporary Dance Company. Sarah received her training from the North Carolina School of the Arts (now UNCSA) and studied under Balanchine prima ballerina, Melissa Hayden. She has studied with the Boston Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet in Budapest, Tidewater Ballet Association, The Governor’s School for the Arts, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane summer intensive, American Dance Festival, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Sarah also works as a graphic designer and received her BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She is thrilled to join the faculty at Peachtree Dance.
Lyrric Jackson is a Georgia native who began her dance studies at a small Georgia-based studio at age four. She is a 2013 Dance Performance graduate of Spelman College. While at Spelman, Lyrric studied Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Dance History and Research, and Choreography under Kenneth Green, T. Lang, Meredith Moore, Otis Sallid, and Kathleen Wessel. Lyrric performed with the Spelman College Dance Theatre Company for three years and choreographed for four of the concerts presented during her time with the company. She served as an administrative intern for Staibdance Company for one year under the supervision of George Staib. She also served as a Dance Pedagogy student teacher for Kathleen Wessel at Spelman. Lyrric has been a production assistant for a number of shows and events, including assisting with choreography for the original musical performance "I've Known Rivers", created and conceived by Kenneth Green for the 92nd birthday celebration of Dr. Joseph E. Lowery. Lyrric holds a Masters in Arts Administration, and is currently pursuing a second Masters degree in Fashion and Luxury at SCAD. Her dream is to develop an environmentally conscious and responsible athletic and dance wear brand. In addition to teaching at Peachtree Dance, Lyrric is also a dance instructor for the Fulton County Southwest Arts Center, a current company member of the Okwae A. Miller dance company, and serves on the Board of Directors for T. Lang Dance.
Ivy Kilpatrick began her dance journey at nine years old at Pine Crest School in South Florida. There she was trained in Advanced Ballet and Pointe, performed in several productions, and taught various classes and rehearsals for ages 5-18. Ivy graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor's of Arts in Dance & Movement Studies. Throughout her college career, Ivy taught Ballet as a Teaching Assistant and Hip Hop as a choreographer and co-president of Adrenaline Dance Crew. She also performed with the Emory Dance Company. Since graduating, Ivy has taught Ballet and Hip Hop in Metro Atlanta, as well as choreographed, directed, and performed for Building Bridges Benefit Concert at 7 Stages Theater. She specializes in Ballet, Hip Hop, and Modern Dance.
Deseree Lona started dancing at the age of 2 and started competitively dancing at the age of 5 for The Dance Place in Whittier, CA. Growing up in a single parent household, a combination of her faith and dance kept her grounded. She was a four-year varsity dance team member and captain in high school, then went on to earn a Dance Degree from Long Beach State University in three years. In 2015, she was selected as the youngest member of the Los Angeles Laker Girls. As a professional dancer, she had an opportunity to share her passion and faith to the city of Los Angeles through charity events and community outreach programs. For the past four years, Deseree was a junior varsity head coach and choreographer. Under her direction, the dance team experienced a tremendous amount of success with an undefeated season and national champions in the 2017 and 2018 season. From 2016-2018, Deseree was the Dance Instructor for Saint Joseph’s High School to an enrollment of 600 young women. This position gave her unique opportunity to teach young women to express movement through the art of dance, direct and choreograph our school musicals, and host the annual spring dance performance. A recent transplant to Atlanta, Deseree looks forward to continuing to share her passion for dance through teaching young children the fundamentals of how to become the best performers they can be, as well as all lessons in life that dance can provide.
Jessie Matheson grew up in the south and has been dancing for 29 years. During high school, Jessie was a member of Impact Dance Company and Praise in Motion Dance Company where she studied under Kari Carter, Susan Banks Beebe, Tara Thibodeaux, and Amanda Neely. In high school, Jessie also trained with Ballet Magnificat! Jessie studied Dance at Palm Beach Atlantic University under Demetrius Klein and Eileen Hebron of American Ballet Theater, and she was a member of the PBA Dance Ensemble and guest artist with Klein Dance Company. While at PBA, Jessie studied and performed at American College Dance Festival, was a featured guest artist for the Annual PBA Women’s Conference, and was selected as a “Young Rising Star” by the prestigious Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. In 2007, Jessie attended The Ailey School in New York, then returned to Georgia to study under Ivan Pulinkala at Kennesaw State University. While a member of Kennesaw Dance Company, Jessie worked with choreographers Cecil Slaughter of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Kim Neal Nofsinger of Middle Tennessee State University. She was most recently a member of Refuge Dance Company, and is also a certified Barre instructor. Jessie teaches Modern and choreographs for Peachtree Dance Company. Outside of dance, Jessie loves spending time with her family, gardening, reading, and writing poetry.
Rachel Roy is a native of Georgia. She began her dance training at the age of 11 at the Woodstock School of Ballet. It was there, under the direction of Dana Crain, that Rachel found her love for dance. She gained her primary training through the Cherokee Ballet Theatre Company and Impact Dance of Atlanta, studying under Nicole Mickey, Susan Banks Beebe, and Tara Thibodeaux. While a member of the Cherokee Ballet Theatre Company, Rachel participated in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, a Lecture Demonstration series for area schools and libraries, as well as a number of community performances. Rachel went on to dance two years in Kennesaw State University’s Department of Dance while earning her degree, graduating with honors in Business Finance. She now resides in Atlanta, and in addition to teaching dance is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway. When not working, Rachel loves to travel and spends all of her free time traveling as far as she can, as often as she can.
Ashley Tripp, with freckles and thick brunette locks, is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who aspires to be a backup dancer for Justin Timberlake. Ashley's passion for dance began at an early age and flourished throughout high school and into college. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a double major in dance and journalism, she served with Cru in various roles including writing, event planning, and high school ministry. Ashley is ecstatic to start a new chapter in her career and have the opportunity to serve at Peachtree Dance and share her love of dance to students. Ashley teaches Hip Hop, Pre-Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Modern.
Suzanne Zoller has been dancing for 12 years and has been teaching and choreographing for five years. She is a classically trained singer, holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Georgia, and is a professional actor in the Atlanta area. Suzanne also has experience directing and choreographing musicals and plays for young actors of all ages. She is very excited to introduce and instill a love of dance in our youngest PDC dancers and to create some real triple threats in her Musical Theatrclasses! Suzanne teaches Musical Theater, Mommy & Me Ballet, Itty Bitty Ballet, and Pre-Ballet.