Dance Faculty

Esther Darden was born in Atlanta, Georgia and began dancing at age six. Her early training was at Dancers Studio Backstage and Dance Centre South. 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 also a member of Refuge Dance Company from 2012-2015. Esther teaches Ballet, and serves as the Director of Peachtree Dance. Outside of dance, Esther has a huge heart for missions, church history, and Christian apologetics. She is also a talented singer! 

Morgan Beane, a Detroit Michigan native, started dancing at the age of four. She grew up training in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, and contemporary styles.  Morgan knew from a very young age that dance would always be a part of her life. She spent two years training with the Michigan Ballet Theatre before attending Marygrove College. It was there that she earned her Bachelor's degree in Dance while contributing as a member to the Nu Delta Alpha National Dance Honor Society. Morgan has taken a special interest in strength and conditioning to find the most effective cross-training methods for dancers to see improvement in strength, flexibility, and balance in their dancing. Her professional career includes Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II, Contexture Dance Detroit, Big Red Wall, and Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre where she has spent the last three years performing as both a soloist and ensemble member. Morgan is new to Atlanta and is excited to grow with the Peachtree Dance family. 

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. 

Alera Harrison has more than 21 years teaching experience. She is a certified teacher with the American Ballet Theater in New York, and is certified in Barre and meditation. Alera has developed new teaching programs and implemented them in the studio and beyond. As a dancer from age of two, she has enjoyed the mentoring of accomplished teachers, including Raymond Lukens, Ramazan Bapov, Natalie Sheychenko, Eileen Grace, and Carol Szkutek. With a passion for teaching the youngest ballerina, Alera choreographed, taught and staged a ballet piece for 4 year old dancers for a holiday performance by Martina McBride at the Fox Theatre. Having honored her skills as a teacher by instructing all levels from 2 year olds to Adult Ballet and Adult Pointe, she loves to share her love for ballet and proper technique. She especially enjoys teaching the beginning dancer, whether that student is two years old or an adult with a lifelong dream to dance ballet. Alera’s goal is to create a comfortable, easy going, non-competitive environment to engage her students in a continuing passion for ballet. She’s excited to empower those around her with breathing dance and movement.

Kristin Houser received the majority of her dance training at The Georgia Ballet School, under Gina Hyatt-Mazon and Janusz Mazon of the Hamburg Ballet. Kristin also trained at the Ballet Magnificat! School of the arts in Jackson, MS, and with Sallyann Mulcahy (student of Finis Jhung) in Helena, MT. Since 2004, Kristin has worked as a professional dancer, rehearsal assistant, choreographer, and instructor with The Georgia Ballet, Artisan Dance, Dance Canvas, Refuge Dance Company, and Praise in Motion. She graduated from Georgia Tech in 2008 with a BS in Management. Kristin lives in Candler Park with her two sons and two kittens, where she spends her free time riding bikes, building with Legos, and trying to keep the kittens off the counter.

Autika Johnson is a performer, choreographer, and dance instructor. Autika Johnson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from Valdosta State University. In time she served as a dance major Dance Captain, the coordinator and choreographer for the VSU Dance Club as well as the choreographer for ‘Blazin’ Beauties’ dance line, all while maintaining the University Deans List.

Johnson has since worked in the school system as a performing arts dance teacher for high school students. Where she started her own dance club at Dougherty Comprehensive High School by the name of D.D.C -Dougherty Dance Club- which is used to help build and mold leaders through the art of dance.

Autika Johnson has furthered her education at Full Sail University by obtaining a Master of Science Degree in Entertainment Business. While attending Full Sail University, Johnson establishes a passion for production. Johnson worked in production for WWE-World Wrestling Entertainment and served as a producer and stage manager for an organization called SPARK. In making a difference in her community, Johnson also serves as a member of Delta Phi Delta Dance Fraternity Incorporated and the dance instructor for non-profit organizations where she mentors young people through her passion for 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. 

Eshe' Liken is a sophomore at Kennesaw State University. She is working towards her major in musical theater, with a minor in dance. Eshe' began  dance 11 years ago, training mostly in Ballet, jazz, modern, and hip hop. Her experience has also included tap, and African dance. In 2019, Eshe' was a member of the KSU dance Company, where she was given the opportunity to choreograph for Regional High School Dance Festival. Additionally, Eshe' had the chance to perform at the 2019, Macy’s Tree Lighting!

René Nicole Nesbit has always held a great love of music and dance in her heart. Since the age of 6, she has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and modern. Beginning at Backstage Dance Studio in Las Vegas and continuing at The Ailey School in New York, René has studied with such talented teachers as Robert Atwood, Angelo Moio, Jacqulyn Buglisi, and Milton Myers. Over the years, Mrs. Nesbit performed in numerous musical theater productions, including the Off-Broadway tap show, "Break the Floor," and at the outdoor stage at Jacob's Pillow, as the youngest participant accepted into their jazz program. In 2015, René graduated cum laude from Fordham University in New York with a Bachelor of Arts. The following summer, René moved to the Atlanta area where she was quickly inspired by the diverse dance community. Her choreography has been showcased in NACHMO Atlanta, Fall for Fall Dance Festival, Dance ATL’s A.M. Collaborative, and Artz ‘N Park Festival. She is thrilled and honored to share her love of movement and music with a whole new generation of dancers, including her 3 year-old daughter.

Olivia Rowe is the founder and artistic director of The Esthete Collective. She is also a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher, and stage manager in the Atlanta area. As a performer, Olivia has had the privilege of working with local companies such as Fuerta Dance Company, City Gate Dance Theater, Ballet Southeast, Gotta Dance Contemporary, Refuge Dance, and the KSU Dance Company. She has been educated in dance at the Atlanta Academy of Ballet, Impact Dance of Atlanta, Balletmet Columbus, Nashville Ballet, and the Batsheva Dance Company. In 2018, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Kennesaw State University. In Stage Management, Olivia has worked on large projects with Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre and The Uncaged Dance Festival, which featured many local companies. In 2017, she was honored to work on the Vail Dance Festival. She currently enjoys working at the KSU Dance Theater as a freelance Stage Manager. Olivia’s choreography has been performed by The Esthete Collective in showcases such as Fall for Fall, FEMMEfest, Excuse the Art, 3 Contemporary Dance Project, and Palette Project. Her work has also been performed by the Kennesaw State University Dance Company and Ballet Southeast. As an educator, Olivia has fostered a love of dance in students of all ages around Atlanta. She is experienced in teaching classical ballet, contemporary, modern, pointe, lyrical, cross-training, and pas de deux. She incorporates pedagogical and kinesiological principles learned in her collegiate studies into all classes, encouraging safe and healthy practice. She is very excited to share her love of dance with the wonderful young artists at Peachtree Dance Atlanta this year!

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 15 years and has been teaching and choreographing for 7 years. She is a classically trained singer and is a professional theatre, film, TV, and commercial actor in the Atlanta area. Suzanne also has experience directing and choreographing musicals and plays for young actors of all ages. Suzanne fell in love with dancing at the age of 4 with the Gainesville Ballet Company in Gainesville, Georgia training under teachers like Jolie Long and Vincas Greene in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz until the age of 13. She fell in love a second time with musical theatre and put all of her energy towards finessing her triple threat skills. She pursued musical theatre at North Hall Middle and High School in Gainesville, Georgia and performed in plays such as Evita, Les Miserables, Grease, and many more. She transferred to The Dance Company in Gainesville, Georgia during those years to continue her dance education while she studied classical voice with Vanessa Hyatt-Fugate and acting with Jan Ewing. She went to the University of Georgia where she received her BA in Theatre and studied various acting techniques such as Stanislavski Method, Alba Emoting, Meisner, and Laban and took Voice for Non-Majors and Dance for Non-Majors. While at UGA, she began acting professionally with Circle Ensemble Theatre and Rose of Athens Theatre in Athens, Georgia and received leading roles in Into the Woods and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. She is so excited to start another year with Peachtree Dance and can’t wait to see what amazing things happen!

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