© 2019 by Ballet Arts & FItness

312 Merchants Walk, 4B, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406

205-246-0054

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ABOUT BALLET ARTS & FITNESS

 

Faculty & Staff

Alison Hollingsworth

Ballet Instructor, Master Teacher, Choreographer, Studio Owner

 

After the completion of her studies of  Vaganova ballet technique, modern, jazz, pedagogy, musicality, injury prevention and choreography with a concentration in performance skills at Birmingham Southern College,  Alison relocated to New York City where she continued to train, perform professionally, and teach. She had the pleasure of being on staff at Broadway Dance Center for many years in both the open adult division and youth division. During this time Alison also taught at Steps on Broadway,  private studios, and master classes in areas outside of the city.

Alison's approach to teaching was highly influenced by Master Teacher David Howard. And as such, her teaching is very kinesthetic and organic in order to help dancers use their bodies in the healthiest way and to maximize fluidity of movement. Through this approach much of the undesired stiffness and gripping that one so often sees in students can be avoided without sacrificing any strength.

After leaving New York City and before returning to Tuscaloosa, Alison spent several years in Seattle, choreographing and teaching at the college level and in the private sector. She is now sharing her love of ballet at her studio Ballet Arts & Fitness in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as well as through various outreach programs.

Naomi Shadix

Ballet Instructor, Instagram Guru

 

Naomi began her relationship with ballet at the age of 3 while living in Saudi Arabia. Her early training was primarily in English and American styles. Since then, Naomi has focused mainly on the Vaganova technique, studying with Debbie Spivey at Calvert-Brodie School of Dance, in Columbia, SC, and Rita Snyder and Rhea Speights at The University of Alabama.

 

Naomi performed under the direction of Rhea Speights for Synesthetic Arts, and part of a collaboration with Sans Pointe Dance Company.

 

She now trains extensively with Alison Hollingsworth at an advanced level, performing with Alison’s outreach ensemble.

 

Naomi is passionate about teaching other adults the joys of ballet with an emphasis on proper and safe technique.

Laura Fikes

Tap Instructor

 

Carmen Brown

Prima Ballerina Program Instructor, Youth Division Instructor, and Classic Jazz

 

Carmen Brown has both a strong dance background along with experience and a vested interested in working with kids. She grew up in a suburb of Detroit and started dancing at the age of 3.

 

Carmen studied ballet, tap, pointe, jazz, modern, musical theater, lyrical, and more under Anna Casali and Patrice Iannace at Casali School of Dance. She also gained experience teaching at the studio while she was in high school and competed both regionally and nationally at DanceAmerica, and Energy Dance competitions.

 

After high school, Carmen went to North Carolina State University, where she dabbled a little in ballroom dance, but continued her ballet and jazz technique, as that is where her passion lies.

 

Carmen is now a graduate student at UA, pursuing her PhD in developmental psychology. Her primary research focus is on school readiness in preschool age children. She is so excited to work with Alison to develop the Prima Ballerina program, as her passion for dance and experience and love of working with children coalesce with this incredible opportunity.

Lakbira Sheffield

Hip Hop Instructor

 

I grew up dancing at Heidi Knight School of Dance in Harvest, AL. During my 11 years there, I gained much experience in ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and a small amount of experience in tap.

 

Since graduating highschool in 2015, I have continued to improve my technique independently and have spent two summers taking open classes at HKSD.

 

I started dancing at Ballet Arts and Fitness this past spring in both ballet and jazz classes. This past Spring I also had the opportunity to perform with Ronald K. Brown’s company Evidence during their week-long residence at the Alys Stephens Center on UAB’s campus.

 

I love an upbeat class and believe above everything, dance should be fun and open to everyone.

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Sarah Escobar

Ballet Instructor

 

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Jenna Hart

Prima Ballerina Program Instructor, 

Jenna was 5 years old when she began her dancing career at Crystal Coast School of the Arts in Morehead City, North Carolina. It was here that she discovered her love of ballet while also taking classes in tap, jazz, and lyrical. Due to her father’s military assignments leading her family to relocate often, Jenna always found a studio to train at no matter where she went. At the age of 15, she was an apprentice in a ballet class for 3 and 4-year olds at In His Steps Studio in Pensacola, Florida. While working with this group, Jenna recognized her passion for creating an encouraging and positive environment for even the youngest of dancers, much like she experienced from an early age.

Jenna spent her late teenage years in College Station, Texas working on her associate degree and majoring in American Sign Language. At this time, Jenna realized how difficult it was to find adult ballet classes offered in her community. It wasn’t until Jenna moved to Tuscaloosa that she found Ballet Arts and Fitness. She began training in adult classes under the instruction of Alison and discovered an even deeper love for ballet. Ballet Arts has created multiple opportunities for Jenna, including fulfilling her lifelong dream of dancing on pointe.  

Jenna is currently working on her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Alabama. She is excited for her future career in education as well as the opportunity to work with children in the studio.

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Melaina Rairamo

Substitute Instructor

Melaina Rairamo is a Musical Theatre major at The University of Alabama. She is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota where she studied behind the top dance instructors in the city, these include: Breaking Boundaries Dance Company, Minnesota Dance Theatre and The Saint Paul Ballet. Melaina’s theatre credits include: The Guthrie Theatre, The Virginia Samford Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre and The Artistry Theatre. She is very excited to work with Ballet Arts and Fitness and share her love of dance! 

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Gillian Gray

Preschool Classroom Assistant

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Rachel Cass

Preschool Classroom Assistant

 

Benefits of Ballet

Ballet is a beautiful art form that to the casual observer appears effortless. Dancers appear to float, glide, and soar across the stage. It is only through proper technique and dedicated training that we are able to create such an appearance. It is hard work and long hours yet there is no greater feeling than when you are floating, gliding, and soaring!

In addition to the wonderful benefits of performing, ballet training has so many other benefits to students both adult and child. The discipline it takes to study and train in ballet gives us the foundation to stick with things regardless of how hard they seem. It shows us what incredible things (even as small as finally getting a knee straight) we can accomplish if we persevere. It teaches students how to set a goal and strive until it is reached. I have seen many student’s faces light up with pride and triumph when they finally “get” something. Ballet can instill such a sense of pride in ourselves and our bodies thus giving us confidence which carries through all aspects of life.  I always leave class feeling “lighter and brighter” of spirit and mind.

Ballet can also help create a healthy body and lifestyle through consistent exercise. Ballet creates a very strong core, good posture, strong muscles, and helps increase flexibility, coordination and agility. We know that children who exercise are in better physical health and that often creates healthy habits they will carry into adulthood. As adults, exercise helps maintain healthy body systems as well and reduces stress. It is also a wonderful way to make new friends in a like minded community!! 

It is clear that I love ballet. I enjoy performing, taking class and teaching class and I believe all of that comes through in my studio. I encourage my students to work hard, ask a lot of questions, and laugh a lot because to me that is the best way to learn!

 

 

 

Our Philosophy

I, Alison Hollingsworth, have been teaching Classical Ballet in New York City, Seattle, Washington, and Alabama for over 20 years and I cannot imagine anything I would rather be doing. I teach students from all walks of life including children just having fun to those destined to be professional dancers to adult beginners to retired professional dancers and they all have one thing in common. They just want to dance! It is my privilege, as a teacher, to take each student at their level and add to their technique, enjoyment and understanding of dance in whatever aspect they need. Although we work diligently you will find my classrooms erupt in laughter often. Learning is serious business you know!

I was fortunate to have a teacher early on in my career who molded the way I approach teaching. While she turned out many professional dancers she believed anyone with the desire to dance could do so. The restrictions of age, body, and flexibility were outdated notions to her. It was the teachers job to explain how to best use what you were given and what muscles to use. She was an incredible technician who could explain anything. Granted, she didn’t mean everyone could be a professional dancer as so many factors play into that, but that everyone could be technically proficient and have the joy and expression of ballet. I have gratefully taken this with me in my teaching and see her words flourish around me.

My goal as a teacher is to help each student achieve their best. Ballet offers us so much in the way of artistic beauty, confidence, challenges- both mental and physical, strong healthy bodies, work ethic, coordination and so much more. Everyone, child or adult, should have the opportunity to try it whether it be through ballet class or ballet fitness. So, come try a class and laugh and learn!  Please see what other students are saying!  Foster child program, need based scholarships, and work study positions are available.  

 

 

 

 

Weather Policy

It is the policy of this studio to follow the City of Tuscaloosa School System for severe weather closures whenever possible. This applies to all weather situations including but not limited to the threat of wintry messes and tornados.

 

This means if the city school system lets out early, cancels after school program, or is closed for the entire day the studio will also be closed during those times. If the schools are on a delayed start the studio will also be closed during those hours. If the threat occurs outside of school activity hours I will make a conservative call based on the weather report as it is presented.

Forecasts often miss the mark but I do believe it is better to be home safe than take chances getting to the studio. Thanks you for your understanding.