Alecia LaKernickAlecia Lakernick (Artistic Director)

Alecia is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Meredith College with a B.A. in Dance and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Campbell University with a B.S. in Spanish and K-12 education certification. As Miss Henderson 1992, she won the Talent Award at the Miss North Carolina Pageant & was a Top Ten Finalist. In 1987, as Miss Topsail Island, she captured the only Non-Finalist Talent Award at The Miss N.C. Pageant and was chosen as a member of the Miss NC Performing Troupe. Alecia toured 5 summers with Hoctor’s Dance Caravan as an instructor, performer and head coordinator for the Caravan Kid program. Studies include: N.C. School of the Arts, The Columbia City Ballet, Wake Forest University, Dance Theater of Fayetteville, Broadway Dance Center (NYC) and Steps (NYC). She has choreographed for Dance Caravan, Miss Henderson Pageant, Miss Erwin-Denim Pageant, Miss Topsail Island Pageant, Louisburg College, Vance Rec Players, Granville Little Theater, Lakeland Cultural Arts center, Broadway & Beyond Theatre Camp, Imagination Station, Vance County Show Choir, as well as, for high school majorettes & twirlers at Triton, Midway, Webb and Northern Vance. Alecia has judged for many dance and baton competitions including: Star Talent, Applause Talent, Stars of Tomorrow and Drum Majorettes of America. She is a certified judge and instructor for Drum Majorettes of America and has over 30 years experience teaching dance and baton.

Christian Donnelly Christian Donnelly

Christian Donnelly is an Equity actor, singer, dancer, and choreographer who received his education from the University at Buffalo where he was a BFA Music Theater major, as well as a member of the Studiowerks and Zodiaque Dance Companies.

His performance credits include Andy Lee in 42nd Street (National Tour), Don Lockwood in Singing in the Rain (The Crown, KS) Mike Costa in A Chorus Line (Artpark, NY), Gene Kelly in Change Partners (Musicalfare, NY -World Premier), Lucky in Dames at Sea (C-R Productions, NY), and Will Parker in Oklahoma! (Artpark, NY). Christian was also a Principle Dancer with the Northeast Ballet Company which saw him perform as a soloist in the CBS holiday special Melodies of Christmas, and be one of 3 dancers in Phillip Neal’s (NYCB) world premier of “Brotherhood”.

Christian’s choreography has been seen in productions by the Northeast Ballet Company, At Hand Theater Company (New York, NY), Cabaret in the Square (Buffalo, NY), the Miss North Carolina Pageant, the Rochester Association of the Performing Arts and the Paramount Theater (Burlington, NC) where he won the Pearl Award for Best Choreography. He was the Resident Choreographer for The Crown (KS) during the 2006 theater season. Christian has choreographed several full-length musicals for educational institutions and set choreography on competitive dance teams around the country.

Christian has been lucky enough to teach as a guest artist within the fabulous dance programs at Wichita State University, East Carolina University, and Elon University. He has taught for several different Dance Masters of America chapters, the Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive, the Kansas Dance Festival, and the West Side Manhattan YMCA Youth Theater Summer Camp.

This is Chris’ third year on the Ballet Arts faculty.

anna seagrave headshot crop 3Anna Seagrave

Anna Seagrave has an Masters of Fine Arts degree in Dance with an emphasis in Choreography from Mills College in California, as well as, a Bachelors of Arts degree from Springfield College in Dance, with minors in Theater Arts and Health Studies. She has been fortunate to study with Rachel Berman (Paul Taylor Dance Company), Shelley Senter, Molissa Fenley, Sonya Delwaide and Axis Dance Company.

She has taught in dance studios in California, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and is a graduate of the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Dance Education Training Course. Her choreography has been performed at Built in Stilts Dance Festival, Springfield College William Simpson Fine Arts Series, American College Dance Festival and may other venues around the San Francisco Bay Area and the New England region.

Anna is a member of the National Dance Education Organization and the founder and previous artistic director of Larkspur Dance Company. This is Anna’s second year on the Ballet Arts faculty.

linda myers headshotLinda Myers

Linda Myers has been clogging since age 9. She was a member of the Silverheel Cloggers in Randleman, NC and taught clogging classes there until mving to attend UNC-Chapel Hill. While an undergraduate at UNC-CH, she joined the NCSU Clogging team. In 2011, Linda joined the competitive clogging team Pride of Carolina Cloggers, where she continues to compete, perform and attend workshops. She currently competes in both the ACHF and Cadence competition sanctions with Pride of Carolina Cloggers. She was inducted into the American Clogging Hall of Fame All American Clogging Team at the 2012 World Championships. This is Linda’s third year on the Ballet Arts faculty.

sophia-headshotSophia Koinis

Sophia received a BA in dance from Hollins University, during which time she showed work at the Shutio Show and interned at Movement Research, both in NY. She has studied at the American Dance Festival (ADF) and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). Since graduation she has taught dance, yoga, and yoga-dance fusion in Mexico, Puerto Rico and New Mexico, where she also danced for the Buen Viaje Dance Company. Sophia is a Ballet Arts alum and we are thrilled to welcome her back and have her on our faculty!

Stacy M photoStacy Markham

Stacey won numerous regional, state and national titles in solo twirling, fancy strut, basic strut and over-all titles while competing at Drum Majorettes of America competitions. She also won the DMA Talent category with tap dance at state and national levels. Stacey earned many team awards as a member of the Conquistador’s Baton Corp/Dance Twirl Team and was later an instructor there. She was feature twirler for her high school marching band and has choreographed for high school and college twirlers. Stacy coached the Ballet Arts twirling teams to 1st Place victories at DMA Nationals, as well as seen her solo twirlers earn many awards at regionals, state and nationals. This is Stacy’s 7th yr. teaching baton and coaching the competitive baton teams at Ballet Arts.

Josie Benz Josie Benz

Josie has four years experience teaching beginning to advanced gymnastics, tumbling, and cheerleading to boys and girls of all ages at White Lightning Cheer and Tumble in Huntersville, NC. She was also a competitive cheerleader for 5 years, captain for two years and on the HS Varsity cheerleading team for two years. Josie is currently a senior at NC State University studying Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources and will graduate in May 2017. We are thrilled to welcome Josie to our faculty!

amy douglas 4abAmy Brown

Amy Brown Douglas originally from Norfolk Virginia, she now resides in Henderson. She is a graduate of Shaw University, in Raleigh. She has numerous years experience teaching and directing praise dance groups in churches and the dance studio setting. She is a certified elementary school teacher, who teaches in Granville County. This is Amy’s 14th year on the Ballet Arts faculty.

leah davis headshot cropLeah Davis

Leah Davis is originally from Fairfield, California and trained in the North Bay area of California, studying many styles of ballet while dancing with the Davis Ballet. She is RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) certified (by exam) and has performed in many productions for the Contra Costa Musical Theater Company. We’re excited to welcome Leah to the Ballet Arts faculty!

alexis brown headshot cropAlexis Brown

Alexis Brown began dancing at the age of two and started here at Ballet Arts in 1998. She was a member of the Ballet Arts ‘All Stars’ competition and performing Company. Alexis danced until she graduated from NC School of Science & Mathematics in 2010. After graduation, she attended NC State University, majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology. While at NC State University, she was a member of ‘Dance Visions’ Dance Company. During her time in the company, she was featured as a student choreographer. This is Alexis’ third year on the Ballet Arts faculty.


Aijia is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Dance. While at college, Aijia was on the dance team, was a student choreographer, interned in dance therapy and was a member of the National Honorary Dance Fraternity, Delta Chi Xi. She trained at Ballet Arts and was a member of the All Stars company. We are excited to welcome Aijia to our faculty!


?????????? Khaila

Khaila trained in Philadelphia at Bodies in Motion, studying ballet, jazz and hip hop. She won many solo and group awards at competitions, as well as, participated in numerous dance concerts and community performances. We’re excited to welcome Khalia to NC and to our faculty!

Monica Jones Kuznar Monica Kuznar – Guest Faculty

Monica has over 20 years of training in acrobatics, dance and baton. She is a graduate of ECU/FSU with a master’s degree in education. Monica was also a collegiate cheerleader at Campbell University. She was an instructor at Dancer’s Workshop in Sanford for many years, coaching their students to numerous overall awards and titles. Currently Monica is the cheer/tumble coach at Cleveland High School, an elementary school literacy coach and proud mother to Meredith Kuznar, who she coached to win numerous regional, state and national dance and talent awards.

Aaron ParkhurstAaron Parkhurst – Guest Artist

Aaron has almost two decades of tap dance experience under his belt. He received dance training in his hometown of Albany, NY. Working in NYC professionally for the past 10 years, he now calls the city his home. He is currently on faculty with a plethora of dance schools throughout the Northeast. He’s a guest instructor for Shuffles NYC, Dance Masters of America, as well as SLIDE, a week long tap intensive directed by Mike Minery. He also teaches private lessons in NYC and travels to choreograph and instruct master classes throughout the country. Aaron has also enjoyed a career in concert dance, working as a soloist and collaborator in NYC and in LA. He was a company member and soloist for AM Dance Project in New York City under artistic director Anthony Morigerato. He has performed at NY City Center in the 125th anniversary show for Capezio. He performed in Tap the Show, choreographed by Mike Minery, for 4 years including a national tour with the show, traveling to almost all 50 states. He was an associate choreographer and dance captain while on tour. Aaron has danced, choreographed, and entertained for corporations such as FedEx, Hershey Entertainment, and Gaylord Opry Entertainment among others. Favorite theatre credits: 42nd Street , White Christmas, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and My One and Only.

Melissa Panos CarneyMelissa Carney – Guest Artist

Melissa is an actress, singer, dancer and choreographer who hails from Park City, Utah. She fell in love with the stage as a classically trained dancer, dancing for multiple ballet companies across the United States and Europe including Ballet West, Eugene Ballet, and as a Principal Dancer for Ballet Long Island and Pirouettes. She has held dance contracts with both Cunard and Norwegian Cruise Lines, and spent many years dancing in various Disney productions such as Festival of the Lion King and Cinderellabration. Melissa received her training at the Ballet West Conservatory as a scholarship student under William F. Christensen. She also has studied with Masters such as Victoria Morgan (San Francisco Ballet), Ben Stevenson (Royal Ballet of London, Huston Ballet), and Violette Verdy (ABT, NYCB, Paris Opera Ballet). Currently, Melissa is in her 10th year as Artistic Director of Youth Performing Arts School’s Ballet Performance Company in Washington, DC.

Tricia Femolara-Zigarelli Tricia Femolara-Zigarelli – Guest Artist

Tricia grew up in Central New York and has been teaching for the past 10 years. Her early training was at The United Academy of the Performing Arts and Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University at Buffalo with a BA in Dance. While attending UB she was a featured dancer in the Zodiaque Dance Company and choreographed/performed for the young Choreographers Showcase and Dancers Workshop. She was a teachers assistant at UB for ballet and jazz classes and a demonstrator at departmental auditions for prospective students. She brought modern, jazz and lyrical pieces to perform in a choreographers showcase as part of C.O.R.E Dance Project in Auburn, NY. She has also set works on dancers at Absolute Dance in Auburn, NY. Tricia also performed for the American College Dance Festival in Buffalo and Pennsylvania. She has performed with Artpark in Lewiston, was a member of Giordano Jazz Dance of Chicago’s second company, and was able to tour with the main company.

Shelly IslerShelly Isler – Guest Artist

From Elma New York, Shelly has over 30 years of dance training, studying with numerous dance educators in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Acro, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop and Modern. Her love for dance began at Dance Spectrum in Depew, NY under the direction of Patty Neal. She continued her dance education at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) receiving a BFA Degree in Dance. While at UB she performed with the Zodiaque Dance Company. After graduating, Shelly began dancing professionally with Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. Some of her Choreography/Directing credits with BGW include; This is Oktoberfest, Miracles (2009-2013) and Deck the Halls (2009-2013). Directors/Choreographers Shelly has collaborated with include; Bob Penola, Minnie Madden and Phil Raybourn. Shelly is very passionate about dance, proper dance education and is excited to pass on her knowledge of and love for dance to others.

Tito HernandezTito Hernandez – Guest Artist

Tito is the Dance Education Director of the North Carolina Theatre Conservatory. He has more than 20 years of experience as a professional choreographer, actor, dancer, and educator. He made his Broadway debut in the Tony award winning musical Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. Other credits include Bob Fosses’ Dancin’, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, the National Tour of Evita and The Gingerbread Lady starring Oscar winner Shelly Winters. Tito has choreographed for Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, The Alley Theatre, Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and Disneyland. He has a long history with NCT, including choreographing productions of Evita, (starring Ray Walker and Lauren Kennedy), The King and I, (starring Lou Diamond Phillips) and NCT’s Summer Theatre Arts School (STAS). He is choreographer of NCT’s and BSS’s co-production of Disney’s High School Musical and the STAS 2007 production.

Christie DelaneyChristie Delaney

Christie is a performer, choreographer, director, and instructor originally from Buffalo, NY, and currently based out of Williamsburg, VA. She was trained in all styles of dance at the Univ. of Buffalo earning a BFA Degree in Dance. At UB, Christie was a member of Zodiaque Dance Company, Tap Teaching Assistant and Director of Dancer’s Workshop. Upon graduation, Christie moved to Williamsburg, VA to be the Dance Supervisor at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, performing in over 15 shows, mastering over 20 tracks as a swing performer, was rehearsal tech. and assistant choreographer. Other performing credits include: Six Flags, Spirit Productions and Darien Lake Theme Park Resort. Christie has taught workshops and master classes up and down the East Coast, sharing her love of tap dancing. She has choreographed productions for Opera in Williamsburg and ShowStoppers. She travels across the country adjudicating regional and national dance competitions. Currently, she is the Assistant Artistic Director of SI Dance, LLC, instructing and choreographing for their company, SIDanCo. Her choreography has won top awards at including Best Choreography, Critics Choice Nominee, Highest Scoring, and special judges awards.

Meredith Kuznar Meredith Kuznar – Guest Artist

Meredith has over 17 years of training in jazz, acrobatics, contemporary/modern, tap and ballet. She has won numerous overall high score awards in solo dance competition and spent several years as a member of the advanced competition teams at Cary Dance Productions and Dancers Workshop. She won the non-finalist Talent Award at Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen Pageant (part of the Miss America Pageant system) and has held the titles of Miss Tarheel’s Outstanding Teen and Miss Johnston County’s Outstanding Teen. Meredith is currently a Junior at East Carolina University pursuing a degree in nursing.