Coastal Virginia's Ballet Academy and Company

 (757) 446-1401  Norfolk  and  Virginia Beach

Faculty Bios

Abigail Molina

Ashley Whitlinger is a native of Virginia Beach and a graduate of the Governor’s School for the Arts. She received her bachelor’s degree in Dance from Old Dominion University while also dancing for Virginia Ballet Theatre, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, and dancers and mina estrada. Ashley has taught for the past 15 years at private studios, ODU, and the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School. She is also certified to teach yoga (E-RYT 500) and has a passion for dance history.

Darion Flores began his dance training with the University of Hartford. Flores graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2014 with a concentration in ballet. He started his professional dance career with The Washington Ballet. Darion has since worked for companies, such as Orlando Ballet, United Ballet Theatre, and Royal Caribbean International.

Ema Amuial is a company member with Ballet Virginia’s professional company. Ms. Ema trained with Ballet Virginia and has performed many roles in “The Nutcracker”, “Coppelia”, “Sleeping Beauty” and others. She attends Tidewater Community College and somehow also manages to teach ballet, modern and pointe in our Children’s Program, Lower School and Upper School.

Grace Atkinson has been directing, teaching and writing for Children’s Theater for 30 years. She majored in Theater Arts at Stephens College and became a professional actress with stage and television credits. Marriage turned her on to Children’s Theater. She has taught and directed in Toledo, Charlotte and Rochester. After returning to her hometown of Virginia Beach, she realized there wasn’t a Children’s Theater here. She founded the first one and called it “Theater for Kids/Teens”.

Hayley Ann Vasco is a company member with Ballet Virginia’s professional company. She has performed principal and soloist roles with Ballet Virginia, Maryland Ballet Theatre and Louisville Ballet. Ms. Hayley is also an accomplished professional photographer and holds a B.S in Archeology. We are proud to have her on faculty with our Adult Program.

Helen Gault has graced the stages of many Hampton Roads venues with her work with Ballet Virginia and Virginia Ballet Theatre. She danced many principal roles with Ballet Virginia including Sugar Plum Fairy, Princess Aurora and Snow White. We are thrilled to have her on faculty.

Iana Niknezhad is a current BVII (our second company) member. After years of assisting with classes, she is thrilled to be teaching her own Children’s Program class.

Jackson Kettell is a company member with Ballet Virginia’s professional company. He has performed principal and soloist roles with Ballet Virginia and Maryland Ballet Theatre. Mr. Jackson holds a BFA in Dance from the Jacksonville University. We are delighted to have him teaching at academy in our Upper School and Adult Programs.

Janelle Jones is originally from Virginia Beach. She began her training at Virginia Ballet Theater and then followed her teachers to be a part of the beginning of Ballet Virginia. She also attended the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts. After high school, she attended the Fordham University/Alvin Ailey American Dance School Program, where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance. Since graduating, she has performed globally. Janelle is now the Director of Churchland High School’s Dance program, and teaches throughout the Hampton Roads area.

Jared Allan Brunson received his initial training in West African song, music, and dance. His classical ballet education includes training with Boston Ballet, The Rock School, and Houston Ballet among others. Mr. Jared has danced professionally with Ballet X, Pennsylvania Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Memphis, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Jared was a guest artist with Ballet Virginia in 2022. After his impressive work, he was offered a contract with the company and is now an Associate Director.

Jennifer Teller was born in Manila, Philippines and later moved to Colorado where she began her ballet training at the age of two at Metropolitan Academy of Dance and then later at the International Ballet School. When she was 16 she received her first professional roles in David Taylor Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker where she danced eight different roles. Jennie was a featured dancer on the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance and then made her move to New York City when she received a contract with the world-renowned Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She danced on some of the most popular stages around the world including Russia, Latvia, and Israel and many more. With the company, she was part of music videos including Niall Rodgers and Jill Scott. During her second season with Complexions, she was asked to go to South Africa to be the guest artist at the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town and was also invited to teach and coach students all over South Africa. She lived there for half a year then returned to New York to dance with Complexions. She currently lives in Hampton Roads.

Kaitlyn McMillion started her dance training at the age of three in a small town in the Shenandoah Valley where she trained in classical ballet, tap, and jazz. She completed all twelve years of American Academy of Ballet’s ‘Performance Awards’ and performed in many full-length ballets. She also attended Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School for theater for two years. Her love for teaching started at an early age with assisting in younger classes and started her professional teaching career at eighteen. Kaitlyn also danced with the Charlottesville Ballet where she performed in their ‘Nutcracker Suite’ and ‘The Firebird.’ Soon after, she moved to Richmond, Virginia where she was a ballet instructor with Village Dance Studios for five years. There she choreographed many original pieces, including a yearly performance of The Nutcracker.

Lauren Sinclair is a graduate of the Kirov Academy of Ballet. During her ten-year professional dance career, Lauren performed with Ballet Austin, Virginia Ballet Theatre, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, and Elbert Watson Dance Company. She has a BS in Communication from Old Dominion University. Other certifications include Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 500), Mental Wellness Certified Dance Educator, Mental Health First Aider, Certified Pilates Mat instructor, Progressing Ballet Technique, and SugarFoot Therapy Injury Prevention for Dancers. Lauren teaches at ODU, Governor’s School for the Arts, and many other studios for Master Classes and Workshops in the Hampton Roads area.

Lily Postle

Rebecca Ailstock is a company member with Ballet Virginia’s professional company. She has performed principal and soloist roles with Ballet Virginia and other professional company. Ms. Rebecca holds a BFA in Dance from North Carolina School of the Arts. We are happy to have her on faculty.

Sophia Perrotti is a Ballet Virginia alumni. As a student, she was a member of BVII and danced many soloist roles. She continued dancing while earning a degree at William and Mary. We are happy to have her back with us teaching ballet and tap.

Sydney Caggiano is a company member with Ballet Virginia’s professional company. Ms. Sydney trained with Ballet Virginia and has performed many roles in “The Nutcracker”, “Coppelia”, “Sleeping Beauty” and others classical and contemporary ballets.


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