Faculty Bios

Grace Atkinson

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”.

Janelle Jones

Janelle Jones is originally from Virginia Beach. She began her training at Virginia Ballet Theater which later in her training, merged to 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. Upon graduation, she has performed globally. Janelle is now the Director of Churchland High School’s Dance program, and teaches throughout the Hampton Roads area.

Kaitlyn McMillion

Jennifer Teller

Joppa Whitehead

Miss Whitehead was raised in Portsmouth, Virginia and started dancing at the age of 13.  She trained locally with Andrei Yemelianov at Academie De Ballet, performing Variations from Markintanka, Swan Lake, Giselle, Esmeralda and Don Quixote. While training at Academie De Ballet, she also performed in The Nutcracker with the original Virginia Ballet Theatre. In 2009 she joined TRD, where she performed Graduation Ball, La Sylphide and Paquita. Alongside TRD, she was also able to dance with Todd Rosenlieb Dance company, which is a Hawkins and Graham based Modern company. Miss Whitehead has had the opportunity to perform in the International Tattoo, Virginia Musical Theatre in Oklahoma, Lyric Opera Virginia in King and I, and Virginia Symphony Chorus to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Stravinsky in Les Noces. Additionally, she’s worked with many choreographers including Joni Petre Scholtz, Elbert Watson, Ryan Corriston, David Keener, Janelle Spruill, Angela Brown Myers and Kendall Grant. She has also danced alongside company members from Louisville Ballet and Ballet San Juan. Miss Whitehead has attended summer intensives at Richmond Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Chacott Ballet in Yokohama Japan, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Complexions