CSU Youth Dance Conservatory - Faculty
Bridget Adams began her dance training with Jackie O’Neal School of Dance in Birmingham, Alabama with a concentration in ballet, jazz, and acrobatics. After 10 years of training and assistant teaching, she began teaching at Nix Dance Studio in Auburn, Alabama. It was here that she realized her passion for teaching dance, especially the beautiful, classical art of ballet. After completing her degree in Fine Arts from Auburn University in 2004, she moved with her husband Steve to Columbus, Georgia and began teaching and furthering her classical ballet knowledge at CSU Youth Dance Conservatory. Bridget has enjoyed performing many classical roles with The Columbus Ballet, YDC’s partner for classical performances. She has also been privileged to co-direct and direct many classical, modern, and original works with YDC and The Columbus Ballet over the past 14 years. Bridget is currently the Artistic Director of YDC as well as a seasonal artistic director for The Columbus Ballet. Above all this, the ability to share her passion for dance with young students of the Youth Dance Conservatory gives Bridget a joy beyond words.
Kylie Casino is originally from Akron, Ohio, where she trained pre-professionally with Northeast Ohio Dance and the Dance Institute of The University of Akron. She continued her training with The University of Akron’s dance department, where she was given the opportunity to perform choreography by Paul Taylor, David Parsons and Amy Miller. After graduating with her BA in Dance and dancing professionally for one year, Kylie realized she wished to continue her education as a teacher and choreographer. She went on to graduate with her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts with a focus in Dance from Goddard College in 2016. Since moving to Columbus in 2014, she's had the pleasure of choreographing for multiple productions for The Columbus Ballet, including The Nutcracker and Coppélia, staging her own versions of Paquita and The Firebird on students from Rising Starz in Auburn, AL and choreographing for East Alabama Community Ballet. In 2019, Kylie received a LocaL Choice Award nomination for "Favorite Choreographer." Kylie finds complete fulfillment through teaching and looks forward to sharing her love of dance with others.
Melissa hails from Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up dancing from the age of eight with Joanne Hughes Morscher at the Royal School of Ballet. Later becoming Great Lakes Youth Ballet, Melissa studied under Ballet National de Cubas' principal ballerina, Ana Lobe. Melissa participated in several prestigious ballet summer programs through-out her studies, including those with; The American Ballet Theatre, Balletmet and Canton Ballet. She also had the opportunity to perform with both the Houston Ballet and the Lake Erie Ballet for a singular performance series. In 2009, Melissa was accepted to Point Park University's dance program where she went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2013 with a ballet focus. During her time at Point Park, Melissa had the opportunity to experience exposure to professional companies like Thodus, River North, Texas Ballet Theatre, Sidra Bell, and Giordano. Versed in Vaganova and Cecchetti methods of ballet technique, Melissa continued her love of dance by teaching and choreographing at several studios over the next eight years with; Spotlight, Studio West, Center Stage Dance, South Sound Dance, Inspired to Move Dance Academy and Performance Dance Center. Returning to the Columbus Youth Dance Conservatory, Melissa is excited to work with each student on building strong, foundational techniques while fostering artistic creativity and the love of dance.
Noel Dupuis trained with the School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet Academy, Miami Conservatory and the Martha Mahr School of Ballet. During the early years of his career, he danced with the Atlanta Ballet, Southern Ballet Theatre, Memphis Concert Ballet and the Nashville Ballet prior to joining Ballet West as a Senior Artist. While at Ballet West, he was under the direction of Jon Hart and Jonas Kage and performed in a variety of ballets including Cinderella, Swan Lake, Peter Pan, and The Nutcracker. He also performed in a number of ballets choreographed by Ashton, Forsythe, Hans van Manen, Val Canniparoli and George Balanchine including Mid-Summers Night Dream as Lysander, Who Care’s, Four Temperaments and Allegro Brilliant. In 2003, Noel moved to the Louisville Ballet as a Soloist under the direction of Bruce Simpson. While there, he danced the role of Vronsky in Anna Karenina and as Arabian, Spanish and Waltz of the Flowers Cavalier in The Nutcracker. After two seasons, Noel moved to the Charleston Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer and Company Teacher. He performed as the Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Captain Hook in Peter Pan and Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Noël has had the privilege of performing at the 2002 Winter Olympics, Cultural Olympiad and the Sixth Annual China Arts Festival. Since 2006 Noel has been working as a freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer. Most recently finished filming a principle-dancing role in an motion picture.
Allie began her classical dance training at Community Ballet School in Huntsville, Alabama. From there she joined the Huntsville Ballet Company and Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre. While a member of AYBT’s Senior Company, Allie performed various principal roles such as the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Allie then went on to attend Auburn University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English-literature and minored in dance. As a member of the Auburn University Dance Ensemble, Allie performed principal roles and choreographed for the annual dance showcase. While in Auburn, Allie also worked with East Alabama Community Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. After graduating from Auburn, Allie moved to New York where she worked as the George Balanchine Trust and New York Choreographic Institute intern at New York City Ballet. Allie then returned to Auburn, where she now serves as one of the Artistic Directors for East Alabama Community Ballet and works closely with the Auburn University Department of Theatre’s Dance Ensemble.
Laura Johnson received the majority of her early training at The Dance Factory under the instruction of Mrs. Susan Fisher. She continued her training at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and received her B.A. in Dance and International Relations in 2001. Upon graduation, Laura attended the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC on a Young Artist Scholarship to continue her studies in modern dance. She continued her training while earning her M.A. in Performing Arts Management at American University in Washington, D.C. Since moving to Phenix City, Laura has served as a choreographer, administrator, and associate director for The Columbus Ballet on several of their performances of The Nutcracker as well as choreographed and directed for the Ballet may of their Spring recitals. Laura has been teaching dance for 20 years and teaching at the CSU Dance Conservatory since 2009. She participated in the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) teacher training intensive in 2019 to further her education in teaching the art of classical ballet.
Lauren Matkovich began her dance training in New Jersey, training in ballet, tap, and jazz. Majority of her training was at Art of Motion in Ridgewood, NJ under the instruction of Olivia Galgano and Lynn Needle. She developed a love for modern dance while studying with Ms. Needle, specifically in the Alwin Nikolais technique. She went on to receive a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ as well as her Master’s of Education in Dance Education from Rutgers University in 2019. In the fall of 2016, she had the opportunity to take her studies abroad to London, England where she studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance for one semester. Since then, Lauren has taught in a variety of settings, including teaching dance at Teaneck High School and at multiple studios in New Jersey. Additionally, she danced for Nikki Manx Dance Project for two seasons, a modern dance company based out of New Jersey. In spring of 2021, she moved to Columbus, Georgia with her husband, and in addition to teaching dance at the CSU Dance Conservatory she teaches at River Flow Yoga and Wellness as a registered yoga teacher (RYT 200).
Angela Zintchenko-Null began her dance studies at the Loudoun School of Ballet in Leesburg, Virginia at the age of 10. At the age of 14, she auditioned for and was admitted into the Kirov Academy of Ballet where she studied for four years, as a scholarship student, under the direction of Angelina Armeiskaya, Jacqueline Akhmedova, Ludmila Morkovina, Alla Sizova, Vladimir Djouloukhadze, and Anatoli Kucheruk. After graduating with her diploma in the Vaganova method in 2006, Ms. Zintchenko-Nulldanced with companies including the Washington Ballet, Richmond Ballet, First State Ballet Theatre, and the Sarasota Ballet of Florida. Over the course of her decade long career, her classical, neoclassical and contemporary repertoire has been extensive and diverse. Some of her most celebrated roles include dancing as Kitri in Don Quixote, Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Swanhilda in Coppelia, and a Russian Girl in Serenade. She is also the proud recipient of a gold medal from the National Youth Ballet Competition, sponsored by Russian Pointe, and placed amongst the top-twelve at the Youth America Grand Prix. Ms. Zintchenko-Null has been teaching classical ballet technique for the past 15 years and has also served as the director of the dance department at Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts in Columbus, Georgia, in addition to the director of the ballet department at Urban Movement Dance Academy in El Paso, Texas. When she isn’t teaching, she is working as an account coordinator within a public relations firm and attending master’s classes in public relations and corporate communications at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies.
Kalan Rang is originally from Rapid City, South Dakota, where she began her training at age four. Around 2012, she continued her training in LaGrange, Georgia. In 2017, she became a student at CSU Youth Dance Conservatory for two school years. She began her teaching career as a student teacher at the age of fifteen, and has continued teaching periodically through her training since.
Priscilla Santiago began her love of ballet at 3 years old and joined the Columbus Ballet at the age of 5. She has enjoyed performing in the annual Nutcracker performances as well as the multiple spring shows. Her favorite ballets include Coppelia and Swan Lake. After spending so many years as a student at the Columbus Ballet, she’s so excited to join as a teacher for this upcoming year!
Shannon Bravo began taking ballet classes in New Jersey at age six and immediately fell in love with dance. She trained at European Dance Academy, formerly Ballerina, for eleven years in various styles. Shannon attended high school at Morris County School of Technology as a dance major and theater minor. Throughout high school she began teaching at local studios and worked with various choreographers and guest artists. Once completing high school she continued education at County College of Morris and Nova Southeastern University as a dance major with business minors where she graduated in May 2013. After graduation she began teaching in Miami Schools as a dance educator. She first covered a fellow dancer while she was on maternity leave at Mater Academy then ran a dance elective program at Youth Co Op Charter School for five years. The program in that time blossomed and became a big part of the school's STEAM initiative. She moved to Georgia with her husband and young daughter in October of 2018 and is excited to begin teaching at CSU Youth Dance Conservatory for the upcoming year!
Toni’s love of ballet began at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, training and performing in both school and company roles. After graduating high school, she then went on to receive her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Arizona where her love of modern and contemporary dance grew. After college, she continued her training with the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in both ballet and contemporary movement. While in San Francisco, Toni danced professionally for The Mark Foehringer Dance Project and Robert Moses’ Kin. In 2010 Toni accepted a position with the Chicago company: DanceWorks Chicago, where she ultimately completed her dance career, but not before dancing in Chicago, New York, and spending a year dancing in Berlin, Germany. Always a mover at heart, she then went on to complete 5 half-marathons, a Century ride, a half-IronMan, and she successfully swam Alcatraz! Toni is now a registered yoga instructor (RYT 200) and teaching at River Flow Yoga and Wellness here in Columbus. Fun fact: Toni is actually short for Antoinette.
Janie was born and raised in Columbus, GA, where she began her dance career at the age of 3. She started dancing with The Columbus Ballet at the age of 9 where she performed roles of Clara, Dewdrop, Marzipan, and Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Her favorite ballets include Swan Lake, Firebird, and Cinderella. Janie graduated from The University of Alabama in 2010 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts, focusing on dance. She returned to Columbus and taught at CSU Youth Dance Conservatory for about 8 years. After living in Atlanta for 4 years, she and her family have moved back in hopes of settling down closer to family and friends. Janie is married to her husband Richie, and they have a daughter, Alice and a son, William who is affectionately called Dubya.
Carol Ann Smith is a native of Sussex, England, who began her classical ballet training at a Royal Academy of Dance school in Surrey, England. In 1971, she moved from England to Chicago, Illinois, and continued classical ballet training at the Stone/Camryn School and at the Ruth Page Foundation under the direction of Larry Long and Delores Lipinski. While in Chicago Carol performed in numerous classical ballets including Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Firebird, Les Sylphides, and Coppelia. She began her 45-year teaching career as an assistant to former Bolshoi dancer Inesse Alexandrovich who had a school in Chicago. Carol has taught classical ballet in the Continuing Education Programs at Evanston Township High School and the Carl Sandburg High School in suburban Chicago. For ten years she taught at the North Shore Dance Center in Skokie, Illinois, before moving to Auburn, Alabama. In Auburn, Carol has taught classical ballet technique at Auburn Ballet School and was instrumental in forming the Auburn Ballet Company, currently known as East Alabama Community Ballet (EACB). She has performed with and served on the artistic staff of EACB as rehearsal coach and choreographer for several productions including Auburn’s annual Nutcracker performance. In recent years she has taught at Montgomery Ballet, Columbus State University Youth Dance Conservatory and at Auburn University’s Department of Musical Theater, and the Ballet Academy in Opelika, AL