JENNIFER CLEATON - OWNER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - I am celebrating my 24th year anniversary as owner and Director. I have been teaching for over 25 years! I received my B.A. Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University. I performed at Kings Dominion for four years and choreographed two shows which were performed in conjunction with the USO. I taught dance at the West End Academy of Dance in Richmond and taught creative movement and dance to local Richmond children through the YMCA. I have continued my educational training by attending various workshops with such teachers as Tremaine, Doug Varone, Susan Kicuchi (Martha Graham Company), Richmond Ballet, SYTYCD alums Kathryn McCormick, Robert Roldan, Twitch, Sonya Tayeh and more. I have two daughters of my own, a Senior in College and and a Freshman in college. Both girls also followed in my footsteps… they both danced/performed at Kings dominion.
RILEY AMEY - TAP & JAZZ - Ms Riley has been dancing at Fredericksburg Ballet Centre since she was 3 years old, training in a variety of styles. Through FBC, Riley has gotten the chance to perform in many different productions, such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. Riley has been a member of the FBC's competition dance team for 7 years, including two years as a team captain. She has been assistant teaching classes for the past 4 years, and is looking forward to teaching her own class!
LINDSEY BLIVEN - MUSICAL THEATER - Ms. Lindsey is a well rounded and established performer who has had the pleasure of performing all over the world in locations such as Japan, New York City, South Korea and 42 of the 50 US States while on Broadway National Tours. Having had roots in New York City for the last 10 years, she is thrilled to call Fredericksburg home and looks forward to transferring her passion for performance to that of teaching! She was a cast member (& Mary Poppins understudy) in the Mary Poppins Broadway National Touring Company, A Chorus Line Broadway National/International Tour- in US & Japan, The Wizard of Oz US National Tour, Oklahoma! US National Tour and the Jekyll & Hyde World Tour- Asia/South Korea. She has performed in musicals such as Legally Blonde, Children of Eden, Singin' in the Rain & A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, among many others! Originally from Nashville, TN, she danced all the way to the UDA National Championships at Walt Disney World with her high school dance team and became National Champions! She received a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from The University of Oklahoma.
ASHLEY CLEATON - TAP, JAZZ, BALLET, CONTEMPORARY, TEAM- Ms Ashley has been dancing at FBC since she was 2, she has studied tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, modern, hip hop as well as many other forms of dance. Ashley was on the competition team for 7 years and was captain for many individual teams as well as team captain her senior year. On the competition team she was able to take classes from world renowned choreographers and received a hip-hop scholarship from Dancemakers inc. She also has received special judges awards and the choreography award for her self choreographed solo. Ashley has choreographed and performed in the Stafford operas production of Cinderella. She has performed for King’s Dominion as a host and performer in two shows. Ms Ashley received her 200 hour yoga teacher training certification in 2019. This will be Ms Ashley’s sixth year of teaching and eighth year working in the FBC office. She is excited to continue her work with the students of FBC after graduating from the studio herself in 2018.
CHRISTINA HAWKINS - BALLET & BALLROOM - Ms Christina started formal dance instruction when she was six years old and has made dancing a lifelong passion. She started teaching ballet and tap classes at her local studio in Rapid City, SD, when she was 16. She continued her education of dance by earning a B.A. and a M.A. from Brigham Young University (BYU), specializing in ballet and ballroom dance. During her collegiate career, Miss Christina performed worldwide as a member of BYU Theatre Ballet and BYU Ballroom Dance Company (BDC) and taught all levels of ballroom dance classes. While on the BYU BDC she had the honor to dance in their award winning medley's which won the British Formation Team championship (2x), and the US Formation Team Championship (6x). She also was selected to perform in the 2002 Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies directed by Kenny Ortega. Highlights of her touring experience are: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Eastern Russia, Mongolia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland, England, South Africa, and the USA. Miss Christina joined the staff at FBC in 2017, teaching ballet and tap however, her children started at the studio in 2012. She has also been performing locally with Dance Matrix and Company (DMC) and has been a "Party Parent" in FBC's production of the Nutcracker. She is the mother of four fantastic and high energy kids, who are dancers and soccer players.
LEAH JACKSON - ACRO - Ms. Leah began her dance career at age 11 training in advanced levels of Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, and Pom. She was accepted into Colgan High Schools Fine and Performing arts program for dance. Her performing credits include, dancing at the National High School Dance Festival, The National Children’s Hospital of DC in the Ryan Seacrest studio. After high school Ms. Leah Performed at the Atlas Intersections Festival in DC, Performed for UWM school of the arts MFA virtual dance program , and has been working as a freelance performing artist in the DMV area. Her certifications include, Graduating high school with a CFPA diploma, YPAD safety certified, CPR/AED certified and Acrobatic Arts Module 1 Certified. Ms. Leah is devoted to helping dancers realize their potential and giving them a safe space to grow as individuals.
TERESA MAYER - BALLET, TEAM - Miss Terry began her training at the Gainesville (Georgia) School of Ballet when she was 3. She was accepted into the newly formed Gainesville Ballet Company at the age 11, but promptly moved to Roanoke, Virginia, where she studied at Floyd Ward School of Dance. She became a founding member and principal dancer with the Roanoke Valley Civic Ballet. She attended summer intensives at Washington School of Ballet, Boston School of Ballet, Tidewater Ballet, Chautauqua Institution and Southern Ballet Theatre. She received additional training at Virginia School of the Arts, The Lynchburg Fine Arts Center and Post School of Ballet. She attended Point Park College for two years, and then transferred to Radford University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Dance. She danced professionally with Southern Ballet Theatre in Orlando, Florida, where she appeared in many classical and contemporary ballets including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Elements, and Balanchine’s Valse-Fantasie. She appeared as a dancer at Sea World, and with the Orlando Opera Company. Retuning to Roanoke, she began her teaching career at Roanoke City Schools’ Magnet School for the Visual and Performing Arts where she taught ballet, modern and jazz and directed the Magnet School Dance Company for 7 years. Terry and her husband John performed as guest artists with Southwest Virginia Ballet, Rockbridge Ballet, Lynchburg Regional Ballet Theatre, and Southwest Virginia Opera. In her final year in Roanoke, she became instrumental in opening a branch of The Post School of Ballet, becoming the manager and ballet teacher there until John’s career brought them to Fredericksburg. She taught for one year at Barton and Williams School of Dance before finding her dance home at FBC. She first appeared in an FBC production as a guest artist in 1997 as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She has taught, performed and choreographed here ever since. While teaching at FBC, she has performed as a guest artist with Dance Matrix, and taught ballet and drama at the Holy Innocents Homeschool Co-op. Miss Terry’s favorite roles include Swanhilda in Coppelia, Aurora and in Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She loves passing on her knowledge of these roles and training the next generation of dancers.
BEVERLY MENDEZ - BALLET MISTRESS, MODERN - Ms Mendez has been the Ballet Mistress at FBC since 2004, she was on the Dance Faculty at The University of Mary Washington from 1998 to 2016, and she is the Artistic Director of Dance Matrix & Company in Fredericksburg, VA Beverly has studied Ballet technique her entire life and has a strong love of Ballet and it’s applications in all dance techniques. From early training with The Arlington Ballet workshop and The Washington Ballet, through professional training in NY with Finus Jung and Robert Christopher, she has a firm understanding of ballet and can communicate it to students in a clear format. She has written a ballet syllabus for FBC based on Vaganova technique, and instituted a ballet Performance Program in 2003 that has helped students rise to pre-professional level, and greatly increased the university acceptance level of FBC’s dancers. This program continues today with a variety of Artistic Directors. Her professional teaching experience is varied, from master classes for a roomfull of strangers, to years of mentoring children into dance professionals, to guiding University students to take their work to the next level. Beverly has a love of Contemporary and Modern dance. She has a BA degree double major in Theater and Dance featuring the dance technique of Paul Taylor, and the acting technique of Sandy Meisner. She followed her dream to NYC. There she studied at the Martha Graham Studio, Eric Hawkins Studio and was a scholarship student at the Alvin Ailey Studio studying with; with Robert Christopher, Milton Meyers and Nat Horne. She studied acting at The Dramatic Workshop. She danced and choreographed professionally in NY from 1978 to 1990, when she and husband Tony moved to Fredericksburg. Ms Mendez founded a dance performance group, Dance Matrix & Company in 1993, and has developed the company into a non-profit Performing Arts Production Company producing Performing Arts Festivals since 2017, and promoting community service arts events in the Fredericksburg area..
JAKE MIRANDA - ACRO, CONTEMPORARY, HIP HOP - Jake Miranda has been dancing and teaching for almost two decades. Jake began his dance journey at a small studio in New Jersey and has since been given many opportunities, to teach, perform and present work all along the east coast. Some of Jakes performance credits include: The 2017 NFL Kickoff with Flo Rida at Gillette Stadium, Blood Reign at King’s Dominion, Halloween Haunt at King’s Dominion, The Omni-Contemporary Dance Company and Regality Dance as well as other various musicals, parades and art showings. Some choreography credits include: The Young Choreographers Festival in New York City, The Festival Of Us, You, We and Them in Boston, MA and NACHMO DC in Washington, DC. Jake’s routines have received various top awards such as multiple “Best Choreography” recognitions and an “Elite Concept” award, Jake’s students have received very high accolades for their focus and intensity on stage. Jake is very passionate about encouraging the growth of young dancers and looks forward to continuing to share his passion.
TAYLOR MURRAY - JAZZ, HIP HOP, MUSICAL THEATRE, TEAM, DARBY'S DANCERS - Ms. Taylor started dancing at the Fredericksburg ballet centre when she was 3 years old. Throughout her time dancing at FBC she took class in all genres of dance. She has always had a love for teaching and started teaching at FBC in 2015. She is currently in college majoring in Special Education. Ms. Taylor is one of the teachers for Darby’s Dancers, a non-profit organization that provides dance classes to special needs children. When she is not at the studio, she is at Micah Ministries leading an art group. Her passion is to make every dancer that walks into the Fredericksburg Ballet Centre love dance and feel empowered and loved!
CRISTI SAUNDERS - CREATIVE MOVEMENT, BALLET - "Ms. Cristi" has been a part of the FBC staff since 2001. She teaches Creative Movement through Beginning Ballet. She has had the privilege of fostering the love of dance in many hundreds of children through the years. She is the creator and director of the Summer Princess Ballet Camp program as well as the creator of the Green Space Camp--both camps designed to enliven the creativity within and to encourage confidence in children through imagery, dance, and art. Additionally, she is the resident costumer for the Fredericksburg Ballet Company and the office manager. Her nursing degree comes in handy for the dancers, too! Participating in all areas of FBC is an honor and has allowed her to combine her passions of teaching children, the arts, and the love of textiles and design in a lovely, lifelong career. Ms. Cristi has 3 grown daughters that danced from toddler years through adulthood at Fredericksburg Ballet Centre, creating lasting and beautiful memories for her family.
ASHLEY SLEMP - TAP, CREATIVE MOVEMENT, BALLET, DARBY'S DANCERS - Ashley began dancing when she was 4 years old under the direction of J. Randy Lamb, in Southwest Virginia. She continued dancing everywhere she went from boarding school in Richmond to college in SC where she earned her Minor in Dance. Ashley was a member and choreographer for the Joni Rodman Dance Theatre, the company in residence at St. Catherine’s School. While at the College of Charleston, she was a member of the company in residence, the Robert Ivey Ballet. She began teaching dance on base while her family was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Today, she loves to learn the history as well as the anatomy behind the movement. Always a student of all forms of dance, she hopes to inspire the same kind of joy in the dancers in Fredericksburg. In the summer of 2015, she was introduced to Darby’s Dancers and knew immediately she wanted to be a part of a program that made all children feel like a STAR. Not much melts her heart more than watching our Darbys move across the floor with a giant smile or hearing the little ones giggle as they lay on the floor being mermaids. She feels blessed to be a part of an organization that affords her the opportunity to share her passion.
JOYE THOMAS - BALLET, JAZZ, TAP, CONTEMPORARY, TEAM - Joye Thomas is a Northern Virginia native. Joye is a well-known dancer, educator, and choreographer in the Metropolitan area. Joye has run a non-profit dance company, created her own modern dance technique and a dance class for athletes, and published a planner for dance teachers. Currently, Joye has started a chapter of Dance Happy Hour in Fredericksburg, VA. Dance Happy Hour is a recreational dance company for adult dancers who perform bi-annually in Washington DC.
MACKENZIE SMITH - HIP HOP - I’m 17 years old and a senior at Riverbend HS. I started dancing at FBC at the age of three taking creative movement and later tap/jazz combo. Throughout my years at the studio, I’ve taken jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip hop. Along with that I was on the jazz, lyrical, ballet, hip hop, and production dance team for 5 years. I’ve been apart of several Nutcracker and Spring Ballet performances with some of my favorite roles being Clara, best friend, and ballerina doll in the Nutcracker along with the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and a step-sister in Cinderella. I’ve assisted beginner hip hop classes for almost 5 years now along with assisting a beginner ballet class this past year.