Kelly Smith is a dance instructor, artistic director and owner of the The Ballet School. She started dancing at the age of 8. She trained in ballet, tap, and jazz for over 15 years at a studio in Georgia where she had the opportunity to take master classes with the London Ballet, Ballet Magnificat, Michael Garrison, Susan Dandois, Rotaru Ballet and Dame Sonia Arova at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Kelly began teaching ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe when she was 15 years old and has continued until the present date expanding her repertoire in lyrical and contemporary dance, as well as teaching students with physical disabilities.
Kelly is the Artistic Director and Head Instructor of the “Beautiful Dancers”, a program started by The Ballet School 14 years ago. Kelly has recently completed and been certified by RWID.
Hilary Colyer started dancing at The Ballet School at the age of 4 and continued dancing until she was 21 years old. She was a teacher her last year at The Ballet School before moving out of town. Hilary then danced in St. Louis, MO with Consuming Kinetics Dance Company for a year, first as an apprentice then a company member. After being away for 5 years, Hilary moved back home to Valdosta and started back up at The Ballet School assistant teaching. “I’m happy to be able to be apart of the TBS staff as a full time teacher this year. The ballet school has always felt like home to me and I hope to instill the love of dance to my students as my teachers did to me. When I was younger I always said I wanted to be a “ballerina mommy” when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I can now say that I am a ballerina mommy, with a 3 year old daughter and a baby boy”.
Jimmy Dao is our Hip Hop specialist. He is a full-time student at Valdosta State University and has been dancing since the age of 8. “Dance has always been something I’ve been passionate about and being able to teach children and young adults the styles and techniques I’ve learned when I was their age is a blessing”.
Becky Ortiz is a graduate of Lowndes High School and is currently attending Valdosta State University. She teaches jazz and modern but specializes in tap. She has been dancing at the Ballet School since the age of 3 and was an assistant teacher for four years. “The Ballet School has given me so much over the years, and I can only hope to inspire my students in the same way that my teachers inspired me through our shared passion of dance.”
Jada Bartley is a senior dance major at Valdosta State University graduating May 2021. She has been dancing since the age of 13, attending the New Manchester High School of fine arts in Douglasville, GA. She was cast in the American College Dance Association and Valdosta State University´s Fall Dance Concert the past two years. She works at the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta and was selected to teach at Newbern Middle School for her Teaching Dance Techniques class. We are happy to have her join us as our new contemporary teacher this year!
Kennedi is a Junior at Valdosta State University majoring in Journalism. She has been dancing since the age of 8, excelling in tap and jazz. She danced for 10 years at her hometown studio, Triple 7 Dance Company and has won major competitions here and abroad. She wants her students to ¨know they can do and be anything they want in this world when it comes to dance, and I hope I can instill that confidence in a fun but loving way.¨