Alumni

Sam Weaver has performed with ballet companies throughout the US and in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, France and Monte-Carlo. When Sam was 16, he started his ballet training at Dance Arts Studio with his mother and Kathy Padgett Lewis. He continued his studies with a major in dance at Florida State University where he was soon encouraged to go to New York to become a professional dancer. There, he got a scholarship at the NY School of Ballet with Richard Thomas and Dan Levans. Within a year, he was getting jobs as a quest artist with regional companies like: The Florida Ballet at Jacksonville, Williamsport Civic Ballet, Fokine Ballet and Scranton Ballet Theater. He also worked with the Ruth Mitchell Dance Company and the Sacramento Ballet. Soon, he moved on to dance seasons with: The Washington Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte- Carlo, The Tampa Ballet, and Ballet Colorado where he worked for 3 years as a Principal Dancer and had the fortune to dance just about every roll he ever wanted. Before he was 30, Sam had retired from performing and went back to being a stagehand. After years of being one of the Technical Directors at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, he joined the crew of STOMP. In the past 16 years, STOMP’s Tour of the America’s has seen him working in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Columbia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

Alice Strawn Sheridan began her ballet training in Macon, Georgia with Jean Weaver at Dance Arts Studio and also with Gladys Lasky. She attended the North Carolina School of Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for four years, spending two summers in Italy with a touring company from NCSA. She then danced professionally with the Milwaukee Ballet Company. Alice has been on the faculty of Dance Arts Studio for 17 years, where she trained many of the dancers listed on this page.

John-Mark Owen began his ballet training in 1994 under the direction of Jean Evans Weaver in Macon, GA. He received a full scholarship in 1997 to attend the prestigious Chautauqua Institute where he studied with Jean-Pierre Bonnefueax, Patricia McBride, and Violet Verdy. From there he attended Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts before he was invited to join Nashville Ballet as a trainee in 1998. He joined Ohio Ballet in 2000. After working with Peter Powlous and Zanne Colton at the Augusta Ballet he joined American Repertory Ballet under the direction of Graham Lustig. He graduated in 2009 with an MFA in Dance/Choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Jane Caldwell came to Dance Arts Studio at age 11 and was a founding member of the Middle Georgia Youth Ballet. After graduation Jane attended the University of Utah’s Ballet Department for one year before transferring to London Studio Centre in England. There she earned her BA in Classical Ballet and toured with the studio’s company throughout England and Wales. She has also worked with Columbia City Ballet, Ballet Savannah, and Contemporary Ballet Theatre, which visited both Forsyth and Macon on tour. Jane earned her certification in Sports Massage Therapy in 2005 and is currently teaching for and performing with International Ballet Classique in Media, PA.

Mary Priestly Jarrard began her training at Dance Arts Studio with Jean Evans Weaver and Alice Sheridan and received summer training at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, CPYB, and Nashville Ballet. She has also studied with Karen Burns Weaver, John Mark Owen, Pavel Rotaru and the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. While in high school, Mary Priestly performed with the Middle Georgia Youth Ballet and Nutcracker of Middle Georgia. She continued her training at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors in dance performance and was a company member of the Butler Ballet. Mary Priestly is currently with the Nashville Ballet II under the artistic direction of Paul Vasterling. She is a certified Pilates instructor and on faculty at area Nashville studios where she teaches ballet.

Courtney Dressner began dancing at age ten in her hometown of Macon, Georgia. She performed first with the Festival Ballet of Atlanta and then with Dance Arts Studio and the Middle Georgia Youth Ballet in Macon. Courtney attended Belhaven University in Jackson, MS, receiving a BFA in ballet. During summers she trained with Boston Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York.Courtney began her professional career with Ballet San Antonio in Texas, then moved to Seattle to perform ballet, modern, and contemporary work with Katy Hagelin Dance Company and Redd Legg Dance Company.While in Seattle, Courtney also performed with The Cabiri aerial dance troupe and appeared in a number of productions with Ballet Bellevue.

In January 2012, Courtney joined the Montgomery Ballet as a Soloist Artist. There, she has performed a number of feature roles, including Odette in Act II of Swan Lake, and the title role in the company’s full-length production of Giselle.