Jill Eathorne Bahr serves as CEO of Coastal Ballet USA, a pre-professional Ballet and Academic Institution that offers a unique custom fit education for ballet dancers. She served as Resident Choreographer and Senior Faculty Member for the Charleston Ballet Théâtre from 1987-2014. She taught summer intensive workshops throughout the US including Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet West, and Ballet Aspen.
In South Carolina. Jill has served on the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Panel and served as an Adjudicator with College Dance Festivals. She is a robust devotee of Regional Dance America. Jill has adjudicated all five regions and the 2017 National Festival marked the second time she has served as a National Adjudicator for Regional Dance America.
Jill has taken part in the notable Carlisle Project, a program that supplied time, resources, and
mentorship to gifted, committed choreographers.
Jill Bahr’s awards include two National Endowment, (NEA) Fellowships, four Monticello Fellowships, William Habich Choreography Award, two South Carolina Arts Fellowships, and two Astral Choreography Awards. Her choreography can be found in the repertoires of Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet, Cary Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Ballet Eddy Toussaint, Eugene Ballet, Indianapolis Ballet Theatre, Nevada Dance Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Michigan, State of Alabama Ballet, Ballet Omaha, Joffrey II Dancers, Douglas Anderson School of Arts, the Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, Florida Ballet at Jacksonville, Heartland Youth Ballet, Project Ballet, Victoria Ballet Theatre and the FortWayne Ballet.
Originally from Gainesville, Mrs. Benton began her dance training at a very young age and has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, and Contemporary. She has trained with many renowned teachers, including Keith Cross, Pamela Bolling, Dorothy Lister, Travis Wall, Denise Wall, Mandy Moore, and Anthony LoCascio.
Mrs. Benton served on the faculty of DANCE Sun Country, in Gainesville, from 2007-2016 and 2021-2023. In addition, Mrs. Benton has served as an assistant director, rehearsal coach, staff choreographer, and frequent performer for the non-profit regional performing company, Sun Country Dance Theatre (SCDT) since 2008. Her choreography has been selected to be featured in many productions, including SCDT’s annual Spring Youth Concerts, the Florida Dance Association Young Dancer’s Workshop Showcase, Spotlight on Youth benefit production, Pensacola State College Summer Dance Workshop Showcase, Dancing for Diabetes in Orlando, FL, and the Merging Forces Dance Concert in Houston, Texas.
As a staff member of Sun Country Dance Theatre, she was instrumental as an organizer, director, and teacher for their educational outreach program, “Reach Out And Dance” (R.O.A.D), which, through collaborations with Alachua County Title I Elementary Schools and Head Start Program, provides interactive performances, workshops, and summer dance camps to underserved youth in the community.
Mrs. Benton worked as an assistant to Anthony LoCascio (of Tap Dogs), with tap classes at Broadway Dance Center in NYC. She also staged choreography, conducted rehearsals, and performed in the annual TD Bank WOW Awards event in Orlando.
From 2016-2021, Mrs. Benton served as the Academy Director and Artistic Management Coordinator of Central Florida Ballet (CFB) and Central Florida Ballet Academy in Orlando, FL. She was responsible for all aspects of the Academy management, and a faculty member. She also served as a resident choreographer and director for the CFB Studio Company, including CFB’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” at the Orange County Convention Center, recognized “one of five outstanding productions in the entire nation” by CNN Headline News.
Mrs. Benton also has a 16-year-old son, Tanner – a current resident student at the School of American Ballet in NYC.
Christopher Byrd is a native of Jacksonville who has been studying or involved in the performing arts for most of his life. He studied ballet from a young age at The Florida Ballet Training Center with his parents and founders of the organization, Laurie Picinich-Byrd and Michael Byrd. In addition, he attended workshops at Broadway Dance Center and Joffrey Ballet School. Christopher also studied theater at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and Florida State College at Jacksonville.
Christopher has danced with the Florida Ballet II apprentice company in the 1990s and early 2000s and performed for Theater Jacksonville. He has been a teaching assistant and then faculty for the Florida Ballet since 2002. He is an American Ballet Theater Curriculum certified teacher and is currently teaching Florida Ballet’s Outreach program at Pine Forest School of the Arts and Acting for Dancers within The Florida Ballet Conservatory. Christopher has a passion for expression through the performing arts and a love for the legacy of The Florida Ballet.
Ms. Dodge grew up in Jacksonville FL where she graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in 1994. She later graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Dance Performance.
Ms. Dodge moved to New York City and worked with Doug Merrifield and Patrick Corbin. She was a Company member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2. She served as Artistic Director of the Dodge Dance Company from 2002-2006. Her choreography was reviewed by the New York Times, and she was selected to work at White Oak through The Field. She also served as Artistic Director of Dream Street, a performance company for adults with disabilities, from 2007-2013. Faculty positions have included The Long Island High School for the Arts, The Summer Youth Program at the Walnut Hill Arts Academy and The Paul Taylor School. She Co-Founded The Dance Project of Washington Heights.
Today, she is the Founder and President of the Amelia Island Dance Festival.
Lyndsey is a native of Jacksonville, who began her dance career at the age of 3. In 2017, she began her formal ballet training at The Florida Ballet Training Center and in 2018 became a full-time Conservatory student. During the 2019-2020 season, she danced as a Trainee at The Florida Ballet and graduated from high school. Some of her performances during that season included: Roberto Forleo’s, Creatures ofPrometheus, The Florida Ballet Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland, Clans and Flings, and La Boutique Fantastique. During the 2020-2021 season, she danced as an Apprentice with the Florida Ballet’s Company. She performed roles such as Arabian, Columbine Doll, Demi-Soloist Flower and Snow in the Nutcracker, as well as Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.
Lyndsey competed in the Semi-Finals of Youth American Grand Prix in 2017 (Tampa), 2018 (Tampa), and 2019 (Atlanta), where she advanced to the Finals in New York City in 2019 with a contemporary duet under the direction of Diedre Miles-Burger and Susie Dodge. She previously attended summer intensives at ABT Tampa in 2018 and the Sarasota Ballet in 2019.
Lyndsey began teaching at the age of 16 where she found a love for sharing her knowledge with younger students. She has taught ages 3-18 in various dance styles throughout Northeast Florida and just completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3.
Rebekah is originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She began her training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. While dancing at CPYB she performed the Sugar Plum, Dew Drop, and Arabian in George Balanchine’s Nutcracker and the lead role of Cinderella.
She continued her training with the San Francisco Ballet School. After spending one year in the school, she was asked to join the trainee program. While in San Francisco, Bekah performed the lead role of the Liberty Bell in Stars and Stripes, as well as, had the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake with the Company.
After two years in San Francisco, Bekah joined Boston Ballet II. While in Boston, she performed The Nutcracker, La Bayadere, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Later Bekah joined Ballet Theatre of Maryland as an apprentice and was promoted to demi-soloist. During her time at BTM, she performed roles such as Spanish in the Nutcracker, The Diamond Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, as well as, several other featured roles in original works.
After spending some time at BTM, Bekah joined Corpus Christi Ballet as a Principal. During her time at CCB, she performed roles such as Sugarplum Fairy, Snow Queen, and the lead role of Giselle.
Kate Fisher Levitz is a native of Jacksonville. She grew up in Riverside, studying ballet with Thelma Baggs. Over the years of her performing career, she has performed numerous roles in classical ballets with regional companies including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Grand Pas De Quatre, as well as contemporary works.
After earning Masters Degree in Dance at Florida State University, Ms. Levitz studied in New York City with Finis Jhung, at the American Ballet Theatre with Maria Swoboda and in modern dance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and the Cunningham School. She was one of the original members of the Joyce Trisler Danscompany.
Ms. Levitz has taught at Jacksonville University, Huntingdon College, and Florida State University where she directed the dance department’s touring company for three years and mentored M.F.A. concerts. Kate also worked with Contemporary Dancers of Canada, teaching ballet and modern dance, and directing their Apprentice Programme and touring the Province of Manitoba.
Ms. Levitz is an accomplished choreographer, having set her works on several regional ballet companies and winning the prestigious Choreographic Fellowship from the State of Florida to produce an evening of her own works. Ms. Levitz has a long association with the Ballet Arts Center of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Ballet Theatre as dancer and choreographer. Most recently she was director of the Braided Light Dance Project.
Ms. Levitz is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Lynnette McCallister, a native of Jacksonville Fla, grew up studying Dance from serval local Dance schools in the area Dulce Anaya, Marta Jackson, Mervyn’s School of Dance, Betty Swenson, Thelma Baggs, Beans School of Dance, and The Florida Ballet with the founders of the organization Laurie Picinich-Byrd and Michael Byrd.
At age 11 Lynnette was accepted as a company member with The Jacksonville Ballet Theater under the direction of Dulce Anaya, and Ballet Guild under the direction of Mervyn Rickard and Betty Swenson where she gained performing experiences while working with renowned guest choreographers as well as additional Ballet training.
Lynnette auditioned for The North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC at age 13 and was given a full scholarship to study under the direction of Robert Lindgren, Dean of Dance, as well acclaimed teachers such as Mimi Paul, Duncan Noble, Marina Eglevsky.
Lynnette graduated from High School at age 16, and began her professional dance career with The Florida Ballet at Jacksonville as the only apprentice in the company, under the direction of Laurie and Michael Byrd. After one year of apprenticeship, Lynnette was given an opportunity to study at the Washington Ballet in D.C, under the direction of Mary Day, as of member of the Very Young Dancer group, allowing her to enrich her technique and performing skills while learning from established teachers in the Ballet world. Lynnette danced at the Washington School of Ballet for 3 years performing many classic’s and new works by acclaimed chorographers.
Lynnette received contracts with The Pittsburgh Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Ballet Retouro, and The Florida Ballet at Jacksonville. After careful consideration she chose Florida Ballet, her hometown, and danced with them for 7 years where she was given many principal roles in a diverse repertory of works by acclaimed chorographers such as, August Bournonville, Flower Festival and Peasant Pas de deux, Jacques d’Amboise, George Balanchine, Stars and Strips, Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, Swan Lake, Norbert Vesak’s, Belong, Jules Perrot, Pas de Quatre. Laurie Picinich Byrd, The Shrew in Taming of the Shew, and many lead roles in original works from guest chorographers, as well as works from Laurie Byrd.
Lynnette attended Jacksonville University pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree under the direction of Betty Swenson, Dean of Dance on Full scholarship, while dancing for the Florida Ballet and did guest artist work for Jerry Rose, Beckley’s Dance Theatre West Virginia, dancing the role of Snow Queen in their production of The Nutcracker Ballet.
Lynnette’s teaching experiences include teaching for Scott Jones school of dance, Beans School of Dance, Northwest Aerials, Precision Dance Center, Debbie’s Dance Company, Lynnette Cox School of Dance where her students receive scholarships to the Joffrey Ballet in New York City, as well as North Carolina School of the Arts summer programs. Her performing group won many top awards at dance competitions while performing throughout the Ga and Fla area and The Florida Ballet. Teaching ages 3 years old through Adults.
Lynnette’s has a teaching background in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz , Progressing Ballet Technique certified through level 3, ABT certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher training intensive in Pre-Primary through level 5 of the ABT National Training Curriculum and have successfully attained Affiliate Teacher Status.
When not teaching dance, Lynnette spends her time with her husband, five sons and two dogs.
Liudmila Polonskaya was born in Ukraine in the region of Crimeia. In 1967, at the age of ten, she joined the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, graduating in 1974.
In 1977, Ms. Polonskaya was promoted to first ballerina of the Maly Opera Theater in St. Petersburg, where she interpreted the leading roles of classic repertoires such as Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, Giselle, Paquita, Raymonda, La Bayadere, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker.
In 1995, Ms. Polonskaya graduated in Ballet Pedagogy at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia with a diploma of Choreographer and Teacher of Classical Ballet, Character and Historical Dance. Ms. Polonskaya was hired by the Vaganova Ballet Academy where she taught classical ballet from 1995 – 2000. During this time, she was invited to teach at ballet schools in Australia, Japan, Korea and Brazil.
In 2006, Ms. Polonskaya was invited to teach at Tulsa Ballet. She was promoted in 2009 to the position of School Principal and Director of the Second Company. Ms. Polonskaya now works for several nationally known schools as a guest teacher.
Linda Reifsnyder Jenkins’ professional career as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer spans over 40 years. She began dancing as a scholarship student with the Joffrey American Ballet Center in New York, Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance and the Ed Parish Dance Foundation in Chicago. She studied with Robert Joffery, Ruth Page, Larry Long, Ed Parish, David Howard, Ben Stevenson, and many others. As a dancer, Ms. Reifsnyder Jenkins appeared as a soloist with the Chicago Ballet, Kiel Ballet (Germany) and the National Ballet of Peru (South America) dancing a full range of classical repertoire including “Swan Lake”, “Nutcracker”, “Les Sylphides”, “La Sylphide”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Giselle” and a full list of modern and contemporary ballets.
Besides her performing career, Ms. Reifsnyder Jenkins is an influential leader as a dance educator serving in many capacities. Credits include: Director of the Florence (Ala) School of Ballet, The Academy of Nevada Dance Theatre, Dance with Distinction at Jacksonville University, Pharcyde Dance Center and Principal Ballet Teacher for the School of Ballet Oklahoma. She has conducted workshops and taught Master Classes for Dance Educators of America and the Cecchetti Council of America.
In 1993, Ms. Reifsnyder Jenkins settled in Jacksonville and in 1998 completed her BFA in Dance at Jacksonville University. While in Jacksonville, she has taught at Jacksonville University, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Landon Middle School of the Arts, and Pharcyde Dance Center.
In 2011 Ms. Reifsnyder Jenkins joined The Florida Ballet staff as a faculty member and Administrative Director. Following the passing of Founding Director Laurie Picinich-Byrd in 2014, she became Artistic Director until 2020 when she retired from the position. In addition to being a faculty member, Ms. Jenkins is The Florida Ballet’s Curriculum Coordinator.
Ms. Reifsnyder Jenkins is an ABT® Affiliate Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® National Training Curriculum Teacher Training Intensive in PrePrimary through Level 7 & Partnering. She has successfully presented students for examinations achieving the Fellow status. In 2021, Ms. Reifsnyder Jenkins was invited to the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum’s Board of Examiners.
Robersy started dancing at the age of 13 in Orange Park, FL. She began studying at Marta Jackson School of Dance and later, at Arts Edge School of Dance and Theatre as well as Summer Intensives at The Florida Ballet. She has trained in various styles of dance including Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Modern, and Contemporary. She has trained under such faculty as Heather Olschewske, Carlos/Ihaia Miller, Marta Jackson, Linda Jenkins, Laurie-Picinich-Byrd, Savery Morgan, Dewitt Cooper, Joe Kemper, and James Kinney.
Robersy has been a company member of the Cooper Morgan Dance Theatre as well as Paradigm Flux Dance Company. She has been part of musical theatre productions for Players by the Sea such as “In the Heights” and has also co-directed Sakoso: a local Salsa/Mambo team.
Robersy completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 over the summer of 2021.
Kyle Seguin danced with the Alabama Ballet under the leadership of Wes Chapman and Roger VanFleteren, where he performed many principal roles including, Count Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Franz in Coppelia, El Capitan in George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, the title roles in Dracula and Romeo and Juliet, and works by Robert Battle and Teri Weksler. Concurrently, he earned a BS in Psychology from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where he graduated with honors after developing an assessment tool for eating disorder risk in professional ballet dancers.
Mr. Seguin served as both Pre-Professional Division Liaison and Academy Ballet Master at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, was on faculty at Columbia College Chicago (Anatomy, Kinesiology) and the Chicago High School for the Arts (Men’s Technique, Pas de Deux), and is the Founding Director of West Suburban Ballet Conservatory, a non-profit ballet school located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.
Kyle’s choreography has been featured throughout the Chicagoland area, as well as at the Universal Ballet Competition (UBC) Finals Gala, Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Finals, the Alabama Ballet, and the Arova Contemporary Ballet, among others. Mr. Seguin has guided numerous students into professional dance careers and consistently coaches students to place at international ballet competitions. He was a scholarship presenter for YAGP for four seasons and has received both the Best Choreographer Award from UBC and the Outstanding Teacher Award from YAGP.
Mr. Seguin is trained on all Stott Pilates apparatus and in 2009, founded One Hundred, a boutique-style Pilates and dance studio in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. He developed and branded Pilates, dance, and fitness programs that allowed the studio to see thousands of clients of all ages, and developed a work-study scholarship program for high-school and college students, as well as a mentorship program for Pilates instructors in training.
Katie Slattery began her ballet training in Gainesville, Florida. As a young dancer she attended summer programs at the Joffrey Ballet School, The Rock School, American Ballet Theatre and Kaatsbaan International Dance Center. She attended Virginia School of the Arts high school program and then became a trainee with the Joffrey Ballet School and performed with the Joffrey Ballet II Concert Dancers. Katie then danced as a member of Milwaukee Ballet II for two seasons. She returned to Florida to join Orlando Ballet under the direction of Fernando Bujones, where she was a company dancer from 2001-2008. Following that, she joined Sarasota Ballet from 2007-2009.
Ms. Slattery danced in many of the classic ballets including Swan Lake, Giselle, Cinderella, Don Quixote, Spartacus, Coppelia, Raymonda, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, La Fille Mal Gardee, and The Nutcracker. She also danced in ballets choreographed by George Balanchine, John Cranko, Kenneth MacMillan, Frederick Ashton, Dame Ninette de Valois, and Fernando Bujones.
Ms. Slattery began teaching at Orlando Ballet School in 2002, and she took a full-time position as Artistic Assistant/Faculty in 2011. Aside from her work in the pre-professional divisions, she was proud to teach and help develop the Come Dance With Us program for children with physical challenges. She has worked as a guest teacher and judge for various organizations, and she enjoys writing articles on ballet for Pointe Magazine. Ms. Slattery is a certified teacher of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum from Pre-Primary through Level 7, and she has presented students for exams as an affiliate teacher with the ABT NTC. She is excited to be joining the faculty at The Florida Ballet!
Patrick VanBuren trained in his hometown of Merritt Island, FL, under Liz Bevilacqua at Dussich Dance Studio. He furthered his pre-professional training with Peter Stark at the Orlando Ballet School. During his pre-professional years, he was Florida Dance Masters Junior Mr. Dance and Mr. Dance title holder, as well as a Finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix.
Patrick danced with the Orlando Ballet as part of their second company, with Columbia City Ballet and Ballet San Antonio as a soloist, and Montgomery Ballet and Fort Wayne Ballet as a principal dancer. He has also competed and performed internationally.
He has served as the Assistant Director of the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, Ballet Master of Montgomery Ballet company and school, and as an instructor in the upper school of Fort Wayne Ballet’s Auer Academy.
Mr. VanBuren is certified to teach Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
We proudly offer American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum!
ABT’s National Training Curriculum is a program for the development and training of young students that embraces sound ballet principles and incorporates elements of the French, Italian and Russian schools of training.