DeeAnne Crookham has made a career of working with local institutions to create community through storytelling and events. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Florida and professional experience overseeing operations for Nimble Creative Services and the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, creating and promoting large-scale events at UNF, and producing content at News4Jax. She has a lifelong love of ballet, having studied and performed with the Tulsa School of Ballet, Kingwood Dance Theatre in Humble, TX, Celebrations Dance Company at Smith College in Northamption, MA, and Community Nutcracker in Jacksonville.
Mr. Forleo was born in Bari, Italy and trained at Scuola di Balletto Classico Cosi-Stafanescu (Reggio Emilia-Italy) and at Ecole Atelier Rudra Béjart Lausanne (Switzerland), where he studied with Azari Plisetzki, Sulamith Messerer, Suzanne Farrell, David Howard, Colette Milner and Michel Gascard. Mr. Forleo has an extensive career working with numerous companies, including Grupo Corpo, Brazil, Bejart Ballet Lausanne,Switzerland, Rambert Dance Company, England, Malandain Ballet Biarritz, France, Les Ballets Grandiva, Japan and has toured internationally to six of the seven continents. Within these companies, Mr. Forleo performed an extensive repertoire in soloist and principal roles working closely with many choreographers such as Pedro Pederneiras, Maurice Bejart, Christopher Bruce, Thierry Malandain, Jiri Kylian, Mats Ek, Wayne McGregor, Christophe Garcia and Marie-Laure Agrapart. Mr. Forleo was principal dancer with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in NYC before moving to Maine in 2013.
Mr. Forleo is a graduate of the Centre National de la Danse Pantin-Paris (France) as a certified ballet teacher and is also a certified ABT teacher (American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum) from Pre-Primary through level 7. He was the director of the CORPS program, the pre-professional program of Portland School of Ballet in Maine. His choreography has been seen in Portland Ballet’s Boy Meets Girl, the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s Peter and the Wolf (Discovery Series), and in 2018 his Alice was presented in collaboration with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Maine College of Art. He joined the faculty at Bates College (Lewiston, ME) in 2016 and until recently was the Artistic Director of Bangor Ballet in Maine and a full-time faculty member and principal dancer at Maine State Ballet. Mr. Forleo joined The Florida Ballet in August 2019 as Associate Artistic director and during his first year choreographed Creatures of Prometheus in collaboration with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.
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, Company and Conservatory Coordinator
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!
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.
Heather grew up in upstate New York where she began her training with Bill Hotaling. In 1995 she graduated with honors from SUNY Brockport with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. There, she studied with Timothy Draper, Randy James, Clyde Morgan, Susannah Newman, Sondra Fraleigh, among many others. While at Brockport, she performed and toured with the school’s two performing companies, DANSCORE and SANKOFA.
After graduation from Brockport, she taught dance and theater in Jacksonville, FL from 1995-1999. Heather then spent the next 5 years managing the dance program at Berwick Academy in Southern Maine and choreographed for the Portsmouth School of Ballet, Portsmouth, NH. She has continued her studies in dance at Bates Dance Festival, The Florida Dance Festival, The Portsmouth Percussive Dance Festival and The FDEO conference where she has participated in Master Classes with Robert Atwood, Terry Creach, Clyde Evans Jr., Danny Buraczeski, Desmond Richardson and Jon Lehrer, among many others.
Since returning to the Jacksonville area, Heather has taught at various dance schools and programs including Douglas Anderson School of The Arts and St Johns Country Day School. As a faculty member at The Florida Ballet, she has choreographed two works that were performed with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. She has been a member of The New Hampshire Dance Alliance and is currently a member of The National Dance Educators Organization, and The Florida Dance Educators Organization. Heather Olschewske is an ABT certified teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Martha Lemire, has been part of The Florida Ballet team since 2015. She began as Administrative Director for the organization and was promoted to the organization’s first ever Executive Director in 2017.
Under Ms. Lemire’s leadership, The Florida Ballet achieved tremendous growth including a substantial increase in its annual budget, acquisition of a permanent home, expansion of educational and outreach programming, re-establishment of a professional company and performance season, and new funding opportunities.
Ms. Lemire retired from the Executive Director position in October 2023. However, she still remains part of The Florida Ballet team utilizing her expertise in grant identification, execution, and management to financially support the organization’s continued growth.
Photography by NH Photography. All rights reserved.