FACULTY

Jacob Attaway

Jacob Attaway

With his earlier dance day’s beginning at the Cobb County Center Of Excellence in the Performing Arts, Jacob Attaway has since then accomplished the earning a BFA in dance performance from Jacksonville University. He the. returned to Atlanta to continue pursuing his career as a professional dancer with his Atlanta Credits including: Song and Dance ( Aurora Theatre), Cinderella (Aurora Theatre) , The Nutcracker (Gwinnett Ballet), along with holding the role of Demetrius in Midsummer Night’s Dream The Ballet (Gwinnett Ballet), Cabaret ( The Atlanta Opera). Along with these wonderful performance opportunities, Jacob is currently a company member with Atlanta Based Contemporary Dance Company: Kit Modus, Directed by Jillian Mitchell.

Danny Bevins

Danny Bevins

Danny Bevins is thrilled to return to the dance studio that helped raise him! After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Elon University with a BFA in Music Theater, he moved to NYC and began performing around the country. He’s performed at theatres such as The Muny, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Music Theatre of Wichita, Papermill Playhouse, Bucks County Playhouse, and Barrington Stage Co. Danny is also an ACE certified strength coach, and specializes in functional movement based training. He runs Bespoke Personal Training in between performance opportunities and is signed with People Store Inc and DGRW Agency. Danny is ecstatic to return to DSOB to teach what he’s learned from the entertainment and fitness communities of NYC and ATL!

Monica Garcia Bradley

Monica Garcia Bradley

Monica has been dancing for over 25 years, and grew up as a competition dancer in Houston, Texas. She spent nearly a decade in New York City performing professionally and is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association. She has traveled the country performing in Musical Theatre at Paper Mill Playhouse, TUTS, Ivoryton Playhouse, The Elektra and North Carolina Theatre. Now in Atlanta, Monica is a full time performing artist and teacher. Outside of dance, she is also an accomplished film actress, having been in feature films and network television shows, such as The Resident (FOX), MacGyver (CBS). Monica is currently a recurring guest star on Tyler Perry’s Sistas (BET), and is featured on numerous regional and national commercials. Dance is the heartbeat of her career and success, and she looks forward to working with the students of Decatur School of Ballet.

Leslie Palmer Gourley

Leslie Palmer Gourley

Leslie started her dance training at age six in Marietta and continued her dance studies in Mississippi and with the Joffrey School of Ballet in New York. At age 16 she came to study with Decatur School of Ballet. After graduating from Texas Christian University with a BFA in ballet performance in 1986, she returned to teach with Decatur School of Ballet and to perform with Decatur City Dance. She has studied with notable instructors such as Stanley Zompakos, Terrell Paulk, Delia Stewart, Fernando Schaffenburg, Lisa Fusillo, Meli Kaye, Peter Powlus
and Martha Goodman. In July 2018, Leslie purchased Decatur School of Ballet and became Artistic Director of Decatur City Dance.

Meg Gourley

Meg Gourley

Meg is a graduate of the University of Georgia with her B.F.A. in Dance, with a K12 Certification, and a Minor in Anthropology. She began her dance training at age three at Decatur School of Ballet and continued through high school as a member of the Apprentice Ensemble of Decatur City Dance and Decatur School of Ballet’s Rug Cutters. Meg has studied with the Joffrey Ballet School, staibdance, the Governor’s Honors Program, and the American Dance Festival. During her years at UGA, she performed in various faculty and student pieces and was chosen to work with notable guests such as Alexandre Munz and Luis Piedra. She has performed with Danza Universitaria in San Jose, Costa Rica. Meg has worked for the Joffrey Ballet School and currently dances professionally with Kit Modus and AboutFace.

Kyme Hersi-Sallid

Kyme Hersi-Sallid

Kyme is a graduate of the acclaimed New York City High School of Performing Arts, and has performed nationally and internationally as a dancer, singer, and actress. Her credits include three Broadway shows and tours of an additional three Broadway shows. As a film and TV actress, Kyme played Rachel Meadows in Spike Lee’s film School Daze, and guest starred on TV shows such as 24, NYPD Blue, Frasier, and many more. Her love of the arts and teaching led her to found a performing arts academy in a charter school in Los Angeles in 2006. Kyme moved to Atlanta in 2012 where she continues to share her passion and passes on the fruits of her experience and success. As Associate Director, Kyme oversees the Junior Rhythm Keepers and the Rhythm Keepers of Decatur City Dance.

Nacoleon Hillsman III

Nacoleon Hillsman III

Nacoleon is from Atlanta, Georgia and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Oklahoma. Taking his first dance class at the age of 14 at the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts at Pebblebrook High School, he fell in love with dance. He has trained in multiple styles, including jazz, ballet, modern, and hip hop. He has performed on stage in New York, San Francisco, Beijing China, just to name a few. Nacoleon is excited to continue to inspire students in their love for dance and artistic creativity at Decatur School of Ballet!

Jodie Jernigan

Jodie Jernigan

A dance artist deeply invested in exploration, Jodie Jernigan received her A.A. with an emphasis in dance from Florida State College at Jacksonville before receiving her B.A. in Dance and B.A. in English from Brenau University. Jodie has worked with a collection of esteemed professionals within the dance field, including but not limited to Cleo Parker Robinson, Owen Scarlett, Carl Flink, Jennifer Archibald, and Xavier Lewis. At FSCJ, Jodie danced with and managed their dance repertory company, danceWORKS. At Brenau, Jodie conceptualized and directed the annual cross-department dance on film showcase, “Poetry in Motion.” Her choreography has been selected to represent Brenau University at a variety of events and conferences, including the 2022 American College Dance Association Southeast Conference. Outside of academia, she served as an intern with Fly on a Wall in Atlanta, Georgia for their 2020-2021 season. In 2021, she was commissioned by Zoetic Dance Ensemble to create an independent dance film for their annual Mixtape Atlanta film festival. Jodie is ecstatic to be joining Decatur School of Ballet for their monumental 75th year!

Jenna Latham

Jenna Latham

Jenna began her classical training at Central Florida Ballet in her hometown of Orlando, FL. After high school Jenna danced with these notable companies: Atlanta Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, and City Ballet of San Diego. Through these companies she was able to perform lead roles in the Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht, Carmina Burana, and Etudes. She also danced many corps de ballet roles in Septime Weber’s Alice in Wonderland, La Sylphide, Beauty and the Beast, Balanchine’s Serenade, and Don Quixote amongst other contemporary ballet works. Since joining the freelance art scene in Atlanta she has worked with Leo Briggs, Nadya Zeitlan, and Sarah Hillmer, George Staib and Anna Bracewell Crowder through ImmerseATL. She has also choreographed work for A.M. Collab, Fall for Fall dance festival, and MAD festival. This past season she has also been honing her art making and teaching style. In these differing experiences she has melded her time in the ballet world with that of passion for creativity to generate an uplifting space for kids and adults to find joy in classical and contemporary movement.

Andre Lumpkin

Andre Lumpkin

Andre Lumpkin is an artist, educator and entrepreneur from Athens GA. Although immersed in different cultural dance forms from a young age, he started his formal training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Under the guidance of the dance program, he worked with artists and companies such as Blake Beckham, Kyle Abraham, Jennifer Archibald, StaibDance and Catellier Dance projects. Majoring in Sociology and minoring in Dance and Theater Studies, Lumpkin’s focus and passion centers the integral nature of arts and creativity in community and everyday life.

As an alumnus of Emory, Lumpkin continued on to earn his M.F.A in Choreography and Performance from The Florida State University School of Dance in 2017. During his graduate studies, He had the chance to work with renowned artists such as Jawole Zollar, Rodger Belman (R.I.P.), Jaamil Kosoko and Joya Powell, and hone his unique artistic voice. Post Graduate School Lumpkin continues to create, educate and perform nationally and internationally. As a professional, Lumpkin has dedicated himself to a holistic approach to choreography, teaching, performing, production design and community engagement.

Renee Pauley

Renee Pauley

Renee Pauley is a talented and accomplished master ballet teacher currently sharing her love of ballet through master classes and privates.

She began her passion for the art at age three in Atlanta, GA. As a young dancer, Renee studied with the Atlanta School of Ballet and performed in several productions of the Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker, attended the Royal Academy of Ballet summer ballet program in London, England, and performed at SERBA (Southeast Regional Ballet Association), where she was selected to dance at the Young Choreographer’s Workshop in New York. As a young profession and scholarship apprentice with the Atlanta Ballet, Renee performed in productions of The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Carmen. She then danced as a soloist with the Northwest Florida Ballet, where she performed in The Nutcracker before an injury led to early retirement.

Since then, Renee has instructed intermediate to advanced competition students in ballet technique and Pilates. Teaching online and in studio has allowed her to broaden her teaching avenue to include Master Classes and privates across the Southeast and Midwest. When not teaching, Renee and her husband spend time with their adult children or riding their horses around the countryside.

Eliza Reese

Eliza Reese

Eliza started her dance training at our studio at age four and has been assistant teaching since age nine. She was a member of Decatur City Dance (Junior and Apprentice Ensembles and Junior Rhythm Keepers) and Decatur School of Ballet’s Rug Cutters. Eliza is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and Mercer University’s nursing program. She works as a nurse at The Shepherd Center and she is the director of the Rug Cutters. Eliza is also a member of The Rhythm Keepers.

Jessica Paget Reese

Jessica Paget Reese

Jessica began her dance training at the Gainesville School of Ballet at age six. A professional performer with South Carolina Ballet Theatre, she also taught with the Columbia Ballet School before opening her own studio in Lexington, South Carolina. In addition to her classical ballet training, Jessica has performed in musical theater productions. With a BA degree in English and an M.Ed. in elementary education from Columbia College, she taught seventh grade for seven years. Jessica is an associate director of Decatur City Dance.

Caleigh Paxton Santa Maria

Caleigh Paxton Santa Maria

Atlanta-born, Caleigh Santa Maria is trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, swing, and tap with Decatur School of Ballet before attending Brenau University. While studying at Brenau as a Dance Major with a concentration in pre-physical therapy, Caleigh was a member of the Gainesville Ballet Company where she trained under distinguished artists such as Du’Bois A’Keen, Carl Flink, Owen Scarlett, and Regine Metayor. During the summers, she continued her dance training participating in many summer intensives within her dance studios as well as with Joffrey Ballet and The American Ballet Theater. In addition, Caleigh is a competitive premier Highland Dancer, which she has had the privilege of touring internationally in Canada and Scotland, where she is a member of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Dance Company. She is a certified highland dance instructor, which she teaches many younger dancers entering her home studio, Killough School of Highland Dance. Caleigh is thrilled to be back at her home studio to pass on her love of dance to the next generation.

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams

Jessica began dancing at age 4, and quickly discovered a passion for tap dance. In high school, she discovered the tap classes at Decatur School of Ballet, where Birda Ringstad gave her a strong foundation in Rhythm Tap, and helped broaden her tap education by introducing her to tap festivals. She has been performing with The Rhythm Keepers, the adult tap company of Decatur City Dance, since 2006, has been choreographing and performing solos and small group acts for special events since 2014, continues to attend tap festivals periodically to continue her tap education, and has been teaching tap to adults since 2016.

Toya Willingham

Toya Willingham

Toya started her dance training at age three and came to Decatur School of Ballet at age 13. She has been a company dancer with Decatur City Dance since 1992. She is a graduate of the DeKalb Center for the Performing Arts. In the summer of 1995, she participated in the Governor’s Honors Dance program. Toya trained as a demonstrator, an assistant teacher, and a substitute teacher in younger children’s classes at our school. She has a strong foundation in ballet and has also trained in modern dance, jazz, and tap. Toya is Director of AboutFace, the professional jazz ensemble of Decatur City Dance.

Heather Yates

Heather Yates

Heather began her dance training at Decatur School of Ballet at age eight and continued her study with the Atlanta Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance, and the Cleveland Ballet, where she also danced in the company. She also danced professionally with the American Ballet Theatre in New York City from 1988 to 1994, working with such notable artists as Twyla Tharp, Natalia Makarova, Jiri Kylian, and Mark Morris. Heather is also a professional chef and pharmacy technician.