ACADEMY FACULTY

Ian is a native of San Diego and is an instructor of Dance, Pilates, and Movement for Non-Dancers. He finished his training in Pilates from the Body Arts Science International headquarters under the direct instruction of Rael Isacowitz. Ian holds a degree in Dance from UCLA’s Department of World Arts & Cultures, is finishing certification in Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals under the instruction of Peggy Hackney, and is also and avid practitioner of Ohad Naharin’s movement language, Gaga.  He was blessed to have had the opportunities to work with such artists as Vic Marks, David Rousseve, Jesse Zaritt, Maria Gillespie’s Oni Dance, Alexx Makes Dances, Los Angeles Movement Arts, and IN/EX Dance Project. Ian’s own work has been presented at UCLA, San Diego Dance Theater, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Andrea Rose


Claudia credits her artistic energy to her six major mentors: Johnson, Vivian Valade, Day Power, Eileen Figliolino, Louis McKay and Bill Heiden. She's continually performing, choreographing and teaching both nationally and internationally, and taking dance class herself. (Heaven forbid if she ever became a Dance Droid Stiffo.) She is certified in her profession and teaches ages 3-73. Her students can be seen on Broadway, on TV and in the movies.

Claudia Dyson-Hightower


Katherine (Kate) Hirsh, a native of Montreal, Canada, trained at L’Ecole Superieure de Danse de Quebec.  She danced for Alberta Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Le Jeune Ballet de Quebec, Banff Festival for the Arts, and Vinok Worldance.  Key teachers were Daniel Sellier, Christine Clair and Benjamin Harkarvy.  Lead roles include Romantic Girl in Graduation Ball, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty's wedding pas de deux, and Lucile Grahn in Pas de Quatre.  An arts management graduate of Grant MacEwan Community College, she worked for Edmonton Opera as Artistic Administrator; for Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, she produced a 10 day music festival to mark the opening of the Winspear Centre for Music and became Director of Marketing and Communications for ESO and Winspear Centre.  Kate also delved into choreography for opera and ballet.  She is Artistic Director of "Dance with Kate", creative dance curriculum for a child's world of play,

Katherine Hirsh, D.E.C. Dance/Ballet


Wendy Cormier, MFA


Mrs. Cormier earned her MFA in Ballet with a specialty in Character dance from The University of Utah where she trained with Yurek Lazowsky, William Christenson, Mattlyn Gavers and others.  She danced with the College University Ballet Ensemble, Ballet West and was a featured soloist for the character dance ensemble.  Upon completion of her degree, Wendy returned home to dance with Honolulu City Ballet and was also cast in many television programs, including Magnum P.I..  In 1986, she moved to San Diego and worked extensively within the Poway Unified school district developing innovative dance programs for children; produced and directed children's variety shows; and received the California State PTA Honorary Service and Continuing Service Awards.  Mrs. Cormier has been teaching at Southern California Ballet since 2001, is a certified Cecchetti teacher and adjunct professor in the Dance Department at Palomar College teaching both lecture and studio classes.

Ms. Stone earned a BFA from U.S. International University and has worked with Alicia Alonzo, Anthony Dowell, Christopher Newton and John Butler while performing with USIU and San Diego Ballet Company. She was soloist at San Diego Ballet, performing in Giselle, Swan Lake, Carmina Burana, Firebird, Raymonda, The Nutcracker and Cinderella. Ms. Stone has her Cecchetti Associate and has successfully entered students through grade 9 into Cecchetti exams. Currently, Academy Vice-Principal, Southern California Ballet.
 

Suzan Stone,  BFA; Cecchetti USA Associate

Academy Vice Principal


Nancy Robinson studied ballet in Los Angeles with Robert Rossellat, a student of Preobrajenska and Espinosa in Paris. At the age of fifteen she received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School and was accepted into San Francisco Ballet Company the following year. Ms. Robinson danced as a soloist there for seven years, then as Principal dancer with the City Center Joffrey Ballet Company, which made her an internationally acclaimed ballerina. She has toured Vienna, London, and several major United States cities. During her career, she danced in principal roles such as Astarte Pas de Deesses (Joffrey), Moves and Interplay (Robbins), Time Cycle (Bolender) several works by Arpino, Nutcracker-Sugar Plum Fairy (Christensen), and other works by Fokine and Ailey. Later she was Ballet Mistress at Pacific Northwest Ballet Company and The Los Angeles Ballet.

Nancy Robinson


Ms Palmer performed for many years with the National Ballet of Canada, CBC TV, and the Canadian Opera Company. Her training was with Kay Armstrong in Vancouver, B.C., the National Ballet School in Toronto, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and many of the foremost European teachers in London and Paris. Her formal education culminated with an M.F.A. Degree in Creative Teaching Techniques under the direction of Erling Sunde and John Hart, CBE, both of the Royal Ballet, England. Sylvia holds the degree of Fellow with Cecchetti USA and CICB and is an Examiner for CUSA. She has been the recipient of two Canada Council of the Arts grants for the furtherance of the dance arts. Her students grace the stages of many companies in the U.S. and Great Britain.

Sylvia Palmer Zetler, MFA; National Ballet of Canada, Fellow; and Examiner, Cecchetti USA & C.I.C.B.

Academy Principal

Ian Isles, BFA Dance


Shawn Burgess, BFA



Shawn is native to San Diego and an alumni from UC Riverside in world history. In 2000, he began studying classical ballet from a small school after several years of sports & martial arts. While training, he worked regionally for both Welk Resort Theater and Moonlight Amphitheater in San Diego, then joined Tokyo DisneySea in 2004 with Mystic Rhythms.  Afterward he settled in New York, danced in the film Across The Universe, inspired by music from The Beatles, and then joined Universal Studios Japan in their company production Wicked in Osaka for two years. He's also very fortunate to have performed on Broadway in the revival of West Side Story by late Arthur Laurents, as well as internationally, in Paris, London, Zurich, Amsterdam, Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, et al. for three years as Pepe in the 50th Anniversary International Company of West Side Story. Then in 2011, Shawn went on hiatus from the stage & show business, left New York and returned to his hometown to rest & settle, and later joined Southern California Ballet as a resident artist & teacher. Since then, he has performed around town with San Diego Ballet in Seven Beauties, The Nutcracker, Sweet Synergy, & in A Midsummer Night's Dream as Bottom; in The Great Gatsby with California Ballet; and in Great Scott with San Diego Opera. He continues to dance locally, on occasion, and gives regular instruction in ballet, music theory & pas de deux, while currently training in piano accompaniment for ballet.

Andrea Rose trained in classical ballet, jazz, modern and character at BMDC for eleven years. She received the California Arts Scholarship to train at CalArts in Valencia in 2003 and 2004 and was a member of the Varsity Tour de Force Dance Team at Rancho Bernardo High School. She was awarded Palomar College's Dancer of the Year in 2009 where she was a featured dancer and choreographer in various performances. Andrea is graduating from CSU San Marcos with a degree in Medical Anthropology and intends to obtain a graduate degree in Food Studies. She is currently a member of CSUSM's highly ranked competition dance team and performs as a guest artist with Axxiom Dance Collective.