Lee Edwards—Studio Owner, Artistic Director, Instructor, Coach
Former professional dancer and owner of Columbus Youth Ballet Academy, Lee Edwards started his training in Ohio. He has studied with Debra Hardy, Jeanette Grider, and China White, a former principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) and currently head of the dance program at Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center.
Mr. Lee continued his training with Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem where he earned a place in their accredited Certificate Program, and where co-founder Karel Shook personally placed him in the Dance Pedagogy Program.
The late Bessie Schoenberg invited Mr. Lee to the first of her Choreographer’s Workshops that were held at Dance Theatre of Harlem. While still studying and before completing both programs, Mr. Lee began his professional dance career at DTH. He was a founding member of The Workshop Ensemble, later called Dancing Through Barriers, and now simply known as Dance Theatre of Harlem. Co-Founders Arthur Mitchell and Homer Bryant, who directed the DTH school at the time, chose him to be one of the original dancers in the New York Metropolitan Opera’s “Porgy and Bess.”
After performing with DTH, Mr. Lee danced with Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s Company at Chautauqua Lake, Alfred Gallman’s Newark Dance Theater, and others. While participating in a Summer Festival in Berlin, Germany, he was asked to give a Workshop at Berlin’s Ballet Centrum, a state supported Musical School in Germany. His “Workshop” and relationship with Europe lasted over thirteen years, where he performed, taught, directed, and choreographed productions all over Europe, Asia, West Africa, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the world.
Since his return to Ohio, Mr. Lee has had his students enter and qualify to participate in the New York finals of Youth America Grand Prix, (www.yagp.org), the world’s largest ballet based competition and scholarship program for young dancers. He is presently the owner and artistic director of Columbus Youth Ballet Academy. Mr. Lee is also the co-founder and artistic director of Not Just Ballet Theatre (NJB Theatre), a repertory company and school that he started with the late D’Juan McCrary (also a DTH Alumnus). Today, Columbus Youth Ballet Academy serves as the school of Not Just Ballet Theatre.
Ms. Cassandra—Instructor, Office Manager
Ms. Cassandra began her dance training in Cincinnati & Lexington Metropolitan studying Hip-Hop, Modern, Lyrical, Ballet, and Pointe. She comes from Ellington Dance Company, Kentucky Ballet Theatre, and Frankfort School of Ballet. Cassandra has been a soloist in productions such as “Porgy and Bess”, “Carmen Jones”, Kentucky State University half-time shows, and many more amazing productions. Other performances include those with Not Just Ballet Theatre, Selah, Nomel Inspirational Dance Theater, Theater Street Dance Academy, Tapestry Performing Arts, the Columbus Cyclones (Columbus’ IBL Basketball League), and Vickie Winans. Studying under great teachers and choreographers such as Zoe Ellington Britton, Rafaela Cento Muñoz, Ariel Castro, Lee Edwards, and China White, Cassandra desires to continue their legacy and historical contributions to the next generation.
Cassandra has taught and choreographed many award-winning pieces for dance schools, high schools, community centers, churches, and national pageant contestants. She has also worked as a dance coach on the collegiate level. Cassandra volunteers her time to teach dance to local groups and at-risk children and teens, and has led them to win statewide competitions in remarkably short periods of time. She loves to mold the young to be fabulous dancers, strive for excellence, and be all that they can be through hard work. She firmly believes that excellence in the art and technique of dance should not only be promoted in the community, but reawakened in spiritual arenas as well. She is thankful to God and what He has given her, the ability to carry out her purpose, and she is honored to be a mentor/teacher to those around her.
MS. SANDRA—INSTRUCTOR, OFFICE MANAGER
Bio coming soon.
Ms. Megan—modern advisor
Ms. Megan has been dancing since she was very young but it was not until college that she was introduced to the genre of Modern. “I fell in love with the style because of the freedom of the movement and the real ability to express oneself. I appreciate the humanity in it.” For the past 13 years, Megan has incorporated her own style into the classes and choreography that she has taught at Columbus Youth Ballet Academy.
Outside of dance, Megan works as an Intervention Specialist at a local Delaware County high school. “I have a real passion in working with students and developing their reading skills, helping them to learn their potential.”
Ms. Faviana—Instructor, (on sabbatical)
Ms. Faviana began training in the discipline of Flamenco with Alessandra Torres and Yenny Cavalieri in 1998, after training throughout her childhood in Jazz, Acting, and Theater. She spent the first year in a rigorous apprenticeship, becoming a member of the professional team in the Academy Tacones y Lunares in Caracas. Later, when Penelope Espaňa became the director, Faviana studied under her, eventually joining the teaching staff and developing her talents as a teacher of children, adolescents, and adult beginners.
In 2010, Faviana began teaching Flamenco at the dance academy owned by Eden Bolivar, and in 2013 began teaching students at the Siempre Baile Academy. She further expanded her education at the academy Tatiana Reyna, under the tutelage of Stefanny Vivas, and in 2012 with Stephenson Deiweif Dansestudio. She has studied with internationally recognized instructors including Daniela Tugues, Siudy Garrido, Adriana Dobarro, Anita Loynaz, Lara Di Cione, Susana Peňa, Carol Hernandez, and Silvana Amati.
Studying Salsa at The Dance Academy OG Venezuelan Style Casino has allowed her to mix Flamenco with Latin dances. In 2009, Faviana was selected, from more than 120 Flamenco professionals, to join the cast of “Romeo and Juliet, Passion, Grief and Love Made Flamenco”. That same year, she traveled to Buenos Aires to study Argentine Tango as a rhythmic complement her artistic training. In 2010, she was called by one of the most important Venezuelan artists, Azilde Henriquez, to participate in her successful bullfight dance “Si el tiempo lo permite.” She has studied with Spanish instructors Alfonso Losa, the Tabanco Antonio Maria Juncal and Angela Espaňadero. In 2013, she participated in “Moments of Playful Dance” led by the renowned choreographer Silvia Solano.
Currently, Faviana is taking classes to supplement her training with Griset Damas in Columbus, Ohio. Having presented her work at venues such as El Jaleo, Bocao, Capital Jazz and Yamin Gourmet, this lawyer, lover of Flamenco, Director Alma Gitana, creator of “Clinica de Flamenco” and promoter of Flamenco mode Barefoot in Venezuela, has for more than 15 years devoted her life to this beautiful discipline. She has successfully combined diverse training and her artistic experience with the knowledge obtained from all of those who have contributed to shaping who she is today artistically, to give back to the Flamenco community through training future artists.
Bio coming soon.
Our advanced, pre-professional students have been accepted into many prestigious ballet schools in the United States and around the world.
- The School of American Ballet
- Pacific Northwest Ballet School
- American Ballet Theatre summer program
- National Ballet School of Canada
- Houston Ballet
- San Francisco Ballet
- Boston Ballet
- Royal Ballet in London
- Juilliard School
- Stuttgart Ballet in Germany