Faculty

Premiere Ballet Academy Faculty and Staff 

Melissa Mulligan – Co-owner, Artistic Director and Ballet Instructor

Melissa Mulligan began her ballet training in El Paso, TX under the direction of Vivian Eurich, Ingeborg Heuser, Norma Glass, and Myrna Sundermann.  She continued training at the University of Texas in El Paso and El Paso Community College, where she studied Special Education and Ballet. She has danced with Ballet El Paso, also known as Ballet of the Americas, City Ballet in El Paso, and was offered a position with the San Francisco Ballet but an injury prevented her from pursuing the opportunity.

Mrs. Mulligan has been teaching ballet and other forms of dance for over 25 years. In 2005 she started a ballet program through Royalty Dance Academy. In 2009 founded the Ballet Royale Company in Rockwall, TX where she staged ballets such as Penguin Café, CoppeliaCinderella, Dinner at the Ballet and The Tales of Beatrix Potter, the Ballet. In 2014 she moved to San Antonio and began teaching at Ballet San Antonio Academy.  Mrs. Mulligan also assisted with Ballet Latino de San Antonio and became the Artistic Director of San Antonio Youth Ballet where she staged the ballet Alice in Wonderland.

Now Owner and Artistic Director of Premiere Ballet Academy and Premiere Ballet Ensemble, she continues to teach, choreograph, direct and stage new productions such as An Evening with Frank Sinatra and The Tales of Beatrix Potter Ballet.

Mrs. Mulligan loves to teach and help dancers of all levels reach their dreams.  She also loves her family.  She has been married for 23 years and has four children.

Tammi Green – Co-owner, Manager

 

Easton Smith – Guest Ballet/Partnering Instructor

Born in San Francisco, Easton Smith received his dance training at Contra Costa Ballet, Washington School of Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. For the first seven years of Easton’s career, he worked with Michael Smuin where he had the opportunity to perform many works that made Smuin successful.  These roles include “Jason” in Medea, “Bouquet Pas de Deux”, Shinju, and Eternal Idol. Smith has also had roles choreographed on him, such as “Captain Montistario” in Zorro, Stabbat Mahte, Dancing with Gershwin, and many more. Easton worked with Sacramento Ballet, the San Francisco Opera, and Ballet San Jose. He performed as “Older Billy” in the twelve-time Tony Award Winning Broadway production of Billy Elliot and Johnny Castle in the Pre-Broadway tour of Dirty Dancing. Most recently, Easton performed with Ballet West in Ben Stevenson’s Dracula, Anna-Marie Holmes’ Don Quixote, Marius Petipa’s Paquita, George Balanchine’s Emeralds and Diamonds, Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort, Nicolo Fonte’s Bolero and many other leading roles.

After retiring from dance, Easton followed another passion – flying. He worked as a private executive Helicopter pilot in Los Angeles while creating the charter division of Coastal Helicopters as well as flying as an aerial firefighter with the United States Forest Service and Cal Fire.

Currently, Easton and his wife reside in Texas where family comes first, followed closely by a desire to develop the next generation of classically trained ballet dancers.

Haley Smith – Guest Ballet Instructor

Haley Henderson Smith started her ballet training at the age of 8 with Clarissa Boeriu in Ventura, California. At 17 she was offered a contract with the Royal Danish Ballet and danced there through 2006 in featured roles including the Lilac Fairy in Helgi Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty, Palmyra in August Bournonville’s Abdallah and Arabian in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker. She then danced with American Ballet Theater during their 2006 Metropolitan Opera House season as a guest from the Royal Danish Ballet appearing in their entire repertoire.

She joined Ballet San Jose in 2006 where she danced principle roles including Myrtha in Giselle, Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker and Long Tall Sally in Dennis Nahat’s Blue Swede Shoes. Haley then joined the National Pre-Broadway tour of Dirty Dancing in 2008 where she appeared as Penny and a member of the ensemble. In 2010 she joined Ballet West as a soloist and was promoted to Principle in 2013. There she performed in a wide variety of roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the principle roles in Balanchine’s Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies, Chaconne, Dark Angel in Serenade, Choleric in The Four Temperaments, the Dryad Queen and Mercedes in Don Quixote, Lilac Fairy and Caraboose in Sleeping Beauty, Flora in Dracula, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, and many other lead roles.

Meg Rulewicz – Ballet Instructor

Megan Rulewicz was raised in San Antonio, Texas, and trained under the direction of Vladimir Marek and Nancy Smith at the Vladimir Marek Ballet Academy. After graduating high school, Megan began studying ballet at Brigham Young University, where she was coached and taught by Shani Robison, Jan Dijkwel, and Suzi Wood. While performing with the Ballet Showcase Company at BYU, she danced roles in Snow Queen, Raymonda, and originated roles and appeared in many choreographic works by the BYU faculty and students. In addition to performing with the company, Megan premiered her first choreographic work, Silent Victims of a Raging Storm, in 2006 and received an Outstanding Choreography Award from the dance department.

Upon graduating from BYU with a B.A. in Dance in 2007, Megan began graduate school at the University of Utah. During her time there, she studied under the direction of Regina Zarhina, Mikhail Tchoupakov, Conrad Ludlow, Maureen Laird, Sharee Lane, and Richard Wacko. She danced in various ballet department productions and choreographed five original works, including two contemporary ballet solos for the Youth America Grand Prix Competition in 2009. Megan graduated from the University of Utah in 2010 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Ballet, with emphases in choreography and teaching.

In 2010, Megan joined the faculty at UTSA, and began working to build a dance degree program for the university. She currently serves as the dance department coordinator for the university and teaches ballet, modern dance, and history of dance.  She continues to choreograph and coach for showcases and competitions nationwide, and is a member of the National Dance Education Organization and CORPS de Ballet International.

Jennifer Edmonds-Jones – Jazz and Contemporary Instructor/Choreographer

Jennifer is an internationally renowned performing artist who has choreographed and performed in numerous dance companies, films, videos, musicals, and benefits throughout the world in every genre of dance from ballet to hip hop. Her versatility can be attributed to her consummate passion and reverence for all movement styles coupled with her tireless quest for knowledge and self-discovery. These values she empathetically instills in her students.

After receiving her BA in Performing Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago, Jennifer pursued her artistic career in New York City where she shared her talents, for more than 8 years, as an educator, performer, and choreographer.

Jennifer is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridges: Creating Artistic Community a newly formed arts service organization in San Antonio. Bridges partners with artists, organizations, and community leaders on new and developing projects to artistically serve the community. Locally she has continued her work with Dance Elan, W-I-P/Works In Progress, Northwest Vista College, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Child Rehabilitation Institute Teleton – USA (CRIT-USA), Martinez Street Women’s Center: Girls’ Zone, Urban Connection-San Antonio, San Antonio Youth, Third Coast Dance Center, RPM Youth Tap Ensemble, San Antonio Ballet School, Premiere Ballet, Ballet San Antonio Academy, Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, San Antonio Dance Academy, ModaColab and Spareworks.

As an educator, prior to her arrival to San Antonio, Jennifer spent 5 years, providing residencies, teacher training and professional development, performances, and choreography in the NYC Department of Education’s five boroughs. Partnering with Marquis Studios (Brooklyn, NY), Jennifer created “Project RESPECT” a program that integrated literacy and movement to initiate dialogue and provide education on how to address the growing bullying problem within schools. Other teaching and consulting credits include: Summer Arts Institute (NYC), 92nd Street Y Harkness (NYC), Together In Dance (NYC), Harlem Hospital’s Dance Leadership Program (NYC), Irby’s Dance Center (NJ), Indianapolis Parks and Recreation (IN).

As a performer, Jennifer’s career began in her local dance studio Dance Magic Performing Arts Center in Indianapolis, IN, under the direction of Linda Rees. As a teenager Jennifer was the first finalist in the Prelude Scholarship Awards, to ever represent her high school. This experience led her to her first international soloist performance in the International Black Film Festival in Berlin, Germany at age 17. She would return to Germany many years later as an assistant choreographer for Queen Esther Morrow’s Walk Tall Tour.

Other performance career highlights in Film: Idlewild (HBO Productions), Been Rich All My Life (Heather McDonald) Video: Moves & Grooves on Location Pilot, Have Fun with Dance Theatre: Play On! (Arena Stage, Pasadena Playhouse, Goodman Theatre), Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Fox Theatre), Cotton Club Rhapsody (La MaMa), In Mahalia’s Light (Passage Theatre) Dance Companies: Cecilia Marta Dance Company, Errol Grimes Dance Group, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, Cortez & Company, Sensedance, Dance>Detour (mixed abilities), Bryant Ballet, Kalamazoo Ballet, Foot & Fiddle Dance Company, World Dance Theatre, Other: Broadway Cares/EFA Benefit (Apollo Theatre), Chicago Humanities Festival (Armour Stage, Symphony Center), Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo After Party (Pacha – NYC), 10th Annual New York Family Arts Festival (Riverside Theatre).

Jennifer’s choreographic talents were first showcased at the Arsenal Theatre when she choreographed Crazy for You in high school. While in college her work ethic and attention to detail caught the attention of Broadway Choreographer, Mercedes Ellington. Ms. Ellington hired Jennifer as an assistant to the Broadway Musical Play On! for the show’s first touring production at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. She would continue to assist in future productions of Play On! (Pasadena Playhouse, Arena Stage) and other projects with Mercedes including Rockettes Out of Line and her NYC debut performance at the Apollo Theatre.

Jennifer was a member of Actor’s Equity Association and American Guild of Variety Artist

Ryland Acree – Ballet Instructor/Partnering

Sierra Cummings – Ballet Instructor/Pointe Technique

Brenna Mulligan – Ballet/Contemporary Pointe Instructor

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Jaclyn LeVasseur – Ballet Instructor/Pointe Technique

Jaclyn LeVasseur (San Antonio, TX) graduated from Texas Christian University (TCU) with a BFA in Ballet and a Minor in Movement Science in 2019. Her training and awards include training at Quenedit Ballet School and winner of the Joci Award Scholarship. During her time at TCU, Jaclyn performed in principal roles in residency works such as George Balanchine’s Elégie (Michele Gifford, répétiteur) and Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies (John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow, répétiteurs). She has also performed in works by LeeWei Chao, Summer Lee Rhatigan, and Jennifer Archibald. Jaclyn has teaching and choreography experience in a wide array of dance styles and techniques, with her main focus on Contemporary Ballet during her studies at TCU. Jaclyn is also currently working as a Therapy Technician at San Antonio Center for Physical Therapy and hopes to attend a Doctorate in Physical Therapy program.

 

Jocelyn Bowman – Ballet Instructor/Variations

Renee Blackwelder – Ballet Instructor

Audy Yang – Ballet Instructor

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Cynthia Frias – Jazz and Contemporary Instructor

Cynthia Frias was born and raised in the city of San Antonio, Texas. Since the moment Cynthia could walk, dancing was in the picture. She graduated from Oklahoma City University’s Ann Lacy School of Dance and Entertainment where she received her Bachelors of Performing Arts in Dance Performance and minor in Spanish on May 2017. At OCU, she had the pleasure of studying under many reputable professors and performing as a company member for the American Spirit Dance Company.

Outside of her university performing opportunities, Cynthia has also had the pleasure of being a cast as a dancer for several different productions which include the following: Texas! The Outdoor Musical, Sea World’s Bay of play, Howl O’ Scream, and Christmas Celebration, a dancer/model for New Braunfel’s Wedding Guide commercial of “When Style & Dance Tie the Knot”. And her most recently she has had three performing contracts with Disney Cruise Line on the Magic, Wonder, and Fantasy vessels. Aside from performing, Cynthia loves to teach and share her passion and knowledge of the industry with others in the dance community from the younger generation to those who just want to dance as an outlet.

Cynthia would like to thank her teachers and professors for helping her and guiding her throughout her career. She would like to especially thank her friends and loving family for the endless amount of support and encouragement.

Thaddeus Morris – Tap and Musical Theater Instructor

Rosie Forte – Ballet Instructor