Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

Please check back often as we update news on our alumni.


Alumni Spotlight! Be sure to look out for the tremendous success stories of our Northeast Atlanta Ballet alumni. First up: Jenny Martin. Jenny joined the Northeast Atlanta Ballet after training with our feeder school, Lilburn School of Ballet. Jenny was a featured dancer with the company and performed numerous lead roles including Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker, Swanhilda in Coppelia, and the title role in Cinderella. Upon graduation, Jenny was awarded dance scholarships to the prestigious Butler University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. We congratulate Jenny as she embarks on her professional career with Nevada Ballet. Good luck Jenny! We are so proud of you!


Our alumni spotlight returns. Sorry for the delay! Today, we feature alumnus Ian Schwaner. Ian was part of our male scholarship program and an absolute delight to have in our company. He had the opportunity to perform leading roles with us in numerous productions including Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker! Upon graduation, Ian received the platinum dance merit scholarship at the University of North Carolina School for the Arts. He is currently studying under Susan Jaffe and was selected to appear with another alumus, Lauren McDonough (Check back for her spotlight!) as Spanish in UNSCA’s upcoming production of the Nutcracker. We were so thrilled to have Ian return last weekend to perform with us at Gwinnett Center. Words cannot express how proud we are of Ian and can’t wait to see how far he will go!




Recent graduate Cynthia Hardegree credits the studio of the Northeast Atlanta Ballet, where she’s spent the past thirteen years taking classes in ballet, jazz, modern and pilates for teaching her the life lessons that enabled her to achieve many of her dreams. She cannot thank the company enough for all that they have done for her. For the last two summers, Cynthia received training at ballet intensives hosted by the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, North Carolina where she was taught by Debra Austin, Marin Boieru, and Tyler Walters, and the University of South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory in Columbia, South Carolina where she was instructed by Stacey Calvert, Kyra Strasberg, and Kiyomi Mercadante. Cynthia, who has been a member of the Northeast Atlanta Ballet Senior Company since eighth grade and has danced the lead roles of Cinderella, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, and Odette in Swan Lake, graduated from Brookwood High School this May with academic honors. This fall she will pursue a dance degree at the University of South Florida, where she earned a four-year Green and Gold academic scholarship. Once completing her BFA, she hopes to dance professionally and will pursue an additional dream by entering an MAT program to earn a masters in teaching in Elementary Education. Congratulations Cynthia! We look forward to your continued success.



Next up in Alumni Spotlight: Catching up with Rachael Jones. Rachael was a member of NEAB for many seasons. She was an audience favorite performing many leading roles including Sugar Plum Fairy, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. She was also a finalist at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix Competition in New York. Rachael attended the Rock School in Philadelphia on full scholarship. Upon graduation, Rachael joined the American Repertory Ballet as a soloist. She has also performed as a member of the Nashville Ballet. Currently, Rachael is set to graduate cum laude from Florida State University. We are thrilled to announce that Rachael will be joining the Washington Ballet in the fall. Good luck Rachael! We could not be more proud of your success!!! Photo courtesy of Martin O’Connor.






Kristen Springer began her dance training at the school of the Northeast Atlanta Ballet when she was just four years old. She was a stand out in the company where she performed leading roles for many season. Kristen attended the School of American Ballet in New York City on scholarship and was later accepted into the training program at Houston Ballet, where she danced for two years. Currently, Kristen is a principle dancer with Ballet Pensacola. She has had the opportunity to dance many principal roles, including Clara, Dew Drop, Snow Queen and Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Wendy in Peter Pan. Kristen is a beautiful young woman inside and out! We would like to congratulate Kristen on her success and her recent marriage! Good luck Kristen!





Recent graduate, Katelyn, began dancing at the age of 3. She joined the Northeast Atlanta Ballet over 7 years ago. Katelyn danced many lead roles including Sugar Plum, Dew Drop, Lilac Fairy, and Autumn Fairy.  Audiences enjoyed her many character roles such as The Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, lead in Anchors Away, and the Genie in Aladdin. Katelyn is an Honor Graduate of Brookwood High School where he was named outstanding dancer for their dance department. She received several scholarship offers to continue her dance education in both the university setting and with major dance companies. Katelyn was offered scholarships to Point Park University, the Joffrey Ballet, and invitations to various other programs. We wish Katelyn the best as she embarks on her career to dance with The Nashville Ballet and pursues a Degree in Nutrition.  While pursuing her career as a professional dancer, she hopes to make a difference in educating people to live healthier!



We are thrilled to announce that recent graduate Katelyn Smith has joined the Professional Development Program of the Nashville Ballet. She will have the opportunity to study with Artistic Director, Paul Vasterling, as she embarks on her professional career. Katelyn will take daily classes from 9-4 each day in addition to her rehearsals with the main company. Nashville Ballet has a very busy season and will be performing Peter Pan, Nutcracker, Attitude, Tennessee Jack and the Kudzu Vine, The Ben Folds Project, Carnival of the Animals, and Emergence.  Congratulations Katelyn. We are so thrilled for you and your success! Hard work and determination always pay off!


Another Alum update! Touching base with Alexis Jones! Alexis Jones began her studies at the Lilburn School of Ballet at the age of 5.  By the time she was 11, she became an apprentice to the Northeast Atlanta Ballet and advanced to Senior Company member at the age of 14.  In the company, Alexis has danced in numerous ballets and performed principal roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker”, the Autumn and the title role in “Cinderella”, the Neopolitan Pas de Deux and Peasant Pas de Trois in “Swan Lake”, Peter in “Peter Pan”, along with various other classical and contemporary works. In addition to her studies in dance, Ms. Jones has helped further the education of younger students. Alexis taught pre-ballet, jazz, and pointe 1 at the Lilburn School of Ballet. Alexis is now in her third year at Florida State University, with a pre-med major, under full scholarship. Recently, she auditioned for the Tallahassee Ballet and received a soloist contract for the 2013-2014 season! We are so proud of you Alexis! Keep up the great work.