Its a Beautiful Thing When a Career and a Passion Come Together
Owner/Director, Jazz, Competition Director
Sue Gilson has professional credits in jazz, tap, and Polynesian dance from performances in the Los Angeles area. Sue choreographed musicals for the Palomar College Theatre, including Cabaret, Can-Can, Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, The Merry Widow, Quilters, and Little Shop of Horrors, to name a few . Her choreography for Palomar College’s 50th Anniversary Musical, Kiss Me Kate, received critical acclaim. Along with Tom Hansen, she co-choreographed and co-produced productions of Gershwin in Revue , Ballads, Blues, and Boogie-Woogie, and Stompin’ at the Brubeck. She directed the Performing Arts Department’s Dance outreach program, which has presented numerous programs for local high schools and community organizations. She also directs Encore, a select group of dancers which have been the featured entertainment at numerous Palomar College Foundation Galas. Sue continues to teach at Palomar College as an Associate Professor of Dance. Sue has choreographed community shows for the Rancho Santa Fe School District, the 75th Anniversary Gala for the Bishop’s School, the Rancho Bernardo Country Club, and for Leisure World in Laguna Hills. To maintain state-of-the-art dance skills and techniques, Sue regularly participates in professional dance workshops and master classes. Sue has studied with Gus Giordano in Chicago and Frank Hatchett in New York City. She also studied dance in London, England, and Stuttgart, Germany.
Sue had been a friend of and a teacher for Georgia Copeland for over 25 years. On Georgia’s passing in 1999, Sue took over the Studio and continues Georgia’s legacy. Georgia’s School of Dance is now teaching a third generation of students. Among the personal awards Sue has received are the San Diego Performing Arts League “Star” Award, the Company Dance Educator Award, and has been recognized twice in the Marquis “Who’s Who of American Women”. Sue is a member of the North San Diego Business Chamber and the Escondido Chamber of Commerce. Sue’s motto is “Keep Dancing”.
Jessica Carpinelli began dancing in the San Diego area when she was three years old. She trained in classical ballet for 10 years before meeting Sue Gilson, who encouraged her to add jazz, tap, lyrical, and musical theater to her repertoire at Georgia’s School of Dance and Palomar College. Miss Jessica has had the opportunity to take master classes around the country with some of the most prominent names in dance. She earned a Bachelor of Economics at San Francisco State and during her time became a teaching apprentice at a local ballet academy. She further developed her passion and talent for teaching children after graduating, taught dance full-time and performed with several Bay Area dance companies. Miss Jessica moved back to San Diego in 2008 and began teaching at Georgia's shortly thereafter. She combines her more than 15 years of teaching experience with her passion and joy for the art of dance. She has developed and implemented the curriculum used for our children's classes and has created a program that flows seamlessly into our Ballet, Tap and Jazz curriculums. Miss Jessica continues to further develop her knowledge and skills as a member of the National Dance Education Organization, the California Dance Education Association, and the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. In addition, she is actively pursuing a Certificate in Dance Education through NDEO. Since joining our staff, Miss Jessica has helped the children's dance program flourish and continues to dedicate herself to building and improving it.
Emily Luther began her training in Orange County at the Hirschl School of Dance, where she studied ballet, jazz, and tap. When she turned her focus to ballet, Emily began training at Long Beach Ballet Arts Center under the direction of David Wilcox and Shani Englert. As a member of the performing company, Long Beach Ballet Theater, she had the opportunity to attend Regional Dance America. She also participated in summer intensive programs annually, including LA Classical Ballet and American Repertory Ballet in Princeton, New Jersey. Emily’s performance experience includes roles in the Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Swan Lake, as well as company dancer and flying angel roles in both productions of The Glory of Christmas and The Glory of Easter at the Crystal Cathedral. Emily was also a member of the Christian ballet company, His Grace Dance Ministry, for over ten years. She has been teaching ballet in the Orange County area for the past seventeen years. Emily received her certification in Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) from Marie Walton-Mahon in March of 2017. Most recently, Emily is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary though Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum.
Jessie Leigh Olson
Ballet/Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary, Turns and Leaps, Competition
Jessie Leigh Olson began her training with Mark and Sandra Carlson at The International Ballet School. She continued her pre-professional training under the direction of Valentina and German Zamuel. While at the Zamuel Ballet School, Jessie was awarded numerous scholarships, including the Esther Geoffrey Scholarship Award. For several years she attended the Washington School of Ballet where she worked with the late Rebecca Wright and Victoria Leigh. Jessica has competed in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) in Denver, accomplishing First Place Awards in the Classical division in her category, which led to competing in YAGP as a finalist in New York City. Now in her fourth season at The City Ballet of San Diego, Jessie Leigh has performed in The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Raymonda Variations, Carmen, and Geoffrey Gonzalez’s Speakeasy, The Seasons, and Carmina Burana. As well as, George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Emeralds from Jewels, Square Dance, Walpurgisnacht Ballet and La Source, plus the company premiere of Peter Martins’ Hallelujah Junction and Ash. Ms. Olson has been seen performing lead roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade and Betsey Wistrich’s Giselle. Jessie Leigh is also a faculty member at City Ballet School.
Lyrical, Turns and Leaps, Jazz Funk, Competition
Michael Reid started dancing at the age of 15, where he participated in the All male dance team at San Marcos High School. He received a scholarship to attend Georgia's school of Dance in Escondido, training under the direction of Anthony Russell, Sue Gilson and Theo Ivey, Michael has danced with Unity Dance Ensemble, founded by Tessandra Chavez, currently he is dancing with Opus Mixtus, under the direction of Heather Dale Wentworth, Axxiom Dance Collective, under the direction of Joei Waldron. In 2009 Michael was awarded the "Shining Star" award and was recognized as the 2010 "Choreographer of The Year" at Palomar College. For the last four years Michael has been a positive influence and role model at the San Marcos Boys and Girls Club. In 2013 the ASES People's Choice Award recognized him for his work with the San Marcos High School's Dance Team. Michael aspires to further his knowledge in all aspects of dance and to share his passion with any willing audience.
Ballet/Pointe, Childrens Program, Competition
France-Marie Stiewel began her early ballet training in San Diego, by the age of twelve was being accepted into many pre-professional summer intensive programs. She spent the summers training with the Joffrey Ballet, San Fransisco Ballet, Boston Ballet and Richmond Ballet. in 2003, Ms. Stiewel was asked to join the Richmond Ballet training program, where she performed many various roles with the company. In 2007, Ms. Stiewel moved to Princeton, New Jersey, to dance with the American repertory Ballet and teach for the Princeton Ballet School. Under the guise of school director, Mary Pat Robertson, and the seasoned staff of PBS, she gained the expertise and passion for teaching ballet at all levels. Most recently, France-Marie became a fully certified teacher with American Ballet Theater.
Tap, Childrens Program
Grace Wichert's teaching background spans the last 25 years and her students range in age from 4 to 75. Her style of tap dance is traditional, sometimes called Broadway Tap. She has studied such master tap instructors as Debbie Dee, Charles Kelley, Lynn Cramer and Al Gilbert. Grace attends workshops given by the Dance Olympus Organization and Dance Educators of America, to stay “in step” with up to date teaching practices and styles. Her mentor, who Grace studied with and taught for was Georgia Copeland. Grace previously taught at Palomar College. Grace loves to teach and share her love of tap dancing.
Victor James Wisehart
Jazz/Musical Theater/ Competition
Victor James Wisehart is an American actor who has had the honor being directed by: Bartlett Sher, Mary Zimmerman, Susan Stroman, Christopher Wheeldon, Christopher Gattelli, Denis Jones, Warren Carlyle, Marc Bruni, Josh Rhodes, Gordon Greenberg, Mitzi Hamilton, and Gemma Brockis. Some favorite projects are the World Premiere casts of Mary Zimmerman’s The Jungle Book at the Tony Award winning Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and An American In Paris at the Theatre Du Chatelét in Paris, continuing with the production originating the role of Mr. Z in An American In Paris on Broadway. His other Broadway credit was the Hollywood Director in Roundabout Theater Company’s Holiday Inn, which was recorded for the cinema by Broadway HD and played in movie theaters all over the United States and PBS’s Great Performances. London credits include: West Side Story (Diesel) at Sadler’s Wells as well as CHANGELING dir. Gemma Brockis (Tony Tavistock/Antonio) The BACCHAE dir Gareth Watkins (Pentheus), The Lady From The Sea dir Linda Miller (Dr. Wangel), Mother Courage and Her Children dir Simona Gonella and Ian Morgan (The Cook/Sergeant), The Revengers Tragedy dir Peta Lily (Spurio), and A Midsummers Night’s Dream dir Juri Naël (Hermia) all as part of the MA Theatre Lab at RADA. Touring credits include The 50th Anniversary World Tour of West Side Story (Diesel), and the 1st National Tour of Lincoln Center Theater’s South Pacific (Lt. Buzz Adams) Victor’s voice can be heard on the cast recordings of City Center Encore’s Pipe Dream and The Original Broadway Cast Recordings of An American In Paris, and Roundabout Theater Co’s Holiday Inn. Victor can be seen in Holiday Inn streaming on Broadway HD. Victor holds a BFA from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and an MA from RADA.
As a Choreographer, Victor has reproduced Christopher Gattelli’s original choreography and musical staging of Lincoln Center’s South Pacific for Ogunquit Playhouse’s South
Pacific (nominations for IRNE and Broadwayworld.Com Boston Award for Best Choreography), collaborated as associate choreographer with Gemze de Lappe at The Muny (Oklahoma!) and Boston’s Reagle Music Theatre (both Oklahoma! and Carousel). He served as associate choreographer for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s recent production of Oklahoma!, adding his own original choreography for the show stopping “Everything’s Up To Date In Kansas City” which received critical acclaim. Known for bringing incredible musicality, athleticism, and an old school flair to his choreography, Victor gathers from his experience from all of his diverse career to develop his own unique style.
Victor has taught masterclasses at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee for both their Theater Department and Dance Department, taught Musical Theater and Contemporary Dance at the International Checcetti Ballet Summer Dance Intensive at UNLV, as well as at the International Ballet Conservatory in Denver, CO. With the Southern California Ballet in San Diego, CA, Victor has had the pleasure of teaching Ballet Technique, Variations, Pas De Deux, Choreography, Contemporary Dance, Tap and Musical Theatre. He has taught masterclasses at the California State Summer School for the Arts at CalArts in Valencia, and served as a guest instructor of Palomar College in San Marcos, CA. While in London completing his MA from RADA Victor was a faculty member at BASE DANCE STUDIOS and FIELD WORKS DANCE. He is very honored to be sharing his experience and choreographic voice with the students of Georgia’s School of Dance. Instagram: @victor_james_wisehart
Susan grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and started her ballet training at age 5 with Gayle Corkery School of Ballet. In addition to ballet, Susan studied jazz, tap, modern, character, and clogging. She attended conventions and competed in many talent competitions and pageants, where she won numerous awards and scholarships including 1st Place Talent in Miss Texas National Teenager, 1st Place Talent at Dupree Dance Competition, and 1st Place Talent at Showstopper National Talent Competition. Susan also had the opportunity to attend master classes from jazz greats such as Rick Sullivant, Gus Giordano, Frank Hatchett, Rhonda Miller, John Medeiro, Sam Watson, and tap great, Gracey Tune. At age 12, Susan was selected to attend the summer intensive program at The School of American Ballet, official school of the New York City Ballet. There, she trained with notables such as Alexandra Danilova, Susan Pilarre, Suki Schorer, Stanley Williams, Antonina Tumkovsky, Elise Reiman, Richard Rapp, Marina Staviskaya, and Andrei Kramarevsky. She attended SAB intensives for 3 summers. Susan also attended San Francisco Ballet School and Pacific Northwest Ballet School summer intensives. She has also taken many master ballet classes from greats such as Allegra Kent, Daniel Duell, David Howard, Edward Villela, Darci Kistler, Merrill Ashley, Richard Lee, John Prinz, Stephanie Saland, and many more.
Susan later moved to San Diego and furthered her training at American Ballet School and Company, under the direction of Lynda Yourth, formerly with New York City Ballet. There, she performed principal roles in major ballets including Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. While at American Ballet School, Susan also had the opportunity to study and perform under Elizabeth and Steven Wistrich, current Directors of City Ballet in San Diego, where an original piece was set on Susan by Elizabeth Wistrich. This piece, Mozart Concerto is still in the City Ballet repertoire today.
Susan later attended UCSD, where she received a BA in Psychology and a minor in French Literature, with a focus in Dance. There, she studied ballet under Judith Sharp, current Ballet Mistress at California Ballet in San Diego. She also studied jazz at UCSD with Patricia Rincon, founder of Patricia Rincon Dance Collective in San Diego. Susan loves sharing her experience, passion, and love of dance with students at Georgia’s School of Dance.