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.
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.
Philip Amer was raised in northern California, where he began his dance training at age four. His
early inspirations were Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, which prompted him to ask his mother to enroll him
in dance. His early training was in Eureka, California with the Redwood Concert Ballet. For several
summers he studied at the San Francisco Ballet School, under the direction of Richard Cammack. As a
young dancer, he danced with Ballet Celeste International in San Francisco and performed with them in
Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe, Japan.
Early in his professional career, Philip joined the Cleveland Ballet, under the direction of Dennis
Nahat, where he had the opportunity to be onstage with notable dancers, such as Cynthia Gregory.
After spending a season dancing with BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio, Philip was offered a position with
the Sacramento Ballet. He spent six years there, where he performed an extensive repertoire of
Balanchine ballets, including Rubies, Allegro Brilliante, the Four Temperaments and Prodigal Son, among
many others. While with the Sacramento Ballet, he also performed principal and soloist roles in Giselle,
Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and The Nutcracker. Philip danced in Minneapolis with
the James Sewell Ballet, directed by James Sewell. He also danced with the Minnesota Dance Theatre,
directed by Lise Houlton, former soloist of the American Ballet Theatre and Stuttgart Ballet. Philip
performed with San Francisco Opera Ballet in “Aida,” with choreography by Donald Byrd. He also
performed a soloist role in the Russian comic opera “Betrothal in a Monastery.”
Philip moved to Southern California and performed with L.A Classical Ballet. He also performed
with Nancy McCaleb and the San Diego Ballet. Philip taught Ballet in many studios in the area as well,
including San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Academy of Performing Arts, Scripps Dance Center, and SCPA in
Chula Vista High School. Philip choreographed as well, creating several pieces that have been
performed throughout California and Mexico.
After spending a few years in San Diego Philip found his way back up to the San Francisco Bay
area where he performed with Company C Contemporary Ballet and taught at several studios around
the bay area. During his time up north Philip also completed his degree in Computer Information
Systems through DeVry University.
Philip is excited to bring his 20+ years of teaching and his vast professional experience to the
teaching staff at Georgia’s School of Dance.
Alina Salmanova began her rhythmic and aesthetic group gymnastics training at the age of 6 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
At the age of 14 she earned title Master of Sports in rhythmic gymnastics and decided to end her rhythmic career. However, Alina continued her training as Aesthetic Group Gymnast, and also earned Master of Sports in AGG.
Ms. Salmanova earned many gold medals at Ukrainian Championships as well as earned Gold Medal at World Championships in 2018 in Budapest, Hungary, 4th place in World Championship in 2019 Cartagena, Spain. Silver Medal in Aurora Games in 2019 Albanu, NY.
In April 2022 after the war has started in Ukraine, Alina came to United States to continue her gymnastics career and in her spare time coaching the younger generation. She is is very happy to be in San Diego and spread the love of gymnastics to the children.