Faculty

Its a Beautiful Thing When a Career and a Passion Come Together

Sue Gilson

Owner/Director, Jazz

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”.  

Elena Baltovick

Ballet, Competition

Bio Coming Soon!

Courtney Camp

Acro

Bio Coming Soon!

Jessica Carpinelli

Childrens Program Director

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. As our Children's Program Director, 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. 

Maria and Larry Clendenin

Ballroom

Maria and Larry are a husband and wife team and have been teaching Ballroom, Salsa, Swing, and Fitness classes for 17 years. They began their journey of learning and teaching ballroom at Arthur Murray Dance School. Maria and Larry specialize in social dancing, and they both enjoy creating an atmosphere of fun in all of their dance and fitness classes, whether it be a large group lesson or a one-on-one private lesson. They joined Georgia's School of Dance in 2007. Their favorite dance slogan is "Get up and Dance!" 

Suzanne Fernandez

Pilates

Suzanne Fernanadez has her Pilates certification from Physical Mind Institute under Cathy Murakami. She has also trained with Body Arts & Science under Rael Isacowitz, Jillian Hessel, Julian Littleford, Kathy Corey, and Ron Fletcher. She has been teaching Pilates for over 10 years between Georgia’s School of Dance, The Golden Door Health Spa, and Palomar College. Suzanne is also currently employed as a Fitness Specialist at the Golden Door Health Spa as well as a choreographer for Carlsbad High School musicals. Her dance experience has included performances as a company member for Patricia Rincon Dance Collective (formerly Jazz Unlimited) where she toured Switzerland, Germany, and Mexico; Dansations under Diana Valero; and a variety of shows on cruise ships and tours through Mexico and the USA. Suzanne has been choreographing Pilates routines at Georgia’s School of Dance for over 12 years.

Chauncie Henry

Jazz, Hip Hop, Combo & Performance Team

Bio Coming Soon

Sara Johnston

Acro

Sara Johnston began acrobatic training and   performing in exhibitions at age 6, in Hawaii. At age 10 she began training competitively at Stars Gymnastics in Colorado Springs. Her background includes competing in regional competitions, and on her high school gymnastics team. She was also a part of her high school dance team where she choreographed and performed acro stunts, including, back flips, front flips, and aerials. Her dance background includes ballet and jazz. 

Emily Luther

Ballet

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 Olsen

Ballet

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. 

Michael Reid

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. 

Ally Rose

Hip Hop

Ally Rose has been training as a hip hop dancer since she was fourteen. She was introduced to dance by her high school team, that over the years branched into a competitive hip hop team. By her second year on the team and for the next three years, she led the team as captain. By her senior year of high school, Ally began choreographing outside of her team for shows, teaching workshops for dance teams around San Diego, and started teaching at a variety of studios. Ally trains at Studio FX, Culture Shock Dance Center, and Millenium Dance Complex. When Ally turned 18, she opened her own studio in Valley Center, called Valley Center Hip Hop, and invested her time in growing new students into mature dancers. Ally has trained with Syde FX Competition Dance Team, and recently moved on to the professional adult exhibition team, Gwown Ups, under the directorship of Carlo Darang and Amor Ledesma. Ally is focused on training in all styles of hip hop, and intent on providing her students the same developed dance education.

Anthony Russell

Turns & Leaps, Strength & Stretching, Contemporary/Lyrical, Competition

Anthony has trained at the City Ballet, LEA., Culture Shock, Mira Costa, Palomar College, Jimmie Defore, and the Edge. His professional credits are as diversified as his dance training. These credits include Disney World Florida, Disney World Japan, Starlight Theater, “Singing in the Rain,” principal dancer for the Unity Jazz Company San Diego, Russian Dancer for “The Nutcracker,” guest dancer for local ballet schools, dancer for Culligan Industrial convention at the Holiday Bowl, multiple industrial conventions and fashion shows in Florida, and foreign music videos. Anthony’s teaching and choreograph credits include San Marcos High School, Oceanside High School, El Camino High School, Orange Glen High School, Palomar College, and several local dance studios. Georgia’s School of Dance is very proud of all of Anthony’s dance accomplishments and happy that he shares his God given gift with us.

France-Marie Stiewell

Ballet, 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. 

Grace Wichert

Tap

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.

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© 2015 by Georgia's School of Dance, Escondido, CA.