GET TO KNOW OUR FACULTY
Lori Bodine Benold, Founder and Director
Lori Bodine Benold, Founder & Director, teaches ballet classes for the upper levels and oversees performance opportunities for Ballet Arts of Austin dancers. She brings 35 years of experience developing technique and artistry in hundreds of dancers, from their balletic beginnings to their debuts as professional dancers, and beyond.
When Ms. Bodine moved to Austin in 2015, Alexandra Nadal invited her to teach a guest class for her advanced students at the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet. Nadal strongly identified with her teaching style and technique and immediately offered her a teaching position, where Bodine shared responsibility for the most advanced students with Ms. Nadal, herself.
Ms. Bodine received her first formal dance training at Roquemore Ballet Arts (now Munro Ballet Studios) in Corpus Christi, Texas, and performed with the Corpus Christi Ballet and in Regional Dance America Southwest Festivals throughout her childhood. It was during Festival, when Bodine was just 15, that Robert Joffrey noticed her in the master class he was teaching. He personally awarded her with full scholarships to attend the summer workshops he taught in San Antonio and New York City.
The following summer, Ms. Bodine returned to NYC once again – this time having been accepted into the
School of American Ballet summer workshop. Shortly thereafter, at age 17, Bodine received a full scholarship from the San Francisco Ballet School for year-round study, prompting her to graduate early from high school in order to seize
the opportunity. After just one year of study, Ms. Bodine became one of the few students in the school's history to be offered a professional contract with the San Francisco Ballet directly, skipping the usually-required apprenticeship.
During her tenure with San Francisco Ballet, she danced many roles, classical and modern, including: Blue Bird Variation - Sleeping Beauty, Four Little Swans Variation - Swan Lake, Frederick Ashton's Trio -Monotones, Tarantella Pas de Deux, George Balanchine's Serenade, Stars and Stripes, Symphony in C, Western Symphony, & The Four Temperaments, Michael Smuin's Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, A Song for Dead Warriors, Shinju, Mozart's C Minor Mass, and Lew Christensen's Con Amore.
Bodine subsequently returned to Corpus Christi as a Resident Principal Artist for the Corpus Christi Ballet, where she performed many additional roles, among them: Swanhilda in Coppelia, Rose Pas de Deux, Snow Queen and Arabian Pas de Deux in The Nutcracker. A strong modern dancer as well, she performed in many works choreographed by Joe Alegado, former professional dancer with the Jose Limon dance company in NYC.
Lori Bodine Benold has choreographed numerous works for the Corpus Christi Ballet, many of which have been featured on Gala evenings at Regional Dance America Southwest Festivals, most recently in 2017. She currently serves as an adjudicator for Regional Dance America.
"The study of classical ballet is like no other pursuit. It simultaneously involves power and grace, in an unparalleled combination of discipline, athleticism, musicality and art. This is why ballet continues to serve as the foundation for many other forms of artistic movement. Dedicated students of classical ballet learn skills that go far beyond the dance studio, and they go on to apply those skills in their studies and careers. Ballet students are trained to focus patiently on building strength and technique over time, to give a 100% effort at all times, to consistently attend class and to welcome constructive feedback. They also learn to approach their dancing and their lives, with a deep appreciation for beauty and grace.
Whether a ballet student is a youth or an adult, an aspiring professional or an avid enthusiast, there is a tremendous amount of purpose, joy and fulfillment in the study of ballet. At Ballet Arts of Austin, we are dedicated to the highest level of training in classical ballet technique and artistry for students of all ages. We look forward to seeing you in class!"
Tiffany Loos, Youth Curriculum Director
Tiffany Loos, Youth Curriculum Director, teaches levels 1-4 and beginner/intermediate adult classes. She has over 20 years of experience studying classical ballet.
Tiffany Loos comes to Ballet Arts of Austin from the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet, where she was the sole teacher for the lower school. She has studied classical ballet for over 20 years, dancing exclusively with Eugene Slavin and Alexandra Nadal from 2005-2015. Tiffany began teaching Pilates for the Slavins in 2008, addressing the needs of intermediate and advanced ballet students at the studio. In 2009, she added pre-ballet classes, ultimately taking on the whole of Slavin's curriculum, for children through the pre-intermediate levels. She has since developed her own curriculum including classes for adults returning to dance or just beginning their ballet careers.
Tiffany discovered that helping students understand the muscular engagement necessary for a movement enhanced their technical ability and overall facility with ballet. Her creativity and in-depth understanding of anatomy and physiology further allow her to identify opportunities for improvement and to devise approaches for students of all ages to achieve their artistic and technical goals.
In addition to her extensive ballet teaching experience, Tiffany is a certified and seasoned Pilates and yoga instructor and a Licensed Massage Therapist. She has been teaching for 20 years. Her diverse background serves her well in the context of teaching ballet, because posture and positioning are equally important foundational elements for the serious ballet dancer. She also has a special interest in stretching, focusing on form to enhance function. Small adjustments can have profound physical effects and an enormous impact on mental understanding and the mind-body connection.
"Dance captivates. It stimulates and challenges the mind and speaks to the heart. This is where ballet comes together, creating art. Dance because you love some aspect of it or just because. Whatever your motivation, ballet fosters grace, focus, precision, and attention to detail."
Kirsten Kemp, Intermediate / Advanced Ballet Instructor Instructor
Kirsten Kemp is an Intermediate / Advanced Ballet instructor.
Kirsten Kemp is a classical ballet instructor, former professional dancer with Oklahoma City Ballet, and creator of the YouTube channel, TwinTalksBallet. Kirsten was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she trained at Munro Ballet Studios, with Lori Bodine-Benold as one of her instructors. She also performed with Corpus Christi Ballet under the direction of Cristina Munro.
At 17, Kirsten and her twin sister were accepted into the Houston Ballet Academy’s year-round program where she trained in the top levels and danced in academy and company productions for two years. Throughout her training, Kirsten also spent summers dancing at San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, Atlanta Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet.
In 2013, Kirsten began her studies at the University of Utah where she studied ballet on scholarship and performed featured roles in productions such as Balanchine’s Serenade, René Daveluy’s Coppelia, Jay Kim’s Cinderella, Excerpts from Les Corsaire, and Michael Bearden’s Hansel and Gretel. She was also a member of Character Dance Ensemble during her time at the U, and performed lead roles in folk dance repertoire. She had the privilege of traveling with the group to Hungary and Ukraine to perform and learn the national dances of each country.
While earning her degree, she took kinesiology, pedagogy, music theory, ballet history, and choreography classes, all of which informed her perspective as a teacher who values intelligence, musicality, artistry, and anatomically safe practices that contribute to the health and longevity of dancers.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Ballet and a Minor in Business Administration, Kirsten joined Oklahoma City Ballet as an apprentice where she danced for two seasons in ballets such as Balanchine’s Serenade, Marius Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty, Robert Mills’ A Midsummer Nights Dream, and The Nutcracker for audiences in OKC and on tour in Colorado Springs.
Kirsten now considers it a great honor to teach students of all ages - helping to cultivate a generation of confident, joyful, and thoughtful young artist who are destined to prosper no matter how their dance journey takes shape. Aside from teaching and dancing recreationally, she posts weekly videos on YouTube where she spreads advice, inspiration, and positivity into the dance world from a professional and university-educated perspective. Kirsten not only spreads her joy through dance, but also loves to encourage others and help them to realize their potential to live meaningful and impactful lives.
Kirsten is currently a candidate for certification as a Professional Purpose and Excellence Coach through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. She is beginning this career to empower clients who are committed to a lifestyle of excellence to live purposeful, fulfilling lives with greater levels of consciousness, fulfillment, and awareness of possibilities. She is also becoming a certified Pilates instructor through the Balanced Body Comprehensive Pilates Instructor Training Program.
“Dance is like a time capsule in our world today. Not because it is archaic, but because each time one enters the studio or even observes a live performance, it is an opportunity to exercise qualities of a state of being that our society no longer nurtures. Dance teaches you to be truly present, to speak volumes of who you are and your creative ability without saying a word, to derive great satisfaction from the most marginal physical improvements, to make art in a way that can only be experienced or beheld the same way once, to show up each day powerfully and vulnerably with incredible focus and resilience for the sake of a pleasure you find worthwhile. If one allows it, dance can be one of the most profound frameworks for character development while also being a nearly unparalleled source of joy.”
Lizanne McAdams-Graham is an Advanced Ballet Instructor.
Lizanne McAdams-Graham, has over 40 years experience as a professional dancer and dance educator and has devoted her entire life to the arts. She began training at the age of three under the direction of her late mother, Lorraine McAdams, legendary Director and Founder of the National Ballet of New Jersey and her father, a professional musician raising five children on a 12 acre dance complex. In her youth, she was a full year scholarship student to Joffrey Ballet NYC, Harkness House for Ballet Arts NYC, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Choreography NARB workshops. She joined the Croation National Ballet and Opera Theatre in Zagreb, in the former Yugoslavia at the age of 17, dancing principal and leading roles in Nutcracker, Coppelia, Giselle, Swan Lake, Serenade, Romeo & Juliet, Sleeping Beauty and Firebird, Graduation Ball, Carmina Burana, Bolero and Cinderella. She has studied with Finus Yhung, David Howard, John Prince, Maria Vegh, Basil Thompson, Michael Smuin, Alonzo King, Maggie Black and Robert Blankshine, Kristina Elliot, Yehuda Maor, Loyce Holton, and Pavel Rotaru.
Mid career, Ms. McAdams-Graham joined the renowned ODC/Dance, exploring contemporary dance, completing world tours in Russia, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and Australia, along with residency at Jacobs Pillow, Joyce Theater, City Center, Lincoln Center in NYC, and Kennedy Center in D.C. She has guest appeared for Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco Opera Ballet Companies in “Faust”, “Die Fledermaus”, “La Traviata” “Orfeo Ed Euridice” and “Aida” and appeared on the PBS televised production of "Dance in America".
Ms. McAdams served on the dance faculty for Dance Alloy at Carnegie-Mellon University, Point Park University, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Dance Center and Drexel University . She has set major ballets on Charleston Ballet, Ithaca Ballet and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She retired from performing in 1997 and conducted company class for Boulder Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson, David Taylor Dance Theatre, Zikir Dance Ensemble and Wonderbound in Colorado. She conducted thriving professional classes at Colorado Ballet and Denver Dance Center for 22 years. She was Ballet Mistress for David Taylor Dance Theatre and Dawson/Wallace Dance Project. Before relocating to Austin, Texas, Ms. McAdams was Ballet Director/Choreographer and Ballet Mistress for Sweatshop Dance in Denver.
Halle Hamilton, Jazz Instructor
Halle Hamilton, Jazz Instructor, teaches all jazz dance classes.
Halle Hamilton was born in Canton, Ohio and began dancing at the age of three. She attended the Pleasant View School for the Arts majoring in dance, drama, and piano. In addition, she was a competitive gymnast with the North Canton YMCA, a team that has been undefeated since 1978.
Throughout her middle school and high school years, Halle was a competitive dancer competing in numerous competitions on the East Coast. Her training included ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, tap, lyrical, acro, and hip hop. She began assisting her teachers with choreography at age nine, and by age 13 was an assistant teacher of both dance and gymnastics.
At age 16, Halle became the director of a recreational dance program for the YMCA where she taught classes and conducted recitals for seven years. At the same time, she taught competitive classes in tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, ballet, and acro, and was a freelance choreographer for dance teams, cheer squads, and numerous studios across Northeast Ohio. In 2006, she was hired by the Plain Local School System to teach dance and was involved in an arts integration program for 5th graders.
Halle graduated from Glenoak High School in Canton, Ohio with an arts specialization in dance before attending the University of Akron, majoring in dance. In addition, she has studied in New York City, Chicago, and Cleveland attending numerous workshops and teaching seminars.
Upon moving to Texas in 2007, Halle has worked as a teacher, choreographer, and assistant studio director focusing on Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Acrobatics.
“As far back as I can remember, I’ve been dancing. I was always turning, leaping, and cartwheeling through my house and down grocery store aisles. Dance was always there for me whether I was happy or sad. As soon as I stepped foot in the studio and the music came on, all was right in the world and my worries were miles away. I was blessed with an amazing family and amazing teachers that nurtured my creativity and gave me a stage to pour my heart out on. It is because of them that I wanted to do the same for other dancers. I knew at a very young age that I would teach, create, and share in the joy that is dance with anyone I could. Seeing my students learn, grow, and accomplish their goals brings me complete happiness. I am so excited to share my love for dance (and jazz hands) with the students at Ballet Arts of Austin.”
Dance artist and filmmaker Yelena Konetchy lives in Austin, TX, where she performs, teaches and choreographs for the stage and screen. Yelena began her career at The Illinois Ballet, followed by Charleston Ballet Theatre, Thel Dance Theatre as Company Manager, and now a free- lance artist. She has worked with Sally Bliss of Tudor Foundation, Amanda McKerrow, Andrei Bossov, Grace Holmes, Meg Brooker, Lori Belilove of Duncan Dance, and Dawn Karlovsky in Hawkins technique. She is certified in Vaganova Ballet Technique on scholarship by Ballet Master John White, RAD syllabus by Lynn Wallis, and Lester Horton technique under Ana Marie Forsythe. She has taught for several studios in ATX including Ballet Austin and also Texas A&M as an Artist in Residence.
As a free-lance Artist she is a filmmaker. Her dance film Solace Is screened at the Austin Short Film Festival in fall 2016, New York City Independent Film Festival May of 2017, and DDCF Dance Film Fest August of 2017. Her second dance film, Bloom had ran semi-finalist at Austin Arthouse Film Festival and won best experimental film at Transform Film Festival in addition to the Community Initiatives Impact Award from the City of Austin. She continues to further her Art in filmmaking and her love for dance through teaching.
"I have been teaching for over ten years and find joy in every minute of it, because it is dance. Dance has given me wonderful opportunities through expression, passion, and joy in life to building a community and growth in self. Such explorations should be shared and I hope each of my students discover the same through this wonderful Art form."