Faculty Bios

 

Michelle Anderson (MA): Michelle studied with the School of Ballet West and Virginia Tanner’s Children’s Dance Theatre. She received scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School and University of Utah where she graduated with a B.F.A. in ballet. She danced with Ballet West for five years in classical and contemporary ballets including: Nutcracker, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Giselle, and Sleeping Beauty. Michelle has been on dance faculty at Virginia Tanner Creative Dance, Central City Dance, and has served on Janet Gray’s faculty since 1994.

 

Carly Anderson (CA): Carly studied with Janet Gray Studios and Children’s Dance Theater for over eleven years. She also co-teaches the Dancers With Disabilities class at Tanner Dance, U. of U. While performing with CDT, she participated in the Dance and the Child International (DaCI) program in Saskatchewan, Canada. Carly regularly attends tap intensive workshops in Chicago, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. Carly completed her B.S. Mathematics, University of Utah.

 

Brenda Butcher (BB): Brenda completed her BFA Modern Dance, University of Utah. She is certified in American Ballet Theatre's National Training CC, Primary-Level 3. She is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique an innovative program for students to understand the depth of training muscle memory. Brenda is a certified Pilates and yoga instructor. Currently she teaches as Assistant Professor, Ballet Department, University of Utah, as Adjunct Faculty SLCC, and for Ballet West Academy, Park City. She performed as a member of Mountain West Ballet company and was Ballet West Children's Nutcracker Rehearsal Mistress for 3 years.

 

Jennifer Cushing Clark (JC): Jenni studied at the Ballet West Conservatory and trained under Mr. Willam F. Christensen. Jenni received the Willam F. Christensen Scholarship at the U. of U. and completed her B.F.A. in Ballet with a teaching emphasis. She participated in summer intensives at The Rock School Pennsylvania Ballet and Houston Ballet Academy. She performed with Utah Ballet Company and with Ballet West in roles of ‘Snowflake’, ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ Nutcracker; Coppelia, and in Jonas Kage’s Swan Lake as a member of ‘swan corps’.

 

Andrea Curtis (AC): Andrea completed her BFA in Dance Performance at Southern Utah University. Andrea is also a certified Zumba® and Zumbatomic® Fitness Instructor. She is a popular choreographer for multiple local Jr. High School and High School dance companies. She created and directed her own dance company "Chance Dance Troupe" (2010-2011) a hip-hop group whose mission statement was based on volunteer work and community development.

 

Katie Horne Davis (KHD): Katie graduated from Brigham Young University, BFA Dance. Katie is certified in American Ballet Theatre's National Training CC, Primary-Level 3. She toured and performed with BYU's Theatre Ballet Company and has worked extensively with many professional artists including Jay Jolly (Royal Ballet), Sarah Webb (Houston Ballet), and Summer Rattigan (SFCD). She was a finalist in Utah Regional Ballet's competition of Choreography Design Project.

 

Kelly Durning (KD): Kelly danced with Disney Cruise Lines and has appeared as a featured dancer on MTV, as well as regional and national commercials. Kelly completed her BS Biology-Emphasis in Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry, University of Utah. She was a member of the University of Utah Dance Team and Strictly Bussniss Dance Company.

 

Amy Thurston Jex (AJ): Amy is presently on World Dance Faculty, BYU Department of Dance and is the director of "Traditionz," a world dance outreach program for elementary students. She has been on faculty for UDEO High School Dance Festival, BYU's summer dance intensives in Ballet and Contemporary, and choreographed for BYU's Christmas Around the World. She is an active dance community member and adjudicates and performs with Mountain West Ballet's "Nutcracker", choreographed for the Draper Arts Council, and LDS Church Draper Temple Celebration (300+ performers). She completed her B.A. in humanities at B.Y.U. while also performing with the B.Y.U International Folk Dance Ensemble and completed her M.A. in Dance Pedagogy. Amy has served on Janet Gray’s faculty since 1999.

 

Elle Johansen (EJ): Elle studied with Janet Gray Studios for over a decade. She earned her BFA in Modern Dance, University of Utah. She was selected to represent her graduating class receiving the "Outstanding Senior Award." Elle was selected to study in Berlin, Germany at Staatliche Balletschule Berlin. She has received scholarships for Repertory Dance Theatre's Summer Intensive and performed as a guest dancer in Repertory Dance Theatre's "Reunion" program.

 

Natalie Barnes Jones (NB): Natalie completed her BFA Modern Dance, University of Utah. She auditioned and was selected to participate in the Professional Division of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Summer Intensive, NYC. She was State Sterling Scholar, Dance Category, 2012. She is a frequent performer for Hale Centre Theatre. Her most recent role was 'Gorilla' in Tarzan. Natalie trained at the Janet Gray Studios, Children's Dance Theatre, Creative Dance Academy, Bountiful School of Ballet, and Dance Impressions.

 

Mellanie Thorum (MT): Mellanie received her formative training from the Marjorie Kovich School of Ballet, Norman Oklahoma. She also trained at The School of American Ballet and was a scholarship student both at the Harid Conservatory and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Mellanie was a company member with Fort Worth Dallas Ballet (FWDB), under Paul Mejia's direction. She danced in countless Balanchine Ballets while with FWDB. She later joined Ballet West and performed for 7 years, including soloist roles of Flower Pas de Deux, Paquita, Arabian, and Fairy God Mother.

 

Stephanie Pike Thomas (ST): Most recently, Stephanie choreographed and performed 'Laurie' in "A Chorus Line" Egyptian Theatre Park City. Stephanie performed in Dark Horse Theater's "Chicago" and was dance captain for both "Chicago" and "Cabaret" at the Egyptian Theatre Park City. Stephanie was cast as 'White Cat' in Rodger's Memorial Theatre production of "Cats". Stephanie does free lance work including television commercials. She completed her B.S. Psychology, University of Utah, and has served on Janet Gray's faculty since 1989.

 

Ashlee Zern Wright (AW): Ashlee studied with Janet Gray Studios for over 13 years. She participated in summer intensives with Ballet West Conservatory and BYU Ballet. She performed with Ballet West Nutcracker for 5 years and competed as the youngest performer in the National Arts and Letters Competition 2000. Recently she choreographed for Cottonwood Heights Art Council's production "Cinderella" and as assistant choreographer for "Wizard of Oz."