Faculty & Staff
We love to teach and help eager learners become the stellar dancers they’ve always dreamed about.
How do we do that? By being clear in our approach with specific and obtainable goals for our students. Teachers design lesson plans impassioned with the joy of sharing dance and their knowledge. ABC instructors take each dancer through fundamental movements into logical and progressive steps. Learning becomes fluid and fun.
The Academie de Ballet Classique employs qualified professional Ballet and Dance Teachers, Choreographers, and Musical Accompanists who are artists in their own right. Teaching certification is the gold standard for our teachers.
As an Approved Examination Venue for the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Examinations, our students enjoy consistently high marks and a 100% rate of success. To keep scores elevated, our teachers attend Royal Academy of Dance’s Teachers Courses that advance teaching styles, musicality & student on-stage performance.
We love to shine. Shine we do with a stellar teaching staff. Please meet our exciting teachers, come watch them in the studio or attend classes to gain firsthand experience!
Director: Valerie Holgers
The Acadèmie de Ballet Classique (ABC), founded by Valerie Holgers, brings excellence in dance instruction to Central Oregon. Mrs. Holgers’ includes professional ballet experience, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marylhurst College, Pilates certification, Certification and Registered Teacher Status with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). Mrs Holgers serves as a mentor in the RAD’s Certificate of Ballet Studies Program. Mrs. Holgers holds the Benesh Dance Notation certification, issued by the Benesh Institute, London, UK.
Her personal dance training and teaching training encompasses many notable ballet masters and mistresses throughout the dance world and are too numerous to mention here.
At her former school, Multnomah Arts Center Ballet Program in Portland, Oregon, Ms Holgers’ students achieved much success with their RAD examination scores, and several of those students moved on to enjoy their own professional dance careers. She has taught for Marjorie Soriano, June Taylor, Pacific Ballet Theater, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Marcelle Renoux of the Renoux Dance Theatre, among others. In 1999 Mrs. Holgers moved to Bend, Oregon, and in 2006 opened Academie de Ballet Classique in Bend, where she continues to demonstrate a high level of success with her RAD exam scores.
Many of Mrs. Holgers’ students have attended the Royal Academy of Dance’ Pre-Vocational Summer Intensive Program in Long Beach California, The Goh Academy in Vancouver, BC, June Taylor School of Dance Summer Intensives and The North Carolina School of the Arts. Others have gone on to companies such as Colorado Ballet, Harlem Ballet Theater, and Oregon Ballet Theater.
Contemporary, Jazz & Hip Hop Instruction, Velocity Dance Company Director: Alesa Terry
Ms. Alesa joined our faculty September 2011 and brings with her expertise, boundless energy and creativity. She began her career as a dance educator and choreographer before she was out of high school. She is currently the director of Dance Velocity and has spent the previous eight years as an instructor for Sunriver Dance Academy.
Ms. Alesa teaches classes in various styles of modern, ballet, hip hop, creative movement, composition, and jazz dance. Through high quality learning experiences and an encouraging environment, she inspires to pass on her love for the art form of dance.
Ms. Alesa studied as a dance major at University of Oregon and on a dance scholarship to Lane Community College. The majority of her education comes from teacher and mentor Mary Matthews of the North Bend High Schools modern dance program.
Some of her most memorable dance training includes master classes and Summer intensive programs with Vera Altunia of the Kirov Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Bill T. Jones, Pilobolus, Lars Lubovich, Shapiro & Smith, and Hubbard Street of Chicago. Ms. Alesa performed with Dance Theater of Oregon and various Lane Community College and University of Oregon performances. She has performed and choreographed numerous dance and theater productions.
We welcome our newest addition to our talented teaching staff, Kim Smiley.
Kimberly Smiley received her early classical ballet training with the founders of Tulsa Civic Ballet, Moscelyne Larkin and Roman Jasinski.
Ms. Smiley is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Scholarship to the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. She also received a scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre School. Kimberly was a principal dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet Company and Tulsa Ballet Theatre, also serving as its ballet mistress. She was a faculty member at Oregon Ballet Theatre for 10 years, followed by 7 years as the School Director of Portland Festival Ballet.
Contemporary Ballet: Elizabeth (Liz) Warren
Liz started dancing and choreographing at the age of 5 in her hometown of Forest Grove, Oregon. After dance team in high school, she realized her passion for more ballet-oriented movement, and began taking full-time classes. For the last 10 years, Liz has been studying ballet, at many studios such as On Pointe School of Ballet, The Portland Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Festival Ballet, Dance en l’Air in California, and Ballet Arizona. She also studied alternate styles of dance at studios such as the Chehalem Valley Dance Academy, Dance Vision, Vega Dance Lab, Urban Arts Dance, Bodyvox, and Northwest Dance Project.
She has organized and led adult performing groups through schools, churches, and communities. She taught basic ballet and jazz to children at the Hillsboro Parks and Recreation, and a community homeschool co-op.
Besides participating in annual performances at local studios, she was a member of a performing company called Lyrik in Portland, Oregon f, Liz was an apprentice for the hip hop company called “In-Gauge Urban Dance Company,” for one season. Liz attends auditions and workshops to keep her skills fresh and current, such as the week-long intensive in Houston, Texas by the “Ad Deum Dance Company”.
The most special part of Liz’s opportunity to teach at “ABC,” is the common thread of Oregon Ballet Theatre history; as the reason she is so passionate about dance is due to her loving Grandma Betty’s inspiration and encouragement.
We are pleased to have Liz share her enthusiasm for dance with our students. Welcome Liz!
Tap, Musical Theatre, Resident Choreographer: Michelle Mejaski
Michelle moved to Bend, Oregon from Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband, Mike in 1996. She studied tap and jazz since age four at Dixon Dance Studio, On Your Toes Studio, and at Ball State University. Since moving to Bend, she founded Gotta Dance studio & company in 2001, and has choreographed for: Cascade Theatrical Company, 2nd Street Theater, Topsoil Productions, Cat Call Productions, The Tower Theater, Obsidian Opera, Bend Opera, Shore Thing Productions, Lurking Squirrel Productions, MVHS, BHS, RHS, and RVHS. Her stage and choreography credits include: Cabaret, Chicago, The Producers, Little Shop of Horrors, Spring Awakening, A Chorus Line, Singing in the Rain, The Rocky Horror Show, Into the Woods, God Spell, and Foot Loose to name just a few!
Michelle is an award winning tap dancer who has had the privilege to train with instructors from Hollywood Vibe, New York City Dance Allice, L.A. Dance Force, NRG, and Manhattan Dance Project. She also travels to NYC to train at the Broadway Dance Center with her favorite instructors. Michelle has had the privilege to tap internationally. She has attended, performed in, and trained with tap legends such as Michele Dorrance, Sam Weber, and Dianna Walker at the Vancouver Canada Tap Festival. She was the first and only American to be accepted into the Croatian Tap Festival where she trained with Chloe Arnold, Sara Reich, and Rueben Sanchez. Her most hilarious privilege was being a back-up dancer for Weird Al Yankovik!
Business Manager: Juliana Elliott
Office Manager: Na Spakousky
Reception: Stacie Schmidling
Principle Pianist: Meagan Iverson
Ms. Iverson is a most accomplished accompanist. This is her years with ABC, Ms. Iverson skillfully and musically guides our Royal Academy of Dance exam candidates through their sessions. Playing for our upper grades and vocational classes we enjoy having her fill the studios with music.
Brenda Stuntz, seamstress extraordinaire, has given of her valuable time to keep us in costumes.
We rely so much on properly labeled and sorted costumes for each event. If this should interest you, please call Mrs. Holgers (541)382-4055