Meet our amazing Teachers and Staff

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  • Acro/Silks
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  • Ballet Company
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  • Director
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  • Modern Company
  • Musical Theater
  • Office Staff
  • Open School
  • PrePro Company
  • Tap
  • Nancy Tolbert Yilmaz
    Nancy Tolbert Yilmaz
  • Mary Lynn Taylor
    Mary Lynn Taylor
  • Kassandra Taylor Newberry
    Kassandra Taylor Newberry
  • Tracey Bayly
    Tracey Bayly
  • Robert Gosnell
    Robert Gosnell
  • Hyeyoung Kim
    Hyeyoung Kim
  • Tracy Vogt Wardlaw
    Tracy Vogt Wardlaw
  • Likesa “Pumkin” Byrd
    Likesa “Pumkin” Byrd
  • Michele Carter
    Michele Carter
  • Brandon Ellis
    Brandon Ellis
  • Dena Friderich
    Dena Friderich
  • Gabrielle Gambino
    Gabrielle Gambino
  • Cristina Gentile
    Cristina Gentile
  • Lynn Gillen
    Lynn Gillen
  • Jena Michele Kovash
    Jena Michele Kovash
  • Jo Lambert
    Jo Lambert
  • Christina Mayfield
    Christina Mayfield
  • Michaela Perdue
    Michaela Perdue
  • Peter Powlus
    Peter Powlus
  • Leah Redner
    Leah Redner
  • Daet Rodriguez
    Daet Rodriguez
  • Roscoe Sales
    Roscoe Sales
  • Pam Tiedemann
    Pam Tiedemann
  • Claire Young
    Claire Young

Faculty Headshots: Paul Sasso, MV Photo Concepts

I want to learn to dance from these teachers!
Nancy Tolbert Yilmaz

An accomplished dancer and performer, Nancy has given the gift of dance to thousands of students. Nancy is incredibly driven and pours her heart into her hard work in everything she does at Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance. The school has grown, evolved and excelled under her leadership and passion for the education of young dancers.

Beyond the walls of our studio, Nancy has shared her expertise with thousands of other dancers and dance education professionals through her 5-year tenure as president of SERBA, the Southeast Regional Ballet Association. Upon completion of her term in the Southeast Region, Nancy stepped up to the National Board of Regional Dance America. She is a true leader of today’s dance industry who has been honored many times for her contributions to the arts at the local, state, regional and national levels.

In her years on stage as a dancer, Nancy’s extensive dance training centered on Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. She studied with notable teachers such as Robert Joffrey of the Joffrey Ballet New York, David Howard, Pittman Corry, Igor Schwezoff, Gabriela Taub-Darvash, and many more.

Nancy has performed and worked with The Sid and Marty Krofft Productions, Walt Disney Productions, Southern Ballet of Atlanta, Cobb-Marietta Ballet as well as Donny and Marie Osmond, Peggy Fleming, Ernest Borgnine, Tina Turner and Tony Orlando – just to name a few. She was also featured performer in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, performing with Gloria Estefan, Little Richard, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, Faith Hill, Celine Dion and Gladys Knight.

Nancy brings to the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance a vast knowledge of theater and dance, and a love for the performing arts which is surpassed only by her concern for the development of each individual student.

Mary Lynn Taylor

Mary Lynn Taylor, “Mrs. Mary,” is a gifted and inspiring teacher, beloved by the students at the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance. Teaching many classes of our youngest dancers, Mrs. Mary has truly influenced countless dancers who dance and choreograph professionally worldwide today. Her caring and consistent manner is the complete and perfect combination for students to learn and excel in their dance careers.

Mary Lynn has been teaching ballet for over 40 years, at The Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance for 38 years. She feels blessed to be part of the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance family and is grateful to have raised her three daughters in such a rich dance environment from when they were three years old until they graduated from high school. As with so many of her students, Mrs. Mary saw how much dance training enhanced her daughters’ poise, grace, memory skills, confidence and time management.

Mary Lynn Taylor began her dance training at the Atlanta School of Ballet. She then studied for ten years at the Decatur School of Ballet. She was chosen to be a member of the Decatur-Dekalb Civic Ballet Company for five years. Upon her high school graduation Mary Lynn enrolled at Texas Christian University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majored in Ballet and minored in Theatre Arts. Her curriculum included special courses in dance teaching, modern technique, acting, pas de deux, choreography and pantomime.

She auditioned and was chosen to be a member of the Fort Worth Ballet Company. She performed in The Nutcracker Suite, Coppelia, Aurora’s Wedding and many other ballets. While residing in Texas, she taught at the Lena Pope Children’s Home, Texas Christian University Ballet Department, and was director of the ballet division of the Redon Cudney Performing Arts Academy. Before joining our teaching staff, she was invited to be a guest teacher at the Lilburn School of Ballet and Southern Ballet.

Kassandra Taylor Newberry

Kassandra Taylor Newberry graduated magna cum laude with a BFA degree in Dance from Point Park University. She has choreographed and performed throughout the United States as well as in Austria, Germany, and Italy. Mrs. Newberry has won numerous choreography awards: National Choreographic Recognition Award 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 & 2018 (Presented for best choreography in RDA); 2010 Choreography Connection Award (presented at the National Choreography Intensive), Project Tier Outstanding Choreography Award 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014; Outstanding Choreographer for Youth American Grand Prix 2009; and Monticello Choreography Award 2004.

In 2010 Mrs. Newberry was commissioned to set a piece at Point Park University for Pittsburgh Connections, and had two pieces premier at the CONCEPTS Choreographic Showcase in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She has had 2 works selected to be performed for the American College Dance Festival (Regional and National)-presenting her work at the Kennedy Center as one of two choreographies chosen among 20 universities to attend from the nation. In 2007 Mrs. Newberry moved to San Francisco to join the trainee ensemble with Alonzo King’s LINES Contemporary Ballet, and in 2008 she became ballet mistress and educational director for the Salt Lake Ballet Conservatory in Utah. In 2009 she became ballet mistress for the High Point Ballet and Winston Salem Festival Dance Center.

Mrs. Newberry has danced professionally as a founding company member with Winston Salem Festival Ballet, Dance Theatre of Pittsburgh as well as Pillow Project Dance Theatre. She has taught at numerous summer programs around the country including Alonzo King’s LINES summer intensive and has been the Assistant Director of Operations for National Choreographic Intensive 2011 & 2012. In the spring of 2012 she was commissioned to create a dance flash mob on 2,000 dancers from across the US to be performed in Montreal, Canada. In 2013 she became Assistant Artistic Director for Roswell Dance Theater, as well as their resident choreographer. In 2014 she was given the honor of having two pieces of her choreography selected from the Southeast RDA to be performed and represent the organization for the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. In the past few years, she has had the privilege of setting her choreography on State Street Ballet-Santa Barbara’s professional dance company, as well as creating a new Nutcracker for the Southeast Alabama Dance Company. Mrs. Newberry currently resides in Atlanta, GA as a teacher and choreographer.

Tracey Bayly

Tracey Yanckello Bayly is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, where she began her dance training at the Doris Singer Dance Studio. She expanded her training by attending the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and Pittsburgh Renaissance Youth Ballet on a full scholarship. She was also a part of an academic intensive with The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy her senior year in high school.

Tracey attended Mercyhurst College on academic and dance scholarships and majored in Dance. While in school, she was a guest performer with the Erie Civic Ballet in their production of The Nutcracker. By her senior year she had won ballet scholarships to four different companies around the country. David Howard himself also selected her to attend his school on a full scholarship. She began teaching for the Mercyhurst Conservatory during her time there and graduated Cum Laude, with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. She was a guest performer with Erie Civic Ballet and an assistant at the PA Governor’s School for the Arts for three years.

After college, Tracey accepted a position as a soloist with the Columbia City Ballet in Columbia, South Carolina. In her ten years with the company, she danced leading roles in major classical ballets, as well as having several original works set on her by the director and guest choreographers. Several new ballets that were created during her time there were Dracula, Dracula’s Revenge, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pocahontas. Some other works that Tracey has performed in are Cinderella, Giselle, Firebird, Midsummer’s Night Dream, Nutcracker, Rite of Spring, Romeo & Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Where the Wild Things Are. She was a guest performer for the Peoria Ballet, dancing lead roles in their Nutcracker and Swan Lake productions.

While dancing with CCB Tracey taught for the Columbia Conservatory of Dance, and guest taught at the Peoria Ballet. She had her own school in Johnsonville, South Carolina called the Indiantown Ballet where she drove every week to a rural town bringing the arts to this small community.

In 2000, Tracey moved to Atlanta and began teaching for the Atlanta Ballet, Griffin Ballet Theatre, Roswell City Dance and Roswell Dance Theatre. Tracey found her home with the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance and the Roswell Dance Theatre. Presently, Tracey is the Ballet Mistress of RDT and the Director of their PreProfessional Company. She has staged and directed Cinderella, Coppelia, Giselle, Paquita, Sleeping Beauty, Alice In Wonderland and excerpts from La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, and Swan Lake. A lot of her time is spent coaching students one-on-one to help dancers meet their goals. Tracey also enters select students in the Youth America Grand Prix each season. The studio’s success is a group effort and she enjoys being a part of its tremendous accomplishments.

Robert Gosnell

Robert Gosnell began his training with the High Point Ballet in his home state of North Carolina, where he also continued to study at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts from 1993-1998. In addition, Robert has expanded his dance career with The School of American Ballet, The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Atlanta Ballet. Robert then joined The Nashville Ballet in 1999, where he danced until 2007. Robert was featured in ballets by David Allan, Salvatore Aiello, Sir Frederick Ashton, Winthrop Corey and Paul Vasterling.

Robert has additionally performed with several regional companies such as Atlanta Dance Theatre, where he also served as an Associate Director/Resident from 2010-13, Roswell Dance Theatre and High Point Ballet. He has also has served as the Youth Cast Rehearsal Master for Nashville Ballet’s Nutcracker. From 2004-2006, Robert participated in the National Choreographers Initiative in Irvine, California, where he worked with Val Canaparoli, Anne Marie DeAngelo, Gina Patterson, Peter Pucci, Luca Vegetti and Molly Lynch. He was also a featured artist at the 2004 and 2008 Southeastern Regional Ballet Association’s annual festival.

In the summers of 2007 and 2008, Robert had the honor to return to UNC School of the Arts, along with other alumni, to be a part of UNC School of the Arts performance series in Manteo, NC. In the summer of 2009, he had the opportunity to perform in Arezzo, Italy with Amaranth Contemporary Dance based in Richmond, VA. Currently, Robert is focusing on his choreography. His work has been shown at Denver School of the Arts, RDA/Northeast Festival, SERBA Festival, and the National Regional Dance America Festivals. Robert continues to be on staff with N-House Productions and Commercial Dance Intensive, both under the direction of Casey Noblett. And he proudly serves as a guest faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Intensive, Preparatory Program and the Festival of NC Dance. Robert is the Ballet Master and Guest Artist for Roswell Dance Theatre.

Hyeyoung Kim

Hyeyoung Kim began dancing at the age five. She trained under the direction of Adnenne Delias at the prestigious Sun-Wha Art School in Seoul, South Korea and later was invited to study at the Kirov Ballet Academy in Washington, D.C. In 1987 she joined Universal Ballet Company and was quickly promoted to soloist and then to principal in 1994.

In 1989, she won the gold medal at the Korea Dance Association Competition and a year later was invited to dance the Don-Quixote at the fifth annual Hong Kong International Dance Festival. In 1994, she joined the Atlanta Ballet Company as a principal dancer where she danced for 10 years. Mrs. Kim has danced principal roles in such classics as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, La Bayadère, Cinderella, Coppelia, Nutcracker, and Paquita. As well as, Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliant Serenade, Tchaikovsky Pas, Four Ts, Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, Septime, Weber’s Carmen, Peter Martins’s Ash, Fernando Nault’s Carmina Burana, Michael Pink’s Dracula, Hunchback of Notre Dame and Romeo & Juliet. Mrs. Kim also made guest appearances with Nevada Ballet Theater, Lexington Ballet, Seoul Ballet Theater, Icelandic National Broadcasting System and a most memorable performance at The Korea World Dance Stars festival.

Tracy Vogt Wardlaw

Originally from Pennsylvania, Tracy was a fellowship student at the Lake Erie Ballet, PA Governor’s School for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Modern Intensive, Point Park Summer Dance and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. She was a scholarship student at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York, NY, where she was personally chosen to demonstrate Graham technique by School Director, Denise Jefferson. Her professional experience includes Assistant Rehearsal Director and Principal Dancer with the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) for twelve years, Rehearsal Director and Principal Dancer for the Wylliams Henry Contemporary Dance Company in Kansas City, MO, Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater and Verb Ballets in Ohio, under the direction of Hernando Cortez. She received the Philadelphia Rocky Award for Dance Excellence, and has performed works by Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Elisa Monte, Talley Beatty, George Faison, Bill T. Jones, Dianne McIntyre, Dwight Rhoden and many other Modern choreographers.

Ms. Vogt has taught at the National Regional Dance America and Northeastern Region RDA Festivals, and numerous schools and Universities both nationally and abroad. She is also a faculty member for MindLeaps, and has taught most recently in Uganda, Rwanda and Guinea, Africa. She was Dance Director for North Atlanta High School in 2009 and her choreography was selected and performed at Danco on Danco 2007-9, SERBA festival 2011, Dance Canvas Atlanta 2012 and 2013 and Atlanta Dance Connection. She is currently on faculty at Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance and Roswell Dance Theatre, where she is the Director of the Modern Company. Ms. Vogt is also on faculty at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

Likesa “Pumkin” Byrd

Likesa Pumkin Byrd is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. Discovering her passion for dance at age 3, Pumkin has been blessed to have it take her around the world. She is trained in ballet, jazz, modern (Graham, Dunham), African and self-taught in hip hop. Dance has given Pumkin the opportunity to travel to places such as Paris, South Africa, Japan, Germany and the rest of the globe while dancing and choreographing for such artists as Mary J. Blige, Ciara, Kandi and more.

Pumkin has been an instructor at Tolbert Yilmaz for over 17 years, where she teaches jazz and hip hop for ages 5- adults who are just not ready to stop moving! When Mrs. Byrd is not in the dance studio, you can find her on the stage of her church “Metro City Church” where she loves worshiping the Lord thru dance alongside her husband and best friend Marcus Byrd (and 2 daughters Kyla & Kimorah), in the recording studio making music with her music group The Gang of Roses, in the design studio creating new edgy designs for her Christian Rock clothing line Designs by Fé designsbyfe.com or on some movie set expanding her acting career. Her motto is “God..Family..Career.. in that order!”

Michele Carter

Michele began dancing at the age of ten in her hometown Camarillo, California. As a young dancer, she trained with top LA choreographers and was picked up by the DDO Artist Agency for commercial dance jobs. Michele is a graduate of The Juilliard School and has trained at Jacob’s Pillow, Springbaord Danse Montreal and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Upon graduating from Juilliard, she toured with the LA-based contemporary company BODYTRAFFIC. Michele has performed leading roles in works by Hofesh Shechter, Pina Bausch, Barak Marshall, Alexander Ekman, Eliot Feld, Kyle Abraham and others. She has learned and performed modern repertoire by Martha Graham, José Limon, Paul Taylor, and Merce Cunningham. Michele is new to the state of Georgia and is looking forward to an exciting first year with TYSOD as well as her wedding in February of 2019!

Brandon Ellis

Brandon Ellis began training in the performing arts at age 7. Ellis’ career spans well over 29 years of professional experience in dance, teaching dance, choreography, acting, and singing. Having had very strong training from The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Ellis has been afforded the opportunity to tour the world as a modern principal dancer with Regional modern dance companies such as, Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Philadanco. Ellis has led and taught numerous dance lecture demonstrations, workshops, and master classes at universities, public schools across the United States and abroad. He was accepted to Duke Ellington School of the Arts for the dance and theater departments, and later accepted to Hollins University’s MFA dance program where he trained in Frankfurt, Germany.

Mr. Ellis has choreographed the production of Tarzan The Musical, as well as his own choreographic works for Ballet Hispanico, Alvin Ailey Scholarship Program, American Heritage School of the Arts and Dance Theater of Syracuse, where he once held the title of Artistic Director. His theater credits include; Tarzan, Carousel, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, Eurydice, For All My Girls, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Aida, When Men Pray & La Cage Aux Folles. Ellis’ has also worked in Television, Film and Commercials such as; Fox Fall Preview, Metro Mattress, Romper Room, ABC’S Pick Up the Beat, Black Box, Bikeman, Dannemora, Cosby Celebrates AILEY, & Heroin.

Dena Friderich

Dena Friderich grew up in Evansville, Indiana, where she trained in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, acrobatics, and musical theatre. While completing her Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering at Purdue University, Dena earned a minor in dance, performing with the Purdue Repertory Dance Company (a Graham-based Modern Company). While at Purdue she also performed on the basketball court and football field as a member of the Purdue Dance Team. Before moving overseas to serve as a missionary for four years in Budapest, Hungary, Dena was member of the ballet company, Praise in Motion, based in Lilburn, Georgia.

More than anything, she enjoys teaching, where she gets the opportunity to build relationships and nurture character in young dancers, as well as technique. Dena also enjoys creating full choreography for musicals at the Elementary, Middle and High school levels, which has been her growing passion for the past four years, including the shows Jungle Book, Aristocats, Annie, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, High School Musical, Aladdin, and Guys and Dolls. Dena and her husband have two daughters and a son. Their family continues to travel to Hungary for short-term mission trips each summer, where she helps lead dance camps.

Gabrielle Gambino

Gabrielle Gambino is currently a professional freelance dancer, choreographer, and teacher based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up and trained in New Orleans under Marjorie Hardwick and Gregory Schramel at the Schramel Conservatory of Dance. From there, Gabrielle began training and performing with the Atlanta Ballet under the direction of John McFall. She performed in several noteworthy works such as The Big Boi Collaboration choreographed by Lauri Stallings, Serenade set by Robert Barnett, and John McFall’s The Nutcracker.

While dancing at Atlanta Ballet she choreographed on the second company and school. She went on to work as a company member with Dance Theatre of Tennessee where she performed several soloist and principal roles such as the title role in Tom Pazik’s Cinderella, Snow Queen and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, and Micaela in Carmen as well as in original works from Darrell Grand Moultrie, Ma Cong, and Ron de Jesus. Additionally, Gabrielle choreographed several works for DTT’s professional company and students. Some of her most recent work includes dancing Beauty in Beauty and the Beast, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swanhilda in Coppélia, original contemporary works by Rachel Truitt and Peter and Ashley Swan, and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She also created two works for Chattanooga Ballet. Gabrielle is the founder and director of Roots Dance Project. She has danced and choreographed for both Root’s productions: Facets of Love and 7 Deadly Sins.

Cristina Gentile

Cristina is the Business Manager for the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance.

Lynn Gillen

Lynn Gillen is the General Manager of the Roswell Dance Theatre.

Jena Michele Kovash

Jena Michele Kovash’s early training began at the Janet Herbez Dance Studio in Gretna, LA, and then at Highland School of Dance and Harrison Arts Center at Lakeland High School in Lakeland, FL. Jena graduated cum laude from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. At FSU, she focused on the diversity of her performance, appearing in classical works such as Giselle and Swan Lake, modern works by Garth Fagan and Sean Curran, and many contemporary ballets. Professionally, she has danced with Ballethnic Dance Company, Brooks & Company Dance, Rule of 3 Productions and Griffin Ballet Theatre in Georgia. Believing that classical ballet establishes the technical foundation for the next generation of dancers and grande confidence for life, Jena is proud to teach ballet technique to all age groups.

Jo Lambert

Jo has been teaching acrobatics and tumbling to dancers, gymnasts and cheerleaders in the Atlanta area for over 10 years. She is a professional SAG-AFTRA stunt woman who has doubled actors, trained actors and performed stunts in Los Angeles, Kentucky, South Carolina and in local Atlanta productions such as Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, The Boss, Black Panther, Nancy Drew, Outcast, etc. She has also performed in various live acrobatic shows in and outside of the country.

Growing up in a military family, Jo moved all around the country and world. She was a competitive gymnast, participated in theater and dance and created her own Acro-dance performance team while living in San Diego. She also began her training in aeriel silks in San Diego and later continued at the Circus Arts Institute of Atlanta. She is a member of the National Ninja league, and an official obstacle tester for American Ninja Warrior. Prior to turning her attention to stunts, dance and teaching acrobatics, Jo also trained in boxing, capoeira, mixed martial arts, parkour, breakdancing, and was a sponsored skateboarder. She continues to expand her education through dance classes, acrobatic and silks trainings and seminars. She is a strong believer in the adage Never Stop Learning! Jo loves the creativity of acrobatics and dance and loves helping her students overcome fears and gain new skills and confidence!

Christina Mayfield

Christina provides extensive office support for the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance.

Michaela Perdue

Michaela Perdue began her training at the age of three with Studio D School of Dance. There she was a company member of the Griffin Ballet Theatre for eight years performing lead roles such as Dew Drop, Ballerina Doll, and Snow Queen in the Nutcracker and Tiger Lily in Peter Pan. At the studio, she was an assistant and substitute teacher for five years helping with multiple classes per week. She continued her study of dance at Kennesaw State University where she recently graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. During her time in the Kennesaw Dance Department, she was accepted into the company, performing in multiple faculty pieces that were invited to perform at the American College Dance Association annual event. Here she grew as an artist and performer, choreographing works as well as performing contemporary and modern pieces.

With a focus on forming pedagogical practices, she interned at Impact Dance of Atlanta her senior year teaching lyrical, jazz, and ballet to various ages. She is passionate about inspiring young dancers to grow positively in every area of life.

Peter Powlus

Peter Powlus received the Greater Augusta Arts Council’s Individual Artist of the Year Award in recognition for many years of exciting and inspirational work in the performing arts community. Peter served The Augusta Ballet as Associate Director and Resident Choreographer from 1994 until 2006 after having danced with the company for nine years.

Since returning to Atlanta, Peter has served as director for CYT Atlanta’s production of The Little Mermaid, and performed in Roswell Dance Theater productions of Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, as well as North Atlanta Dance Theater’s Pirates of the Phantom Waves.

Before moving to Augusta, Peter worked as a teacher, guest dancer and choreographer for numerous Atlanta area performing arts high schools, dance studios, repertory companies, universities, and theater groups. While a principal dancer and resident choreographer with Ruth Mitchell Dance Company, he received much attention in the Atlanta press as an emerging artist.

He is currently employed by several Atlanta-area studios as an instructor of Tap, Jazz, Modern and Musical Theater. In addition to performing, voice acting, teaching and directing, Peter continues to contribute choreography to repertory companies and musical theater productions throughout the region.

Leah Redner

Leah Sabiston Redner began ballet classes at age 3 in Raleigh, N.C. After moving to Atlanta she continued to study ballet where she flourished under the instruction of Iris Hensley, founder of the Georgia Ballet. Leah also studied under Robert Barnett, Anne Burton-Avery, Leon Fokine, and Terrell Paulk. She has taken Master classes from David Howard and Gus Giordano and numerous other notable teachers while attending SERBA Festivals. Leah has performed with the Roswell Dance Theatre and Cobb Marietta Ballet in various roles in Cinderella, Coppelia, Piquita, Giselle, and The Nutcracker. Leah is honored to be on the faculty of the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance for the last twenty-one years. She also has a BBA from Kennesaw State University. Leah is grateful for the support of her husband Ron and children, Ryan and Regan.

Daet Rodriguez

Daet Rodriguez was born in Cuba and began his training at the Cuban National Ballet School. Former teachers include Jorge Rodriguez Vede (father), Clara Díaz (mother), Fernando Alonso, Alberto Alonso, Laura Alonso, Pablo More and Lázaro Carreño.

Mr. Rodriguez’s professional career began with Ballet de Camagüey in Cuba. He danced principal roles of: Colas in La Fille Mal Gardee, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Franz in Coppelia, Prince Nutcracker, Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty, Grand Pas de Paquita, Don Quixote and Giselle.  Other performances include Carmen choreography of Alberto Alonso, Tango Episodios, Formas para Concierto, Images, Nicis Dominus of Jorge Lefebre, Sinfonía en D of Menia Martínez, Otelo of Francisco Lang and Vivaldiana of José Antonio Chávez.

In 1995 Mr. Rodriguez joined the ballet company Teatro Centro de Arte – Leon Febres Cordero in Ecuador. During his years with the company he performed Walpurgisnacht Ballet of Balanchine, Concierto de Aranjuez of Lotka, Grand Vals of Bruce Steivel and in all the principals’ classics of the repertory. He performed musicals including Cats, Annie, Aladdin, The King and I, The Beauty and The Beast and Latinos.

Mr. Rodriguez’s professional career has extended to Cuba, Jamaica, Argentina, Chile, México, Canada, USA, Martinique and Guadalupe.  In 2001 Mr. Rodriguez and his wife, Margit Peguero, opened their own Ballet School Cuballet-Ecuador.  Presently the school has over 200 students enrolled in Ballet and Contemporary programs.

In August 2015, Mr. Rodriguez became Artistic Director of the Georgia Ballet and faculty member at The School of Georgia Ballet.

Roscoe Sales

Roscoe Sales is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he earned his BFA degree in dance. He also studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. He has performed with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, North Carolina Dance Theatre, The Metropolitan Opera Company in Porgy and Bess, and Ballethnic Dance Company. He has also guest performed with the Greensboro Ballet and High Point Ballet, among others.

Roscoe joined the teaching staff of the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance several years ago and instructs students in ballet and partnering classes.

Pam Tiedemann

Miss Pam’s students, some of our littlest ballerinas, love her fun personality and engaging classes.  Like many of her students, she began her own dance career at age 4 and never left the dance floor.  Until the age of 18 years old, Ms. Pam danced with the Tulsa Ballet. While at the University of Oklahoma, she continued to dance and then went on to dance with the Colorado Ballet for two years. As evidenced by her 18-year plus career at Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance, Miss Pam has a lifelong passion for dance and teaching her precious Princes and Princesses.

Claire Young

Claire Young is a TYSOD and RDT Alumni who graduated from the school in 2007. She went on to earn her BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Oklahoma.

At Oklahoma, Claire performed principal roles with the University’s ballet company, the Oklahoma Festival Ballet. Her first principal role was her freshman year performing the Dew Drop Fairy in the Nutcracker. Her favorite roles at the University were The Sylph in the Sylph and Scotsman pas de deux from Graduation Ball, Girl in Blue in Mary Margaret Holt’s Carmina Burana, and the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty.

After college, Claire joined the corps de ballet at the Columbia City Ballet where she danced in William Starrett’s Dracula, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, The Little Mermaid, and The Nutcracker. While her husband was finishing his degree at Auburn University, she joined the Montgomery Ballet so that she could commute from Auburn. At Montgomery, Claire performed many soloist roles including: Little Bo Peep (Marzipan Soloist) in The Nutcracker, Big Swan in Swan Lake, and the soloist in Darrin McIntyre’s Liberty Bell.

When her husband’s job moved them to Chattanooga, she joined the Chattanooga Ballet as principal dancer where she remains a principal guest artist. Her favorite roles with the Chattanooga Ballet include: Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Raymonda in Raymonda, and the principal Sylph in Les Sylphides.

Claire is so happy to be back in Roswell at the studio she grew up in, helping the next generation of ballerinas fulfill their dreams!