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 10-year tenure as president of SERBA, the Southeast Regional Ballet Association (now known as RDA/SE, Regional Dance America/Southeast). 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, “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 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 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 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 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.
Lindsay Giedl is a Georgia based choreographer and dancer who was a founding member of CADE:NCE – Contemporary African Dance Ensemble: New Conscious Explorations under the direction of Tamara Thomas. While dancing with CADE:NCE, Lindsay travelled and performed in Kingston, Jamaica at the Rex Nettleford Arts Conference, ACDA in Durham NC, and at DANCE Africa in Brooklyn NY. Lindsay also danced with The Modern Pin Ups Dance Company, a jazz and movement company based out of Athens, Georgia and resided as the Company Director for the Apprentice Company for the 2017-2018 season. In 2017, Lindsay created the professional company Linds&co., as a branch off of her undergraduate thesis project – creating works with post-modern social political contemporary and improvisational movement. Lindsay graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of Georgia in 2018. In 2015, she co-created Counterpoint Dance Company at The University of Georgia where she served as Artistic Director, choreographing and assisting students to sharpen their dance skills as well as provided various performance experiences for students throughout the community.
Lindsay can be seen as a feature dancer in the Indie Film “The Last of Robin Hood” as well as a background dancer in Honey 4. Lindsay recently danced in Corey Smith’s new music video “Honky Tonkin’ in My Blood” which premiered earlier this year. In her free time, she also serves as a competition Judge for Rising Star Talent and Thunderstruck Dance Competition. Lindsay began working for The Joffrey Ballet School as an Intern for the Joffrey South Summer Program in 2016 and was later promoted to Program Coordinator and put on Faculty for Joffrey South, Joffrey Colorado Springs, and Joffrey Heartland Kansas under the direction of Colleen Barnes.
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!”
Patricia began studying dance at the age of five with Joan Alund School of Dance in Albany, New York (Joan Lather, aka, Ms. Puffie). In 1965 she began her teaching career with that school. After returning from Atlanta where she studied with the Atlanta Civic Ballet, she opened her own New York studio in 1969. In addition to teaching classes at her two studio locations, she also taught Tap, Ballet, Jazz and Ballroom classes for area schools, colleges and cultural organizations for 28 years.
In addition to studying with the Atlanta Ballet and Mr. Robert Joffrey, Ms. Dwyer has trained with such well-known performers and teachers as Jacques D’Amboise, Edward Villella, and Patricia McBride. She has studied tap with some of the best artists, instructors and choreographers in the country including stage and screen legends, Al Gilbert, Gene Nelson and Henry LeTang. Ms. Dwyer owes her expertise in Broadway Jazz and Musical Comedy to Peter Gennaro and Ms. Gwen Verdon. For over 40 years she has had the privilege and honor to have as her jazz dance mentor the legendary Jazz Dance Master, Luigi, in NYC.
An award-winning choreographer, she has choreographed nightclub acts, musicals, and stage shows in many major cities across the country in addition to choreographing for local schools and community theater production in New York. She was named “Choreographer of the Year” by Talent America in NYC.
Lynn Gillen is the General Manager of the Roswell Dance Theatre.
Kyme is what you call a true “Triple Threat”. She is a graduate of the acclaimed New York City High School of Performing Arts, and trained in New York City at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance where she was awarded three consecutive full scholarships. She has performed nationally and internationally as a dancer, singer and actress, and her Broadway credits included the Tony Award-winning musical Black and Blue, Oh Kay!, and Honky Tonk Nights. Kyme has also toured with the Broadway shows Sophisticated Ladies, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Bubbling Brown Sugar to name a few.
As an actress, Kyme landed the leading role of Rachel Meadows in Spike Lee’s film School Daze, where she played opposite Laurence Fishburne. Her portrayal of Rachel Meadows earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination. This film propelled her into the acting arena and eventually led her to move to Los Angeles, CA. In Los Angeles, while she happily became a wife and mother, Kyme landed guest star and recurring roles on all of the top T.V. shows. The list includes: 24, NYPD Blue, Providence, JAG, The Guardian, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, E-Ring, The Parkers, Judging Amy, Family Law and many more.
Kyme’s love for the arts inspired her to found a very successful performing arts academy in a Los Angeles charter high school. This allowed her to pass on her knowledge as an artist and to mentor students into the top arts colleges and universities in the country. Kyme now resides in Decatur, GA with her loving family and is the Director of the Rhythm Keepers and Junior Rhythm Keepers tap companies. She continues to teach and mentor children and adults as she shares her passion and passes on the fruits of her experience and success. She is requested throughout the United States to teach master classes to thousands of children and teachers, and is also a respected adjudicator for national dance competitions.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Lance Washington spent the past ten years as a principal dancer with the Patti Rutland Jazz company in Dothan, Alabama. He is originally from Chicago, Illinois. He received his professional hip-hop training from Maurice Fulkon in Chicago, Joshua Allen in Texas and Vincent Johnson from Atlanta. His professional credits include industrial television work in Chicago. National awards in choreography include the Platinum Power Award from Platinum National Dance Competition, which also earned his crew the opportunity to be featured on the front cover for the Platinum Dance Convention brochure. In 2012, Lance made it through to Vegas for the hit television series So You Think You Can Dance.
Lance also taught within the Patti Rutland Jazz Arts in Education Outreach program. This is the largest outreach program in the state of Alabama. It includes teaching over 6000 elementary and middle school children weekly. He taught at The Patti Rutland Jazz Dance Centre, The Dothan School of Dance, Enterprise School of Dance, Panama City Dance Academy and A Time to Dance studio. Lance has also taught for the 2015 and 2016 Jazz on Tap convention in Atlanta, Georgia, hosted by Marcus Alford and Annie Day, and the 2019 Alabama Dance Festival. Lance has also taught and danced alongside of Rustin Matthew, Phillip “Pacman” Chbeeb, Rob Hoffman, Balta Monkiki, Nick Wilson, Nicole Kirkland,and Jimmy Locust. He also works as a hip-hop choreographer for many other groups throughout the Southeast and has won numerous regional choreography awards. Lance is very excited about how his career is taking him to so many places where he is meeting more and more talented dancers, choreographers and friends.
“Always Stay teachable!”
Cristina is the Business Manager for the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance.
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!