Dr. Michelle (Ziegler) Allen, Doctorate of Physical Therapy

Michelle was one of Deanna's first students when Champaign Ballet Academy opened in 1998, and was also an original member of the Champaign Urbana Ballet, founded that same year. Throughout all of high school, Michelle developed a love of dance and learned the extraordinary self-discipline and focus that studying ballet offers. However, the training Michelle received while at CBA and CUB went far beyond the intricacies of ballet technique. While still a ballet student, Deanna cultivated in Michelle a passion for education which eventually led to a full-time teaching position at CBA as well as the roles of company manager and Ballet Mistress at CUB. After two exciting and enriching years with CBA and CUB, Michelle made the difficult decision to leave Champaign to pursue a degree in physical therapy at Northwestern University. Michelle credits much of her success in graduate school and beyond to the teaching and nurturing she received from Deanna at CBA and CUB, especially the attention to detail she learned throughout her ballet career. Now a physical therapist at Athletico in the Chicago area, Michelle continues to apply the dedication, perseverance, and integrity that were fostered at CBA under Deanna's tutelage as she teaches her patients the art of therapeutic movement. She has been able to combine her love of dance with her career in physical therapy as she specializes in treating performing artists in both professional and pre-professional companies throughout the city.

Mason Anders, Tulsa Ballet II

Mason began ballet at the age of six under Deanna Doty at the Champaign Ballet Academy in Champaign, Illinois. At the age of seven he performed for his first time in Champaign-Urbana's The Nutcracker as a Polichinelle at the Virginia Theater. By his teens he was performing principal roles, including Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty and Prince Sigfried in Swan Lake, with the Champaign-Urbana Ballet. Over the next few years, Mason attended summer programs at Milwaukee Ballet, Boston Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet, as well as summer workshops at the Champaign Ballet Academy instructed by Deanna Doty, Nurlan Abougaliev, and Christy and Eddy Forehand. During the summer at San Francisco Ballet, at age sixteen, he was invited to stay as a year-round student on full scholarship. Mason continued his training at the San Francisco Ballet School under the instruction of Parrish Maynard and Jorge Esquivel until age 19, when he was accepted into Tulsa Ballet II for the 2013-14 season.

Dr. Susan Heatter, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

In 1998, Susan moved to Champaign-Urbana to begin her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois. In that year, she also started dancing at Champaign Ballet Academy and as a company member with Champaign Urbana Ballet. She graduated in 2002 with a BS in Animal Sciences from the College of ACES. Ms. Heatter was able to continue training at the academy and dancing with the company, while pursuing a strenuous course of study in the College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2007, she received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and moved back to Chicago to work with VCA Misener-Holley Animal Hospital as an associate veterinarian. In December 2010, she moved to the Clark-N-Oak Animal Health Center, a private small animal practice, in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. Outside of work, Ms. Heatter continues to take ballet classes, and dances with the Civic Ballet of Chicago.

"While training with Deanna at the Champaign Ballet Academy, she helped me discover facilities and potential I never knew I had as a dancer. She is an extremely patient, encouraging, and inspiring teacher. I fully credit her for helping me to become the best dancer I could be. While dancing with the CU Ballet, I was given opportunities to dance roles I had only ever dreamed of dancing before. I was finally able to cross that bridge from dance student to dancer."

Alexis Hedge, Ballet Memphis - Trainee

Alexis Hedge trained at Champaign Ballet Academy from 2003- 2010. She performed with Champaign Urbana Ballet, dancing roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara in The Nutcracker, Cinderella in Cinderella, and Odette in Swan Lake. Alexis then went on to train at Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy for two years. She is currently in her second year as a trainee with Ballet Memphis.

Sarah Hillmer, Atlanta Ballet - Ballet Mistress

Sarah Hillmer trained at Champaign Ballet Academy during her high school years. She became a company member with Atlanta Ballet under the direction of John McFall, where she performed both classical and contemporary works and danced principal roles in Giselle, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Sarah danced in the inaugural season of gloATL, where she performed the original works of Lauri Stallings in both Atlanta and New York. She has been a guest professor at both Kennesaw State and Emory University. She has worked as an assistant to Lauri Stallings during the world premiere of "big", and as a repetitour for various choreographers. Sarah currently teaches every level of dance at Atlanta Ballet as well as many institutions in the Atlanta area. This year she has also worked as a ballet mistress to Helen Pickett for "Petal", and is currently Twyla Tharp's assistant for her 2012 commission for Atlanta Ballet.

Sarah is so grateful to Deanna for the support, guidance and training she received during her years at Champaign Ballet Academy. Deanna was the one who gave Sarah her first teaching opportunities, which is now what Sarah is committed and passionate about. At CBA, Deanna also created a community of respect, family and support for the dancers which made the experience very rich.

Kathyrn Hosier, The National Ballet of Canada

Kathryn Hosier trained at the Champaign Ballet Academy and Canada's National Ballet School. After dancing in such ballets as The Nutcracker (Clara), Le Corsaire and Swan Lake (Odile, Pas de Trois) at the Champaign Urbana Ballet, Kathryn moved to Canada to complete her training and join The National Ballet of Canada. She has received the Peter Dwyer Award as well as the Erik Bruhn Award, and is a full member of the Corps de Ballet.

Erica Johnston, Butler University

Erica Johnston trained at the Champaign Ballet Academy for six years, and took part in many productions of the Champaign Urbana Ballet, dancing roles such as: Rose Queen and Arabian Princess in The Nutcracker; the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella; and Odile in Swan Lake. After graduating first in her class from Centennial High School in 2010, Erica was awarded the Presidential Scholarship from Butler University to pursue her BFA in Dance Performance. As a first year student at Butler, Ms. Johnston was awarded the "Outstanding Freshman Dance Major" award, and in subsequent years received multiple departmental honors and additional dance scholarships. She has spent school breaks studying with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Lines Ballet, and soon, Visceral Dance Chicago. She has also guested with the Southern Illinois Music Festival Dance Company, and will graduate from Butler in May 2014.

Kathleen Leigh, David Taylor Dance Theate

Kathleen Leigh trained with Deanna Doty from the age of 6 to 16. She danced many leading roles with the Champaign Urbana Ballet including the Swan Queen Odette in Swan Lake and Clara in The Nutcracker. Katie attended North Carolina School of the Arts for her final years of high school, and upon graduation, she became a member of Alonzo King's LINES Ballet Training Program, performing original works by choreographers including Gregory Dawson and Maurya Kerr, and training under teachers such as Muriel Maffre, Carmen Rozestraten and Alonzo King. She is currently a member of David Taylor Dance Theatre in Colorado.

Kerstin Stayton, Lexington Ballet Company

After several years at the Champaign Ballet Academy and Champaign Urbana Ballet, dancing in such ballets as Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker and Arensky Variations, Kerstin Stayton received scholarships to attend summer intensives at American Ballet Theatre, Harid Conservatory, the Kirov Academy and Joffrey Ballet. She continued her training at the North Carolina School of the Arts. As a scholarship student, Kerstin received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet from the University of Oklahoma, graduation in three years with distinction. Kerstin has danced roles such as: Clara, Doll, Dew Drop and Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker, Pas de Trois from Paquita, Divertimento No. 15 and Les Patineurs. Kerstin is currently dancing with the Lexington Ballet Company and has been teaching at the Frankfort School of Ballet since October 2010.

Devon Teuscher, American Ballet Theatre

Devon Teuscher began her training at the age of nine under Deanna Doty of the Champaign Ballet Academy. She joined the Champaign Urbana Ballet, dancing the roles of Clara in The Nutcracker, the lead in Paquita, and later returned as a guest artist to dance the role of Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Teuscher attended the Kirov Ballet Academy summer intensive, and also attended the Pacific Northwest Ballet summer intensive on full scholarship for two years. When her family relocated to Vermont, she continued her training at the Vermont Ballet Theatre School in Essex, Vermont. From 2002 to 2006 Teuscher attended American Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive, and was a National Training Scholar from 2003 to 2006. In January 2005, Teuscher relocated to New York City to dance at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School on full scholarship. Teuscher joined the Studio Company in 2006 where she danced leading roles in Raymonda, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and various works by Jessica Lang. She joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in December 2007 and the corps de ballet in June 2008.