Faculty & Staff
A native of Western North Carolina, Allison began her childhood training with Marilyn Cloutier of Sylva, NC, and Walter, Linda, and Peggy Fletcher of Asheville, NC. She then spent her high school years training at the NC School of the Arts in Winston- Salem and the VA School of the Arts in Lynchburg. After graduating, Allison joined Allegro Dance Theater of Chattanooga, TN, as a principal dancer and soloist and toured both nationally and internationally. In 1996 she returned home to Asheville to start her lovely family and to teach and perform with the Asheville Ballet, ADDANCE, The Fletcher School of Dance, Wayne Burritt Dance, Angie's Dance Academy, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, and the Academy at Terpsicorps. Allison has now been training aspiring dancers of all ages and abilities for over 25 years. Some of the amazing teachers and coaches Allison has had the pleasure of working with include Melissa Hayden, Melinda Lawrence, Gina Vidal, Trish Casey, Dianne Markham, Joan Saunders, Duncan Noble, Frank Smith, Gyula Pandi, Richard Kutch, Richard Gain, Petrus Bosman, David Keener, Mark Schneider, Alexander Bennett, Gelsey Kirkland, Brynar Mehl, Valerie Concha, Heather Maloy, and Ann Dunn.
Classes taught: Creative Ballet, Ballet 1, 2, Pointe 1, 2, Adult Ballet
Fleming Lomax began ballet lessons at age 4 in her hometown of Goldsboro, NC. She first trained in RAD and Cecchetti Methods and then continued her training as a high school ballet major at North Carolina School of the Arts. Fleming earned a Bachelor of Science in Dance Education from UNC-Greensboro, Pilates Certification from the Pilates Center of Boulder, Colorado, and continually pursues post-graduate studies in Anatomy/Physiology. She danced professionally with Kim Robards Modern Dance Company, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, and presently with Asheville Ballet. During her teaching career of over two decades, she has held faculty positions at Dreyfoos School of the Arts (West Palm Beach, FL), Denver School of the Arts, Kim Robards Modern Dance, the company school of Ballet Nouveau Colorado, and the former Asheville Center of Performing Arts, among others. Her teaching repertoire includes ballet, pointe, modern, Dance History, Choreography, Pilates, and Anatomy for Dancers. Currently, Fleming is a Pilates Practitioner at Body Synergy in Flat Rock, NC as well as is on our faculty. Fleming believes that dancers should be empowered with a strong understanding of anatomy and the musculature required to execute ballet technique safely. Her teaching infuses kinesiological principles with musicality, artistry, and the joy of dance. For more information on Fleming's performing experience, see her dancer biography under artist information.
Classes taught: Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Pilates
Nicole Vaughan-Diaz is a choreographer and performer, newly-based in Asheville, North Carolina. Originally from Miami, FL, Vaughan-Diaz earned a BFA in Dance Performance from the University of South FL (2013), where she was granted the BRAVO and Hope Rietschlin scholarship awards for exceptional artistry.
As a performer, Vaughan-Diaz has been an integral member of the critically acclaimed Kate Weare Company (NYC), from 2013 to current. Additionally, Vaughan-Diaz has performed works by Doug Varone, Rosie Herrera, Sasha Waltz, Michael Foley, Kate Hilliard, Luke Murphy, and ODC/Dance.
In 2019, Vaughan-Diaz founded NVD Project, and has since presented work at venues including: Judson Memorial Church (NYC), The Public Theater (NYC), Arts on Site (NYC), and more. Vaughan-Diaz’s choreographic work has been hand-selected and presented by The Future Dance Festival (NYC), the North Carolina Dance Festival (Greensboro, NC), and was awarded the Challenge Winner Award (2019) for the 24th Annual DanceNOW Festival of New York City. Recently, Vaughan-Diaz was commissioned by the American Dance Festival as part of the Made In NC series, in 2023.
As an educator, Vaughan-Diaz has taught at various institutions, including: Gibney Dance Center (NYC), Florida Dance Festival (FL), Ririe-Woodbury Summer Intensive (UT), Yale University (CT), Purdue University (IN), Vassar College (NY), and many others; with a special interest in contemporary forms, partnerwork, and performance.
Classes taught: Modern/Contemporary I, Modern/Contemporary II / III
Zoe D’Astolfo began training under the guidance of her mother, Chelsea D’Astolfo, at The American Academy of Ballet in Buffalo, NY, and subsequently at Minnesota Dance Theatre. She attended Miami City Ballet’s pre-professional program and worked with faculty members such as Arantxa Ochoa and Francis Veyette. Additional training included NYSSSA, Chautauqua, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Carolina Ballet. From 2019 to 2023, Zoe performed with Carolina Ballet, engaging with a diverse repertoire, from contemporary pieces by artists like Lynne-Taylor Corbett and Robert Weiss, to great classics like Romeo and Juliet and Sleeping Beauty, and celebrated works by George Balanchine. With a desire to share her passion, Zoe is excited to join the faculty of the Asheville Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Through teaching, she aims to inspire a love for dance and contribute to the art form that is such an integral part of her life.
Classes taught: Creative Ballet, Ballet III, Pointe II
Paul Vickers grew up outside of Chicago and went on to pursue his B.A. in Dance at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He worked intimately with LEVYdance in San Francisco and Gallim in New York, in addition to Bare Dance Company, ChrisMastersDance, and Madboots Dance. Opportunities abroad took him to Israel to work with Batsheva - The Young Ensemble where he also trained to become a certified Gaga instructor. Following the flow, he joined the Staatsballett Berlin in Germany and then most recently, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen in Belgium. Along the way, he cultivated an interest in and practice of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, which led him to Asheville to pursue his doctorate degree in Chinese medicine at Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts, where he is currently enrolled.
Classes taught: Movement Research and Improvisation
Kendall Teague was raised in the mountains of western North Carolina and attended the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, SC. Teague began his career in the Bay Area in 2008 as a corps de ballet member of San Francisco Ballet. He has since worked with North Carolina Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet under Dwight Rhoden, Ballet San Jose, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, ODC/Dance, and Kate Weare Company.
Classes taught: Modern I, Modern/Contemporary II / III
Tricia Renshaw has enjoyed dancing, teaching, and choreographing for many years. began dancing in Delaware in her formative years, and continued her training at Shenandoah Conservatory, Temple University, The Professional School, The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, and East Coast Ballet. She has danced with contemporary and ballet companies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida, and also served as the artistic director for The Professional School’s Modern Company. She received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Dance from Skidmore College, and went on to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of North Florida. She currently enjoys teaching at the Asheville Academy of Ballet and Western Carolina University and practicing PT in her office in Asheville (restorative-pt.com). Outside of dance and PT, she enjoys spending time with her love, Andrew, visiting with family and friends, hiking, traveling, doing yoga, dabbling in photography, diving deep into personal growth, and geeking out on all things health and wellness.
Classes taught: Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Dance History and Composition, Tap
Eden Hughes, who trained here at the Asheville Academy of Ballet for a number of years, has a BA in Dance Studies and a BA in Arts Administration, with a minor in Therapeutic Recreation, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In addition, she has a Comprehensive Pilates Certification through Balanced Body, and she is a Therapeutic Pilates instructor at Happy Body in Asheville.
Classes taught: Modern I, Modern/Contemporary II / III
Sam Sole, a native to Tallahassee Florida, started dancing at three years old. She began to pursue her dance career more seriously at age fifteen and attended and placed in prestigious competitions such as Youth American Grand Prix. During her studies she had the opportunity to train under the direction of Susan Farrell, Raymond Lukens, Dierdre Miles Burger, and other influential figures in the dance community. While studying studio art and art history at Florida State University she also danced as a soloist with The Tallahassee Ballet. Post-graduation Sam began her dance career with The Chattanooga Ballet and for five seasons acted as a principal dancer, choreographer, and instructor to ages three to adult. Sam moved to Asheville during the pandemic to explore new opportunities and currently teaches kindergarten. She is excited to join Asheville Academy of ballet as a dance instructor and continue to dance in productions!
Classes taught: Ballet, Pointe
Jenn Wilenta has spent a lifetime loving, studying, performing, and teaching movement. During her early years at Asheville Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, under the care of Ann Dunn, she was part of the pre- professional program, where she was fortunate to study many varied techniques while building strong social connections with her classmates through creative projects and performance opportunities. In 1996, Jenn was accepted into the UNCSA school of dance as a high school senior where she continued her studies under master teachers including, Brenda Daniels, Trish Casey, Sean Sullivan, Andre Tyson, Melissa Hayden, Doug Varone, David Dorfman, Ruth Barnes, and Roxane D’orleans Juste. After graduating in 2001 with her BFA, she spent a year at the Mt. Airy arts council before moving to Brooklyn, NY. In Brooklyn for 18 years, Jenn took classes at studios across the city, auditioned and performed in many projects, spent summers when she could at the Bates Dance Festival, and most recently and frequently performed with Mark Lamb Dance, a group of artists who work together through structured improvisation. In 2005 and then 2008, she welcomed her two children, Zoie and Tristan, and concentrated on parenting and building her Children’s Yoga curriculum and business. For over 10 years she went into NYC preschools and after school programs, primarily serving children ages 1-7. After receiving her Waldorf Teaching certificate from the Sunbridge Institute, Jenn began teaching full time as a Waldorf early childhood teacher at the Brooklyn Waldorf School and brought her love of movement and art to the students in her care. She has spent the past 2 years teaching in NH (including a year outdoors full time with her kindergarten), and parenting her teenagers. The Blue Ridge Mountains have always held a call of home, but they have called extra loudly over the past few months. It is with great joy that Jenn Wilenta returns, to live, teach, and get to know her hometown of Asheville more fully. Jenn is honored and excited to begin teaching at her alma mater, Asheville Academy. A true homecoming.
Classes taught: "Little Bug" Yoga, Parent & Me Yoga, Creative Movement, Creative Ballet
Megan Jones Medford
Megan received a BA in Dance Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She spent six years in NYC as a professional dancer and teacher. Along with freelance work Megan was a company member with Periapsis Music & Dance, LiNK! the movement, and Shauna Sorensen and Dancers. Her performances include SummerStage, Jazz at the Lincoln Center, American Dance Guild Festival, Symphony Space, New York Moves, Carnival, and Choreographers Canvas. Megan trained with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Martha Graham School, and American Dance Festival. She was on faculty for the Children & Teen Program at Broadway Dance Center and at All Star Studios in NYC. She has guest taught and choreographed for studios and conventions around the States. Megan and her family moved back to her hometown of Asheville, NC, where she performed with Lindsey Kelley Dance and currently performs with The Asheville Ballet and with Stewart/Owen Dance. She is thrilled to be able to share her love of dance by teaching students throughout the area.
Classes taught: Modern, Ballet
Nancy Zander received her professional training in NYC at the renowned New York School of Ballet under Richard Thomas and Barbara Fallis, dancing with their company U.S. Terpshicore in such classics as Giselle and Swan Lake. She taught for many years at various schools and arts institutions in New York; co-founded (as Director of Dance Education) a non-profit for experimental choreography; was a teaching artist at Dancing Classrooms, the organization made famous in the movie "Mad Hot Ballroom"; has been ballet mistress for the Moscow Ballet Nutcracker; and has been an artist in residence at prestigious New England prep schools.
Classes taught: Ballet
Ann Dunn serves as Artistic and Executive Director of The Asheville Ballet, Inc. She is humbled and proud to say that it is North Carolina's oldest professional and non-profit ballet company. She is also owner and CEO of the Asheville Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance (originally the Fletcher School of Dance), which she founded. In addition, Dunn is a full-time faculty member at UNC Asheville where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in The Medieval and Renaissance World, Art and Religion, as well as various courses in Shakespeare. It was here that she was awarded Most Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in Humanities.
Ann's dance pedigree includes full scholarships to The School of American Ballet (NYC Ballet's School) and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, principal ballerina with The Hartford Ballet, The American Ballet, and American Repertory Ballet, choreographer of Menotti's officially sanctioned U.S. tour of Amahl and the Night Visitors, choreographer of Turandot for The New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, winner of the NC Artist of the Year Award, and a dancer/choreographer for her own company since 1972.
In addition to obtaining Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies, her Ph.D. work focused on Shakespeare with a minor in The Literature of The Italian Renaissance. Dunn has won scholarships to such writing retreats as Breadloaf and Weymouth and has received numerous awards for her poetry. She has published three volumes of poetry with Urthona Press and has another volume under consideration at Pisgah Press. Her poetry has been anthologized and published widely in such journals as Carolina Quarterly and Hiram Poetry Review.
Dunn's academic research has been presented at international conferences and published in international journals. She won Best Research Article Award for 2013 for her work on The Merchant of Venice by The International Journal of Arts and Sciences. Dunn is one of 32 international academics invited to participate in The Aspen Institute's 2015, week-long WYE Faculty Seminar on Citizenship in the American and Global Polity. Her lifelong interest is in the Humanities and is therefore eclectic. Dunn is made most happy by learning, thinking, teaching, choreographing, and by her five children and eleven grandchildren.
Teresa Earley Luckman
Teresa Earley Luckman started dancing in Greensboro at the age of five at Jones magnet school for cultural arts and foreign languages and soon began her formal training at Greensboro Ballet with Maryhelen Mayfield, John Dennis, and Elissa Fuchs. At twelve, Teresa continued her training with Lisa Kidd and Virginia Ray Freeman Dupont at Arts Evangelica and began performing with their liturgical dance company, Ekklesia, with which she had the opportunity to tour abroad in Belgium. She also danced with her local Calvary Church and performed at outreach programs throughout the Triad as well as in Panama. While at Lee University in Cleveland, TN, for her B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies, Teresa continued her liturgical dancing with a campus spiritual life club and danced for outreach programs around the US. Pursuing her love of theology, history, and philosophy, Teresa moved to Cambridge, MA, to study at Harvard Divinity School, where she received her Master of Theological Studies in Christianity and Culture in 2007. While at Harvard, she
worked as a note-taker for a visually impaired international student, provided research assistance to Dr. AnneMarie Luijendijk in Early Christianity and papyrology, and spent her summers studying Theological German. Teresa also spent three years dancing with the Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble, directed by Rev. Robert VerEecke, S.J., in Lenten Dances at St. Ignatius Church as well as in the annual production of A Dancer's Christmas at Boston College. Having grown up visiting her grandmother in Black Mountain, Teresa always wanted to live in WNC, and in 2009 she and her husband, T.J., relocated to Swannanoa. In 2012, Teresa began taking ballet classes again at Black Mountain Center for the Arts, with Casey Kristofferson-LittleJohn, who encouraged her to audition for the Asheville Ballet’s Nutcracker. Since then, Teresa has been happily performing with the Asheville Ballet and studying with the excellent faculty of the Asheville Academy of Ballet, where she has served as Operations Manager since 2014. Teresa is also honored to dance occasionally with the Dance Circle of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville.