Assistant Artistic Director
Fiona started her classical ballet training at the age of five in Hong Kong with her mother, Nica Lee, before moving to Australia. She was then offered a scholarship with the Australian Ballet School. For six years, she received training from some of the best teachers in the world, Lisa Pavane, Irina Konstantinova, Sergey Konstantinov, Leigh Rowles, Marilyn Rowe, Christine Howard, and Margaret Wilson. In her last two years of training, Fiona was privately coached by two Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet and Kremlin Ballet Theater soloist dancers, Maxim and Yulia Vasilyev.
After graduation, Fiona traveled to Europe and received her first contract with the New English Ballet Theater, where she performed in galas all over London. After dancing in London, she accepted an offer with the Opera Nationala Bucuresti (Romanian National Ballet, Bucharest), where she had the pleasure to work under Artistic Director Johan Kobborg, a world-renown choreographer and principal dancer with the "Royal Danish Ballet" and the "Royal Ballet of London." While at ONB, Fiona had the opportunity to dance soloist roles such as; Solo Slave from "Le Corsaire" by Vasili Medvedev, Four couples from "Classical Symphony" by Yuri Possokhov, Four couples in DSCH by Alexei Ratmansky, Pas de six from "La Sylphide" by Johan Kobborg, Cleopatra pas de deux from "Faust" by Alexa Mezincescu, Courtesan from "Manon" by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, "Themes and Variations" by George Balanchine, "Petit Mort" by Jiri Kylian, and "In the Middle Somewhat Elevated" by William Forsythe. During her professional career in Europe, Fiona had the privilege to work with other world-renowned teachers, dancers, and choreographers such as Sinner and Yannick Boquin, Ethan Stiefel, Patricia Neary, Alina Cojocaru, Xander Parish, Elke Schepers, Valentino Zucchetti, Thierry Guiderdoni, Stephane Dalle, Gennadi Nedvigin, Bruce Sansom and Karl Burnett.
In 2016, Fiona moved to South Bend, discovering her new passion for teaching, while receiving a faculty position with Southold Dance Theater. During this time, she also becomes a guest teacher and dancer with River Raisin Dance Academy, Indiana Ballet Theater, Dance Masters of Michigan, Interlochen School of the Arts, and The Art of the Dance Center.
Today, Fiona wishes to nurture her students and teach them the beauty of ballet while providing the same elite classical training she received when she was a student.
Shakurah Grumbacher began dancing at the age of six and was awarded a scholarship to the Acting Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco, California. While attending A. C. T. she studied dance, acting, and improvisational movement. In 2003, Ms. Grumbacher relocated to Indiana where she led Penn High School's Marching Band Movement Program to their first state title. For the past sixteen years, Ms. Grumbacher has been working with John Glenn's High School Color Guard and teaching dance.
Tara Hennig started her dance training in her hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin, at the age of 3 and knew that she wanted dance to be her career from a young age. Tara received her BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University in Indianapolis. During her time at BUI she performed many soloist roles with The Butler Ballet. At the same time, Tara received a contract with Gregory Hancock Dance Theater, touring Latvia and performing soloist roles at the Latvian National Opera House in Riga, where she had the pleasure of meeting Latvia's president.
In 2000, after graduating from Butler, Tara was offered a lead dance role for Carnival Cruise Lines, performing in multimillion-dollar Broadway-style shows. In 2002 and 2004, she became part of the inaugural cast for the Conquest and Valor. In 2006 Tara was promoted to Dance Captain, being in charge of casting, rehearsing, and staging full-length Broadway-style productions. After 13 years of traveling the world and performing five nights a week, two shows a night, she retired from Carnival Cruise Lines, moved to South Bend, and started her Comprehensive Pilates teacher training through BASI. Currently, Tara teaches Pilates reformer and equipment classes during the day and ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, acrobatics, contemporary, and musical theater classes in the evenings. Tara has been teaching at Southold for eight years and is honored to be part of the Southold family!
Abby Marchesseault hails from Northern Virginia, where she first studied classical dance at The Fairfax Ballet. She graduated with honors in Dance Performance and Applied Physiology from Southern Methodist University, before working as a freelance dancer, choreographer, and teacher in New York City.
Abby has danced with, toured with, and choreographed for a variety of contemporary companies in NYC, including Tina Croll + Company, ARIM Dance, Adams Company Dance, Artists By Any Other Name, ShadowDance Productions, and others. She was also a member of The Connecticut Ballet, where she performed both solo and ensemble works including those by Michel Fokine, Anna Sokolow, Lila York, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and Aguibou Bougobali Sanou; and performed and served as dance captain for works by Joe Locarro, and Bob Fosse. As a freelancer, she has had the privilege of performing works by choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Danny Buraczeski, Heidi Latsky, Adam Hougland, Joshua L. Peugh, Ari Mayzick, and Mitzi Adams; and was a cast member of Tina Croll and Jamie Cunningham's From the Horse's Mouth, which received a Bessie Award for Best Revival in 2020. Other credits include appearing in Julian Fellowes' The Chaperone with Elizabeth McGovern, Mirando Otto, Robert Fairchild, and principal dancers of Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance, performing gala events alongside Kenny Loggins, and serving as dance consultant for the Bach Cello Suites Festival at Carnegie Hall.
Her own choreography has been presented in multiple festivals and venues in New York City, Chicago, and Dallas, as well as internationally in Sydney, Australia, and Ubud, Indonesia. She continues to choreograph and perform both in Michiana and New York, often collaborating with filmmakers, visual artists, musicians, actors, and other dancers through Avoir Motion Dance Project which she co-founded. Abby has taught both classical and contemporary dance in Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, Panama, Indonesia, and Australia; she is delighted to join the Southold family, and continue sharing her love of movement with her students.
Regina Murphy began dancing at Southold at the age of four, and graduated in the spring of 2021. She is currently attending Saint Mary’s College as a communications major, while maintaining a focus on dance. During her time at Southold, she participated in multiple Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) competitions and finished her senior year performing the roles of Sugar Plum in Southold’s virtual Nutcracker and Cinderella in the spring production of Cinderella. She has been teaching at Southold since the fall of 2019 and greatly enjoys seeing the excitement of the young dancers as they discover the beauty of ballet.
Laura Skarich began designing and creating costumes for Southold Dance Theater over three decades ago. In addition to that role, she has been a backstage presence for many years serving in a variety of positions including a make-up artist, Children’s Coordinator for The Nutcracker production, and Company Assistant, serving the needs of several Artistic Directors of Southold Dance Theater. Over the years Laura has created costumes for productions such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Swan Lake, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Carnival of the Animals. Laura is very pleased to be back working with Calin Radulescu and the current staff of Southold. In addition to being a part of Southold Dance Theater, Laura is the costume designer and creator for A&A Ballet in Chicago.
She stays active with her own alterations and clothing repair business. She, also, enjoys spending time with her husband, two dogs, and five grandchildren.
LaRena Stuckwisch has been a long-time parent volunteer for Southold, which has enabled her to revisit her joy of theater and performance that she enjoyed as a child (drama, speech, and show choir). She appreciates the opportunity to assist in various capacities (costuming, hair and make-up, props, backstage) in order to witness the beauty, strength, joy, and goodness of ballet within her community and beyond.
LaRena is a wife to Rev. Rick Stuckwisch, homeschooling mom of ten children and "Grammie" of 14.
Joanna Whitmyer is a Michigan native who began her dance training in Ballet at the age of six. Studying many other styles ranging from Jazz to Ballroom she discovered movement improvisation and Gaga technique where she began her exploration into her own personal journey of healing and embodiment. She is a true believer in the power and resilience that can come from within the human body and continues her exploration as a company member and choreographer with New Industry Dance Company in South Bend.