Assistant Artistic Director & Children's Coordinator
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 National 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.
Adriana Castellanet discovered her affinity for dance at the age of three. She began her training at Southhold Dance Theater in 2003, where she performed in a number of ballets and took on a variety of parts, notably "Swanhilda" in the ballet Coppelia as well as the "Sugar Plum Fairy" and "Snow Queen" from The Nutcracker. She participated in Colorado Ballet's summer intensive for three consecutive years and at the age of 15, she was invited to join the studio company. While in high school, she developed, implemented, and taught a dance curriculum at Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture for aspiring dancers who would not have otherwise had the means to receive dance instruction. After graduating from Southold in 2016, she went on to receive her BFA in Dance Performance with a double minor in Dance Pedagogy and Journalism from Butler University, where she performed in many ballets as a soloist and corps de ballet. During the summer of 2018, she visited Poland, Austria, and the Czech Republic for performance opportunities and master workshops. She collaborated with a number of renowned ballet and contemporary companies, including the Prague National Ballet, and took part in performances at numerous state opera houses.
After graduation in 2020 she started her professional career at State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, California, where she performed both corps de ballet and soloist roles in a number of ballets; a few include The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, and The Little Mermaid, additionally taking part in outreach and teaching programs. An artistic highlight was her opportunity to perform as a soloist in Balanchine's Four Temperaments. She is thrilled to be returning to share her knowledge and love of dance with the next generation of Southold dancers.
Tara Kelly 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!
Meleah Ladd brings to Southold a broad background in fine arts, extensive experience in organizational administration, and a demonstrated proficiency in research and writing. She received her B.Mus. from Heidelberg College and her M.A. and Ph. D. from Notre Dame. A homeschooling mother of three (two still studying at home and one graduating from university in 2023), she also works as an independent research scholar, freelances as a copy editor, and serves as an editorial assistant for academic journals. Having fallen in love with ballet at an early age, she studied first at the Fairmount Center for the Arts, then with Ernst Hillenbrand at Heidelberg College. Meleah also danced with Ballet Arts Denver, under director Paul Fiorino. At Southold, Meleah has been active for over a decade in various capacities: onstage, backstage, offstage, in the office, and in the studio.
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.
Shakurah is so happy to be returning to the South Bend Michiana area. She has dearly missed the Southold faculty, the Students and their Families and is thrilled to be involved with The Nutcracker again.
Shakurah was most recently living in California. There she taught Ballet, Modern and Jazz at Evergreen Dance Academy in San Jose. She also taught Ballet and Tap for West Valley Dance Company in Mountain View. Shakurah taught dance at Clay HS from 2011-2022 along with doing outreach at other local schools in the South Bend area.
Shakurah has taught Colorguard for 30+ years. She has taught Color Guard at Concord HS, Penn HS, John Glenn HS and others. Concord made the Top 5 at ISSMA State Finals at Lucas Oil Field.
Colin (Mysliwiec) Raybin lived in New York City for 15 years and performed with the Merce Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group, where she had the privilege to work directly with Merce, and also danced for Karole Armitage, Stephen Petronio, Moving Theater/Ryan Kelly, New Dance Group Company, Todd Williams/Williamsworks, Artichoke Dance Company, Robin Becker DanceNY, Independentdancemaker, Liz Gerring, CorbinDances, and as a guest artist to the “Stars of the New York City Ballet.” Colin is also a co-founder of Cosmosis Productions, for which she choreographed and created two multi-media rock operas in New York City.
While in New York, Colin danced in an interdisciplinary collaboration that included choreographer Karole Armitage and filmmaker James Ivory, the documentary of which created by Gerardo Puglia was selected for the Cannes Film Festival, qualified for an Academy Award, and aired on PBS affiliates. She recently moved back with her family to the Midwest, where she is a member of the dance faculty of Indiana University South Bend and a frequent guest teacher at the University of Michigan. Since moving back, she has collaborated with several artists in the area on performances at LangLab, University of Michigan, Notre Dame, and IUSB.
Colin studied on scholarship at Cunningham, Limon, and Boston Ballet, and received her BFA in Dance with Highest Honors from the University of Michigan, where she was a James B. Angell Scholar, a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, a Michigan Scholar for performance on the ACT, and a recipient of several merit scholarships: the Target Merit Scholarship, the Harrah Merit Scholarship, and the Julian and Vera McIntosh Memorial Merit Scholarship. She was also a National Merit Finalist and a Tandy Scholar.
Colin began teaching dance in 1995 at Southold Dancenter in South Bend, IN. Since then, she has worked with children as young as five, pre-professionals, non-dancers, and the elderly in studios and universities in South Bend, IN, Ann Arbor, MI, New York, NY, and surrounding communities including the University of Michigan and Indiana University South Bend (IUSB), where she is currently Associate Faculty for the Department of Theater and Dance. Colin has also been a member of the research team at the University of Michigan that is making strides to translate a dancer’s innate sense of balance to the elderly to prevent falls with a wearable machine.
Originally from Niles, MI, Colin’s dance career began with JoAnn and Debbie Pullen and then Southold Dance Theater with Bonnie Baxter, JoAnn Barkes, Jill Tulchinsky, and Mary Olen.
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 Nutcrackerproduction, 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.
Joanna Whitmyer is a dancer, improvisor, and choreographer from Michigan. She began her dance training in Ballet at the age of six and has since trained in various styles and techniques ranging in Modern dance to Ballroom. Throughout her training, Joanna discovered her love of improvisation and Gaga technique where she began an 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, IN.
Joanna joined Southold in 2019, bringing with her a background in fine arts and communication.