Kellie Plath joined the faculty of AOD in 1983. In 1993 she created the now nationally award winning company program and has been the director/teacher and creative influence to present. Kellie began her training with Mary Cummings, (her mother and founder of AOD), at a very early age thru her teenage years. She continued her studies in California and New York, danced professionally in California before realizing her passion was back in the Midwest with AOD. She taught on faculty for national dance organizations giving master convention workshop classes throughout the United States before settling down to raise her family. In 2004 Kellie took over as the new owner and artistic director of the studio. Active in all three of the programs at AOD, she enjoys the opportunity to work with dancers of all levels and oversees both the curriculum taught and her faculty. A constant student herself, Kellie continues her education by attending conferences, seminars and workshops with industry professionals. Accomplished students of hers pursing the profession, have received numerous scholarships, are dancing in prestigious college dance programs around the nation, and gone on to successful careers in dance. Kellie has trained the 1996, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2009 Overall National Title Holders for esteemed organizations. She is equally proud of the efforts and growth of the thousands of other dancers she has had the opportunity to work with over the years who are now happy and successful adults! Her alumni, faculty and family are a continuous source of inspiration as she strives to make them all proud of the legacy that is AOD.
Jonathan Batista began his training at The Local School for Dance in Brazil. In 2008, he was awarded three year full tuition scholarship to study under Jane Hackett’s directorship at English National Ballet School in London-UK. During his time in England, he was coached by Ivan Dinev and Nathalia Barbara and also great names of the ballet such as Cynthia Harvey, Rudolfo Castellanos, Orlando Salgardo, Alexandre Proia, Gary Avis, Michael Coleman, David Wall and Anya Evans (Private coach/mentor for Marianela Nuñez – Principal Dancer at Royal Ballet), also as his private coach and mentor.
With English National Ballet School, Batista created role in Michael Corder’s L’Arlesienne and performed leading principal roles in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs (as Blue Boy), Jorge Garcia’s Majisimo, and solos in George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, and Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon (Des Grieux Variation), and guest performed at The Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theater at The closure of The Young British Dancer of the year 2010.
Following a serious injury in 2010, he was invited by George Balanchine’s greatest dancer Edward Villella (Founder/Former Artistic Director) to join his troupe Miami City Ballet, and under his mentoring, Batista learned Balanchine’s movement and Masterpieces, and since then performed in Balanchine’s La Valse, created Role in Alexey Ratmansky’s World Premiere, Symphonic Variations and Marius Petipa’s Giselle.
In 2012, he joined The National Ballet of Canada under The Royal Bank of Canada apprenticeship, performing in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice in Wonderland, James Kudelka’s The Nutcracker, John Neumeier’s Nijinsky, and also performed Grand Pas de deux(s) in Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote on tour throughout Canada for his apprenticeship Program.
In 2013 Batista joined Boston Ballet at the recommendation of renowned Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada Karen Kain, and upon his commence with the company he performed various Principal and Soloist roles including, Golden Idol in Florence Clerc’s La Bayadere, Emeralds Pas de Trois in George Balanchine’s Jewels, Demi Couple in George Balanchine’s Themes and Variations, Mazurka in Harald Lander’s Etudes, Chinese Pas de deux and Marzipan in Mikko Nissinen’s Nutcracker,
Neapolitan Pas de deux and Pas de Cinq in Mikko Nissinen’s Swan Lake, and the Principal role of Saint Gauden in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias.
Batista holds awards including first place at The Danza America Competition (Cordoba, Argentina 2008), He was a finalist at The Prix de Lausanne (Switzerland, 2010) and Second Prize Winner at The World Ballet Competition (Orlando – FL, 2013), and has made Guest appearances in galas in South America, Canada and Europe.
Batista has guest performed for the Cia de Ballet do Rio de Janeiro, where his repertoire includes Giselle (Hilarion), The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Florimund), Swan Lake Act II (Prince Siegfried), La Bayadère (Solor), and Michel Fokine’s La Sylphide (The Poet) as well as performed in Galas in Europe, South America, U.S.A. and Canada, where he performed at The Banff For The Performance Arts Gala and was honorably invited to perform in Maurice Bejart’s Greek Dances (Duet), one of the most influent choreographer for male dancers.
Batista is a Trinity College graduate and holds a National Level 6 Degree Diploma in dance (equivalent to a Bachelor in the U.S.A.) as well as English from Cambridge University (Level 2), both in London, UK.
Batista joined Cincinnati Ballet as a Soloist for the 2015-2016 Season, since then he has appeared in the Kaplan’s New Work Series, making his debut in Ma Cong’s Piece “Mind On The [Re] Wind” and has made headlines on the Cincinnati Local’s Paper such as The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Cincinnati Refined, being noticed and mentioned as one of the new Soloist after being highlighted in the opening night which marked his debut with Cincinnati Ballet. He is now dancing as a lead artist with The Milwaukee Ballet.
Katie Carollo started dancing at Accent on Dance at the age of three. She participated in both the Troupe and Company programs. After many years of assistant teaching, she received the “The Assistant Teacher of the Year Award” in 2007 and has been on staff ever since! Her choreography has been regionally and nationally recognized within both the Troupe and Company programs. In 2011, Katie graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance. She performed in numerous of shows and was privileged to be casted in works by several guest artists’ including Garth Fagan, Tony Award-winning choreographer of the Broadway show “The Lion King” and Mark Morris. Since graduation, she performed with Elizabeth Johnson’s Company “Your Mother Dances” and was also asked to present her work in Danceworks, “Art to Art” show in Milwaukee. Katie received the “Local Teacher of the Year” award from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 2013. She has also continued to teach and choreograph for numerous of state ranked high school dance teams all over Southeastern Wisconsin. Katie is beyond grateful to be apart of the AOD family and will continue to inspire her students by spreading her passion for dance and life!
Kate Carpenter has been with Accent on Dance, Inc. since its beginnings. She spent six years pursuing musical theater in New York City. She has toured the United States with “Rugrats Live!” and “Blues Clues Live!” She has appeared on the Today Show, E! Entertainment, and the Rosie Show. She has performed in numerous industrial shows, within venues including Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center and Madison Square Garden. She is a member of The Actor’s Equity Association. Her choreography within the company and elite programs at AOD has been awarded at the national level. She recently opened the doors to her business ENACT Training & Bodywork Center in Brookfield. Her certifications and licenses include Personal Training, Pilates, Yoga, Therapeutic Massage, Pediatric and Thai massage, and Holistic Health Coaching. Kate lives by the idea “we must strive to be the best version of ourselves”, and instills this quality in her students.
Kayla Ehrhardt graduated in 2012, from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance and a minor in Psychology. Before college, Kayla trained at the Central Wisconsin School of Ballet in Wausau, Wisconsin for twelve years, there she received extensive training in ballet and pointe technique. She also was a member of Wausau Dance Theatre, which gave her the amazing opportunity to travel to Germany to perform in Sleeping Beauty in 2004.
Kayla then went on to college at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee where she developed skills in modern, ballet, and jazz technique and also in choreography and improvisation. She has had the honor of being cast in many performances throughout her four years there, both in faculty and guest artists’ work. Guest artists included Mark Morris, founder of The Mark Morris Dance Group in New York City and Colleen Thomas. Kayla is also proud to have had the opportunity of performing with two Milwaukee dance companies, Your Mother Dances under the Artistic Direction of Elizabeth Johnson and NomadicLimbs under Thom Dancy.
Kayla is incredibly grateful to be a part of the Accent on Dance Staff as she continues to fulfill her passion. Having the opportunity to share her love for dance with her students is one of the greatest feelings she has ever experienced!
Crystal Farrow began dancing at the age of three at Kim’s School of Dance and Tumbling, Moline, IL. Four years later she started competing and performing for audiences. As her dance career progressed, she began teaching classes to other students. Crystal competed at national competitions on numerous occasions and danced through high school before pursuing her business degree at the University of Iowa. Crystal is married with two children. She owns and operates an accounting firm with her husband in Menomonee Falls. Over the last several years she has reenergized her enthusiasm for dance and has taught and choreographed for diverse ages. Crystal is passionate about dance and hopes to help dancers develop their own love for dance.
Mary McNulty Hayes joined the AOD family October 2013 and is extremely excited to be the Ballet Director of the lovely, talented AOD dancers and working with such delightful, creative Staff. Going on 20 years Mary has taught and choreographed for various levels and styles of dance. Mary was Assistant Artistic Director of Kingwood Dance Theatre, a pre professional performing honor company with Regional Dance America, Executive Director of Tyler Ballet School, Assistant Director of Tyler Ballet Company, and teaching and choreographing for Litchfield Dance Arts near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Her students have scholarships for summer workshops in Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Joffrey, North Carolina School of the Arts, Lines Baller, Dance Theatre of Harlem amongst others. Her dancers have won high honors in various competitions, NYCDA, LA Dance Force, Jump, Encore, Hollywood Vibes for example.. Mary’s choreography has won high awards at both the Regional and National levels. She is invited to Juilliard anytime of the year enjoying creative time spent with the dancers and staff plus has dancers in the summer program and accepted full time,graduating Juilliard dancing professionally now. Other dancers have been accepted to Purchase Performing Arts College, University of Oklahoma, New York University and University of Arizona. Some of her dancers are dancing professionally in companies all over the World.
In addition to the normal classtime and performances, Mary. with other companies took 2 groups of dancers to dance in Europe during the summer. A wonderful experience. Plus the awesome time presently to work with the Brilliance of teachers and choreographer such as, Thom Clower, Joe Istre, and Peter Chu (who won the Capezio Ace Award) in New York.
Mary’s early training began at age 7 with Lorraine Cranford in Dallas, Texas. Dallas Civic Ballet at age 10, training from members of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Natasha Krassovska, George Skibine. Excellent training from Marjorie Tallchief, Milenko Banovitch, Gustavo Mollajoli. In jazz with Jerry Bywaters Cochran, Buster Cooper, Luigi. At age 12 she received one of the first Ford Foundation Scholarships to New York City Ballet from Violette Verdy. Every summer she had full scholarships to American Ballet Theatre (John Watts), Joffrey (Robert Joffrey), and Harkness Ballet with David Howard, Elizabeth Carroll, and Maria Vegh.
Mary’s professional career began in Chicago with Maria Tallchief. She was invited to Paris at age 18 to dance by Gustavo Mollajoli in Ballet Popular du Reims. Mary remained in Europe for over 8 years dancing professionally with many companies, touring Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England, Italy, France and Greece and performing major roles in Sheherazade, Le Duel, Annabel Lee, Giselle, Concerto Barocco, Company in C, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and so many more. Mary was invited aboard Queen Elizabeths Yacht, HMY Britannia, serving as an Officers escort and met the Queen of England, Dined with and Danced for Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monte Carlo, Monaco In summer she continued to train with Paris Opera Ballet School and in New York with David Howard and Finis Jhung alongside Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland and Rudolph Nureyev. She had the luck to work with some great choreographers such as Peter Wright, Jiri Kiylian, William Forsythe and so many others. Mary is proud to be calling Wisconsin her home and resides in Cedarburg/Grafton with her longtime companion Damon. Mary has 3 lovely children, 2 beautiful grandchildren.
Megan Kelty has been with Accent on Dance since 2000; first as a student, now as a teacher. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance & Choreography. While at UWM, she has had the opportunity to perform in numerous shows and guest artist pieces such as: “Water Studies” by Alwin Nikolais, “Mt. Hope” by Gerald Casel, and “The Gift/No God Logic” by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company. Along side concert dance, Megan stays rooted to commercial work by dancing and performing for artists such as Plies, Wiz Khalifa and contemporary company “Project Flux”. She holds a Personal Trainer’s Certification through AFAA with a strong Pilates foundation and is a TRX trainer. Megan trained within the pre-Olympic TOPs (Talent Opportunity Program) Program where she held several state and regional titles. She continues to work professionally by performing, teaching and choreographing for all ages. Megan is honored and grateful to be apart of the AOD family!
Alyssa Krause danced at Accent on Dance from 1985-1996. Inspired by Miss Mary and Miss Kellie as my primary teachers. Danced with Jazzworks in Madison during college. Instructed by a former Principle of the New York Ballet while in Madison. Completed my Masters of Physical Therapy at UW-Madison 2002. Obtained my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Temple University 2006. Recognized as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist from the American Physical Therapy Association. Physical Therapist for the Milwaukee Ballet 2003-2005. One of the Physical Therapist’s for the Badgerland Striders running club. Currently works at Aurora Sports Medicine Institute. Dance was one of the best things in my life in grade school and high school. Twenty years later I still love dance and am excited to share the joy with the students of Accent on Dance. I am looking forward to training the dancers with the proper fundamentals and technique. I am also excited to “train the body and move the soul.”
Ann Marie Lentz has been a part of Accent on Dance since 1988. She competed nationally with the Company Program and returned to the studio after college to dance in and assist the adult dance class. She is now a proud teacher and choreographer at AOD. Ann Marie graduated from Brookfield East HS in 1999 where she danced on the Spartanette dance team. She received her Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from UW-Madison in 2003 and a Masters in Product Development from Northwestern University in 2008. She works full-time as a Chemist and Product Development Manager. Ann Marie appreciates working in the artistic world because it balances out her analytical professional life. Within the Developmental and Troupe programs, Ann Marie provides a safe, caring environment for all students to learn. She is grateful for the opportunity to teach at Accent on Dance.
Rio Lockerman has been dancing since she was three, and has loved taking the stage ever since! She grew up in Arizona and has lived in Wisconsin for the past 10 years. She is trained in Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Ballet, Tap, Musical Theater, and Pom. She started teaching when she was only 14, choreographed for competition since 16, and has done so ever since. Rio has won both local and national recognition at numerous competitions, as well as dancing just for fun. Not only has she won top overall dance awards in solo, small and large group competitions herself, her choreography has as well! She has danced around Arizona, Philadelphia, trained at the EDGE in California, danced at Broadway Dance Center and STEPS on Broadway in New York, taken class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and other places and conventions around the nation. Rio has danced leads in the Gravity Jazz Dance Theater productions, performed with the Spartan Semi-Pro Football dance line, and has performed as a back up dancer for a local rapper in Arizona. She has attained an Associates degree in Fashion Design and a Bachelors in Psychology. She also owns her own fashion line of custom dance costumes called Danger Dancewear. Rio lives with a passion for art and dance and always strives to pass that appreciation and adoration on to all those who step into her class.
Deena Muntz began her dance career in Illinois at age 4 and continued dancing through high school. Her love of dance and passion for how human body moves drove her to pursue a career in physical therapy. Deena attended St. Ambrose University and graduated with a BS in Biology and a Masters of Physical Therapy. Following graduation, Deena was driven to help those of all abilities improve movement and function of their bodies. Deena realized that function is important, but creative movement is her passion. She returned to dance, her original inspiration for becoming a PT. Joining the Accent On Dance Family has allowed her to pursue a career in the art of movement and the physical function of the body. Deena teaches in our Developmental, Troupe, and Company programs at AOD. She uses her musculoskeletal knowledge of the body to train students to perform everything from basic activities to elite level exercises. She educates and encourages our students to enjoy both the art and science of movement.
George Patterson is a Chicago native and 2 time Broadway performer, George Mo Leggs Patterson has taught and performed all over the globe as a young boy since 1992, starting with the world-renowned Jesse White Tumblers of Chicago. After graduating from Milwaukee High School Of The Arts he joined Savion GLover’s 4 Tony Award winning show “Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk” alongside Psych tv star Dule’ Hill..He also starred in Hoofin and Banging The Tour At the Tiger Palast in Frankfurt Germany, Supper Club the Show both on Broadway and Sweden also The American Millennium Celebration at the White House for President Clinton. He is currently Producing and serves as President of INTERNATIONAL MUSIC PRODUCTIONS that has had recent success with the Hit record “Another Again” produced by Kayne West on John Legends ALbum ..That arrangement came from Imp which Mo has taken over since 2003. He has shared the stage with Jimmy SLyde, Gregory Hines, Arthur Duncan to name a few … He’s from The Sammy Dyer School of Theatre in Chicago which also is responsible for Cousin Donnetta “Lilbit” Jackson of Foot Work Kingz and Jumaane Taylor both up and coming artist …
Jason Turner– Teacher and Choreographer- Born in Chicago Illinois, Jason began dancing Hip Hop at the age of 10. Taking his training further he joined the dance company Hip Hop Connxion as the first generation of the junior dance company. Working his way he would later become an elite member of the highest level, Hip Hop Connxion. 2010 Jason would move to Milwaukee Wisconsin attending Marquette University with a major in Education and English. Throughout college Jason grew passion into teaching, teaching to the Marquette dance team. Jason has traveled both Wisconsin and Illinois teaching various workshops. Along with other professional dancer Jason would form the crew HomeGrown Turnups. Directed the Dance Company Sole Matter Movement Company. As an instructor Jason believe to inspire the next generation. He trains his students on building their confidence through discipline and development of foundation. He aims to establish a fun environment to develop a passion in dance. Having trained in all realms of hip hop popping, locking, house, whacking, and breaking, he continues to pass the knowledge and history of hip hop dance to his students.
Kris (Kneepkens) Ansley began dancing with Accent on Dance in 1987 and the privilege of being a member of the original competitive company program. She went on to earn her bachelors degree at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and law degree from Marquette University Law School. Kris continued to study, teach and choreograph dance, including work with the UW dance department, coaching high school dance teams and teaching on staff for AOD. After practicing law for seven years, she is enjoying spending time raising her three children, including her second-generation AOD dancers, and teaching and choreographing dance. As a dance teacher, Kris enjoys promoting the same self-confidence and character building in her students that dance training and being a member of the Accent on Dance family instilled in her.