Bertina Sixto Dew has been Executive Director of Kingsport Ballet since 1999. She led the search committee which recruited Valeria Sinyavskaya, artistic director and ballet mistress, from Russia by way of Tokyo, Japan, in 2001. Under Ms Dew’s leadership the organization merged the school and company, streamlining their efforts and becoming fully non-profit with a community-minded mission. She has served as grant writer and fundraiser for the organization, in addition to being costume and set designer for Kingsport Ballet’s productions such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Don Quixote. She implemented the DANCE CO project in 2003, which works with non-arts, community organizations and after school programs serving at-risk children such as Boys and Girls Club, to provide classical ballet instruction at no cost to the students. Ms. Dew secured a National Endowment for the Arts grant for the outreach program in 2006. In 2010 she led the renovation of Kingsport Ballet’s new 15,000 square foot facility, which includes four dance studios, a dance boutique, an art gallery, an arts wing subletting space to small businesses, and a fitness and wellness lounge providing physical therapy. Ms. Dew received the Arts Council of Greater Kingsport’s Arts Leadership award in 2010, the Tennessee Association of Dance award in Dance Advocacy in 2011, and a YWCA Tribute to Women award for Volunteerism in 2012. In 2016 she conceptualized the project and designed the costumes for the Company’s contemporary ballet, Seeds of Change, celebrating the city’s one hundredth anniversary. Ms Dew was recognized in 2017 by the Junior League of Kingsport’s “Women of Impact” as one of 130 outstanding women who have made significant contributions to the city during its 100 years of history. Prior to her becoming executive director at KB, she specialized in oil portraits and murals, and worked in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Augusta, GA. Ms Dew earned a Master’s degree in Art Therapy from the George Washington University and a Bachelor’s in Art Education from Florida State University. She is originally from Uruguay and currently lives in Kingsport, Tennessee with her husband Michael. They have three daughters.
Valeria Sinyavskaya is the artistic director and ballet mistress of Kingsport Ballet. She was trained at the State Classical Ballet Academy in Kiev, Ukraine. She graduated first in the class of the renowned choreographer Gallina Berezova, pupil of Agrippina Vaganova, the founder of the Russian method of classical ballet training. She holds a master of Fine Arts from the Lunacharsky Institute of Theatrical Arts in Moscow. Her performing experience includes all the major classical roles with the Novosibirsk Theater of Opera and Ballet in Russia, and as a guest performer in other Russian ballet companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet. During her professional performing career with Novosibirsk Ballet, she enjoyed numerous international touring engagements, performing as the company’s Prima Ballerina. Since that time she has gained extensive experience as a teacher, choreographer, and artistic director in the U.S. and abroad, including with the University of South Florida, Jacksonville University, Southern Ballet Theater, Orlando City Ballet, and the International School of Dance in Japan, where she served as a Principal Teacher and Choreographer, staging productions that blended the work of ballet students with professional performers from throughout Europe. She has staged ballet classics such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quisote, The Nutcracker, and Giselle, among other ballets, as well as choreographed original works. Ms Sinyavskaya teaches the Vaganova method of classical ballet. Ms. Sinyavskaya is honored to be recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship award for choreography, and KingsportArts’ artistic leadership award.
Dance Movement/Preparatory Ballet, Ballet Lower School, Modern, Pilates
Ms Ballard received her BFA in Ballet Performance from University of Oklahoma and has taught at various schools in the southwest. She has served as a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma School of Dance. She is on faculty at Kingsport Ballet where she teaches all levels of ballet, as well as Modern and Pilates. Ms Ballard has also taught at colleges and Universities in the East Tennessee area. Ms Ballard is the Spring Concert coordinator at Kingsport Ballet, and is chief choreographer of the Centennial contemporary ballet, Seeds of Change, which premiered in April 2017. Photo credit: Julia Malcolm
Guest Master Teacher
Leonid Flegmatov graduated from the Moscow State Academy of Choreography, (commonly known as the Bolshoi Ballet Academy), and joined the Russian Academy of Theatrical Arts GITIS as a soloist. He was awarded a prize in the First International Chabukiani-Balanchine Ballet Competition in 2001. He has toured Europe, Asia and the United States. He has danced with Miami City Ballet, Columbia Classical Ballet, International Ballet Theater and Grand Rapids Ballet Company. He is currently on the teaching faculty and dance company of New Jersey Ballet and has been since 2007, where he teaches all levels of ballet.
Dance Movement/Preparatory Ballet, Lower school Jazz and Tap, Adult Ballet
Laura Markus received her formal training under Karen Gibbons-Brown. She was one of the first graduating classes of the Kingsport Guild of Ballet and State of Franklin Dance Alliance. She continued her training with the school and company while attending ETSU Her history with the company included numerous facets from instruction t, rehearsal coach, assistant to the Director, costuming and stage craft as well as SFDA Board Member. After her time with the KGB/SFDA, Miss Markus has taught and performed for the Fayetteville Ballet Théâtre(NC), Northwest Florida Ballet and Northwest Florida State College. During her time in FL she developed an after-school dance program for Walton County School District (FL) which led to her opening her own school, Ecole de Danse in 2001. She is happy and excited to have come full circle and return to her original classical training with the Kingsport Ballet.
Jessica has studied all styles of dance from ballet to hip-hop at schools including University of North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, and Broadway Dance Center in NYC. As a ballet student, she performed soloist roles in Coppelia, The Nutcracker, and The Sleeping Beauty and was a dancer on the Furman University dance team. Ms. Barrett is an award-winning choreographer. Her professional work includes dancing in commercials and industrials for BMW and Swiffer as well as acting and dancing in films such as “Step Up 2: The Streets” and George Clooney’s “Leatherheads”. Ms. Barrett received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Furman University and a master’s degree in physical therapy from East Carolina University. While at East Carolina, she was the recipient of the George F. Hamilton Award for outstanding physical therapy student, worked with faculty to treat injured ECU dance majors, and completed an internship at The Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in NYC.
Cynthia Woodmansee is originally from Richmond, Virginia where she began her ballet training at the age of 9 at the School of the Richmond Ballet. At age 15, she was awarded a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet, where she remained until graduation at age 17. Ms. Woodmansee spent her apprentice year at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and danced professionally with the Richmond Ballet and Fort Worth Ballet (now the Texas Ballet Theater ) until her retirement. Ms. Woodmansee and her husband, David, who is employed by Eastman Chemical, have lived in the Tri-Cities for 19 years. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Anna (24) and Sarah (20). She teaches low intermediate ballet classes at Kingsport Ballet.
Alayna Farmer is a homeschooled senior. Her love of ballet began under the teaching of Peggy Willis in Rogers, Arkansas, continued with Sharon Steele of Harmonic Motion, followed by Dr. Peggy Willis-Aarnio of Willis Ballet. Since 2011 Alayna has been a student at Kingsport Ballet training primarily with Ms. Valeria Sinyavskaya, and more recently, Vadim Burciu. She also takes classes in Modern and Jazz with Erika Ballard and Jessica Barrett. She has performed in Kingsport Ballet productions of Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. Alayna has attended Kingsport Ballet’s summer intensives yearly, studying under such guest instructors as Irina Ushakova, Oleksandr Vyhkrest, and Andre Valladon. In 2013, Alayna also attended the Radford University Summer Intensive. In 2015 she competed in the Youth America Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. she also attended the pre-professional summer intensive program at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in New York, and upon its completion was invited to join GKA’s year-round training program, under the direction of Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov. Alayna earned a summer study scholarship at the Tennessee Association of Dance Festival in 2016. In her free time, Alayna enjoys the study of ancient history, reading, cooking, hiking and spending time with family and her two dogs. Alayna is currently teaching Preparatory Ballet classes at Kingsport Ballet.