Faculty

Dance School Owner Cumming GA

Ms. Courtney Palubiak Bromwich

Owner/Director

Ms. Bromwich began her formal dance training in Marietta, GA with Dance Stop Studios. She pursued dance in her collegiate years with Brenau University, Gainesville Ballet, Kris Cangelosi Dance Project, and Ruth Mitchell’s Georgia Dance Conservatory.

Ms. Bromwich discovered her true passion of teaching at the Sawnee School of Ballet in 2000. Under the direction of Director/Owner Joan Kall Stewart, Ms. Bromwich honed her teaching skills in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop for dancers of all ages. Since her beginnings at Sawnee Ballet, Ms. Bromwich has been a respected dancer, choreographer, and teacher in the metro-Atlanta area for over 20 years. Her strengths in tap and jazz and her propensity for character pieces have earned her several choreography awards, honors, and placements throughout the years.

In 2007, Ms. Bromwich was invited to join the faculty of the dance program at Kennesaw State University as a guest tap teacher. Having already graduated with a B.A. in Business Management, she decided to return to KSU to further her dance education, and subsequently obtained her B.A. in Dance.

Upon her relocation to Gainesville, GA in 2011, Ms. Bromwich was excited to rejoin the faculty at Sawnee Ballet. In November 2012, she was honored to take over as the new owner and director. Ms. Bromwich is continuing the same spirit and core principals that have driven the school for so long in addition to continually applying new and fresh ideas that educate, energize, and inspire the dancers and grow their passion for dance.

In 2017, Ms. Bromwich stepped into the role of Artistic Director for Sawnee Ballet Theatre, the non-profit ballet company that operates out of the studio. With the help of many volunteers, grants, and fundraising, she “Cracked a New Nutcracker” with new costumes, props, and choreography.  She continues to expand the creative aspects of this production in addition to SBT’s annual spring concerts with contemporary interpretations of childhood classics such as Peter and the Wolf, Alice in Wonderland, and The Tales of Beatrix Potter.

Ms. Bromwich is a member of the Dance Festival Advisory Board at Kennesaw State University, National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), International Dance Entrepreneurs Association (I.D.E.A.), and Dance Studio Owners (DSO) as well as serves on the board of Dance Educators of Georgia Society (D.E.G.A.S.) as the North Georgia Director.

This season, Ms. Bromwich will be teaching the youngest of ballet dancers up through the Primary levels, Jazz, and Tap. She is the also the director of the Sapphires performing program and looks forward to the Sapphire’s seventh season performing out in the community.


Dance School Director Cumming GA

Ms. Joan Kall Stewart

Director Emeritus

A native New Yorker, Ms. Stewart received her formative training at the Westbury Studio of Fine Arts with Martha Manners, Lillian Waldecker and Jon Curtis. She furthered her studies at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo under the guidance of Anatole Vilzak and Ludmilla Shollar.

A performer of great versatility, Ms. Stewart worked for Broadway’s four top producers: Lerner & Lowe, David Merrick, Hal Prince, and Rodgers & Hammerstein.

Her professional credits include Broadway companies of Hello Dolly, Camelot, and National Touring Companies of Sound of Music, Fiorello, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. She has performed with Carol Channing, Ginger Rogers, Betty Grable, Kathryn Grayson, Florence Henderson, Eve Arden, Anne Miller, Leslie Gore, Tony Randall, and Soupy Sales.

Her Summer Stock credits include Paper Mill Playhouse and Music Fair Productions of production of Half A Sixpence and Gypsy and the Atlanta’s Theatre Of The Stars as Liesl in The Sound of Music, Liat in South Pacific, Gloria Upson in Mame, and Ermengarde in Hello Dolly. Industrial show credits include The Ford Show, Coca Cola, and Canada Dry.

Ms. Stewart has taught ballet in Atlanta since 1967 and directed the Sandy Springs School of Ballet for fourteen years. She was a principal dancer with Georgia Ballet, DeKalb Concert Ballet, and Chattahoochee Dance Theatre.

Ms. Stewart’s choreographic works have been performed by the Georgia Ballet, Ruth Mitchell Dance Company, Phoenix Opera, Mercer University, DeKalb Concert Ballet, Chattahoochee Dance Theatre, Sandy Springs Dunwoody Civic Ballet, Sawnee Ballet Theatre and St. Petersburg Florida’s Chamber Ballet Company.

In 1990, Ms. Stewart founded the Sawnee School of Ballet, and in 1992, she formed the Sawnee Ballet Theatre presenting Cumming, Georgia with its first full length Nutcracker.

Currently, Ms. Stewart holds the title of Director Emeritus for both Sawnee School of Ballet and Sawnee Ballet Theatre.


Ms. Becky Binion

Becky Binion received a dance scholarship at the University of Riverside where she studied various forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, African and modern. She toured Southern California with the company “Groundwork” and eventually found her way to Atlanta, GA where she danced with “Gotta Dance and Co.” and “Colours Dance Theatre”. She loves to choreograph for theater and has received a Metropolitan Theatre Award for her work on “Chicago” and “Forever Plaid”. Becky currently choreographs for children’s theater at Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts. She enjoys teaching the discipline of dance while keeping it fun and is quite convinced it helps keep her young!

Miss Becky will be in her ninth season with Sawnee Ballet teaching our baby ballerinas and Modern on Mondays.


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Ms. Teresa Eckart

Teresa began her ballet training at Southern Ballet Theater in Jacksonville, FL under the direction of Marta Jackson. Upon moving to Tampa, she continued her training with Carmen Morales at the School of Ballet and Spanish Dance and with Haydee Gutiérrez at the Classical Ballet Center of Tampa. In high school, Teresa was a member of the Tampa Concert Ballet Company. During her college years, she studied under Sarah Stravinska and Helen McGhee, was a member of her college dance company, and taught ballet at a local studio.

In 1983, Teresa received a BA from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with a double major in economics and political science. Two and a half years later, she received a JD from Stetson University College of Law and began working in Pinellas County as assistant state attorney.

After relocating to Alpharetta in 1994, Teresa’s passion for dance brought her to Atlanta Ballet as she began taking classes with Carol Szkutek. She has focused on intense Vaganova training in her classes with Marina Levasheva. In addition, she also takes classes in the metro Atlanta area from various other instructors.

In the summer of 2015, Teresa enrolled at Kennesaw State University to pursue a degree in dance with a concentration in ballet. It goes without saying that she enjoys her Pedagogy class, but has found Kinesiology to intriguing as well, especially since she has a strong interest in the cross training of ballet dancers for increased strength and flexibility and injury prevention. Miss Teresa graduated summa cum laude with her B.A. in Dance in May 2019.

Teresa loves teaching ballet technique. “It is important to me to teach ballet technique,” she says “so that each dancer can reach their full potential whether they are taking classes for personal enjoyment or if they want to be a professional dancer.”

Teresa is also a classically trained pianist, training from age 9 to 18.

Sawnee Ballet is delighted for Ms. Teresa’s sixth season. She will be instructing our Ballet dancers from the babies on up.


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Ms. Megan Foose

Megan Foose, a native of Waukesha, Wisconsin, began dancing at the early age of three and has been trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, and Pointe. Training at Accent on Dance in Wisconsin, she has traveled the country competing at both the regional and national level where she earned several National Championships.

She attended Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, on a dance scholarship, where she earned her BFA in Dance, graduating Summa Cum Laude. While at Valdosta State she had the opportunity to perform in the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival and the American College Dance Association. She has spent the last few summers training with the Radio City Rockettes through their intensive and performing professionally with Peach State Summer Theater- Most recent credits include: Disney’s Newsies and Hello Dolly!.

While teaching at the studio, she will also be dancing professionally with Contemporary Company SIDEWAYS in Roswell, GA and judging regional dance competitions for Boogie Fever and Dance Machine. She is also a certified Barre Instructor.

We are excited to welcome Miss Megan back for her second season.  She will be teaching all levels of Modern as well as baby ballet, jazz, and tap this season.


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Ms. Breanna Hayworth

Breanna began training in classical ballet at the age of four. In 2011, she moved to Cumming, Georgia and continued her ballet training with the Sawnee Ballet Theatre. As a member of the Company, she danced lead roles such as the Pas de Trois in Sleeping Beauty, Spanish Pas de Deux in The Nutcracker, and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker.

After graduating in 2014, Breanna furthered her dance education at Kennesaw State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance (Ballet Major) and a Minor in Business Management. While there, she danced five consecutive seasons with the KSU Dance Company, received her Pilates certification, and was an officer for the collegiate National Dance Education Organization.

Upon graduating from college Breanna immediately moved to Orlando, Florida to perform for Walt Disney World. There she had the opportunity of performing with many Disney characters in Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, The Festival of Fantasy Parade, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, and Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It!

Breanna is very excited to enter into her second season with Sawnee Ballet and continue teaching the next generation of talented artists.  She will be teaching Jazz 2, Stretch/Flex & Leaps/Turns 1 and various ballet levels in addition to working the front desk.


Shara

Ms. Shara Martin Keith

Ms. Keith received her formative ballet training from Joan Kall Stewart and Dana Mott at The Sandy Springs School of Ballet and was a principal dancer with the Sandy Springs/Dunwoody Civic Ballet Company and the Chattahoochee Dance Theatre. For two consecutive seasons, she was selected by the Dekalb County Fine Arts Council to participate in the Dekalb County Young Artist in Dance Program.

A graduate of Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet, she was a principal dancer with Texas Christian University Dance Ensemble and studied under Fernando Schaffenburg and Lisa Fusillo. She was invited to perform in a choreographic showcase with members of the Fort Worth, Texas, Ballet Company.

Ms. Keith was a principal dancer with the Georgia Ballet for three seasons and performed with the Phoenix Opera Company in productions of Hansel and Gretel and Mozart’s Magic Flute. She was a Guest Artist for The Gilmer Arts Council and the Governor’s Honors Program in Valdosta, Georgia.

Ms. Keith has appeared with Sawnee Ballet Theatre in numerous principal roles in their Spring Concert and Nutcracker productions. She received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Kennesaw State College, Kennesaw, Georgia.

Miss Shara will be working with dancers in the Pre-Pointe through Company levels this year.


Brelin Zimmerman

Ms. Brelin Zimmerman Knop

Ms. Knop began her training at the Sawnee School of Ballet at the age of 3 and continued through her high school years. She was a member of the Sawnee Ballet Theater for 9 seasons, starting at the Apprentice level and progressing to the Company, dancing lead roles such as Clara, Arabian, and Snow Queen in SBT’s annual production of the Nutcracker.

Ms. Knop continued her education at Brenau University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in dance. While there, she danced numerous leading roles with the Gainesville Ballet such as Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker as well as Jasmine in Aladdin.  Most recently, Brelin can be seen in the Netflix series Raising Dion.

Brelin continues to take classes and perform throughout metro-Atlanta, and she most recently received her Module 1 Certification through Acrobatic Arts, the professional curriculum for Acrobatic Dance. For her tenth season with Sawnee Ballet, Brelin will be teaching Primary through Company levels in Ballet, Jazz 1, and Stretch/Flex & Leaps/Turns 2 & 3.  She will also be choreographing for Sapphires this year.


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Ms. Jo Lambert

Miss Jo has been teaching acrobatics and tumbling to dancers, gymnasts and cheerleaders in the Atlanta area for over 10 years. She is a professional SAG-AFTRA stunt woman who has doubled actors, trained actors and performed stunts in Los Angeles, Kentucky, South Carolina and in local Atlanta productions such as Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, The Boss, Black Panther, Nancy Drew, Outcast, etc. She has also performed in various live acrobatic shows in and outside of the country.

Growing up in a military family, Jo moved all around the country and world. She was a competitive gymnast, participated in theater and dance and created her own Acro-dance performance team while living in San Diego. She also began her training in aerial silks in San Diego and later continued at the Circus Arts Institute of Atlanta. She is a member of the National Ninja league, and an official obstacle tester for American Ninja Warrior. Prior to turning her attention to stunts, dance and teaching acrobatics, Jo also trained in boxing, capoeira, mixed martial arts, parkour, breakdancing, and was a sponsored skateboarder. She continues to expand her education through dance classes, acrobatic and silks trainings and seminars. She is a strong believer in the adage Never Stop Learning! Jo loves the creativity of acrobatics and dance and loves helping her students overcome fears and gain new skills and confidence.

Sawnee Ballet is excited to welcome her back for a second season!  Miss Jo will be teaching all levels of tumbling this year.


 

Ms. Melody Mills

Originally from Akron, Ohio, Melody started her formal training in gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading.  Her ambitious spirit and relentless work ethic has led her to perform professionally immediately after graduating high school.  Dancing and choreographing in the NBA, NFL, and AFL allowed Melody to travel to Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, and the Philippines. She continued to grow in her passion by performing in commercials, live performances, and theatre, including the Tony Award Nominated Broadway Show, Bring It On: The Musical. After relocating to Atlanta, GA from New York, she has used her professional experience and driven mentality to connect with the dance community, mentor and train youth dancers, as well as provide job opportunities for fellow dance professionals. Most recently she has been in development projects with Georgia High School Association (GHSA) and Atlanta’s professional hockey team, the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL). Having the professional dance, Rihanna, Jay-z, Kanye West, and Shakira, on top of Broadway, featured film, and commercials on her resume, Melody has retired her performing shoes and has picked up her always destined entrepreneur hat with Elevate. Melody’s personal mission is to show and evolve how dance can be both a passion as well as a professional career choice.

This is Miss Melody’s first season, and Sawnee Ballet is thrilled to welcome her to the family!  She will be teaching all levels of Hip Hop on Wednesday nights.


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Ms. Diane Palubiak

Diane grew up in Fort Worth, Texas as the second youngest of five girls. She met her future husband on a blind date while attending Columbia College in Missouri. Together they lived in Little Rock and St. Louis before finally settling in Marietta, GA to raise their four children.

While never having danced growing up, Diane fully embraced being a dance mom while her two eldest daughters were in the company at Dance Stop Studios. She served as wardrobe head for seven years, where she spent many a late nights sewing sequin trim to costumes. While her sewing skills were not the best, she learned how to creatively adorn costumes with hot glue, staples, and tape making for many comical, but memorable, moments. During performances, Diane could always be found back stage helping with quick changes and last minute alterations in the company dressing room. While she never had the opportunity to watch an entire show from the audience, she was the dancers’ biggest supporter from the wings.

Diane also worked at Decapo, the dancewear store owned by and attached to the studio, for six years. While managing the store, she was in charge of hiring, ordering, and maintaining inventory. When Dance Stop relocated to the shopping center across the street and did not have room to continue the store, Diane began working at Banana Republic where she remained with the company for nearly 20 years. In 2013, Sawnee Ballet was excited to have her join the front office staff. As Office Manager, Diane drives over an hour five days a week, but wouldn’t change it for the world, because she loves working with her daughter.

When not working, Diane loves spending time with her family and watching her two granddaughters. She also enjoys winding down by walking, purchasing scrapbook supplies, and watching Lifetime movies. We love Miss Diane and know Sawnee Ballet would not be where it is today without her at the front desk.

 


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Mr. Raul Peinado

Raul Peinado was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. There he began his dance training on full scholarship with ballet master Victor Ullate of the Victor Ullate Ballet School and Cristina Al- varez of Catedra Alicia Alonso. While in Spain, Raul danced as a soloist with Ballet Clasico de Madrid for 3 years where he performed classical ballet repertoire. He also performed as a guest dancer in Don Quixote and Swan Lake with the National Ballet of Cuba.

In 2000, Raul came to the United States and was offered a full scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. He then joined the Joffrey Ballet Ensemble, where he danced for 5 years. While in New York, he was a company member of the following dance companies: Rebecca Kelly Ballet, Dances Patrelle, Peridance Ensemble, Configuration Dance and Faune Dance Troupe. In 2006, he joined the Connecti- cut Ballet and performed as a principal dancer there for 3 seasons.

Raul participated in the 2008 Buffalo Dance Festival with partner, and renowned ballerina, Misty Copeland, in a duet choreographed by American Ballet Theatre’s Susan Jaffe. Mr. Peinado participated as a guest dancer for two years at the Fukuoka International Dance Festival in Fukuoka, Japan. He was awarded the City Honors Award for Outstanding Performance by the city mayor.

Raul has performed as a guest artist for many regional ballet companies in the United States, including Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, Gwinnett Ballet Theater, Alabama Dance Theater, North Atlanta Dance Theater, Atlanta Dance Theater, Andalusia Ballet, Sawnee Ballet Theatre, South West Virginia Ballet and Eglevsky Ballet. Mr. Peinado also danced for 3 seasons with the Georgia Ballet, where he was selected to perform leading roles in George Balanchine’s Dance Fantasy, Apollo, and Serenade.

Sawnee School of Ballet is thrilled to welcome Mr. Raul back to the faculty for a third season. He will be teaching classical ballet technique on Monday evenings.


Natalia Shevchenko

Ms. Natalia Shevchenko

Ms. Shevchenko is a graduate of the Kiev Academy in the Ukraine and was trained in the Vagonova style. She was the recipient of Laureate awards at both the National Competition of Art in Kiev, Ukraine, and Kishinev, Moldova.

As a principal dancer, Ms. Shevchenko has an extensive repertoire including such roles as ‘Odette’ in Swan Lake; ‘Aurora’ in Sleeping Beauty; ‘Swanhilda’ in Coppelia; and ‘Juliet’ in Romeo and Juliet.

She has performed at the Mussorgsky State Theater of Opera and Ballet; Kirov Academy Theatre of Opera and Ballet; the Bolshoi Theater in Russia; the Muldova Academy Theater of Opera and Ballet in Muldova; and National Academy Theatre of Opera and Ballet in the Ukraine.

Ms. Shevchenko’s teaching experience includes the Classical Ballet Academy of Kishinev, Muldova; the Muldova Academy Theatre of Opera and Ballet; Kiev Academy of Ballet; and the Atlanta Ballet.

She has been an instructor with Sawnee School of Ballet for the past twenty seasons. This year, she will be teaching all levels of Company on Thursday evenings.


Laurie Sowada

Ms. Laurie Sowada

Ms. Sowada grew up in Miami, Florida and received her training at Bobbie Alcott’s School of Dance, later becoming an assistant teacher. She continued her dance education at the Avery School of Dance in Miami, where she taught classes in pre-ballet, tap, tumbling, and slimnastics.  Ms. Sowada has been on faculty with Sawnee School of Ballet since the early 2000’s.

Yearly, she attended summer intensives in Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado with the Salt Lake City Ballet Company. She has performed at the University of Miami and the Vizcaya Museum in liturgical dance productions.

Ms. Sowada attended St. Petersburg Junior College studying both Early Childhood Education and Finance. She was a pre-school teacher in Seminole, Florida where she created a play/learning environment for 3-4 year olds.

Ms. Sowada has been working for an investment firm since 1985 with 5 years as a corporate trainer. Laurie continues to take adult ballet classes and is excited to teach on Saturdays at Sawnee Ballet where her passion for teaching, creativity, and love of dance thrives.


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