Crystal Newson is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and has studied and performed with several local dance companies. Her training includes Ballet Tennessee, Center for Creative Arts, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre Summer Intensive, and Weave Conceptual Dance Company. During her years as a dance major at Center for Creative Arts she began to develop her love for and skill in choreography. After graduating from CCA, Ms. Newson began her work as a dance instructor and choreographer. Her passion is teaching young people the art, the history, and the appreciation of multiple dance genres, including classical ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, and musical theatre style dance. Her goal as a teacher and choreographer is to instill the same sense of dedication, motivation, and professionalism into her students that she, herself, gained from her dance training. Ms. Newson currently serves as a dance instructor and choreographer at Ballet Tennessee and Weave. In addition, she is a frequent guest teacher and choreographer for her alma mater, Center for Creative Arts.
Emily Sapere is delighted to join the Ballet Tennessee faculty for her fifth year. A native of Mayfield, Kentucky, Emily received her early training with Joan Crawford School of Dance in tap, ballet and jazz. She received a summer intensive scholarship in Los Angeles with Dupree Dance USA at age sixteen. After high school, she attended Columbia State Community College in Franklin, TN on a commercial entertainment scholarship. Her passion for teaching, brought her back to Kentucky were she assumed ownership of her family’s dance studio. She spent summers training at The Edge Performing Arts Center in West Hollywood, California. In 2002 Emily moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career in dance. She has danced professionally in the television series “American Dreams” and was a principal dancer and choreographer for “The Rick Alviti Elvis Tribute Band”. While living in LA, she was on faculty at Dance Dimension.
FACULTY & STAFF
Monica Coulter holds a BFA and MFA in Ballet from TCU. With over 25 years experience onstage, she has performed with Ballet Concerto in Fort Worth, TX, Chattanooga Ballet, Ballet Tennessee and the Civic Ballet in Chattanooga. Teaching credits include TCU, UTC and several local private studios, as well as in Cleveland, TN and Dalton, GA.Most recently Monica has added multiple training certifications in PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) teaching adults at The Wellness Corner in Chattanooga, weaving in this new methodology into her Classical Barre classes. "Training the pre-professional dancer with PBT has become my personal mission!” She currently lives in Harrison, TN with her husband, Monte.
Anna Baker Van-Cura began her dance training with Josephine Schwarz in Dayton, Ohio. She was selected by Frederic Franklin for a Ford Foundation Scholarship with the National Ballet of Washington, D.C. in 1964. She was accepted into Ruth Page’s International Ballet Company in 1965 where she rose from corps de ballet to principal dancer. Ruth Page created several roles for Ms. VanCura. In Ms. Page’s autobiography she mentions Anna Baker as her “favorite dancer.” Ms. VanCura also danced with American Ballet Theater, under the direction of Lucia Chase, in New York and on tour. She appeared with St. Paul Municipal Theater and St. Louis Municipal Opera in roles such as Jeanne in Brigadoon and Louise in Carousel with John Davidson. Ms. VanCura also appeared for many season with Chicago Lyric Opera and Cincinnati Summer Opera. She was on the faculty of Ruth Page Foundation, Hubbard Street Dance Company in Chicago, Bill Evans Dance Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Memphis Dance Alliance, Northwest Florida Ballet, Tennessee Association of Dance Conference, and BalletFest Summer Intensive in Atlanta, GA. Mrs. VanCura attended the teacher conference in Russia on the first three years of Soviet method training.
Jenison Owens began her training in 2003 through the Dance Alive and TIP Scholarship Program at Ballet Tennessee, under the direction of Barry and Anna VanCura. She was featured in many roles as a company member and professional training student, and assisted Barry VanCura in the musical productions of The Broadway Project (2011) and Aida (2012) at Covenant College. Ms. Owens began her teaching/choreography career in 2013 and served as faculty member at Ballet Tennessee, Weave Dance Company, and Creative Arts Guild. She has studied with The Ailey School, Sidra Bell Dance New York, and Weave Dance Company. Ms. Owens holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communications from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and founded an immersive visual and performing arts production,"Celebrations: a Community Collaboration," in 2018. Ms. Owens is delighted to serve as Program Administrator, professional dancer and faculty member this season.
Lauren Day started her dance training in 1996 under direction of Barry and Anna VanCura with the Ballet Tennessee Conservatory. She had the opportunity to be a part of the outreach performance programs with the Hamilton County School System, as well as many performances and showcases throughout Chattanooga's city events featuring Ballet Tennessee. With Ballet Tennessee she danced as a company member and had many lead roles such as Bluebird in Peter and the Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood in Cinderella, Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol, Sugar Plum Doll and Soldier Doll in Nutcracker and many others. Lauren graduated from The Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts majoring in Dance, and attended Birmingham Southern College studying under Mira Popovich, a former prima ballerina with Serbian National Ballet, as a dance major and education minor. She has also taken workshops and summer intensives with Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Virginia School of the Arts. Lauren joyfully started teaching in 2016 and is proud to have joined Ballet Tennessee's program this year, as well as serve as an Office Administrator.
Founders: Anna Baker-VanCura & Barry VanCura
(423) 821-2055 ~ 3202 Kelly's Ferry Rd. Chattanooga, TN, 37419