Ballet Chelsea Faculty

Ballet Chelsea is committed to excellence, and so is every individual who becomes part of our training curriculum.

Wendi DuBois – Artistic Director

Wendi DuBois began her dance training at the age of 12 at the Virginia School of Ballet under the direction of Oleg Tupine, formerly of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. After receiving a scholarship with the School of American Ballet in New York, she danced with Dayton Ballet Company studying with Jon Rodriguez, Stuart Sebastian, Daniel Duell, and Rebecca Wright among others. During this time, Wendi performed works by many prolific choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Loyce Houlton, Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Eugene Loring. Wendi has taught in southeastern Michigan for more than 30 years including the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Eastern Michigan University, and numerous community schools as a faculty member and as a master teacher. Wendi has spent the last 20 years at Ballet Chelsea working to build curriculum and performance opportunities that serve serious young artists who show a passion for the arts and dance. In 2017, Michigan Dance Council selected Wendi as the Touchstone Dance Educator of the year, which she was honored to accept. Wendi received her undergraduate degree from The University of Michigan and a Masters Degree in American Studies with an emphasis on gender studies from Michigan State University. Wendi currently teaches at Ballet Chelsea while continuing to direct Ballet Chelsea’s performing company.

Jennifer Craig

Jennifer Craig is a competitive Scottish Highland dancer and is currently a junior at the University of Toledo studying Exercise Science. She has been studying and competing in Highland dance for over eight years, six of which have been at the top level, Premier. Currently studying under Kate DeGood, Jennifer has placed in the top six of several championships, as well as, winning the WOHDA pre-championship. Along with her competitive experience, she has been a part of many performance groups. For the Chelsea House Orchestra and North Creek Fiddlers, she has been one of two featured Highland dancers traveling across the Midwest.  She is a current member of Lochanna Mόra Highland Dance Company, an adult premier Highland dance performance group. This past year Jennifer passed her BATD Highland Members Exam “highly commended”, certifying her to teach Highland dance.

Lila Dolson

Lila Dolson began dancing at the age of 5 and soon began training with Marjorie Hassard and Kay Bliss where she did her Cecchetti student exams. She joined the Detroit City Ballet and after High School taught at local studios until her love of flying took her to Texas to be a flight Attendant for American Airlines. After 15 years in Texas, Lila moved back to Michigan. The return to Michigan also brought a return to dance where she completed her Cecchetti Teacher’s exams through Grade III working with Laura McCarthy and LeeAnn King. She has also attended various continuing education seminars and also the Cecchetti Teacher’s Refresher at Hope College. Lila has taught at Dance Arts of Chelsea, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital where she taught a Woman’s Ballet Fitness Class, private ballet classes for dancers, skaters, and seniors. She currently heads up the Pre Ballet Program at Randazzo Dance and is very excited to now be on the staff at Ballet Chelsea.

Mikhayla Dolson

Mikhayla Dolson is a native to Grand Prairie, Texas. After moving to Superior Township, Michigan, she began her early training at Sylvia Studio of dance under the instruction of Lee Ann King and Karen Keith as well as Randazzo Dance with Sara Randazzo, Heidi Vitso, Laura McCarthy, Roya Panahi, and Rachel Zonca. Here she was a member of Ypsilanti Area Dancers (Randazzo Dance Compnay),  Ann Arbor Civic Ballet, as well as Sole Full of Rhythm. At the age of 13, Mikhayla began her training at Dance Arts of Chelsea with Wendi DuBois, Nancy Giles, and Carrie Schotte, where she also became a dancer with Ballet Chelsea under the artistic direction of Wendi DuBois, as well as Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Carrie Schotte.

After high school she furthered her training as a Dance Major at Mercyhurst University in Erie Pennsylvania under the direction of Tauna Hunter with Michael Gleason, Noelle Partusch, Solveig Santilliano, Mark Santilliano, Christine Hay, Leslie Brown, and Christiania Maria Adelhardt; as well as at Eastern Michigan University with Wendi DuBois, Joanna McNamara, and Kathy King.

Mikhayla has been fortunate enough to be a company member with the Lake Erie Ballet company in Pennsylvania as well as a dancer in American Ballet Theater’s Romeo and Juliet. Her training also includes that of Joffrey Ballet Chicago, American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Ballet Austin, Joffrey Ballet New York, Burklyn Ballet Theater, and 360 Degrees. She has performed roles such as Kitri in Don Quixote, Clara in the Nutcracker, and Cordeilia (Green Fairy) in Sleeping Beauty. She was also awarded full scholarships from both the Cecchetti Council of America and Ballet Met.

Mikhayla has served as faculty at Dance Arts of Chelsea as well as a rehearsal assistant for Ballet Chelsea and the Randazzo Dance Company. She is currently a senior working towards her B.A. in Dance Performance.

Sarah Eckart

Sarah Eckart began dancing at two years old in Midland Michigan, and shortly after moved to Chelsea where she started training with Dance Arts of Chelsea and Ballet Chelsea under Wendi DuBois, Nancy Giles, Rhonda Kendzicky and Carrie Schotte. Sarah danced with Ballet Chelsea for 10 years dancing many lead roles in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Five Dancing Princesses. After high school, Sarah studied psychology and dance at Goucher College where she continued to perform and grow as an artist under instruction of the Goucher faculty and guest choreographers. Sarah graduated from Goucher in May 2016, Summa Cum Laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. At which time she returned home to Ballet Chelsea and began teaching classes at the studio and in the community of Manchester through the Adaptive Dance Program. Sarah served as Assistant Artistic Director for Ballet Chelsea in 2016, assisting with outreach programs and production rehearsals. Currently, Sarah is focused on performing as an artist and enriching her students and the community though dance.

Nancy Giles Watkins, FCCA

Nancy Giles Watkins is a Permanent Examiner, Liaison Officer and National Executive Board Member of the Cecchetti Council of America.  She was President of the Cecchetti Council in 2008 and 2009 and also has served as Assistant National Registrar, Eastern Michigan Registrar and Summer School Coordinator at Hope College.  She began her training with Marjorie Randazzo, continuing at Joffrey Ballet in New York City.  She accepted a scholarship and continued her training in the Professional Program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  In 2006 Nancy was the winner of the Margaret Marsh and Sylvia Hamer Memorial Scholarship, representing the United States during the Cecchetti Society’s Summer Seminar in England. She is the former owner and Artistic Director of La Danse in Canton, Michigan.  Nancy currently teaches Master Classes throughout the United States and Canada in addition to being a faculty member at Ballet Chelsea. She received the Cecchetti Council of America Advanced Teaching Certification in 1990. As one of 30 examiners in the United States, Nancy travels extensively, certifying teachers and students in the Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet.

Rhonda Kendzicky

Rhonda Kendzicky has taught ballet to young children in Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester and the surrounding area for 18 years. She grew up in a ballet family, but left dance to spend a few years with her second love, horses. Rhonda returned to train in and ultimately teach ballet – including the Cecchetti method – to young dancers. Rhonda loves her work as Ballet Chelsea’s Ballet Mistress as it gives her the opportunity to work with dancers she taught when they were just three or four years of age. It is very gratifying for her to see first-hand what wonderful dancers they have become.

Ellen Kent

Ellen Kent’s career as a dancer spans thirteen years. She danced professionally with the Alabama Ballet, the Ballet Company of Spokane, Miami City Ballet, and as a soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet and Ballet Florida. She performed classical, neoclassical, and contemporary works, toured nationally and internationally, and worked with prominent American choreographers. Notable principal roles include Marguarite in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes, George Balanchine’s Emeralds, Divertimento No. 15, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, the title role in Kirk Peterson’s Carmen, and the classical roles of Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker.

Ms. Kent’s teaching experience includes teaching at the Otto M. Budig Academy (the official school of the Cincinnati Ballet), the Finger Lakes Ballet Academy, and Eastern Michigan University. She specializes in Ballet Technique, Pointe, and Variations and enjoys setting and rehearsing classical and neoclassical works.

After retiring from performing, Ms. Kent pursued her interests of education and psychology, obtaining her specialist of education degree in school psychology from the University of Cincinnati. She is currently the school psychologist at Chelsea High School.

Ms. Kent moved with her family to Michigan the summer of 2011 and found a true home in Chelsea. She is very excited to join the talented staff of Ballet Chelsea as a ballet instructor!

Maddy Prebola

Maddy Prebola grew up dancing in Livonia, MI. She danced competitively and studied various styles of dance, including Cecchetti ballet. Once she graduated high school, Maddy attended Eastern Michigan University where she completed her BS in Dance (Pre-Dance Therapy) and Psychology. Throughout college, Maddy taught dance at Debbie Felton’s Academy of Dance and Dance Arts of Chelsea, as well as teaching the Pure Barre technique at Pure Barre Ann Arbor. Since graduating April 2014, Maddy is focusing on teaching dance and Pure Barre and hopes to continue her education in Kinesiology/movement science in the near future.

Sara Randazzo

Sara Randazzo has a rich and varied career in dance including performing, choreographing, directing, producing and teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University and an Associate Degree in Health Sciences from Washtenaw Community College She received her Physical Therapist Assistant licensure in 2012. Most recently she has had the opportunity to assist Heather Southwick, PT at the Boston Ballet learning about the unique injuries and preventative interventions for dancers.

Sara is a STOTT certified Pilates instructor in Mat and Reformer and uses Pilates to help the dancers to prevent injury and promote postural alignment. Sara holds her Cecchetti teaching certificates for grades I-III. Sara has studied Jazz/Tap intensively for the past 20 years in Chicago, and New York with many great teachers including Brenda Bufalino, Sam Weber, Josh Hilberman, Billy Siegenfeld (Jump Rhythm Jazz Technique), Ed Kresley (Broadway Jazz).

Sara has choreographed for several dance companies including the Performing Arts Dance Theatre in Howell and Company Dance Traverse in Traverse City. She spent the 2002-2003 academic year developing a Movement Physical Education program for the Ypsilanti Public School District. She is currently on faculty for Ballet Chelsea, the Department of Music, Theater and Dance at the University of Michigan and Randazzo Dance.

Sara is the founder and director of Sole Full of Rhythm Tap Ensemble. The Ensemble tours schools, performs at festivals and produces annual Jazz concerts with live musicians, promoting Jazz/Tap as a uniquely American art form. Since 2013, Sara is the Artistic Director of Randazzo Dance Company (formerly Ypsilanti Area Dancers).

Carrie Schotte

Carrie Schotte is from Martin, Ohio and received her early dance training from the Toledo Ballet School, The Martha Graham School, STEPS on Broadway, The Broadway Dance Center and The Lake Erie Ballet School.  Later, Carrie graduated magna cum laude from Wright State University with a BFA in dance.  At WSU, she was a part of the pre-professional Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and the Contemporary Dance Ensemble where she had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers such as Debbie Blunden-Diggs (current DCDC artistic director), Jon Rodriguez (former artistic director of the Dayton Ballet), Pat White and Suzanne Walker. Since graduation, Carrie traveled to North Carolina to work professionally with the Goldsboro Ballet, and also worked with Mary Helen Mayfield and John Dennis of the Greensboro Ballet Company.   She performed in musical theater productions such as Guys and Dolls, Chicago and Oklahoma with the North Carolina Theatre; she worked at  Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, and was offered a contract by Jean Ann Ryan Productions and Norwegian Cruise Lines four times. Since moving to Michigan in 2001, Carrie has taught for Dance Arts of Chelsea and Ballet Chelsea, as well as founded her own jazz dance ensemble company.  Carrie looks forward to the future; the continuation of motivating, encouraging and inspiring young artists to create and train with passion.

Leda Stimac

Leda Stimac began dancing at Dance Arts of Chelsea where she spent 15 years training in ballet, jazz, and modern. She became a company member of Ballet Chelsea in 2003, performing in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Five Dancing Princesses, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and more. In 2013 she graduated from Dexter High School and attended The University of South Carolina before deciding to transfer to Eastern Michigan University. While attending EMU, pursuing a major in Dance Studio Management and a minor in Business, she has danced lead roles in Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and done freelance work with choreographers Joanna McNamara and Jillian Hopper. Currently a Senior at EMU, she now has the opportunity of working with her former company Ballet Chelsea.