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 received her early dance training at the Virginia Ballet School under the direction of Tania Rousseau and Oleg Tupine, formerly of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. After receiving a scholarship with the School of American Ballet in New York, Wendi joined Dayton Ballet Company working under Jon Rodriguez, Stuart Sebastion, Bess Saylor Imber and Dayton Ballet founder, Josephine Schwarz while performing works by Lynne Taylor Corbett, Robert Rodham, Twyla Tharp, and Eugene Loring among others. After leaving Dayton Ballet, Wendi settled in Michigan, teaching extensively as regular faculty and as a master teacher at many dance studios throughout the southeastern region in addition to her work at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Jackson College. Wendi’s undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan reflects her multi disciplinary focus with concentrations in both English and History. She earned her Masters Degree in American Studies from Michigan State University while pursuing research in Women’s Studies and teaching courses in writing, literature and humanities. Wendi now serves as the artistic director of Ballet Chelsea, overseeing both the school’s dance curriculum and the performing company’s productions. Wendi currently teaches ballet at Ballet Chelsea Studios and Eastern Michigan University.
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 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 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.
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 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’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 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 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 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 has been dancing since she was three years old. She joined Youth Dance Theatre, now Ballet Chelsea, when she was 8 years old. She danced in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Five Dancing Princesses, Swan Lake, and many others with Ballet Chelsea, as well as attending summer programs at Nashville Ballet, Cecchetti camp at Hope College, and Ballet Austin. In 2013, after being a member of Ballet Chelsea for 10 years, Leda graduated from Dexter High School. She is currently attending Eastern Michigan University, pursuing both a major in dance and a minor in business. After college, she hopes to dance for a contemporary ballet company, and later own a dance studio.