Founder and Artistic Director
Ms. Ashley is the founder and artistic director of Columbia Ballet School, which is celebrating its 33rd year under her direction. We estimate that tens of thousands of students have studied dance at CBS. Some have gone on to professional careers in the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Cincinnati Ballet, Austin Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Nashville Ballet, N.C. Dance Theatre and San Francisco Ballet, as well as in musical theatre, theatre, video and film. Many have been accepted into prestigious conservatories and artist-training schools. Some have pursued professional careers in the arts, while others have become successful lawyers, accountants, teachers, physical therapists, and veterinarians. Dance is excellent training for any life work. In addition to teaching and choreography, Ms. Ashley has been active in the theatre in Columbia.
Joy Alexander began her training at Calvert-Brodie and later danced with Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet, collaborating with Anita Ashley, Jenny McElveen, Mimi Worrell, Maura Gable Moore and Debbie Spivey. Joy attended summer intensives, including Richmond Ballet Company, USC Dance Conservatory and The Broadway Theatre Project. She has had the privilege of studying with Gregory Hines, Gwen Verdon, Ann Reinking, Dave Clemmons, and Stephen Harding. In 2000 she attended the AMDA (The American Musical and Dramatic Academy) in New York, where she studied both for stage and film, graduating in 2002. Her stage credits include Off-Broadway – Muscial Extravaganza and Dances; Regional Theatre – Suburbia, Sweet Charity, Anything Goes, 42nd Street, Dames at Sea, Annie, and Gypsy. She also worked for Holland America Cruise Line as a singer/dancer. In 2006, she returned to South Carolina and has been teaching and performing.
Katy Dallas grew up in Powder Springs, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. She began dancing at three years old. She attended the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, GA. She moved to Columbia in 1999 and attended Columbia College. In December of 2003, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education (K-12 certification) and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography. In May of 2006 she earned her Master of Education in Divergent Learning: Arts Emphasis. From 2003 to 2007 she danced with The Power Company, a contemporary dance company based in Columbia, SC.
Katy teaches dance at Crayton Middle School and her first year teaching at AC Flora High School and being the Lead Dance teacher for the district. She is a board member for both the South Carolina Dance Association and the South Carolina Dane Education Organization. In 2008 she received the great honor of SC Dance Educator of the Year. Teaching dance to all ages is her passion!
For Cindy Flach, tap and musical theatre are her passion, and she is certainly our studio’s tap and musical theatre guru. Her classes are in demand for her excellent teaching in the traditional tap style, and her many years of experience in musical theatre. She has directed and choreographed more than 250 productions nationwide and in Europe. She has recently done Fiddler on the Roof and The Producers locally. Cindy has been on the University of South Carolina dance faculty since 1988, where she teaches a variety of dance styles, as well as music appreciation. Scores of her former students are dancing professionally, and many, many more continue to dance simply because Cindy makes it fun. She has a terrific adult drop-in tap class in addition to her studio classes.
Terrance Henderson has been the creative force behind Columbia’s Vibrations Dance Company for over 10 years and is now also developing T.O. Henderson Dance Incorporated (To Dance, Inc) with whom he is presenting his latest original work Hole In My Bucket: a perspective through dance image word and sound. Terrance was the 2009 Artist Fellow for the State in Dance Performance and later that same year received the Bronze Leo Award for Outstanding Jazz Choreography at the Jazz Dance World Congress in Chicago – a first for a choreographer from South Carolina. A company member at Trustus Theater, Terrance has served as choreographer and director for multiple productions and has been seen as a performer on the main-stage in such shows as Next to Normal, Passing Strange, Smokey Joes Cafe, Hair, and Rent. Terrance has been the long-term artist in residence in the public schools at Logan Elementary where he has been teaching dance and drama now for 15 years.
Ann Kent specializes in ballet training, especially in the improvement of technique and body placement. Her training in the Vaganova method is supplemented by ballroom and Latin dance, as well as her interest in Yoga. Ann studies classical ballet variations to teach them to CBS students and is our resident expert. She has staged excerpts from Pacquita, La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, Coppelia, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and Giselle, among many others.
Jen has been dancing for 25 years and is in her fifth year teaching at Columbia Ballet School. She is originally from Baton Rouge, La, where she began studying at the Powell Moise School of Dance. Jennifer started teaching ballet classes when she was just 15. While her degree is in Speech Language Pathology, she is devoted to teaching dance. She began teaching preschool ballet classes in Boone, NC, and she started a preschool dance program in Indianapolis. Jennifer has three daughters, two of whom she home-schools and who take classes at CBS. She is responsible for CBS’s satellite program in local preschools and has developed a Mommy and Me program for young children.
Stephanie Reeves Sloop
Stephanie Reeves Sloop is from Columbia and started dance at 11 years old .She became a student of Anita Ashley at the age of 12 and also studied with Ann Kent during that time. She attended the Summer Dance Intensive at the S. C. Governor’s School for the Art. Stephanie has been working in banking in Columbia and returned to Columbia Ballet School a year ago to begin teaching ballet and tap. She also works in the front office.
Jaclyn Sorensen began her training at age 13. She studied at the Lehigh Valley School of the Performing Arts and then later attended University of Utah where she received a BFA in ballet. She has been a guest artist with Salt Lake City Ballet and Hartford Ballet in Maryland. With invitation, she has also danced with Character Dance Ensemble in Ukraine. She is currently dancing with Columbia Classical Ballet.
Courtesy of Columbia Classical Ballet
Monessa Salley lives by the motto, “dance through life.” She has been educating dancers for 10 years in Richland County School District One, currently teaching at Lower Richland High School. She was awarded a full track and field scholarship as a 400-meter hurdler at Winthrop University where she graduated with a B.A. in Dance Performance. She went on to earn a Master’s of Education Degree in Divergent Learning from Columbia College in 2010.
Monessa is honored to have been named the South Carolina Dance Educator of the Year 2013-2014, awarded by the South Carolina Dance Association. She has served as teacher and choreographer for Richland One Middle School Honors Dance Company and recently choreographed musicals for Dreher High School’s Theatre Department. Currently Monessa dances under the direction of Terrance Henderson with T.O. Dance Inc. and also with Power Company Collaborative (housed at Columbia College).