ABOUT OUR SCHOOL
Our mission at the Aledo Academy of Ballet is to encourage dancers to find and express their individuality, artistry, and grace through the art of ballet, and to inspire a love for the arts among the dancers and in our community.
CAROLINE GRACE ARNOLD - Director/Ballet Instructor
Caroline Arnold began her training at the age of 5 in Palm City, Florida. She moved to Texas when she was 10 years old and continued her ballet studies at Ballet Academy of Texas in Coppell under the direction of Lisa Slagle. During her last years of high school, Caroline studied at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy.
Caroline attended Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music on scholarship, studying under many notable instructors including distinguished ballerina Violette Verdy. She left Indiana University after her junior year of college to join Kansas City Ballet and completed her degree while dancing professionally, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance in 2014.
Caroline danced professionally with Kansas City Ballet, Ballet West and with the Romanian National Ballet. She is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for ballet with her students at the Aledo Academy of Ballet.
Caroline is certified in Marie Walton-Mahon’s Progressing Ballet Technique and has studied under Lisa Howell, owner of The Ballet Blog, for her Level 1 Teacher Training and her Level 2 Pointe Intensive. Caroline has attended Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s Teacher Workshop studying and learning Marcia Dale Weary’s syllabus and teaching method. She is a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science and a Trainee of the Progressive Pointe Method Fitter Training. Caroline is looking forward to finishing her training and moving on to the Pointe Shoe Fitter Certification Course.
Caroline is active in her church and enjoys spending time with her family and traveling, when not in the studio. She has many wonderful friends from her years dancing with Kansas City Ballet and with Romanian National Ballet and looks forward to returning to Europe someday to visit them.
Beginning Ballet Instructor
Gayle Corkery began her ballet studies at the age of 8 with David Preston, who later became the director of ballet at Texas Christian University. After high school graduation, Ms. Corkery received a ballet scholarship to TCU to study with Mr. Preston. While at TCU, she performed with the Fort Worth Ballet and the Dallas State Fair Musicals and then studied at American Ballet Theater in NY with Valentina Pereyaslavec, Igor Schwezoff and Anatole Vilzek. Returning to Fort Worth she received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in ballet, theater and literature. Ms. Corkery accepted a position in Germany where she performed and taught ballet for two years and returned to Fort Worth to open the Gayle Corkery School of Ballet in 1970. In 1971 Ms. Corkery was selected by Violette Verdy, principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, to participate in the School of American Ballet Services for Ballet Students and Teachers under a Ford Foundation Grant. Every summer students from the Gayle Corkery School of Ballet auditioned for and were accepted to the prestigious SAB Summer Intensive, where about 1000 students from Europe and the U.S. auditioned and only 200 were accepted. These students danced professionally, opened their own ballet schools and one dancer, Bruce Wood, created the Bruce Wood Dance Company, which still performs in Dallas today.
In 1974 by special invitation, Ms. Corkery attended the last teacher’s seminar taught by George Balanchine, the director of the NYCB and was invited by Doris Hering, editor of Dance Magazine. to visit the Kirov and Bolshoi Academies in Russia. Ms. Corkery was also invited by Violette Verdy to visit the Paris Opera Ballet when Ms. Verdy was the director for this company in Paris.
Ms. Corkery is known for her special classes for young students. She collaborated with NYC pianists, Steven Mitchell, Whit Kellog and Tim Grundman to produce several ballet training DVDs and CDs for young children. These CDs and DVDs are still being used in ballet schools in the U.S and Europe today.
In 1983 Ms. Corkery was asked to develop the ballet department for Fort Worth Country Day School where she served as director for 27 years. The Gayle Corkery School of Ballet was closed in 2019 when many businesses closed because of the Covid. Ms. Corkery now spends her time between Fort Worth and New York City collaborating with ballet associates and guest teaching.
Ballet and Jazz Instructor
From Bolingbrook Illinois, Sarah Gresik is a ballet and jazz instructor for Aledo Academy of Ballet.
Sarah studied at the Hinsdale Dance Academy under the direction of former Milwaukee Ballet dancer, Jennifer Grapes; the Salt Creek Ballet School under Zhanna Dubrovskaya and Sergey Kozadayez. She competed in the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition, placing in the top twelve of the classical division.
Sarah started her professional career with the Albany Berkshire Ballet’s Nutcracker tour. She also danced with Minnesota Ballet for four seasons, where she performed classical works such as Swan Lake, Cinderella, Coppelia, and The Nutcracker. She also performed in Salvatore Aiello’s Clowns and Others, and was featured in another of his works, The Waiting Room. Sarah joined Ballet Frontier of Texas as a company member before receiving a contract with New York City’s Ballet Nepantla. Most recently she performed “Valentina” as the role of Valentina with Ballet Nepantla.
She has been teaching throughout her career since the age of 15 at Hinsdale Dance Academy, which in 2018 was awarded the Outstanding School Award by the Youth America Grand Prix. She has also taught at the School of the Minnesota Ballet, Dancentre of Edinburg, instructing ballet, pointe, and coaching variations for the Youth America Grand Prix.
Originally from Alabama, Laura began her ballet training at The Montgomery Ballet at the age of 2. She then transitioned to the Alabama Dance Theatre and joined their student company to perform such roles as “Kitri” in Don Quixote, “Tinker Bell” and “Wendy” in Peter Pan, and “Clara” in The Nutcracker. Laura also trained at The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The School of American Ballet and Ballet Academy East. At the age of 16, Laura moved to New York City to further her training at Ballet Academy East under the incredible instruction of Darla Hoover. One year later she was offered a position at Kansas City Ballet where she performed for 8 years. Her favorite performances with the company include the title roles of “Cinderella”, “Alice” and the “Sugar Plum Fairy”. Her repertoire also included works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Septime Weber, Edward Liang, Val Caniparoli, Twyla Tharp, and Agnes de Mille. Since 2009, Laura has been sharing her love of ballet by teaching throughout the Kansas City Area as well as Aledo, Texas.