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.

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CAROLINE GRACE ARNOLD - Director

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.

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GAYLE CORKERY - Special Guest 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.

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ELIZABETH DENNEN - Ballet Instructor

Elizabeth Dennen was born and raised in Oxford, Connecticut. She began her early dance training at Woodbury Ballet, under the direction of Randyl Errica, and went on to win the Connecticut Classic Ballet Grand Prize for Pas de Deux in May 2011. She continued her training at Adelphi University under the direction of Frank Augustyn, earning a BFA in Dance, Magna Cum Laude, with a double minor in Marketing and Communications in May of 2015.  While at Adelphi University, Elizabeth performed Acts Of Light, a piece by Martha Graham, at the Joyce Theater in New York City. She was the chapter President of Nu Delta Alpha, a dance honor society, which she brought to the University.  Elizabeth had the honor of studying and performing One of A Kind and Petite Mort by Jirí Kylián under Elke Schepers her senior year. She was also chosen to appear in a series of video promotions for Adelphi University during her years as an undergraduate Dance Major. Following graduation, Elizabeth joined Kansas City Ballet for their 2015-16 season, as a member of the second company and performed in Devon Carney’s Premiere of The Nutcracker as Snow and Flowers. She also performed as a Swan in Swan Lake with KCB.  Elizabeth has attended summer intensives with Bolshoi Ballet, Festival Ballet Providence and Boca Ballet Theater. While at Boca Ballet Theater, Elizabeth performed in Serenade and most recently, as Moya in Giselle. She joined Ballet Frontier as a Company Dancer in August of 2018 and has been teaching with Aledo Academy of Ballet for two seasons. 

ANNA YATES - PreBallet Instructor & Jazz Teacher

Anna Yates is a Senior at Aledo High School. She has been dancing since the age of two and is in her third year studying at Aledo Academy of Ballet and second year of teaching.. Anna has trained in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, contemporary, and hip hop. She danced competitively from age 11-15, and won multiple scholarships. Anna is currently a second-year officer on the Bearcats Dance Team.

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LAURA HUNT - Guest Ballet Instructor

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.

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