Katherine "Kitty" Seale

Founding Artistic Director

1948-2019

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Founding Artistic Director, founded the Alabama Dance Theatre in 1986. Due to her teaching and guidance, the Alabama Dance Theatre continues to grow and is recognized throughout the region as a positive training ground for dancers. Kitty has been actively involved in dance as a teacher, choreographer, and director for the past 40+ years. Her early study of ballet was with Lucie Stone, Audrey Gryder, Duane Dashion, and George Verdak. More recently, she studied the Russian syllabus under Jurgen Schneider and Janina Cunova and the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. Kitty choreographed numerous works for her own and other companies in the U.S. She was selected to attend the 1980 and 1988 National Craft of Choreography Conferences. Her students have received national recognition and scholarships and have gone on to perform with nationally recognized professional groups. The Alabama Dance Theatre achieved Honor Company status in 1992 and continues to represent the City of Montgomery and the State of Alabama in the Regional Dance America/Southeast. A Montgomery native and graduate of Lanier High School and Sweet Briar College, Kitty was elected to the Lanier Hall of Fame in 1997. Kitty was a recipient of the 2013 Governor’s Arts Award and the 2019 recipient of the Montgomery Advertiser’s Community Hero Award. She was married to Turner Seale and has two children, Turner, Jr. (deceased) and Kate who is married to Robby Smith. She has three grandsons, Bennett and Chapman Robertson and Turner Smith, and one step-granddaughter, Brooke Smith.

Kate Seale Smith

Artistic Director

Ballet Faculty

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Kate was a company member of ADT 1986-1994 and professional dancer with ADT 1998-2011. Kate received a scholarship and attended the first American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in NYC. She attended the Joffrey Ballet School on a full scholarship for 3 summers, as well as the Boston Ballet School. She was a Dance Major at the University of Alabama and the first apprentice for the Alabama Ballet under the directorship of Wes Chapman (1996-1998). Kate specializes in teaching dance to our youngest (ages 3-8) students as well as our advanced and intermediate students. Kate is the daughter of Turner and Kitty Seale, wife of Robby Smith, and proud mother of Bennett (15), Chapman (13), Turner (3), and step-daughter Brooke (19).

Sara Sanford

Assistant to the Director

Contemporary, Broadway, and Composition Faculty

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Sara began her dance training under Don Steffy, former Artistic Director of the Montgomery Ballet. In 1998 she joined the Alabama Dance Theatre as a company member under the direction of Kitty Seale and Haynes Owens. In 2001 she received a Dance Magazine full scholarship to attend the Craft of Choreography Conference as a dancer. Through several summer seminars with the Alabama Dance Theatre, she began her choreography training under Leslie Jane Pessemier. Numerous works have appeared at the Regional Dance America/Southeast Festival over the years and in 2007 her piece C’est La Vie was selected to be performed at the Regional Dance America’s
National Festival in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2012 her piece Way of Grace was selected to be performed at the Regional Dance America’s National Festival in Montreal, Canada. As a choreographer, she has attended the Craft of Choreography Conference in Seattle, WA, and Winston-Salem, NC. Through Regional Dance A0merica she is the Choreography Connection award winner, and as a result, set a new work on Pennsylvania Regional Ballet. She also has attended the Glenda Brown Choreography Project in Kansas City, MO numerous times. Additionally, she is the youngest Fellowship recipient of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. In addition to her contemporary and classical works, she has a growing repertoire of full-length ballets such as Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, Cinderella, Dracula, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. She is one of the current resident choreographers for the Alabama Dance Theatre, and also manages the ADT website.

Emily Dauber Flowers

Managing Director

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She is a Montgomery native and a former Company dancer with the Alabama Dance Theatre. She studied under Kitty Seale, Haynes Owens, Dame Sonia Arova, and Leslie-Jane Pessemier, along with other guest teachers and choreographers, attended two summer sessions at the Joffrey Ballet
School in New York. She is a graduate of Montgomery Academy and the University of Alabama with an honors degree in English and Philosophy. After working in commercial real estate with a focus on investment property analysis and property management, she studied art and antique appraisal at Pratt Institute. Coming from Troy University as University Media Development Coordinator, Flowers is the former Director of Development at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the former Managing Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse. Emily’s background gives her an understanding of the intersection of the artistic and the business worlds, and she is truly happy to be home at the Alabama Dance Theatre to carry on its mission. Her daughter, Margaret, age 10, is a student at ADT, and her husband, Trey, manages a decent tango.

Jacqueline Berry

Consultant

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She has been with ADT since 1986 first serving as a volunteer, then an ADT board member. From 1993-1998 she served as the full-time position of Business Manager. For more than twenty years, Jackie was actively involved in the daily operations of ADT and retired from full-time involvement as Business Manager in September 2021. Recognizing the importance of the arts as it relates to the community, she will continue to work closely with businesses to promote the arts as a positive factor in the quality of life in Montgomery. She attended AUM and Huntingdon College majoring in Marketing. Jackie has been active with numerous art organizations at the state and national level and currently serves as Treasurer for both the Regional Dance America/Southeast and the Anne Phillips DAR organizations. She is married to Lee Berry and together they have 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.

Valari Lagrone

Ballet Mistress

Ballet Faculty

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She began her formal dance training in West Nyack, NY with Jean and Marc Platt (an original member of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo and director of the Radio City Music Hall Ballet). After moving with her family to Montgomery in 1972, she continued training with Audrey Gryder, Duane Dishion, George Verdak, Kitty Seale, and Haynes Owens.  Ms. Lagrone was one of ADT's original dancers, founded in 1986 by Artisitc Director Kitty Seale.  In the early years of the company Seale and Lagrone studied the Russian Syllabus together under Jurgen Schneider and Janina Cunova. Ms. Lagrone danced with ADT from 1986-1997 and again from 2001-2003, first as principal dancer then as professional dancer. During her career with ADT, Ms. Lagrone was fortunate to work with many respected classical and contemporary icons of the dance world, some of which include Sonia Arova, Larissa Sklyanskaya, Marianna Tcherkassky, Francesca Corkle, Magda Aunon, Magaly Suarez, Ron Cunningham, Earle Sieveling, Alan Hineline, and Leslie Jane Pessemier.  Ms. Lagrone spent one season as an apprentice with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre (IN).  One of the highlights of Ms. Lagrone's career was the opportunity to work with the coaches of American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in NYC, then perform the role of Giselle (Act II) with ABT principal dancer Wes Chapman in ADT's 1997 annual spring concert. Other highlights include guest performances as Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker with Springfield Ballet (MO) and Evansville Ballet Theatre (IN). Favorite roles at ADT include lead female dancer in the classical ballets Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Cinderella, Paquita, La Bayadere, Giselle, as well as numerous modern and contemporary works.

Casey Vaughan

Ballet Faculty

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She studied and performed in the Company at ADT and danced professionally with the Alabama Ballet and with Magaly Suarez at the Art of Classical Ballet. She has a degree in business from the University of Alabama and is married to Evans Bailey. They have three children.

Liza Simpler

Ballet Faculty

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A native of Montgomery, AL, Liza Cardinal Simpler trained at ADT from the age of three. A company member from 2001-to 2008, she attended summer intensives at American Ballet Theatre, Louisville Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, USC Dance Conservatory, and Kansas City Ballet. While attending the University of South Carolina, Liza was a member of the USC Dance Company and worked as an adjudicator and student dance teacher in the Richland County School system. She interned with Ballet Hispanico and the American Dance Festival before earning her degree in Dance Education. Liza then worked in Louisiana with the New Orleans Ballet Association as a teaching artist. In 2014, she returned to Montgomery and works as a Dance Educator with Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts at Vaughn Road. Elementary. Liza is currently Board President of ClefWorks. She is married to Miland Simpler and they have two children, Ann Lang and Miles.

Janie Alford

Jazz, Ballet, and Hip-Hop Faculty

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Janie Alford, our jazz and hip hop teacher, is a 2003 recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. For this performance, she choreographed La Fete Funeraille to traditional New Orleans jazz. Her works have been selected for Regional Dance America’s Emerging Choreographers and Gala Showcases. She has received Regional Dance America’s 2001 Choreography Connection Award and the 2002 Best Overall Choreography Award at the Panoply Arts Festival. In 2010, she collaborated with Grammy-winning recording artist Beth Nielsen Chapman for “Dances of Faith” which was performed at the prestigious International Ballet Competition.

Jenny Letner

Modern Faculty

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LETNER is a native of Montgomery and a graduate of Auburn University Montgomery. Jenny is a freelance choreographer and teacher and has choreographed for the University of Iowa, Alabama Ballet, Southern Dance Works, Southeastern Alabama Dance Company, and Alabama Dance Theater to name a few. Jenny has been a 3-time recipient of the Monticello award through the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association for her choreography across the region and a 5-time recipient of the Panoply Arts Festival Choreography Competition, most recently in 2013. Jenny Letner is a Young Arts (National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) Winner Class of 1992, and an Alabama Arts Council Fellowship recipient in 1999. She has trained with instructors all over the country including the late Bella Lewitzky, the late Kitty Seale, Cathy Hess Wright, Katherine Sanders, Don Steffy, and the late Haynes Owens. Mrs. Letner has danced professionally with the Alabama Dance Theater since 1995. Jenny is currently the Head of the Dance Department at Trinity Presbyterian School and is the Modern Instructor for us here at the Alabama Dance Theater. Jenny and her husband Rick spend most of their time with their two sons Chase, 18, and Cade, 15.

Ke'yana Robinson

Ballet Faculty

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Ke’Yana is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. She trained with The Alabama Dance Theatre under the direction of the late Kitty Seale and Kate Seale Smith. She is trained in all dance forms with concentrations in Ballet, Pointe, and Modern. Her talents have led her to perform across the nation including in Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dayton, Ohio. Miss. Robinson is a graduate of Alabama State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance.

Jacqueline Speights

Ballet & Tap Faculty

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Jaclyn Speights started dancing at ADT at age five and was a company member with Alabama Dance Theatre from 1995 to 2003. She holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of Alabama and earned her M.A. in Dance from Florida State University. In 2008 she interned at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in New York City. Since then, she has taught dance for the Caledonia Public Schools in Mississippi, Arkansas Festival Ballet, Jacksonville Dance Company, North Pulaski High School, and Yokota Dance Company in Japan, where she was also a director. For the past two years, she has been living in Vilseck, Germany, teaching with the SKIES dance program, and, recently, completed the second year of the Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies training in Berlin.

Sarah McQueen

Wardrobe Mistress

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Sarah joined ADT in the summer of 2008. Sarah has sung with the Montgomery Chorale and is currently performing with the Madrigal Voices of Montgomery. She is also a freelance medical illustrator. She is currently working at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Sarah was married to the late Bob McQueen and is the proud mother of Amanda and Ashley, former company members of ADT.

Christine Loosley

Co-Wardrobe Mistress

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Co-Wardrobe Mistress has worked at Alabama Shakespeare Festival for twenty years and with ADT since 2003. Some personal favorite costumes designed and executed include Fred’s Wife and Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol, the Vampire Townsfolk in Dracula, and Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

Elizabeth Schaum

School Registrar

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She is delighted to bring her talents to Alabama Dance Theatre as the school registrar. She is familiar with the company after assisting ADT's hosting of the RDA/Southeast Dance Festival held in Montgomery. Her association with ADT includes helping organize performances and events as the former Alabama Shakespeare Festival's special event coordinator for more than 20 years.