KATE SEALE SMITH

KATE SEALE SMITH

Artistic Director, Ballet Teacher

Kate also does the program layout and ad sales for ADT. Kate joined ADT as a dancer in 1987. Since the age of 12, she spent the summers studying at the Joffrey Ballet and Boston Ballet schools on full scholarship. She attended Russian syllabus seminars in Houston and Tampa, as well as the National Choreography Conference. She attended the first American Ballet Theatre Intensive in NYC. She was a Dance major at University of Alabama from 1994-97 and the first Alabama Ballet apprentice, 1996-98. She has attended teaching seminars for two summers at Ballet Academy East in NYC. Her dance credits include Odette in Swan Lake, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Arabian princess in the Nutcracker, Cinderella title role and Swanhilda in Coppélia. She has danced in Balanchines' La Sources (lead), Stars and Stripes (lead), Valse Fantasie and Serenade, Dwight Roden's Set, Rise, Fall, and Asaf Messerrer's Spring Waters. Coaches include Dame Sonia Arova, Magaly Suarez, Wes Chapman, Roger Van Fleteran, Alan Hineline, Darla Hoover, Sabra Perry, Haynes Owens, Foye Dubose, Sara Sanford, and Valari Lagrone. Kate is the proud mother of Bennett, Chapman, Turner, and Brooke.

JACQUELINE BERRY

JACQUELINE BERRY

Business Manager

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 the past 20+ years she has been actively involved with the ADT operations and has returned full-time to assist during this transition period. Recognizing the importance of the arts as it relates to the community, she will continue to work closely with business 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 and 12 grandchildren. 

SARA SANFORD

SARA SANFORD

Assistant to the Director, Website Manager, Resident Choreographer,

Ballet, Broadway, Composition, Contemporary Teacher

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 Southeastern Regional Ballet Association 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. As a choreographer she has attended the Craft of Choreography Conference in Seattle, WA and Winston-Salem, NC. She also has attended the Glenda Brown Choreography Project in Kansas City, MO numerous times. Additionally, she is a Fellowship recipient of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. In 2012 her piece Way of Grace was performed at the Regional Dance Festival in Montreal. In 2017 her piece "are we human?" was performed at the National Festival in Phoenix, Arizona. Recently, she has set new works on Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet and Atlanta Dance Theatre. 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 & the Beast. She is also most recently a 2020 Fellowship Recipient of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

VALARI LAGRONE

Ballet Mistress

began 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 Alabama Dance Theatre's (ADT) origninal 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 1996 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. Ms. Lagrone has also enjoyed performing in community theatre productions, particularly musical theatre.  She has been in productions of Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Can Can, Carousel (Louise Bigelow), Company (Kathy), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Linda Lou), and The Sound of Music (Liesl). In 1989 Ms. Lagrone was invited to join the factulty of Baldwin Arts & Academics Magnet School.  With her mentor, Emily Caruso, she developed and implemented a nationally recognized dance program there, where she served as co-director, then director for 24 years.  A number of her students have gone on to professional careers in the field of dance including professional dancers, physical therapy for dancers, nutrition for athletes, dance studio owners, choreographers, and one is the artistic director of her own dance company in NYC. Ms. Lagrone is also on the dance staff of the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts (Randy Foster, Executive Director), whose mission is providing comprehensive arts education to the teachers of Alabama. Honors and awards include Best Overall Choreography (Panopoly, 1989), Golden Apple Award (WAKA News, 2017), and Who's Who Among America's Teachers (2002, 2004, 2005). Ms. Lagrone is most proud of the longtime work and special friendship she shared with "Miss Kitty" and the fellowship she continues to share with the dancers and colleagues who have been part of that journey.

JANIE ALFORD

Resident Choreographer, Jazz & Hip-Hop Teacher

Mrs. Alford has been with ADT as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher since 1986. She has choreographed numerous award winning works for ADT. Many of her students have successful professional dance careers working regularly in films ,TV, Broadway, and sports dance teams. She is a 2003 recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. 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. She is a graduate of CCPAC and graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University of Montgomery with a BA in Fine Arts. Mrs. Alford also served as the Public Relations Officer for ADT from 1996 until 2006.

CASEY BAILEY

Ballet Teacher

Casey is a former ADT company member from 1995-2002. Mrs. Bailey returns after an apprenticeship with Alabama Ballet in 2002 and 4 years of training under the world renowned teacher, Magaly Suarez, in Pompano Beach, FL. Mrs. Bailey has danced leading roles in full length ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Coppelia, Pas De Quatre, La Vivandiere and Paquita, while working with many acclaimed choreographers. She has also performed the Balanchine classics La Source and Stars and Stripes. Mrs. Bailey was a finalist in the regional Youth American Grand Prix in 2004 and had the honor in 2006 of dancing with The Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. Most recently, she represented the United States in the Senior Division of the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi coached by Magaly Suarez.

EMILY CARUSO

Ballet Teacher

Educated and trained in England Mrs Caruso has been an active participant in the cultural life of the communities in which she has lived. Mrs Caruso has directed,taught, and choreographed at all levels and is proud to see former students in dance companies and colleges throughout the United States.Mrs Caruso is privilaged to be spending her "retirement" years with ADT

JENNY PLUNKETT LETNER

Modern Teacher

Jenny is currently the head of the Dance Department at Trinity Presbyterian High School and the Modern Dance Instructor with the Alabama Dance Theatre. Jenny has been with ADT as a dancer, choreographer and teacher since 1989. She is a 3-time recipient overall winner with the Panoply Choreography Competition and a 3-time recipient of the RDA Monticello Award for her award winning choreography. Jenny is a 1992 NFFA Award winner in Modern Dance and a 1999 recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

LIZA CARDINAL SIMPLER

Ballet Teacher

A native of Montgomery, AL, Liza Cardinal Simpler trained at the Alabama Dance Theatre from the age of three and was a company member from 2001-2008. She studied dance at the University of South Carolina and was a member of the USC Dance Company. She also worked as an adjudicator and student dance teacher in the Richland County School system in Columbia, South Carolina. She interned with Ballet Hispanico in New York City and the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina before earning her degree in Dance Education. After graduating, Liza worked for the New Orleans Ballet Association as a teaching artist. In the summer of 2014 she returned to Montgomery and continues to work as a Dance Educator in the Montgomery Public School system with the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts.

MELODIE EFFERSON

Co-Wardrobe

Melodie joined the ADT staff in fall 2019 after being a volunteer in costumes for 4 years. She grew up dancing, including ballet, tap, jazz, and modern. She was involved in many local theatre productions during high school and college and was both performer and choreographer for her college show choir. Melodie is married to Brig. Gen. Randy Efferson and is mom to Elizabeth, Ethan, and Emily who has been an ADT company member since 2015.

SARAH MCQUEEN

Co-Wardrobe

Sarah joined the ADT staff 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 free-lance 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. Her daughter Ashley is the Artistic Director of an innovative and successful dance company in New York City called Smashworks Dance.

EMILY DAUBER FLOWERS

Director of Development & Public Relations

Joining the Alabama Dance Theatre's staff as Director of Development and Public Relations is former ADT student and company member Emily Dauber Flowers. "It's an exciting time to be coming back to the Alabama Dance Theatre. Being a serious student at ADT meant I grew up in a nurturing, creative second family. Having the chance to send my daughter to classes now, and to work with this team as we navigate the future is truly exciting!” Coming from Troy University as University Media Development Coordinator, Emily is the former Director of Development at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the former Managing Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse. 

ELLIE TALBOT

Office Assistant

Ellie joined ADT staff in the summer of 2020. While she has little to no dance background, she is mesmerized by the beautiful work of the dancers and instructors here at ADT. Ellie graduated Montgomery Catholic Highschool in 2019 and now attends the University of North Alabama in Florence. One of her majors is Spanish; she intends to double major however her second major is undecided. Ellie loves the Lord and hopes to serve him while utilizing her spanish skills with some sort of missions. She loves to sew, sing, and spend quality time with quality people. 

ELIZABETH SCHAUM

Registrar

Elizabeth Schaum 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. She worked closely with both Jackie and the late Kitty Seale in creating memorable experiences at ASF. Successfully creating special events is one of Elizabeth's strongest assets that she brings to ADT and one that she has used to the benefit of several local non-profit organizations. She holds degrees from both Auburn University-Montgomery and the University of West Florida-Pensacola. Elizabeth is an active volunteer and board member with the Montgomery Humane Society. She looks forward to putting her talents to work at ADT.

ADDRESS

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PRESS INQUIRIES:

1018 Madison Avenue

Montgomery, AL 36104

334-625-2590

ADTDance1@gmail.com

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