Dance and Tumbling Instructors

Sydney Adams

Dance Instructor

Sydney Adams began her dance studies at the Santa Rosa Ballet School under the direction of Julian Herrin (SFB).  She continued her studies at the San Francisco Ballet School and San Francisco Dance Theater, where she became a company member and teacher at age 17.  She relocated to New York City in 1980 where she studied with David Howard and his associates Diana Cartier, Douglas Wassell and Nancy Bielski.  During her years as a full scholarship student with Mr. Howard, she danced with Diane Coburn Bruning (Manhattan Chamber Ballet) as she created new choreographic works.  In addition, she was a principal dancer and ballet mistress for former Joffrey Ballet dancer Darrell Barnett in the creation of his ballet project in NYC.  Sydney performed with Garden State Ballet in their Nutcracker and relocated to Richmond, VA as one of the first professional dancers with the Richmond Ballet.

Upon her return to NYC, she worked as a personal assistant to Jerome Robbins, managing his personal and professional business, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, choreographic licensing of his ballets  and theater works, and the reconstruction project Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.

Relocating to New Orleans to raise three children and later to Mobile, AL, Sydney has worked for 17 years in the Mobile dance community.  For 13 years she taught Ballet at Spring Hill College, and as the only dance professional produced full length evenings of her choreography as well as working in collaborative projects with the theater department.  In addition, she has choreographed a ballet for Parapluie Dance Company and Mobile Ballet’s Company Showcase performance.  She has contributed choreography to the This is Christmas Program, Junior Miss talent winners and college audition pieces for her students.

In addition to teaching at LPA, Sydney is a senior teacher at Mobile Ballet where she has taught for 17 years.  Her students have been accepted into professional companies including NYCB, colleges, such as SMU and FSU, and prestigious summer programs including San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet, Chautaqua and Miami City Ballet.  Sydney is also a faculty member at Broadway South, teaches Home School Ballet classes and coaches dancers privately.

Ms. Adams has a Bachelors of Arts in Humanities from New College of California, San Francisco.

Corrin Beasley

Dance Instructor

Corrin Beasley’s love for dance began at the age of 2 years old.  She has trained as a dancer for 18 years and continues to train under various choreographers across the country.  Her training consists of Jazz, Tap, Classical and Modern Ballet, Hip Hop, Lyrical/Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Ballroom, Acting (film and stage), Modeling (print and runway), Cheerleading/Dance Team, and Piano.  She is hard working, passionate, and dedicated.  Corrin travels the country performing, teaching, and choreographing while instilling the passion and love she has for dance in other young artists.

Corrin has been part of the LaBelle Performing Arts Company since 2007 when the studio first opened.  She has earned numerous scholarships from dance conventions: Jump, Dance League, Radix, Tremaine, and Art of Movement, as well as several regional and national dance titles: Senior Miss Masquerade (2017, 2018) and Senior Miss Dance Magic (2017, 2018).

Corrin has been a principal character in several of LaBelle’s Productions: Snow White, Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, Frankenstein, The Enchanted Wardrobe, and Beauty and the Beast.  She has also been a featured dancer in Pensacola Youth Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.

Corrin attended the Rockettes Summer Intensive Training Program from 2015-2017 and the Invitational Rockettes Summer Intensive in 2018.  She auditioned at Radio City in 2019, and continues to train and push towards her dreams of becoming a Rockette.

Some of Corrin’s professional jobs include: guest artist with Falynne Lewing and Red Hot Productions at the Grand Sierra Resort for A Thrilling Tribute, Cat Country performer for local parades and video marketing, and solo performer for a live performance with Ava Domini singing her singel “Ugly” in California.

Corrin enjoys teaching at LaBelle and being a master teacher and choreographer for various dance companies across the country.  She has been choreographer and dance assistant for Dance League, USA and continues to tour with their convention.  Corrin has also been a traveling assistant for a California-based choreographer, Ashey Silva, for 5 years.  Corrin has a huge heart for teaching at LaBelle, and continues to share her passion for dance with her students.

Jeannie Beasley

Owner and Head Instructor / Dance Instructor

With a great deal of passion and love for the art of dance, Jeannie Beasley has devoted twenty years of her young life instilling this same passion and love in those she teaches. Her talent and imagination enables her to create unique and specialized choreography, as well as teaching her students to perform with an enthusiasm that demands the attention of the audience.

As well as being a gifted teacher in the art of dance, Mrs. Jeannie has a long list of credits and awards to her name. They include:

  • Dancer and choreographer – Pensacola Junior College Dance Theatre
  • Guest performer, production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at the University of West Florida
  • Nominee – Cox/Bravo Champion for the Arts
  • Choreographer – The Imagination Movers
  • Choreographer – high school and middle school dance and cheerleading teams
  • Choreographer – musical productions, Marcus Point Baptist Church
  • Script Writer, Director and Choreographer – elementary school productions, Navy Point Elementary
  • Contracted Instructor – Dance Workshop, Port Charlotte Florida; Pensacola Junior College Summer Dance Workshop, Pensacola Florida
  • Leadership Award – Universal Dance Association
  • Dance Competition Awards: numerous for Best Choreography, Most Entertaining, Studio Congeniality, Outstanding Costume, and Creative Concept.
  • Guest instructor – University of West Florida

Mrs. Jeannie continues to keep up with all the latest techniques and styles of dance by attending at least five workshops a year. These workshops include: The Pulse, Nuvo, Tremaine, Company Dance, Professional Dance Teachers Association, Dance Makers International, Universal Dance Association, NYCDA, Jump, Hollywood Vibe and Dupree. These workshops are staffed by today’s top professional choreographers and dancers.

If you were to ask her why she loves to dance and why she continues to share her talent and abilities while trying to be a wife and full-time mother, you would hear her say, “I’ve always loved dancing with a passion. It is so much a part of me and who I am. Teaching gives me the opportunity to give a piece of myself to my students and to those who watch my choreography. I thank God Almighty for this wonderful gift of dance; it has blessed my life. To dance is to be blessed!

Jeannie can be reached at jeannie@labelleperformingarts.com.

Mackenzie Bennett

Dance Instructor

Mrs. Mackenzie received her formal ballet training at Nashville School of the Arts, Classical Ballet of Memphis and Bryant Ballet Chicago receiving extensive training in Ballet as well as other dance styles. Following her training, Mrs. Bennett danced professionally with Bryant Ballet Chicago, MOOSE Project, Katie’s Dance Project, and Chicago Ballet as well as various other freelance and guest appearances. A Beautillion choreographer for five seasons, Mrs. Bennett served on the faculty of The Chicago Multi Cultural Dance Center for seventeen years, Chicago Ballet for four years, as well as Montgomery Ballet for one season. She has had the distinguished privilege of sharing her talents at Penn State University’s summer programs, where she both taught and set ballets.

Bailey Blankenship

Dance Instructor

Bailey was born in Atlanta, Georgia where she began her passion for dance at eight years old. Her very first class was Hip Hop, and from there she branched out to train in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Heels, Musical Theater, and Pointe. She has found her passion within each style of dance, and her heart has been full ever since she started.

In her competitive days of dance, she has won many awards including platinum, first in her division, and cash prizes for her solo and group dances as well as many scholarships at conventions and competitions including Standout in Jazz, Lyrical, and Contemporary at JUMP, $100 cash prize on her solo, and Orlando Senior Prodigy award where she was able to tour year round and assist the faculty of NRG Dance Project. Later on, Bailey was also featured in Jessica Sutta’s debut solo album music video as one of the five female leads in “Feline Resurrection,” shot in Los Angeles and directed by Jose Omar. Bailey is currently entering her fourth season dancing for the NBA as a Veteran member of the New Orleans Pelicans Dance Team. Her choreography can be seen on court with the Pelicans Dance Team and the Junior Pelikids Dance Team. She has also choreographed award winning Jazz, Hip Hop, and Contemporary routines for competitive dancers in the South.

Bailey owes all of her training to Mrs. Jeannie Beasley and Mr. Michael Wardlaw along with the rest of the LaBelle faculty. Without their expertise, she would not be the dancer she is today. She is excited to share what she loves while continuing to dance on a professional level. She hopes that she can take every opportunity given and share it with her students.

“There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them.” -Vicki Baum

Caeley Cahill

Dance Instructor

Caeley has been dancing since she was 3 years old and is entering her 20th year of dance.  She was an original LPA cast member and was part of the LPA Company for 9 years. Caeley has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, and some Ballroom.  As a student, Caeley had several featured character roles in LPA productions.  She was Little Alice in “Through the Looking Glass,” Lilly in the second cast of the “Enchanted Wardrobe,” and the title role in “Cinderella.”  Since 2017, she has been a performer in a professional production company which includes performances like Seville Square’s Annual Thriller Production.

Caeley was an assistant teacher for 5 years before she started teaching in 2016.

Caeley earned her degree in Exercise Science from UWF in May 2018.

Ashton Meredith

Student Instructor

Ashton has been dancing for 15 years under the direction of Jeannie Beasley at LaBelle Performing Arts. She is one of the original students of LPA and has been on the competitive company since its inception. Throughout her time performing with LaBelle, she has been a feature character in the 10 Year Anniversary show, Alice in Wonderland, The Odyssey and a member of the Krewe de Meow Meow, performing as one of the Cat Country dancers.

Ashton has received numerous awards and scholarships in Hip Hop and Jazz from Art of Movement, JUMP and 24/7. She is the recipient of the Steven Boyd Award, All American Award from UDA and was invited to dance in the Parade of All Stars in New York City.

Miss Meredith studied with Moises Parra from So You Think You Can Dance in Los Angeles, CA, world known choreographer for the Crazy 8’s on World of Dance, Amy Berkoff and Katee Shean from So You Think You Can Dance. In 2020, Ashton was asked to perform for an Autism fundraiser in Reno, Nevada at the Grand Sierra Resort for a Michael Jackson Tribute show.

Ashton has been an assistant teacher for 3 years in Hip Hop, Jazz and Ballroom. She enjoys working with all ages of children and is excited to begin teaching at her home studio, LaBelle Performing Arts.

Cheyenna Novotny

Dance Instructor

Cheyenna began dancing at the age of 5 at the School of Dance Arts in Sanford Florida. Over the next 13 years, she studied tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theatre. She was part of the S.O.D.A. P.O.Ps (performers on parade) dancing at events throughout the central Florida area. When she was 16, she joined the cast at Walt Disney World where she danced in the SpectroMagic parade. Cheyenna was a touring member of “The Spurrlows”, a professional singing troupe and performed at conventions and events in Orlando, Florida.

Cheyenna earned a B.S. in Biology at the University of Southern Mississippi and an M.S. in Marine Biology at the University of West Florida. She has worked as a research biologist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. For the last 16 years, Cheyenna has taught science at West Florida High School of Advanced Technology in Pensacola, Florida. She was recently named Escambia County 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year and received the National Bryant True Hero Award for service to the Pensacola community.

After having her two children, Cheyenna had a passion to return to dance. She taught and choreographed for the Gull Point Performing Dancers staging competition tap. She is excited to pass on her love for dance, and especially tap to the next generation!

Leslie Peck

Dance Instructor

Leslie graduated with a Bachelor’s in Dance in 1998 from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL.  Leslie taught Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern at Art of Dance in Jacksonville, FL from 1996-1999. Soon after college, she began training in and teaching Ballroom, Latin and Swing.

In 1999, she became the co-director of a dance studio and performing Ballroom and Latin Company, Pharcyde Entertainment in Jacksonville.  Leslie competed in International Latin and was a Rising Star finalist for 4 years.  She also helped start a non-profit community outreach through Pharcyde Entertainment in the Jacksonville area to train children in partner dancing.  Pharcyde Entertainment trained competitive couples to attend the 2004 AAU Junior Olympics with all couples placing in the top 3.  Leslie, her partner, and Pharcyde Entertainment are featured in the book “Glamour Addiction: Inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry” by Juliet McMains.

Leslie has since taught at various studios and schools including: Pine Forest Elementary Arts Magnet School, Jacksonville, FL, Douglas Andersen School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL, American Dance Festival, Jacksonville University, Dance New York, NY, NY (owner, Edward Simon), You Can Dance, Hermosa Beach, CA (owners, Anna Trbunskaya & Jonathan Roberts of Dancing With The Stars).  Some of her private lessons clients include Lisa Rinehart (wife of Mikhail Baryshnikov), Jared Leto and Salma Hayek (for the fillm “Lonely Hearts”).  Leslie is happy to be back home near family and friends on the Gulf Coast and enjoys teaching all levels and ages of dancers.

Samantha Scheler

Dance Instructor

Samantha began taking ballet at the age of ten, extending her training in other genres as she continued into middle school and high school. In conjunction, she had the honor of participating in conventions including Pulse, Nuvo, DMA, Co. Dance, among others, as well as in the Alabama All State Show Choir. At a collegiate level, she studied classical ballet and pointe with former Joffrey dancer Dominique Angel and Elie Lazaar, in addition to contemporary and modern with resident TISH graduate Tracy Gilland. She also participated in workshops and master classes with Lori Belilove, Kyle Abraham, Adria Ferrali, Rion Towery, Michael Metcalf, and Tucker Knox.  As a triple major she completed coursework such as pedagogy, composition and choreography, anatomy and alignment, acting, directing, musical theatre, dance history, theatre history, lighting design, sound techniques, improvisational techniques, creative drama, and many more. Beyond the classroom, her work has been featured in student showcases and collaborations spanning every aspect of the performing arts. During that time, she also worked as an instructor/choreographer at Tribe Dance with students of all ages. Having since graduated with a BFA in Dance, a BS in Theatre, and a BA in Spanish, she hopes to continue to learn and grow both as a teacher and as an artist.

Sarah Sessa

Dance Instructor

Sarah Sessa is excited to join the LaBelle Performing Arts family once again. Sarah’s love for dance began when she was 2 years old but, owes all her training to Jeannie Beasley and Michael Wardlaw. She was a LaBelle Performing Arts company member for many years, competing in various regional and national competitions. Her dance training with LaBelle Performing Arts led her to spend the past 5 years performing in the Entertainment Industry.

Sarah completed one contract with Princess Cruise lines as a Production Show Dancer aboard the Royal Princess. She performed production shows and seasonal performances choreographed by Liz Imperio and Danny Teeson while travelling in the Eastern Caribbean. She then went on to join the opening cast of Shanghai Disneyland performing in various parades, atmosphere shows, and meet and greet opportunities. This propelled her to spend one contract in Hong Kong, and eventually return to the United States in 2018 where she continued performing at Walt Disney World and SeaWorld. Sarah’s experience at the Magic Kingdom includes dancing in Disney’s “Festival of Fantasy Parade,” “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” opening cast of “Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party,” and “The Main Street Trolley Show.” Inside SeaWorld, dancing in Sesame Street’s Party Parade and opening Sesame Street’s Christmas Parade.

Sarah is excited to move back to Pensacola and to share her experience and knowledge of dance within the Entertainment industry!

Amanda Smith

Dance Instructor

Amanda began dancing when she was 3 years old and has trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip Hop.  She became a competition dancer in high school under the direction of Jeannie Beasley and has been devoted to dance since then.  She was a member of the LPA Company for two years.  In addition, she was on the Tate High School Dance Team for three years and served as dance captain for two of those years.

Amanda has furthered her dance training through the Universal Dance Association, and workshops and conventions based out of New York and Los Angeles.  She has studied directly with Katee Shean, Stevie Ray Anthony, Tania Ante, and Pamela Bowling.

Amanda has won several high score awards from Hollywood Vibe, Masquerade, DMI, KAR, and UDA – All Stars

She is grateful and blessed to be a part of LPA’s teaching staff, and is looking forward to sharing a piece of herself with her students.

Candace Trasoras

Dance Instructor

As a professional performer since the age of eleven, Candace is well versed in what it takes to make it on stage or in front of a camera in the dance industry. In addition to dance, she has worked as a model in various industry and runway shows such as Paul Mitchell and United Colors of Benetton. A few of her dance credits include: The Billboard Music Awards, Romeo, Dream at the Sandcastle Theater in Guam, and ShowStoppers at the Wynn in Las Vegas.  Experiencing performance first hand has enabled Candace to be an expert at being a professional dancer. Her innate talent to interpret and communicate through the physical form has given many studios exactly what they needed to win that first overall, or receive that call back. Candace teaches on the characteristics of physical stamina, fitness, perseverance, memory retention and above all, how to interpret the feeling or story behind your piece.

Candace has captivated, shaped, and nurtured students for over ten years. She engages herself in the world of dance completely.  She is compelled to share this fascination and love for dance with students from all over the world. From Guam to Canada and in between, whether she is teaching a master class, or setting choreography, her students are left inspired and reaching new levels of potential.  Her sensitivity to the needs of each dance student enables her to reach and encourage each pupil, regardless of ability.  She is able to translate movements into a language that makes sense to students. Candace is always working and learning on stage or in the studio.  She is continually developing and mastering skills that are then passed on.  This cultivated teaching formula has resulted in acquiring a huge following in the dance industry, as well as studios throughout the world.

Lexxie Sulzbach

Dance Instructor

Lexxie Sulzbach was born and raised locally in Pace, Florida, where she discovered her love of dance at 5 years old with her first ballet and jazz classes. Within the next few years she had broadened her training to include tap, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, tumbling, and other styles of dance. Lexxie grew up competing with LaBelle Performing Arts’ competition team, which gave her the opportunity to train at dance conventions such as Jump, NUVO, Dance League, Art of Movement, NRG, and others where she was given the opportunity to take class from some of the biggest names in the commercial dance industry.

In addition to competing and going to conventions, Lexxie had also spent her summers training at ballet summer intensives such as Boca Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Joffrey Ballet NYC, and American Ballet Theatre’s Collegiate Summer Intensive. These programs allowed her to train under prominent ballet figures such as Victoria Morgan, Adam Sklute, Devon Carney, Dan Guin, Jane Tyree, and Maniya Barredo to name only a few.

Lexxie also participates in Pensacola Youth Ballet where she has performed various Corps de Ballet roles as well as Soloist roles in their productions including Spanish Soloist and Masquerade Doll in The NutcrackerGamzatti Variation, and other original works. She continues performing with Pensacola Youth Ballet as well as a professional adult performance group called Rise Up Dance Crew. Rise Up Dance Crew has performed at many local events such as Pensacola Opera’s Operazzi España”, Gallery Night, The Greater Gulf Coast Arts Festival, among others. They are most known for their rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller”, performed each October in Seville Quarter, and in other locations such as The Park at OWA in Foley, Alabama.

Although most of her years training were spent reaching toward a professional performance career, through assisting and teaching classes at LaBelle, she has discovered a deep love for teaching and has made the decision to pursue a career as a professional dance instructor at her home studio of LaBelle Performing Arts. It was not an easy decision, however, she’s proud to say that she feels it is the path God had set out for her all along. She is very excited to pass on her knowledge to the younger generations of Pensacola dancers.

Mikey Trasoras

Dance Instructor

Some of Mikey’s choreography credits include the sizzle reel for Hawaiian Style, Sarah Jaffe’s music video “Glorified High.”  Ivivva Athletica YouTube video promotions.  Radio Disney’s “Next Big Thing” Season 5 kickoff in Hollywood, and for Texas’ premier collegiate dance team The Apache Belles.  Mikey’s students have appeared on “So You Think You Can Dance”, “Abby Lee’s Ultimate Dance Competition”, “X-Factor”, The Grammy’s, “Glee”, and “Dancing with the Stars”, just to name a few.

Like his freestyle dancing, Mikey’s choreography is intricate and stylistically innovative.  His keen musical ear and captivating artistic expression of lyrics elevate Mikey as a Hip Hop artist.  Mikey is passionate about teaching and enjoys touring the country.  He teaches all levels and expects is students to learn something new each session and you’ll find his youthful playfulness makes his classes lighthearted and fun.

Michael Wardlaw

Ballet Director & Dance Instructor

Michael Wardlaw has maintained a distinguished career as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer.

A graduate of The North Carolina School of the Arts, Mr. Wardlaw also trained at the prestigious Kirov Academy and the Pennsylvania Ballet on a merit scholarship. He joined the Cincinnati Ballet in 1995, where he served as Senior Soloist for the company for eleven years. Prior to joining Cincinnati Ballet, Mr. Wardlaw was a Soloist for the Tulsa Ballet Theatre and Albany-Berkshire Ballet.

During his fifteen-year performance career, Michael Wardlaw made numerous guest principal appearances throughout the world including international tours to Germany, France, Scotland, Portugal, Alaska, and Venezuela. He has also performed at the Vail International Dance Festival, the Spoleto Festival, the Fringe Festival in Scotland, and has appeared with Ballet Contemporano de Caracas, Mobile Ballet and Boca Ballet Theatre. His work as a performing artist has been reviewed in Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and online at Criticaldance.com.

Now a highly sought-after educator, Mr. Wardlaw is the former school director for Northwest Florida Ballet’s Pensacola location. He has also taught on the resident faculty of the Cincinnati University Conservatory of Music, Ballet Tech of Ohio, and as an adjunct faculty member at the University of West Florida. Additionally, he has instructed and/or coached many scholarship winners and competition finalists. Mr. Wardlaw has taught master classes for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Columbia Ballet School, Charleston Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Encore Talent Competitions, Harid Conservatory, and Mobile Ballet.

Currently, Mr. Wardlaw directs the ballet program at LaBelle Performing Arts and works independently in the media arts in photography and video production.

Michelle Wardlaw

Dance Instructor

Mrs. Wardlaw currently teaches “Heels” class for LaBelle. She loves incorporating jazz, musical theatre, and kick line styles in her class. This year, she will be coordinating a pick up company show called “Love and Love Lost”, expressing pieces of love and losing love. The show will also be a launching pad for her organization called “United Love,” a community-wide initiative for helping gather resources to meet the needs of various people and groups in Pensacola.

Michelle holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Florida. She achieved her National Board Teaching Certificate in 2005 and worked with elementary-aged children with Autism at Escambia Westgate School for 12 years in Pensacola, FL.

Michelle has performed and choreographed for “Dance Alive” FL touring company, working under the direction of Kim Tuttle and Judy Skinner. She has choreographed, instructed, and/or performed for Universal Dance Association, House of Blues Orlando, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Disney, professional dance companies, and theatre productions. She has also instructed “movement” classes for children with severe disabilities.

Michelle is very active in the Pensacola community. She participated as a “founding father” in developing Pensacola Young Professionals, and spearheads many fundraising and community benefits for various foundations throughout the city. In 2002, Michelle founded the Sojourn Project, a multi-faceted arts company, that performed in a variety of galas, fundraisers, festivals, and spectaculars. Michelle co-directed events for NWFL National Dance Week and other performances in 2005 and 2006. Michelle’s greatest talent is helping her students develop artistic expression, connecting humanity in art within music and dance.

Brandi Weekley

Dance and Tumbling Instructor

Brandi began dancing when she was 3 years old and has trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip-Hop.  She was a member of the Company for 10 years and has participated in workshops with Hollywood Vibe, Jump, Company Dance, Stars of Tomorrow, New Talent Generation and many more.  In addition, she has taken lessons in New York City and trained under the talents of Stevie Ray Anthony, Tania Ante, and Katee Shean.  Brandi has also performed as a backup dancer with the Imagination Movers.

Brandi was a member of the Pace High School Dance Team for three years where she also assisted the team with choreography.  She was dance team captain during her junior and senior years.   Brandi then moved on to Pensacola Junior College where she was also on the Dance Team during her Freshman and Sophomore years,  and acted as captain during her Sophomore year.

Brandi has won numerous high score awards from well known dance competitions, including:   Masquerade, Hollywood Vibe, Stage One, KAR, Masquerade, NTG, Applause, Showstoppers, VIP, and Stars of Tomorrow

Brandi was a dance assistant for three years and has been an instructor at LaBelle Performing Arts since 2007.  Her passion grows with every year she teaches.  She loves her students and is grateful to be able to pass on her love for dance.

“Acknowledging how the Lord has blessed me, when I think of the future, I, too, think Dance and how I may make a difference for Him in the lives of those whom I am fortunate to work with through Dance.”

LaBelle Academy Of the Arts Instructors

Cindy Carff

Academic Instructor

Cindy Carff received her B.A. in Mathematics Education from the University of West Florida in May, 1992. A year later, she married the love of her life, Roger Carff. Afterwards, she continued her education by pursuing her M.A. in Applied Mathematics from UWF and graduated in August, 1994. In November, 1994, Roger and Cindy welcomed their first of four children. With family being the center of their lives, Roger and Cindy decided to structure their family so Cindy could be a stay-at-home mom. However, her love for Mathematics and teaching others to love Mathematics as much as she does did not wane. This was the start of a 25+ year business as a private Mathematics tutor specializing in Pre-Algebra through Calculus 2.

The Carff family has been affiliated with LaBelle since the very beginning. Cindy has watched Jeannie Beasley’s original dream of creating a full blown performing arts school slowly come into focus. Having homeschooled three of her four children all the way from kindergarten through A.A. degrees prior to high school graduation, she brings both a love of education and a love of the arts to the Labelle Academy of the Arts program. Seeing the incredible prospects ahead for the Academy, Cindy has finally applied for her Florida Teaching Certificate in Mathematics 6-12, having passed all three of her certification exams and awaiting the final steps of processes. Cindy is honored to be to able to assist young performers pursue their dreams and keep their academic pursuits high as well.

Susan-Leigh Davis

LaBelle Academy of the Arts Academic Director

Susan-Leigh Davis was born and raised right here in Pensacola, Florida. After graduating from Woodham High School in 1994, she attended the University of West Florida from 1994-1998 for a degree in Music Performance and Education. As a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, she met her now husband, Mike, at a Panhellenic function and they have been married for almost 17 years. Before settling down and starting a family with Mike, Susan-Leigh traveled and lived around the US pursuing her passion for singing/songwriting. She performed in varies venues and festivals as a solo artist and as band member in parts of California, New York, Houston, and Orlando. In 2000, after singing the national anthem at an Ice Pilots hockey game, a rep from Skyhook Management approached Susan-Leigh and asked if she would be willing to sing for their team in New York. Over a conference call via speaker phone, she auditioned and eventually accepted their representation. Over the next two years, Susan-Leigh continued to perform. She released a mini acoustic CD, self-titled Susan-Leigh and a fully produced 7 song CD titled Seven. In 2002, Susan-Leigh was a top 20 finalist in Jewel’s Soul City Café song writer’s competition.

In February 2003, Susan-Leigh and Michael married. In September of that year, Susan-Leigh contracted the West Nile Virus and Meningitis and after year-long recovery, the couple made the choice to move back to the panhandle to be closer to family and to start one of their own. Though Susan-Leigh laid down her plans of pursuing a music career, she found a renew relationship with Christ and a new adventure was on its way! In 2005, she welcomed her beautiful daughter Georgia into the world and settled into being a stay-at-home mom. But her passion for music still needed an outlet, so she created a pre-school music enrichment program and from 2005-2009, traveled to local pre-schools, Georgia in tow, to teach the love of music to little ones. In 2010, Susan-Leigh receive a CDA and began teaching at Saint Paul’s in Gulf Breeze, Florida for the next two school years. After much request and prayer, Susan-Leigh decided to begin a small private Christian school in 2013. Learning with Grace was created as a way to share Christ with students as they grown academically. It is currently in its eight year. Susan-Leigh has found a calling to work with young children and youth and is so excited to be a part of a program where she can marry her passion of teaching with the arts.

Colton Norris

Strenth and Conditioning Specialist/Personal Trainer

Colton has been in competitive sports for the past 15 years receiving top coaching from a variety of sports and instructors. Including countless hours of private training with top coaches throughout the nation in the football industry. Compiling the knowledge received from coaching into his own training strategies Colton was able to rise above his peers and earn a scholarship at the collegiate level for football at the University of West Florida. Beforehand, he attended Niceville High School for two years and Rocky Bayou Christian Academy for two years where he was a dual sport varsity player at each institution. He is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in exercise science and has one semester remaining.

While at the University of West Florida, Colton has been able to experience two National Championship appearances and the title of 2019 D2 National champion. Some of his accomplishments through the years are as follows:

  • 2015 Special teams’ player of the year
  • 2015 All-state honorable mention
  • 2015 All-state Elite team honorable mention
  • 2016 All-NWFL 1st team
  • 2016 FACA All-state punter
  • 2016 Special teams’ player of the year
  • 2016-2017 Athlete of the Year
  • 2016 Team Captain as a specialist
  • 2016 Subway All-star Participant (made game winning field goal)
  • 2017 D2 National Champion runner-up
  • 2019 D2 National Champion

Academics have been at the forefront of Colton’s journey as he has received over $63,000 from multiple scholarships. He has been named on the College of Health Dean’s list in 2017, 2018, and 2020. He currently is holding a 3.43 GPA as a student athlete.

Colton has made helping others through fitness his lifestyle. He is certified in CPR/AED on Adults and Children. He is also currently working on receiving his certification as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) as well as American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer (ACSM-PT). Through these certifications he will have the ability to lead others through lifestyle modifications with continued knowledge of the fitness world.

Darcy Robbins

Dance Kinesiology Instructor and Student Athletic Trainer

Darcy fell in love with the performing arts at a very early age. Throughout her elementary and middle school years, Darcy performed extensively with the Pensacola Little Theatre and the Pensacola Children’s Chorus. She began serious ballet training as a freshman in high school, training under Michael Wardlaw. She attended summer-long pre-professional dance intensives at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the Nashville Ballet. She quickly added contemporary and lyrical to her dance repertoire and became a featured member of the award-winning LaBelle Performing Arts Company and the Pensacola Youth Ballet.

Darcy’s love for dance blossomed into a career interest in sports medicine, and she became a leader in several student organizations during college. She is now a UWF senior in Athletic Training on her way to becoming a Physician Assistant. In 2019, Darcy was selected by the university’s program director as one of two students to represent UWF in the Athletic Trainers’ Association of Florida (ATAF) Student Leadership Enhancement And Professional Success (LEAPS) program, a year-long leadership development program for the top Athletic Training students in the state. This experience culminated in her presentation of a training workshop at the 2020 ATAF Clinical Symposium and participation in the Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association (SEATA) Athletic Training Symposium. She has worked with athletic trainers from the renowned Andrews Institute for Orthopoedics & Sports Medicine in various settings, including with Ballet Pensacola. She is a Basic Life Support Provider in CPR/AED and has worked on the medical team supporting athletes at the Walt Disney World Marathon. Darcy is an active member of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. She is thrilled to be combining her dance passion and medical knowledge to help keep LaBelle’s Academy performers in peak physical condition!

Music Instructors

Tina Pearse

Voice Instructor

Tina was born and raised in Pensacola. She started doing theatre at an early age. Tina sang and studied voice privately throughout high school and college.

She moved to Boston in 2010, where she met her husband. She sang in Cambridge with a band called Sweet T.

Since moving back to the area, Tina is finishing her degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance at The University of West Florida. She sings with Cliff Krut around town on the weekends. She is also an active member of the choir at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

In her free time, she loves spending time with her two children, especially at the beach. Tina is very excited about joining the LaBelle family!

Debi Schaffer

Music Director and Piano Instructor

Debi acquired a passion for music by the age of 11.  She began her training at the Newkirk School of Music and studied under Harry and Nancy Newkirk.  She studied piano, theory, organ and voice.   Her passion quickly turned to piano.  At the early age of 16, she began serving as organist/pianist/accompanist for local churches.

As a teenager, Debi became involved in many local musical activities and consistently participated through the years in school, church and community musical events as an accompanist.  She has accompanied numerous pageants, musicals, choirs, special large or small group ensembles, soloists, recitals, private parties, community events, church services, funerals, and weddings.  For a number of years, Debi has continued to faithfully serve as pianist and accompanist for churches in the local area and enjoys directing and/or performing with various ensembles.  She has directed children’s musicals, as well as coordinated and/or taught graded children’s choirs, hand bells, and keyboard classes.  She attended Pensacola Junior College and Troy State University, and spent her career in the business world.   Throughout, she stayed involved musically and continued to share her passion for music and God given musical talent.

Debi comes to LPA from the Hillcrest School of Music.  She firmly believes that musical training can provide students with extraordinary skills and self-confidence.  Debi’s goal is to help each individual student develop personal skills through hard work and self-discipline, which will encourage musical interpretation and expression while developing a passion for music that lasts a lifetime.  Exceptional musical skills and self-discipline can provide students with years of personal enjoyment and fulfillment.

Debi and her husband Justin enjoy their family time with sons (Nick, Eric, Chris, Brian and Rick), 4 daughter-in-laws, and 12 grandchildren.

Debi can be reached at debi@labelleperformingarts.com.

Jason Sisko

Guitar Instructor

Jason picked up the guitar at a young age and was taught by his father, playing mostly 70s, 80s, and 90s rock.  During high school he decided he wanted to pursue a degree in music.  Immediately following high school Jason started and completed his Associate of Arts degree in Music Performance at then PJC, studying classical guitar.  He continued on to UWF to earn his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance, graduating summa cum laude.

During college, Jason studied under guitar instructor Dr. Joe Stallings.  Jason also played as first chair for 5 years in the Pensacola Guitar Ensemble directed by Dr. Stallings.  Jason has had years of teaching experience throughout college and post graduation.   He can teach classical finger-picking style, steel string, or electric.

Amelia Velasco

Violin, Viola and Cello Instructor

Amelia Velasco is a local violist who has been teaching violin, viola, and cello since 2012. She graduated from the University of West Florida and received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance.  She was a member of the Runge Strings Chamber Orchestra at UWF and studied under Dr. Leonid Yanovskiy who is head of the String Program at UWF and concertmaster of the Pensacola Strings Orchestra (PSO) and North West Florida Strings Orchestra (NWFSO).  She enjoys teaching and works very well with children and adults alike; her students have excelled in their school and county orchestras.

Along with playing music, Amelia also enjoys painting, reading and playing video games.  She has three pets, a cat named Tyler, and two rats names Effie and Cinna.

Theatre Instructors

Adam Sessa

Theatre Instructor

Adam Sessa is thrilled to be joining the Theater department at LaBelle Performing Arts. Adam has recently moved to Pensacola after spending the past 8 years working with The Walt Disney Company. He has completed contracts in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, and Shanghai while performing in various production shows, parades, and atmosphere offerings on tour and inside the theme parks. He had the privilege of opening “Frozen: A Sing Along Celebration” in Mandarin with Shanghai Disneyland.

Recently, Adam has been working at Walt Disney World assisting the Entertainment Department with their offerings throughout the Magic Kingdom. Prior to this, he studied Theatre Arts at San Jose State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree, soon after beginning a career in Los Angeles working in film and television. Adam is excited to share his knowledge and experiences inside the industry with his future students.

 

Art Instructors

Ashley Brigham

Visual Art Director and Instructor

Ashley graduated from Pensacola Junior College with a degree in Multimedia Technology. At PJC, he studied graphic design, digital photography, and web design.

Ashley has been drawing his whole life and has won several awards for his watercolor and oil pastel artwork. He has also worked as a graphic designer and airbrush artist.

In 2009, Ashley started volunteering to help with props for LPA’s production of Through the Looking Glass and LPA’s Showcase. The following year, Ashley began teaching Visual Arts and Prop Design at LaBelle. Since then, he has worked with his students and volunteers to create many memorable sets for LaBelle’s competitions and productions.

Ashley has a great passion for the arts and is happy to have the opportunity to share that passion with others.

To see samples of Ashley’s work, you can go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ashley-Brigham/1402690893301886?ref_type=bookmark

To see some work by LPA’s students, check out the LaBelle Performing Arts Art Department Page: https://www.facebook.com/LaBellePerformingArtsArtDept?ref_type=bookmark

Ashley can be reached at ashley@labelleperformingarts.com.

Office Staff

Caroline Alderman

Accounts Manager

Mrs. Alderman received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1995.  After working for six years as a semiconductor technology analyst for the federal government in Washington, DC, her family decided to relocate to Pensacola to be closer to their families.  After two years of federal contracting work in Pensacola, she decided to become a stay-at-home parent.

Mrs. Alderman has been LPA’s accounts manager since 2009.   Please do not hesitate to contact her with any questions regarding your account.  The best way to contact her is via the email listed below.

Mrs. Alderman has also been actively involved in theatre since High School.  During college she was also involved in several productions at the Gainesville Community Playhouse, the oldest community theatre in Florida.  Productions include:  Oliver!MameArms and the Man, and Starting Here, Starting Now.  She particularly enjoys the technical aspects of mounting a production and has been LPA’s Production and Showcase Stage Manager since the studio opened.

Caroline can be reached at caroline@labelleperformingarts.com.

Brian Beasley

Co-Owner and Office Manager

Mr. Brian is Co-Owner of LaBelle Performing Arts with his wife Mrs. Jeannie. He is responsible for payroll, account management, building and lawn maintenance, and taking care of Mrs. Jeannie.

Mr. Brian received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology from the University of West Florida in 2000. He has worked for the Department Of Navy as a Civilian for over 23 years in the IT field. Mr. Brian is a lifelong Pensacola native.

Please do not hesitate to contact him with any questions. The best way to contact him is via the email listed below.

Brian can be reached at brian@labelleperformingarts.com.

Emily Wright

Front Desk

Emily Wright has been with LaBelle Performing Arts since its birth. She took a break from dancing and competing with LaBelle to pursue a theatre degree at the University of West Florida. There she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Theatre and designed plays and musicals during her college career. She designed the sound for On The Verge, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, and Romeo and Juliet. Emily is excited to be back in her home studio helping it to grow as it moves forward.

Emily can be reached at frontdesk@labelleperformingarts.com.