EVSPA Faculty & Guests
Sandra Balestracci, Artistic Director of the Classical Ballet Division & the American Youth Ballet Company Her reputation as a classical ballet instructor ranks her at the top amongst the professional dance community and her outstanding reputation is recognized up and down the east coast. She has received, for the third, time the coveted “Outstanding Teacher Award” at the International American Youth Grand Prix Ballet Competition in 2002, 2005 and 2008. Many of her students are in professional schools and companies, such as American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Dresden Sempre Oper Ballet, Slovak National Ballet, Kirov Academy, Nashville Ballet among others. (see director's page for full bio)
Ron Boucher, Artistic Director of the Musical Theater Division and the American Youth Players (M/T VI, Acting, Tap/Jazz II, Voice.) He serves as EVSPA's overall administrative director, oversees the schools theater/voice divisions, and teaches voice, acting and choreography. Mr. Boucher uses techniques for vocational development. He is a member of the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing). He also is an active lecturer and an advocate for “What your child should know in the Performing Arts Ages 3-18." Mr. Boucher’s students have won major professional competitions, have placed in prestigious university and college vocal programs and have performed in opera, Broadway and national touring shows.(see Director's page for full bio.)
Denise Ridley-Johnston (Ballet IV, Modern, Yoga, Pilates EBAS) is currently the Assistant Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment and Adjunct Instructor of Ballet at the College of William & Mary. She has also completed 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2015 and holds Pilates Mat Level I and YogaFit Level I certifications. In addition, Ms. Denise has taught classical ballet for 18 years, modern for 11 years, and jazz and tap for 9 years, American Style Smooth and Rhythm Ballroom for 3 years. Her dance education includes ballet for 23 years, (Sandra Balestracci/ EVSPA); modern dance (Stevie Oakes/ SUNY Brockport), Joan Gavaler (W&M), Denise Damon Wade (W&M), Leah Glenn (W&M), and Lauren Morris (W&M); jazz/tap (Melissa Jabaay and Shelly Isler/EVSPA) and ballroom, (Steve Kirvan/ 7 Cities Ballroom). Ms. Denise was one of the founding Board of Director for the Community Alliance for the Performing Arts. She has appeared with the American Youth Ballet Company in nine Nutcrackers, in various roles including: Mrs. Stahlbaum, Party Parent, Trio in Party Scene, Butterfly, Cavalry Soldier, and Arabian Attendant, and the role of Siamese Dancer in The King and I. Denise also has choreographed and danced exhibition and star/pro (5 shows) pieces in all 8 Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars events, with her partners placing in the top three: first place for “Best All Around” in 2012, second place for “Most Creative” in 2013, “First Runner Up” in 2015 and 2017, and “Second Runner Up “ in 2016.
Lois Nichols (Teen/Adult Ballet) received her dance training as an undergraduate at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. After obtaining a Masters in Dance Therapy from Boston University, she was a science teacher in New York City for several years and remained active in the arts as a teacher of modern dance and movement therapy and as a choreographer for local community theater. For over twenty-five years Ms. Nichols has continued her passion of dance in the Tidewater area by taking classes, attending dance workshops aimed at teaching classical ballet technique to students of all levels, and participating in EVSPA’s holiday Nutcracker performances. Ms. Nichols has been on the EVSPA staff since 2005.
Amy Perkinson (Modern/Contemporary) Amy has just joined the staff of instructors at EVSPA this fall. However, she is no stranger to Williamsburg. She is also co-owner of Pure Barre in Williamsburg. She is a lifelong dancer, having attended the Virginia Commonwealth University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography, and a Bachelor of Science in International Business. Amy knew her life path would merge these two varying interests. As has continued to perform after graduation, As her involvement continues to grow, Amy is thrilled to bring her experience in modern dance to EVSPA.
Adrienne Dellas-Thornton, a master Vaganova teacher for more than 40 years, studied as a dancer with great teachers herself: Robert Joffrey, Richard and Barbara Thomas, Alexandra Danilova, Vera Volkova, Birger Bartholin and Hector Zaraspe among them. She has taught dancers all over the world, and has connections not only to the Kirov Academy of Ballet, but to other internationally recognized arts organizations that are part of the Universal Ballet Foundation, including the Little Angels of Korea and the Universal Ballet Company.
Mme. Dellas-Thornton established the Universal Ballet Company in Seoul. She was that company's Founding Artistic Director, and choreographed many original full-length ballets for UBC, in addition to staging ballet classics. Mme. Dellas-Thornton's ballet Shim Chung was performed at the Olympic Games Seoul Arts Festival in 1988, and she was awarded the Gold Medal for Artistic Achievement in Teaching and Choreography by the President of Korea that year.
Mme. Dellas-Thornton returned to America to join the newly established Kirov Academy of Ballet, where she taught for nearly ten years, the only American in the otherwise Russian faculty.
In 2000, Mme. Dellas-Thornton choreographed several original productions: The Emperor and the Nightingale, Littlest Angel, and The Nutcracker for the American Youth Ballet Company in Williamsburg, Virginia
From 2001- 2008, Mme. Dellas-Thornton was the Academy Director at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles. She has been teaching at the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet in Harrisburg and giving master classes at schools throughout the area.
Mme. Dellas-Thornton is internationally known for her expertise as a teacher and choreographer, as well as for directing and teaching ballet intensives, judging competitions, creating and conducting specialized teacher seminars, and coaching professional dancers.
Nicholas Mitsis (Acting Level VI) Mr. Mitsis hold a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa, where his focus was in direction and stage management. Nicholas Mitsis just completed his contract as Interim Drama Teacher at Warhill High School in Williamsburg before returning to his position as Tour Manager for the Moscow Ballet’s The Great Russian Nutcracker North American Tours. Mr. Mitsis brings his producer, director, production manager, Broadway and national tour, opera, and his own educational experience to create a dynamic curriculum equivalent to a first year college level acting course. No stranger to Williamsburg, Mr. Mitsis served as director for the Community Alliance for the Performing Arts’ production of the Sound of Music. Mr. Mitsis is an established live entertainment professional in Vaudeville, Ballet, Opera, Theatre, Musical Theatre, and Circus. He made his Broadway debut at the Broadway Theatre on June 26th 2008, with Cirque Dreams’ production of Jungle Fantasy. He served as producer & director of Vaudeville The Heart of American Show Business which was presented at the Sarasota Opera House. For almost a decade Mr. Mitsis held several managerial and performing positions with Cirque Productions such as: Illumination, Jungle Fantasy; Pandemonia ; and Holidaze. In addition to his recent professional credits, Nicholas has worked on a variety of corporate functions, university theatre, and community theater.