– Lori Ladwig – Owner, Founding Artistic Director, Instructor
Lori Ladwig began dancing at the age of 8 where she studied with Grady and Louise School of Dance along with Pamela Leonard of St. Augustine Ballet School. She graduated from Flagler College with a BA in Theater Arts and Visual Communications and continued dancing at Lansing College of Performing Arts in Lansing, Michigan. Lori danced in the Greater Lansing Ballet Company under the direction of Barbara Banasilowski Smith where she performed in full length classical ballets, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Paquita, and Bolero. Later, as a studio owner and artistic director, Lori directed many productions of these ballets.
Lori has committed herself to continued professional development and has studied at several major ballet companies, universities, and dance workshops. Lori is a master in the Russian Vaganova Method having studied intensely with the following artistic directors:
Maria Gribanova: Vaganova Ballet School
Barbara Smith: Greater Lansing Ballet
Dimitri Roudnev: soloist, Bolshoi Ballet
Caroline Rocher and Kip Storm: principal dancers of the Dance Theatre of Harlem
Lori owned and operated the Academy of the Arts studio in Jackson, Michigan for 15 years. In 1995, she founded the Jackson Ballet Company, a competitive, award-winning group of amateur dancers aged 13-20. She worked with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Broadway Musical Review, and the Jackson Rose Pageant. Lori choreographed many musicals in the Jackson, MI area. “The Academy” hosted and participated in stage presentations with America’s premier Christian ballet company, Ballet Magnificat! four times. She hosted Valery Lantratov, artistic director for the Russian National Ballet twice. In 2010, Lori sold her Michigan studio and returned to St. Augustine with her family.
Lori Ladwig is certified in the ABT© National Training Curriculum, Pre-Primary – Level 3
– Meghan Chapman – Artistic Director, Instructor
Meghan began her serious dance training at the age of 8 under the instruction of Lori Ladwig at the Academy of Arts in Jackson, MI and Barbara Banisikowski Smith at the Greater Lansing Ballet Company. Under their influence, she trained in ballet, modern, jazz, and character. She became a soloist in the Greater Lansing Ballet Company at the age of 16 and performed leading roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Les Sylphides, Raymonda, Dracula, Copellia, and other original works. She attended several summer dance intensives on scholarship including Joffery Ballet, Ballet Magnificat, Ballet Intensive from Moscow, Ballet International, Pittsburg Youth Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. She has received instruction under Maria Gribanova; ballet mistress of the lower school at the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, Dmitri Roudenev; former soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet, Rossanna Ruffo; former principal dancer with the Kirov, and Peter Jacobsson; former principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. She received a dance scholarship to attend the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Walnut Hill Performing Arts High School, and an invitation to train at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received a dance scholarship to Butler University where she attended for 2 years as a Dance Pedagogy major. After that she joined Ballet Magnificat, the world’s premiere Christian dance company. During her 6 years with the company, she had the opportunity to tour all across the United States as well as Europe; South Africa; Krakov, Poland; Prague, Czech Republic, and at the Macedonian National Opera House in Skopje, Macedonia, and many others.
In 2014, Meghan and her husband, Jonathan Chapman established The Perla Ballet School In St Augustine, FL. First of its kind in that area, this hybrid day program trains young students in preparation for professional careers in dance or for furthering their education in dance in colleges and universities. Students of this program have been accepted into prestigious colleges, intensives, and year long programs with scholarships all over the world including Butler University, North Carolina School of the Arts, Gelsey Kirkland Academy, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Academy, and the Bolshoi Ballet. In addition to the regularly scheduled dance classes offered at St. Augustine Dance Conservatory and The Perla Ballet School, Meghan has set a number of original full length productions on The Perla Ballet including Beauty and the Beast, Dona Antonia, and The Mermaid Princess as well as staged full length classical ballets including Cinderella and The Nutcracker. Meghan’s training style puts an emphasis on technique, proper muscle development that is individual to each dancer and performance artistry in an encouraging and disciplined environment.
– Heather Buchanan – Office Assistant
Heather has been by Lori’s side for the entire life of SADC. She has taught many classes and levels in previous years and recently saw one of her daughters, Sydney graduate from High School having been training with Lori since the studio was established. Although Heather works at the front desk, she also engages in organizing volunteers for the performances, sewing costumes, and more.
– Laura Cowart – Instructor
Laura has been instructing at SADC for several years and continues to teach and be an important part of making each year successful. She teaches ballet.
– Zhanna Dubrovskaya – Instructor
Zhanna is a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, where she trained from the famed Vagonova Ballet Academy, and graduated with Honors in 1968. She studied with the renowned O. Yordan and V. Kostrovitskaya. For over 20 years Zhanna was a soloist with the Choreographic Miniatures Company led by L. Yacobson and the Maly Theatre of Opera and Ballet (Michailovski Theatre). She has worked with international acclaimed choreographers such as Y. Yacobson, I. Belsky, N Boyarchikov, O. Vinogradov, and B. Eifman. Her performances have been seen throughout the world – from Europe to Asia. She is an accomplished ballerina with recognition in classical, contemporary, modern and character ballets such as: Swan Lake, Paquita, La Corsaire, Giselle, La Sylphide, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardee, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, The Hooligans, Serenade, and Theme and Variations.
Zhanna has been invited as a master teacher and choreographer to stage classical ballets such as Giselle, La Sylphide, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Paquita, and Swan Lake for major companies (including Colorado Ballet) and competitions throughout the United States and Europe. Since 1998 she has assumed the role of Artistic Director for Salt Creek Ballet – and has stage all productions for the pre-professional company. Under her direction, Salt Creek Ballet has also become recognized as one of the leading pre-professional ballet companies in the Regional Dance America Festival.
She is internationally respected and known for her preservation of the purity, musicality, and aesthetics of the Russian classical ballet technique and traditions. Today, her students perform worldwide in major dance companies
– Christina Hendricks – Instructor
Christina is originally from Virgina and studied at The Richmond Ballet. After living in
NYC for 15 years as professional dancer, her and her family now reside in Florida. She
has been performing with the Radio City Rockettes in New York City for 13 years,
performing in numerous television events. National tours: Guys and Dolls, Dorcas in the
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Regional Theater: Napkin in Beauty and the Beast,
Christmas Dreams, Cirque Dreams. Along with performing in Tokyo at Disneyland, She
was also a member of the Philadelphia 76ers Dance Team and danced with artists such as
Alec Baldwin, Akon, Pink, P-Diddy, Al Yankovich. She received her B.F.A in Dance
Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Alongside teaching
dance, Christina also has her yoga, trx, barre, and personal training certifications.
– Brittany Helwig – Instructor
Brittany is from the Orlando area and danced from the ages of 3-18. She trained in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary and enjoyed the many opportunities to perform in the local community. She attended Florida State University and received and Bachelor and Master’s degree in Education for students with Visual Disabilities. As a teacher of the visually impaired she found dance to be a wonderful tool for her students and incorporated in many ways. Some of the most memorable were choreographing and teaching an adaptive version of the Nutcracker, starting an after school dance program with performances, and teaching popular line dances to high school students to enjoy at prom.
She had also been a fitness instructor since 2007, teaching a variety of strength and dance fitness formats. She has been teaching at SADC since the fall of 2018 and started the Adaptive Dance Superstars class. She also teaches hip hop and ballet.
– Jasmine Baird – Instructor
Jasmine has been assisting and teaching with Lori for a number of years. This year, she has joined the staff as an instructor, having completed her training at The Perla Ballet School for the past two years and has been a student with Lori many years. She teaches Ballet.
– Jonathan Chapman – Studio Manager, Instructor
Jonathan Chapman was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and began his dance training at the age of 13 with Stacey Herrington, Mandy Neeley, Amy Lindsey, Jeremy K and Tara Drew – training in ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, and tap. He was accepted on full scholarship into the Belhaven University Dance Department in Jackson, Mississippi where he received training from instructors that included Stephen Wynne, Laura Morton and Cynthia Newland. Jonathan then spent two years training under the guidance of Jiri Voborsky and Sol Nazario in the Professional Training Program at Ballet Magnificat, and he also received training from Rinat Mousafarov of the Bolshoi. In 2008 he was promoted to apprentice with Ballet Magnificat, and then to Company Artist, which he held from 2009-2014. He has over 10 years of experience as a performing artist in classical and contemporary ballet, traveling in most of the continental United States and fifteen countries worldwide. He has performed at the International Ballet Festival in Barranquilla, Colombia, and in partnership with the Suzhou Ballet Theatre in Suzhou, China. Jonathan has also appeared as a guest artist and/or instructor with Shechah Touring Company in Japan, Project Dance, Boca Ballet Theatre, Alabama Dance Theatre, At Marah Dance Theatre in Russia and Poland, Roswell Dance Theatre, and others. In 2014, he and his wife opened The Perla Ballet School – a hybrid dance school in St. Augustine, FL – where he seeks to inspire students to pursue technical excellence and creative expression. Students from this program have been accepted and received scholarships to programs around the world, such as, Joffrey Ballet, Butler University, Kirov Academy, The Bolshoi Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, French Academie of Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts and many others. Along with directing The Perla Ballet School he currently works as a freelance master class teacher, choreographer and guest performing artist.