Wichita Falls Youth Ballet has the area's most accomplished dance instructors, each of whom brings their own personal approach to the studio. See below who they are:
April M. Longo is originally from Johnson City, Tn and is fairly new to Wichita Falls. She is married to her husband, Nick Longo. And they have two beautiful young children – ages one and two. She most recently danced professionally with The Florida Ballet, performing principal roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Tatiana in Florida Ballet’s Urban Dream and soloist roles in Paquita, Fairest of Them All, and other Florida Ballet exclusives. She has also danced professionally with Tulsa Ballet II, under direction of Marcello Angelini, performing Balanchine’s Serenade, as well as Swan Lake, Pas de Quatre, Les Sylphides, and contemporary choreography by Tulsa Ballet’s Ma Cong. Prior to that, she danced with Kentucky Ballet Theatre, directed by Norbe Risco and earned her dual undergraduate degree on scholarship from Radford University in Virginia, with a B.F.A in Dance and a B.B.A in Business Management, graduating Summa Cum Laude in both. April has taught dance technique to students in Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina and Colorado. She is excited and honored to be a new instructor at Wichita Falls Youth Ballet this year.
Blake Benson is from Phoenix Arizona and began dancing at the age of 3. She has trained and danced competitively throughout Arizona, California and Nevada.
Blake attended Arizona School for the Arts for middle school and high school which is where she developed a passion for modern dance. She has had extensive training in all styles of modern from choreographers spanning from New York City to Los Angeles. She had the privilege of training with Paul Taylor while attending the University of Utah where she also earned a Masters in Social Work.
Blake joined her first professional modern company at the age of 15 which is also when she began teaching ballet, tap, jazz, and tumbling classes. She has been the artistic director for a dance company based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. She enjoyed performing for many venues throughout Arizona and Utah.
Blake enjoys teaching students the joy of movement by infusing different styles of modern together. She hopes to help students gain a solid understanding of all modern techniques and provide a fun and exploratory dance environment that will provide growth and understanding for all dancers.
Instructor: Lyrical/Jazz/Hip Hop/Tap
Kathryn (Kat) Johnson began her dance training at the age of 15 at Dance Etc. in Wichita Falls. She received training in jazz, tap, hip hop, and lyrical dance. While attending Rider High School, Kat performed as a Raiderette and furthered her training in jazz, pom, and kick line routines. At the age of 18 Kat began training at Wichita Falls Youth Ballet. Kat has been a Senior Company Member of the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre for three years and has performed the roles of Arabian (The Nutcracker) and Fairy Godmother (Cinderella) with the Wichita Falls.
In addition to dance, Kat is very active in local community theatre. She has performed in CATS, Mary Poppins, Chicago, Pippin, Annie Get Your Gun, Footloose, Hairspray, Avenue Q, and many more.
Kat’s future plans are to perform in a professional dance company and own her own business, but not before she finishes her Psychology Degree at Midwestern State University where she is expected to graduate in 2019.
Wichita Falls Youth Ballet
1501 Midwestern Parkway
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CLOSED June 27 - July 5
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