WFYB Faculty

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 Longo

Instructor: Ballet

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.

 

 

Margaret Gray

Instructor: Advanced Ballet

 

Margaret trained at the San Francisco Ballet School under the tutelage of Anatole Vilzak and Mme. Ludmilla Schollar. She received her training as a teacher from pedagogue Nolan Dingman in Hawaii.

 

During her performing career Margaret danced with San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Opera Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hawaii Ballet Theatre, and Ballet Hawaii, the latter to which she served as Ballet Mistress until returning to the mainland in 1989.

 

Margaret shared the stage with such celebrated dancers as Cynthia Gregory, Ivan Nagy, Cynthia Harvey, Soili Arvola, and Yoko Morishta.  She has worked with renowned choreographers Todd Bolender, Dennis Nahat, Leo Ahonen, John McFall, Lew Christensen, and Tom Pazik.

 

Margaret’s students have been accepted into ballet schools, programs and companies across North America including American Ballet Theatre, Kirov Academy,  North Carolina School of the Arts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and Joffrey Ballet. Regionally, her students have been accepted to Tulsa Ballet, Ballet Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, University of Oklahoma Dance Department and Modern Repertory Dance Theatre.

 

Margaret pioneered Lawton’s 1991 production of the Nutcracker serving as both ballet mistress and project director.  She has taught master classes for Ballet Hawaii, Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre, and the annual Mid-America Dance Network conferences.

 

Margaret was Founding Artistic Director of Lawton City Ballet.  During the period 1992 – 2011 she presented more than 60 main stage performances with a total outreach Impact of more than 75,000 people.  Performing venues included the Simmons Center Theatre in Duncan, McMahon Memorial Auditorium in Lawton, and as far west as the historic Ramona Theatre in Frederick, Oklahoma.  She was also responsible for inviting dozens of international guest artists from around the globe to share the stage with LCB, with many provided by San Francisco Ballet.

 

Regarding continuing dance education, from 2002 - 2012 Margaret has enjoyed a long-standing professional relationship with Tulsa Ballet, a company continuously ranked as one of the top ten professional ballet companies in the U.S.  This association has allowed Margaret to observe and interact with many world renowned ballet teachers, domestic and international, who guest teach for Tulsa Ballet’s Center for Dance Education’s annual “Pointe to the Future” Summer Intensive Workshop.

 

 

Erin Sherry

Instructor: Ballet

 
Erin Sherry is a native of Wichita Falls and was a member of the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre for 20 years. She appeared  in many performances of the Nutcracker where she took on several different roles including Sugar Plum, Russian, Rat Queen and Snow Queen. Since leaving the ballet she has been very active with Backdoor Theatre where her husband is also the artistic director. Erin has performed in several productions including Cassie in A Chorus Line, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and Louise in Gypsy just to name a few. She is beyond thrilled to be returning to the studio to teach this year.

Michael Sherry

Instructor: Ballet

Michael Sherry is thrilled to be joining the staff at the Wichita Falls Youth Ballet. After working regionally and on the road professionally Michael first came to Wichita Falls to dance for the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre.  Michael is now the Artistic Director of Backdoor Theatre.  In addition to his avidness for horseback riding and James Bond movies Michael has performed in many regions over the country singing and dancing.  NY Credits: Chicago, The Country Club, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.  Other Credits: Phantom of the Opera, A Chorus Line, Oklahoma!, Big River, …Charlie Brown, Westside Story,.  Dance: Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Doll Maker’s Dream, Landscape Ever Changing (Tera Nova Ballet).  Special thanks to the collaborative efforts from the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre, support from Backdoor Theatre, the actors and dancers willing to take this journey, and to my ballerina wife who got me here in the first place. 

Blake Benson

Instructor: Modern

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. 

 

 

Kathryn Johnson

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. 

 

Dominque Aleman

Instructor: Ballet

Dominique Aleman has recently moved to Burkburnett, Texas was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Dominique was trained under the instruction of Ingeborg Heuser for 15 years. She has performed as a soloist in productions of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, and several other productions with Ballet El Paso, El Paso Dinner Theatre and VIVA El Paso. She studied dance performance at the University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Tech.

 

Where to Find the Studio

Wichita Falls Youth Ballet

1501 Midwestern Parkway

#116

 

Phone: 940-733-3325

 

Email: wfyouthballet@gmail.com

 

Or use our contact form.

Studio Hours

Monday 3:30-6:00

Tuesday- 3:30-6:00

Wednesday 3:30-6:00

Thursday 3:30-6:00

Friday 3:30-6:00

Saturday- 10:00-12:00

Sunday- CLOSED

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