Faculty & Staff
The Academy of Dance offers an outstanding faculty. Our teachers have the educational degrees, teaching and professional performance experience to know what to teach and how to teach it. The program is guided by a syllabus created by our Director, Naomi Hanvey, which is modeled after the Vaganova syllabus and the curriculum designed by her predecessor, Kristen Potts.
Owner/Director • Ballet, Variations, Pointe, Elementary, ConditioningArtistic Director of Spokane Youth Ballet
Naomi holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Belhaven University, where she graduated magna cum laude. Her collegiate studies included ballet, modern dance, choreography, pedagogy, kinesiology, dance history, and production, while her performance experience included a number of solo and principal roles, including Nikiya in La Bayadere and the lead in Suite of Dances, an original work by former Balanchine dancer David Keary. Prior to college, Naomi studied at the Ballet Academy of Moses Lake under Robyn Wenrich and at Summer Dance Lab under Jennifer Martin, John Passafiume, Mark Lanham, and Paul Koverman. She has also trained with Ravenna Tucker (former principal dancer, Royal Ballet) and master teachers Maria Vegh and Laura Alonso. Before coming to the Academy of Dance, Naomi directed the ballet program at Today's Generation Dance in Moses Lake, where she created a school syllabus, started a pointe program, and choreographed and directed productions such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and an original staging of The Snow Queen.
Resident Choreographer for SYB • Ballet, Modern Improvisation
Phaedra began her professional career with Sacramento Ballet where she danced for six years. She relocated to San Francisco in 2000 where she joined Oakland Ballet as a soloist and rose to the rank of principal. She first appeared with Ballet Spokane as a guest artist in the production of "Coppelia". She joined Ballet Spokane as a principal in 2004 and was praised by critics for her portrayal of The Fairy Godmother in "Cinderella". Her favorite roles include Puck in Janet Wilder’s "A Midsummer’s Night Dream", the young girl in Ron Cunningham’s "Incident at Blackbriar" and the female solo from Francisco Martinez’s "Places".
Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Character, Conditioning
Lesley has been teaching at the Academy of Dance since 2013. In her more than 20 years of teaching experience, she has been involved in programs from Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Dakota and Alaska. Lesley is originally from Oklahoma and began her training with Cynthia Scott Wahl of Ballet West. She continued her studies with Bai Lan and Leidi Yu, principal dancers of the National Ballet Of China. Lesley attended many prestigious summer programs such as American Ballet Theatre New York, Boston Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the Kirov Academy. Lesley danced professionally in principal, soloist and featured roles with Alabama Ballet under the direction of Wes Chapman, Lexington Ballet under the direction of Frank Galvez, and Northern Plains Ballet. Prior to retiring from professional dancing, she trained under Zena Rommett in the trademark floor barre technique certification program for 5 years. Lesley also obtained her Pilates studio and mat certification in 2001.
Elementary, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Conditioning
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Sara has more than 22 years of classical ballet training, over 15 years teaching experience, and several years studying other dance genres, including, but not limited to, jazz, modern, improvisation, character, contemporary, flamenco, and tap. She received the bulk of her training in Spokane Washington at the Academy of Dance and attended American Ballet Theater’s advanced summer program in 2009, Oregon Ballet Theater’s summer program 2010. Sara was a trainee for Ballet Tucson in 2011-2012 until she moved to Southern California where she focused several years on teaching and performing in northern San Diego county. Since coming back to the Pacific Northwest, she has transitioned her focus primarily to teaching and sharing the beautiful world of dance with those who seek it.
Official Photographer of the Academy of Dance
Melissa moved to the Spokane area in 2014 with her husband and then 5 kids (now there are 6!). She grew up in Sandy, Utah, where she first discovered her love of dance and photography. She danced from age five until she started college and also participated on the yearbook staff in high school. While waiting for acceptance into nursing school, she started working on a photography degree. In 2006, she started to build her own portfolio and began to build a clientele and a part-time photography business. In 2011, she was asked to photograph a ballet school in Woodbridge, Virginia, and the fire was re-ignited for two of her passions. Melissa is thrilled to be working with the Academy of Dance and hopes to capture not only beautiful images but great memories for dancers and their families.