ABOUT OUR TEAM
Ashley Castro, Director
Ashley was a student for five years at SOTD. She continued her studies at The Maryland Youth Ballet with world-renowned Tensia Fonseca and the late Eric Hampton. Throughout her study at MYB, Ashley worked with The Washington School of Ballet, The Kirov Academy of Ballet of DC, and was selected to train with The Boston Ballet, The American Academy of Ballet, and received a scholarship to The Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. In 2005, Ashley graduated from the College of Charleston in SC earning degrees in Performing Arts, Ballet & Corporate Communications. In Charleston, Ashley was a member of The Robert Ivey Ballet Company for five seasons. In addition, Ashley has performed with the Joffrey Ballet and Charleston Ballet Theatre in such venues as The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, and the historic Sottile Theatre. In 2006, she returned to dance and teach at SOTD. She most recently continued her dance training during her three year residence in Cyprus. Ashley has a lovely daughter, Evelina, who is already following in her mother’s footsteps!
Theresa D’Alessandro, Founder
Theresa has been in the teaching profession for over 35 years. Teaching all levels of Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern. Her formal ballet training began in the early 60’s with Solange Binda at the Ballet Academy of Northern Virginia who she thanks for making childhood dance a nurturing and inspiring experience. At age 9, she auditioned for, and danced in the National Ballet’s (The predecessor of The Washington Ballet) “Nutcracker”, under ballet legend, Frederick Franklin. At 14 she was accepted into the prestigious full time academy at the Washington School of Ballet, but chose to continue her public education while studying under WSB founder Mary Day, Julio DeBettencourt, and Martin Buchner. She received her BA in Dance from Mary Washington University under the guidance of Sonja Dragomanovic Haydar, Jean Hunt and Kathy Gray. After officially opening the school, in 1980, she continued to pursue her performing career. She danced with the Washington Opera Ballet for five seasons at the Kennedy Center, working with such world-renowned choreographers as Baayork Lee, Donald Sadler and Brian Macdonald. She was one of four dancers in Ring Around the Moon at Arena Stage. For ten years she was a member and soloist with the Modern dance Company, KHG Dance Theatre. Over the years Theresa has choreographed and produced numerous original ballets, such as “From Amber to Blue”, “Cuban Overture”, “Equisses de Royaute”, “Brandenberg Concerto”, The Little Mermaid”, “La Fortuna”, “Come Spring”, “Bach”, “Firebird”, “Seasons”, and multi genre productions including, “A Pig’s Tale”, “A Golden Afternoon”, “J’Adore Paris”. Theresa has also worked in television, acting and choreographing for the Korean EBS network, as well as being a voice actor for radio and video. She is a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science, registered with the Royal Academy of Dancing, and AGMA. Theresa has a son, Tom, “My joy”.
Lauren Megrue, Assisting instructor – Jazz
Lauren is a School of Theatrical Dance Alumna; she danced at SoTD for 11 years, studying Ballet, Pointe, Jazz and Modern. until she graduated from high school. She then attended the University of Georgia where she continued to dance recreationally, while studying early childhood general and special education. She graduated from from UGA in 2017, and currently works as a preschool teacher in Great Falls, VA. She is also taking graduate classes, working toward a masters degree in early childhood special education. “ I love being back at the School of Theatrical Dance and continuing my love of dance on the other side as an Assisting Instructor”.And we are thrilled to have her back!!!
Jess Dovens and Lisa Medici, Belles Directors
Jess Dovens and Lisa Medici have teamed up to bring life to the SOTD Belles, our fledgling vocal and theatrical ensemble. With over 20 years of professional singing and theatrical experience spanning across the country, Jess is happy to have found a place to drag her long-suffering husband Adam on stage with her and a new home with the SOTD family. Lisa Medici has spent a lifetime expressing herself through music. A dedicated and talented dancer who honed her theatrical chops at USC before returning to Virginia, Lisa provides invaluable experience and perspective to any SOTD ensemble. Together, Jess and Lisa are thrilled to donate their time to provide a safe place for our students to grow and explore a different avenue of performance.
Florian Rouiller – Ballet Instructor Summer Camps and Guest Artist
Originally from Geneva , Switzerland, Mr. Rouiller received his early training with Ecole De Dance Contemporaine and the Stuttgart Ballet School. He has danced with among others, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Ohio Ballet, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Milwaukee Ballet and Goteborg Ballet. He has performed the ballets of such choreographers as Balanchine, Butler, King, Prokovsky, Goh, North and many others.
Michael Stokes, (Styles) Instructor – Hip Hop, Summer Camp and Guest Artist
Michael Stokes is a member of the National Ballet Company and has studied at Juliard in New york, and the Jilliana School of The Arts. He has appeared as a back up dancer in various music videos with leading Hip Hop artists, such as Justin Timberlake, Tabi Boney and Missy Elliot. He has performed on stage with Alicia Keys, Beyonce, John Legend Omarion, Bobby Valentino, Avant and Chris Brown. In 2010, Michael passed the NYC audition of the “So You Think you Can Dance” competition, and was invited to compete in Vegas, where he made it through two more rounds. Michael is currently focusing on his career by auditioning in the US and abroad. Recently appeared with Beyonce and has upcoming roles on HBO’s “Veep” and “House of Cards”. Mr Stokes enjoys spending time with his daughter, Layla and girlfriend Gina.
Linda graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri earning degrees in Theatre Arts and Social Science for Secondary Education. She has been certified by AFAA and ACE and has CPR/AED certification. Linda started teaching Aerobics at The School of Theatrical Dance in 1982, and has taught at a variety of local health clubs in Reston and Mclean over the years. She is currently also teaching senior chair exercise classes at Brightview Assisted Living in Great Falls, Va.
SOTD Alumna, class of 2016. Costuming Assistant to Ms. D’Alessandro
ADDITIONAL FACULTY AND GUEST INSTRUCTORS
Vladimir Djouhadze, Ballet
Thomas Hanner, Ballet
Joanne Stefanik, Flamenco
Linda Mclean, Aerobics and Fitness
Ranjana Chawla, Yoga
INTERNS/ STUDENT TEACHERS/